where happiness lives

He's here! 

Well . . . labor was incredible. I'm so glad it's over. I want to write a detailed birth story, but that will take time to compose, and time is different now that we have Finn. So we'll see, right now it's still difficult to think about labor, because it was really intense, and I don't want to relive all those fresh memories quite yet. But soon, when time softens the edges, I'll be able to write about my labor experience. 
In short, it was successful. About 12 hours long, including an hour of pushing. He was born at 1.25pm on September 22. He was 8 lbs, 4 oz, and 21 inches long. An "ice cream baby" as Kim said, due to his filled out body, and the fact that I ate ice cream nearly every day of my pregnancy. She also said she thinks my due date was earlier, because he looked "well baked", with almost zero vernix left on his skin. So I was actually pregnant for maybe 41 or 42 weeks. Holy cow . . . good thing I only thought it was 40 weeks, 1 day. Mentally, it's better. 
My mom drove in that evening, and fed us and we all went to bed. When Finn woke up in the middle of the night, I fed him and Scott changed him and we all went back to sleep. So far, he's only waking up twice during the night. He sleeps in bed with Scott and me. I'm not sure how long we'll continue this, but for right now it's the most convenient arrangement. It's difficult enough to pull my aching body up to a sitting position to feed him, I can't imagine actually getting out of bed and reaching into his bassinet for him. 
After the intimacy of childbirth, I think Scott and I are on a whole new level. That plus the intimacy of parenthood have brought all three of us pretty close over these past few days. I'm dealing with some stitches and (luckily rapidly decreasing) postpartum bleeding. Scott's been changing diapers, which sometimes includes getting soaked in urine. And let's not forget that my milk is coming in, so I'm engorged, and pretty much a human waterfall of breast milk. The human body is just incredible. 
I will say, though, the emotional fulfillment of kissing his marshmallow cheeks makes every gruesome detail totally null and void. 


only in it for the rain

So *this* is what labor feels like . . .  
It's 4.54am and I've been laboring at home since around 10.30pm, maybe earlier. It's hard to tell because the early contractions were so vague and infrequent. They have definitely picked up. Now they're coming on average every three or four minutes, and lasting about a minute long. It's intense! It feels like very deep, all consuming cramps. 
I've been walking around, tidying the house, resting on my side, laboring on the toilet and the yoga ball, etc. 
I guess this baby's actually coming out. 


rock me mama like a wagon wheel

A little dark, but there's the belly in it's full glory - 40 weeks today. I really didn't think we'd make it this far, perhaps I'm just an optimist, but I hoped and believed he'd come a little sooner. 
In gross news, I passed more mucous today, which could be a sign that labor is imminent - it is anyway, at this point, because it's going to happen sooner or later. But I've also been feeling a lot of sensation today, maybe contractions? It's hard to tell. I'm banking on the fact that at some point contractions will be more than uncomfortable, they'll be downright painful, and then I'll know it's the real thing. Until then I'll be hanging out with these uncomfortable twinges and pressure and crampy stuff.
Watched 'Man On Wire' tonight with a friend - it's an incredible documentary! I can't wait to rent it and watch it with Scott whenever it's available.
Last night a bunch of people were over for a barbecue-turned-jam session in our front yard. We had a guitar, banjo, mandolin, mouth harp, musical saw, tambourine, hand drum and spoons. Everyone sat on the front stoop and surrounding chairs and ground for four or five hours, just chatting and jamming. It reminded me of hanging out with the tribe. It was a great night, it even got chilly and I had to wear a zip up sweatshirt. 
Friday night we went camping, Scott, Sean, Mimi, Gen and me. And Rufus, of course. We had a great fire, made s'mores and grilled hot dogs and brats. I couldn't sleep worth shit, because I can only sleep on my sides, and the ground was too hard on my hips. So I shifted every five minutes, and Scott woke up constantly to ask if I was okay. I was wishing to go into labor so I wouldn't have to keep trying to sleep on that hard ground. 
My mind has been an interesting place lately. Sometimes I am filled with impatience, pleading for strong contractions, ready to have the baby. Then at other times I barely remember that I'm waiting for a life-changing event, and I'm content in the moment. Every time I become impatient Scott says - "do you realize what you're wishing for?" which is a great reminder that it's not that bad right now, the waiting. It's certainly not as bad as the nausea of the first trimester, or the sciatica, or having people say all the time "are you sure you don't have twins in there?", etc. The waiting at the tail end of pregnancy is kind of peaceful, and it's a great exercise in patience and trust. Just waiting . . . knowing that my body is right on schedule and the baby will arrive at the perfect time for him to arrive. And trying to relish the solitude I'll never experience again in my life. (whoa) 
But I am pretty excited to meet the little guy who's been living inside me for so long. 


sunshine and clouds and everything proud

It's my mom's birthday today . . . and possibly Finn's, who knows? We'll see. 
I had an appointment today with my midwife and doctor, and they're thinking I'll probably have this baby within the week, which is encouraging, considering I'm already 39 and a half weeks along. I certainly hope he doesn't wait much longer. I've been walking like a maniac - yesterday I probably totaled 5 miles, at least. It's something for me to do, and good for Rufus, who's always up for a jaunt. 
Kim said the baby's head is very low, which is great, because I've definitely felt a lot of pressure this morning while walking around, and I'm constantly bouncing on my yoga/birth ball when I'm at home. Today I've felt energetic, and have been tidying up the house. I'm trying to think of a new route to walk today with Rufus, he's getting antsy. That's the thing about walking him at 7.30am, that by noon he's done feeling calm and restful, and he's ready to be energetic again. I have no idea what's going to happen when the baby comes and I'm not able to walk my high-energy dog two or three times a day. 
Some days I feel more impatient than others. Tuesday I felt extremely impatient, but yesterday I didn't think about it constantly, so I felt better. What helps is making plans - so Scott and I have plans with friends for a camping trip tomorrow night. It's perfect weather, and we wouldn't be too far from Columbia, so now I'm kind of hoping that the baby holds off long enough to enjoy one last camping trip before he comes. Of course, I can't wait to take him camping with us, too, hopefully this fall. 
The closer I come to seeing the baby, the more excited I feel. I'm also feeling a lot of love for this baby, though I don't even know him yet. I cannot wait to see those little feet, and find out whether he has hair or not - and I'm sure he'll have big eyes, just look at Scott and me! People joke that he's going to look like a little baby Scott, which turns my heart to mush, because my husband is the cutest/most handsome man ever. Oh baby Finn, please come soon! 


we deal with what comes along

39 weeks as of today. 
Please, Finn, come this week!!! 
I'm running out of projects - scrubbed the stove top this morning and cleaned the windows in the living room. Vacuumed yesterday and did laundry. It's about time to do some more cooking or baking. Last night I tried to relax and really enjoy it, taking a bath then watching a movie. I started Margaret Atwood's newest novel. I still have two things to do today - clean the bathroom counter and grocery shop. After I finish those two things, I have no clue what I'll do. Maybe go into labor (fingers crossed). Tomorrow is the full moon, after all. 
If I stay pregnant until 40 or even 41 (gasp) weeks, I wonder what projects I'll find to busy myself with then. I'll probably be learning calligraphy or some other obscure art. Maybe I'll begin charting the elevation on my daily walks with Rufus. Or maybe doing something useful, like actually baking bread, instead of harboring fear about working with yeast. Either way, I'm praying that labor will begin sooner than in two more weeks (please, please, please). I do realize that later, when I can't even find two minutes to type a hello on this blog, I will be laughing at my pre-baby, impatient, "bored" self, and I will fully experience how non-boring caring for an infant can be. Until then, one can hope . . .  


spittin' out seeds of doubt

Today the weather is humid. 
I went to an appointment today - low blood pressure (as usual), no weight gain since last week, strong heartbeat for the baby, he's still head down and very active. Possible cervix change, but they don't check me at every appointment to tell me harrowing "this much effacement, that much dilation", thank goodness. I'm curious about how far I may be dilated or thinned, but to know the actual numbers could possibly create more anxiety, because dilation can change greatly before real labor, and if it regressed instead of progressed - what a head trip. I already feel like I could just be pregnant for the rest of my life, but knowing that my cervix was changing it's mind every week would be torture. 
When I walked Rufus this morning I had "stuff going on down there". I'm not sure if they were contractions - because I have no idea how contractions feel - but I had a lot of sensation, some painful, some expanding-feeling, and I just walked and breathed through it. It was exciting to be feeling action down there! When I took a shower after the walk it all stopped, so it probably was what's called false labor, coined "warm-up sessions" by the midwives at the birth center. Pretty exciting stuff. 
What I love about childbirth is that it will happen all of it's own accord. Whether I feel ready or not (I feel as ready as I possibly can at this point), it will occur whenever it does. I can try to will it to happen, but it's not affected by my pleas. When it's hard and active, I may try to will it to end, but it will not heed my call. It's this process that's entirely inevitable and inertia centered, and it's just incredible that one day soon I will be subject to that process. That's why it's so important to just allow it to happen, and take it one contraction at a time. I understand all of this mentally - we'll see how much I remember when I'm actually going through it. 
I've done a lot this first week of maternity leave - had a WIC appointment, a midwife appointment, made three meals and a pound cake and froze them, swept and mopped (gasp) the kitchen floor, went to J's husband's softball game with her, gone on long walks twice a day with my dog, and vacuumed the living room. Still to do - put the carseat in the car, scrub the toilet and tub, vacuum the bedroom, do laundry, and whatever else crosses my mind as time worthy. Oh, I need to write a couple thank you notes and then address envelopes for birth announcements. These little projects are fun, and most importantly, they help the days pass without me becoming too terribly despondent about not having a baby yet. After all, I haven't even passed the "due date" yet. So things are looking good. 


hold on to life with feelings

Five years ago today, my father died. I lost the one I loved the most, first. And since then, I feel that I can handle anything. A consolation that I survived the worst pain so young, to become stronger and older, wiser. 
Today I have done as little as possible, taking long walks with Scott and Rufus, resting on the couch, reading a book. I made pancakes and that was a great start to the day. I'm not depressed, just reflective. His death feels so long ago that it doesn't sting with freshness. It's merely a soft spot on my heart, one that is bittersweet and tender. And radiantly beautiful. 
I will always cradle his memory, and I hope to see some of his kind heartedness as well as his mischievousness in my own son. And, as usual, I listen to "the Glow, pt. 2" by the Microphones to commemorate the day we buried my father. 

"i could not get through september without a battle
 i faced death
 i went in with my arms swinging
 but i heard my own breath
 i had to face that i'm still living

 i'm still flesh
 i hold on to life with feelings

 i'm not dead
 there's no end
 my face is red
 my blood flows harshly

 my heart beats loudly
 my chest still draws breath 
 i hold it 
 i'm boiling
 there's no end" 


won't you find the way back

Update from the midwife today - the baby has indeed dropped. My uterus is measuring two inches lower than last week. Wow! This doesn't tell me when he's coming, but it means that he's getting ready - getting into place. The midwife also confirmed that losing mucous is a good sign that my cervix is changing. So that's exciting. 
Two more days of work - tomorrow and Saturday. 
Today it's pouring rain. I feel bad for Rufus, because he needs exercise, but he doesn't like walking in the rain, and I don't blame him. It's been raining all day, and most of yesterday, too. If/when it ever tapers off, I'll take him for a walk. 
Tomorrow I have a free ultrasound with a pregnancy center in town. They are doing some training, and Abby hooked me up with them - she and her mom won't be in town, but it's their company Sonography Now that's hosting the training. They thought it would be neat for the girls who are training to be able to see a pregnancy so far along. I'm thrilled - I want to see that little guy. And if he's not ready to come out, then the next best way to see him is to peek into his home. 
Been listening to Bon Iver, "For Emma, Forever Ago",  and Lori Chaffer's solo album "1Beginning". Realizing it wouldn't hurt to own books I haven't actually read. Can't find a thing to read here, must go to the library . . 


alone everybody

Everyone keeps asking, "when is your baby due?". For someone who's trying NOT to be attached to any certain date, this is a difficult question. I usually just say "sometime in the next few weeks!" and let it go. 
Full moon on the 15th . . . 
But who knows. And why are we, as a society, so attached to the due date. Why can't we be content with "mid or late September"? It's hard to not be thinking about a due date every single moment. I feel mentally and emotionally ready, so every day I wake up thinking "this would be a great day to have a baby!". Then I feel a tiny bit disappointed at the end of the day when I have not had him yet. So, to those due date driven people, stop asking me! It's just as frustrating to hear as "you look like you're going to pop!" and other such mindless comments and questions. My baby will come whenever he's damn ready. 
Meanwhile, I wait . . . and try to enjoy this pre-baby life, though I know he will make my life so much more joyful.