Sunday, July 29, 2012

Dear Baby: July 29, 2012

Hey Buddy:
  You're on the homestretch! You have incubated 36.5 weeks, and Mommy is feeling it. Sleeping has become a hassle for all involved (Mom, me, and you), because it takes all of Mom's strength to turn over. She's also become stir crazy. You are so big now (we went to our last meeting with the perinatologist. Your head is measuring at 40 weeks, and we're just imagining you coming through the birth canal. You're also six pounds, three ounces. Ginormous!). Added to the South Texas heat, and your mom has spent an inordinate amount of time inside. Thank the heavens she has a stay-at-home job; that way, she can relax in the glider, with the fan blowing on her, and the A/C kept to a cool 72. 
  So when she suggested going for a drive, we jumped on the chance. We hit all the "hot" spots: Spring Branch, Bergheim, almost to the Guadalupe River State Park (we didn't want to spend the money getting in, so we went to the edge), Boerne, Helotes, and back home. It was nice to just get out, and see the country. The Hill Country is beautiful. You don't believe me? Here are some pictures for proof!
We had to choose to go left on Highway 46, or right. We chose left.
  Do you see that, child? Where else could you go for nachos, or frog legs? The Antler Cafe, that's where! Granted, we aren't sure it's still there. We didn't check (until now. Here's the website.)
Rust Lane: it's in the middle of nowhere.
   Grandma Watkins sent us a fancy camera, so we can take plenty of pictures when you get here. Our little country excursion gave us time to tinker with settings. Mom wants us to have it just right before you arrive. Granted, most of the pictures are bad. It was a sunny day, so there was too much light exposure. However, these pictures turned out nice. Your mom was fascinated by these country mailboxes. She spotted some earlier during the drive, and when we saw these, we had to stop. According to her, these aren't as antique-looking as the first set, but you make due with what you get. That tree in the background was pretty awesome as well. It was completely hollowed out. I think you would like it, too: I don't know why.
Your pop, and your pup.
  Look at Sammy. Is he bored, or just concentrating on the road? We're worrying a little about Sammy. He'll be 13 in August. Your mom tells me his face was black in his youth, but I'm not sure. He's good with kids, but he's also old. He sleeps most of the day, but, little man, he was so excited yesterday. Sure, he slept a little, but for the most part, he parked himself on that middle console. We hope you have good memories with him, for as long as he's around.
  Well, that's the long and short of it. I hope you come sooner than four weeks from now. Mom's having very painful practice contractions, so just hurry up and start coming. I feel like I've met you. Sometimes, when I talk to you, you kick back. Still, I can't wait to hold you.

Love,
  Dad

ps- Mom and I finally took a baby bump picture. It only took 36 weeks, but hey, better late than never, right?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Names

Yesterday was our 36 week mark. We're down (up?) to weekly check-ups at the midwives office now.

One thing I love about seeing the midwives is their promptness. I'm usually brought back right away to have my vitals checked and my weight taken ("not a choice favorite" - Trale Lewous), shown a room, and within five minutes, I've got the complete attention of one of the midwives for as long as I need. It's great.

But there are those brief moments when Mike and I must entertain ourselves. The midwives have huge boards of photos and baby announcements from past patients scattered around the office. At yesterday's appointment, we found ourselves giggling at all the cute squishy baby faces, the little noses and tongues and crossed eyes. Because we live in an urban area and close to Mexico, there were a lot of Hispanic names and a lot of creative spellings of traditional names on those boards.

One name in particular caught our attention. A petite white lady and a burly guy named their little girl Harley Quinn.

Harley Quinn.

Mike thinks the couple named her in an act of nerdy rebellion. I think (and hope and pray) that they were ignorant of their decision to name their daughter after the bodice-ripper genre.

Did they know??

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dear Baby: July 19, 2012

Dear Baby,

35 weeks today! Can you hold on a little bit longer? I'm not sure I can. These Braxton Hicks contractions are getting frequent and strong. If they're just "practice" contractions, I'm not sure I'm ready to face the real deal.

For many, many weeks of this pregnancy, I felt awkward with my new belly. Lately, that awkwardness has escalated to a new level. We're akin to the Goodyear blimp, little guy, and should only be operated by trained professionals, which I am not. I feel like I have a full-size baby strapped to my torso. I mean, obviously, I do have a baby hanging from my torso, but my baby bump no longer feels part of me. I can't bend over. I can't see my legs. My tailbone is hurting again; I can tell you're chunking up because of all the resulting ligament pain. My fingers are little sausages. Walking makes my feet swell, too. In any room warmer than 73 degrees, I start to get a sweaty neck and upper lip. You know, real attractive like. I wake up every morning with swollen ankles and wrists, too sore to roll myself over and out of bed. I'm a hot mess, my boy.

Your dad and I went to a family reunion on Saturday for all the descendants of his great-great-grandparents Sanders. Needless to say, Austin in July didn't agree with my pregnant body. Though uncomfortable, I did suck it up so your dad, Uncle Will, Uncle Dan, Aunt Fleming, and I could eat at The Mighty Cone, an incredible food truck in Austin. (Once you are here and the weather cools off, I think your dad and I will spend a lot more time in Austin exploring its rich food culture. There was so much I wanted to try if I hadn't been eight months pregnant and if it hadn't been 100 degrees outside.)

At the reunion, I spent a lot of time on the small "air conditioned" porch fanning myself and talking to old-timers. But that was my real interest in going, anyway. I really didn't know much about your dad's family beyond the living relatives I'd already met. We nailed down lots of information and a few phone numbers to pursue. You have quite the family tree, little man. When we go to Lubbock in November for your dad's conference, you and I are going to put on our sleuthing hats and explore the area from whence your people came. We have a lot of old homes, factories, and grocery stores to photograph. Did you know your great-grandfather was in the cookie business?

Being pregnant makes me think a lot about heritage, legacy. On your dad's side, your grandfather and both great-grandfathers have already passed away. And though we're so excited for your arrival, it's made me and especially your father wistful for what might have been. You'll never know these three men in your mortal life. I don't even know them. I can't pass on any memories about them to you. I can't search you for quirks or personality traits from these people. Maybe your dad can do some of that for you.

It occurred to me that though I've never met my father-in-law, you are one-quarter Simms Lemon. Of course, your dad is one-half his father, but he is, in my perception, a distinct individual from his father. Somehow I feel like observing you from day one, I'll be able to discern a bit more about your grandfather. It also boggles my mind that even 40 years ago, neither you dad's nor my parents even knew each other. Now, their DNA has come together to create a completely new person.

Well, I'm waxing philosophical without direction. You have the hiccups and are headbutting my cervix. I know you have no control over it, but you seem a little mischievous to me. Go easy on me. This is all new and a little terrifying. The physicality of labor looms large on the horizon. Here's hoping your delivery isn't too intense.

Love,

Your mom

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Dear Baby: June 28, 2012

Dear Baby,

We did it. Your dad and I graduated from a 4-day childbirth class. We are officially certified to be a part of your birth.

Umyeahright.

We did get a piece of paper saying we completed the course. And we did learn a thing or two about how labor actually goes down. But (at least in my humble opinion) we are still a bit unprepared for your arrival.

We're 32 weeks today. Hooah! We're getting close. You're getting strong, little man. I stayed in bed a while this morning feeling you kick me. You're head down, so I can tell when you're kicking up high by my ribs and when you're throwing elbows down low by my pelvis. Mostly you kick and retract, but sometimes you stick out your little foot and just leave it there for me to tickle. Weirdo.

But anyway, back to the birth class. It was, of course, very informative, and on our last day, we got to tour the hospital where you'll be born. It was so funny to see a parade of 10 pregnant women plus partners tromping around the labor & delivery floor. I squeezed your dad's hand in one of the labor & delivery rooms and asked him if he could imagine hanging out in there, waiting for you to make your debut. It feels a little bit more real now.

I did have a moment of panic, though, when I looked at a poster of a baby's head engaging in his mother's pelvis. It suddenly clicked that my body was going to feel some incredible, incredible pain. I've been going back and forth on what sort of pain management I'd like during labor. Since I've never had a baby before, I can't really fathom what it'll feel like. Which makes it hard to plan. My intent right now is to play it by ear, and your dad and the midwives are all on board with that.

This is your latest beauty shot. Your dad thinks you have my chin, and his nose. I think I'll need to see you first before I agree with him. I do love your little chin fats.

We think this picture of you is a little creepy. It was cool while the image was live, though, and I could see you blink at me. Well, you were blinking at a sonogram wand on the other side of several layers of tissue and skin, but... It felt like we made a connection, you and me.

As anxious as I am to see you and to snuggle you, I hope you stay in there as long as you need. We want you strong and healthy and chubs.

Love,

Your mom