November 28, 2006

Popping out.

I'm starting to pop out a little. Before now, my clothes were just tight, but now when I look at my bare belly I can definitely see the bulge . . . well, more of a bulge than usual. Clothes still disguise it a little, but it's only a matter of time . . .

My books tell me that the baby is the size of a softball at this point (which I know is bigger than a baseball thanks to my embarassing talk with the guy at Dunham's a few years back . . . who knew there was a difference?). And when I lay on my stomach, it definitely feels like I'm laying on a softball, so no more laying on my stomach for me. I've also read that I'm not supposed to lay on my back if possible, so I'm doing my best to stay on my side at night.

I have to admit that while I'm very, very excited about this baby, I'm not really that fond of being pregnant. I've heard of women who love being pregnant . . . you know the ones that have the "glow." I might look a little like I have a glow, but it's actually a combination of acne and facial hair. I never would have guessed that something as feminine as being pregnant would cause facial hair, but it's in all of my books. The weight gain and feeling super fat isn't really that exciting either. I keep trying to think of good things about being pregnant and the only one I can come up with is the precious little baby that comes from it. I'll try to keep my mind focused on that.

My mom got me two books on pregnancy and I've been reading them nonstop. There's a lot to know. I also just bought a book on baby sleep which also seems pretty good. I'm a little worried about messing something up though. It's so hard to read all of my sources for my thesis when I have these other things I'm way more interested in.

Pray for me and my thesis. I was pretty sure that this week I was going to call and drop out of the program. I'm frustrated with writing this stupid paper, I'm not sure how we'll pay for next semester without taking out any more loans and I just don't want to do it anymore. But I also don't want to not have my master's after all of this work because I don't want to write a paper and take one more class. I think the pregnancy hormones are playing a little bit of a part in my frustration, because I end up crying at least once every time I sit down to work on it.

We had a great Thanksgiving with my parents and family at my Aunt Patti's house. Karina, Mary Jean and I went shipping early Friday morning and found some great deals. I'm not sure it was worth the early morning rise at this point, but the deals we saw were amazing for people who have kids. I'll have to keep that in mind. Having a baby really does open up a whole new world of shopping. I guess another way to say it is that having a baby really does open up a whole new world of expenses.

Nostalgia . . .

My parents are on a cruise this week and I'm staying at their house with my brother. I'm using it as a week to work on my thesis and hopefully make some decent progress (seriously, pray for me because I'm about ready to quit). I really miss Kyle and miss being at home, but this afternoon I just had a wave of nostalgia sweep over me.

I have my laptop set up at the dining room table. I didn't have a laptop in high school (much to my dismay) but I did do my homework here for much of my growing up years. This room looks a little different than when I did my originaly studying, but it just started to bring back memories. Around 3:15, I heard the first bus drive by and that brought even more memories of the days before I could drive.

I'm just overwhelmed right now by the thought that this house is where I lived for 13 years before I went to college and where I did all of my pre-college growing up. I haven't lived here for 10 years, now and the combination of foreign and familiar are both tugging at me.

And now, I'm about to have a child of my own . . . Who will grow up in my house and might come back one day and have this same feeling of foreign and familiar. I feel like at this point some sort of background singers should start playing "The Circle of Life" or something.

I've just been struck by that and wanted to get it down before I forgot.

November 25, 2006

The divine error of Crossings Book Club

When I was in college, I read A LOT more than I do now. I was a much better person then.

During my sophomore year, I found one of those mail-in cards for Crossings Book Club. It was one of those deals where you get 6 books for $.99 and then you have to buy 4 more within 3 years to fulfill your membership requirements. So, I signed up. The books were certainly cheaper than the bookstore and I got a "stylish book tote" as a free gift. For the record, the person who labeled the tote "stylish" should have been fired.

I wrote my check for $.99 plus shipping and handling and sent it in. 4 - 6 weeks later, I was so excited to get my books! I was about 83% pleased with my order because only 5 of my books were the ones I ordered. The sixth was one I had never even heard of. I didn't know if it was my mistake or theirs but didn't really want to complain . . . the books only cost about 17 cents each.

All of that to say, the incorrect book has become one of my favorites and I have treasured it ever since. The dust jacket is ragged and some of the pages are about to fall out, but I will never get rid of it. I really do feel like the book club error was divine. The book is called "The Complete Book of Christian Prayer." There has never been a time in my life where I have not been able to find a prayer in this book that says what I want to say but couldn't find the words. The prayers are the prayers of people who have experienced all of the things we all experience in life and it's been priceless.

Why am I telling you this? Because tonight I had my weekly dive into the prayer book and found a prayer that I had NEVER noticed before. It's by a women named Rita Snowden. It goes like this:

"O God, it might seem odd to some to pray for someone not yet born - but not to you and not to me. In these nine months of womanly patience, I have learned more than ever to marvel at your creative plans - and our part in them. I rejoice that the fashioning of a baby, and the founding of a family, requires the gifts of body, mind and spirit you have given to each of us. Bless these days of waiting, of preparation, of tender hope.

"Let only things and thoughts that are clean and strong and glad be about us. I give you thanks that from childhood till this experience of maturity, you have made it both beautiful and natural for me to give love and to receive it. In this newest experience, hold us each safe, relaxed and full of eager hope - even as you count each life in your presence, precious."

The Book of Christian Prayer comes through again.

November 12, 2006

My own personal drama

So, it's confession time. I had a little bit of a breakdown this morning.

It kind of started last week when I got my hair cut. And when I say "cut," I'm being gracious because it looks more like the lady (who did not speak English) put my hair on a chopping block and swung and axe. I didn't go to the place I usually go, because with our budget crunch I know we couldn't really afford it. So, I went to a cheaper place in the Briarwood mall. That was a mistake.

Prior to the haircut, I was already feeling self-conscious about every other unattractive thing that has been happening to my body over the last two years that we were trying to conceive (acne, facial hair, weight gain, etc.). These things have only gotten worse over the last 12 weeks. So, my hair was the last thing that I could still feel good about. It was a simple cut, but Lin managed to screw it up. The cut is a shorter version of Jennifer Aniston's, circa 1994.

My hair was kind of the last straw. And I've been holding it together pretty well up until today.

I got up and started getting ready for church. My eyes started to well up when I was in the bathroom getting ready, but when I got into the closet and started searching for something remotely attractive that fits I lost it. I was crying harder than I have in a REALLY long time. Kyle came in to tell me it was time to leave and I was sitting on the floor of the closet, half-dressed, sobbing. It was at that point that he made the call that we were going to miss church today. And I spent most of the day avoiding mirrors as much as possible.

A lot contributed to the breakdown: stress over my stupid thesis, hormones, nervousness over having a baby, total disgust with my appearance, fatigue, etc. I just am realizing that I still have 28 weeks of pregnancy to go and it's going to feel like 50.

So, I'm thinking a little more clearly now but am still a little down. I'm just thankful that most days will be better than this one.

November 8, 2006

A clean house is a happy house.

So, I've found that the people who say that with pregnancy comes an increased sense of smell are correct . . . and ever since September 15, I feel like our house smells awful. Like a combination of rotten food and dog pee. I've put in about 7 Wallflowers (smelly plug-in things from Bath and Body Works) but it doensn't seem to be able to mask the scent. Our carpet Kyle doesn't smell it as strong as I do, but it has been driving me crazy.

So, we broke down and rented a carpet shampooer last night. We could only have it for 24 hours or we'd have to pay another $21 so we (and by we, I mean Kyle) were up until after mindnight last night shampooing the living room and hallway. Before we used it, we had to completely clean it out because it was moldy and the filter was clogged . . . that was kind of annoying. It seems to make a difference, though Murphy has left her mark in a few places and they will not go away. THis morning while Kyle was at work, I worked on the stairs, downstairs carpet and furniture.

The carpet at the bottom of our stairs was pretty much ruined when we painted the ceiling of the basement and didn't seal off the rest of the house properly. But it actually looks a little bit better after being cleaned.

Unfortunately, I did something stupid and tried to carry the shampooer up the stairs when it was completely full. About half way up the stairs I knew I was being dumb when I started having really painful cramps. I went and laid down and waited for Kyle to come home and do the rest. I don't think I've ever felt as scolded by my husband as I did when he got home . . . I guess I can't blame him. The cramps have subsided and I've learned my lesson: No more heavy lifting.

I do have to say that best part is when Kyle took the machine back to Home Depot, he mentioned that it was in pretty bad shape when we got it so they didn't charge us the rental fee . . . no questions asked! That was awesome! We can put that toward replacing the coffee table from IKEA in our living room that Murphy chewed all of the corners off of this week. :(

Anyway, I feel much better now that I'm in a clean house. It'll never be the same as it was pre-dog, but it's a lot better. I swear that if I see that dog even begin squat anywhere on my carpet, she'll be gone before she finishes peeing.

November 4, 2006

Feeling pregnant . . .

Tonight for the first time, I felt like I was pregnant.

I was at our SBC Fellowship Dinner and we were cleaning up. I bent over to pick up some trash and I felt a stiffness in my abdomen. It was like when I bent over, there was something in there that was making it more difficult to bend over. Something that was causing some resistance.

I know it shouldn't be a surprise, but it was weird to have even MORE confirmation that there is something growing inside of me. It's possible that I've felt this before, but just haven't realized what is was, but it was kind of cool. It made me excited for what it will be like to feel the baby kick for the first time!

November 2, 2006

Another successful trip to Ann Arbor!

I had my firt OB appointment today and all in all, it went pretty well. Let me start by saying I was VERY nervous. I've been very emotional over the last week and I don't know why I was nervous but on our way to Ann Arbor I was questioning everything!

When we got there, we had to find the right parking garage and figure out which floor we were on (which Kyle was great about because he had maps printed and directions ready). We found the OB department and it was a little intimidating at first. It was really, really big and had a huge round desk that you checked in at. We checked in and the receptionist told us we could have a seat while we waited and also told us that the left half of the waiting room was the women's health center. When I thought of the women's health center, I was thinking "wall of brochures" but it was that and much more. They have an entire library of books on women's health, parenting, childbirth, pregnancy, breast feeding and so much more! You can even check the books out and keep them for a month. That has the potential of saving me a lot of money! All of the titles were pretty new (a.k.a. weren't around back when I was born).

We didn't have to wait long before we were called in. The whole department is so huge that I was surprised at how tiny our room was. The medical assistant was very friendly and asked us all of the questions that we had already been asked by the nurse who called us for our phone interview a month and a half ago. But, I smiled and answered them anyway. She left us with a huge packet of information to look over while we waited for the doctor. That's about the time that my panic attack started.

In the packet, there's a pretty comprehensive notebook that takes you all the way from conception to post-delivery. The manual walks you through pregnancy month by month and includes what's happening to the baby, to me and gives suggestions for what we should be doing/buying/deciding each month. It also covers what will happen at each appointment that I'll have between now and several months after delivery. It's very impressive.

However, between this notebook, the stack of pamphlets and the video I started thinking about how much there is to know about having a baby. As I read pages of what to do and what not to do and what to do in this case, but not do in another case I could feel my chest start to tighten and my eyes start to well up.

Luckily, when the doctor came in I seemed to forget those fears. She came in and introduced herself to us by her first name (which I thought was nice) and spent a lot of time with us asking questions and explaining things. I know there were a ton of patients out there but she made me feel like we were the only patients at the office. She wasn't the doctor I was assigned to, nor was she the doctor I was supposed to see that day but when she left the room, I told Kyle that I wished she could be my doctor. A few minutes later, the nurse poked her head and and said, "Dr. Shah would like to be your doctor from this poing on, if you guys are ok with that." Awesome. That worked out perfectly.

So, we got to have another ultrasound which was mildly disappointing because the equipment wasn't nearly as advanced as the stuff at the clinic. Nonetheless, it was good to see the little guy/girl and see that the heartbeat was still strong.

We go back December 6. 40 weeks is a long time.