Archive for the ‘ Preparing for baby ’ Category

Dear Daughter, You’re About to Become a Sister

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Dear Harper,

You probably won’t remember much of life before having a sister. It may be all you’ll ever know. I feel it paramount to tell you now, before life changes a bit abruptly for you, you’re going to be a great big sister. I know it. Deep in my bones.

The other night you cried out for me and as I rocked you and you drifted back to sleep, I whispered in your ear. I told you a lot of little things and I thought you asleep when I whispered, “you’re going to be the best big sister.” You surprised me with your softest, sweetest, raspiest, dreamiest reply of, “Yeah” as you nuzzled deeper into my neck. You are my girl. You are.

I know you are little. People ask me continually if you’re excited to be a sister. They ask me if you understand you’re going to be a sister. I know you’ll never quite be adequately prepared for the change of a new baby, but there is something in you that understands the importance of being a sister.

I feel this understanding comes because of the little soul that you are. The little soul that you came with.

You my girl are a feeler. A lover. An inquisitive little being who bounces through the day with excitement and tenacity. These traits make your sister lucky to have you in her life. There is so much she can learn from you.

You are continually interested in how people are feeling and are very perceptive at others’ emotions. You are gentle. You cry easily when others are unkind. The compassion you exhibit means everything in this world. I look forward to watching your tender soul with your new sister.

I wish I could impart some profound wisdom about what I’ve learned from being a sister but I realized, it’s not my wisdom to impart.

I want each of you, your sister and you, to be exactly whoever you want to be. Maybe that means you’ll be very similar. Maybe that means you’ll be completely different. But whatever, whoever you both decide to become, you’ll be uniquely wonderful and get to discover and create your sisterly relationship together.

I know that at times you’ll fight. I know at times you’ll get annoyed. I know at times you’ll say things that you regret. This is part of being a sister. Sisterhood is a lifelong class in discovering and becoming your best self as you learn to forgive, support, and love unconditionally.

I hope that she is your best friend like my sisters are to me.

As sisters, you’re bound for life. I pray that bond strengthens you and lightens you.

It’s big to become a sister, but you’re ready. We’re both as ready as we can be for this new adventure. Just know that I’ll always help you as the landscape of life changes. We’ll all grown and learn together. Let’s put on our brave wings, and fly into this new territory together.

Love,
Mama

Image: Loving on her sister aka a good foot rest

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The Art of Distraction

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

To distract myself from quite possibly a very premature countdown to baby girl #2, I like to dabble in the goings on of celebrity-ville.

For heaven’s sake it’s hard to ignore the people a lot love to hate when there’s just so much business to report from show business.

It’s awards season with lovable new moms and baby bumps to applaud, Destiny’s Child reunited (Bootylicious is my pregnancy anthem), JT released a new song (please let it be the #1 single on the day when baby girl makes her appearance), controversial baby Kimye is keeping the tabloids in business, and the royals confirmed their due date and the theory that those shorter, darker months of September-December make for good baby makin’.

Dang 2013, go on brush you’re shoulders off. You’re off to an impeccable pop culture start. The sixteen-year-old in me and the pregnant lady looking for a distraction thanks you.

I’ll admit I felt a dorky superfan camaraderie with the pregnant ladies and new moms at the Golden Globes on Sunday. I love families and their love for their families made me feel like, “Stars, they’re just like us!” Heck, Ben Affleck’s open loving for his wife and children brought the waterworks. Class act sir.

Shout out to Kristen Bell for her good form dressing that baby bump. If the 17 picture texts I sent to my sisters and best friend when trying to figure out an outfit for a simple work holiday party while pregnant is any indication, I’m sure it was stressful deciding which pregnant look to channel at THE GOLDEN GLOBES. It’s a tough call when temptations like belly painting abound or throwing fashion caution to the wind with some baby midriff. You done good kid. Beautiful.

Super shout out to Adele, you talented new mom lady you. I totally applauded the mums’ night out and read between the lines at the “pissing yourself laughing.” Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were hilarious hosts and no match for the weakened pee muscles of a new mom. It’s worth it. I would have peed my gazillion dollar designer dress too. What are the kids saying these days? Yolo Adele. Yolo.

And of course the royal baby. It’s fantastic news that the Duchess is feeling better and super news that the world can go on official royal baby watch for July. Let her classy maternity style fill up Pinterest boards everywhere and everyone give a collective “ahhh” that a July due date means the baby could be born on Princess Diana’s birthday.

It’s such an exciting year to be a newborn babe. There’s good celebrity company and plenty of future factoids to supply VH1′s best year ever.

It’s like the celebrity gods parted the clouds and said, “Bekka, having a baby in the monumental celeb baby year of 2013 is your reward for having an uncanny capacity and brain space for all this frivolous, yet fun nonsense.”

Image: Kate Middleton via Mr Pics/Shutterstock.com

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Let the Countdown Begin

Monday, January 14th, 2013

36 weeks/9 months

Maybe I’m twenty-seven going on seven, but I still like to make paper chain countdowns for exciting events. Well truthfully, I can justify any event to be exciting enough to paper chain. Birthdays, holidays, vacations, doctor’s appointments, root canals. Pap smears? Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Nothing preps oneself for the awkwardness of that appointment by paper chaining down those nerves.

I think most of the world would agree then that a baby is definitely paper chain worthy.

With 4 weeks to go, I might be getting out the stapler and scissors a little too early, but I’m ready to countdown. We’re in the red zone. I’ve got my victory dance ready. It’s nearly midnight. The magic is about to happen.

Are you tired of the countdown talk yet? Sorry people, we haven’t even started.

It’s a much different feeling this pregnancy because with my first I was terrified to have a baby. With one birth under my belt, I know it can be done and it doesn’t scare me as much anymore. Yes, there are still some nerves, but most of my feelings are bordering on pure excitement.

We’re at the point where the little bambina could come at anytime. Yes, I want her to continue to grow as healthy and big as she needs to be, but it wouldn’t be totally bonkers if she made an early debut.

This means that we’ve entered a very interesting, very difficult stage of pregnancy.

The waiting game.

It can be a cruel one.

I’ve watched friends and family have babies a couple of weeks early or right on time over the last couple of months and it’s left me hungry. My arms are aching to snuggle a newborn, yet I have no idea when they’ll be filled.

With my first, I was a week overdue and I’m trying, desperately and unsuccessfully, to prep myself with a “she’s going to be late” mentality.

I know, I know, “babies are easier in than out” and “enjoy it while you can,” but there’s just something about this new phase as a family of four that I’m happily ready to start.

I know they’ll be moments with two children that I’ll think, “why was I in such a rush?” Or I’ll long for the days of peeing with absolute freedom, peeing with impunity!

I’m aware newborns are not all snuggles. Enter colic, acid reflux, mixed up sleep schedules, complete dependency. I know it can be hard and realize that it will be hard in some moments, but somehow those thoughts are not curbing my enthusiasm.

I haven’t hit the “I’m so tired of being pregnant please remove this watermelon of a baby by any means necessary,” stage…yet. I’m just thrilled at the thought of making her tiny and sweet acquaintance.

This excitement though heightens the mind game that is the waiting game. These are the last few hard weeks of pregnancy physically, but also mentally. The waiting game is a mind game of epic proportions. When will these contractions get serious? What day will she come? Today? Tomorrow? Three weeks? When should my mom fly out? Too many unknowns!

Soon the dearly beloveds in my life will start sending daily “thoughtful” texts with inquires and excitement about her arrival. This majorly ups the waiting game ante. Too stressful for my blood, I fold.

My solution? Paper chain my feelings into a countdown I can see and maybe, just maybe, feel like I’m doing something to cajole her into the world each time I rip that little shred of paper.

You can bet your bottom dollar when it gets really close to time, I’ll do more pointed cajoling with some serious stadium stairs, spicy foods, and sexy time but for now, the paper chain will suffice. Honestly, experience tells me she’ll do what she wants, when she wants, wives’ tales aside.

And so it begins and tick tocks on the clock…the waiting game.

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Boobs: My Breast Friends

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Boobs.

Please commence giggling like a seventh grader at the mere mention of the word. I know I still do.

As the boobs I was dreaming of in the second trimester have returned to their “squeeze them together just so and there will be cleavage” status, I’m very aware that soon they’ll actually serve a purpose besides filling out my shirts.

As they’re about to move from sexy to functional, and at the news that many insurance companies now cover breast pumps and other nursing support free of charge, I can’t help but reflect on the breastfeeding process as I prep for my re-commitment to the boob.

Breastfeeding is baptism by fire. The body starts the milk making process no matter what a lady decides to do and that process ain’t easy. Holy engorgement I’m talking to you. The fiasco that is the milk coming in is one I remember all too well.

If someone had said, “you’re going to be sobbing, sweating, and topless on the floor while your jugs are as hard as rocks, huge, real, and not spectacular,” I would have wondered if there was another way. No amount of pre-ruffage of the nipples or cabbage leaves assuaged the pain. Endurance was the name of the game or “this too shall pass.”

The actual nursing part hurt for a much longer haul. It took six weeks for my bits to stop cracking and bleeding and feeling like a tiny piranha was gnawing them off. I’d been warned about the actual time it takes for nursing to stop hurting, but it still didn’t stop me from crying every time my daughter latched in an odd mixture of happiness that she was getting it, and silent expletives at how bad it hurt.

There is just so much to breastfeeding. It takes planning: easy access clothes, a place to nurse, timing, paraphernalia (nipple shields, hooter hiders, whatever a lady fancies). It’s hard to be at the beck and call of the boob. Nursing boobs themselves are awkward lumps of milk, leakage, and unpredictability. They, like most of us in the middle school years, need a while to work their awkward out.

Also, I nursed in isolation for much of the time my first go round and that my friends, is enough to send a lady to the loony bin. Listening to everyone in the other room yuck it up made me more than a wee bit lonely. This time, I know better.

I refuse to let my hangups about nursing in public or in front of others hold me back. Boob schmoobs. Ain’t no thing. I’m feeding my kid when I need to and if somebody sees something in the process, lucky them.

After the initial six week transition, breastfeeding got easier and enjoyable, but at times it was still just plain endurable.

Nursing is not always ethereal, natural, toplessness in fields of flowers (actual images retrieved when searching “breastfeeding” on the stock photo website). Sometimes, it’s simply primal grunts, guzzles, and slurps. I think something in that is incredible though. It’s doable. And even, lovable.

Despite the difficulty it was to nurse at times, I really did love it. It was just more of a frenemies to friends, to lovers kind of relationship. More romantic comedy/horror than straight romance.

I’m an advocate of breastfeeding but not because it’s easy or I loved every second. I’m no La Leche League member, but I am a believer and supporter in what the body can do. It’s amazing. And sometimes ridiculously hard.

It can be rough for so many reasons but I’m hoping with my Bachelor’s in breastfeeding, I’m ready for my Master’s this go round. I hear it’s typically easier the second time. I’m optimistic about a smoother transition, but I’m not afraid to be a little bamboozled by the girls again.

I’m praying with my previous experience that my boobs will be bigger, better, faster stronger at this nursing thing.

Image: Mother nursing a newborn via Zurijeta/Shutterstock.com

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Get Your Nest On

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Usher penned my current feelings so well. Sing it boy, “Oh, no, no, no, no, no…u got it, u got it bad.”

What do I have bad?

Nesting.

I do not remember this case of the nesties the first go round because working full time up until my due date left me no time to nest like I’m doing now. (Read: compulsively sweeping floors and wiping down bathrooms into the wee hours of the morning. Who am I? Not my usual “I clean bathrooms every other week” kind of gal. I know, I disgust me too.)

As the house full of party guests chortled and imbibed (we’re so pretentious) at our New Year’s Eve party, I found myself on my hands and knees, sweeping up food as it fell to the floor. It was in that moment that I realized I was a crazy nesting stereotype.

The one-handed countdown (5 weeks!) to birth has only put my nesting into overdrive.

Rumor has it there are a lot of different ways to nest. Some are the stock their freezers full of prepared meals type. Others are the phased in stacks of fresh laundry type. Me? I fall into two types of nesties.

Online shopping type. Maybe I’m making this up, but I feel compelled to buy things to prep for the baby. Yes, I admittedly love to shop, but now this impulse to find a few new scrumptious baby things feels urgent and primal. Cue frantic tizzy thinking of the diapers and clean onesises still needing to be purchased for baby girl. Heart palpitations. How late is Target open tonight?

Fantasize about organizing type. I cannot open a closet or enter a room without NEEDING to organize it. Typically, making dinner or playing with my daughter trumps any actual organizing, but I stay up to all hours of ungodly thinking of all the things I need to organize.

Lacking actual motivation to execute organizing is also part of nesting. Supposedly, right before a lady goes into labor, she’ll accomplish her organizing fantasies in a spurt of pre-birth energy. Prior to this she may just be too tired to do anything about them.

My sleep deprivation hopes that spurt happens soon because I just can’t quite manage to pull my pregnant apple bottom off the couch to attend to those cluttered closets and rooms. I wouldn’t say I’m a hoarder, just a lady who knows how to throw things in a closet and forget about them. Nesting is numbering my ignoring days though. Husband’s clothes that are not color-coordinated and have not been sorted since high school? You’re high on the hit list.

Bless my family who was in town and helped me deep clean my freezer, organize my spice rack, sort baby clothes, haul donations to charity, and all other sorts of glamorous little nesting priorities last week. I really know how to treat my house guests. They can’t hate me too much. Nature shows all female mammals suffer from the nesties and really it’s a way to prepare hearth and home for the safe and welcoming arrival of a newborn.

I try to explain the feeling of nesting to others but it is hard to describe. How does my husband who still wears some of his high school shirts (the classic ones mind you) that if I haven’t used something in the last 24 hours I now consider it clutter and I must donate it or throw it out or I will combust into a fit of fiery hormones? How do I explain the furious and imminent need rising in my chest to forget anything but spending the evening deep cleaning the baseboards? How are these priorities not everyone’s priorities? Anyone? Bueller?

As my nesties get on everyone’s last nerve here in the homestretch, I ask, please just envision a sweet…uh, hippopotamus trying to spruce up the place for a new little baby bundle. That’s an adorable image no one can reject and much better than the slightly panicked, overwhelmed, unable to relax, weird cleaning lady I’ve become.

Image: Nest via Sergiy Telesh/Shutterstock.com

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