On Raising Our Daughter (Practically) Alone, Sort Of

This summer turned me into a reluctant hermit.

I didn’t want to be this way. I might enjoy my alone time more than some, but I never intended on becoming an all-out loner. It’s just one of those things about living in a town like this, and it just sort of happened. The tourists invaded and I eventually ran out of places to be in peace. So I came home after work and stayed inside. It’s only been in the last week or so that things have been calm enough in town that I can go back to my table at Starbucks.

On the bright side, I’ve been able to (by and large) avoid the kinds of people who ask stupid questions about pregnant women. You know, those lists of “things not to say to pregnant women” and things like that? Yeah, been able to avoid that for the most part. About the worst I’ve gotten is “how are you feeling?” and “Wow you’re really small!” And this is due mostly to the fact that I work in a small office (with only guys) where I don’t get a lot of walk-in customers. So that’s nice.

But it’s also gotten me really scared that by this time next year, I’ll have an 8-month old, won’t be working, and will basically be stuck in my house in avoidance of the tourists all day, every day. My hermitude will probably reach new levels and I doubt it’ll be healthy.

This summer has got me thinking about the fact that Cameron and I will pretty much be raising our daughter solo. And I mean that in a couple different ways. One of them is that this community does not have a huge “young” population. Yeah, there are some people our age having kids up here, but mostly, the people we know are enjoying their retirement in mountain paradise. (Because why wouldn’t you?) There isn’t a huge work force up here other than tourism, so naturally there aren’t a lot of young people with young families who settle here for a long time because that’s where the career is. Most of the people our age that we know work odd hours at restaurants or in retail stores and are single or dating. There’s only one other couple in our childbirth classes, and I am really, really hoping that we can hit it off and I will have someone else to talk to about this crazy journey, which brings me to my second point.

I literally do not know anyone (in person, that I am close to) who has young children or who is pregnant. I don’t have sisters, no cousins close by/that I even know, and none of my girlfriends are at this point in their lives. About the only people I can think of who might remotely fall into this category are Cameron’s step-brother, who is expecting his 3rd son in October, but he and his family live all the way in Florida, and one of his cousins who just had a baby a few weeks ago, but she is in the Atlanta area. (I HAD a friend from college who had a baby last month and I was really excited for that because we’d sort of be in it all together, but she basically cut me out of her life after announcing she was pregnant last year and I have no clue why, so, guess not. Womp.) So anyway, all of this leaves me feeling kind of daunted about this whole thing because I have no idea what I’m doing and I have almost nobody to call to ask stupid questions. I have my mom, obviously, but I don’t think I’m way out in left field by thinking it’s totally different to have someone your age who has gone through this recently or is currently going through it to lend an opinion or just let me cry for no good reason because they’ve been there too and know how it feels. (I love my mom, but sometimes she gets a little bit of a “suck it up” attitude that probably won’t be very helpful.) Luckily, I’ve made some connections with a couple other young moms through the blog network that I can hopefully contact in confidence and ask questions, but again, different than being in person, I would imagine.

The other part of all of this that worries me is for the baby’s sake. How will it affect her if I don’t have a network of other moms with babies for her to interact with? What if I can’t find any opportunities for her to socialize? Will this be bad for her? Agh! My first-time mom’s brain is already overloaded with worry that I won’t give her the chance to bond with other people because I just don’t have the resources. I would hate for her to end up socially nervous like me because it kind of sucks being this way. I wouldn’t say I am socially awkward, but I’m definitely no social butterfly. I get nervous meeting new people. I hate it, but I don’t know exactly what to do to fix it–and I’d really like it if my daughter didn’t end up this way either.

I’m probably over-thinking it all anyway. As far as the baby goes, I am sure that the first 2-3 years of her life are not going to define her social capabilities (unless they do and you can cue my freak-out) and by the time we move back down to civilization she’ll be fine. Without wanting to sound like I am looking for a pity-party (because I’m not), I am worried about me in all of this. I feel like having a network or at least a couple friends nearby to help me get through the stupid questions and the hormone overload and the panic and overwhelming changes I’m about to face would be super helpful. Same goes for Cameron as a first-time dad, because I’m sure at some point he’s just going to get tired of my stupidity (if he isn’t already, bless him), but he has several work peers who have recently had kids and he’s already getting a lot of good advice from them about the whole first-time dad thing (i.e. what do I do with my crazy wife who won’t stop crying), so hopefully he won’t feel so daunted. Key word hopefully.

Did any of you run into feelings like this before having your first baby? Were you the first of your group of friends to have babies and basically had no idea what you were doing with no help to fall back on? How did you deal? Or am I just in the throes of hormone-crazed first-baby pregnancy and need to chill the fuck out?

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Just Sayin’.

Or, The post in which I use .gifs to express myself.

So I know I’m still roughly 3 months away from becoming a real, bona fide, actual parent, but I’ve already decided to stay out of the whole “mommy wars” thing. In general I don’t think it’s helpful or constructive and generally leads to a lot of stress because people get so out of control. So I’ve decided not to ask for advice or make my opinions known online, since it usually devolves into nothing more than mud-flinging. That being said, I have to comment on something that I think all parents should have generally the same opinion on, though I know I’m probably opening up a can of worms in doing so.

It’s about breastfeeding. Ruh roh. Everybody stay calm.

sherlock breatheMore importantly, it’s about the people who think that breastfeeding in public is shameful, disgusting, immodest, wrong, or generally anything other than overall awesomeness.

sherlock eyerollThe reason I got to thinking about this is because last night I was, against my better judgement, lying in bed watching the VMAs on MTV. I don’t normally do this, because I think the music industry these days tends to be a bunch of sparkly poo and I don’t watch music videos anyway, but there was an NSYNC reunion. And it ended up only being for 110 seconds, but IT WAS AWESOME.

(And this is the place I would put a .gif of NSYNC performing….IF I COULD FIND ONE)

Anyway. The show opened up with a performance by Lady Gaga, which is awesome because she’s been really quiet recently and I’m happy to see her doing things again. I mean, she did look like the bread cat at first, but, it is Lady Gaga after all.

gagabreadcat breadcatThe performance ended with her stripping down to a seashell bra and a thong bikini. And you know what, I’m okay with that. I really don’t have a problem if you feel comfortable enough with your body that you feel like you can perform in front of millions of people with basically a naked bum. Rock on with your bad self.

What happened shortly thereafter, though, was a little more upsetting and made me throw up in my mouth a little. What I’m referencing is Miley Cyrus’s performance with Robin Thicke. She, too, went the ultra-skimpy bathing suit route, (in what looked like latex) but at one point in the performance she got down on all fours and grinded her behind on Robin Thicke’s genital region.

sherlock gdjskfdjkIt’s at this point that you’re probably wondering what on earth the VMAs and Miley Cyrus’s twerking and Lady Gaga’s butt could possibly have in common with breastfeeding. Nothing, directly. It’s more about perception and the things that we, as a society, are okay with.

See, this is the problem that I have with all of this. We (speaking on a highly generalized zeitgeist level) are totally, 100% okay with watching women parade around on stage and do a hip-gyrating, boob-shaking routine wearing little more than pasties and a thong. I’m okay with that too, usually–I mean, I think there should be a point at which we draw some kind of line, but I think if female performers want to wear that sort of stuff and dance like that, okay. I’m not a prude, and I’m not offended by that and neither, it seems, are a lot of people out there. It’s sort of the “norm” isn’t it? So, point #1, we’re okay with women dancing around nearly naked and swinging their boobs around to the beat. Gotcha.

But we’re not okay with a mother sitting in a restaurant or in a public park trying to quietly, modestly, privately breastfeed her child.

sherlock internal screamingI know I’m not the only person to see the giant, glaring, ugly double standard here, right? RIGHT? The whole concept basically makes me wish my head would explode so I don’t have to listen to it anymore because IT’S JUST THAT FUCKING RIDICULOUS.

Oh, sorry, I should have warned you that there is language in this post. If you haven’t guessed yet by reading my blog, I really couldn’t give 2 sparkly unicorn shits about censorship. (But it would be awesome if I could…)

Here’s the deal. The recurring theme I see online coming from people who are against breastfeeding in public say that it’s disgusting because…wait for it….children might see.

john are you seriousYes John, I am serious. Let that one sink in for a moment.

hahanojohnYeah, sorry, but I’m calling bullshit on that one. Because guess what. There’s quite a few things I worry about my children potentially seeing on TV or out in public. Gratuitous violence, drug use, really explicit Game of Thrones sex, (good for Mama, not good for kiddos) Miley Cyrus twerking in a latex bodysuit, etc etc. You know what I’m absolutely NOT worried about my children seeing in public? Breastfeeding. I mean, let’s get real here, if a woman is breastfeeding in public, what are we actually seeing? Not much. Maybe the top of the boob. Maybe, shocker of all shockers, a flash of nipple for a second. Hey, Janet Jackson got away with it and we didn’t seem to mind all that much. (Ooh, am I dating myself with that one?) You see a whole lot more of the whole boob/cleavage area just by walking through the mall.

Here’s another thing. There is nothing sexual about breastfeeding. Nothing. And if you think there is, you probably need to seek professional help because you might have a weird fetish. Lots of cleavage at Hooter’s is super sexual, though. There’s only one reason to dress like that other than to attract attention to one’s self (and probably get better tips–hey, I used to be a bartender, I know how it works.) Now let me cover all my bases here and say that I don’t have a problem if you want to show a little cleavage. Or a lot. It’s your body, you do what you like with it, and if you feel like that’s something you should be doing, fine. I think tasteful cleavage is pretty. Generally, I am totally chill with boobs. Boobs boobs boobs.

But here’s where the line gets squidgy. If we, as a society, are going to be okay with lots of cleavage and bikini thongs on national television and what some people see as an exploitation of the female body, we have got to stop pretending that we are offended by a woman feeding her baby in public. Have to. Because that is one of the worst double standards out there that I can think of. There are already enough double standards about women, let’s at least try to cut at least one out. Because we can’t say that we’re okay with super-sexualization on TV and not be okay with a little top boob poking out over a baby’s head in the park once in a while. For god’s sake, what if a woman was wearing a thong bikini and pasties in the park feeding her baby with a bottle? We’d be totally okay with that, wouldn’t we? So what’s the difference? Because I have yet to figure one out.

About the only thing that I can think of as far as the “children might see” logic is that in fact, we are placing our own insecurities about the female body onto our children. By saying “I don’t want my children to see that” we are really saying two things: 1) “I don’t want to see that” and “I don’t want to be bothered to explain to my children what’s going on when they ask what that woman is doing.” What’s wrong with telling our children the truth about breastfeeding? It goes something like this: Baby is hungry. Mom has food. Mom is feeding baby. Sounds simple enough to me. And if we’re going to be uncomfortable with that notion it means we’re really uncomfortable with ourselves and it’s just being projected onto mom and breastfeeding baby. And you know what? I am way more uncomfortable explaining to my child what Miley Cyrus is doing when she’s simulating sex on tv than explaining that that mom is feeding her little one just like I used to do when they were tiny.

And one more thing: let’s stop forcing women to cover up while they’re breastfeeding. If you personally want to do that for your own comfort or modesty, rock on. Go for it. Nursing covers can be super cute! But we can’t tell a woman she has to cover up, and I don’t give a rat’s tail if you’re on a plane or at a play or in a movie theater or in a restaurant or on the beach. How would you like to get inside a dark stuffy sleeping bag and eat your dinner? Or sit in the bathroom and chow down? Sounds pretty shitty to me (pun intended). So let’s quit asking our mothers to feed their babies in awkward places and positions if they don’t want to. Especially if we’re going to practically expect our female celebrities to show up on the red carpet nearly naked.

Basically, my point is this: Boobs are made for feeding babies. And that’s awesome. Boobs are also pretty and lots of people like them. That is also awesome. So it’s also okay if women want to show them off and dance around in any state of dress/undress that they want. But we can’t be okay with one of them and not okay with the other. It just does not work like that.

Just sayin’.

Prepping the Nursery

The last few days I definitely hit a “nesting” mode of sorts and decided it was high time to put the nursery in gear and get it moving. Wednesday, I decided I would paint the wall, or at least the part of it that I could reach without moving the dresser on my own. I was a little distressed to find that my painting shirt had shrunk significantly since the last time I wore it. Go figure.

The color we decided on is a nice sky-blue. If you know me at all you know that I absolutely hate the whole “pink is for girls, blue is for boys” concept. Total crap. So I figured since I was using that “Someday I will save the world” canvas as a color inspiration, I would stick with the gray-blue-yellow theme (my glider is also gray, so it fit). Plus I figured the blue is neutral enough that we shouldn’t have to paint over it when we move and turn this house into a rental.

So, since the painting only took me about an hour and I still had all evening before Cameron came home I decided that I would tackle the crib. I like putting things together. (Just so nobody freaks out, I never lifted anything heavy, I took frequent breaks, had all the windows open, and drank lots of water.)

The cats were not altogether pleased that I was turning their “rec room” into the baby’s room.

The crib, also, took me no time at all to get put together. I am so pleased with the way it looks. And, I did not know this, but it also came with a trundle drawer for underneath. The description on the Babies R Us page didn’t say it or I must have missed it; either way I’m really pleased that it was included because now I have a little extra storage for sheets and bedding and whatnot.

And yes, if you’re wondering, that IS my wedding dress hanging there on the closet door. I have still neglected to get it put in the shipping box I bought to sent it off to be professionally cleaned and sealed. I should probably get on that.

We don’t have the mattress or any bedding for it yet, but we’re thinking tomorrow we will go down the hill and splurge and get those items ourselves.

So, yesterday, I had a few hours before Cameron got home from work and thought I’d tackle the next step in the decorating process, the tree. I bought a decal at Target to hang on the wall since we’ll be leaving this place in a few years and I didn’t want to deal with painting over a lot of stuff. I pulled open the container and first found this.

Seems simple enough. So I flip it over, and….

Right. Instructions on reverse side, huh? Okay. So, in the absence of instructions I figured, well, I can probably figure this out myself. On the sheets with the stickers each removable piece had a letter next to it, which I took to mean it was similar to a color-by-numbers and the letters would match up with the corresponding letter, and that would be that. Not so difficult. Until I got to the middle section of the trunk that said I needed to connect two pieces labeled I and K. Well, there were no pieces on the sheet that said I or K. Right. So I passed by those, finished the rest of the tree, and was left with two major sections labeled L and M. The letters didn’t match but the sizes were correct so I attached them anyway. Obviously someone in quality control doesn’t know their letters. Either way, it took me less than an hour once I figured out what I was doing, and this was the end result.

My nerdy side definitely stepped back and went “Hey look! It’s the white tree of Gondor!” I think it looks great, with the exception that it is a little smaller than the packaging advertised. The box said it would be 53″ tall and 45″ wide, but it ended up being closer to 45″ tall and only 40″ wide. So, as a result, the measurement I did to place it in a good spot on the wall kind of fell flat (or short), and it’s a little lower than I would have liked especially once we put the crib up next to it, but there were so many pieces there is no way I’m going to take it down and try it again. So instead we’re going to buy another one and put it up on the other side of the crib, and then either find some cloud decals or just paint a couple on the wall, which I figure will be easy enough not to screw up (I couldn’t draw my way out of a paper bag) and won’t be too much of a pain to paint over later.

So, still not totally done yet, but the big thing (the crib) is done and I’m glad I don’t have to worry about getting that put together when I am 8 months pregnant and too big to pick up the pieces myself. (As it was it was pretty tough to lean into the crib and get the mattress spring in…) I want the room to be totally done by the time baby gets here because we are not planning to co-sleep and I want her to be sleeping in that crib from night one. I still need to finish the painting where the dresser is right now (didn’t want to move that by myself) so hopefully that will get done this weekend, and we can also get the second tree and clouds and border up. I’m concerned about the room being a little cramped because we have this giant bed in there with nowhere else to put it, so once I get everything pretty much in order I can figure out how to mount some shelves/baskets and get a little more storage going on. I do have the entire closet to work with, so getting that organized will be good for me.  I also need to vacuum the crap out of the carpet. But, the point is the process is started, and it makes me feel much better.

As for me, I am 26 weeks now and starting to feel a little on the big side. I’m at 18 pounds gained and I know that’s still totally normal and I have a ways to go before this is over but it definitely doesn’t make me feel great. I’ve never ever seen the scale that high and it feels scary to me. I feel like I hit that point where my body feels and looks very foreign to me, especially (sorry, TMI alert) my boobs. They look SO WEIRD. Ugh, I hate it. I don’t like not liking my body, because for the most part we had a pretty good relationship pre-pregnancy, my body and I, and it took a really long time to get there. All I can think about sometimes is getting back to the gym once the baby comes and getting back into shape, which I know should not be my focus, but it has been. I guess that’s normal. I’m still not sleeping great, although the night I put the crib together I was so sore I slept like a freaking rock. I notice I sleep better when the cat is locked out of the room, since he likes to step all over me and wakes me up half the night. The last two nights I’ve had some soreness so I took some Tylenol PM and that seemed to help me sleep quite a lot, but I’d rather not make that a habit if I can help it. My ankles started swelling at the end of the day too. Other not-so-pleasant symptoms at this point include heartburn and acne and soreness in my hips, but I guess for the most part I still feel pretty good. Could be worse! I have to keep telling myself that.

Also….we seem to have encountered a crisis and it has to do with the baby’s name. And not her middle name either, though that still hasn’t been picked out. We’ve been discussing it a lot lately and I have a feeling we might end up settling on something other than Celia, though nothing is decided for sure yet. And that’s okay, I mean, nothing is set in stone until it’s on the birth certificate anyway. It’s not like she will know the difference. On the plus side, the new name we’ve fallen for includes all the letters in Celia, so I wouldn’t have to throw away the name letters I already bought, just add a few more and rearrange them. I’m not going to say what it is yet, until we decide for sure. Could end up be nothing. We’re still talking about it. Hint: it’s in a song. Helpful right.

In parting, I thought I’d include a photo that accurately describes the kind of craziness we often have to deal with in Estes Park. I know I complain about the tourists a lot….but this could help explain why.

Yes. Those are two tents set up on the city golf course. Because free camping on the golf course makes total sense.

The Cost of Having a Baby (in America), pt. 1

Since becoming pregnant I’ve been following a lot of other expectant mothers’ blogs, Twitter feeds, Facebooks, etc. Almost all of them are, naturally, posting pictures of their progressive ultrasounds as their baby grows. Some of them are getting numerous scans because they are high risk, and some of them are not. I did it too, at our one and only 20-week ultrasound/anatomy scan. However, I seem to be among the vast minority of people who only get one ultrasound.

And I keep getting asked that. Why only one scan? Why not a first trimester scan too? Doesn’t it drive you crazy to not be able to see the baby? I kept reading on the (now-abandoned) message boards women who were bragging that they’d had 3 ultrasounds in the first trimester alone and that it must be soooo torturous for women who have to wait until 12 weeks or *gasp* even 20 weeks! 

Well, I’ll show you why we only got one scan. 

IMG_20130812_172443

In case you can’t decipher that, those are two bills. One is for $155.70, and the other is for $682.43. Those are the bills I got after we had our 20-week ultrasound. The one we were told would be covered by our insurance. We were told by our doctor that most insurances only cover 1 ultrasound unless the pregnancy is considered high risk, so we waited until 20 weeks to have the ultrasound, since most things can’t even be seen before then, and we wanted to find out the gender. Perhaps needless to say, I went into this assuming it would be covered by insurance.

About 10% of the total bill was covered. The big one is for the ultrasound itself. The smaller bill is just for the tech who analyzed the ultrasound (not the person who DID the ultrasound). We have coverage through a major insurance provider and we pay a lot of money out of each of Cameron’s paychecks to have it. So, again, needless to say, I was a little bit upset when we got this bill. All of our other pre-natal have been covered, with the exception of any lab work that we had to have done. I thought since this was doctor ordered and considered (by the doctor I’m sure) to be necessary pre-natal care, it would be covered. Frankly, to be honest, if I’d known that the bill would be THAT much, we might have chosen to opt out of having it altogether. 

So yeah, that’s why we were only able to get one ultrasound. Because we can’t *expletive* afford any more. Who can? That’s a lot of money to be dropping for a medical procedure that is nice but, in the end, not 100% necessary (assuming you are not having a high-risk pregnancy, which I’m not). And please note, I’m not posting this to brag (ha!) or whine or anything, just to kind of give people an idea of what it’s like to pay for preparing to have a baby….even with insurance. I titled this post “part 1” because after Celia arrives I do plan to blog again about how much we end up paying for her, in pretty blunt terms. To be honest with you, I’m frankly terrified of what kind of bills I will be opening up after she arrives–like I won’t have enough to worry about. We’ve talked to a couple coworkers of Cameron’s who have similar insurance policies and recently had babies, and I have a ballpark idea, but it’s still a lot of money and there are many variables that could vastly alter the total cost. In our package from the birthing center, there’s a very wide range of prices, and those do not even include the physician fees, which also have a very wide range of prices. (Perhaps I should mention, though it ought to go without saying, that this is one of the many, many reasons why I am preparing for a natural birth, because medication is expensive.) 

An additional footnote–last week we changed our insurance policy to one that has not such a high deductible, meaning more will be covered sooner, but we’re more than doubling what we are paying for it. We decided it would be easier to never see that money than have to pay out of pocket for it. 

I tell you what though. This pregnancy and all the medical costs that are racking up along with it are really making me wish we lived in a country with decent healthcare. What a concept, right? Not to get overly political here, but this is one of the many reasons why the suggestion that mothers put their babies up for adoption instead of having an abortion is totally illogical. Adoption is a solution to parenting, not pregnancy. And there are a billion and a half reasons why a mother/couple might choose not to have a baby, all of which are personal and 110% valid, but one of them is the exorbitant cost of pre-natal and post-natal care. Imagine what we’d have paid for this without insurance. We’re lucky to have insurance and a lot of people out there don’t. 

In the end, of course the most important thing is that we come home from the hospital with a healthy baby with 10 fingers and 10 toes, and I’m conscious of that. I’m also conscious that we are really lucky that we got to this point without any medical intervention in the first place because many couples don’t. I’m not trying to compare the two because frankly they’re not comparable. I’m just trying to provide a small amount of perspective from my perspective in the hopes of fighting the thought that having a baby is cheap and easy. There’s simply no denying that opening up massive hospital bills causes a lot of stress. Considering we’ll be going from two incomes to one when Celia comes, I am already nervous about the costs we’ll be racking up at the hospital. Having a baby really isn’t just picking out nursery colors and putting together a crib. Everyone says babies are expensive–but it really does start long before they even come into our lives. 

Odds n’ Ends

Because I felt like writing but at the same time wanted to procrastinate working on the book. Funny how that works.

Speaking of the book, I’ll start off with that first. Seems to be progressing at around the correct pace. I don’t always stick to my daily word count, but usually by the end of the week it ends up leveling out. I think I have finally nailed down an “opening” and I’m moving forward pretty consistently instead of backward. I added up the majority of the sections that I have written, since I tend to write out of sequence whenever the inspiration strikes, and found that I am right around 20,000 words written so far which is a little more than I thought I had. Trouble is connecting all these bits and pieces and deciding what to use and what not to use. I’m trying to let the new format work itself in and not force it, because that seemed to be what was killing me before. I keep having to remind myself, in Nike fashion, to just do it. (Plus the countdown on my phone seems to be a motivator, too.)

This week we got quite a few things for Celia. Our neighbor called us last week and said they were having a yard sale and that they had a cradle for sale, so we went over to take a look. I snapped it up as soon as I could. It was used for 3 kids since the late 60s but it’s still in excellent shape. It fits perfectly in the window in the living room, so we now have a place to put Celia down if we’re watching tv or otherwise don’t want to be upstairs.

 

Please don't warn me about the cable and the shade string. I got it.
Please don’t warn me about the cable and the shade string. I got it.

We also snagged a child’s chair and desk, which we thought would be great for once Celia gets a little older, as well as a set of Mr. Potatohead. My mom has a full collection at her house too so Ce is going to be more than set when it comes to Mr. Potatohead.

desk

Celia’s crib came last week too! My grandma and grandpa ordered it for us, hooray. It’s still sitting in the box upstairs waiting for the room to be painted and I am really eager to get that put together. We bought paint this weekend, a nice sky blue-gray that will pair really nicely with her yellow letters. We also got a new outfit for her courtesy of a coworker of Cameron’s, an adorable little sundress/cardigan number that I foresee using to take her first serious photographs. (I also took advantage of a Carter’s coupon and ordered 2 footie sleepers, a set of onesies, and some flowery headbands.)

And, naturally, here I am at 25 weeks:
Photo on 2013-08-07 at 18.03

I still feel pretty good all things considered, though I have definitely seen an upswing in heartburn/acid reflux in the last week or so. I have a feeling that I will be moving to the guest bed at some point in the near future, too. Our bed is pretty much the most comfortable thing in the world with a 4″ memory foam topper on it (we call it our cloud bed) but right now it’s almost a little too soft, because I end up getting stuck in certain positions and it’s really hard to move. So, might have to give up and move over to the firm bed in the other room. I don’t think I’ve slept through the night in at least a few weeks.

Still able to tie my shoes...but probably not for long.
Still able to tie my shoes…but probably not for long.

Lately my mom has been pressuring us to pick out a middle name for Celia, which is not going well (or as quickly as she’d like I’m sure). She’s being very persistent in sending me lists and lists of names, but only 1 out of 10 do I like. Thing is, Cameron and I took so long to come up with one! Just one! girl’s name that we both liked, coming up with a second is just turning out to be a frustration now, and I don’t want to pick a name just for the sake of picking one. I’m picky–it takes me forever to nail down names for fictional characters, now picking a name for a real person? Forget it. But it’s going to be with her forever (or until she gets married, because she could do like I did and “technically” remove her middle name) and I don’t want to not like it. So maybe she ends up not having one, I don’t know. Seems these days middle names are only useful when the kid is in trouble anyway. I guess it’s just not very high on my list of priorities.

I contacted the person at the hospital responsible for signing us up for childbirth classes, so hopefully soon I should get a schedule on when those are. I also finished up the registry and I know baby shower plans are in the works, so things are really moving fast now. I am so eager for autumn to be here. Football! Pumpkin things! Cool weather! And baby!

Along with fall I am really eager for the tourists to go home and for things to go back to being quiet. This tends to be a really touchy subject with a lot of people I know here in Estes. There seems to be this overbearing school of thought that we are so lucky to live here that we should like the tourists no matter what. I tend to feel a little more cynical than that. There’s the obvious–traffic is congested, no place to park, nobody knows where they’re going, the supermarket is such a madhouse all the time that I will go 45 minutes away to do my shopping, everything is always packed…that sort of stuff. But maybe more than ever this summer I have felt this terrible sense of isolation being up here, and I know a lot of it has to do with the tourists being here. I spend every evening at home because there’s nowhere in town to go that isn’t inundated with tourists. I can’t go sit in the corner table at Starbucks and work on the book because it’s too busy and distracting. It gets to you after a while. I think another facet of it is I just feel lonely, plain and simple. I haven’t seen any of my friends in months and every attempt I make at trying to get some of them to come visit is met like I’m suggesting they go to the moon, so after a while I just quit making the attempt. Add on top of that my two best friends ever just moved to Baltimore so they can start an amazing new life together (and how hard THAT has been to cope with) and the fact that I don’t have any friends my age up here, and it starts to bug you after a while. I worry often that when the baby comes I will feel even more isolated from my friends–not just by distance but by the entire new lifestyle I will have. But at least by the point when Celia arrives, it will be quiet enough in town that I will be able to walk down to the Starbucks with her and be around Cameron and his employees, all of whom I love, and not be stuck inside the house. In the end, I have to remind myself that we are not in Estes for life, and in a few years we’ll be moving back to Fort Collins (voted one of the happiest places to live in the country, I should point out…) and I can hopefully go back to enjoying Estes the way it is meant to be enjoyed–because I feel bad in saying so but I do resent it from time to time.

Anyway! That turned into far more of a vent than I had intended, so here’s something cool. I came across a company called Diamond Candles and ordered one on a whim. I thought, well, it’s not too much more expensive than buying a candle at Yankee, and this has jewelry inside it! So I splurged. My candle arrived on Monday and I promptly set to burning it so I could dig out the treasure.

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I don’t think the ring is worth anything, but at least it’s really pretty! I’m pretty pleased with the product overall–the candle is way bigger than I thought it would be and it smells fantastic. I hope they put out some fall scents soon because I am definitely not against ordering another. A cool idea overall.

And finally, one more piece of silliness. Last week Cameron and I were playing catch in the backyard and he said to me, “try to hit this saw horse with the football from the other side of the yard.” We have a pretty big yard, but I have pretty good aim, so I gave it a shot–and this happened.

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No joke! Literally split the uprights. That thing was jammed in there, too. Neither of us could believe it. First try from about 20 yards away. Probably could never do it again if I tried. But it did make me feel like the most badass pregnant woman ever.

Finally finally, a photo dump of my animals, because they’re cute. And everyone likes a blog with animal pictures.




6 Months

Say whaaaat?

Apparently so! We are 24 weeks in and only have 16 weeks to go. I am still trying to wrap my head around the notion that pregnancy is 9 months when it is…in fact….10. Can someone explain this one to me? 9 months and 40 weeks do not add up, folks. So the notion that I am 6 months in with 3 to go is, as Dwight Schrute would say, “false.” 

Latest OB appointment was yesterday and apparently everything is going just swimmingly still. Celia even kicked the doctor when he did the doppler to listen to her heartbeat. I still feel impossibly small for 24 weeks and it definitely doesn’t help when I am surrounded by exclamations of “you are so tiny!” which you’d think would feel like a compliment, but at this point it makes me worry that baby is not growing the way she should. I am reassured from my OB that she is, and anyone who makes me feel otherwise can stuff it. (Along with all the other stuff people say to a pregnant woman.)

I also got to talk to my OB about what to expect as far as “procedure” goes when we arrive at the hospital to have this baby. I have been filled with a lot of anxiety about certain things happening in labor, namely that I might be pressured into induction/Pitocin and a c-section. I also didn’t want to be forced to stay in bed the whole time, I wanted to be comfortable and walk or be in the tub or on the ball or eat and drink or whatever I might feel like I will need. As time goes on I feel increasingly sad that we can’t afford a home birth because I really, really wanted one, but I am at least a little comforted that we do have a birthing center here and it is as much of a compromise as I’ll be able to get. Anyway, my OB did make me feel better because when I brought it up he immediately said yes, a lot of women are concerned about these things, but he did say that episiotomies are the exception and not the norm, I will not have to constantly be attached to an IV (though I will have one inserted and ready to go just in case, I just won’t be attached), they only do intermittent fetal monitoring and induction is only an option once I’m at least a week overdue (fetal distress excepting). Once the baby actually arrives, they immediately allow skin-to-skin contact (again, fetal distress excepting), they wait to cut the cord till after it’s done pulsing, and they don’t even worry about measurements and all that good stuff until after I’ve been able to breastfeed. Which, all in all, is basically everything that I wanted some sort of say in. Ideally I’d like the option to birth and not just labor in the pool, but I guess I will take what I can get. And again, I am comforted by the fact that we live literally two blocks from the hospital and we will have the luxury of waiting as long as possible to head over there and not have to get there and sit around for a while because we had to drive in. 

 

Photo on 2013-07-31 at 16.05

My next appointment is the dreaded glucose test. The nurse gave me my bottle of liquid sugar yesterday and…naturally…it had to be orange flavored. Ugh. My worst nightmare. I’m trying to tell myself that I’m not concerned about the results but of course there is a little bit of nervousness there. Still, I know my risk is low and I’ve been doing well at keeping up my exercise and eating right, so hopefully it won’t be a problem.

Celia is continuing to be a crazy mover. I think sometimes she is using my uterus as a lap pool. I can literally see her moving from one side to the other. Her favorite game, it seems, is to play “Aliens.” I always have to be Ripley.

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While I am having a great time during this pregnancy, I am already tired of the unsolicited parenting advice. So tired of it. I know every pregnant woman gets to this point–and again, I feel compelled to give the disclaimer that I’m not calling out any individuals, just ranting. I think what really tends to get my goat when it happens is that it’s accompanied by this unspoken insinuation that because I’m not a parent yet, I’m a complete moron. Even when I try to post silly things on Facebook that are obviously “duh” things, people respond seriously like I have no idea what I’m talking about. Sometimes I really just want to say, “no shit.” Even legitimate questions in which I am actually asking for advice are met with responses that seem to reek of “well duh, you should know this.” And that’s frustrating, especially because I don’t really have any friends or close family who have had children in the last, say, twenty years, so I don’t have someone I can go to in confidence about those kinds of questions without being made to feel like a total idiot. It’s weird because I generally have a very thick skin (hello, author) but for some reason being told I don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to raising my kid just turns me into that stereotypical crazy hormonal pregnant woman.

Anyway! Celia’s crib is officially on the way! My grandma and grandpa ordered it for us and I am so excited for it to arrive! That’s about the only big piece of furniture we need for her room so it will be awesome to get going on putting her nursery together. In the last few weeks I got her name letters (and subsequently glittered the everloving crap out of them) and a cute canvas that I found at Hobby Lobby.

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Pay no attention to the unfortunate tabletop that got stripped when an air freshener tipped over on it...who knew?
Pay no attention to the unfortunate tabletop that got stripped when an air freshener tipped over on it…who knew?

I’m still planning on doing a woodland theme, though I doubt it will be as in-depth as I had originally planned. I wanted to paint a big tree and some animals on the wall, but then I thought about how we are planning to move within 2-3 years and it would be a pain to paint it all over again, so I think I might just paint the room a solid color and then make use of those wall decals. Michaels had some really cute ones!

Anyway, I’m off with my swimming baby to rustle up some grub (hubby works late tonight) and maybe (fingers crossed) get a little writing done. This weekend is the final weekend for Renaissance Festival and I’m hoping it won’t be too hot so I can go down. It’s hard to be pregnant at ren faire…

Photo on 2013-07-31 at 16.08