One of these days I really am going to write about her birth here! I really am! Until then, here are a few more pictures. She is 7 weeks old. I can’t believe it. She’s getting more expressive and smiling a little, and it just seems sort of too good to be true that I have these two tiny, precious people. (And this one precious grown person). Things are pretty much insane, and our house will never again be clean or organized, and I might gain 50 pounds from stress-eating ice cream once the little urchins are finally in bed at night, but these days are actually so beautiful and sweet I hardly know what to do.
So in theory, the Baby and the Toddler will share this room at some point. I was planning to put all her clothes and diapers into the dresser along with his, change her diaper on the changing table, etc. But pretty quickly I realized I would have to change and dress her in the middle of the night and during the Toddler’s naps, and so pretty quickly all her clothes and diapering things migrated to our bedroom, where she is going to be sleeping for the foreseeable future. So for now her wardrobe consists of 3 short sleeve Gerber t-shirts, a couple of dresses, and about 6 long sleeved little outfits. I’m using a small rectangle of a waterproof mattress cover as a changing pad, and it stays on our bed during the day and then gets transferred to the top of the hamper at night. Waterproof bag for dirty diapers is hanging on our door handle. (This week I started using our cloth diapers again after a few weeks of disposables.) Extra blankets and diaper things are in a box on top of John’s dresser. And we brought the nursing chair into our room and moved my nightstand over by it so I can have a book and some water nearby while I nurse. Anyway, that’s what we’re doing. Learning how to live in a small space with multiple kids. (Two counts as multiple, right?) More soon.
I’m still trying to work on a post about her birth story, but until then here are some pictures of the babe at about a month. She’s been sleeping for a 5 or 6 hour stretch the past few nights, which is amazing. I’m slowly getting my head around the reality of this little person. Still spending most of the day sitting in the nursing chair reading mysteries, nibbling on cashews, and drinking seltzer water with her curled into me. Trying to take epsom salt and herb baths when possible. Being generally waited on hand and foot by a string of parents and in-laws (what would I have done without you all these past few weeks?!) and eating meals that people from church are still bringing us. (Gorgeous dress courtesy of my amazing best friend, who brought it and several others back for us from Spain. No big deal.)
Little Margaret Joy was born two weeks ago, after about an hour and fifteen minutes of labor, in our bathtub. The short version of the story: by the time I realized I was actually in labor things progressed so quickly that we didn’t make it to the hospital. John caught her, and our doula was with us as well. The paramedics got there within minutes, and MJ and I rode in the ambulance to the hospital. The pain was unimaginably insane but it was also one of the most incredible and glorious experiences ever. Hopefully a longer version of the story to come at some point….
So when we were moving up to Ithaca four and a half years ago we stopped at an IKEA and bought these shelves. We knew we needed some extra clothing storage in our bedroom, and these shelves ($60) seemed like a better deal than buying a whole dresser for $200. So we’ve used these shelves mostly for John’s clothes, and then once our tiny second bedroom/office room became the nursery, we moved the printer and some office-y things in. And a stack of DVDs. And a down comforter and pillow. Not a pretty sight, though I never really thought anything of it.
Until a few weeks ago, when my nesting craze began. I realized that I hated these shelves! And that we must procure a dresser immediately! Fortunately, this urge settled in right around the time we were planning to go visit John’s parents in Maryland, so we went to IKEA and bought a dresser (which I know I’ve already mentioned, but I thought the before and after pictures were worth sharing). Excitement! Joy! The picture frames are going to be hung on the wall at some point, and yes, that is a camo hat hanging in the corner.
37 weeks. Massive nesting continues. I have literally crossed off a list of about 20 project-y type things that have been lingering on my to-do list for months. And gotten rid of 2 more bags of books, several more bags of clothes, and several more bags of things for Goodwill. I’m emphasizing the word “more” because I already got rid of so much stuff a few weeks ago, so the fact that there was more of everything to go feels really satisfying. This second wave of purging was inspired by The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Amazing, lovely, wonderful little book. I highly recommend it. I found that there seemed to be a symbiotic relationship, somehow, between getting rid of physical objects and also having the energy to accomplish onerous, project-y tasks that have seemed impossible until now. Or maybe it’s just the fact that it’s not -15 degrees every day. Or that I’m not working now. At any rate, I have been super productive and our house is free of junk and the book is lovely and I highly recommend it– we have more open, free, clean spaces in our tiny apartment now than we did 4 years ago in the same space with no children. (Oh, and most of this second wave of cleaning stuff out was made possible by the most AMAZING HUSBAND IN THE WORLD, who single handedly put together a massive IKEA dresser, cleaned out a bunch of his own personal stuff, hung pictures for me, and basically did hours and hours of cleaning/organizing/etc. with/for me last week.)
So, pregnancy stuff:
Weight gain: 25 pounds
Cravings: Just ice, but it has to have sort of a crinkly texture, and I can only find the right kind in a few locations in town. And weirdly, chamomile tea with a splash of half and half. And this kale salad. I literally can eat an entire bunch of kale in one sitting if it’s made this way. I’ve been making it with just salt, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, a very scant number of raisins, and lots of crushed red pepper flakes. A foodie friend of mine brought the most amazing kale salad to a potluck awhile back, and she said the secret to kale salads is to massage the greens for awhile once you have them chopped. Maybe everyone already knows that, but it was a revelation to me, and it makes the salad much easier to eat!
Other stuff: John has been gone all week, so it’s just been my huge pregnant self and the crazy toddler. I may or may not have curled up in the fetal position for about an hour and a half this morning while Will watched Daniel Tiger. But otherwise we’ve been making it ok. The worst pregnancy thing right now is that I’ve been sleeping pretty badly, waking up around 3 or 4 and just being wide awake for hours, sometimes all the way until morning. I drink chamomile tea, use lavender essential oil, take calming baths before bed, have calming bedtime rituals and everything. Nothing seems to work. Otherwise, I’m doing pretty well. At least being up at night with a baby won’t be a shock to the system?!
And some pictures of random things: a tiny, rose pink shirt I found at the consignment store and fell in love with, in case it’s a girl; peonies finally in bloom; and a Matisse print from IKEA! (We went there when we were in Maryland two weekends ago to buy a dresser for John, and I also finally got this!)
I’ll be 35 weeks tomorrow, but I’m going to go on and round up for today. So the baby is now a little over 5 pounds and 18 inches long (approximately). I feel huge. No heartburn, praise the Lord, but the baby still kicks me every night for an hour or two before letting us both get a little sleep. Wrangling a toddler while in this state is getting hard. Will loves touching my belly (sort of awkward picture of which above), but is also in the tantrum-throwing, crazy stage of personhood, and there are times when I have to carry him from some place to some other place against his will, and he’s pretty strong, and it’s hard, and I’m worried he will kick the baby and cause some sort of horrible injury.
It’s nice and warm here, which still feels like a miracle. I’m glad I don’t have to be pregnant in the south in the summer, but even up here I have been getting pretty warm and just needing cups of ice to eat. If I could eat ice cream for every meal I would. Also, hamburgers. We went to a cookout at our friends’ family’s farm yesterday, and it was beautiful. When I walked up to the grill to get a hamburger, the guy doing the grilling (a father of 5 little ones) gave me a burger and then 4 sausages of some kind. I have no idea what was in them, only that they were cured in some old world fashion, he said, and they looked good. But I felt touched that he instinctively knew that I would want to eat not only a hamburger but also all the other meat that would possibly fit in my belly. Some pregnant women talk about how they can’t fit very much food in their stomachs toward the end, but I seem to be immune from that particular struggle. I also may have eaten 2 cookies and 3 brownies yesterday as well. Though in my defense, I couldn’t finish all the sausages (and they were smallish to begin with) and I just ate some kale salad for dinner, and I will try not to eat any more sugar the rest of this week. But still, wow.
(Speaking of how much food I’m eating, I’ve been dreaming of having maternity pictures taken by someone who understands how to angle the camera to make me look small and adorable & feeling a little mopey and self-pitying that we can’t afford gorgeous professional family pictures of us all running through a field or something, but alas. So blurry selfies it is for the time being rather than me in a flowy skirt in soft, hazy light with John at the beach.)
But anyway, moving on. The past few days I’ve been in massive nesting mode. We’re going to be staying in our 800 square foot apartment when the baby comes, and as I’ve written about before the nursery is about 7 x 9 feet. For the first few months the baby will sleep in our room, but at some point we’ll have to transition him or her into Will’s room. Not sure how we’ll squeeze them both in, but I think we can make it work. I’m kind of excited by the challenge of it?!
So I’ve been in extreme nesting mode, which has meant extreme levels of clearing things out. (I’m hoping this energy turns itself toward a good floor-mopping pretty soon, but that hasn’t been the case yet.) I’ve been putting away winter clothes, sorting through my clothes (maternity winter, non-maternity winter, non-maternity summer/fall/nursing/etc.) and putting as much as possible into storage bins in the basement, ruthlessly tossing odds and ends into bags for Goodwill, and trying to clear out drawers. I took 2 huge bags of books down to the used bookstore and got $10 cash for them! I cleared out a nice half of a drawer in Will’s dresser for baby things! Some friends of ours gave us a huge pack of newborn Pampers, so we will have diapers for the baby!
Oh and I bought 3 of these linen t-shirts at Target last week (on sale!) in a light pink color. (what I’m wearing in the picture above). I needed some maternity t-shirts but these shirts are long enough that they fit great now and will also be wearable after I have the baby! These shirts are my new favorite of all time, and I want to buy about a dozen of them. Anyway, that’s about all the pregnancy-related news I have for now. I should have been taking a nap or mopping the floors, but instead I thought for some reason that my time would be more valuably used in telling a small handful strangers pointless details about my life. Maybe I am instinctively sensing that once the baby is born I will never ever have time to write another blog entry?!
Will’s 2nd birthday was last week. We had a really simple celebration at home that mostly consisted of putting 2 candles in an apple and then opening the birthday cards and couple of gifts sent by family. We still aren’t really letting Will eat any sugar, and when we asked him what he wanted for his birthday for the preceding few weeks he would invariable answer, “apple.” So that was his cake.
I want to write a whole thing about how precious this child is, how these have been the two best (and hardest) years of my life, how, when John and I are having a serious conversation Will will get a serious look on his face and nod thoughtfully here and there, how Will is best friends with all the older boys at church and has them following him around like he’s the king of the world, how he sings little songs and folds his hands when we pray at night and takes a truck or train to bed with him at night instead of a stuffed animal… There is so much I want to write, but this pregnant mama is going to take a nap instead.
I’m nearly 33 weeks pregnant, which is starting to sound like for real, legit pregnancy. So I thought I’d write a quick thing and post some pictures of me making awkward faces at my cell phone. I just learned about the existence of selfie sticks last week and was horrified and appalled, and today when trying to take a picture I actually thought, Wow, a selfie stick would be really useful right about now. Heaven help me.
Anyway, when I got pregnant this time around I originally had planned to do in-depth weekly updates here with all the nitty gritty details about weight gain, cravings, weird symptoms and issues, etc., and the craziness of life has just gotten in the way. But here’s the update for 32 weeks.
The Baby: Weighs about 3.75 pounds, is about 16.7 inches long, head down (at this point), wiggles around fiercely, sometimes for hours, every night as I lie down to go to sleep. We don’t know the gender and are pretty much completely up in the air about baby names at this point. Yikes!
Weight gain: 20 pounds. Feeling pretty much enormous but trying to remember that my body knows what it’s doing. And that there have been months where I have been SUPER careful about what I eat and I’ve gained 6 pounds, and then other months where I’ve eaten relatively quite a lot of ice cream, chocolate, etc, and gained less. My sweet sister in law wrote a beautiful blog post about pregnancy and body image when she was pregnant with my niece, if anyone is going through this whole crazy thing and needs some encouragement.
Cravings/Food: Not craving too much these days, which is great. Except hamburgers. And anything chocolatey/sugary. And the ice from Ithaca Bakery now that it’s warm. Just the ice in a nice, big cup. Trying to eat lots of fish– mostly sardines and canned anchovies (not the super salted ones, just little anchovies in a tin like sardines) and tuna and salmon. I try to buy the sardines/anchovies/salmon with the skin and bones included, because you actually get a pretty huge amount of calcium from the little bones (which you can just crunch up and eat). Mostly sticking with the little fish (less mercury) but tuna is a lot cheaper. Also eating either lentils or mung beans a few days a week for lunch, and as many vegetables as I can manage. And eggs every morning for breakfast.
Herbs/Supplements: I take a gummy prenatal (because for a long time I couldn’t stomach the thought of swallowing anything), plus cod liver oil a few times a week and fish oil. Drinking lots of herbal tea. Nettle and raspberry leaf and things like that. I’m hoping to write more about that soon. I read in one of the pregnancy magazines at the doctor’s office this week that healthy amounts of Vitamin D may decrease pain during labor, so i’m planning to spend the next 8 weeks in the sun as much as possible. Which I would be doing anyway, but this will just be extra motivation.
Clothes: I’m pretty much down to about a skirt or two and a couple of t-shirts now that it’s warm. My entire first pregnancy was during the winter– Will was born on May 6th, and I bought maybe a couple of t-shirts during the last week or two, but it was chilly enough through late April that I was wearing jeans and long sleeves the whole time. Sooooo this time around I’m going to have 8 weeks or so of warm weather to dress for. A lady at church asked me just last week if I had any summer maternity clothes, and I told her not really, and she said she had a ton that she would bring! So hopefully tomorrow!
I do have this black dress (below) that I found on sale at Target for $9 (and wore it to a wedding in March), a couple of t-shirts and a skirt or two. I’m hoping some of my friend’s clothes will work out, because I don’t want to have to buy a whole new wardrobe (even a very small one) for just a few weeks of pregnancy.
How I’m Preparing for Birth: By not doing anything except running around after a toddler. Last time around I took prenatal yoga classes, listened to hypnobirthing tapes, did visualizations and deep breathing exercises, read about a hundred books about natural birth, and thought about it obsessively. I did open one of Ina May Gaskin’s books to read some birth stories last week, for inspiration or something, and the pictures of babies emerging from vaginas filled me with a deep horror and dread and caused me to remember the unspeakable pain of last time, so I stopped reading and I’m just going to really try not to think about it and hope for the best. Once every 2 or 3 days I tell Will we’re going to do some yoga, and I’ll do cat/cow for about a minute and a half before he starts crawling on me, and that’s that. (Actually, I’m sort of kidding– Will will do baby yoga with me for quite a while before he starts climbing on me, and seeing him imitate the poses is adorable. But still, overall yoga time is negligible).
Speaking of Will, he is about to turn two, and as I write he is in his crib, having just woken up from a nap, singing a little song to himself. His little singing just kills me. He also found a purple bead in the yard the other day and carries it around like his most prized possession. He takes it outside when he and John play in the yard and he drops it every few minutes and then in a very concerned voice says, “Bead! Bead! Bead” over and over until John searches through the long grass and finds it. Now his song has developed lyrics, and the lyrics are, “Mommy, mommy, mommy,” in the softest, most plaintive voice you can imagine, so I’m off to get him up.
My mom came to visit for a bit last week and just played with Will, washed dishes, babysat, and generally was a wonderful grandmother! She sang songs, played and read with him nonstop, and treated us to delicious meals out. Will is smitten with her. And we are so thankful for all her help.
Will is saying new words every day. I’ve stopped trying to keep up. He pronounces flower “fwowee” and it melts my heart. His car/truck/construction site vocabulary is quickly outstripping that of all other categories. He has a little green dump truck that he takes to bed every night and calls “dump.” Oh the little boy-ness of this little boy.
It’s getting warmer here, finally. It is a miracle. We finally took the plastic insulating wrap off the windows. I’m 30 weeks along in pregnancy and have been wanting to write a pregnancy update, but that will have to wait for another day. The short version: things are going well, except my poor bladder. And all the excessive weight gain. But other than that. The baby is kicking around like crazy, and these weeks are going by fast. Eating lots of almonds and cashews, and salads with soft boiled eggs or sardines or chickpeas on top. With this salad dressing, when I have enough cashews and energy to make it. Drinking nettle and raspberry leaf tea. And seltzer water, oh the seltzer water. Trying to remember the cod liver oil but forgetting most days and just taking my gummy prenatal vitamin and hoping that I haven’t completely ruined this small person’s chances in life by drinking a small, tiny, minuscule amount of coffee most mornings since around 20ish weeks. (It should be ok, right?) Anyway, more soon, including a picture of my enormous self! So stay tuned!