Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Christmas is my very favorite holiday for any number of reasons, and this year it got a bump.  Not merely mine, which is finally appearing, but also an emotional bump from the baby gifts starting to rack up.  Just because we won't jinx ourselves by buying anything till January doesn't mean we can't soak up the generosity of others in Evie's life.

Evie's not-even-first Christmas went as follows: Christmas Eve, Auntie Sarah send a little pink bathrobe made to look like a shark.  My main heartbreak is that she (Evie, not Sarah) might not fit into it for months, and it's so cute that I'm tempted to use it as a receiving blanket from day 1.  Christmas morning, Evie's brand-new stocking contained the infamous and Amazon-celebrated Nosefrida Snot Sucker, a selection of wee itty-bitty t-shirts (with snaps across the front to accommodate wee itty-bitty umbilical cords), and Piyo Piyo nail scissors with duckies on them.  Duckies!

Grandma & Grandpa upped Santa's ante, though, with a car-seat.  Suddenly, things got real.  I mean, you can casually buy a baby t-shirt and put it away somewhere, but nobody has a car-seat who's not facing the imminent arrival of a child.  You don't get one for your hope chest, is all I'm saying.  Now we have one, and it means that we're really going to have a baby.  I'm almost at the end of the second trimester, so it's not like that should be news.  Heather is nearly done painting the nursery, we've been able to feel Evie's movements from the outside, and next week we start birthing classes-- two and a half hours a session, every Monday.

Still, I can't get out of the early-pregnancy mindset.  I don't feel qualified to buy maternity clothes, no matter what my pants say to the contrary, and I almost feel like the other people in the birthing class will sneer at us.  I want to sign up for prenatal yoga, but what if all the other ladies are further along?  This is like venturing into the Juniors section in a department store as a sixth-grader: do I count yet?  Only I'm realizing that I'm an eighth-grader after all, and someone about to start her third trimester is totally justified in joining prenatal classes.  It used to be that we were blushingly admitting that our much-vaunted pregnancy only amounted to a sesame seed, but now she's a she instead of an it, and big enough that they use real measurements, in units I can recognize.

The whole thing strikes me as kind of absurd, honestly.  Who are we to have a baby?  We're just kids.  We're great at having pets and we take pretty good care of the house, yeah, but you're supposed to be a real grown-up to have a kid.  Only there Heather is, caulking the trim of the nursery, and there's a car-seat in the guest room.  I had to put my only jeans away because Evie is too big for them. 

Yesterday, while Heather caulked, she guilted her oh-so-delicate wife into taping around the trim, and I looked at her and said, "Dude, listen.  I'm sitting in the exact spot where Evie's crib is going to be."  I lay down in the crib's footprint, imagining our sweet baby lying there in just a few months, and all I could think was, That fan is so ugly.  Evie is too good for that fan.  We have to replace it.

Friday, December 27, 2013

O Christmas Tree: Pre-Baby Holiday Decor

"Waiting for Evie: 24 Weeks & 4 Days"
"Married!  Heather & Rachel 11-8-2013"
So I know these are totally geeky, but it's the kind of sh*t I'm into, and also you can't shop Etsy during the holidays without personalized temptation.

I was not alone, however, because my mom made and hung a stocking for Evie, four months before she enters the world and at least a year before she can understand what one is.

Stockings all hung by the fire

Not in the holiday season, I gave into temptation by ordering a personalized wedding-cake topper.

(Note that there are two brides, one with a gold ring--me-- and one with silver-- Heather-- and then a little baby lobster.)

Because I'm not really good at the whole wedding-planning thing, I forgot to bring the topper to dinner after the wedding, meaning it's never topped an actual cake, but it's sweet anyway, and maybe we'll get an anniversary cake next year, just as an excuse to use it.  And, let's not kid, as an excuse for cake.

A few weeks ago, I noted that we'd experienced a holiday miracle when Heather and I could both sense Baby's movement.  Inevitably, it took only a little while longer before I got into a holiday panic when I couldn't feel her.  I'd felt a little iffy after our company's Christmas party (who doesn't, right, ladies?), gone to bed early, then woke up feeling iffier.  I stayed home, buried in the covers, trying to figure out what felt bad.  Once I emerged, I decided food was in order and went to pick it up.  (Don't tell Midwife Amy, but it was McDonald's.  In my defense, McDonald's is my stand-by for nausea when no crackers nor toast nor Tums have ever kept my stomach in line.)  Whilst waiting on my food, I realized I couldn't remember having felt Evie move since the night before.  I texted my friend (a mom) for reassurance.

The real trick to this anxiety is that a co-worker of ours recently lost a baby at around 24 weeks, the first clue being that it had been a long time since the baby had moved.  It didn't make me more paranoid, per se, but it did put a different spin on when we could feel "safe" with the pregnancy.  I feel like I've been pregnant forever, and we've certainly made it public.  Baby has a name and a gender and, now, a stocking.  Even so, I was barely at 24 weeks.  Things can go wrong.  I've had that in the back of my mind, but still felt fundamentally confident.  My hormones are getting a little more expressive emotionally, though, and the tendency to get negative and dramatic is more pronounced, so I guess I was ripe for anxiety.

Comforting words from my friend notwithstanding, I was certain that we were going to have the most awkward Christmas ever-- that somehow the awfulness of losing a baby at the most wonderful time of the year was a temptation that the universe could not refuse.  I poked my tummy a little, nothing happened, and I texted Midwife Amy.

(Just as a side note, having a caregiver available by text and e-mail when you're pregnant and antsy is the best thing ever.  Sure, the ob/gyn had a fancier office, but there's no waiting room at Amy's, and there's no nurses' voicemail, either.)

"So I haven't felt the baby move in hours and I'm not sure when to start freaking out.  Is there something I can do to jar her awake if she's just sleeping?"

And, listen, folks, Amy is worth every goddamn out-of-network penny we've paid, because she-- well, first she told me that movement isn't an indicator of fetal health till 28 weeks-- but then, because she's totally the best, she told me to put a bag of frozen vegetables on my tummy.  Babies don't like cold, she said.  She was spot-on, too, because, dude, Evie got to squirming after about ten seconds cuddled against broccoli medley.

Just a tip from me to you, guys.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Belly crawl at 22 weeks

Last night I went to my parents’ house for dinner and to help put up their Christmas tree.  We finished up by placing the tree skirt, with Mom on her belly at the back of the tree and my on mine at the front.  I guess I don’t spend much time crawling around on wooden floors anyhow, but it was the first time I felt genuine discomfort, like there was something tough in my abdomen that wasn’t going to squish in any deeper.  Evie is spreading out.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Miracles, junk food, and non-toxic paint

Holiday miracle: I thought my new space heater was broken, and now it’s working again.  Thank you, baby Jesus.