Monday, December 5, 2011

Week 8!

Dear Sprout,

Holy crap, little one! You are 8 weeks old today!



We had your 2 month check up today. The doctor was very impressed with your growth. You are a whopping 12 pounds, 4 ounces. You haven't grown much length-wise, measuring at 23 inches long. Your head is gigantic at a very large 16 inches in circumference. I do believe this means you will be a small genius. Please only use your massive brains for good, ok?



Today you also got your first vaccinations. We're choosing to do a delayed schedule of vaccinations. We plan to vaccinate you fully, just a little more slowly than recommended. I have a strange phobia of you having some disastrous reaction to a shot, so I want to play it safe. The doctor is absolutely okay with this, so I don't feel bad about this decision whatsoever.

I have to say, kid, anything that hurts you just about kills me. My baby, my boy... you have never really had any tears and when you do, I can't stand it. I just can't stand seeing tears in those gorgeous, loving eyes of yours. The first time was during your PKU test when the horrid collection person just kept squeezing and squeezing blood from your foot.

The sound of your pain quite nearly broke my heart.

Your father volunteered to hold you and let me walk out of the room for the shots. While it was a tempting offer, I have to say that while the thought of you in pain hurts me, it upsets me more to think about you being hurt and me not being there for you.

Afterwards, I held you and cried with you.



Never in my life will I let you cry alone. I will always be there for you when everything seems just awful, when you are in pain, or when you just need a hug. So much as I can, I promise to never let you hurt alone.

My going back to work is looming in the near future. It doesn't look like there is anything we can do to not have me go back. I didn't think it would be this hard, but I can't even think about it without losing it. When I think about how much I'm going to miss with my terrible schedule, how I won't see you except for on the weekends, really... I can't help but feel absolutely devastated.

I am going to miss so much when I'm only able to see you for a few minutes before your bedtime and before you leave for daycare through the week. All of the smiles through the day, all of your sweet coos... I won't see any of them.

I really don't know how I am supposed to survive that.




What a downer of a post! Sorry, my baby, my love. I love you so much and I just can't imagine spending my days away from your amazing self.

All of my love,
Your mama

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Weeks 6 & 7

Dear Sprout,

Oh, boy, am I ever late!



Trust me, it's not because I forgot about this. I remembered it a lot. A LOT.

It's just that weeks six and seven left the two of us to fend for ourselves without your daddy for six days. We got into a really great pattern that we've managed to mostly keep up with. You eat constantly all day, I can get you to bed around 8:00 or 8:30 PM, then you sleep for a few 4+ hour stretches.

That may not sound like much to some, but I definitely add this to the win category.



These past weeks have also brought your nana and grandpa to town! You had such a great time meeting your grandpa. The two of you hit it off like gangbusters. You would just sit and chatter with him. It was fascinating.



Basically, I didn't exist to you when they were around.

I imagine I got a bit boring to you by then, since you had seen nothing but my mug for days.



But then your daddy came home and we had a nice Thanksgiving with your grandparents and the Pritchetts. Izzy was fascinated by you, which was adorable and wonderful, considering she has her own little baby sister on the way. She massaged your feet and sang you songs and wanted to hold you.

I understand completely. I love doing all of those things, too.


You have been growing like a little weed. It's amazing! The doctor was very impressed with your growth. You have been averaging an ounce a day, which is absolutely the perfect rate. When we were at the doctor last week, you were 11 pounds 3 ounces. By the time Christmas rolls around, you're going to be a svelte 12 - 13 pounds.

And the month after that you will be walking.

My baby, you are growing so well and so much, I'm already missing my brand new baby boy. You become more and more interested in the world around you as the days go by. You like to "talk" with us. You have learned sounds and like to make them repeatedly. You smile when you wake up to your mommy or daddy and you smile in response to our smiles and words.



You and your daddy fill up my heart so entirely, some days I am positive it will burst.

All of my love,
Your mama


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Week Five

Dear Sprout,

Today you are five weeks old! You are getting so big, it's kind of crazy. You've gained over two pounds in this first month of your life. That seems like a lot, but it's right on track for what you should be doing. This definitely means you're getting the food you need.

Baron the Hutt

I have finally started making enough milk to feel like I'm getting ahead. Hooray! You are eating well and I have enough stashed that I don't feel like I can't keep up with you.

And then, of course, I get sick. I'm going to do the best I can to keep ahead while feeling so awful. Your daddy has let me rest quite a bit and taken care of you. That's awesome. Of course, I can only hope that I am better before he leaves for San Francisco.

Yes, that's right. Your dad is leaving us to go to San Francisco for six days for work. The only thing that has saved him from my wrath (and let's be honest, I am still really wrath-y right now.)  has been that your Nana will be here a day after he leaves and your Grandpa will be here the weekend. They will be staying until Thanksgiving, so your first Thanksgiving will be with the four of us.

We'll make dinner a day early so they can head home the day of Thanksgiving. I haven't quite figured out our menu, but it will be a fun day for all of us. Especially you. You get to be the center of attention and you really seem to enjoy that.

How do I know you enjoy it?

You've started to smile.



Your Nene was here with us for the past month and she just went home this past weekend. You sent her off well... with smiles and coos when she spoke to you. You really loved having her around. We will definitely miss her.

Sometimes you and I will lay down and have a chat and you will just smile and babble.

It's pretty amazing. I mean, you've always done the sleepy smiles and giggles, but now you are 100% aware of what you are doing. You see mommy and you smile. You hear daddy and you smile. If you didn't steal hearts before, you sure are doing it now.



You've had so much company recently that it's kind of hard going from a bunch of people around to nobody. Your great-granny and your great aunts were here with you last week. You were such a trooper. You spent a lot of time in your Moby, just relaxing while we went around doing all of the touristy things. You stayed nice and toasty and I was comfortable holding you all day.

What in the...? I look like somebody's mom.

You were a hit with all of the ladies, that's for sure. We had a lot of fun with them while they were here. 

It's hard on me... not having my family close. Since we've been here, I've never wanted to leave. Until this past weekend. Seeing everyone and then having them all gone, I have to say, I really wanted to pack up and go home. Being all alone out here is hard and it's worse knowing that you will be so limited in how much you get to be with them. Your father leaving for six days makes it even worse. I wouldn't be nearly so upset if I had family nearby to help me out or to just keep me company. 

I want you to know all of these people so much. I miss them so much it hurts. 

Great Granny!
I love you, my baby, my boy, my Baron the Hutt.
Love,
Your mama




Monday, November 7, 2011

Week 4

Dear Sprout,

So I'm a little late with the post today. As the recent commercial says... "Having a baby changes everything." Including what you thought was your ability to manage your time. And your sleep habits. And your tolerance for smelly gas.

How can I deny this face?

You are getting so incredibly big! Not quite one month old and you've put on nearly two pounds. The nurse today said you are averaging an ounce a day and that you're growing at a perfect rate. We're still working on nursing, but I have to say... the bottle is treating you well and that's all I care about. You are growing and being so amazing, I would stay attached to this pump day and night forever, if it gives you this ability to be so. damned. perfect.

Rolls in all the right places
We have been doing that thing that people frown on so much. That THING that people will tell you will cause all kinds of bad habits and you will never outgrow it and HOW CAN WE DO THAT THING WE ARE SHOOTING OURSELVES IN THE FOOT HERE. You will become an addict and we will regret it later! But that thing? That thing makes me so happy and it makes you sleep for multiple hours and it feels right. 

We are co-sleeping.

Yes.

You are sleeping in our bed. At 4 weeks old. You sleep right in between us, nestled in the crook of my arm. You have these light baby snores that lull me to sleep and sometimes make your daddy and I giggle like little kids. When you have a slight fuss, I can be right there to pat your butt or rock you a bit rather than having to get up and go to your room, which only works you up more when you have to wait. We wake up only once per night, twice sometimes if it's a "sleep in" sort of day. We can feed you, I can pump and then we are all right back in bed and sleeping soundly.

I swore I would never do it, but you know what else having a baby changes? Your steely resolve.

The best thing to wake up to. Ever.
We have other options and you will sleep in your crib, but it's a much shorter amount of time and trust me when I say, you are happier when mommy is happier and mommy is happy being able to sleep three to four hours at a time.

We have had your great aunts and your great grandma from my side in town this week. There really is no shortage of arms to hold you and you are in heaven. You are winning hearts and amazing people with the things you can already do. 

Your Granny really is great!

I am glad they get the chance to see you now. I imagine by the time we head back to the Midwest for the holidays, you'll be almost completely different. Maybe driving. I don't know. You are pretty advanced. 

You are already reaching for things and holding your head up. You are smiling and laughing. You tend to sleep most of the time like a regular newborn, but when you are awake, you are so alert and interactive. You constantly amaze me with how fast you are progressing.


I am going to cut this pretty short this week. It's almost 8:30PM and I have laundry to finish, a pumping to do and three awesome guys to cuddle up with. 

Priorities have shifted. I couldn't be happier being a mother. Your mother.

All of my love,
Your mama

Monday, October 31, 2011

Week Three

Dear Sprout,

Happy Halloween!




And now you are 3 weeks old!

You are so very different from the day that we met you. It doesn't seem all that long ago, but you are so much bigger. You get more and more handsome at every turn. You're getting a ton of strength and you're able to pitch yourself forward in a fit of rage when you are hungry and the bottle isn't getting to you fast enough. You can lift your head with the best of them.



We're getting more into the swing of feeding you. Pumping has been a royal pain in my butt, but seeing you pack on the ounces has made it all worthwhile. Not that you wouldn't have gotten there with formula, because of course you would have, but of all the things that have gone wrong in getting you safely onto this earth, the one thing I have been determined to not have go wrong is breast feeding. Which, of course, it has gone all wrong but I am able to pump and supply you with milk and I plan on doing it as long as I can. It's hard and my supply barely keeps up with your demands, but no amount of sore, cracked nipples is going to make me fold on this one.

You will learn that I am just as stubborn as you are. Keep that in mind, my future teenage son.

I even ordered some not illegal but not prescribed to me drugs from New Zealand. I scoff at the FDA and their regulations! I WILL MAKE MORE MILK! I am finally a couple of bottles ahead so I can feel like we can leave the house for a couple of hours and I am not just a milk cow attached to suction hoses. Hopefully when my drugs gets here, I can start really storing some up and ease the pressure on myself.

This week has brought with it your first really fussy day. It was... interesting. It was stressful and I felt so lost. You had previously gone through a bit of a growth spurt that required tons of feedings and came with a bit of fussing, but this day was something else entirely. You spend the majority of the day awake and probably crying. Maybe not crying, but definitely awake. The only times you would sleep were when I walked you around in your stroller or when you were swaddled and being rocked.

It was exhausting. You were so sweet and cuddly the next day, though, that it made it almost worth it.

Almost.

Last week, we did your newborn photos with Heather Puett from Marysville. She did an amazing job and captured some great shots. I would recommend her to anyone. Hopefully, she'll still be available for your one year photos.



I still don't have all of them, but the few that I have seen have been outstanding. You were such sheer perfection (and really, who am I kidding? You still are!) and you just looked flawless. You are absolutely not a normal baby. You didn't ever look wrinkly and icky and new. You always looked like the cover of a magazine.

This is our last week with your Nene staying with us in the house. I am both nervous as hell and kind of excited to see how we handle this on our own. It won't be easy, I know that. I'm not sure I'm very good at this whole "newborn care" thing. I try, but I kind of take it all personally. When you grump, I am pretty sure it's because I am incapable of doing the right thing for you. I know that's ridiculous. I know I am being dramatic. But I am hormonal and scared. It's just how it is, right now.

This coming week does bring a visit from your great-grandma Betty and your Aunt Sarah. They are coming out for a couple of days to visit with you and spend some quality time snuggling you. We are all looking forward to their visit.

I really do hate that you will get to see the rest of your family so infrequently. I love it out here, I do. And your daddy is so happy, I would never give it up, but the idea of being so far away during this time of your life just kills me. Will a couple of days here and there be enough for you to know these people and how much they mean?

The dog has decided that you can stay, but you need to stop taking up so much room in people's laps.



All of my love,
Your mama

Monday, October 24, 2011

Week Two

Dear Sprout,

Today you are two weeks old!



Your two week appointment was this past Thursday. Even with our milk production issues, you've managed to regain all the weight you lost after birth and then gain an extra ounce. Way to go, us! We are making a happy, healthy, chubby baby! Knowing this has made all of the trouble of pumping every 2 - 3 hours so worth the effort and pain. You are worth all of it and knowing that I am able to give you pretty much exclusively breast milk even though we have latch issues... it makes me feel so much better and I will continue on this path as long as I can.

What a wild 14 days it's been getting to know you and know your habits and patterns. You are seriously the most laid back kid. You sleep well and often, you are rarely fussy and if you are, odds are you are super hungry. There isn't much of a cry that a good snuggle, a little pacifier action, or your swing can't fix.

Besides laid back, you are so reactive, so very alert. Your eyes are wide and bright and you make so much eye contact. It's so intriguing. I have this desire to never, ever put you down when your eyes are open. I figure if your eyes are open, I should give you someone to look at. If I walk into your room to check on you and see you looking around, I have to get you out of your crib. I can't leave you there. I doubt I will ever regret the decision to spend more time with with you even when I could be sleeping.



Speaking of sleeping, having your Nene around has been a life saver for me. Or a sanity saver. Both, really. I have been able to recuperate from the surgery with lots of sleep and rest. I get to take naps when I need to and I don't have to do the heavy lifting around the house. She's kept me from tears a number of times. When Rob offered to just keep her and pay her rather than daycare, he wasn't joking. We love having her here and you are all the better for having her with us during this time.

Every time I go anywhere people are shocked that I had a c-section so short a time ago. Apparently, being up and about so soon is unusual. I'm trying to take it easy and not over-do it, but I just can't exist without feeling like I'm doing something. Which is strange because during the uncomfortable last month of my pregnancy, I barely moved and now I am stir crazy and can't wait to be able to walk my dog or cook dinner or go to the grocery. I do not know how single moms do this, especially after a c-section. I have a wonderfully supportive husband and a mother who does everything and I'm still exhausted. I have such a huge amount of respect for people who can do this on their own.

We have a photo shoot today for your newborn photos. I am so excited to have these days documented by a professional, though I have noticed that you have already changed so much. It's almost heartbreaking. In a matter of weeks, you are a totally different baby. I can't imagine what you will look like in two more weeks or two more months.

I love you, baby boy. I love every moment I have with you. I can't get enough of your smell and your soft skin and your blonde hair and your feet and your chubby thighs. You are intoxicating and addictive and I don't think I will ever get enough of you.



All of my love and sore nipples,
Your mama

Thursday, October 13, 2011

And Our Hearts Grew Three Sizes That Day

Welcome to the world, Baron Douglas Schuster!



Today you are 3 days old. You made your grand entrance at 8:29 PM on October 10, 2011. You were 19 1/2 inches long and 8 pounds on the dot. And I am pretty sure there was never a prettier baby in all of the world. You came out looking like one of those babies from the movies where you know it's SO FAKE because that baby is clean and pretty and doesn't look like a little old man. You have the most amazing steely blue-gray eyes and blonde hair. I think we're both kind of wondering where that comes from in our genetic pool, but we will gladly take it. 

Since you've been around, our lives have changed so much. Your father has stepped up his game and I didn't even know it was possible for him to be more supportive or more nurturing. He's mad about you and he has done everything he can to make you happy. It's working. You two are on a whole other level of fathers and sons.

The story of your birth is not going to be an easy one for me to tell. I'm going to do it because I need to for myself. Because I need to get it all out and process this in my heart. I want you to know also why I might be a creepy, overly possessive mama. Someday you'll read this and you'll know why I wouldn't let you leave the house until your 30th birthday.

I have had a birth of my dreams in my mind since I found out that you were coming to be with us. To say I did not have that is the understatement of a lifetime.

We went in for our induction on Saturday, October 8th. None of my tricks to induce my own labor worked. We went in to the hospital at 7:15 PM. I got myself dressed, filled out some paperwork and then the fun started. They started with a cervical ripening medication called Cytotec. It went to work pretty fast and got me into having contractions that were 2 to 3 minutes apart. This went on all night and into the morning with no big change in my cervix or our labor.

We had a long Sunday when no doctors came to try anything else. They basically forgot I was there. Contractions stopped entirely and I just became disappointed and frustrated. Around 6:00 PM on Sunday, they came and started more Cytotec since it had been working to produce contractions. We did three doses over 12 hours. Contractions weren't as frequent but they were there through the whole night. 

At one point during the night, your heart rate took a big dip and frightened the night nurses. They immediately hoked me to IVs and my mind started racing. At this point, we had been unsuccessfully laboring for 36 hours. I was tired, I was frustrated and I was scared to death that something was going wrong. 

You did stabilize after that one dip and went on like nothing happened, but I still started thinking about asking for a c-section, just to get you out and know that you would be safe. I made my peace with that decision after talking it all over with your father. We just wanted the best for you.

On the morning of the 10th, my doctor came in to do a check and to talk over the options. During my check, she saw that I had dilated more and my body felt more ready for laboring. She said she would agree to the c-section if it was what I truly wanted, but felt we still had options. After going over them and her letting us know that one dip during a contraction was no big deal, that they do happen and that when we labored we would use internal monitoring to keep on top of everything. I have never wanted to do internal monitoring, but it's just another part of my birth plan that didn't happen like I wanted. And in the end? It was the best decision I made that day.

We decided to stop with any drugs to induce labor. We went with an inflatable catheter/bulb thing. They inserted it into my cervix and blew it up with saline to manually dilate my cervix. It was possibly one of the most uncomfortable things on earth but I was pleased with our decision to keep trying to have a vaginal birth and to do it with the least amount of drugs we could. The idea was to keep it in until it fell out and it would fall out at 4 or 5 centimeters dilated. At that point, we would break my water and see what happened, moving onto Pitocin if necessary.

She started the bulb at about 8:00 AM and your dad, Nene, Nana, and I spent a long, uncomfortable day in the room waiting for something to happen. Everyone knows I'm not good at waiting and I won't lie... I was not the easiest patient. I wanted to be able to get up and move around and they kept me hooked to monitors all day. I became a bargainer and got my doctor to agree to an hour of monitoring and then a half hour off so I could move and stretch. The bulb was so uncomfortable when I was sitting, that standing up felt like such a huge relief. 

At a little after 4:00PM, the bulb came out on its own while I was up and moving. The room let out a collective cheer and even took pictures of our bouncing, baby cervix dilating bulb. The nurse called the doctor and the doctor gave us the great news! She would be in around six that night to break my water and get the party started. We were FINALLY on our way to meeting you and we couldn't have been more excited!

When she got to the room, she checked my cervix and I was a fantastic 5 centimeters dilated. It was officially time to get things moving. She broke my water and I was immediately grossed out. Suddenly, labor didn't feel very glamorous at all. It was especially yucky because I had lots of fluid. Your mama is going to give you some TMI, so you need to deal with that. Almost my entire bed was soaked and it was just so... gross. But hey! We were actually getting somewhere!

They put the internal monitors on and it was much nicer to be able to stand up or sit up straight and just move a little. I couldn't go far because I was still attached to the machine but I was able to get myself comfortable and reposition when needed. It was a much needed relief.

The idea was then for me to go ahead and order and eat a light dinner before we started the Pitocin at 8:00 PM. We relaxed and got our minds wrapped around the fact that we would possibly be holding you in a few hours. Contractions kept coming and things felt pretty good, really. The pain was minimal and your father was helping me through all of them. It was an amazing feeling.

Until a nurse came running back to check on me because your heart rate had dropped again during a contraction. Once again, it came back up after the contraction was over. Another sigh of relief was breathed, though we did talk to our labor nurse. She said it was most definitely not unusual and we would absolutely keep an eye on it. We had a few more contractions with some small dips and then you were back to normal. 

And then it didn't come back. And it dropped more and more. The contraction stopped but your heart wouldn't come back. The nurses ran in the room and changed my position. You still didn't respond. They changed to my other side and you still didn't come back. They put me on my hands and knees and you still didn't come back. In a flash, everything I had ever feared was coming to fruition. 

In a matter of seconds, the nurses had kicked your Nene and Nana out of the room. My head was spinning and all I could hear was your father crying and yelling for the nurses to fix it, to take care of me, to make sure I was ok. My heart broke in an instant. They were wheeling me out of the room and your heart was barely there and nothing was making sense.

They rushed me to the OR and wouldn't let your father come because they were going to have to put me under to operate and get you out. I have never felt so alone and desperate and panicked in my whole life. I kept calling for your dad. I kept asking for them to help me, please help me get my baby.

The rest of what happened is kind of a blur. I remember everyone in the OR introducing themselves and explaining what they were doing and why they were there. I remember not giving one bit of a shit and begging them to just help you, please, please, please just help me. My doctor came in and told me that she was going to get you out and take care of us. I remember hearing your father's voice and thinking I was hallucinating until a nurse came over to me and said that my husband was there and that he couldn't stay but he was telling me he loved me.

I remember the anesthesiologist asking me about medication allergies and telling me that he was going to have to put me under and he was sorry but that they would take care of me. I remember having a thought that I could hear your heart again and then there was a flutter of people talking and asking if the anesthesiologist had time to do a spinal because it looked like the baby was starting to stabilize. I remember begging them to just hurry, please hurry and get my baby out.

They decided to give me the spinal and as soon as it happened, I had a panic attack. I couldn't feel my legs and it made me want nothing more than to kick my feet. I kept telling the anesthesiologist that I needed to move my feet, that I couldn't help it. He promised I couldn't because they were strapped down which only made me worry more.

Though they put a sheet up below my head so I couldn't watch what was happening, they didn't think to block the reflection in the glass on the light above us and I could see most everything. I have to say, I thought watching someone cut into your abdomen and move your insides around would be the scariest thing in the world.

I was so wrong. The scariest thing to me at that moment was that they wouldn't open me up or, at least, not in time. I watched everything to make sure it was happening, to make sure they were going to get you out. 

It seemed like an eternity. Everything was moving so slowly and in my haze of fear, it was like time just stopped though I was begging it to keep going.

The reality was it took nearly no time at all. From the time I entered the OR until you came out (screaming the most beautiful scream), was around eleven minutes. I remember watching them take you from me and keeping my eyes on you the entire time they were working on you. One of the nurses yelled at me that you were perfect and gave me all of your stats. Another one of the NICU nurses said to the other nurses, "I cannot believe how perfect this baby is. He's beautiful." Your APGAR score was a 9 and that is outstanding.

There were some complications with my surgery and it was taking longer than expected for them to close up my abdomen so the nurse came over with you in her arms and held you near my face. I couldn't believe you were here and safe. She kept you there so I could look at you. It was so very kind of her but it suddenly hit me that your father was still out there, still waiting with your grandmothers and knowing nothing. I thanked the nurse and asked her if she would please take you to your father and let him hold you and let him know that we were okay, that we made it.

It seemed another eternity for them to finish closing me up. All I wanted was to be with you and your father. I was so happy knowing that your grandmothers and your father could be with you since I couldn't. I was a flood of mixed emotions.

The details are fuzzy when I got back so I can't say much about the after. The rest really doesn't matter, though, does it? 

You were there, you were safe, and you were loved.

Other things from the hospital stay and beyond that I remember but don't have the time or energy or desire to expound on at this time:
  1. Feeling my feet again was awesome until I realize they weren't going to let me actually use them.
  2. Catheters can really spoil a person, especially if that person was previously quite pregnant and peeing nearly every hour. Removal of said catheter is a rude awakening.
  3. Those damned mesh underwear they give you after birth are the most comfortable things on earth. I begged for more to take home and they gave me quite a few. I was embarrassingly pleased.
  4. Lactation is a chore and we may not be able to breastfeed, but we plan on working our butts off to be able to pump and feed. 
  5. We are total n00bs at parenting.
  6. We are going to freakin' rock at this parenting gig, anyway.
  7. Having your husband in the same room as you but not being able to sleep in the same bed for 5 days is akin to torture.
  8. Morphine is one hell of a drug.
  9. Your dad is a total baby raising rock star.
  10. I never want to be in the hospital again.
  11. You are SO going to be an only child.
So, we didn't have the birth we ideally wanted. We tried. We made decisions as the time came and then the decision was taken from us entirely. There's a lot to be said for all of the natural methods and in a perfect world, that's all it would take to have a successful birth and a healthy baby. In reality, I have never been so thankful for nurses and doctors who have no problem with doing an intervention when they really think it's necessary. There is a possibility we could have gone on to have had a vaginal birth, but in that instant, that moment when we could have lost you, the last thing I cared about was my vagina.

The doctors and nurses at Overlake deserve a gold medal and a million dollars and flowers and candies and a new car and maybe some jewelry for not wasting one single second. They went above and beyond my expectations in most every way. The aftercare they gave us was amazing. People that complain about hospital births should give it a shot there. I mean, honestly, we felt so ridiculously supported and cared for.

Anyway, we are home now. We are settling in and trying to get in the routine of having you here and what your needs are. We get overwhelmed. We get frustrated. We panic. But we support each other and we have a fantastic support system from our parents. Your father keeps my spirits high when I'm feeling down, and trust me, without even meaning to, I feel very down about my experience. Not only do I feel like I missed out on the birth I wanted, but I missed out on so many of your firsts. Your dad keeps me sane and reminds me that we made a wonderful baby and we will have lots of firsts, that we are going to do this, and that we are one awesome family.

He is so, so right.


All of our love,
Your mama



P.S.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Countdown is OVER

Dear Sprout,

This is my last letter to you while you are on the inside.

Holy crap!

Welcome to week 39, the week you will be born. This week you are the size of a newborn -- a real, live baby boy. And tonight, we start the journey to bringing you into our arms.

As you can tell, I have not gone into labor naturally. I did what I could. My body just hasn't been ready. Tonight we start the induction. You may be born then, you may take a day or so to get here. In any case, my amazing son, you will be with us in a matter of days with the help of a few drugs to get the party started.

In a mere matter of hours, we will be in the hospital -- holing up until we have a baby. You have a lot of people cheering for you and ready to meet you, so let's not dawdle, okay?

This past week has been a very emotional one for me. I am scared and nervous. I'm thrilled. I'm just plain overwhelmed. What if I change my mind? Can I just keep you in there forever? I mean, it might be a little awkward when you're 16 and six feet tall and wanting to date, but I think we can make it work.

Right?

Today, we are going to get some pedicures and have a nice dinner before heading to the hospital at 6:00PM. We're going to have one more relaxing day before our lives change for good. For the better.

I have been on edge for the past 24 hours. I absolutely cannot wait to see your beautiful face and hold you in my arms. It's been a lifetime in the making.

All of my love,
Your mama

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master,
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Lots of Babbling Because My Brain No Longer Works Properly

I remember when I was marveling over the fact that something as small as an apple seed could cause so much trouble in my body. Now, after our last growth scan, we know you're measuring around seven pounds and three ounces. How that happened, I don't think I will ever fully understand. Sure, something something cells dividing something organs maturing something something fatty tissue, but it's all gibberish when I think about how you just grew there and my body made it possible.

I need to brag for just a few minutes, too, since I am technically responsible for this baby that is about to come out. Your dad helped, obviously, but as the incubating unit I'm the one that's kept you warm and growing. He's more the guy that made you incredibly handsome and genetically awesome.

My blood sugar numbers have been great for weeks, even with a few cheats (red velvet cake with magical no blood sugar spiking properties). The doctor says it's this that has kept you from turning into a ginormobaby that would require a C-section to deliver. So, suffice it to say, it's been pretty miserable not being able to just go and do and eat whatever we want, but in the end? This is so worth all of it.

I feel like we've actually accomplished something great, that somehow with all the bad stuff that has come along, your father and I have managed to keep our shit together and keep you healthy. He's most definitely a part of this team. He watches out for both of us. He sets me straight when I get angry or sad or feel pitiful. He does it the most amazing way possible.

When I'm feeling down and want to rant and rave about how incredibly hard this has all been, he takes my hands and looks at me and says, "Thank you. Thank you for everything you do to grow our son. I know it isn't easy." And that is all I need.

It hasn't been easy. It has been appreciated. We did good -- no, we did awesome.

And with that bragging, welcome to week 38! We are really in the home stretch now, baby boy. We are officially in our last week of gestation. Tuesday is my next appointment with the OB. We're going to do a membrane strip (don't Google that until you're way, way older, ok?) with the hopes that it will send us into natural labor within 72 hours. If it doesn't work out, then we have our induction scheduled for October 9th.

I won't lie. I'm kind of hoping you come and we're out of the hospital before October 10th. Alton Brown will be in town doing a book signing. What? That's a big deal! Oh, and I am dying to meet your face.

This could, in theory, be my last blog entry before you are with us.

That is incredibly exciting!

The other day, your father came home from work and out of habit, he gave me a kiss and I flashed my big bare belly at him. He, of course, gave you some pats and said hello. This look came over his face and he said, "I just realized I may never see this again. Can I take a picture? I promise I won't put it on the internet." (Note: if anyone on the internet sees my husband posting a photo of a gigantic, glowing white ball that looks like the moon orbiting, let me know so I can yell at him.)

And it's true. Any day now, any day could be the day that you come.

Watching you move right now amazes me. I can see your butt pushing up the side of my tummy and I can watch your feet stretch my skin out. And soon, all of these parts will be in our arms instead. No more alien baby, no more hiccuping inside my gut 10 times a day,  no more gigantic tummy (but hey, thanks for the new stretchmarks anyway!)... just my beautiful son.

I flutter back and forth between incredible happiness and excitement to complete fear and shock. Mostly it's the happiness parts these days, thankfully. I can't help myself. I got into your room and sit in the rocker and breathe in the amazing smell of baby detergent on all of your things. Sometimes I just look into your crib and try to imagine what the world is going to be like with you sleeping in there.

I have nothing left to prepare in your room. Well, that's not entirely true. If your growth scan was correct, we WILL need to get some more newborn sizes and I'll need to wash those, but I'm still holding out on that until you are out and we know. I have an aversion to buying more clothes that you will only be in for a couple of weeks.

Welcome to the world of your kind of cheap mama!

Sorry this post was so disjointed, baby. My brain is not exactly functioning in a manner that is easy to organize my thoughts. I can't imagine it's going to get better before it gets worse, you know what I mean? All of these coming sleepless nights and frustrations.

I love you, sweet boy. I cannot wait to hold you and tell you in person just how incredibly special and important you are.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's Just Emotion... Taking Me Over

Dear Sprout,

We are really in the home stretch now, kid. We are 37 weeks today. You are officially the size of a watermelon. We have another ultrasound to check on your growth this week and I'm pretty sure the results will be "Your son is the size of watermelon with a cantaloupe for a head."

And then I will cry.

Speaking of crying! I am having a lot more emotionally charged days and nights. My hormones are raging out of control. I cry at the simplest of things and I often times feel like I'm struggling to keep it together. This worries me, some. I've always dealt with a little depression and I'm worried about what all of these hormones are going to do to me when you're born.

A lot of the time I feel like I'm doing this all by myself. I spend my days all alone and there really isn't anyone for me to talk to. I don't have anything to really keep me busy. I just exist here and have all these fears and worries going through my head. It gets to be a lot overwhelming at times.

Don't get me wrong. Your dad is great. Superb! Lovely! We just are on different emotional levels right now. Unless, he's great at hiding it, he's not scared at all. He can't wait. He thinks this is the coolest thing that's ever happened ever. He comes home from work and plays games and just enjoys himself. I don't want to worry him with all of my bonkers thoughts and then I do anyway when I have an emotional breakdown because the delivery place down the road won't take my coupon and I CAN'T HAVE RED VELVET CAKE.

I sit here, worried and crazy. What's going to happen to us once you're here? In two weeks, we will no longer be a couple, just the two of us. Those days will be over. From then on, we are a trio and you are a part of this family, for keeps. No more leisurely trips out of the house to do some silly thing we want to do. No more quick trips to the store or anywhere. No more going out to bars or shows without a babysitter. No more "us" as we know us now. No backsies!

Even typing this out sounds crazy because trust me when I tell you this: YOU are so incredibly important. I can't wait to have you in my life. In our lives. In all of this emotional turmoil, there has never been a moment when I wished this wasn't happening. You are the product of a lot of love. You were made out of love and you will be born into so much love, you probably won't be able to stand it.

So these last few weeks, we're just going to pretend that they never happened because I know once you are in my arms, none of this crying and emotional freak-out stuff is going to matter.

Sleeping has become a distant memory. It's physically painful to lay in bed. Rolling this belly over is a feat of strength at 3:00AM with a full bladder. Your poor dad barely sleeps better than I do. I tend to toss and turn a lot. He tends to get elbowed in the face. A lot. Getting out of bed the four, five, six, however many times I need to go to the bathroom is such an ordeal that I know he doesn't sleep through it. I bump into things and make noise. I make mooing noises when trying to get comfortable. Sometimes I just have to sit up straight because my back hurts so bad. I snore louder and more powerfully than ever before.

He doesn't complain.

And I kid you not, I love him more for the fact that he doesn't complain when I KNOW he is nearly as miserable as I am at night.

He just kisses me goodbye in the morning and reminds me that I'm sleeping on my back again.

When did I become the luckiest girl in all of the world?

I promise you, I will be the best mom I can be for you. I won't always be perfect, I won't always keep a level head. There will be times when I embarrass you or make you angry. There will be times when I just won't be enough.

But I will always be there. I will always be available. I will always listen. And most importantly of all, I will always love you to the depths of my soul.

With all of my love,
Your mama

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Things I Did to That Doughnut Would Shock Our Mothers

Dear Sprout,

Week 36 begins. At the end of this week, we will be full term. You will be fully cooked and able to make your entrance into our lives whenever you are ready.

I can't lie, little dude... I'm getting a little anxious to do this thing already. I am bored with all of the waiting. The more we have to wait, the more we want to not be waiting anymore.

I am tired all the time and my body is worn out. If I'm going to be tired and worn out, I'd rather it be because I'm spending all of my energy on taking care of you and getting to know you, not just baking you.

We want to meet you. We can't wait to know who you are. We will, OF COURSE, though I really am starting to do everything I can to make my body ready and to get you ready. I live on a yoga ball. I am taking all of my herbs.

We're having some issues with the insurance, which doesn't help my state of mind either. I won't go into it right now, but suffice it to say there were phone calls that involved both tears and expletives. I want these last weeks to be happy. HAPPY I SAY.

Since my mind is just shot right now, I am going to retell a story I wrote for some ladies on a pregnancy support board I read on occasion. Someday, when you know me, you'll understand this and you will say "Oh, yes, of course this was my mom that did this. It couldn't sound more like her."

So, your dad took me to Top Pot Doughnuts yesterday and being the horrible person that I am and having the gestational diabetes, I relish any opportunity I can to inhale sugar. (Call me selfish, but when he offers me sugar I selfishly say "OH MY GOD YES!")

I go in, order my two unreasonably large doughnuts, one blueberry filled and the other custard filled. I am being looked at and I KNOW it's because of my majestic belly that is swollen with child and I KNOW that everyone is thinking that I have earned these doughnuts. All that maternal glow and glory in one spot can make people stare, you know.

Back in the car, I start to eat my doughnuts. Everything goes pretty smoothly until I start on the custard one. Custard filled is my holy grail of doughnuts and this one was glorious. First bite and the custard is oozing out of it. Tons of yummy, forbidden custard.

Oozing all over my shirt. And my purse. And my seatbelt.

So I did what any sane woman with a serious sugar jones would do. I licked it up. Off of everything it spilled on. I suckled the custard off my shirt. I looked up and caught sight of myself in the mirror.

My hair is all over the damn place because guess who didn't bother to brush it before leaving the house? I have custard and chocolate all over my face, in places I am pretty sure that doughnut couldn't possibly have reached. I have a part of my shirt in my mouth, sucking the custard like it's my life force. And I have a large zit on the middle of my nose that apparently came out last night. And I have crazy eyes. Crazy, sugar monster eyes.

Your dad looked justifiably scared and, yet, somehow, there seemed to be a glimmer of pride in his eyes.

What I won't tell you is what it did to my blood sugar that morning, because whooooaaaa baby! No more doughnuts for mama until you are out, even though you spent the whole damned day thanking me for that privilege by kicking and rolling. Which, again, come out soon please! We have some Groupons (I have a feeling that someday this will be so very dated) for some Frost Doughnuts and, oh, how I crave their banana fritter.

Someday kid, I want you to look at this picture and study your father's face and see what he feels for you. For us. There has never been a man so incredibly excited to have a child come into his life, I am almost positive of this. Every morning he tells you he loves you and every night he reads to you and rubs my tummy and gives me the happiest moment of the day.

Please disregard my "shine."

The next three weeks are going to go by so slowly. We are 100% ready for you, I think. As much as any two people can be 100% ready for the most mind-blowing, life changing, amazing experience.

We love you, Lil Baron D (which we have decided is going to be your XBOX gamertag. Or rapper name. Something.) and we cannot wait to meet you. And settle a few bets on hair color and eye color and whether or not your head is the size of a cantaloupe.

All of my love,
Your mama

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Attack of the Ginormous Head

Dear Sprout,

It is your 35th week of gestation. You are about the size of a rather large cantaloupe. I can feel you getting ready. I can feel you doing just about everything, really. You are not a small thing any longer.

This week has been pretty low-key. I got to spend more time listening to you on the monitors. It's both amazingly exciting and oddly relaxing. I get to hear all of your movements and I am so happy that you are in there and doing well. The sound of your heart lulls me into a near sleep state and it feels so good.

We met with the doctor on Wednesday. She is pleased with your progress and says everything looks fantastic.

Except.

Your head.

Apparently, the circumference of your head is apparently... large. Quite large. Not some sort of genetic abnormality large or medical issue large, but having a hard time delivering large. Now, after researching (and trust me, I do a lot of it) I am aware that not all measurements are correct. Weight measurements in utero are notoriously wrong. Your head was so far down during the ultrasound that they basically had to set the exam table to where my feet were way in the air to get the ultrasound wand to your skull. They had to measure it approximately ten times before they were satisfied.

I am not putting all my eggs in your large head basket, if you know what I mean. I refused, again, to talk c-section until we gave a natural birth a shot. Again, I'm no superhero. If a c-section is what it takes to get you into this world safely, that's what we'll do, but honestly, if I can avoid major abdominal surgery, I plan on doing just that.

I ordered some herbs that are supposed to help ready me for labor. I'll start those this week and hope that it's not all hogwash and will help get my body ready for your big day on the ninth of October. Maybe they will do nothing, but maybe they will. Or maybe the act of taking them and trying to be proactive will make me mentally ready for what's about to come. Not trying to rush you by any means, but I would really like to have the induction go as smoothly as possible.

Which is what this weekend is also supposed to do. We are going to our birth classes this weekend and hopefully preparing ourselves as a couple to have this miraculous and frightening thing happen in a few weeks. I'm not entirely sure what to expect from these classes. They are at the hospital, so I'm imagining that they will not be completely crunchy, granola.

You'll find that I am a pretty shy person in general, son. So the idea of practicing breathing in front a bunch of people and making all sorts of wild animal noises is going to be a bit... mortifying. I'm willing to do it, if it will help make things easier.

Of course, this is also why your dad has been so gung-ho this week about you coming now. He really didn't want to do the classes and if you came this week, we'd have no reason to go.

Except I paid for it already. So, we were going. Regardless.

We spent last weekend doing some serious nesting. Your room is done. Fin. No more. I have washed everything that you will possibly need in the first three months. We have things put away. We have things hung on the wall. Our hospital bag is packed and in the hall and ready to go. We are ready for you, baby.

We have the other rooms mostly there. We have your sleep area set up in our room and finally, all of the clothes up and put away. That is a miracle in and of itself. Your swing is in the living room / dining room area so it's actually some place useful. Your car seat is in the car.

You'd think your due date was imminent or something.

28 days.

And I can't wait.

Thank you for being here. Thank you for joining our family. Thank you for making our little family complete.

All of my love,
Your mama


Saturday, September 3, 2011

I Both Look and Feel Like I am a Watermelon Smuggler

Dear Sprout,

Week 34.

Mama's log: I feel like I have a watermelon strapped to my front side. My balance is weird. I have to lean back to walk. I have to use some sort of leverage to get off the couch. Forget sitting on the floor. My back hurts. My hips hurt. Six long weeks left. Well, five actually, since we are doing the induction.

Whoa, belly!
It's funny. If someone asks how I feel, I explain your positioning and everyone gets worried that you're about to make an entrance. If only that were the case! I feel like you're going to be the baby that takes his sweet time doing this exit thing. While you are head down and deep and putting a lot of pressure on my pelvis, I think you're comfortable and not planning on heading out anytime soon. Just making your presence known, as you are wont to do at all times. Call it mama's intuition.

Our blood sugar issues are still being worked on. It's not nearly as bad as it was, so I'm feeling pretty good about it all. Adjustments have to be made to my dosage here and there to adjust for my shifting hormones. I'm learning to be a lot less paranoid and rigid and to kind of just go with the flow, here. I'm already learning how to be your mama!

We had our ultrasound and the technician said you were measuring around five pounds and four ounces. This is a completely normal size and I am thrilled about that. You are growing right on track and that means we're doing something right. Now, I know these things are notoriously wrong, but at least they didn't come back with "He's measuring nine pounds!!!" and then they would try to take you earlier than I want. So, if this is what it means to have to skip dessert (which, come on, I do UP TO A POINT. I am only human, kid. I like ice cream.), then I will do that to make sure you are a healthy guy. (Although, it's free cupcake weekend and I am not sure I can say no.)

Of course, we still couldn't get your heart measurements. Again, they assured me that everything looks perfect and normal, they just want the measurements for record keeping. This time, rather than your arms hiding the heart pictures, you were flipped backwards, with your face towards my spine. They may schedule another one because you are so stubborn. I never thought I would say this, but... I'm getting tired of the ultrasounds.

Oh, Sprout, we are all getting SO excited to meet you. It's not much longer and preparations are being made. Your nene has her plane ticket to come be with us at the hospital and your nana is making her own travel arrangements to be here to help us greet you. It's getting so close and, yet, it feels like an eternity before I get to kiss each and every toe and finger and your forehead and nose and knees. I'm trying to keep my excitement low-key, as to not make everyone around me lose their minds with my anxiety.

But I can't wait. I can't. I have this feeling that you are going to be THE most incredible boy ever.

Maybe that's because I'm your mama. Or maybe it's just because you coming into our lives has exceeded all expectations and made us (at least me, I shouldn't speak for your father, though I think I can) complete. You made us nervous. Scared. Panicked. But you also made us whole.

We are ready to have this family all together, all on the outside, all in love with the future. Our future.

The next five weeks really (REALLY) cannot get here fast enough. Though, I guess I should, in theory, finish cleaning up the house first.

All of my love,
Your mama

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Why is My Tummy Lopsided?

Dear Sprout,

This week we are 33 weeks and I have just been watching my tummy bounce with your hiccups for the past 10 minutes. There is also a very odd, baby-shaped lump on the left side and I have to say... that's just weird. I feel like my belly is twice the size it was last week, though I'm sure that can't possibly be true. Though, according to the internet you should be about 17 inches this week and topping about five pounds. So, who knows? Maybe my tummy has doubled in size.

We have another ultrasound the day after tomorrow and it will probably be our last. We're going to check on you one more time and try to get an idea of how big you are. The same day, I get to be strapped to some monitors so we can check your activity and heart rate. The monitoring has started happening twice a week from here on out.

You have not been cooperative.

Not. Shocking.

The first time we did the monitoring, your daddy was there and he was talking to you and you couldn't stop moving. You were exactly how you should be and everyone was satisfied that all was going well.

The second monitor was just me in the room with the nurse. The nurse who was trying everything to get you to move. Shaking my tummy, zapping me with some weird contraption, cold water, you name it.

You wouldn't give her the satisfaction of doing what she wanted. It wasn't until she left the room and I begged you, pleaded with you, bargained with you to just please MOVE so we wouldn't get stuck strapped to more machines in the hospital.

You started then and kept going, so long as I complimented you and told you I loved you. We narrowly escaped the hospital. Can we please not have a repeat of that? I'd really like to keep you inside a bit longer and I have no doubts they will try to take you from my womb if you keep this up.

We have scheduled an induction for October 9th. While I really wanted everything to happen naturally, I'm worried about you. I'm worried about our blood sugar issues and I want more than anything for you to be healthy. We will be 39 weeks and 2 days and I am confident we will make it through everything just fine. My doctor is (THANKFULLY) on board with avoiding a C-section at all costs, so the induction is our first step in making that happen.  This is why we are going to try to keep a good eye on your size and movements.

No medical emergencies, if you please.

It doesn't hurt that having a day that we're going to get your entrance started really makes it easier for family to plan to be here to meet you.

I worry and worry. I want so much to meet you, Sprout. I have this incredible feeling that you are going to be someone who will always give us a run for our money and will never think twice about being just exactly who you are.

I couldn't ask for anything more.

All of my love,
Your mama

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sorry I Was SO Emo Last Time

Dear Sprout,

Welcome to our 8th month of baby baking! This week starts week 32. Only 8 weeks left before you are here and we are wholly responsible for your well-being. Starting this week, you're supposedly putting on about a half pound a week. If the doctor's were right at the last ultrasound, you should be on track for being about eight and a half pounds at birth.

Whoa.

We do have another ultrasound coming up week after next, so hopefully we can get in there and make sure you're not growing into a behemoth.

I'm starting to think about going ahead with a scheduled induction. Probably for October 4th or 11th, depending on what the doctor thinks. Depending on how big you are getting. Depending on how the now twice weekly non-stress tests go.

My hormones have been on a rampage this week. I generally am pretty good at reining my emotions in and knowing when it's real feelings or just hormonal rage. This week, I've just been all over the place. Nothing is right, everything is wrong and until I realized just how volatile I have been, your poor father has had to listen to me and has suffered the brunt of my evil.

I want to be really clear here, for anyone who reads this and for you, when you're old enough to read this or care: I couldn't be married to a more amazing man. He has his issues and he has his flaws, but there is nothing about him that I don't love. Your father is the absolute love of my life. And right now? Right now he couldn't be more amazing if he tried.

I fall in love with him more every day. Sometimes, when his face is lit up with his love for you, I fall in love with him all over again. When he reads you your bedtime story in all of his made-up voices, my heart feels like it might burst with how lucky I am-- how lucky we both are. I know I will fall in love with him over and over again as these next years go by, because he will constantly surprise me with his love, his devotion and his absolute dedication to his son.

And I am so very sorry that I have been such a raging bitch this week. I will do whatever I can to make it up to him. My whole life will be spent making sure he knows just how loved and appreciated he is.

And embarrassing you when you hit middle school. It's my job.

This week, son, you are so big in my tummy that I get a little overwhelmed. And a lot seasick. You're so big I don't feel kicks as much, because you don't have as much room to actually kick. Your dad is pretty sure he felt your big noggin pushing up against his hand through my tummy. I feel you moving from side to side, or rolling around, or hiccuping. That still blows my mind... those rhythmic bounces in my belly that tell me you've been practicing swallowing and getting ready for what awaits you in the outside world.

I just have to eat and breathe and you will do all the hard work of getting ready to be born. I take a lot of the credit because I'm the one technically growing your bones and having all the aches and pains and such. But you... you are the one with all the burden, the one that has to leave the warm, secure comfort of your mama in 8 weeks and be ready to do all of the things that a living, breathing human has to do.

That's pretty impressive, if you ask me!

I don't know what I did right in this life to be surrounded by so many amazing people, but kid, you are in for one heck of a wild ride. Your life is going to be so touched in so many ways by love and support. And I feel the luckiest by having my most favorite boys in the world with me every day.

I can't wait to have you in my arms.
All of my love,
Your mama

Saturday, August 13, 2011

In Which Your Mama Whines a Whole Heck of a Lot

Dear Sprout,

This week has been exhausting, mentally. I am so happy that I was chosen to be your mommy, but I can't help but feel like my body is failing you. Failing us both.

We had an OB visit on Tuesday. I have kept my weight gain to a pretty good minimum, my asthma has been easily controlled, and you seem to be good and feisty. All in all, we're not doing terrible. My glucose numbers... those haven't managed to be under very good control at all. I went over the numbers with my doctor's and they just don't make any sense. I have been sticking to my diet and the same foods pretty much every day and the numbers are just wild and ever-changing.

So now, we are doing 4 shots of insulin every day. On top of poking myself 4 times a day to get my numbers. I am so sick of needles already. The next nine weeks will be eight needles every single day. Not to mention my new doctor schedule of twice a week, so they can hook me up to monitors to make sure you're doing ok in there.

I love you so incredibly much and I'm so happy we're doing everything possible to make your entry into this world as easy and healthy as possible. When I whine about this a little, it's not you, it's me. I had really hoped for a nice, easy pregnancy. I hardly sleep at night, unable to get comfortable. My tendinitis in my hip is becoming nearly unbearable. I spend more time in the bathroom than I care to admit.

The decision to stop with you, to have you be our only... that decision is becoming easier to stick with as the days progress. Please don't get me wrong, this is all so very, very worth the pokes and prods. You are so worth every bit of heartache I feel, every insecurity I have about my worthiness as a host body for you. I just don't know that I could put myself or your father through this again. Or you. I need to be healthy for you as your grow and going through these issues again would take away from what you need.

You are our miracle, our love and we can't wait to get to know you. These next nine weeks cannot come soon enough. Seriously. They can't. Let's do this!

I cannot express my love for you enough.
You are the second half of my heart.
Love,
Your mama

Saturday, August 6, 2011

What Happens in Vegas...

Sprout, Sprout, Sprout,

What a long, beautiful week it's been. Today, we are 30 weeks. You have been growing like a champ in my tummy for 210 days. You have 70 days left until your eviction papers are filed. The internet says you are approximately three pounds and nearly 16 inches long. We know you've already passed the three pounder mark from our last medical ultrasound at 28 weeks. Our big, growing boy!

Last weekend, your father and I got married. I still giggle when I call him my husband, but honestly? I couldn't be happier. He's the most amazing man I have ever known, perfect even with all of his imperfections. Joining together as a family in front of all of our wonderful friends and family was the most beautiful experience of my life. I imagine it can only be compared with finally getting to meet you for the first time.

While in Las Vegas, we also bit the bullet and did a 3D ultrasound and kid? You are something else, already. The first 3D image was you yawning and we were both overwhelmed. That was all the sweet you were going to give us. The rest of the time we spent trying to get you to stop kicking yourself in the face or folding yourself in half and crossing your legs in front of your face. Basically, you did everything you could to make sure we couldn't see that face we are so longing see in person.

We did get to confirm that you are, in fact, a boy. You didn't make that particularly easy, either, considering when we went for that shot, you had a foot right on your scrotum. I love you, but I think we're going to have some challenges with you and those feet.

What we did see and what I am so very excited about is that you most definitely take after your father. You may have my round head, but your face is so very much like those Schuster men and I couldn't be more thrilled. Those men are quite handsome and you are going to get a large dose of their genetic code.

You are SO your daddy!
You've been a lot of fun lately. We get to feel you so often and now we can watch you move around in my tummy. I shouldn't say anything lest you get any ideas, but you've been so nice about not kicking me in my lungs. You stay down really low and don't get all stretchy like I hear babies can get. Of course, we do have teen weeks left so I suppose I shouldn't get too comfortable just yet.

My sweet, sweet boy, we have gotten almost everything ready for your arrival. Except the organizing part. We have the equipment, just not the space for it. This is my next big step now that we are home and not traveling until after you're born. It's time to get down to the business of nesting and having this place ready for you.

This journey has been incredible and you are the culmination of all of our love. And you are so loved.
Love,
Your mama

Sunday, July 31, 2011

For Our Wedding Day

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
                                  i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)



                                      -e.e. cummings


For my husband and my son on this amazing day. 



Saturday, July 23, 2011

Oh, The Places You Will Go!

Dear Sprout,

We have been incredibly busy these past couple of weeks. I'm sorry to say that I didn't have a chance to write you my weekly love letter for two whole weeks. I am NOT sorry to say that I got to spend those two whole weeks with a variety of friends and family who helped your father and I celebrate your future. And who were all amazing.

So, today we will start anew because, oh boy, have things changed.

For one, you have a new cousin! A perfectly made, beautiful boy named Quincy. He's wonderful and your Aunt Jenny is one tough cookie. You'll find that out soon enough. I can't wait for the two of you to be able to spend time together.

Quincy is already a charmer!

And you! You are 28 weeks! We've made it so far and we are so close! 84 days to d-day! Depending on which chart I go by, you are either the size of an eggplant or a Chinese cabbage. Almost 15 inches long and over two pounds. This is unbelievable to me. You are unbelievable.

You are visible from the outside now and your dad can feel you kicking so often, it's amazing. You were kicking me hard the other day and I could see my belly dancing with each movement. It was one of the most incredible moments of my whole life. I marvel at the fact that we created and I am now sustaining life, but you continue to show me just how marvelous it truly is. 

There is a person in there. You are a real, live whole person now. We're just waiting on all of the finishing touches and for you to be strong enough to join us out here.

We had so much family support at our baby showers when we were back in the Midwest to visit, it was overwhelming. You will inevitably be the best dressed baby, if you even have a chance to wear it all. There are so many beautiful, soft things in your closet and dresser. 

Your library has grown in the most fantastic way! I love books and I love that your father reads to you and I love that you love it already. Hopefully, you will take some of my love of reading and keep it with you. If not, I suppose that's okay, but you still have to learn to spell and write well. Not negotiable.

We have another ultrasound on Monday. This will be the first one your father has had to miss and neither of us are thrilled about that, but it seems that your Nana will be able to see you moving around in there with me, so that's pretty awesome! We have to do this ultrasound because you were so unwilling to hold still the last time and we need to get some measurements that were missed. We also need to check on your current size, what with our diabetes, which we will talk more about later.

Next week, we begin the next step in our journey. Your father and I and our families and friends will be flying to Las Vegas and getting married. Well, your dad and I. The rest are there to party with us. And by party, I mean swim because I am the anti-party right now. Though, I will probably be partaking in a glass of wine on July 31st, the day your father and I get hitched. I am already getting my "Don't mess with my wine" glare ready.

Baby boy, you are so loved and so wanted. We can't wait to meet you and hold you. BUT we will. Stay in there. Just a little while longer and we can all be together, okay?

All of my love,
Your mama

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Dear Sprout,

Another interesting week! Not necessarily GOOD interesting, but interesting nonetheless. This week you're about the size of a rutabaga, 13 1/2 inches and around 1 1/2 pounds. That's amazing! We really don't have much more to go, baby boy. We're down to 15 weeks left.

15 more weeks to prepare for your life to begin outside of my body. And here I am just getting used to you being inside there.

You're getting a bit less ticklish and more like a karate baby. You still tickle me the majority of the time, but you have your moments, son, when you kick hard and make me jump. You're just getting so big, I imagine that soon it's going to be impossible to pretend it's not happening and sleep at night.

We've hit a potential bump in the road, you and I. Everything feels so good right now that failing my glucose test last week was a severe shock. I went to retake it this morning, just to verify. It's got to be one of the most cruel tests you can give a pregnant woman.

I woke up at 7:30 AM, got dressed, and left for the doctor. I wasn't allowed to eat breakfast. I had been fasting since 8:00PM the night before. I get to the labs where they do the draws and they didn't open until 9:00AM on Saturdays, not like the 7:30AM on the weekdays.

So I waited. And waited. And tons of people started to show up waiting for 9:00AM to come around so they could do whatever blood draws or tests they needed to do. At 9 when we were able to start taking numbers to get served, a man jumped ahead of me in line and it was all I could do to not scream at him and possibly punch him in his junk. You just don't do that to a pregnant lady that was rightfully there first and, also, HASN'T EATEN FOR 13 HOURS! What the hell was he thinking?

I had my blood drawn, drank my fruit punch abomination, and waited. And got kicked in the gut repeatedly by you, who clearly was NOT pleased with the morning's events. Two hours and two more blood draws later, I was sprinting down the front stairs and across the street to the Whole Foods for a breakfast burrito that probably wasn't all that good but OHMYGOD I wanted 2 more when I was done.

We have an appointment for Tuesday to meet with the diabetic educator. Even if I pass this glucose test, I'm going to go anyway, get my menu plan and really try to make sure we stay healthy through the next 15 weeks.

15 weeks...

In that time, so many things are going to happen and I am a little overwhelmed at just how much our lives are changing. You have a cousin being born this coming week and I am so excited to get to go spend some time with him and your Aunt Jenny. We're having two baby showers. Your father and I are going to pledge to spend the rest of our lives together during a long weekend in Sin City. I have to finish getting our house ready for your arrival. We have to finish our birth plan and all of those decisions that need to be made upon your arrival.

We have a lot to do and a lot to learn and I am terrified of just how much everything is about to change. Also? Exhilarated. Excited. Thrilled. And above all... amazed.

You are so loved, little man. So very cherished by all of us. Our lives are about to be changed drastically and I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that these changes are only for the better.

Posting through the next month will be sporadic, at best. My Saturdays are going to be full of family and fun this month. I'll try to update at least once a week, but probably not on any real schedule. Not that you'll mind. You probably will only every be mortified by this outpouring of undying love and affection to the little ninja in my belly.

With all of my love,
Your mama