The importance of life lines

life-line-walking

Getting out into the world around us.

Before bird got out into the world, I decided to pay attention to the things I’ve learned about myself. Namely, the things I’ve learned about how I do (or don’t) manage my time; how I do (or don’t) meet my goals; how I do (or don’t) get myself off the couch and into the world.

I am the object at rest that stays at rest. Some people — I see them every day (I see this in my husband) — are objects in motion that stay in motion. I need the outside force.

I’ve been content for a long time to be that still thing. Content but not really happy. I could nap like a champ, happily drifting into sleep only to wake up regretting that I’d cut out hours from my day.

With a little baby coming, I knew that I wanted to move move move myself into more of life. I wanted to show bird how to do it, too.

So I decided to act against my contentedness and start collecting some outside forces. These were going to be the life lines I wanted to tug me back into a productive life soon after the baby got here.

The life lines

The life lines are people and things. The things are goals. I started reaching out to folks while I was still pregnant. I told them what I wanted for myself once the baby was here, and I recruited them to help keep me honest. The goals are all old goals. Nonetheless it was important to me to remind myself of them and to proclaim them to other folks — to make them a living part of my life.

The people

» My husband, whose unstoppable force is inspiration every day. If I think it can be done, I know it can be done when I consider that Patrick fills his day with work and pastime. What he knows is everything, so he’s been an excellent cheerleader for my fitness and food goals, and for my getting-out-of-the-house goals.

» My best friend, Mela, who jumped into mamahood about ten months before I did, and who inspires me all the way from her home in San Francisco to pick up my sewing projects, make the food, take the baby out on sunny days. What she knows is everything, too, but more specifically she knows the struggle that comes with making that everything happen when there is a little baby who just wants to live on my boob or in my arms.

» My friends at Camino, who I miss! I knew I would miss them, so I made sure to proclaim months ago that once I was ready to get out of the house, I would be getting out of the house expressly to visit them. And I have! What they know is my wacky-weird self, and they totally embrace it. It actually took a couple of visits to feel fully like myself again — to joke the same way, to jump in and help ring up customers, to talk coffee philosophy and catch up on everyone’s lives. Once I settled back in, it felt so good to exercise that part of my brain and my persona.

» A team of people who know my fitness goals. This includes my family — me, my parents, and one of my brothers have FitBits, and we are cheering each other! And my sister-in-law, Mela, and a few Winston-Salem friends know that I have athletic goals for the year. Before the baby was born, I recruited them all to help me kick-start a postpartum fitness routine. In a couple of weeks, I’ll have a couple of running and cycling buddies to go on exercise dates with!

And the goals get their own entire write-up. Until next time …

One month old!

Our little bird was born one month ago today.

little-bird-4

Some things I’ve learned in a month with this little person:

» What it looks like when she’s still hungry but needs a burp.

» How to sleep with her beside me without freaking out that I might roll over and smother her.

» Kind of sort of how to breastfeed in public. Sort of. Kind of.

» How to put her down for a nap and go do something around the house. (It didn’t take me any time at all to learn how to hold her for hours and hours.)

» How to eat and drink almost every meal one-handed.

little-bird-3

» How to sooth her without putting her straight on the boob (swaying, swaddling, shh-shh-shhh-ing).

» How to let her cry for just a little bit to see if she’ll start to calm herself.

little-bird-2

» That I’m in love with this little lady, but sometimes being a mom to a teeny one has its boring moments and its frustrations. And that’s OK.

» That baby farts are hilarious and cute every. single. time.

little-bird-1

One month! We partied pretty hard.

Our little woman King

Four weeks ago tomorrow, this little face came into our home, and we named her King.

babybird-out

I’ve wanted to be a mom for so long that not much surprised me about her sudden entrance into our world. They put her on my chest all gooey and crying, and I went from focusing all my thoughts and energy on the hard work of labor, to feeling supremely content.

I expected maybe a wave of emotions, or to feel a switch click. Instead my internal monologue might have been more like this (if it had been translatable): “Oh hi, baby girl! You’re here! Finally! Now let’s hug.”

My youngest brother saw me very soon after delivery and later described my entire demeanor as “forever chill.” We talked about how cute the baby was and how awesome it was that she was finally here, and then he and I went on a tangent (how?!) about food philosophy. It was two in the morning and I was amped to talk about the new ways I was learning to eat right (in the middle of reading The China Study).

I have been surprised here and there, though. And the very first surprise I got was this: I’m happy happy happy for friends and family to hold her and give her love, but as soon as I get her back, I realize that I’ve missed her. I actually exclaimed it once. “I missed you!!” And I already know her little face. And I love when it is near my face.

Missing her! After sometimes just a half-hour of her being with someone else. What a strange and really wonderful thing.

There is so much more to say. I’ve thought of at least a dozen things to share. But they’re all crowding my brain — along with wanting not much more than to just cuddle my little bit — and so these thoughts will probably dribble out at an excruciating pace. Slow.

But slow is just fine. Little baby King, did you hear me? Slow is exactly where we all need to be right now. Don’t grow too too fast.

40 weeks & 2 days holy crap I’m so bored

I mean, I guess I have stuff to do. In fact, every few hours that the baby isn’t here yet, I think of a new item to check off my amorphous to-do list.

Do you know what was at the top of that list yesterday, the day after my due date? “Pack hospital bag.” Seriously, who is this disorganized lady and what has she done with the Lindsay I used to know?

Anyway, small stuff. I still think I might simply be more easy-going about the whole thing than I anticipated, and so I’m all nonchalant about stuff like hospital bags and getting the mattress into the crib. “It’ll happen when it happens.”

40-weeks

But, BUT.

I’m. So. Bored. More like I don’t know what to do with my brain now that the due date has come and gone and I’m looking forward to an unknown stretch of time, just waiting. Waiting for a person.

So of course I’m doing things like walking everywhere I can (we even made a special trip to the mall, to walk around it, like old people do.). I’m sitting on a yoga ball, bouncing (literally, right now, as I type these words). We’re gonna go get some raspberry leaf tea, maybe make a curry lunch. These all feel a little like shaking the polaroid picture. But if I don’t do something, I’m just going to mope (which is basically what I did all last night, once we settled in for dinner and a quiet night). And moping while pregnant is just DUMB. It feels dumb, anyway. There’s this big exciting thing that’s about to happen.

So bouncing, walking, eating, drinking. Things. Preparing our 2014 budget. Laughing at the dogs.

Being ready to be excited at any given moment.

Late-pregnancy life

A little useful information about how these last few weeks are treating me, maybe?

» I feel GREAT. Seriously, I kind of had no idea I could feel so normal as a very pregnant lady. I waddle sometimes (more often these days, but still not all the time). My lower back hurts … sometimes. Otherwise, it’s been no big deal to be pregnant. Now, I know to count myself among the lucky lot who don’t suffer extreme nausea/discomfort/bigness, but I do think it’s interesting that I didn’t even realize this was an option. I think every lady who wants to have babies should know: You could very well feel like YOU most of your pregnancy, just pregnant.

» Of my discomforts, sleeping is the worst. My lower back pain is worst at night, when I’m trying to settle into a single position. What I sadly discovered is that sleeping on the couch is best for me. I think it’s because I can prop myself up on the stiff arm of the couch, and use extra pillows to support my head, back, and legs as needed. And resting my back on the couch-back is often the most comfortable. I’ll look forward to getting back to my bed. In the meantime, it’s meant a nice view of our Christmas tree …

christmas-tree

» I’m eating like a champ. I’ve been moderately more hungry in the past couple of weeks. Not famished, but never fully satisfied by my normal meals. And I’m thinking that because the baby is so low (and has been my entire pregnancy), I’ve felt comfortable eating more to satisfy my hunger. My weight was actually down a pound at my last doctor’s visit, so that must mean my body just needs the extra calories. Yeah?

» Otherwise, life is normal. And for that I choose to feel incredibly grateful.

Now if I could just choose gratefulness for these last, lingering days of pregnancy …

38 weeks: It’s been an incredible month!

I can’t believe it’s been more than a month since I wrote to this space. I’ve had so many things rolling around my head, and so many good experiences. It’s just that I’ve also also crammed my life full of things that required my attention. Plus naps.

three-weeks

What I’ve crammed my life full of is not so much nesting for baby — I’ve been surprised at how little of that I’ve done. Instead, I’ve continued to nest for my own self: picking up design projects by the handful; making time to share coffee with new friends; brainstorming future sewing projects (I’m seriously considering following up on a plan I had last year to start a tiny handmade-goods business).

And in not nesting for baby? I’m not stressed. I’m not anxious that we’ll be without something we need. We have a few bundles of disposable diapers, clothing, toys, a carseat and stroller and now finally a co-sleeper. Almost all of it thanks to other people giving gifts. Really, almost every single bit of what we have for baby is in our home because someone else thought of us. How lucky is that?

I find it pretty strange that I didn’t nest nest nest. It’s what I would have guessed about myself up until just a few months ago. Whatever took its place is a calm and excited person who is just counting down the days until Babybird gets here. I just wanna hold this baby.

Really. That’s it. Get this baby into the world with us safe and sound, and I think that’s all I’ll need.

In the past month …

Pregnancy symptoms have been hard for me to put my finger on as they’re happening — kind of like it’s been hard to notice how big my own belly has gotten. It’s just that I live with them creeping into my life every day, and I get used to them, and they don’t so much seem like symptoms as they do seem like life.

But if I look back, life looks something like this:

» Lower back aches. Usually it feels like a pinched something on one side or the other of my lower spine. A wrong step can make it worse, but for the most part, moving around actually makes it all feel better. I’m grateful for a job that’s kept me on my feet and moving around this whole time; and for the mile-long walk home.

» Baby kicks: deep, deep tickles. The baby’s still moving throughout the day — maybe even with more frequency — but all the action feels more subtle. Probably because s/he’s running out of room! When I do feel something distinctive, it feels like a tickle. Like this baby is tickling my organs. I laugh out loud! This is perhaps one of the most joyous and unexpected parts of pregnancy I’ve experienced so far.

» Mostly solid, uncomfortable sleep. I don’t know how I’ve managed it, but I’ve settled into a long stretch of sleep, interrupted only once by: a trip to the bathroom; followed by tossing and turning (very, very slowly and uncomfortably) for about an hour. Sometimes I fall back to sleep for a few minutes. Sometimes I don’t. By the time I need to be at work, though, I’m ready for the day. So what’s to complain about?

» Everything’s shifting downward. In just the past few days I’ve increasingly felt a strange, uncomfortable downward pressure on my insides. I couldn’t tell you exactly where on my insides — bladder? cervix? I just don’t know enough about my own organs to be clear. But I can only assume this is the baby nestling in before labor. Which is, of course, exceedingly exciting (therefore nullifying the discomfort — which sometimes literally stops me in my tracks).

Over the next … two? three? four? weeks

The baby is due in two weeks! Incredible!

My last day of work is Wednesday. Also incredible, in part because I remember wondering through my second trimester how long I’d last on my feet at work. But to be honest, if not for the concern that I’d go into labor early and put my co-workers in a tizzy trying to cover my shifts, I think I feel good enough to work right up to my due date.

With that in mind — and knowing how prone I am to sitting on my butt all day if I stay at home with no clear goals for the day — my plan after Wednesday is to head into the bakery where I work to be a customer. I’ll be out and about seeing familiar, happy faces, and then I’ll walk myself the mile home. I’ve been working on designing some new cross stitch patterns (I’m pretty happy with the one I made for Babybird, below). So maybe I can make it a point to have those designed and ready to stitch up by the end of this week.

cross-stitch

Otherwise, I’ll maybe sweep and mop; make sure my clothes are folded and put away; cook up a big batch of chili to freeze and have ready for when baby gets here and we don’t want to cook. Basically, I’ll take it easy. Take it as it comes. Cross my fingers that I’m a take-it-easy kind of mom …