Monday, January 26, 2009

Stark Gravid Crazy

My neighbors must suspect by now that I'm pregnant. It seems like every time they witness me doing something that seems (to the naked eye) to be a little insane, that I'm either in the "too large for maternity clothes" stage of the third trimester, or "large-eyed and starving with crazy hair" stage of the first trimester.

Our front area is covered in a thick sheet of ice. This is the first winter this has happened, and I absolutely hate it. No amount of salt or shoveling seems to do anything to it. I had the idea one day to throw a pot of boiling water on it- no change. If anything, it only became worse. So while Gianna napped a few days ago, I grabbed a claw hammer and got right to work trying to hammer it into chunks. Ice chips were flying, and little dents formed in the ice, and by the very edge of the step, small amounts of the ice actually chipped off. While turning my head to avoid flying ice shards, I caught the horrified expression on my neighbors' faces as they pulled out of their driveway and paused briefly to take in the scene. Freezing, and only slightly successful, I gave up.

When I was enormously gigantic with Gianna (and I am not kidding- she stuck way out like some sort of bow of a cruise ship) I decided to calmly and harmlessly retrieve my mail. At that same moment, the man who graded our road at the time was directly in front of our house, on his tractor, paving his heart out. God bless his eccentric soul, this man is in his early 90's, and is missing about 1/3 of his total body parts, including an arm, many teeth, both knees, his hearing and goodness knows what else. For whatever reason, the sight of my girth and width looming in his direction caused a glimmer of chivalry to spark in his ordinarily curmudgeonly demeanor. (Note- Our latest Home Owner's Association minutes includes a reference to the five complaints received regarding "Mr. Road Grader shaking his fist" at people. I wonder- was it his driving fist, or his hook?)

He grinned toothlessly at me, and yelled over the tractor's engine, "Need them rocks moved?" I looked down to the base of the mailbox, where he gestured. There were two large (about the size of a basketball, and a bowling ball, respectively) decorative rocks placed on the ground as someones idea of the "finishing touches" to what they thought would be a profitable house-flip.

"No, thank you!" I hollered, trying to clearly mouth the words in case he was interested in actually reading my lips. He was not, and he ratcheted himself over to my side to pick up the smaller of the two rocks. "No, NO! Leave it there!" I said, waving both hands. He grinned and answered, "The hook's my good 'un, the other wrist is just bad," and proceeded to use his hand to flip the rock onto his hook, and then try to stand from squatting. He bellowed like an elephant, and I screamed. I was fairly certain that I was going to witness the dismemberment of his other limb.

Neighbors started to poke their heads outside while he limped over to the bucket of the tractor, and I hurried to try to grab the other rock and hide it before he could get there. His titanium alloy knees were too quick for me, and he made his way back over while yelling, "I got it, I got it!"

I desperately glanced in the backyard, where Mr. Clarateaches was blissfully mowing the lawn, completely unaware of the lunatics pageant going on in the front. I knelt down to get in front of the rock while waving my hands again. "NOOO! It's OKAY! Leave it THERE!!!" I yelled in my most authoritative "teacher" voice possible. The teenagers across the street stared, mouths wide open. "Aw, it's okay, I know how hard it is to do things when you're gettin' ready to have a baby. I don't mind!" he responded, grunting to kneel back down and hooking the rock into a cradle hold again.

By then, I gave up and silently watched him yell in agony at standing up again, and then inch back to the tractor, slide the rock into the bucket of the tractor, and cackling, drive away.

Lola was just about one year old when I was nearing the end of Gianna's pregnancy. She had just learned that the yard, complete with a brick-wall-bordered garden was perfect for a puppy steeplechase. One day, while trying to get some Vitamin D, I learned that she loved the game where I hid behind the side of the house and jumped out at her while she ran by, which caused her to run even faster, skirt around me and leap madly over the brick walls, turn and run all the way around the yard, and get back just in time for me to do it again.

Think of the confusion, therefore, when the teenage son of the neighbors to the back of our property, arrived home from school. To his vantage point, as Lola was quickly shooting behind the wall as soon as I jumped out at her, he saw:

- A pregnant lady jumping out from behind a wall, towards the direction of his house, hands in claws and yelling, "Rawr!" and then ducking back. He could not see Lola, I quickly realized.

As soon as I saw his horrified and perplexed, frozen-to-the-ground-in-fear expression, I slunk back into the house.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hold On Tightly

I was one of those kids- the kind that had to pull up growing plants by the roots to see how things were growing on the other end. It wasn't that easy to just trust that if there were little round leaves on top, that there were roots on the other end.

The choices that we make for growing healthy babies do not include routine (read: mindlessly done in the name of, "well, it's always been done this way") interventions. No ultrasound until week 20- necessary now only because there is now a question of where the placenta is located relative to the Cesarean scar. No unnecessary exams of the... um... exit strategy. No poking, prodding, injections, nothing.

The first trimester is chock-full of fear, however. Especially when a loss has happened once before. From the moment that second line turns pink, the questions invade the mind- "Is something really there? Really? Is it growing? How can I know for sure?" I still don't trust those little round leaves.

And now, a crossroads. Evidence today that things might not be going so swell, after all. Do I wait for the midwife appointment in a week, and see if we can hear a little heartbeat in the Doppler, or do I go ahead and look for a quick medical peek at this little plants roots- do I find a sonogram technician that can relieve my mind once and for all? Will I be relieved enough to trust that the roots are growing, if I can just see that little flashing heartbeat on a monitor?

The very core of faith. Oddly enough, the only other current question on the docket managed to resolve itself while I was settling Gianna for her nap. We have potential boys names, many, in fact. Girls names, on the other hand, are just not quite coming to us. We've had a few strong potentials, but nothing that reached out and grabbed us and said, "That's it!" Until today. Gianna received a pink, glittery deer as a Christmas gift topper, that was quite the amusement to her up to and especially when she picked out the deer's eyes.

Staring into the hollows where the little pink deer used to have eyes, it was settled. If this baby is to be, and if it is a girl, she is already named. If you happen to know a little bit about the saints, you might be able to guess what her first name will be.

Hold on, little growing babe.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


"Baby fall!"
"Momma's chair."
"Daddy's shoes."
"Help, please!"

My little Pokemon has hatched the power of phrases, and it's a brand new day in communication. She can command and demand on a whole new level, now. We ventured out into the freezing cold weather to buy eggs and a chicken from our CSA farm one day, and after knocking on the door a couple of times to no answer, we headed back into the warm car to call them. Upon hearing that we would be attended to immediately, we returned to the door. Gianna craned her head around to look directly at me, and said, "This, Mommy- Knock!" and demonstrated the correct way to knock on the door. Naturally, the door opened this time, cementing Gianna's belief that she needs to carefully supervise any and all of my actions.

Lola still hasn't figured out what to do when accosted by a dandelion-puff-haired tot screeching, "NO! Sit! Siiiiiiiiiiiit!" She does love it when Gianna offers her food. Unfortunately for Lola, Gianna has discovered that it is hilarious to feed the dog non-food items, so odds are pretty good that if we hear a high-pitched shriek of, "Eat! EEEEEEEEEEEAT!" followed by raucous laughter, we had better go save Lola from a snack of any variety of small toys.

A new journey begins, as I passed a particular human chorionic gonadotropin test with flying colors early in December. Caring for Ramona Quimby the Toddler while trying to scrape oneself off the bathroom floor is not as difficult as I originally thought, as she readily passes time by peeling labels from nail polish bottles. Re-visiting meals of days past in the form of cloth diapers during this time is probably as bad as I originally expected, but I'm soldiering through. Many memories of Gianna's gestational past are resurfacing, and I can't believe the form of amnesia that wiped them out- there has got to be a primal, advantageous reason for this, as people continue to create more people.

What the heck was I saying? At any rate, the newbie will be here sometime in mid-August, shortly after Gianna turns terrific two. Stay tuned, as I spiral more deeply into the crazy throes of motherhood.