Little Acorn

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Monday, July 30, 2012

gift for my tenses (21 weeks)

This last week has been pretty uneventful. I planned our trip to Spain, which I am so excited about! It's coming up so soon and all I can do is try to concentrate at work, because all I can see is that beach in sight. But other than that, it's been blessedly quiet around here. I had some really horrible gas pain over the weekend that I hope is not a sign of things to come. It was painful and stuck in there, preventing me from any appetite I may have had during a nice meal with the in-laws. I was hoping that once I started religiously taking Miralax that all my gaseous wows and shitty fears would vanish. Maybe Miralax isn't strong enough to fight my overpowering bowels anymore, for evil they are.

Perhaps eating normally would help the matter. I'm starting to get sick of eating anything junky, literally. I feel queasy or nauseous while eating something bad. It must be my body telling me to eat a little better I guess. 

I have been feeling the baby kick regularly now, at certain times of the day. It's pretty cute. I can tell she's fast asleep, quiet and beautiful. About 2-3 hours later, I can tell she's starting to wake up. She starts to become restless and active, ready to move and buckle, ready to heave and kick. Her little kicks are stronger now, so much so that Ryan can readily feel them now. It's so dear to see him get excited when he feels her kick. He immediately hugs my belly and whispers sweet nothings into her tiny ear (through my skin).

I can't say enough how blissfully happy I am. I think this is the happiest time in my life. So excited about the future, loving the present, enjoying the possibilities of the joyous times to come, all while still being me and me alone, enjoying the last of the blessed and cursed freedom I have before children. I'm looking forward to our Carmel vacation this weekend and then our Spain trip next week. We so very much need time to relax and get out of here. It's been so long since we've had a proper vacation and for our 10th anniversary on Friday, I believe we certainly deserve it. Enjoying each day as it comes.

I also constantly keep close our past, like that locket around my neck I once wrote about, like an old, dear friend, close and reassuring. To me this locket forever reminds me to be grateful every day, to be humbled in the presence of my daughter. She is truly a miracle for which I cannot explain. Heat breathed life into her doomed little 4-celled body that fateful October day not so long ago. I have no right to feel what I feel today for she appeared destined like the rest of our children. The only reason for her is God and the heat from His breath. Pure and simple. I can't explain any other way. God, giving us what we so badly wanted when we finally had the courage to give up the fight. God, breathing life into her and making her the strong and vibrant spirit I already know she is. 

I touch my belly in shock every single day that this is finally happening, that she is in there, all warm and cozy, growing and living. And I thank the Lord for her. I think every day of this feeling of sheer happiness and give it freely to my former self, give my past this beautiful gift of understanding and appreciation. It is wrapped around the feelings I felt not so long ago, those of longing and despair, hugging them until they are inseparable. This gift sends a bundled message of love, a message that it does work, that miracles do happen, that good does prevail over evil, joy conquers sadness, beaming smiles beat biting tears.  I send this gift every day to my Before to give me hope, send it to my During to keep me grounded, send it to my After to preserve my faith. I give it in remembrance, in awe, in gratitude, in love, with love, and through love. And my past heals, and my present understands, and my future believes.

Now I know. I will always take with me this bundled gift of heartache and triumph, of lessens long learned in patience and faith, and I will never doubt again. Thank you, Lord, everyday, for this miracle you have bestowed upon us. I feel your omniscient presence in every kick of her little foot. I feel your lessons in every pinch. I feel you through her and it is wondrous.

Week 21
Newer, bigger pajamas to go along with my newer, bigger belly.

Monday, July 23, 2012

he or she? whoo will it be? (20 weeks)

This weekend was such a wonderful weekend, filled with family, yummy food, and beautiful surprises! We had our family in town on Saturday, cooked them an amazing meal, and waited to cut the cake to determine the gender of our baby. 

After settling in, making sure everyone had cocktails and appetizers, the cake arrived. Everyone screamed with delight! Such a fun and wonderfully-prepared cake, made by Polkadot's! I knew it would be fun, but I certainly did not expect it to be that cute! They did such an amazing job, I don't think I've seen anything cuter, but of course, I'm partial now!

 Ryan and I with the Reveal Cake

Next we sat down in our little studio to have a meal of beef tenderloin, balsamic grilled vegetables, mashed potatoes, and a clementine/pistachio salad with a grapefruit white balsamic vinaigrette. There was nothing left. I was quite proud of how the studio turned out. I should have taken before photos because it was a complete disaster with Ryan's old baseball cards stacked thigh high and 3 stacks deep along one wall, my jewelry strung everywhere, and cobwebs to the hilt. But we turned the ping pong table into a beautiful tablescape with fresh flowers, rafia chargers, and bright green accents.

Nothing but silence as we inhaled the steaks and sides...

Ryan's parents on the left, my parents in the center, Ryan's brother, brother-in-law, and sister on the right, and my Aunt Gail taking her own shots.

The sweet anticipation kept building up all night, with everyone taking guesses and talking about boys versus girls, looking at our latest sonogram photos and trying to see something, anything, in the grainy photos. But we eventually settled down into a warm buzz of excitement as the evening progressed. And as the plates were being licked clean it was finally time to bring in the cake.

We planned to cut into the cake at the same time and pull the piece out together. Now, let me say that because the cake's icing was white, you could kind of tell that there were darker lines beneath the top layer. And so everyone was convinced it had to be blue for boy. Ryan later told me he was so completely convinced that we were having a little boy that in his daydreaming bliss, he undercooked the steaks with delicious distraction. Everyone got filets rare enough to moo, but no one complained!

But when we finally cut into it and pulled out the slice I yelped with delight and bellowed, "it's a GIRL!!!" when I saw the palest of pinks in between the layers of cake. Everyone screamed with joy and excitement and laughter and tears! Ryan kept looking at the cake like it was a martian. He couldn't believe it was pink, that we were having a baby girl, what he had been wanting and dreaming of since we started this adventure!

 Pale pink revealed!
 
 Shocked and tear-stained, we are GLOWING with happiness!

After the excitement settled, we opened a few presents that our families had given us--so very nice and appreciated. We received baby girl clothes (those sneaky mothers must have had both genders ready!), a cell phone monitor (super cool), a little owl hat for when it's cold outside, antique bird houses for the nursery, and receiving blankets that my mother-in-law made (amazing!).  

Then the guys toked up the cigars in celebration and we just relaxed and talked and had a deliciously wonderful rest of the evening. I can't thank my family enough for coming and celebrating this joyous moment with us. The evening was perfection. And we now know that our incredible fighter, our amazing warrior, our strong-willed baby who wanted nothing more than to live, is a little girl.

My dad and his historic joke telling!

Cigar Celebrations


Lastly, I must do a 20 week update. I am feeling absolutely fabulous! I have a little back ache here and there, but overall I am in delirious bliss every day. For some reason, I strayed from my typical pajamas in this picture. Maybe I am tired of  having the camera focus on my butt, maybe I'm big enough now to wear real clothes instead of lifting up my shirt. I should probably be consistent, so I'll do one again tonight. 

Week 20
After a lovely massage!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

delicious wickedness (19 weeks)

Yesterday we had our 19-week sonogram and it was one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had! We went in and saw the technician, told her we wanted her to write down the gender of the baby in an envelope, and had her to keep us from knowing the sex of the baby. But even without that joyous information, the sonogram was incredible. We saw the baby's sweet nose and lips in profile, Acorn's legs and arms, feet and hands, heart, kidneys, lungs, and brain. Here she is in all her glory!
 
My most favorite moment, however, was seeing the baby kick on the screen and feeling it simultaneously in my body. I couldn't help but giggle after a few times I was so happy, and that shook the baby or the ultrasound wand, I couldn't tell. Lil' acorn is as healthy as they can tell, in the 57th percentile and right on schedule, to the day, in terms of growth (19 weeks, 1 day). We are so blessed and proud and excited and relieved and hopeful and joyous and that we have a perfect little bun baking in my oven, setting up nicely and smelling heavenly. We anxiously await the buzzer.

Now on to the baby's gender. It was so hard for Ryan to look away every time the technician had to measure the thigh bones or the umbilical cord or the genitals themselves. She was very good about keeping us from knowing and Ryan relented, going against his proclamation that we wouldn't tear his eyes away from that screen for anything. Although he wanted to know so badly, I think he's realizing how much fun it will be to find out with the whole family, surrounded by the people who love us most, during a time when we can continue celebrating (instead of just going back to work). Ryan asked the technician if she knew and of course she said, "Without a doubt, I am 100% positive!" That just about ate Ryan up, gobbled him up whole.  He couldn't stand it, but he endured. 

And he should! It feels so good, this feeling of wondrous anticipation and delectable waiting. I am relishing in the feeling, knowing good things are to come this weekend, that the build up of excitement and merriment will make our reveal that much more memorable. And what a reveal it will be! Instead of doing a honey bee cake, which has much meaning to me, I saw the baker's little owl on another cake and had to have it (plus, it is cheaper than the bee cake). So we're going to have a 9" round cake topped with white buttercream icing and a little branch coming out with a little 3-D owl perched on top of the cake. The owl will have a pink and blue ombre effect on the breast feathers and the cake will have the words, "He or She? Whoo will it be?" There will be several inside layers of vanilla cake spaced between cream cheese icing tinted the color of the gender. I spent $120 and it will be worth every bite, especially after giving the baker the envelope. She walked back out and said to another baker how excited she was about the cake after finding out. That just made me that much more happy, more anticipatory, more expectant.

Such a wonderful weekend will be upon us soon! It is the most deliciously wicked feeling I've ever had! And I am absolutely looking forward to the joyous celebration ahead of us.

Week 19
Even the pajamas are getting tight...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

what a feeling (18 weeks)

OH MY GOD! I AM ACTUALLY FEELING THE BABY KICK!!!!

The last week or two I have been feeling something like it could be the baby, but I have been attributing it to gas, to carbonation, to anything, not wanting to dare think it was the baby yet, not until I had more data, more proof! But today, just now, I am definitely sure. I am absolutely, 100%, without a doubt feeling the baby kick inside! A constant little flick, flick, flick, over an over again, letting me know lil' acorn is doing just fine. 

I was just on the phone with the bakery describing to them what I want in a reveal cake next week. I got off the phone and started on the computer again. Then all of a sudden, I'm feeling this repetitive tapping in my abdomen and that's definitely not what gas feels like! Lil' acorn's saying how happy he/she is about cake! Mmmm, cake. And every time I feel it I am grinning from ear to ear. 

I am trying not to cry because I'm at work, but I am certain of what I am feeling. I feel our sweet fighter who lives, our amazing warrior who survives, our watery sea dragon who swims deep, our lil' acorn who grows hard and tall. Whatever we call him or her, I feel you, my sweet, sweet child. I am so overjoyed and feel so unbelievably blessed! Thank you, God, for this amazing gift of life inside me. I will forever be grateful and will always be a true believer in Your work, that things happen for a reason, that You had a plan for us all a long, that I must remain patient in anything we do or want or need because You will always provide in your own way.

My coworkers must think I'm on drugs. And perhaps I am. I am high as a kite from this intoxicating feeling this child is giving me! Now on to figuring out how to concentrate on work while high...

Monday, July 9, 2012

what will it bee? (18 weeks)

I am getting pretty excited about next week! We will be finding out the sex of the baby when we do the anatomy scan on Monday. Or not. We haven't decided if we're going to have the technician place the results in a sealed envelope Oscars-style and hand deliver it to a baker who will whip up the appropriate color inside of a cake or if we'll just find out immediately in the doctor's office. We really wanted our immediate family to be a part of this, to be surprised, and to give thanks to them for all their support and so we've asked them to come over and we're going to grill steaks on Saturday, July 21st. We'll have the reveal cake, but the decision is whether we should be surprised on Saturday night right along with our family.

I can't wait to have my entire family there with us, to cook some amazing steaks for them and get them all liquored up, to let the anticipation build up to where no one can stand it any longer and we dive into that cake with tears and laughter and celebration and pure joy! Most people don't really care about this kind of stuff--it's just another baby, who cares? But to our little families, we are all so terribly excited. It's the first baby for both of our immediate families and the first in 10 years for my aunt's side of the family, so everyone is anticipating this.  

I really like the idea of a honey bee cake with "What will it bee?" on the top and little honey bees flying around it. I remember sadly thinking of everyone else around us as happy little worker bees, working their sweetened jobs, going home to their queen bee and a busy hive, their lives all honeycombed and sun-kissed. I can remember the sadness, the desire, the deep need for my own little hive not so long ago. And so it is only fitting that we are finally blessed with our own little honey bee that has sweetened our lives with each new day. 

Honey bees are the fertilizers of the earth. They bring life itself to countless blooming trees and vivid wildflowers. They keep us nourished from the fruits of their labor. They keep our world fertile with renewed growth and continued life. So a honey bee cake is the perfect way to celebrate with our family outside the delivery room, where there's no pain and exhaustion, just laughter cackling and wine flowing and steaks sizzling and surprise revealing and joyous crying. How grateful we are to have such wondrous and awe-inspiring life to celebrate. And celebrate we will.
 
Week 18
Starting to feel pretty big and we're not even half way yet!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

bebe est Monet? (17 Weeks)

I love not having something to pine over, to be sad about, to ruminate on, to obsess with. It's the most freeing thing in the world. To just live. To just be happy. Content. To enjoy my time here on earth. That's what I have only ever wanted. And I have been experiencing it. Finally.

Aside from working hard, I have just enjoyed my time being pregnant. Ryan and I rub my growing Buddha belly, say sweet things to acorn, hope he or she has already gotten used to our lulling and loving and cooing voices. Every morning and every night, Ryan says something to lil' acorn, kisses my belly, and places an ear upon the growing sweetness inside me, trying to hear a kick or a punch.

Such joy in my life. Such calm. Such quiet loveliness. I will forever be grateful for this time in my life. To feel utter contentment in everything I do. To know without a doubt that our little warrior is growing steadily and surely. To excitedly await that flutter kick, that tickle punch. I thought I felt something last week, like a soft-bristled paintbrush had been dipped in vivid color and swirled an intricate watercolor on the inside of my belly. Artfully tickled. Exquisitely fluttered. Bebe est Monet? More like Mama est gasey. I had just drank two carbonated La Crois and I was politely holding in salad gas in the presence of a friend. So I'm thinking I have yet to feel my genius artist paint me a punch, draw me a dive, sketch me a scoot. Gas was all she wrote. But still, it made me daydream about it and that was nice.

Today, I went to take my first tour of a day care to reserve a spot in March 2013 (yes, you have to go that early). I couldn't help but watch in polite disgust the caregivers' joyless rocking of the infants, their feeding of the babies as if it was just another job. And, well, it is exactly that for them. I saw how tiny their playground was and asked if they are taken outside for some sunshine. The principal said they don't always get around to it, but they try to follow guidelines of getting an hour of outside time in per day. Try? That's not good enough. I could care less about whether the kid eats carrots or spinach--it's all going to be healthy for Acorn. What I care about is being outside, getting good play time in, being a kid, and exploring.

I mean, I'm a biologist and that's the first thing I noticed. What does it look like outside? What kind of adventures can they have outside? Is there a smidgen of grass or just gravel and concrete? And what does it look like inside too? Are they going to be staring at institutional white walls all day? Being fed by some unloving caregiver that, to them, is just for a paycheck? I was not so happy when I left. I think I can handle the concept of daycare. But not that one. I also want a part-time option, which they didn't have. So the search continues. Those babies just didn't seem so happy to be there. It almost seemed like a prison or a nursing home (is there a difference?). Just sitting there, biding their time, not getting out and adventuring. I know my kid would be just an infant and couldn't really explore let alone care what kind of turf their stroller is supported by, but those are apparently my standards. Take it or leave it.

It's just one more notch in my ever growing suspicion that I want to stop working, feel the need to stop working. I never would have thought in a million years I would want to stay home. But after what we've been through, I don't like the idea of someone else raising our child that doesn't love him or her unconditionally. I don't care if it's Ryan or me or both. But someone who loves our child needs to raise him or her. And today's little tour helps to confirm my growing fears. 

Maybe it's different at other care facilities. I hope. Because I have to remain open-minded about how  our lives will turn out after Ryan makes his decision about the fire academy. I must be open to the idea that I may need to continue working so that Ryan can live a different and better life (and provide better for our family with his presence). I must be positive no matter what happens. And I will. Because ultimately, nothing else matters as long as we have our baby by our side to hold, to squeeze, to kiss, to cherish. Grin.

Week 17
Apparently I wear nothing else.

Week 16
I'm definitely keeping the balance thing going--butt's gotta keep up with belly!