Imminent Motherhood

This is the blog I think I have to write.  I have to write it because if I don’t get these thoughts and feelings out of my head and body, I know they will fester and cause me to lose sleep and worry – something I hardly need at 39 weeks pregnant.

I am realizing as I grow older that I worry a lot.  I never used to do this.  I worry about how my future will look.  I worry about knowing the right path.  I worry about being successful as a mother, in my career, and in my relationships.  I let an internal drive to accomplish goals stress me out to the point that I sometimes break down and need to have a good sobbing cry and a reconciliation with the fact that I am just human, doing the best I can.  I set goals for myself that I sometimes don’t even care about, just because I am driven to compete.  This is something I need to work on as a strive for balance in my life.

I sit here (this week I am working from home to begin to relax and let myself prepare body and soul for my upcoming birth) and I know that despite the enthusiasm I’ve tried to convey throughout my pregnancy, I am absolutely terrified of everything that is about to happen in my life. Terrified. Nervous breakdown kind of scared. I am scared of not measuring up as a mother, failing in my career, neglecting my relationship with my husband, and feeling like I am not good enough on every front. I am scared of losing ground in my work as I focus on being there and raising my child.  I am scared of all the responsibilities that come with being a mom. I have irrational fears about money and not being able to support my child.  I have fears about inadvertently screwing my kids up.  I am scared that I will lack the patience necessary to be a good mom.  I am scared that I won’t be a good role model. I am scared of myself.  I wonder if someday I will want to walk away from the responsibility of children.  I question how my priorities will shift once I see my baby.  I worry that I will be a tiger mom who cows her child.  I worry I will be an imperious monster who bullies my husband.  I fear I will try to do everything, and fail.  I worry about my tendency to worry.  I worry about my negative attitude.  I worry that though I have had my nursery prepared for months, my hospital bag packed for weeks, and read every book under the sun on birth and expecting a child, that I somehow have not done enough.  I have missed something.  I worry that I have neglected something at work and they will soon recognize my incompetence and fire me.  I worry that I baked cookies over the weekend and they were too hard.  I worry I can’t be all things to all people.

I dream of running away to a ranch and living peacefully with Rick and my babies, playing in the woods, gardening, exploring the world around us – without my work email buzzing on my phone.  I dream of snuggling my face into the sun-warmed shoulders of a little boy who thinks I am the best thing ever — and not feeling guilty and conflicted because I am not focused on my career.  I dream of putting little babies to bed, tucking them in and giving them kisses without tearing myself away to finish a project.  I am terrified of attempting to balance my goals at work with my goals as a mother.  I think of my own childhood and wonder I can offer my child what my parents offered me.

As the immensity of these fears wells up in me, tears  roll down my cheeks and I bury my face in my hands – trying to offer myself the compassion I’d offer to someone else in my shoes.  I feel like I’ve been brave for 9 months, and all of a sudden the reality of the imminent life change upon me has hit.  I tell people I am scared of giving up my lifestyle – and I am.  But mostly, I am scared of having to make choices about where I direct my time and energy, and having to own those choices – and knowing that there is a good chance I can’t do it all.

As I write these fears, I’m reminded of an amusing meditation that I read about not long ago.  As anyone involved in self-study and self-improvement knows, the concept of cultivating gratitude is very popular these days.  The meditation I am thinking of seems to embrace an opposite philosophy of embracing disenchantment and anger – and putting it out there.  This is a bit of what I’ve done here.  Only the meditation I’m referring to is a bit more coarse – for each rising sentiment you say:

“Fuck the pressure to be a supermom.”

“Fuck the abhorrent maternity and family leave policies in this country.”

“Fuck workplaces that offer six weeks partially paid disability leave and act like they have no other choice. Those fuckers should be striving for better.”

“Fuck the idea that I should be thankful to have six weeks to figure out how to be a mom, regain balance in my life, figure out who will care for my infant, and return to work.”

“Fuck those women who have done all this without complaining and make me look bad.”

“Fuck that I feel guilty for overusing the word fuck.”

“Fuck that having to make these hard choices makes me resent my job.”

“Fuck that having to make hard choices makes me resent the child that I am about to welcome to the world.”

“Fuck that I don’t have an alternate plan for being independently wealthy, and that even if I did I would beat myself up for not making it in the corporate world if I checked out.”

And so on and so forth.  And with each sentence, you just leave that thought in space.  And it’s out there now.  Not inside.  And I think that is the most important piece in this whole puzzle.

I don’t know when this baby is coming, but it could be any day now.  Tomorrow my life could change.  Everyone tells me that the day you have your baby is the most special and magical time of your life.  I hear them, but my mind brings me back to the anxieties floating around my head.  I recognize the loss of mindfulness in this post – the overwhelming fear and discordant sentiments that exist in me.  I know this is something to be reconciled, and I hope that putting the fear and apprehensions I have out into space will help me lighten my load and face these challenges with an openness that currently seems difficult to tap into.

Thanks for being audience to this rambling, and if you have anything to offer me to help ease my mind, I’ll take it!

Hello birth month! (hopefully!!)

Here I am, verging on the birth month of my first child.  Tomorrow will mark 37 weeks, meaning my baby is full term and could be expected pretty much any day now!  For most first time moms the actual birth date is 41 weeks 2 days of gestation, however.  So, I may have a while to wait but I am trying to be prepared for the possibility that he could come tomorrow.  It’s a strange dance we mammas do, of anxiously preparing ourselves, while trying to patiently wait, slow down our lifestyles, and listen to the rhythms of our bodies.  Each time I feel a Braxton hicks contraction I wonder if it’s the beginning, each time I feel crampy or achy I wonder if that is a sign that the birthing time is near.  I’m constantly scanning for evidence of a lost mucus plug.  I feel the baby lower himself deeper in to my pelvis with each step I take while I’m out walking.  It’s hard to extricate myself from thoughts of baby, but I realize that I must. Though it is tempting to devote much of my mental energy to thinking about birth, going over our plan, and reciting hypnobabies scripts to myself in my head, the reality is that I want to savor these last days of being just me.  Just Kat.  Not a mom.  Not solely responsible for the life and well-being of a small child,

I know it’s not uncommon for new moms to enter a bit of a depressive phase before the birth of their first child.  I can see how that happens.  There is certainly a mourning, in small ways, of a life pregnant with alternate endings and different scenarios that might not include being tied down by a new baby.  I scheduled a dentist appointment in January, and suddenly the other day I started to wonder, ” How does one go to the dentist with a newborn?”  Do I need a babysitter? Can I bring him with?  What if he cries and is fussy?  It’s a learning experience, I hear.  I have no doubt it will be all that, and more.

This past weekend Rick and I escaped to Leadville and stayed at my sister’s place, going for small hikes and enjoying the quaint mountain town vibe.   As we hiked I couldn’t help but feel nostalgia for my healthy, pre-pregnancy body.  My back felt achy and my feet (bearing the weight of 40 pregnancy pounds) get more sore when I walk.  My abdomen moves constantly, and the actions do not always make me smile with joy – more recently I wince and gently try to massage an errant foot back into a position that doesn’t stab my ribs or jut out of my belly at a dangerous looking angle.  Though by many accounts, my own included, I have had an incredibly healthy and easy pregnancy, the last month definitely is harder.

In hypnobabies we discuss a concept called the “bubble of peace” with which we as pregnant couples can fend off negative birth messages.  In one of our earliest classes we each visualize our own “bubble” that protects us from scary birth stories and other messages that present pregnancy and childbirth in ways we don’t feel comfortable with.  My bubble of peace, for example, resembles a zorbing ball that I walk around in, and which zaps away people who I come into contact with who are not supportive of my vision for my pregnancy and childbirth.  (Rick’s bubble is much more peaceful – it consists of a comfortable recliner, a sunny sky above him, me, Addie our dog, and a beer.  I think we took slightly different approaches to the exercise!)  Up until recently, the bubble of peace concept has carried little weight or meaning for me.  I am an information sponge and I honestly eat up every story I hear about birth.  I want to familiarize myself with the possibilities so that I feel well-prepared when I get there.  But recently, the third trimester has been getting me a bit down.  Occasionally I call people for work and their first response is “You’re still working!?” and I feel a bit sad that I am, when I’d love to be devoting my mental energy to being present and enjoying the process of change and discovery that is happening within me each day.  Or I have one particular coworker who loves to share her observations on my pregnancy with me; including but not limited to “I can tell you’re ready to have the baby because the whole shape of your face has changed!” or, “Wow!  Your belly has grown two inches since I saw you last (like a week before)!”, or the time she told me her entire birth story which ended in an emergency c-section and complaints about the post-labor recovery rooms at the hospital where I’m delivering. On the flip side, there are many people I work with who seem unsympathetic to the fatigue and mental fog that can descend in the third trimester and I struggle to try to do my job well while also acknowledging and respecting the changing space I’m in. My bubble of peace is becoming both necessary and critical to maintaining my self-image and sanity during the last few weeks. I have lamented the metamorphosis of my body in small ways throughout my pregnancy, but this last month has been the hardest for me because the physical changes have been more noticeable.  During the first trimester I felt fatigue as if I’d pulled several all nighters in a row, and now I feel that too (and let’s be honest – I’m sort of doing that with how little sleep I get), but my body ALSO sometimes feels like I was run over by a truck.  Which is lovely.

I’m not here to complain.  I know it’s easy to complain about the discomforts of a changing body and the challenges of preparing for a new, helpless, member of the family.  What’s less easy is embracing those changes with grace, gratitude for the experience and process, and acknowledgment of the strength that will come from those struggles. I think learning to embrace the challenges will make me a better mother, wife, and person.  Which is not to say I don’t feel the discomforts and stressors – I just try to reframe them in my mind to something that offers a positive outcome.

These are my thoughts today.  Though I sometimes lose perspective, it is important to remember what a gift it s to have a healthy body capable of building a new human. I am eager to meet our new addition, but trying to savor this valuable time where I am simply me.

Susie Homemaker

I feel a bit like a Susie Homemaker right now.  I’m seated at our (new!) dining room table in my apron.  I’ve been in the kitchen all evening.  Though I worked a full day (and in a perfect world that would entitle me to an evening of lying on the couch and watching the Daily Show), instead, I’m taking a break while my pomegranate chocolate tart bakes.  I’m preparing Thanksgiving dinner elements this evening so I can take it relatively easy tomorrow and make some time to go for a long walk with Adelaide and enjoy a day off work.  A. DAY. OFF.WORK.

I’m saving vacation days.  I am saving them so that I can take it easy next year and enjoy some time with the Frankster (oh, and that minor vacation we have planned to Iceland and London!).   I began working last April and I have taken no time off since that then.  Now granted, I have a flexible schedule and I work from home reasonably often.  But, those are still working days.  Tomorrow I’ve pledged to myself to DO NOTHING related to work.  This would be a simpler task if lists and tasks would stop flitting through my mind reminding me that in a short time I need to be prepared to hand over all my projects to the people who’ll be covering for me during my maternity leave – the prospect of which makes me anxious.  But, enough about work.  I have 4 days off and I will be enjoying them thoroughly.

Today was a special day.  I got a new engagement ring!  I wish I could say that it was entirely my choice – it wasn’t.  Unfortunately, the beautiful family ring that Rick gave me for our engagement lost not one, but two baguette diamonds in the last several months.  Were it not so old, this wouldn’t be that big of a deal.  But (and here is where I got an education on diamonds) baguette stones are incredibly challenging to work with!  These days they come in standard sizes, but with an old ring you need to have them custom cut, which can only happen in a few places in New York.  We did all this.  But, it was to no avail.  We even considered sending the ring to the jeweler in Australia who made our wedding bands, but in the end we determined the ring would become an ongoing challenge and elected to buy a new setting instead.  Though it was hard for me to part with the incredibly unique art deco design of my original ring, I have to say I’m THRILLED at my new one.  I think I must have inherited my mom’s penchant for jewels and it just took awhile to hit me – rings are fun!

As you can see, the topics of my posts are becoming increasingly insular.  Here I am talking about baking tarts, wearing aprons, and buying rings.  Just wait until I share all that I’ve learned about breastfeeding, childcare, and our pre-admission to our birthing center.  My life has taken a serious turn for the settled.  As we come closer and closer to the baby’s guess date, and as my pelvis becomes increasingly sore with baby bearing down on it, I sometimes reflect on this massive life shift.  In January of this year, Rick and I were gallivanting around Colombia.  Today, we are homeowners, pet owners, and pregnant.  I mean, seriously, WTF?

Sometimes the thought of being a mom terrifies me.  I look at my backcountry ski gear and wonder if I’ll ever use it again.  I think of the last time I went rafting and wonder how long it will be until I go again. I glance into our nursery and shake my head wondering when my life started to involve large towel hoods with monster faces on them.  I look at my maternity wardrobe and wonder if I’m doomed to a life of frumpiness.  I look at my career and truly wonder if it will still carry the weight it does in my life now.  Will I make time for another masters?  Will I write that piece for publication? Will I become one of those moms doing 800 different things at once  – none of which are for my own benefit?  I wonder if I’m too selfish for motherhood.  I wonder if I can be happy in a settled life.

Now, in fairness, my idea of a settled life basically means I now own furniture and am responsible for the well-being of a dog.  My standard isn’t THAT high.  But, soon it will bump up a notch.  And when I think of having a little man in my life, I oscillate between warm fuzzy feelings and terror.

These are the thoughts of Susie Homemaker tonight.  I’m off to go read a book about how to soothe crying babies, that is, after I put the finishing touches on my tart.  My blog (and life) have become sedate.  Wish me luck at ever being cool again.  :)

 

Getting there

It’s hard to believe that mid-November is here.  This week we’ll hit the mark of being one month out from our guess date!  At times that one month seems interminable, while at other times I think it will fly by.  Knowing that priceless value of each moment now, Rick and I are trying to take it a day at a time and savor the last precious days of our relationship as a couple rather than…a family.

I must admit that having a baby around the holidays does present some interesting logistical and emotional challenges.  The first, which presented itself to me this weekend, is the challenge of dressing a bump in cocktail attire.  We hosted an engagement party for a dear friend, and it was a fancy event.  I spent the week before planning food and decorations, but the one thing I chose not to focus on was my outfit for the night.  I knew I’d spend the first part of the evening in and out of an apron, and moreover, I have reached my threshold on buying new maternity clothing. I chose to dress up a non-maternity work-dress and it was fine.  But, had I really cared about it and not felt I could be a little slack as a pregnant host, it  would have been a serious challenge.  And it’s not just cocktail attire presenting a challenge now! I made it through the summer on versatile dresses, which carried through to fall, but now that snow is covering the ground I actually feel the need to wear pants – leaving me with two options: leggings and real pants.  Leggings are awesome.  They make me very happy and comfortable.  But they have limits – I really don’t think they are super work-appropriate.  And, when I wear boots and leggings, I recognize that by the end of the day my legs have swollen such that my boots have a calf-muffin top which is not my ideal of attractiveness.  On the other hand, I can’t bring myself to buy any more maternity pants.  I have two pairs and that seems like plenty to me.  I can still fit in some of my normal-ish pants if I wear a belly band, and I have been doing that…but there are limits.  I may have to give in and buy some more pants to house my orb-like belly through the next month.

More holiday maternity dilemmas include: alcohol-less Christmas parties that wrangle your weekends away from you.  Over the next few weeks, I can’t think of a weekend where we don’t have any events planned, except for the weekend right before my Monday due date.  So, though the third trimester is renowned for being uncomfortable and producing fatigue, there will be little weekend resting for me.  I am not so much concerned about the rest, but with a busy work schedule, birthing classes, and other obligations life has felt so full that I have struggled to make the time in my mind to really sit down and think hard about the major changes happening in my life.  I want to approach this milestone mindfully, and therefore I hope to find the space in these busting weekends to meditate on the upcoming changes in our lives.  The feeling of being busy as I approach our birthing has made me feel emotionally disjointed – on the one hand I feel physically fine, with only minor discomforts to complain of, so I treat my life as though nothing has changed and stay busy – that’s all good.  On the other hand, my physical limitations have not really hit me, so there has been little to incite me to slow down and give full credence to this very special and unique time in life – something I think I’d really like to do more of.

I find that planning for life post-baby is also interesting.  We have a trip to Mexico planned in February.  I have no idea how it will feel at that point to leave the baby and I worry that I will be distraught.  But, on the flip side, I think we could probably both benefit from some beach time to ourselves to recall some of the magic that may be lost amidst breastfeeding, sleepless nights, and the chaos of a newborn.  Then, looking further out onto the year, we have a trip planned to visit Rick’s brother in the UK and to make it a larger trip by spending time in Iceland either on the way there or back.  This is one trip we will definitely be bringing baby along for – so it will be interesting to discover the ways that travel changes with an infant.

I find that the process of trying to anticipate these scenarios is extremely exciting, but it takes me away from my present moment:  here on a couch with a sleeping puppy and a belly moving around of its own volition.  It takes me from the sweet back massage that Rick gave me during our four-hour birthing class today.  It takes me from the wild observations that come daily with a belly that has now eclipsed any views of my feet, legs, or hips.  It takes me away from the novelty of a playing with an inside out belly button, or the sweet exchanges that go along with the imaginings Rick and I share about how our baby will look and act.  I want to focus on these small moments – to observe them and write them down.  I want the steps of this life-changing journey to be documented so that when I have a house full of chaos and little wild children I can look back and recall the beauty and novelty of these hours, days, and weeks of unknowing anticipation.  Like your first time, your first love, your first travel – THIS time in life merits a pause to stop, reflect, and recall who you were before and after.  I want the time to internalize these feelings and to understand that we’ll never have these moments back.

 

 

Snow!

I’m sitting in the rocker that Rick and I put into our bedroom to nurse and sit with our baby during the night.  From its vantage point in the corner of the large room, one can look out the window at snowflakes gently falling on the cars parked on our street.  The snow dulls the sounds of morning – when typically one can hear cars starting, kids walking to school, the opening and closing of creaking gates.  This morning, occasionally I hear the scrape of a shovel on the huge old slabs of sidewalk that line the street.  Other than that, the morning light slowly emerges, more strongly than normal, reflecting off the snow, but with it comes a silence indicative of winter.

As I sit in this rocker I feel movement in my belly.  This part of pregnancy has become a constant for me.  The stretching and banging and moving that emanates from my son within my womb is both familiar, and when I stop and give some thought to it, incredibly odd and foreign.  As my pregnancy begins to near its end I think sometimes about how little gratitude I’ve offered to my body for its strength and vitality through these months of change.  Someday, I may miss the movement of my baby inside me and recall the days when I was ripe with anticipation for his arrival.  Many days, my focus turns to the inconvenience that can come with pregnancy – the fatigue, the irrepressible hunger of the third trimester, the fact that my body isn’t my own anymore.  But, today, waking to the gentle descent of snowflakes I’m filled with a feeling of being truly blessed in my circumstances.

I recognize, sitting here this morning, a sea change in my attitude towards life.  Last night as I labeled Ziploc bags and prepared to make dozens of frozen dinners (for postpartum times) I wondered aloud to Rick about our choices and whether we were setting ourselves on the course we desire.  We both work hard and we both want to do well.  We commit ourselves fully, and sometimes I wonder whether either one of us is capable of scaling back if we needed that. Last night as we talked I wondered whether we could turn the ship around if we decided to uproot ourselves and begin life anew elsewhere.    This morning the light reflecting off snow, the bitter cold front that moved in overnight, and a long, slow wake-up of murmuring with Rick and Addie as we snuggled together against the chill of our room, leave me feeling refreshed and truly positive about our lives.

There is something about winter that stirs in me an inner camaraderie with all of humanity.  Looking out at the cold reminds me to connect with the people around me and to offer them all the love and support I can give.  Together we can make it through whatever comes our way.  Today’s silent morning reflections bring me back to a sense of myself, amidst weeks of exhaustion, feeling too busy, and wondering how I will juggle the demands of life once we have a child.  Today in the stillness, I sit in gratitude for the immense love around me, the generous spirit of my friends and family, and the beautiful natural world that periodically pivots to reveal another facet of itself and remind me that the vicissitudes of life are part of the dance – not something to fight against.

Learning to Cope and Leaning In

Sometimes when you care deeply about things, it can be hard to reconcile work and your personal principles.  In fact, when you work in environmental consulting, it can be a daily challenge.  So, today I want to share an email that my boss shared with me.  She wrote it to a young sustainability coordinator in our company who is struggling to find a balance between her work and her beliefs. Reading it, I am reminded about my calling to this work and my belief that change needs to have internal champions.  Names have been changed, obviously.

Dear Hillary,

I spent some time with Rebecca after the conference and she shared a little bit about how hard it was for you to make peace between what we do as a company and what you personally believe from a sustainability perspective.  This is a topic my colleagues  and I talk about frequently and I thought you might like to know our perspective.

I have worked on many projects that were frightening and unfair to impacted landowners – especially when eminent domain is involved.  There was one project a long time ago that particularly sticks with me – I was working with Bob Anderson on a storm water solution for the greater Omaha area that would involve flooding a huge area of farm ground and relocating a small community north of town. Bob and I spent several days meeting with landowners one-on-one, some whose houses would have to be relocated for a planned recreational area adjacent to the lake, and many who were third-generation on the land.  Good, honest people sat down in front of us and cried because they understood that if the project was approved they would lose their home or post office or farm ground.  On the drive home, Bob and I were silent for a long time.  And then I asked him if he ever felt like we were on the wrong side of the issue.

“Every day,” he said, “and that is exactly why you and I need to be leading this project.”

His point was that if we weren’t on the inside, who would be fighting for the little people?  Who would be pushing to do the right thing?  Who would be working to find a solution with the least impact?  Who would be working to make sure the community’s voices were heard?  Who would be there to make sure the people weren’t bullied?

Over the years I have realized that is exactly what my job is.  My job is to get on the inside of our client organizations and swim upstream as far as I can to influence the decision-makers to do the right thing for the public.  Sometimes I can influence them to do great and amazing things.  Sometimes I am powerless to do anything at all.  Sometimes I can nudge them a fraction of an inch, sometimes I can push them miles ahead of their time.  What is important to remember is that my career – my quest to make a difference – is a marathon, not a sprint.  My success isn’t measured by one or two projects, rather it is measured by hundreds of projects and professionals I have influenced over many years. 

I offer this perspective to you because I know that every word in bold above can be replaced with the word ‘environment’.  I know that without people like you on the inside of our firm working to make a difference, bit by bit, every single day – without people like you championing the earth, our society would continue to destroy it.  I also understand that there is a tremendous industrial momentum in our society right now that is not going to turn on a dime – it could take another decade or two or three to get it to fully embrace renewables, recycling, and smaller footprints.  You work for a company who is in the middle of that and not only believes in sustainability but invests in it heavily.  It’s a good place from which to make a difference.

Do not be daunted by the full task at hand.  It will take hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people just like you to change it.  Feel empowered by the small space you have to make a difference and just keep doing it.  Over time, you will realize how much of an impact you are having.  Also remember that you are just getting started – your power will be much greater in 10 years after you have tried things and witnessed things and soaked every possible thing in that you can.

It was fun to spend a little time with you at the conference this week.  Thank you for your deep commitment and tenacity.  Both are a great service to the earth.

Announcement!

Hi friends!  For those of you following along at home with my pregnancy, I have a bit of an announcement.  I have referenced it a few times so the keen reader may already know this – but Rick and I (after much deliberation) decided to open up the envelope from our doctor telling us the sex of the baby.  It’s a boy!  I grew a penis!  And balls! (Sorry.  I just love saying that.)

Though you never know for sure until the baby is born, for now we are planning on a little man entering our lives in December!  After debating for a long time about whether to open the envelope, Rick finally convinced me that it was the right move for us – and I’m glad we did.

We opened it up in the mountains, by ourselves, sitting in the bed of Rick’s truck.  We had spent the weekend camping with friends and it was beautiful autumn weather.  We felt warm and happy and good about life. As we sat in the sunshine,  I opened the envelope to find a small, folded piece of paper with cursive handwriting that said “It’s a boy! :)”   We both cried with excitement.  It was a special moment that I wish I could relive over again.

Rick had said he wanted a girl. Though I know he is thrilled that he’ll have a son.  I on the other hand, was impartial, but fairly sure that I’d seen some man parts during the 20-week ultrasound.  After googling ultrasound penis images for a few days, I was not convinced of what I’d seen.  But, I did have some other feelings and theories about the baby that led me to think it was going to be a boy.  Rick had to laugh a little when I found out I was right.  He knows he’ll never hear the end of it now!  If you want to hear about my theories you’ll need to address those questions to me privately, because the answers are not exactly blog-appropriate!

We shared the news at my lovely baby shower a couple of weeks ago.  My mom and mother in law had come out to join us, along with my sister.  Rick and I wanted our news to be a fun surprise, so about halfway through the shower I asked my sister if she would give a toast.  After the toast I stood up and presented the group with my incredible pumpkin carving skills.  That morning at 5:30 am I had woken up and secretly carved three pumpkins.  One said “Rick”.  The other said my name, “Kat”, and the third (a small one) said “Frankie”.  I cut a huge hole in the front of the “Kat” pumpkin that served as a display window.  Inside, I placed the “Frankie” pumpkin.  It was a cute little pregnant pumpkin display.

I don’t think anyone thought twice about it, until I stood up and they witnessed the birth of pumpkin “Frankie.”  Inside Frankie I had hidden two cards that I gave to my mom and mother in law, ostensibly as a thank you, for traveling to my shower.  But, when they opened them up, the saw the announcement that we are having a boy!  They both were quiet for a moment, the Lisa buried her head in her hands and started crying (happy tears) and my mom got all teared up.  It was enough to clue the rest of the crowd in that we had shared more than a starbucks card!  It was such a fun moment because nobody expected it, and we got to catch them all off guard!

Since the “reveal” we have been reveling in knowing we have a little man on the way.  More and more, I feel like I am carrying around a little Rick. The reason I think that is because I have been incredibly happy, even-keel, and content the entirety of this pregnancy. It makes me think that the influence Rick exerts on me in our daily lives is being compounded by carrying a little soul inside me that is a lot like his dad.  He wakes up early and kicks me, he loves it when we talk about Rick’s truck, he has Rick’s hands and profile according to our ultrasounds, and he seems to like the Beatles.  One can only conclude that there is a little Rick in there, already training for marathons in the womb.

Lately, the baby has been so active that I can literally sit and watch the movements roll across the skin of my belly – even through my clothes.  It’s all beginning to feel so real. I am so excited.  Yesterday we began our hypnobabies class to learn to birth naturally through hypnosis.  I’m so excited to try it!  Tonight I met with my doula, Julieanne.  I am so thrilled to be working with her!  And last week I found an ayurvedic postpartum doula to work with after the baby is born.  I am so thrilled to see the pieces falling into place.  I cannot wait to be a mom.