Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's not even December yet...

and we have put up a Christmas tree AND decorated it!!

We enjoyed Thanksgiving - complete with the first snow we've seen this year - with the Benner family in PA and were grateful for safe travels to and from. We decided to take advantage of the great opportunity of getting a cedar tree from the Benner homestead for our Christmas tree this year.

This evening, after a hike to the lake, we had fun decorating it. It seemed to also help transition us out of "post holiday/travel/family fun" blues that had been impacting the mood of at least the youngest of the family.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ultrasound and the emotional aftermath...

We sent the following email out to a group of our family and friends a week ago today after our ultrasound and midwife appointment:

"This was a day full of much emotion in our home as we headed out to our 20 week ultrasound to learn a little more about how Tadpole is doing. In short - wonderfully well!! And that news is still sinking in. We are so so grateful for all those that have been journeying with us to this day, sharing with us the waiting, hoping, wondering...letting me share my hopes and fears and validating both. For those that sent notes today and recent days and the many sending thoughts and prayers our way. For the women that gathered with me Monday evening. For my dear friend Jen who accompanied us to the ultrasound (visiting all the way from Canada). For my parents who were in the waiting room to hug us as we came out. And for the tiny orchid bud we saw on the plant given to us by my parents when Nora was still with us - Jason noticed the bud just as we headed out the door and as I said "thank you little bud" Kali chimed in that that would be a good name for the baby. We are liking "little bud." We have a sealed envelope prepared by Kali and filled with a picture identifying our baby's sex that we'll open as a family at Christmas. But that present hardly compares to learning that all measurements were right on track and that all organs supporting our baby's growth and development looked great. We are so grateful and have some very cute pictures. Tadpole was basically folded in half with one foot above his/her head most of the time. We got to see a big gulp of amniotic fluid, hearing the heartbeat several times, and seeing a very cute profile. Now to let all this soak in.... The journey continues and we look forward to this second half of the pregnancy, as we prepare for this little one entering our family. Thanks for your support, care, interest, etc... I imagine we'll add more thoughts and pictures on the blog before too long. If you want to catch up with pictures and news leading up to this time see"

So here you are at the blog. I started this entry the day after our ultrasound and have never gotten back to it - partly because of the busyness of the week and partly because my emotional landscape keeps changing at such a rapid pace that I keep wondering if it will settle out enough for me to write clearly how I'm doing/feeling/being with all that is taking place in our lives. I've come to the conclusion that things will likely continue as is (with emotions and circumstances continually in flux) and so this is a Friday 11/19/2010 9am update!

To set the stage, it is almost always a "good" morning when I am sitting with my feet up in the recliner with the sun shining in our front room and the house completely quiet, as Kali is still sacked out. And knowing that the day includes cooking, baking and being at home (not stepping foot into the car until Sunday!!) doesn't hurt anything either. Jason and I finished off the granola this morning, the cookie jar is empty, butter needs to be made from this week's cream, soups are getting started and chicken barbecue is in the crockpot doing its thing for supper this evening, to have along with fresh rolls that will also be made sometime today.

It's also a good start to the day when it starts with Tadpole doing some kind of gymnastic practice and Jason getting to feel a couple good jabs. Also in the last number of days, Kali has gotten to feel her little brother or sister move from the outside - a long awaited thrill for her!! We continue to dream about this little one's personality and the upcoming transition, not to mention wondering whether "boy" or "girl" is written on the little paper locked up until Christmas. But that has actually been very much in the background as we have found ourselves reveling much more in knowledge that right now this baby's growth is right on track or slightly ahead of the curve.

But I haven't been "steady" in my hopefulness and enthusiasm this week. I've waffled from moments of euphoria to worrying that it may be too good to be true. We had our third Centering Pregnancy group this week and at the end I requested a print out of Nora's 20 week ultrasound. I found it somewhat reassuring to see that there were two striking measurements behind on her 20 week ultrasound (abdomen and femur - ones that fell farther and farther behind as time went on) but surprised also at how "normal" the rest of the report was.

The most striking difference that I'm noting in this pregnancy, besides a more positive outlook and intuition on how the pregnancy is going - which I'm apt to doubt even more than the perspective of the caregivers working with us - is how much movement I'm feeling with this little one. And I'm enjoying it thoroughly, as much as I can become completely distracted from what I'm doing when the squirming, kicking and poking starts up!

Outward signs of the well-being of this baby are reassuring. But they don't necessarily take away from the complexity of my emotions as I reflect back on my pregnancies with both Kali and with Nora. The evening after the ultrasound, I found myself strangely exhausted and a little sad. The exhaustion made sense when thinking of the emotional build up to that day. The sadness was more confusing and the questions going through my mind were hard to find clear answers for. I was trying to balance the joy and relief of knowing that this baby did not seem to present like a baby with Petty Syndrome. I was thrilled to think that maybe we would have an experience closer to ours with Kali, where we have a baby and bring him/her home after a day or so. A baby that Kali could hold and help with, without interference of cords, hospital schedules, and the baby's extreme fragility. Those things are some of the things lumped for me in the "too good to be true" category.

Some of the other feelings and musings and questions came from my reflections on Nora's place in our family. I feel so grateful to Nora for so so many ways in which she impacted my life. I'm glad she was and is a part of our family's story. I feel more ready and able to embark on the mysterious journey of parenting another little one because of her impact on my life. I feel more steady, believe it or not, and centered in my life much of the time. And yet I don't want to do it again. I'm sure we'd grow and even thrive in our own way, but I would have been devastated for some time had we learned that this little one was already falling behind on growth. I wanted to analyze those feelings, try to figure out what they meant about my love for Nora and for this new baby. Once again I found myself grateful for friends who spoke into my life, encouraging me to just be with the emotions or those that helped me normalize my ranging and ever shifting feelings.

So I'm allowing myself to experience the swings and attempting to not label or judge them. Someone recently shared with me advice given to them when they were in seminary. "Don't judge, wonder." I am drawn to that approach to life and hope to approach my own internal processing with curiosity and wonder in the weeks and months ahead.

These pictures are not necessarily as connected to my musings above as I thought they might be when I uploaded them a week ago. But they are a snapshot of that day for us - being with wonderful friends, the comic relief of a fashion show with Kali as our fashion designer of string gloves, shoes, etc..., Kali coloring to pass the time as we waited for the ultrasound and a very blurry and not so clear picture of one of the pictures we got of Tadpole.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Morning of firsts!

It's only 8:15am and this day has already included two firsts of the year!

I've happily been enjoying increasing squirms, kicks, and jabs from Tadpole and my uterus has officially encroached upon my belly button! Those are fun changes and the movement has been a reassuring confirmation of this little one's presence inside me. This morning neither Jason and I had to rush out of bed to get to work, and Tadpole had also woken up. Jason got to feel the baby moving too: a special start to the day!

Also, one of the side effects of our new (no longer leaking) roof is that our home is staying much warmer. Prior to this morning we would have roasted ourselves to burn a fire in our wood stove! This morning was still "borderline" but it seemed like a good morning for a cup of decaf coffee and a few minutes in front of the wood stove before starting our day. So that is what we did. Now we received strict instructions from our daughter last night to let the fire burn until she wakes up to enjoy it. Let's hope this is not one of her 11am wake up mornings or we will be opening windows!