The days of 80 degree heat are gone (when did Fahrenheit become normal for me?) and instead it is sort of just perfect. Some days it rains and rains and some days the sun shines brightly, but never hotter than 70, and that is actually just how I like it right now. I love it when I can’t take a sunny day for granted, or when the evening air is cold enough to really snuggle under duvets. (I also love it when the air is warm enough that I can sit outside in shorts til midnight, which DID happen this summer. So it seems Seattle is just perfect for me.)
M is at spanish school 3 mornings a week and we have been going swimming together twice a week in the afternoons. She has already moved up a level in her swim class and it amazes me how kids go from not being able to do something to being able to do it so well that you can’t remember what it was like beforehand. Things like walking and talking and getting themselves dressed. But also things like riding a scooter or a bike or learning how to swim. And I guess we’re always improving and growing in some ways, but it just starts out being such huge improvements and then gets harder to notice as we get older maybe. Anyway, it’s very exciting to watch her jumping and wriggling and kicking and floating and playing games in the water that remind me of when I was a kid and my brother and i would just play for hours in our cheap backyard pool.
And I have not been sleeping very well but I don’t feel surprised by this. I’ve gained a measly 11 pounds during this pregnancy – which no-one has really commented on at all, so I suppose it’s not an issue – but I definitely don’t feel like I’m waddling around as much as last pregnancy. At our last scan (last week) they predicted that baby weighed only 4 pounds, and at about the same time with M they predicted she weighed 7 pounds. I feel a little nervous, but hopefully baby will do some extra fast growing over the next week or so.
We have finally accumulated almost everything we need for baby’s arrival. I’ve been high-fiving myself for being the master of craiglist finds after finding a $40 dresser (my budget: $100), a baby bed for $150 (my budget: $300) and a futon/couch for guests (my mum) for $100 (my budget $400). In theory I’ve saved like $500! Totally in theory though..
And wow baby clothes are tiny. And wow M is excited. When she saw the bassinet we bought she asked ‘is baby here?!!’ and so we have been going over the timeline of events for the next few months and it is so cute because I love how she says ‘exciting’ instead of ‘excited’ so she runs around the house going ‘i’m so exciting! i’m so exciting!’
And one last thing: Last night she was really itchy and Ivan had to leave in the middle of the night to go buy her some medicine and so she was cuddling me tightly around my neck to try and stop herself scratching and she sort of drifted in and out of sleep and I started crying! Because her world is about to change and she doesn’t even really know it. And I am not scared about having enough love for another child, but rather I’m scared because this sort of love can make me feel so fragile sometimes. And I start thinking about all the people I love and how they are just out in the world and I can’t protect them or keep an eye on them and so it feels like my heart is out there totally unprotected and it is so open for being hurt. And here I am creating more little vessels who will take my heart into the world and obviously i do not think about this all the time, but right in this moment of holding M tightly and feeling her cheek against mine and hearing her gentle snoring, it all seemed so wonderful and unbearable at the same time.
it is very difficult to trust my instincts when there is a strong medical voice in my ear telling me every single possible worst case scenario. and i know that it is just their job and that it is so marvelous and wonderful that we have the ability to deal with so many potentially bad outcomes. But it is one thing to think ‘oh i will take their advice and listen to what they say, but then at the end of the day i will consider what they say and trust my instincts’ and it is another thing entirely to actually know what those instincts are after hearing only one big medical opinion for so long. are my instincts not to just deliver a healthy baby at any cost? at what point am i making a dumb decision to try and hold onto an experience that i might want? we’ve all seen the business of being born, and doesn’t it feel like the hospitals are not the places for bringing life into this world? they are places for sick people and i do not feel sick and i do not feel as though our baby is sick. will i make our baby sick by letting these doctors worry over every heartbeat and every measurement? or will i be doing the best thing for our baby?
but so it seems that we have ended up in the hospital anyway. and it is hard to know how much to question it/the doctors/the process and how much to trust it. i wonder am i fighting hard enough to keep myself out of this system? and then i wonder should i even be resisting it at all? i wonder if i was in New Zealand instead of America, would things be different?
and i feel stupid for feeling so scared and helpless and worried because there are much more scary and worrisome things that people deal with. and i want to feel confident that everything will be AOK and in order to really connect with this baby i feel like i need to feel 100% confident, but then too much confidence in everything being ok makes it even more confusing for me to trust the doctor’s concerns. if i could be so confident that everything is ok then why let them take control of the situation? so what does that leave me feeling? i have no idea, and it is exhausting.
it is one thing to say that we are designed to birth babies and to trust in the process and it is another thing to be told all the possible bad outcomes for your baby and have to make your own decision in the midst of teams of medical professionals and large hospitals. i want to hear the confident voice with an alternative recommendation. but even that is proving very difficult to find.
one thing is for sure though – by the end of october we will have a baby in our arms and i want to picture a healthy and strong and gorgeous little newborn. please picture that with me.
Finding the good books is a process. Finding the books that we are willing to read over and over and over again. Finding the books that have good messages, great pictures, are enjoyable (for us) to read outloud and that are loved by M, is actually a harder task than you might think. The library is filled with awful children’s books. It is truly astounding.
Anyway – I really want to share our favourites. We have a few, so I will start with just 4.
I say these are books for a 3 year old, but really we have been reading them since she was 2 and I imagine they will stick around for a long while yet. If you are looking for new books, I can NOT recommend these books enough.
The Lion in The Meadow
A little boy sees a lion in the meadow but his mother doesn’t believe him. The pictures in this book are so great, I remember being read this when I was little. The fine line between reality and imagination is blurred – making this book feel magical and sweet.
The Worst Princess
I’m not sure if M fully understands this book yet, but she still loves to hear it read (it rhymes). It is about a princess who is rescued by a prince and then when she realises she is about to be forced into a traditional fairytale (dresses and castles) when she would rather be riding horses and doing ‘fun stuff’ she befriends a dragon who helps her get rid of the prince. It’s cute.
The Tiger Who Came to Tea
Another magical book that plays with reality/imagination. A tiger comes to tea and eats everything in the house! So when Daddy comes home from work there is nothing left to eat, but Daddy has a good idea and takes everyone out for ice-cream and sausages and chips. I love the way that no-body seems very stressed out about the fact that a tiger just cleaned out their home. Both the mama and daddy are very calm and sweet and the images throughout the book reflect that.
Jesse Bear, What Will you Wear?
Oh this book brought me back to my childhood. We go through Jesse Bear’s day with interesting rhythm and rhyme asking each time ‘what will you wear?’ M knows most of it by heart now, which makes it such an easy and delightful read.
I was sick in bed and I woke up at midday. I checked my phone to see a bunch of missed calls and some text messages saying ‘they just tested the house, it’s all lead’. And just like that it felt like our lives got thrown into a big whirlpool.
Our landlord had been doing a bunch of (illegal) paint work to the house and had power-blasted lead paint chips and dust into our gardens, through our windows, onto our driveway, our front and back porch and all through our lawns. He got fined by the state, and then we started to see what sort of legal action we could take but the system and processes are overwhelming to say the least and after a few days of headaches and phone-calls and doctors visits, we decided that for the safety of M and baby we would just need to move house.
So I was sick in bed and was advised by my doctor that considering I am pregnant, I should get out of the house as fast as possible. We spent 2 weeks crashing at our friend’s (amazing) house and I have no idea what we would have done without them. But although I was trying very hard to count our blessings, we were crashing with no real idea of what would come next. The uncertainty is something that might have excited me a few years ago, but being pregnant and with a 3.5 year old, I felt overwhelmed, frustrated and super depressed. It was a very hard mindset to pull myself out of. I felt like we were at an extremely low point and I knew that this was the time I needed to be the strongest. It so easy to be strong when things are going well but I knew that a true test of character is always when things are hard – but that didn’t make it any easier.
We really thought that our time in America was up. The cost of renting something else in the area was outrageous. Outrageous. We would have been in a much better position if we could buy a house here (we can’t) – the rental market is so expensive. We weighed up our options of moving back to NZ. Of moving to Mexico. Of moving to Canada. And all the while I was thinking ‘what if this was happening in November? What if was about to go into labour any day?’ I guess life doesn’t consider convenient timing. It just happens.
And then, as if by some crazy stars-aligning act-of-god miracle we ended up finding a home we could afford. It started with a phone call and through friends of friends and chance encounters ended up with us signing a lease within days.
We started packing (with help from the most amazing friends) and driving and unpacking and a part of me relishes the cleansing feeling that comes from sorting and packing and giving away. Trying to make sure that we always have just the right amount of stuff and never more, is a task that I take great pleasure in.
And there is still some sorting that needs to be done but we are more or less settled into our new home.
I am meant to be 30 weeks pregnant today but things are not going so well. There is a hospital visit scheduled for this coming Wednesday but that is another story in itself.
It was been such a challenging month and I wanted to write this down to remind myself. I’ve felt less present, less happy, less me than I have felt in a very long time. But I keep reminding myself that I already have so much. I want to remember that I felt so awful so I can know to keep moving through each day and seeing the great things and people in our lives. Light always wins over darkness right?
“Accept – then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.” – Eckhart Tolle
“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” – Mary Engelbreit
The lights in my life.
So I was bout to call it quits on the blog. I finally got around to setting up a better photography site and sorta felt as though this blog has no more purpose.
And then I was inspired by a friend to finally get around to printing a ‘my first year’ book for M and found myself spending hours reading through old posts and looking through old photographs to transfer to a physical book and decided that even though I might not write so much anymore, it might still be worth keeping this blog alive.
So I am 28 weeks pregnant today. For the first few weeks I felt miserably sick but now I am feeling wonderful despite being tired quite a lot. Like ‘they’ say, this pregnancy has gone by a lot faster and i find myself spending a lot less time on babycenter.com and watching birthing videos than when i was pregnant with m. I am still running, which is something I stopped at about 16 weeks last time (i was sure only crazy people run when they are pregnant). I say running, but really I am doing something quicker than a walk at a measly 10 minute mile pace, but it still feels pretty good.
The bump has been slow to grow and only lately have I started to show a bit more. Admittedly my midwives are a little curious about my dates and might move my due date by a week or two to accommodate my small measurements. As long as baby is healthy and strong, I don’t mind when he or she comes out. The longer the better really, I’m already a bit emotional about expanding our little family of three.
M is more excited about the baby than we could hope for. She talks to my belly and tells us all the things she will do when the baby arrives (‘i’m gonna change it’s diaper! and rock it to sleep! and share my toys! and sing songs!’). It’s terrifying to imagine how our lives are gonna change again (the naiveté of first time parenthood is a beautiful thing), but this is also probably going to be the last time we have a newborn and knowing all too well how fast time flies, I can savor it all the more.