Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Unique Anticipation

There is no other kind of anticipation like this waiting-for-baby business, I'm convinced.  It's like knowing you're getting the best present ever for Christmas, but not knowing how many more days until Christmas arrives.  It's like awaiting the most exciting vacation ever, but not quite knowing if you're going to Alaska or the Bahamas so you don't know how to pack.  And it's a little like being told that a telegram is coming that will change your life--irrevocably and forever--and being pretty sure that the news it carries will be spectacular, but knowing there's a tiny chance it might be tragic.  Besides all of that, it's also like knowing that one of the biggest physical challenges of your life is just ahead, and you'd better be ready for it, but how do you get ready for something that is so very foggy?

Yep, there's just nothin' like it.  ;-)


As the waiting game continues, I'm enjoying the time to prepare in practical ways for the coming of this little one.  For example, last Monday morning, August 31, I FINALLY officially packed my bag for the hospital; and of course, it felt so good to get that task accomplished and I wondered why I hadn't done it before!

The next day, I--with the help of my kids and a couple of the neighbor girls--finished canning our peaches for the year, and that brought a huge sense of relief, knowing that I had finished that before giving birth.  Also that day, I made a large batch of lentil stew, served some for supper, and froze the rest to have sometime after the birth.

Last Wednesday, I was in town anyway for a midwife appointment (more on that later) so I did some shopping--the most important of which was buying Breyer's mint chocolate chip ice cream because I was craving it.  Oh, wait, I got a little mixed up.  ;-)  The real Most Important Purchase was gifts for the kids that we'll give them when they come to the hospital after their new little brother is born.  We started that tradition when David was born and we gave Josiah a little red car, and we can't abandon it now!  :)  That was something that had kind of slipped up on me, and I suddenly realized a few days previously that I really needed to get on the ball with that.  I was VERY glad that the baby stayed put inside me until I got that little detail taken care of.  ;-)  I wasn't exactly sure what to get for the kids, but I was quite pleased with what I ended up finding (although of course I can't say what it is here, because I have kids who occasionally read my blog!).  ;-)

Also on Wednesday, we started harvesting our grapes; and by the time I went to bed that night, I had made and canned something like 10 half-gallons and 7 quarts of grape juice.  Just like with the peaches, I got the sense of "oh, I am so glad I got this much done before the baby is born!"  :)  At the time, I thought, "There are lots more grapes on the vine, so we'll see if I get to add to my accomplishments in that area or not; either way is fine with me."  And then, of course, when I did have a second round of the grape harvest, I was thrilled.  :)

Another significant thing I did (well, started to do--I'm still not done) last week was packing up my baby girl clothes/blankets/bibs/etc. to get them out of the nursery so I could unpack my baby boy things.  I'll admit to a lump in my throat as I opened this box...
...and started going through it piece by piece, remembering the things that Moriah had worn in the very early days of her life--and often, remembering who had given it to her.  I didn't cry, but I did feel the bittersweetness of it.
The sweet part comes in double force, however, because not only is it sweet to think about how wonderful it is to have Moriah as a big, strong, healthy, smart, adorable three-year-old, it is also very sweet to think about passing along these special items to my niece Sheena, who is pregnant with twin girls!!  It's a great feeling to know that these treasured things are going to someone I know and love.  :)

I think people expect me to be so eager to go ahead and have this baby that I wish it would have already happened or that it would happen NOW; but I can really and truly say that I am quite content to still be pregnant and am not at all at the stage of being desperate for the baby to just get out!!  ;-)  I am seriously enjoying the chance each day to do a little bit--or a lot!--more to prepare for life after the birth.  I have more free time now than I will then, and I'm happily taking advantage of that.  There are, of course, many more things that I'd like to get done before he is born; but I realize that he'll come when he's ready, and whenever that is will be just fine with me--whether or not I've chipped away any further at my perpetual to-do list!  :)


Every morning when I wake up, I wonder if it will be The Day; and every night when I go to sleep, I think about the possibility of waking up sometime in the night with stronger contractions--or, as with Shav and Moriah, my water breaking in my sleep.  Each day I think about the date and what it would be like for this boy's birthday to be September 6 or 7 or whatever, and each night as midnight approaches, I think, "Well, he won't have a September 8 birthday," for example.

It's still anybody's guess as to when it will happen!  David thought it would be highly appropriate for me to go into labor on Labor Day.  Even before that, my dad predicted I would have the baby when the remnants of Hurricane Erika came through our area (because he remembers how, when he delivered babies, low pressure systems often brought on a large number of deliveries); but when the storm weakened and shifted, he retracted his prediction.  I'm not sure exactly what his revised guess is.  ;-)

There has only been one time when I thought I might actually be in labor.  It was last Wednesday; and, after my midwife appointment, I had done some shopping and been active and on my feet for quite a while.  After I got home and into the evening, I had many, many contractions and, for the first time, told Jeff it might be the time.  But when I sat down and rested, they eventually tapered off.  The baby had been moving so much, and I had had so many contractions; my uterus was very active that evening!

The next morning, I realized that the baby wasn't moving as much as he normally does; and for the first time, I was a little worried.  But after I drank some juice, laid down, and did kick counts (which I haven't needed to officially do because of his frequent movements), I realized that he was indeed moving; and all was well.  Maybe he was just tired after such an active time the evening before!  ;-)  Later that day, he perked back up and resumed his normal busy schedule of pummeling me.  ;-)


That midwife appointment I mentioned was another short and sweet one.  My weight was 189, blood pressure was 136/70, and the fetal heart rate was 150.  While Tammie, the midwife, was listening to his heart, he was once again active to the point of her commenting on it.  I think he likes to impress all the midwives with how strong and busy he is.  ;-)

Tammie and I didn't chat as long at this appointment as we had the time before when I saw her, but she did ask me one question that stood out to me.  "How's your mom?" she said.

"Wellllll...she's fine," I began. "Her Alzheimer's Disease has gotten so bad that she needed to move into Bridgewater Home, so she's lived there for just over a year.  But she's still very happy and loving and peaceful and content."

Tammie expressed her sorrow at the progression of the disease; then she remarked about how she remembered my mom being with me during my other labors and how this labor would be different in that aspect.

Indeed, it will be.

I've thought about it a lot and have prepared myself (or tried to) for the different reality that this labor and delivery will bring.  My mom has been with me when I've given birth to all of my children, except David--and that was only because we needed her to stay with Josiah while we went to the hospital since we didn't have anyone else in Israel that could drop everything to do that.  Three years ago, when Moriah was born, my mom's mental state was not very sharp; but compared to how she is now, it's like night and day.  Seeing how far gone she is now makes me extraordinarily grateful that, three and a half years ago, she was so much more aware and could thoroughly enjoy the fact that God was blessing me with a daughter--something that my mother had LONGED for.

I wish that my mother could fully share in the joy this time around, too; but it is not--and cannot be--the same.  Regardless, I am very much looking forward to showing my mother the new baby when he is born; and even if she doesn't fully understand the connection, I am just sure she will love seeing and holding him.  :)

Oh, by the way, add Tammie's thoughtful, caring question to my very long list of why I love my midwives!  :)


One odd thing about this pregnancy is that I don't recall having a single dream about the baby.  Of course it's possible that I may have dreamed something but forgotten it entirely, but if so, I really did forget it ENTIRELY.  David has dreamed about the baby, and so has our pastor's wife!  ;-)  But me?  No!


As far as how I feel physically, I feel enormous and often think, as I walk, of a line from one of our children's books that I love, My First Counting Book, illustrated by Garth Williams.  It says...
Waddle, waddle, waddle,
The baby ducklings go,
Waddling after Mother Duck,
Seven in a row.
Well, I don't have seven offspring, and none of them waddle, but I sure do!!  :)  I'm learning that it's OK to walk slowly...and yes, even to waddle.  :)

Speaking of waddling...  Saturday evening, the kids and I were playing outside, and Moriah really wanted me to push her in the stroller.  There are any number of things that I can't do with her these days (like give her an underdog when she's on the swing) that I was happy to find something that I could do, so I said yes and started pushing her up and down and up and down the driveway.  I thought if the neighbors were watching, they might have thought I was trying to spur labor on by all that exercise, but that really wasn't my intention at all!

Other physical challenges include back pain, which is nothing new and hardly deserves mention (although I will admit that I am fervently hoping that it will all go away in short order after I have the baby; my mind has toyed with the idea that the upper right-side back pain that has plagued me during this pregnancy but not in my other ones might linger, and I DO NOT WANT THAT) and pelvic pressure.  I realize that those last two words, all by themselves, are probably enough to make any man who happens to be reading this exclaim fervently, "Thank You, God, that You made me a man!!"  :)  Well, enough said about that.  ;-)

It's been really interesting during this pregnancy because Josiah in particular--and David, to some extent--have been old enough and observant enough to be well aware of the difficulties of pregnancy, much more so than with any of my previous pregnancies.  I have been immensely grateful for their help and, what's more, their compassion.  I have wanted them to know that I still consider pregnancy to be a huge blessing and I wouldn't trade it for anything, no matter how uncomfortable I get; but I haven't been able to entirely sugarcoat the demands that a growing baby put on a woman's body.  Maybe it will be good preparation for them if they marry and have children, so they can be sensitive husbands to the needs of their wives!  :)


Speaking of sensitive husbands...

Jeff is always a very kind husband; but when I'm pregnant (and especially when I'm nearing the end), his tenderness goes up about 10 notches.  His love and concern for me are evident every time he asks how I am and, I sometimes feel, every time he even glances at me.  An example: on Labor Day, I was quite tired in the late afternoon after doing so much work with grapes, and I figured I had about a half an hour to lay down on the couch before I needed to make supper, so I told him my plan, then laid down and promptly fell asleep.  When I awoke, I realized that I had slept for an hour, rather than half that amount; and I apologized to Jeff.  "Oh, that's fine!" he said. "I figured you needed the rest."

Another evening, I didn't want to cook so I asked if he would bring home pizza; and not only did he agree immediately, he also went a step above the Little Caesar's $5 pizza I was expecting and got our favorite pizza from Pizza Hut.  Now, being Jeff, he managed to get a fantastic deal on it (three pizzas from Pizza Hut for something like $16.67, which provided all we wanted for supper and some leftover for the next day--not bad for a family of 8!); and boy, was that pizza delicious!  :)

Another time, he had heard that my favorite yogurt was on sale at Sharp Shopper, so he called before he left work and asked me if I would like him to go there before he came home so he could stock up for me.  As it turned out, I had gone by that morning and discovered they were all sold out; but I was still grateful for his thoughtfulness.

A couple nights ago, he replaced the toilet seat in one of our bathrooms; and that was a messy, undesirable job for sure.  Then he cleaned the toilet and cleared some stuff off the bathroom counter.  And I hadn't asked him to do any of that.  :)

Another thing he did recently was take our stovetop outside and scrub and scrub that thing.  It had been horribly dirty--in part, from the canning I've done this summer--and he got it looking better than it had been in a long time.  Well, wouldn't you know, when I was canning grape juice after that, I had some spills (I have not yet figured out the secret of canning without making a mess...if you have, please let me in on the secret!), and the stovetop was dirty again.  Jeff saw me scrubbing it before this most recent day of canning, and he stopped me.  "Don't worry about that," he said. "I'll take it outside and clean it again after this project is over."  Well, he didn't have to tell me to lay down my cleaning rag twice, let me tell ya!  ;-)

His loving care of me adds so much to the joy of this special time!  :)


Sometimes the boys call our new baby by his name; but because of Moriah, they mostly just call him "the baby" or some generic term like that.  I think they're afraid if they say his name too much around Moriah, she will get used to saying it and will let the cat out of the bag; and none of them want that.  :)  Soon we'll get to say his name all the time!


I've decided that, if there were Olympics for pregnant women, they could be quite entertaining.  For example, you could have the Bend Over and Pick Something up off the Floor competition.  I would surely lose that one, but I'm sure there must be some pregnant women out there who are still able to do such a marvelous feat!  ;-)  I'm telling on myself, but tonight when I was wiping off the kitchen counters, a stray popcorn kernel rolled off onto the floor; and rather than try to lean over and retrieve it, I kicked it under the edge of the counter because I didn't want to go to all that trouble.  We'll get it someday.  ;-)

Another event could be the 50-yard Waddle.  Scratch that: 50 yards is too long.  Make it 15 or 20, and then maybe you wouldn't have all the contestants passing out from the exertion!  ;-)

The Hurdles would be a possibility...provided you made them no higher than the height of...say, a pencil.  I think most pregnant women can shuffle their feet along and lift them that high (but probably not much higher).  ;-)

I happen to know the one Olympic event for pregnant women that I would win gold in: the Who Can Lay Down and Go to Sleep Fastest competition.  It's nice to know I'm a winner in something!!  ;-)


Sort of out of the blue recently, Josiah mentioned how he can hardly wait until the baby is born, and I think all the kids feel that way.  One of the very special things about having a large(r than normal, but not large by my definition) family is how many people there are to warmly welcome a new addition.  This little guy has no idea yet how much love there is waiting to be poured out over him as soon as he makes his grand entrance!  :)

I'm not impatient for that to happen, but come to think of it, tonight would be a pretty good night for it.  The dishes are all done, we all have enough clean clothes to last for a while, and most importantly, I finally got this pregnancy update posted.  I'd say in all the ways that matter, we're ready.  :)

But if he holds out until Monday, the 14th, like I've predicted, I expect we'll be even more ready.  :)

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