Sunday Morning at Our House

About 5 this morning, as I’m just getting Abigail back to sleep and thinking about how soft my own pillow is, little feet come padding down the hallway.

“Mama, when is it gonna be morning? When will the sun come up? Why are you out here?” My darling Jeffrey attempts to whisper in a loud-four-year old way. His hair is a red haystack from going to bed with it damp, and he has new freckles sprinkled on his nose from playing outside all day yesterday, and my heart melts at the picture he makes in the pre-dawn light.

“It’s still night time, go back to bed honey. The sun will up in a little while.” Even as I say this, I see the first purple streaks through the blinds, and hope he doesn’t notice.

“Why is Abby up? Can I stay up too?”

“Even Mama is going back to sleep- and Abby needed to eat, now she is asleep too.” I get up and move towards her room.

He follows me, scratching his belly, “Mama, are you going to use the sucker thing to get the milk out of your boobies for Abby?” Ugh, sometimes I wonder if my boys know too much.

“No, I’m going to bed, come on.” He grabs a blanket from the couch and drags it down the hallway toward my room. Of course he is getting in bed with us.

We get in bed and he wiggles in between DH and I, tosses and turns and flops and finally settles down. The sky is now moving from purple to lavender, and I wonder at the likelihood of actually getting anymore sleep…

The room gets quiet, breathing falls into soft patterns, and I know DH is back asleep and I hope Jeffrey is close. The window over the bed is open, and cool morning air is falling in on our heads, as we snuggle warm under the soft comforters. I love this time of year when the mornings are like this- cool enough to be refreshing and not too cold to leave the window open all night. Yum.

“Daddy!” Jeffrey breaks the quiet and my hope he was asleep, “Daddy! There is a sickness, I don’t know what it’s called, that you can get if you get really cold! It makes your body go to sleep, and you better close the window before we all get sickness and go to sleep!” Yes, heaven forbid we go to sleep.

DH groans and gets up to close the window, without commenting. I am trying to snerkle a laugh, at the same time noticing the sky is now moving from lavender to the first streaks of blue… sigh. Abby starts to squawk down the hall, and DH goes to tend her, leaving me with the tiniest of hopes that I might actually get to sleep. Jeffrey hasn’t noticed the sky yet, so hope is alive.

But then the birds begin to chirp. Oh, the birds… Long ago, my own little early bird noticed the birds chirp right before dawn, and has made the correlation with the birds and the ability to get up.

“MOM! Do you hear the birds??! Do you?”And so our day begins…

Happy Sunday.

Maybe. Absolutely. Abigail…

Hi Everyone! My name is Tracy, and I used to be pregnant! I’m not anymore!! Can I just say that again, world? I am NOT pregnant anymore, in the best possible way, and I am the proud mama of a lovely, chunky and voracious little Absolutely. Abigail Kathryn (named and spelled funky for and just like my grandma) was born on Tuesday morning at 11:16, and weighed in at a substantial 8 pounds, 12 ounces.

I just have one thing to say to all you “natural” mama’s out there; those of you amazing women who push your babies out sans medication or pain killers, who are at peace and are empowered by the artful act of giving birth: ARE YOU NUTS??? On Tuesday morning, I had a little surprise… My previous birthing experiences were pleasant, albeit tiring, perhaps a little tender, and certainly sore post-partum, but all in all, fairly civil. My drugs worked, my coping skills were never really called upon in full bloom, and the nether-regions remained humanely numb.

How’s this for quick? Around 11 a.m my contractions suddenly got very strong. The nurse checks me, and I am at a 7- no biggie, right? I’ve been 5 for weeks, so we’ve probably got days until Maybe decides to appear- but I ask for drugs anyway, seeing as how they are getting big enough to be uncomfortable. I had no idea. Seriously, no idea what uncomfortable was- but I was about to find out! In the time it took the anesthesiologist to get there, about 5 minutes, I went from 7 to 10. I screamed at the poor guy to give me something, and he foolishly tried to reason with me, as I screamed, that there was nothing he could do- it was too late. Ok, to my credit, I never totally lost it and cursed or really bellowed, but I did let loose with a few (ok, more than a few) yells that bordered on ‘water buffalo” in their lady-likeness and femininity.

The nurses were running things in the room to try and prep for baby, loudly commanding that I “not push!” until the doctor got there, (Yeah, right!) and I could feel the baby’s head coming down, and all the glorious, burning, stinging, PRESSURE and insane intensity I never even imagined. HOLY COW, I GOTTA PUSH! NOW! My doctor literally RAN from his office across the street to the birthing center and into my room, putting his scrubs on as he entered the room. Oh, and the whole “breathing through it” thing? Try this: Go outside and hit your thumb with a roofing hammer really hard every 30 seconds for about 15 minutes, and cope by “breathing through it”! You get the idea?

The “ring of fire” the natural birthing books talk about? Been there. Walked through it. In the space of exactly 16 minutes, I went from dilated to 7 and coping well, to having my baby on my stomach instead of in it. That’s got to be some kind of inhuman record, right? Sixteen minutes. Sixteen minutes….

So, I have a lovely daughter. That is SO weird to say! We are all well, the boys are totally happy and LOVE their sister, even Eric has been really sweet and gently- not at all jealous like I anticipated he might be. I am now an eating machine. Human food comsumptor- put it in front of me and I will eat it! Last night at the hospital, I ate all my dinner, then called room service and asked for another one! There is no way to describe how great it was to EAT and feel good- I haven’t been sick in over 24 hours now! I guess I better watch it, but for this first week, I’m going to eat like flippin’ Cookie Monster! Bring it ON!

I hear my little love bug calling out as only a newbie can- I best go be mama now. I just want to thank everyone for all the support throughout the worlds longest and most hellish pregnancy- It’s going to be fun getting to know each other as regular people now! I am so happy that my brain will shortly be returning… Oh, and to any first-timers out there who I know (or who lurk)- Don’t be afraid- really. It was all worth it. Seriously, every minute. All worth it. If I can say that, you have nothing to fear…

Six Degrees of Weirdness

Lammy Ann tagged me for six weird thing about myself that I have never shared with y’all. Is there anything left I haven’t covered? Oh, yes, this well runs deeeeeep! The only problem is what do I choose to unveil, without risking frightening you away! This is a good diversion- seeing as how the Pit of Serpents is wrestling with the smallish pachyderm in my blue-whale sized uterus, I may as well try and distract myself!

  1. Flat soda rocks. Things with bubbles in them freak me out. When I crack open a soda, I use a straw and blow in it until it goes mostly flat. I have always felt that way about bubbles, even as a kid- I hated soda pop because I didn’t yet know the trick of making it flat.
  2. I have a terrible phobia of sharks. Any and all sharks. Hate them. They make me feel like my throat is closing up and I can’t breathe. Even in pictures. They’re going to eat me. Yuck. Bad.
  3. Poop, barf, blood, totally can roll with it. Doesn’t phase me- but if a grown man spits on the ground, I have to fight the desire to barf and then sock him. Nothing grosser to me. Nothing.
  4. I would rather clean the bathrooms 3 times over than do the dishes once. Seriously. I hate doing dishes- everything about it- even putting the clean ones away- ugh. Hate it.
  5. When I was little, I was afraid if I fell asleep with my hands out from under my pillow, when I woke up they would be webbed. Like a duck. For some reason, under my pillow, they were safe from the webbing fairies.
  6. I’m a picker. Like a big monkey, I cannot leave my husband or my children alone- if they have a stray hair or something where it does not belong, I will beg, plead, barter and badger until I can pluck that hair, pop that pimple or do whatever it is that needs righting. I have even offered to pay my husband to let me pluck his eyebrow. Sad.

So there it is. How totally boring a life that those are my weird things! Ok, those are my weird things I am willing to confess in a public forum. Mostly anonymous public forum. I’m a chicken. What can I say?

BITE Your Tongue!

Are you having twins? (no I’m having a pachyderm)
Oh…. Just look at you! (why? is there a booger on my face?)
How do you feel? (do you want to know about the vomit, the snot, or the unmentionables?)
Just calling to say hi- have you had the baby yet? ( I’m never calling you again)
Wow, you’re really big! (And you are really fat too, when are you due?)
When was your due date again? (Yesterday, now get out of my way!)
Weren’t your other kids early? (Yes, I just really like being pregnant and have decided to keep this one forever!)
My, your belly is really hard! (That is called a contraction. Imagine a charley horse the size of a watermelon, and then imagine me rubbing it while you have it!)
You’ve got the waddle going! (Yes, that is what a cassaba melon between your thighs will do!)
Looks like the baby has dropped… (Crap! Where? Did I loose her again? Where?)
Wow, I can see it moving! (Actually, I’m having a pit of serpents…)
You could go anyday! (yes, much like a volcano, I may blow at any moment!) nod to The Wiz for that snappy comback…
Are you still pregnant? ($#!+ &@$$)

Statistics Lie

According to Google, the Alpine Salamander, native to Austria, has the worlds longest gestation, at 38 months. The African Elephant holds the mammalian record, (excluding present company), at 25 looooong months (and in the heat, too!). The Blue Whale, our Earths present reining size-queen (again, present company excluded) has a meager gestation of 12 months.

At present, I have been gestating for 6378 hours, fully half of which have been spent throwing up. Maybe I could write some sort of hit Broadway musical out of that, eh? Just thought you might need to know…

Not Yet….

Jeffrey discovered that my gigantic belly makes a great launch ramp for his Hot Wheels cars, and has been launching them off me all morning. It was really exciting, when after carefully balancing a car on the preponderous curve of my abdomen, Maybe gave a big kick and launched the car herself. A great way to impress your four-year old brother, I might add!

Boing… boing… boing…. Whoever said this would bring on labor was a liar! I’m going to be pregnant forever. Like an elephant. Forever….

Waiting to Exhale

I’m ready to turn the corner, to leave this chapter of our lives in the soft dust, and only re-visit it when I’m feeling really strong. I’m ready for some sunlight on my path and some gentle curves to our road. I’m ready to walk in the spring clover and sing a John Denver or Jerry Garcia song and feel giddy and silly again. I’m ready to play with my children and hold my husbands hand without peering from behind a veil of pain and nausea. I’m ready for some ease and simple, quiet… exhaling.

My grandpa’s funeral was this morning, at 9 a.m. in Arlington National Cemetery. My whole family was there, and from what they tell me, the service was incredibly moving and deeply symbolic. They took some photos for me, and I’m looking forward to seeing them. The funeral was full-military honors- with a caison, 21 gun salute, a military band, the honor guard and the ceremonial division who bear the casket and perform the flag ceremony. Taps was played. I cannot imagine not being shaken deeply by the entire ceremony and the incredible honor bestowed upon this man who was my grandpa. I so very much wish I could have been there.

This afternoon my husband’s father died. It is not my pain to share, so I will just keep it to that simple statement. My husband has a healthy and spiritual view on death, however, this has still been a very painful day for him, and we have a few long and emotional days coming up. I wish I could take some of the crushing weight from his shoulders- He is the head of our family, supporting an ill and very pregnant wife who cannot even drive, awaiting the birth of his 3rd child any day, recently begun a new position at work, and dealing with the death of a parent. I feel so helpless to help this man who means the world to me.

Yesterday, a friend said if she didn’t know me, she wouldn’t believe my life. I wish sometimes I were making this stuff up- but I couldn’t- it wouldn’t be believable. Occasionally, I think after this baby comes and life does soften up a little, you all won’t recognize me anymore. It’s kind of like watching a train wreck- “What else awful is happening today?” You just can’t look away… Someone else told me that I am providing service to others, in that I am able to show them how good their lives are. While I can’t figure out how to make that into sunshine, I think I appreciate the oddness of the compliment…

On my refridgerator, I have a quote I’ve had for years. It’s one of my very favorite, by Zora Neale Hurston, and it says: “There are years that ask questions, and there are years answer”. When I was younger, that seemed so profound to me, and so simple. Now, I just wonder where we are.