Friday, July 26, 2013


Two separate posts, loosely connected by the number 21 and the celebration birthdays:

August 21, 2013
This date is very likely to be Sally's birthday.  It's strange to know that, and also to know that we don't really know it for sure, because she could certainly be born before then.  If I'd had some say in it (I did not) I might have chosen the 22nd, for symmetry's sake, or the 24th, because the number 8/24 is kind of mathematically neat and easy to remember. 21 is a number I was relieved to avoid when Walter was born, because having 21 for a golden birthday seems to be asking for trouble. However, remembering how Sean and I spent our 21st birthdays, I have hope.  In both cases, we celebrated together, and both occurred during the excruciating pre-courtship phase of our courtship when we were very much in love and very much trying not to be.  Neither birthday involved drinking to excess and both involved a lot of frustrated longing.  Sally (and Walter, for that matter) all I wish for your 21st birthday is that you be similarly sober and chaste.  It's really not too much to ask.

Mama and Dada at 21 years old. Gaze upon our wholesomeness*, children, and take notes. *I would invite any friends from college or thereafter who have a different recollection of the wholesomeness of Sean and myself to refrain from comment at this time.  
Having a date on the calendar that could very well be Sally's birthdate makes me giddy and anxious.  Some of the anxiety is not particularly peculiar to the planned c-section situation ... I know I was worried at this point with Walter about being so close to my due date and not being ready for his arrival.  I do wonder how the surgery part is going to go, this time ... will they have trouble getting the IV in, like last time (5 tries and then a terrible placement in my forearm.)  Will the catheter cause trouble and lead to another infection?  With Walter, the epidural went so well ... will the spinal block go as smoothly?  Will I throw up again on the operating table, will my mom be allowed to come in and hold my hand when Sean goes to be with Sally, will my blood pressure drop and my kidney start to fail, will Sally and I do well with our first attempt at nursing ... lots of questions.  And that's not even getting into the dark-night-of-the-soul questions, and all the worries that keep me up and keep me holding my breath between every discernible baby movement.

The possibility of Sally arriving early is more worrisome this time because my last day at work is scheduled to be August 18.  Taking off three weeks before Walter's due date (and then waiting around for another week after that because he was late) was good in some ways: I really wasn't healthy enough to work and needed to rest with my feet up.  Also, I signed up for a free month's subscription to Amazon Prime and watched the entire run of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  Time well spent.  But I couldn't help but feel that precious maternity leave time could have been better spent actually with my newborn baby.  By working right up until her arrival, I get a full nine weeks at home with Sally; with Walter, it was only five weeks. And I am healthier this time, and able to work, and working takes my mind off my heartburn and my various other aches and pains.

I am starting to feel, though, very much like a turtle stuck on her back in the middle of a busy highway: my stubby, useless legs flailing with effort and totally helpless.  This afternoon Sean very gently reminded me that, if I want/need help, it's best to ask for it directly.  That's usually my policy, and I'm usually quite good at it.  But I need help with everything these days.  And I think everyone in a position of overwhelming need reaches a point where it's like, OK, maybe I'll just lie here on my back for a little while.  It's not so bad.

I was lying around feeling like a martyred turtle today when Alan and Mindi from Sunflower Studio posted some pictures on facebook from our recent baby-bump-centric family photo shoot.  Like we did for Walter, we plan on taking Sally in to have professional photos taken at regular intervals throughout her first year, and collect the best of these in a beautiful book for her. Each photoshoot will include silhouettes, like the one I've posted here, except in the rest of them Sally will be on the outside of my belly.

I needed to see this picture today.  I think I look incredibly proud and strong. My funny Jeffersonian facial profile even looks rather beautiful, and the profile of my body, and the way I'm carrying Sally, looks very beautiful to me indeed.

I'm at odds with my body these days, there's no denying it.  My body is tired and achey and does not want to move, lie down, stand up or sit still.  My body is a big, contrary mess.  And it is beautiful.

Being a woman and having a body is interesting, whether you're pregnant or not.  I hope my delight in my body, and my delight in being a woman, helps both my children as they figure out what it means to be embodied.

The 21st of August seems like tomorrow and like it's ages and ages away.  I can't wait to meet my Sally (but as I wait, I'll do my best to wait in good spirits, with the persistence and fortitude of a mama turtle on a mission, on her feet.)
21 Months Old
Walter turned 21 months old this week. I remember learning Sally's due date and doing the math and thinking, "Wow, Walter will be 22 months old when his sister is born. Almost two!" and I couldn't imagine it. At 21 months old, Walter is demanding and delightful.  Last night we told him it was 5 minutes to jammie time, and he said, "No! 10 minutes, jammie time." Being so smart is key to successful negotiations with one's parents. Last time we went to a restaurant, the waitress came and he ordered pancakes for himself. It's just ridiculous how grown up he is, how much he understands about the world, and how well he's able to communicate with us.

Occasionally he launches into a wordless whine, and sometimes he does use his words but we have no idea what he's saying, but most of the time he's quite verbal and adept.  He's quite gentle and very affectionate.  He's not great about eating fruits and vegetables but is a pretty good eater on the whole.  His favorite foods are hot dogs and pizza, which is an easy preference to relate to. At day care they're putting him on the potty when they change his diapers to start introducing him to the idea, but we haven't done any training yet at home.  Walter loves brightly colored socks and his bright orange hat.  He's pretty good at brushing his teeth. He is healthy and, other than two ear infections before the tube surgery, has been healthy all summer.  Walter is risk averse: he loves playing outside at the park, and wants to go down the slides, but usually decides not to once he's up there. He loves playing in water and in sand.  He loves playing dress up.  He loves trains, trucks and farm animals.  He loves watching Sesame Street and Muppet videos on YouTube and gets really, really upset when we eventually put an end to the video watching.  We try to give him lots of warning anytime there's going to be a transition from one activity to another, and try to keep to a routine, and that seems to help with a lot of the toddler-ness.

Sleep is still hit or miss with Walter.  Last night he had a bad case of baby insomnia starting around 2:30 am.  I wasn't sleeping well, either, so I crawled into bed with him.  He rested quietly next to me for a long time, occasionally lifting his head and opening his eyes and saying "Hi, Mama!"  When he got more and more awake and chatty, I knew I had to leave him and let him make his way back to sleep on his own.  But I love and treasure that kind of time with Walter ... listening to his little voice and following the sleepy train of his thoughts from "Where's Dada?" to "Can I have my Burt and Ernie finger puppets?" to "I like taking communion. 'Dip it in!' *giggle giggle*"

Here's to 21 months, Walter Paul!  Daddy and I are so proud of you.


3d8th said...

confident, capable, beautiful, strong; Sally couldn't ask for a better role model than her mommy.

As for 21st birthdays their actions will stem far more from your and Sean's influence than the date.

Anonymous said...

You may enjoy reading

an essay by a mother about talking to our daughters about their bodies. (How I wish this had been my experience; how I strive to make it the experience of the girls and women around me). It is wonderfully elegant in its directness, sparseness, and gentleness.

May you know deep peace and joy in this time of anticipation and transition. The LORD goes before you and with you, always.

-An occassional visitor

Pastor Annie said...

I've read a lot of blog posts about daughters and body image recently, but I hadn't seen the one you suggested ... it's wonderful. I like this part the best: "Maybe you and your daughter both have thick thighs or wide ribcages. It’s easy to hate these non-size zero body parts. Don’t. Tell your daughter that with her legs she can run a marathon if she wants to, and her ribcage is nothing but a carrying case for strong lungs. She can scream and she can sing and she can lift up the world, if she wants." Thanks, visitor!