Monday, December 28, 2009

37 Weeks

Right now you are perfect. You have all your toes, all your fingers. Your brain is functioning and you are the average, perfect size for your gestational age. You will not be perfect forever though- since you are securely curled in my belly, I know little about your personality. No one is perfect so I am trying to enjoy you while you cannot cry, yell or swat at me (except if you count those rib kicks). As a woman, you are coming into a world where judgment begins immediately. Are you cute enough, dressed well enough, meeting your milestone, are you fat? As you grow, it will feel exhausting but the only thing you can really know is yourself. I will try to be a role model for you but I too am far from perfect. I thought I that I would start by listing my flaws, I am sure when you are older you will hold them against me but that is ok:

1. It is very difficult for me to forgive people. When I meet someone new, they are automatically on my good side unless they do something obviously offensive to me. These offenses can be small (being to talkative) or large (hurting my family). Once someone has crossed onto my bad side, it can take months for me to forgive them and until I get there, all I can do is glare at them with my overly expressive face. This does not do wonders for my reputation as many of the people on my bad list do not know they are there or why they are there and so my constant cold shoulder can feel discouraging.

2. I take pride on my ability to talk my way out of problems. I have always been an excellent communicator (hopefully you do not inherit this same trait or our arguments will last forever). Put me in front of a crowd of thousands and I can tell a funny story without feeling nervous. On a smaller scale, I can plow you over with my verbiage and before you know it, I have cleared my name and bamboozled you with words while probably making you wonder if YOU did something wrong.

3. I hate my cellulite. I will preach endless to you about loving your body but I do not have the best relationship with my own. I used to have cute, muscular legs until I started taking birth control and exercised less and the cellulite came- big lumpy lumps residing in my thighs. I stopped wearing short shorts and bathing suits became a non-option. Right now, with you living in my belly, I have experienced more unpleasant body changes. I have “worrisome” water retention in my sausage legs, new veins on my boobs and I have no idea what the stretched out state of my belly will be once you emerge. Your dad is usually helpful but will sometimes become nostalgic when we are looking back my 17 year old body, saying things like, “look at your legs!” or “your arms are so muscular!”. Blah, that is men for you.

4. I am lazy. I have a good job but one of my favorite things about it is that it does not take too much effort. I am able to come to work and then when I leave, I leave work here. There is never enough stress to bring home with me. I am lazy about my appearance. I wake up at 6:40 to arrive at work at 7am. Your dad makes fun of my fuzzy hair and I know he wishes I dressed up more but I just do not care to put the effort in. I am always looking for the easiest, cheapest, least stressful way to do everything.

5. I hate people telling me what to do. I am very defensive and actually physically change into a much scarier person if I am asked to perform a chore I do not want to do or questioned on any of my past behavior. I suppose this makes me pompous.

There is good list to get started. I am sure I have hundreds more depending on who you talk to, your dad, my parents, my sister, coworkers and maybe even strangers. Overall, I am happy with myself. I think I am good person, a good friend and I hope to be a good mother to you but I doubt I will ever be a “perfect” anything and neither will you. But that is ok; we can deal with our imperfections together.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

35 Weeks

Today I sent your dad the following text message: "2 weeks until baby is full term!" and he wrote back: "I cannot wait to meet our little rumpathorn!". Ok, what the heck is a rumpathorn right? Well get used to it. Everyone in your family makes up their own words all the time. Your nicknames will not be the standard Sweetheart, Honey or Kiddo. I hope you don't mind. I am Rone, your dad is Tube, your grandpa is Bagel, your grandmother is Blutz and your aunt is Little Dog- see where I am going with this?

In 14 days you will be fully baked and ready to be born- that is not to say you will come then. It could be as long as 45 days from today but I am hoping you pop out a teensy bit early just because my belly is running out of room. So come when you are ready and be ready for your crazy name.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

30 weeks

The doctor who is planning on delivering you in 10 weeks drives me crazy. She is very passive and quiet and talks to me like I am a high school student. Amazingly, in this world of incredibly overweight individuals, she has discouraged me from exercising.

Exercising at this stage of pregnancy is not fun. I have to tear apart my drawers trying to find a shirt that will fit over my protruding belly (usually one of your dad’s) and head to gym where people just cannot help but stare. You and I climb on the elliptical machine and turn the tv to the Food Network so I can salivate over food I will never be savvy enough to make and we begin our steady motion. Usually, once or twice, you twist yourself into a torpedo position and it feels like your tiny toes are going to blast right through my poor belly button. But we trudge along because it will be better for both of us if I manage to avoid orca status during these last few weeks. People walk into the exercise room and do a double take- trying to figure out why that short, fat girl has such skinny legs. We keep our steady motion until you eventually relax back into a ball and I can breathe.

Your dad calls the doctor “the oat” because she seems a bit hippyish to us, like she goes home and dances around in her clogs with flowers in her hair, but she is probably the first person you will see. Your birth is impending. Of course the task of it makes me nervous and the pain as I am trying to avoid drugging both of us up, but mostly I wonder what it will be like when you are actually here. Right now my layers of flubber do such a great job of keeping you safe. When you arrive, there will be no bubble for you to snuggle in and it will be up to me and your dad to make sure you survive. That sounds harsh, like we will be raising you in the African bush but at its most basic element, that is our job. I think about you as an infant, so small and vulnerable and then you as the rough and tumble 5 year old I know you will become, the 16 year old heading off for the first time alone in a car and the 18 year old released into the world. I know that what I have done with having you is putting myself in a constant state of worry and fear, that I will ultimately fail at parenthood. Coupled with that, I know that you will bring so much joy to my life. So even though I will undoubtedly be ready to never speak to “the oat” again, I will look at in her awe after she places your little body in my arms and I meet you for the first time.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

20 Weeks

You are highly annoyed. Stretching your tiny body into my hip bone and I am so sorry that I cannot help either of us since my back is too straight and my butt keeps sliding off this chair. We are smashed in a compartment with three huge men, I am just glad your father is not here. He would be sulking. We begin our journey across the water to the city on this tiny passenger ferry. I had imagined myself stretching out on a long bench, looking at the large, perfectly painted island homes. But instead the richer community had taken our bigger boat when an overzealous capital smashed theirs into the dock.

It is your grandparents 30 wedding anniversary and they had a little Italian place in mind to celebrate. An hour later we are arriving on the city shore. The city is known for its cold social atmosphere. People marry at 27 after 5 years of partying with tight-knit groups of boys with slick black hair and girls with the skunk do (black underneath, blond on top) in the pits of belltown; they rarely have children before 30. Walking off the ferry, gape-mouthed individuals watch me go by. They are careful not to touch me as though the baby I am carrying in my belly is a plague they could catch, throwing their careful social strategy way off balance. Just an hour across the water, the friendly faces of our town smile and ask all about you. They ask if your dad was deployed, would he be home for the birth? Your father has never been deployed anywhere in his life, but I blend right in with the young, pregnant Navy wives. It was almost shocking to feel like such a spectacle. So sad, only 24 years old and pregnant, such a travesty!

We have always wondered if choosing this as our home town was the right choice for us and for you. With its diverse population constantly replacing itself as sailor’s breeze in and breeze out, it is not known for its safety or its schools. Our life there is simple. Your dad works 8 days a month at the fire department; I work the early shift. My daily commute takes a whole 10 minutes out of my day and I am snuggled up on the couch at 3:40 with a good book. We somehow make 80k a year at our young ages and our expenses are very low, leaving us plenty to save for the future. Sometimes I get frustrated with the contact flux of our town, make a friend, she moves away, but I would rather raise you a town full of friendly, baby loving faces, then to mingle amongst the cold, hard stares of my so-called peers in the city.

Dinner is as to be expected. Your grandmother and aunt coo over you and all the things you will do in your life: ride horses, play soccer, love dogs, etc. Your grandfather sits idly by. I think you make him nervous. For the first 20 years of his marriage, his life had been all about me and your aunt. Finally we moved out, the pendulum shifted. He convinced grandmother to sell our beloved home on five acres and move to the tree house in the city, perhaps the most unfriendly for baby house in the county and he has spent his days volunteering, riding his bike, taking care of specially chosen immigrants of any African nation and setting his own schedule that revolved around his idea of what city life should mean. You are the pendulum shifter as all energy and focus will swing back to family. I am not sure he is ready for that change.

We eat and I race back down to the ferry, catching it by minutes. I squeeze back into that stupid chair that was designed for someone with short legs, a freakishly long back and perfect posture. I read quietly while you drum my ribcage out of cramped frustration. Finally home, I find your dad resting on the couch. He gets up and walks over to me, and places both hands on my belly and smiles. He cannot wait to meet you.

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