Friday, May 28, 2010

The Waiting Game

A couple of months ago, I read an article in a baby magazine that included quotes from a handful of different women on what it is like to be nine months pregnant. I don’t remember any of them but one: “You know you’re nine months pregnant when you drop something on the kitchen floor and you ask yourself, ‘Do I really need that?’”

I laughed at this at the time, although at seven months I was already at the point where I could very easily see how that could soon be the case. Now, I am totally and completely there. And I don’t know whether it’s just because I’m more clumsy than normal (which is probably true), but I never noticed before now just how many things fall on the floor in a given day.

I also never realized how great a percentage of everyday activities requires the use of abdominal muscles. Standing up, sitting down, getting in and out of bed, putting on socks, putting on pants, opening and closing the dishwasher… the list could go on and on.

But I’m not sharing this to complain; it’s really not all that bad. The baby will be here so soon, and things will start getting back to normal. Don’t worry, I’m not kidding myself. Even though this is my first pregnancy, I know that “normal” is going to take on a whole new meaning from now on. Daniel and I are ready, or I guess as ready as it is possible to be, to meet our son or daughter and to start this next phase of our lives. We’re still getting our house ready—“feathering our nest” so to speak—but other than that, it’s a waiting game.

A friend of mine who is expecting a baby just a few days after me recently shared the following prayer with me. I loved it, and of course it is very timely as far as I am concerned, so I thought I would share it with you all:

Embracing God,

My movements are slow. The weight of new life takes the quickness from my step, the grace from my walk. As the days pass, my child pushes against the womb-walls of a limited world—and prepares for the journey into limitless life. As my movements become encumbered, my child’s movements become more pronounced.

I listen to your wisdom in that paradox, Embracing God. As I yield to this weight and reduce my miles per hour through life, I feel the tap, tickle, tumble, and kick of life itself.

I embrace myself, wrapping my arms around my midsection, my child, and I smile; I see you doing the same.


(Blessing the Child Within: Prayers for Expectant Mothers, Kass P. Dotterweich)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Full Term!

One more day, and I will be full term. Things are actually coming together pretty well. The nursery is finally being put together; my parents came over last weekend to bring the furniture and help assemble the crib. We decided on a layout for the room, but have yet to put everything in its place. That should happen this weekend. Of course, we have plenty of other stuff still going on. We (meaning Daniel) are installing flooring at the new house that my grandparents just bought, which we are doing in the evenings after Daniel gets home from work. Hopefully that will be finished sometime next week. Before installing the floors, Daniel had to tear out the wall-to-wall carpeting, which must have been installed by the previous owners when they decided to sell because it looks brand new. It is also a plush, neutral colored carpet which is just what we wanted for the nursery, so we cut ourselves a seven by ten piece to bring home.

Last Saturday we had our last childbirth class, and then I had my baby shower in the afternoon at a nearby park. The weather cooperated beautifully, so it was the perfect day for an outdoor party. Everything was very, very nice.

Sunday, as you know from last week’s entry, was our first wedding anniversary. We slept in, then drove up to our college campus for noon mass and to see the recent renovations in the chapel where we were married. Afterwards, we had planned to have lunch at the little Italian restaurant where we had gone for dinner after our reception last year. However, things never seem to go exactly like we plan them. We arrived at the restaurant to find that it had recently been closed by court order, according to the notice on the door. So, we drove down the road to the golf resort where our reception had taken place. For some reason, their dining room was also closed; we couldn’t find a sign explaining this, and the receptionist desk was mysteriously deserted. By this time I was famished, so we ended up stopping at a decent restaurant (although not our favorite by any means) on the way home. Our chicken Chesapeake sandwiches were, nonetheless, pretty good, and regardless of our changed plans Daniel and I spent a wonderful day together to celebrate our first year of marriage. Even the year-old top tier of our wedding cake was still delicious—my mom had done an excellent job wrapping it up for storage in their garage freezer.

All in all, last weekend was very busy but very fun. This weekend will be slightly less eventful; Tonight will be spent working on my grandparents’ floor. On Saturday we have a breastfeeding class in the morning, then a trip to Babies-R-Us to purchase a glider for the nursery, then Daniel has to work for a few hours while I do a couple of loads of baby laundry at home, and to end the day we have plans to babysit one of my little cousins. She will very likely already have been put to bed, as she usually is, so we will watch a movie and then pass out on the couch for the remainder of the evening. Sunday after mass, we will hopefully be getting a lot done at my grandparents’ house so that we will be able to finish the project next week without a problem.

There you have my most recent updates (hopefully not too boring)! I am so anxious for this baby to be born so that I can begin to share this next chapter of our lives with you all!

Friday, May 14, 2010


This past year has been the fastest of my life so far. On Sunday, Daniel and I will celebrate our first wedding anniversary. Last night we flipped through the professional photos that I finally had printed just last week, looking back on our wedding day; it’s hard to believe that a whole twelve months, a whole four seasons, a whole year has passed since then.

I can’t even say that we have yet been able to settle into a routine, exactly, as husband and wife. For the first few months, Daniel had his summer vacation from grad school. Caroline still lived in our second bedroom. In September Daniel’s classes started back up again, including a required internship that got off to a rocky start but eventually settled down with the help of quite a bit of prayer.
With a full class and work schedule again, Daniel was exhausted. I became pregnant with the precious little one that we are still waiting to meet. We started teaching a sixth grade religious education class at our parish.

We helped Caroline move out in October, emptying the second bedroom which would very quickly be filled with tools, painting projects, boxes of stuff to be taken to Goodwill, and out-of-season clothing. We got used to living together, alone. I spent a couple of months battling nausea while working overtime and commuting, now without a carpool buddy. We purchased a new-to-us car for Daniel. Projects were begun and completed around the house. We celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas together, with a lovely fir tree that we chose and cut down ourselves. My belly slowly grew. We paid down some debt. I switched to part-time work. My belly continued to grow, and doctor’s appointments became more frequent. I quit my job to be better able to rest and prepare for the baby. The second bedroom was emptied for a second time, and is now waiting to be filled with the furniture and other items that will allow it to live up to its new name: “the nursery.” Daniel finished his internship and his classes for the semester, leaving just one measly credit in order to graduate with his MA in Clinical Psychology, which he will do with a quick summer course.

Throughout all of this, Daniel helped me to deal with my stresses and I helped him to deal with his. We argued over whose turn it was to wash the dishes and for who knows how many other stupid reasons. We made up, always before falling asleep at night. We rented countless movies from Redbox (not really countless, but who feels like counting?) We laughed. A lot. Thank God for our ability to be silly together and make each other laugh—usually, no matter what. We also prayed. For our families, for each other, for the new family God is using us to grow. And we held hands. We held hands in the car, we held hands in church, we held hands at the mall, and we held hands while we watched our child dancing around on the ultrasound screen. Holding hands is such a simple yet profound act. It means that whatever it is you’re doing, you’re doing it together. It’s a lingering sign of affection and love that doesn’t interrupt daily life, but fits into it perfectly (unless of course you happen to need both hands for whatever you are doing). We held hands a lot.

There you have a whirlwind tour of our first year living the sacrament of marriage, plenty of which you have already heard about as you journeyed through this first year with us through my blog.

The transition to married life was not all that difficult for us. There were of course some things that we had to work out and get accustomed to, but the big things that most couples have to deal with upon getting married were not so hard for us.
For a few years before our wedding, we were already consulting each other and coming to agreements on how we would spend our own money, and we already spent nearly all of our free time together. Agreeing about time and money makes things a lot easier. I think that marrying relatively young helped in this respect; we didn’t begin separate adult lives before becoming one, rather we became one just as we were beginning our adult lives.

People in love often talk about “declaring from the mountaintops” their feelings for someone. Well, this is my mountaintop, and I would now like to take this opportunity to thank my husband for this past year.

God gave me such an incredible gift in Daniel, one that He has continued to give me anew every one of these past 365 days. Daniel is by far the best man that I have ever known: the most generous, the most forgiving, the hardest working, the most caring, the most sincere, and the most loving. He fills my life with so much joy and laughter, and I am honored by his patient, understanding, unreserved, and constant love for me. He helps me to be a better person, and I love him for that, among so many other reasons. He is going to be the best daddy to our child, and I am so looking forward to getting to know him in that new role in just a few weeks.

May God give me the grace to love him more perfectly throughout this next year and every year of our life together.

I love you, Daniel. Happy Anniversary!

Friday, May 7, 2010

More Updates

Sorry for the lack of a creative title, but I sat here for ten minutes hoping one would come to me and it never happened!

Childbirth classes are off to a great start—really informative and helpful, I think. And it’s nice to be in a room with so many other first-time expectant parents, although it certainly makes for a long line in the ladies’ room during breaks. And even the fact that there is a break at the top of each hour doesn’t much help to make for less of a waddling stampede down the hallway every time.

I won’t bore you with details of what we learned in class, other than to tattle on my husband: we were practicing relaxation on the floor with a guided meditation and the pillows and blankets that we had been asked to bring to class, and I had to wake Daniel up at the end of it! It was maybe five minutes long, and I’m pretty sure he was out within 30 seconds. I wasn’t at all surprised. Goodness, I hope our baby is as good of a sleeper as her (or his) Daddy!

Our living room is currently full of hand-me-down baby stuff from my mom, my aunt, and a family friend, which is making our house feel rather cramped. That is without having had my two baby showers yet! One of them is with just extended family on my mom’s side this upcoming Sunday, very appropriately Mother’s Day. The second is the following Saturday with my mom and sisters, Daniel’s mom and sisters, and friends. I’ll have to make sure we finish getting the nursery cleaned up tomorrow and Saturday so that we can start putting stuff away in there before our whole house is taken over with baby items.

Daniel and I had our last religious education class last Sunday morning; I don’t remember whether I’ve mentioned before that we taught a sixth grade class together this school year. We had a lot of fun, and from what we have heard and could tell by the end, the kids really liked us and learned a lot about their faith, which is the most important thing. We’re currently praying and trying to decide whether or not to teach again next year, moving up with the same class into seventh grade.

The reason this is a difficult decision is because we’re having a baby next month; it’s so hard for us to make the call right now since this is our first child and we really have no idea whether or not it will be manageable for us starting in September. My sisters have already offered to babysit during classes, but we just don’t know. We loved teaching this year and we loved our class, but maybe we should take a year off so that we can focus on learning to be parents and then take my sisters up on their Sunday morning babysitting offer once our baby turns one? But I also really hate to disappoint our students…

Any advice on this? Similar experiences?