Friday, June 28, 2013

Thankful Thursday, no. 4 | On a Friday, actually

A photo of pregnant Sharon Tate,
which has nothing to do with this post really,
but which I like muchly.
The sidewalk at my morning bus stop is uneven, and I've tripped on it a dozen or so times since I've been catching buses there.  But today, very nearly eight months pregnant, I tripped and fell.  I'd just hastily kissed Wolfman goodbye and was rushing to the awaiting bus, my arms full of morning smoothie, umbrella, thick Wallace Stegner book, my head turned and scrounging in my bag for my wallet to pay my bus fare.  And, down she (I) went.  The things I'd been carrying scattered forward, the green smoothie spilled in a puddle which my umbrella lay in, the cover of my book bent (my poor books--even when I'm not falling down, they sure do take a beating).  I'd landed on my hands and knees, and I'd broken my fall with my bag, which was underneath me now.  Before I had time to react at all to what had happened, Wolfman was at my side, pulling me up, sounding slightly panicked in asking me if I was okay, which is when, I think, I started crying.

My hands and knees stung, and honestly, I was a little embarrassed, but what made me cry was this big ol' belly of mine, what I'm smuggling inside it, how precious that thing is, and how now is not a time to turn clutz. (I've been, if I do say so myself, rather graceful my entire life, but I'm not quite used to this newer, bigger, slower body of mine, and pregnancy has made me semi clumsy.)

The bus had driven off at this point, and Wolfman gathered my scattered belongings and helped me back into the car, where he drove me home to collect myself before we trekked back out to Raleigh for work.  All I could think on the ride home was, what if I hurt my baby because I wasn't paying attention, because I was in a hurry?  What if I'd hurt my baby, for what?  To make it to a bus on time?  To make it to work on time?  These things don't matter.  Nothing matters at this point in my pregnancy but keeping this baby safe and healthy.  

Wolfman says watching me fall was, hands down, the scariest moment of his life to date.  I was scared, too.  So, he held my hand, and I cried, and I willed the baby to start wiggling around to let me know he or she was still in there and doing just fine.  Baby obliged about a mile from our house with one solitary THUMP.  When we got home, I lay on my back on the bed, lifted up my blouse, and watched my belly roll, and felt my baby move, and I don't think I've ever even known what relief truly feels like until those moments.

This seems silly now, of course.  It was just a little trip on a sidewalk!  I only skinned the heels of my hands and my knees!  Elementary-age me frequently sported bloody knees with nary a tear for them.  It's embarrassing now, typing this, as this baby bounces around inside me on a lunch time high, to think of how I reacted, how my husband reacted.  I didn't fall down any stairs; I wasn't in a moving vehicle. 

I confessed to Wolfman after the incident, once I'd calmed down, that never in my life have I been so conscious of and wary of bodily harm coming to me in some way.  These past few months, I've been haunted by stray thoughts like: what if I get stabbed? What if I get hit by a car?  I never worried about these things before, and now weekly I'm plagued by images of harm coming to me, and as a consequence, my baby.  I guess I'd never had something to protect before.  By which I mean, I never went out of my way to put myself and my body in danger, but I guess I'd always been pretty confident in my chances of survival--the blessing, or curse, of being young, healthy, and strong.  But now, the stakes are so much higher, and I feel so much more vulnerable than before.  It's confusing and annoying, and I can't shake it, no matter how many affirmations I mutter to chase away an unfounded worry.  

I slipped on my butt at Hemlock Bluffs early in my pregnancy, before I had a belly, before I'd even told most people.  The stone stairs leading down to the parking lot were slippery and down I went.  I laughed because I bounced a little (I've got some cushion back there, of which both Wolfman and I are pretty fond).  I laughed and then said to Wolfman as he pulled me up with a kind of rueful expression on his face, I need to be more careful now.   It's not that I consider myself solely a vessel or carrier; I'm still an autonomous being, and I expect to be treated as such--by society, by the medical industry.  But, I'm sharing this body now, in the realest of senses, with some little being who needs me, who relies on me completely.  Being aware of that, every day, every minute, sure does make me think differently about myself and my place in the world.  And, yes, sometimes it makes me panic over little things that seem so much huger now. 

I'm grateful for that one THUMP on the ride home, grateful for a visible wiggling as I watched my belly in bed, grateful now to feel the baby pulsing happily inside me.  I'm grateful for my husband, who was beside me so quickly.  I'm grateful for this wake up call, even, this alarm clock ringing, telling me it's time to sloooowww dowwwn.  Officially, we, baby and me, are on slow time.  If we miss a bus, we miss a bus.  So be it.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Expecting | 34 Weeks

Dear Baby,

Friday was the summer solstice, and your papa outdid himself this week.  First, there was the oscillating fan he brought home for the bedroom, to cool me down some while I sleep.  (I'm overheating these days and walking about the house in various degrees of undress.  When your Great-Grandma Polly was pregnant with Grandpa Bob in an Oklahoma summer, she was naked much of the time, or so goes the tale.  I believe it as I'm nearly there myself.)  On Sunday, your papa dug a pit in the back yard and cooked us up a beef brisket from Queen B Farm over a wood fire, which he dressed with a BBQ sauce he mixed himself.  I do just fine in the kitchen with the one pot/one pan meals, but your Papa, we decided this weekend, is the special occasion cook--all gourmet weekend and holiday meals will be at his hand, and you and I are are ever lucky for it (as I'm sure you're aware by the time you're reading this).  How I managed to find a such good-looking man who can cook and keeps me laughing, I don't know. 

You're getting big.  Gigantic, actually.  According to the midwife, your head is already nestled down in my pelvis (and it better stay there, bub), but you've got this one foot consistently wedged into my side, and the other jammed up against my diaphragm making breathing something of a labor.  Sometimes I'll feel you moving in two opposite places at once in my belly, each thump so far from the other, and think, how is that even possible?  You must be one froggy-legged babe, one strong, tall glass of milk already.  I may be complaining a little these days, but it's an affectionate complaint--a bragging complaint, even.  If you weren't making trouble for me, I'd wonder if you were mine at all.

We fell asleep, your Papa and me, and missed the super moon.  I think we're conserving sleep these days, getting as much of it as we can, before your arrival.  The next super moon will happen in August 2014, and you'll be a year old.  I can hardly imagine it.

Love always, Mama  

A shirtless Wolfman tending to dinner.

Spinach salad with all sorts of goodies.

Brisket and mashed potatoes courtesy of Chef Wolfman, pretzel roll courtesy of the grocery bakery.

I was giggling so hard, I could barely take these photos of Thorn, who obviously melted in the heat.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thankful Thursday, no. 3

This has not been my week.  Wolfman bought me a beautiful dress on Saturday which I wore on Monday, promptly smudged with coconut oil, and thereby effectively ruined. (Today, also, I noticed too late that my little embroidered cardigan has a stain--this one a mystery--on the back.  Is this my life now, I wonder?)  I've been rained on this week.  I've blistered my feet wearing the wrong shoes this week.  I've peed my pants when sneezing this week.  I've woken to the 5 AM alarm and cried this week.  In short, it's a perfect week for gratitude.  

I am grateful: for the sound rain drops thumping on my umbrella as I wait for a bus with the hem of my dress uncomfortably wet.

I am grateful: for air conditioning on buses now that summer is upon us full force.

I am grateful: for the smell of sliced nectarines packed from home, bringing me cheer even after working through my lunch break, which always puts me in such a gloom.

I am grateful: for strangers on the street who offer blessings to my unborn baby and well wishes to me.

I am grateful: for this one moment so small, but so transcendent, I will fail to describe why it made me cry.  This moment I experience wholly, this moment I live in and appreciate, every single sensation--Wolfman putting headphones on my belly and nestling against me in bed, his hand resting on my naval as he plays music for the baby (one of the pieces he wrote, a mellow Buckethead tune).  Lunchbox curling against Wolfman's bare back, and I rubbing his belly with one hand, running fingers through Wolfman's hair with the other, and feeling this baby rolling and thumping inside me like a mermaid.  We three still and perfect and happy while Xena rough-houses with her kittens on the floor, unseen by us but heard, bouncing against various obstacles and calling them with her particular mother coo. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Expecting | 32 Weeks

Eight more weeks.  Or, perhaps, depending on how impatient this baby of mine gets, even fewer (but no fewer than 5, okay, babes?).  We baby showered yesterday, at Wolfman's Aunt Theresa's house in Angier.  It was a lovely time, with delicious sandwiches and cucumber lemon water and family we don't see nearly enough.  Grandma finally met Wolfman's niece Samantha Jane, who we talk about all the time, and was as taken with her as we are.  And, she held Wolfman's cousin's youngest baby girl, Dani Rae, five months old and "built like a butterball turkey", according to Wolfman (you'll remember his mother describing his baby self as a certain holiday entree as well).  Baby girls abound on this side of the family (and they are all just as loud, funny, and mischievous as little boys, by the way).  We received all sorts of gifts I hadn't even thought to ask for, and all sorts of sage advice, from Dani Rae's mother, in particular, Hollie, for which I am very grateful.  Sierra Dawn brought Ella, the youngest of the babies present, and I leaned over to look at that gorgeous little face, but couldn't hold her as I'm recovering from a head cold.  It's hard being around so many babies, expecting one of your own very soon, and not being able to jiggle a one in your lap.

As you'll see from the photos, I made due with Thorn Rex.  He and Dani Rae are comparable in heft, though he's furrier, of course.

I'm a bit uncomfortable these days, I'll admit.  My legs are starting to ache from carrying so much weight (I've gained 32 pounds so far!).  My bladder is being punished relentlessly.  It's getting more difficult by the day to lean over and put my sandals on.  I've had to slow my pace quite a bit, literally and figuratively.  I never thought of myself as much of a She-Ra before getting pregnant, but I'm constantly disappointed throughout the day by things I can not do--speeds I cannot achieve, objects I cannot lift, things I cannot remember, toes I can only reach with much grunting and adjusting.  I'm certainly ready to have my body back, and this baby in my arms.  Just eight more weeks!

Monday, June 3, 2013

This Weekend in Senses

Granny & Gramps bobbleheads in Grandma's car; a gift from me several Christmases ago

Seeing | Wolfman flashing me a flirty smile | Grandma stealing and eating a single cherry at the grocery store

Hearing | wind whipping through the open car windows as we drive | Dean Martin's "Memories are Made of This" playing on the diner jukebox

Smelling | fresh cut lemon slices | Wolfman's home-made throat tonic (honey, brandy, spices) 

Touching | soft, plump kitten bellies | coconut oil against the drum of my belly 

Tasting | crisp, bittersweet green grapes | Ben & Jerry's Liz Lemon frozen yogurt (lemon with blueberry lavender swirl) 

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