Thursday, October 8, 2015

18 Weeks

I'm sitting at the computer with a hot cup of coffee. Let me repeat that. My coffee is hot. And I'm sitting while drinking it. This is worth savoring. Ok, so I'm supposed to be doing an online training thing for one of my new jobs right now. I'll get back to that in a minute. But I'm so accustomed to living with an interruption every 90 seconds that I can't really focus for longer than that any more.

In honor of my reduced attention span, I'll give you a short attention span update of life here.

I'm now 18 weeks along with Baby #4. (God help us all.) I'm still trying to dig out from the 16 weeks of nausea and exhaustion. This is why I'm doing online training today. It was due weeks ago. I have such a long backlog of stuff to do...

I'm addicted to Oreos. Obsessively addicted to Oreos. Can't eat enough Oreos. With HurricaneDebbie, I was addicted to Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls. I guess this baby's nickname will be Oreo? A co-worker is pregnant with her first, with a due date within a week of mine. The other day she lamented, "Joy, I'm vegan. I do yoga 6 times a week. Or at least I used to. All I've done for the last few months is lie on the couch and eat pizza and burgers. I can't understand it!" Yup, welcome to motherhood. I'm going to chase my Oreos down with some vitamins and not worry a thing about it. As with most things with kids, it's just a phase. And I'm going to enjoy every single minute of it.

We get regular deliveries of hand-me-downs from my friend Kathy at church. Her daughter is a few years older than HeyMama, and she doesn't really like to wear dresses. So that means that her dresses are practically (or actually) brand new when we get them. It's like Christmas every time Kathy brings a bag to church. We switched over clothes for the season earlier this week, and got to pull out some of the clothes for the first time. There was great rejoicing in the household. HeyMama was trying on outfits for school, and brought in a pair of dance leggings to me. "What size are these? They're a little funny." I explained what they were, and said, "I think they'd be fine under your skirt in this weather. But if you don't like them, they should fit MeToo." She thought for a minute, and said, "I'll give them to her. She's just not as into fashion as I am." Apparently I have a fashionista on my hands. I should have taken a picture of her outfit. It did involve a sequined top, a tulle skirt, and her new multi-hued sneakers.

Now that the weather's cooler, I revived my sourdough starter and did some baking this week. I made my first loaf of cinnamon cranberry nut sourdough, which we all love for breakfast. My homemade breads are pretty dense, and toast more slowly than store bought breads. HeyMama was standing by the toaster oven, chatting while I packed my lunch and did things to get ready for the day. I asked her "How does the toast look?" She looked into the toaster oven. "It looks pretty comfortable."

HurricaneDebbie. What can we say about her? Our summer nanny came to HeyMama's 7th birthday party and said, "I hope to live to see the day HurricaneDebbie rules the world." That child is certainly training for something... Not sure if she'll be President or a dictator, but she's certainly not going to take life lying down. Her daycare teacher asked when we plan to have her potty trained. Oh yeah. I should get on that, huh? She's been doing really well at daycare. But follow-through at home? Poor 3rd kid... We set a goal for Undies in the New Year. So I pulled them out last night and let her try them on throughout dinner so that I could monitor her very closely. She did really well! We had to leave the table for a bathroom trip, but everyone was excited about the undies. And HurricaneDebbie had no intentions of taking them off. At all. BestestHusband had the task of getting her ready for bed. I heard a great deal of screaming as I cleaned up dinner. In the end, she wore a diaper to bed. With undies over it. Under jammies, like her big sisters. I call it a win-win. I'm just excited that she's excited. I have no spare excitement when it comes to potty training.

MeToo. My impish and delightful middle child has her head in the clouds. You never know what question she'll ask next. Stars. Angels. Snakes. Flags. Fairies. She's always thinking hard about something. She loves piano lessons, and has been experimenting with improv. Yes, she's still 5. Her creativity is boundless, and her ability for sentence construction just can't keep up with the ideas in her head. So sometimes she says some pretty funny things. Without trying to. It's really hard not to laugh... But her current way of expressing her frustration with things usually sounds something like, "I wish I had a fairy who was a clothes-put-away fairy. Then I'd never have to put my clothes away ever again!" Me too, honey, me too. She loves to read the Rainbow Fairies book series. It has a pretty comprehensive assortment of specialist fairies. But MeToo has come up with quite a few fairies that the book series doesn't cover.

I've switched over to herbal tea. It's still delightful to drink it warm, even without getting a buzz. Time to get more work done. In 90 second snatches, of course.

Have a great day!

Friday, October 2, 2015

17 Weeks

It's 3:30 am. I can't sleep. I wish I could. I have a lot to do tomorrow, and the biggest factor in my daily productivity is how much sleep I get the night before. Everyone else is asleep. The house is quiet and dark. The neighborhood is quiet and dark. Our new house is further removed from the city traffic that never really stops around here. We're in one of the pockets of quiet neighborhood peace that dot the city. There are no racing ambulances or lumbering delivery trucks to disturb the silence. The commuter train isn't running yet. Early morning flights haven't started roaring up into the sky. The street lights highlight the fact that nothing is happening outside. Dark-eyed old homes are asleep. A cool early-October briskness has developed outside these walls. The early-Fall dampness has settled in. But inside is warm. Under the covers is warm. Inside the curled spoon of BestestHusband's gently-snoring embrace, all is warm. In the beds of my 3 dreaming daughters, all is warm. As far as sleeping conditions go, all is perfect. But I'm awake. 


I blame it on The Baby. At 17 weeks, The Baby usually lets me sleep through the night now. Previously, I was awake 3 times a night, with the urgent need to get out of bed. But things are quieter now. Fully into the second trimester, I'm allowed to sleep more. And I'm allowed to be awake without persistent nausea. But The Baby keeps reminding me of her (his?) growing presence. Exhaustion still rules my days. Nausea occasionally rules my evenings. I have a map of some unknown river delta developing in the vasculature of my left leg. And I've grown past the phase of "Thick around the middle" and gone well into "Good gracious. Could she be pregnant AGAIN?!?!"

The girls have started talking about The Baby to friends and teachers. They all insist it's another girl. Even HurricaneDebbie, barely 2 years old, insists to her daycare provider that it's a girl. According to her, we don't need any boys. Daddy's a boy. That's all we need in our household. We'll know in 2 weeks whether or not they're right. If I need to track down a set of baby gear that's not pink, I'd like to know in advance. 

17 weeks is a pretty good place to be. I'm not so huge yet. But I'm past the worst of it. BestestHusband and my DearFriend have been celebrating the passing of each week with me. At 6 weeks, nauseous and with a test stick in hand, 17 weeks seemed a lifetime away. A patient and supportive family tolerated my need to be horizontal. They joined me in my prayers that I would feel better at 16 weeks, like I did with the other 3 pregnancies. Each passing day brought a prayer of "Thank you." I was one day closer. Each week felt like an accomplishment. Even now that I'm feeling better, the weeks still feel like an accomplishment. But now I can start looking forward to the end of waiting to meet The Baby instead of waiting for the end of the misery. 

But laying in bed at 3:30, unable to sleep, my mind has a chance to wander. I have time for other prayers. And I'm aware that others are praying for different things with their pregnancies. I've been joining her in the prayer of "Please. Please Lord. Please." Diana's 35 weeks along with her 5th child. Three of them were lost. Her twins were lost around 20 weeks. Her 3rd son was lost after a full term delivery. I've followed her blog, Diana Wrote, since the loss of DearFriend's son, also close to the 20 week mark. Diana writes openly about her losses, her struggles with grief and faith. I've been following more closely as she nears the end of this pregnancy. I've been joining her daily prayer of "Please. Please." Please Lord, let this one live. Please Lord, allow her to raise this child. Please Lord, don't make her bury yet another child. Please. I have other friends who are currently pregnant. Friends who have lost previous children. My prayer expands out to them, as well. "Please. Please Lord. Not this time."

And my mind wanders to other children, whose mothers aren't sharing my prayers. My Facebook feed is full of both sides of the shouting match. Shout your abortion! Defund Planned Parenthood! The shouting match online is deafening. There are mothers in the middle who aren't shouting. They're also looking at their midsections full of 17 weeks of life. They aren't saying "Thanks" or "Please". They're quietly saying "No no no. Just no." They aren't thankful for each passing week. They aren't begging for the life of their child. They have plans to make The Problem go away. It's not a simple issue for them to be shouted about. But they're not thinking about planning for clothes - pink or blue. They're not engaging in the eager guessing game of who the baby looks like. Their baby is exactly like mine. Fast heart rate, delicate little fingers and toes, cartilage is changing to bone. Our babies need us to be able to survive. A surrogate, an incubator or adoptive mother, isn't enough to allow them to live. They need us, their biological mothers, to survive. To even have a chance in the world. But some babies will be denied that chance. 

The world is not a fair place. It won't be in my lifetime. Or ever on this side of Heaven. I'm aware of that. In two weeks, we'll see an image of The Baby. We'll ooh and aah at every kick, every wiggle. We'll study the facial profile. Does it look more like HeyMama? More like MeToo? Their profiles were recognizably different at 18 weeks. Do we need boy names? Girl names? We'll show ultrasound pictures to family and friends. With each passing week, we'll continue to pray "Thank you!" 

But other lives will be terminated instead. The fate of each child depends not only on the developmental health and medical status, but on the opinion of the woman whose body supports that child. Does she call it The Baby? Or think of it as The Problem? That opinion alone is enough to determine the child's right to live. This is such a challenging thought as I alternate between prayers of "Thank you" and "Please". Friends who lost children at this age named their babies and had funerals. But other babies will be labeled only as medical waste. 

The topics of Rights and Fairness are so complex. Their nuances and realities get lost in the shouting. As the result of an accidental pregnancy who was put up for adoption after birth, I have some strong opinions on the matter. I was A Problem, but was also given the chance to be A Baby. Was it fair to my biological mother that she should carry a baby she didn't want to raise? Honestly, I don't care about fair when it's my life. I'm just happy to be alive. I'm glad she wasn't too concerned about prioritizing her rights, either. The question of "Who matters more?" becomes a different question when your life is in the balance. Is it fair that my child is carried by a woman who views it as "life" instead of something that could just be medical waste? No, it's not fair at all. It's another form of privilege in our society. Our child will not only benefit from skin privilege and economic privilege, but simple birth privilege. 

The dogs have joined me here in the office, and they're snoring. Since waking me up nearly an hour ago, The Baby informed me that I needed a snack (preferably another lemon cupcake with raspberry filling and a glass of milk), and is informing me that I can go back to sleep now. And the child that was formerly dreaming in her bed apparently peed in her bed, and is now washed and sleeping in my bed. So I'll go elbow my way back into the warmth under the covers. BestestHusband authorized me to turn off the alarm when our child joined him in bed. So I may yet get some good sleep tonight. 

To all expectant mothers out there, I wish you also a restful night of sleep. To all children at 17 weeks gestation, I wish you all the gift of birth privilege. It's personally very painful to think about the alternative right now.