We’re All Going to Die

We’re all going to die.

It’s a fact.

This fact has sat quietly, patiently, somewhere in the back of my mind until the day I became a mother. I instantly felt directly responsible for the life of another human being.

Since the day I first held my little girl, I have become obsessed with the thought of my own mortality. It never really mattered before. I mean, it did, I know, for my family, my friends. People would miss me and it would be sad but it would be okay. Now that I have Maddie I cannot imagine my life without her and hers without me in it. And I have to face the fact…one day I will not be here.

So what do you do. Knowing that. What do you do? Do you wrap yourself and your family in bubble wrap? Do you try to defy death by tempting fate? Do you avoid the topic of death, dying, and impermanence entirely? I don’t know what you do. But my mind rattles with answers to this question.

Here’s what I do know. Our lives are gifts. To wake up every morning and breathe is a gift. To feel the warmth of the sun on your skin is a gift. To hear the giggles of my amazing girl and to watch her grow these past 18 months is more than I could ask for. Our experiences. The chance to sense. The opportunity to learn. The ability to love and feel love. That’s what it is about.

The stuff. The work. The traffic. The arguments. The worrying. The politics. The bullshit. Well, it’s bullshit.

What is happening right now? I need to remind myself of this so often. Stop. Look. Listen. Notice people’s faces. Smile. Connect. I’m not good at this. But I try to remind myself to be better every day. Put away the phone. Step away from facebook. Call your mom.1526121_10105306109146655_3425322255153419441_n

My biggest fear is that we don’t get to say goodbye. In life, you will argue with family. You will argue with friends. I will say something to Maddie that is harsh or she will storm out of our house. These outbursts happen. And it’s okay. They don’t really mean much. But to lose someone at any time means your last words could be terse. Your last conversation could be painful and not loving. To me, that is the biggest tragedy. To leave people not feeling loved, worthy, and important. Because those few people you love most that you call family are the people who are most loved, worthy, and important. Mom, Dad, Dave, Maddie, never forget that you are loved, you are worthy of love, and you are important. I love you. I will always love you. Even when the words get in the way.

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I ran 5 miles this morning. If I’m being honest, the reason I exercise and eat relatively healthy is equal parts vanity and fear of death. I am focused on keeping my body, mind, and spirit in great shape to continue to experience the world with my loved one’s for as long as I can.

But one day, when I am no longer here, I want Madeleine to know that she was, is, and will always be my heart.

Madeleine –

Just in case I don’t get the chance to tell you everything I think and feel on that final day, I want to tell you what I am thinking and feeling at this moment.  I love you, Maddie. The day you were born and every day since has been the most wonderful experience. And life is about experiences, isn’t it? There is nothing, no experience by far, that surpasses the experience of being your mother. And because your little eyes are always watching me, I know that I need to be present, be focused, be healthy, be happy, be confident, be grounded, and be loving. I hope that I can teach you to find your own voice, beauty, passions, and vision for an incredible future as I find mine. You are bright, funny, curious, charming, loving, determined, independent, social, thoughtful, and unique. You reveal a new way of seeing the world every time I stop and try to see the world through your eyes. I love getting the chance to experience all of life’s firsts again. The first time you saw a horse you were so mesmerized and delighted. When it trotted past you and down the street your daddy and I ran with the horse just so you could continue smiling and laughing.  I am so looking forward to being there for many more of your firsts. One day I won’t be able to hold you, rock you, kiss you, or make you laugh. When I am gone I want you to know that I am still with you. And whenever you need me look up at the sky and say hello. I will be in the sand below your feet. And in the air you breathe. And in the warmth of the sunshine. And in the stars.

You – you alone will have the stars as no one else has them…In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night…You – only you – will have stars that can laugh.  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, El Principito

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9.24.13: Madeleine Sophia was born

On September 24th, 2013 I gave birth to our baby girl Madeleine Sophia Gillespie. She was born at 9:07AM weighing 9 pounds 2 ounces and measuring 22 inches long.

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That morning, we woke up at 5 AM, showered, got our bags into the car, called our doula, and began driving to the hospital. For a moment, in the quiet of the morning, I almost forgot we were heading to the hospital and rather it seemed as though we were heading to the airport for a trip overseas. It was quiet. Peaceful. Serene. An excited silence filled our car.  We communicated by holding hand, stealing glances, and taking deep breaths.

OMG We are leaving to have a baby!

OMG We are leaving to have a baby!

We were quickly admitted – as they had been expecting us. The surgeon was there, my midwife was there, and we had arrived. In less than an hour they assured me I would meet my baby.

Dave, our doula, and I were all smiles and nervous anticipation.

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I busied myself writing thank you notes and preparing the macarons (read: bribery) for distribution.

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I made sure to reiterate the highlights of my now succinct birth plan: please wait to cut the cord, delay the hep b shot and erythromycin drops, and MOST importantly so not take the baby to the nursery while I recover.

This last point was the real reason for the macarons 🙂

I had heard that while OSU was progressive when it came to natural labor and birth yet they continued with ancient protocols for c-section births. Rather than leaving the baby with the mother to bond during recovery they would take to baby to the nursery until mom’s spinal had mostly worn off. For a new mother, this means going through surgery and waiting 2 – 3 hours before seeing, touching, feeling her baby.  I knew I would be requesting to go against protocol which meant being persistent and vocal about my right to keep my baby with me (all the while being as respectful as possible). I repeated my desire for my baby to be kept with me to every nurse, anesthesiologist, student I was introduced to. I had been told that I needed to be that persistent in order to allow those in my operating room to go again hospital protocol. And it worked. But I’m getting ahead of myself

Once I had the IV in place and all necessary blood work was completed, I had a quick meeting with the anesthesiologist and began my walk into the operating room….alone. It was at that moment we found out Dave would not be present for my spinal. He was able to come into the room just after. That’s when I got scared.

Dave taking selfies while waiting to come in to the operating room.

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I walked alone into a bright, sterile operating room with about 15 people wearing masks staring at me. I met my midwife there (thank goodness for a familiar face) who told me that things would move very quickly. I needed to sit on the edge of the operating table and curl my back while the anesthesiologist placed the spinal. First, he would insert a needle that would numb the site. This would hurt.

It did.

It felt like fire radiating up and out from the bottom of my spine. There I sat. Curled. Burning. Breathing. Then he placed the spinal. I was told I *might* feel a Zing and to tell them. I felt 3 Zings. And each time my left leg would kick out spontaneously. They seemed more concerned than I liked. But soon after that third Zing, they quickly flipped me on the table and the room became a flurry of activity. All the while I had been listening to my calm hypnobirthing meditation on my iphone which I smuggled in (lesson learned: it’s always easier to ask for forgiveness than permission:) ). This kept my anxiety down and breath steady. I focused on the meditation until Dave joined my side.

Dave came in, rushed to grab my hand, and, in trying to comfort me, gripped my hand with such force that I had to ask if he was ok and to loosen up. 🙂 He did. And I just kept my focus and tried to stay as relaxed as possible. It wasn’t long after, the doctor announced we had a beautiful baby girl!  He instructed the team to wait to delay cord clamping, as I had requested in my birthing plan.

During those few minutes, Dave jumped up — looking over the sheet that blocked us from surgery — and set his eyes for the first time on his little girl. All I could do was look up at him. I saw him beaming. And tears welling up in his eyes. I will never forget that moment.

Our midwife caught these first moments of our introduction to Maddie and hers to the world.

Our midwife caught these first moments of our introduction to Maddie and hers to the world.

IMG_0485 As the doctor handed Madeleine to be cleaned off, someone yelled: Dad get a towel she’s pooping!

One beautiful fantasy followed by humbling reality. And thus, we were thrust into parenthood.

Dave went with our little girl as she was bundled up. And, finally, after what seemed like eternity, I got to meet Madeleine Sophia.

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After a quiet moment with my daughter, Dave took her to get weighed, measured, etc. It was then they discovered she had low glucose levels and needed to feed her immediately. Dave got the chance to take care of his little girl, now, for the second time in minutes.

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It took about an hour for the surgery to take place. Once the surgery was over I was placed on a new bed that could be wheeled into recovery. I was then, FINALLY, given my baby to hold. Like really hold. It was wonderful. I rested her body against mine and held her close as they wheeled me down the hall.

 

We met with our Doula who hadn’t been allowed in the OR and she was beaming seeing our family. It was very important to me to breastfeed as soon as possible and I was so thankful for my doula’s guidance. She confidently instructed me to place Maddie on my chest, and almost immediately Maddie started crawling toward my breast, did a head bob I would come to know well, and latched. All on her own! I was in shock. It was the most natural thing I have ever experienced.

IMG_0531In that moment, I was overwhelmed with emotion. It is still indescribable. Joy. Love. Euphoria. Bliss. From that moment on I knew I would never be the same. I would be so much better. Insecurity was replaced with confidence and I knew in my heart I would rise to the occasion. I have the incredible privilege of being Madeleine’s mother.   I love you, Maddie.

 

The eve.

It’s taken me quite a while to finally get back to writing about my experience. There is so much to share. I have grown. Oh, how I have grown. But I plan to share that soon enough. Finally, I want to capture, in words, that calm night before I met my daughter and the subsequent day.

We celebrated my last night of pregnancy at the same place we celebrated discovering my pregnancy – Lindey’s.

I was scheduled for a c-section that following morning. Dave and I sat at the bar table where not more than 9 months prior a man had toasted to his newborn and then bought everyone in the bar a drink (including us).

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Earlier that day, I did exactly what I had planned in my previous post (oh so long ago). I woke up after sleeping in. Got a manicure, pedicure and facial. Went to the north market and had a great meal slowly savoring every morsel. Finally, I went home and took a long bubble bath.

My giant belly.

My giant belly.

I made sure Madeleine’s and my bags were packed and ready to go. I purchased macaroons at Pistachia Vera as gifts for the nursing staff that would help us the next morning. And picked up some essential oil that was said to help with stress.

Then Dave and I relaxed, talked, and toasted to our little girl we would meet the next morning.

 

Too posh to push

A few of you know I have been preparing for an all natural un-medicated birth. Fewer of you know that my scheduled c-section is this Tuesday.

So, where to begin.

At 37 weeks, Dave and I went in for our final ultrasound since we found out I had a subchorionic hematoma (at week 23). We received good news. My internal bleed had healed completely and my baby was healthy and growing well. We also found out that day that she had decided to flip and was now breech. I saved my tears for the drive home.

I was devastated. Dave didn’t know what to say.  I spent that weekend drowning out the world with google searches from the safety of my bedroom.

The next week, still sad, I held on to the tiny bit of hope I had left. I knew I had a small window to try a few things that might help her get into the correct position. I tried everything I was comfortable with. I spent days upside down. I did handstands and flips in the pool. I played music and shown a flashlight down low. I did acupuncture and moxibustion. I worked with my hypno-birthing teacher to relax and visualize her turning. I did the Webster technique up until the very end. I did not do an ECV or a “version”. This entails the doctor manually moving the baby from breech to vertex (head down). I have my reasons and you can feel free to ask me about my decision any time you like. For brevity, I will keep it simple and say that I declined the version.

Creepy picture of my leg and acupuncture needles. This was weird...

Creepy picture of my leg and acupuncture needles. This was weird…

I told myself and her that we were in this together. It is my job to carve out every path and her’s to decide which road to take. I imagine this agreement, formed in utero, will be the foundation of our relationship.

I passed my due date Friday. Dave and I decided to schedule a c-section for this upcoming Tuesday. So in less than 48 hours, we will finally meet our baby. It seems she has made her choice.

How do I feel?

I am sad that I will not experience labor. I so wanted that experience. I know it may seem odd for some but I was more excited about labor than about pregnancy. And I did everything I thought possible to prepare. I read more books than I can even count. I ate well. I took my vitamins, probiotics, and liquid calcium. I worked out with a trainer at least once a week. I did prenatal yoga once a week. I was serious about hypnobirthing and practiced my scripts. And 2 words: perineal massage.

I am scared of surgery. I wanted an un-medicated birth for 2 reasons. First, to really experience labor in a raw way. To be able to feel the hormonal highs and lows only found in labor. Second, to avoid needles. And medication. And cold sterile instruments.  And all the things inside of a hospital that freak me out.

When I would tell people I wanted an all natural birth some people said something along the lines of “good for you” or “more power to you”. Something indicating that I am a strong person. Or at least that I wanted to be perceived as a strong person. And that was never my intention. It’s the opposite in fact. I am not strong. I am frightened. I really don’t want to have surgery. I don’t want to lay in a cold room and have a needle stuck in between my vertebrae…and another in my urethra. I don’t want to experience small talk over my open abdomen. I don’t want to feel powerless and out of control as others hold my baby for the first time.

This was not what I had in mind.

But I know I am lucky. I am lucky to have had the chance to experience pregnancy. Some women would eagerly trade places with me for the chance to experience the excitement of those first kicks.  I am lucky to have had the bleed in my placenta because it allowed me to have the ultrasounds many women never get. Those ultrasounds let me see my baby was healthy. It was the ultrasound that detected that my baby was breech early. And because I found out early, I was able to mourn the loss of my plan for a natural birth. I was able to try everything to get her to turn – and take solace in knowing that I tried everything I could. And now, I am able to come to terms with my feelings and fears about what will be my birth story.

So I have decided to switch gears. I have decided to create rituals to help me welcome my new baby into the world. And to get me excited about her arrival.

This weekend my family came over to help me clean the house for our new house guest. Our bags are packed. And her room is ready.

Her clean room and updated baby book library.

Her clean room and updated baby book library.

Last night, friends invited us for a dinner in our honor. We celebrated and toasted to Madeleine’s upcoming birthday.

Our wonderful friends toasting our soon to arrive baby girl!

Our wonderful friends toasting our soon to arrive baby girl!

Today, Dave and I slept in. We cuddled until mid morning. We had a lazy breakfast of coffee and croissants outside. Then came inside and snuggled on the couch watching tv. I spent the afternoon soaking up the relaxation found in a deluxe mani/pedi.

Tomorrow, I will not work. I will get a blowout. I will have a facial. If I can fit in massage – you better believe I’m doing it. Oh, and I will take a bath…a long bubble bath.  Then I will have a good night’s sleep. And prepare for the calm happy arrival of our baby, Madeleine Sophia Gillespie.

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Baby Showers

When Dave and I first discussed having a baby shower, we knew we didn’t want to do anything too traditional. We also knew that we did not want to exclude our close friends, boys and girls – it just felt wrong to only invite the ladies. So we decided to have a baby reveal party rather than a traditional shower.  At our reveal, we would cut a cake together revealing the sex of the baby to our friends and family. We also wanted the day to feel casual and as close to one of our normal back yard parties as possible. We featured  barbecued hot dogs and hamburgers, cupcakes from Kittie’s Cakes, a cake from Angry Baker, spiked blueberry strawberry lemonade, and non-alcoholic drinks for me and the kids.  shower1

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Since neither one of us wanted to play normal baby shower games, we decided to have our friends and family bet on the sex of the baby.  I want to give a special shout out to Dave’s good friend Matt Robert’s for getting so into handling the bets for Baby G. He was awesome! Other games/activities included baby scratch-offs, decorating onesies, and corn hole. I like to think there was something for everyone. We did open gifts at the end of the party for those who wanted to take part in it. Meaning, most of the girls came inside and most of the guys stayed outside drinking beer and playing corn hole. Perfect.

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3 things that I loved about this shower were:

1. We hired someone to manage the grill and serve the food. I know Dave really wanted to man the grill himself but this actually worked out for the best. It allowed Dave to actually enjoy the party and his friends. Some people traveled quite a bit to be there with him – and it made me happy that he could actually spend quality time with his friends and family.

2. I LOVED the reveal. Sharing the exciting news that our baby is a baby girl was so much fun! The look on Dave’s face says it all.

3. Our good friend Kevin Sturdevant took pictures of the afternoon for us. I am so thankful! We are so lucky to have wonderful talented friends who have helped us capture these memories. The pictures are priceless. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

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Next, to my surprise, my mom and her friends wanted to throw me another shower. I was unbelievably touched that all of these women would want to shower baby G with love and gifts. This shower was very traditional. Since we knew the baby was a girl there was a lot of pink. The food was fantastic. It was definitely a Brazilian style party beautifully decorated with meticulously crafted candies, of course.  Also, it would not be a brazilian affair without pao de quiejo and Guarana – my favorites! I was happy to see that Dave’s Aunt Pam could make it as well as his sister, Gina.  My good friend Bridget was able to make the drive and share the day with me. It was a definite mix of cultures  which is what made the afternoon so heartwarming. Baby G will be welcomed into many communities – brazilian, american, and so many more.

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Then….. baby G and I were showered once more! I have such wonderful friends and co-workers at Nationwide who threw me the cutest baby shower I have ever seen at work. These ladies (Sarah Jacobs, Andrea Klein, and Tess Schuster) out did them selves! I walked into a room with my husband as the surprise guest of honor and my favorite Nationwiders there to support me before I headed off to maternity leave. They had decorated the room with bibs, a table full of gifts, and yummy snacks including cupcakes, chips and hummus, fruit, and punch. They knew I loved gray and yellow and decorated the room accordingly. It was beyond sweet. Tara, my old boss, helped me take down names as I opened the sweetest gifts. I am very lucky to know and get the chance to work with these amazing people. I really am going to miss seeing them every day.

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Before this experience, I could not have believed that I would have enjoyed this rite of passage as much as I did. As I have mentioned before, I’ve learned that when you have a baby a community is waiting in the wings to help and support you. A shower is so much more than a party with gifts. It is a symbolic representation of the love and support baby G already has. Our community of friends and family already want the best for her.  Baby G, Dave and I are blessed to have your love and support. Thank you!

Nesting

My favorite part of this pregnancy has been my desire to nest. There was a time – midpoint in my pregnancy – that I could think of nothing else but how we would set up the nursery.  I perused Pinterest, pulled swatches, and even created a mood board in powerpoint!  I was obsessed.

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Dave on the other hand was less than thrilled at first. The man cave would become the nursery – as I’m told all first man caves do. But as the paint dried on the walls and the furniture arrived – he began nesting too. And Dylan helped.  😉

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Dave took such sweet pride putting the furniture together. The changing table below was so incredibly detailed. It took him an entire afternoon for that one piece of furniture. But it didn’t matter – it was for his little girl.

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He reminded me of a discussion we had about potentially putting in a chandelier in her room – telling me decisively – “oh, she NEEDS a chandelier”, scoffing at my hesitance.  He says these things more often now  and I think he is joking….but he’s not.  A few weeks ago I brought home an outfit that I found on sale at target because I was told I needed a “coming home outfit” for the baby.  I showed Dave that I picked something up because it was on sale and “it’ll do” – and almost horrified – he looked at it and said,”What?! She needs a better outfit than that! It’s the first time she comes home. This is important. I’m not taking her home in that pink prison jumpsuit!”  Uh, what? Who is this? Is this the man I married? I’m so confused. These are the things I am learning about my husband as he becomes a father.

I hope she doesn’t get wise to how much of a pushover he is already becoming when it comes to her.

While he was a champ and helped me set up what I consider to be the best room in the house, he needed his own space too. Well, at least that’s what he kept telling me. He claimed he wanted a “center of his intellectual world”.  What does that mean? Great question. We got him a secretary from west elm to house our record player, records, books on religion, philosophy, politics, nueroscience, evolution, brewing, running, our laptops, bills and our family files. Mission Accomplished.

It looks quite nice, too.

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He also said he needed a man chair. So we got the manliest chair we could find. A buttery winged back leather recliner from Restoration Hardware. While the nursery is the nicest room in the house. That chair is the most luxurious place to rest.

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So when people now ask, “are you ready?”. I still say no.  But I know when we bring this baby home, while we won’t be ready to be parents, we will be damn comfortable.

Pregnancy Glow

I am not maternal. I am not a nurturer. When I talk to kids – I usually speak to them like adults. I have very little patience. Pregnancy has never been that exciting thing I looked forward to. Pregnancy, to me, seemed like a necessary evil if I wanted to have a baby.

Dave has a friend who just glows with positivity and so embraced pregnancy. She definitely had a glow about her.

I don’t glow. I sweat.

She once messaged me, ” I hope you are enjoying pregnancy as much as I am!” I didn’t respond.

The thing is – I wish I could be one of those women that loves their pregnant bodies and glows with excitement. That talks to their belly and floats around like a goddess with lush hair and rosy cheeks.

In my first entry, I said this would be my lesson in letting go. And boy, has it been. At Pre-natal Yoga, our instructor was responding to one of the ladies who mentioned she may need to stop wearing her heels. She responded to that statement by reminding us that pregnancy is a slow lesson in letting go. At first, you let go of the foods you once loved, wine, soft french cheeses, rare tuna, then you let go of your clothes, shoes, the things that once identified you. Then your body. Oh man, your body. Then sleep. And all this is said to build up so that when your baby is born – you will have let things go to make room for her. To focus on her.  Her health, her sleep, her likes and dislikes. I am reminded in this class that slowly I am being taught to move from selfishness to selflessness.

But it is really hard.

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Meanwhile, people have nerve. Here are some tips to those who may encounter a pregnant or seemingly pregnant lady.

1) If you don’t know her, don’t: assume she is pregnant, comment on her size, touch her, or tell her your own horror story.

2) Things people should get kicked in the groin for saying (that have been said to me): “Woah, you’re getting big!”, “Are you sure you’re not having twins”, ” You’re going to be so miserable being pregnant over the summer”, “Get your sleep now”, “Your life is about to change”.

These are my responses, to each respectively: ” Yeah, I’m pregnant, what’s your excuse”, *swift kick to the nuts* (I specify nuts because no woman has yet to say this to me), “I’m pretty sure once I’ve ballooned to whale proportions I’ll be miserable in any season. Also, they’ve invented this thing called air conditioning that really helps.”, “How do you know I’m getting sleep now?”, “No shit, sherlock.”

3) As a general rule, if you don’t normally touch me upon seeing me don’t touch my belly. If we are not close enough to hug we are not close enough for you to put both hands on my mid-section. And, no matter what, always ask me first.

4) If I don’t know you, don’t feel you need to make general pregnancy conversation if we happen to be stuck in an elevator together. Just like everyone else, let’s stare at the wall, scroll through Facebook, or discuss the weather.

As a counter, here are things that have been really nice:

1) People smile at you a lot. This weirded me out at first but now I’m enjoying it. It’s like I’m the pregnant grand marshall of life. Smile and wave.

2) People give you their seats. Or ask if you’d like to sit down.

3) People give you extra food and/or don’t mind if you literally order for two.

4) People want to help you. They open doors and pick things up that you’ve dropped.

5) People tell you that you look great. Even (I’m certain) when you don’t. I’ll take these little white lies, any day.

6) Getting to take naps/people suggesting or requesting you stop what you are doing to go take a nap.

So all in all, it hasn’t been so bad. I know that before I was pregnant I had no idea what to say to someone who is pregnant. I’m certain I said or did things that may have been offensive. And I feel remorseful. But now I know, I simply need to say, “You look great”. And leave it at that.

It takes a village

Today I have been thinking about friendships and pregnancy. And beyond that, the friendships you make throughout your life.   It seems to me that good friends have been with me through significant times in my life. And getting through those times together bonded us. For years. Sometimes, forever.

But as I’ve gotten older I’ve wondered, “What else is there? Those developmental years are over. How does an adult make friends?”.

I never knew that something happens when you become pregnant. People reach out to you. They connect to you in an intimate, selfless way as if they had always been your best friend. They care about your well-being. And check-in with you. They ask you how you are doing and you know that they mean it. They want to know. And they want to help you if the response is “not good”.

I’m getting teary just thinking bout this wonderful surprise I’ve experienced in pregnancy. I am so grateful.

People who have known me know that I was terrified of “settling down” and thought it really wasn’t for me. When Dave and I made the decision to take this leap into parenthood, I worried that I would inevitably have to say goodbye to some friends. That we just wouldn’t relate anymore. I mourned that loss.

And I think that, perhaps, that happens to a degree. But now I see that, in fact, the opposite happens. Friendships have grown stronger.  People I considered mere acquaintances, I now consider friends. If anything, the group of people I can call on, that I can relate to, has grown larger. And dare I say it – more meaningful.

I feel loved by so many wonderful people. I feel that there is more kindness in the world. And I am so honored to have my child meet these people who have already begun welcoming her into this community.

Thank you.

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The Babymoon

I was so ready to have a babymoon. I loved the idea (read: excuse) to plan a vacation in one’s second trimester and dub it a “babymoon”. And I completely took advantage of it. I wanted us to go to a beachy location that wasn’t too expensive and wasn’t too far away. So I settled on the Marriot resort on Singer Island. It’s right on the beach, each room is a suite with a kitchen, living room, balcony and bedroom, and I thought it would be the prefect place to relax.

Well….I want a do-over.

I am sitting in our room now looking at the gray skies and pelting rain but that actually is not why I want  a do-over. This is actually a nice reprieve – allowing Dave to work and me to rest.

Rest? Why would I need rest on my vacation you ask? Well, once I landed from our flight I started feeling a scratchy throat. By our first evening my scratchy throat turned into a full blown cold with a completely swollen  & incredibly painful throat. Throughout day 1 I refused to acknowledge my throat because it was my vacation dammit! And I was going to make this the best trip ever and have a great time. BUT even while I pretended to feel great and relaxed…Dave was not. He did not like the resort, did not like the location, and was suffering major congestion due to allergies. Our first day we fought. I was so annoyed that he couldn’t be positive while on vacation while I silently suffered and tried to be as happy as I’d imagined I would be on vacation.

Then. I got a prenatal massage, manicure, and pedicure. THAT was awesome.

By that evening I started feeling really bad. We didn’t have a car (we found out we needed one once we realized our location is not really walkable) and we had to go to the store to get medication that would help. So, we decided to just go to the lobby and get a cab. Well, they have town cars here…so…we got a town car…and took it to Publix. I kinda felt as obnoxious as a Real Houswewives of ________  would walking out of the back seat of our town car to stop in at the grocery store. The driver had an ear piece and waited outside of the car! But we needed mucinex THAT bad. In our delerium we cleared the medicine isle and picked up some other necessities. When we got back to the hotel we took our medicine, made tea, took a spoonful of honey and went to bed.

Our medicine cabinet - on vacation.

Our medicine cabinet – on vacation.

It was 5AM and pitch black outside when I woke up with an incredibly painful throat and hacking cough. Dave woke up to me crying in pain in the kitchen. I was in SO much pain but I was also incredibly anxious. I’d never been sick while pregnant..and I couldn’t remember when I was this sick prior to being pregnant. I was worried about my health but terrified about the health of my baby. SO we called our midwives and my call was returned within 5 minutes. She was incredibly comforting to both of us and calmed our anxiety. I took more medicine and went back to bed.

When we woke up, we went to enterprise and got a car. Freedom.

Then we laid out in the sun. Relaxation, finally.

Dave relaxing on the beach.

Dave relaxing on the beach.

Dave and I have been recovering from our colds but we have improved so much more since that first night. Meanwhile, in all the hubbub of that morning, I didn’t notice I had been bitten by a spider. 2 days later my forearm has a silver dollar sized mark that does not seem to want to go away. Of course, Dave and I just looked for advice online and pictures of brown recluse marks look WAY to similar to my own arm. That’s today’s adventure!

I will say yesterday was the day of total relaxation. We woke up early, laid in the sun all morning, read books, jumped in the water, had virgin and not so virgin cocktails, drove into Palm Beach and down A1A, and had an afternoon adventure. It was wonderful. I still felt pretty bad all day (as did Dave) but we made the best of it.

Me. Relaxing by the pool.

Me. Relaxing by the pool.

I guess the lesson I am taking away from this experience is to not have expectations. At first, I thought, well this is it. Our final vacation is ruined. I will never have one again. That is a LOT of pressure to put on us and this vacation.   We will have many more do-overs perhaps with baby G and without. I know some grandparents who wouldn’t mind watching their grand-baby for a week or so. We are very lucky. And, today, while looking out at the rainy day outside, I feel content. Disappointed that I’m sick — but content none-the-less. I have a loving, supporting husband, the ability to take a vacation and the time away from work, and this little baby to look forward to. We are very lucky people. (even though we were a bit unlucky this week)

Baby bump peak...on the beach.

Braving a baby bump on the beach.

This baby is looking more like a baby!

babyg1About 3 weeks ago, Dave and I went to get our first trimester screening. This is a test that tells you how likely your baby will have down syndrome among other chromosomal abnormalities. In order to take this test, the momma (me) has to drink a ton of water so that the bladder fills up and the baby can’t really move around inside the uterus. This way a clear picture can be taken of baby G. Good news folks: everything came back normal.

The coolest part of this test is you get to see the baby with a super awesome camera so that the technicians can measure certain things. Here is one of the pictures. Can you see that baby pout? I’m not sure whose lips those are!

Although, I think we can objectively say this baby is a cutie. 🙂