Monday, April 29, 2013

Expecting | 26 Weeks

I know that much has been made of that increased sex drive some women are blessed with during pregnancy.  But is there a such thing as an increased romance drive?  I think I have that.  I have found myself collecting songs about Us (we Wolfpeople, that is), which I never thought to do while we were wooing each other, or as our wedding approached (that two week period between proposal and court house).  But now, I listen to “Leather & Lace” sitting on our friend Metal Commander’s front porch, blasting from the stereo through his open window and think, yes, this is about us.  I hear a snippet of “Here Comes the Sun” and remember Wolfman texting me, a million years ago, that as Bobby Good strummed that song absently on an acoustic, he was thinking of me.   I hear “Danny’s Song” in the grocery and I sing along and my eyes well up a little.  (Have I mentioned that I am convinced this baby of ours is a little boy?)

This is me, 26 weeks pregnant, planning frozen custard dates during a Spring full of babies—baby Ella, Xena’s second litter, this bean inside me who kicks every time I sneeze at the pollen.  Even Sunday naps seem romantic, my man and me nestled together, the dog tucked into the crook of his body, and a little space in reserve where I tell my boys our baby will soon be.  We will be a family of four (plus all these cats, who don’t really count because they wouldn’t want to be counted, if asked).

When Wolfman and I find ourselves on the Tobacco Trail again, both of us quietly appreciating its flatness and lack of obstacles (rocks, tree roots) as my belly swells week by week, our hands brush together and fingers intertwine like when we were getting to know each other.  I tell him that he is my favorite thing about my life, having him and loving him so much.  And he points to my belly and says, “Soon that will be your favorite thing about your life.”  It’s so hard to imagine, but I’m beginning to understand, and be overwhelmed by, the vast stores of love inside me I have to give—to my husband, to my dog, to my niece, to this baby I’m growing now, to any babies that may come after.   

Also, I am getting really good at burping.  

With Gizzard, Xena's kitten who is not such a kitten anymore.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Photo Journal, no. 55 | Plus One

Meet Ella Lois Good, all 6 pounds 5 ounces of sweet little baby girl.  She'll be a week old tomorrow at 3:38 pm.  And, I am utterly, completely, crazy about her.  I've never seen such a perfect little face. She has her father's eyes and her mother's nose (I think! I hope!), and those long eyelashes could be from either of her parents--Ella was gifted with really great eyelash genes on both sides of her family.  Technically, I've been an aunt, by marriage, for three years now, to a charming little girl named Samantha Jane who never ceases to amaze me.  But, I won't pretend there isn't something magical about watching my own little sister transform into a mother before my very eyes, and knowing that this new little creature, this precious thing, has some of our shared blood and history swimming about inside her veins.  

I may have been, due to my particular vantage point, the first to see Ella's little face.  I cried, of course, and those tears turned to weeping the moment I saw my sister gaze upon her daughter for the first time.  Such a magical moment, perhaps the most magical of my life (at least until my own little one gets here).  And, god, how strong was Sierra Dawn?  Such a power house.  Bobby said something to the extent of wondering how he could be worthy of such a powerful woman after watching her give birth to his daughter, and I wonder the same thing if in a different way.  I wonder, how can I live up to that?  After two days of irregular contractions, five hours of active labor, and only three, maybe four, pushes (all silent, I should note), my sister gave birth and changed our lives forever, and now I understand so much clearer what is expected of me, of my body, of my will, come the end of July. I am so proud of her, so in awe of her, so happy for her, so glad to meet my niece, and to have these next three months to get to know her, just Ella, and to love her so much.

Proud parents

Bobby wouldn't stop talking for a picture.

I think we're going to go with Aunt Shelly

Shirly's first great-grandchild

A blurry picture of my grandpa with the baby.  Why can men not stand still for pictures?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Expecting, no. 1 | 6 Months Down, 3 To Go

I'm 24 weeks pregnant, and I finally have a belly to show for it.  Last week, I was recognized on the street by a stranger as pregnant for the first time, and this past weekend, when these photos were taken, my middle seemed to double.  That's not the most exciting thing about pregnancy so far, though.  The most exciting thing has been feeling the baby move and, the other night, actually witnessing the baby move under my skin as Wolfman and I reclined on the bed watching cartoons.  

Early pregnancy, I must admit, was the pits, but ever since 21 weeks, I have been riding an endorphin high.  I am so full of love and warmth and readiness, it's difficult to complete normal daily tasks or fully comprehend conversation.  I spend my work day in a sort of happy stupor and the commute home eagerly anticipating the moment I see my husband, which is when the baby starts moving around--he or she is most active at night, and it always begins the moment I lay eyes on my Love, perhaps due to a shift in the chemicals in my blood, or some otherwise imperceptible biologic change.  In fact, as I began typing this, the baby began thumping around.

My greatest challenge is to simply enjoy and be present in this moment, my last time alone with Wolfman, the last few months before I'm a mother, without wishing to rush ahead to the moment this baby is in my arms.  And with the help of Wolfman and family and midwives, I'm being nudged into physically preparing the actual equipment and stuff that comes along with a new baby.  It's difficult for me to feel any sense of urgency about things like diapers and slings and sleeping arrangements.  I keep expecting everything to fall into place around me as though I have some kind of fairy godmother.

On the Tobacco Trail in Apex.

These are Lunchbox's last few months as an only wolfchild.

Once Upon a Child, a consignment shop in Cary, had a 10 for $10 sale on onesies Saturday.  Gender neutral baby clothes sure are difficult to come by, I tell ya.  I about hyperventilated when I found the Star Wars onesie on the rack.

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