Wednesday, May 21, 2008

And Then There Were Two

....or there will be anyway, tomorrow morning just after 8am.

What a surreal feeling. I've been way into this scheduled c-section thing, especially being so very grateful that regardless of how many aches and pains I had, at least I knew I wouldn't be pregnant past this Thursday. There's some serious psychological goodness that comes along with that kind of assurance. Especially after waiting and waiting and waiting for nearly three extra weeks last time. I've even done a pretty good job of not getting too emotional over leaving Christopher.

Until today.

Today was the perfect day. We got up early and headed over for daily Mass. Living right across the street from our parish church, one would think this is something I could do quite often. Okay, okay. I really could do it quite often, but I don't. I'll make my excuses another time. Anyway. I wanted to go today to be with my family, to pray, to receive the Eucharist. That is strength that I will need over the next several days. Christopher, my little angel, lived up to his title. We sit in the back pew so that I can stand next to me in the aisle and play quietly, and he did just that. Again today he demonstrated this connection that he has with the spiritual - one that amazes me with each manifestation. Today was not the first time that he walked up and down the aisle (the last few empty pews, anyway) holding his little cup in one hand and his drum stick in the other, dipping the drum stick in the cup and then waving it up and down - just like Father has been doing with the Holy Water throughout the entire season of Easter. It is amazing to me the things this kid picks up. OH - and lest I forget, today he bowed toward the tabernacle before he entered the pew. Makes me wonder if the seminaries will lower their age requirements.

All day long he was just so sweet and loving. He'd give me hugs without solicitation... He continued his love for my belly with snuggles and kisses... He oh-so-kindly repeatedly lifted up my shirt to show the entire family my monstrous stomach....

And I cried through every single minute of it.

Because I'm exhausted. Because I'm emotional.
Because I'm excited. Because I'm anxious.
Because I'm leaving my boy for the first time.

Because I'm meeting my boy for the first time.

Because I am for more blessed than I have ever had any right to expect.

Far more blessed than I ever realized I'd even desired.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I looked it up - Jupiter is the biggest planet. This time, I'd say I'm coming in at a steady Saturn.

I don't consider myself to be an anxious person. Anxiety and insecurity are not things that occupy much of my time. I like meeting new people. I enjoy public speaking. I prefer to do things by myself rather than bring someone else along with me. While I'm far from perfect, I think that I've struck a good balance of shy vs. confident. It is true that I'm not very patient. Others would say that I am, and in many ways I suppose they are correct. But those people are not privy to my inner monologue. My interior moanings over the things for which I have zero tolerance. My point is that I know my weaknesses, and do what I can each day to move past them.

But back to the matter at hand. This is going to be a big week for all of us here in the land of burps and farts, especially (dare I say?) for me. On Thursday I will be having a baby. In order to accomplish this, I will be undergoing major abdominal surgery. As a result of that, I will be leaving Christopher for four days - something I have never done before. In many ways, I feel ahead of the game. I literally feel no anxiety over welcoming another child into the family. It does not concern me that we are going to be experiencing a major transition in our family life. I'm not worried about how Christopher will handle becoming the "oldest" at the expense of being the "only." Nor am I concerned over the whole moving-into-the-operating-room thing. Perhaps this is because in my mind, I'm just having a baby! That fact alone trumps the whole surgery issue, and I find that I have to remind myself that the surgery will even take place. I've done it before. It was no big deal. My doctor is phenomenal. And! My husband gets to go in with me. There couldn't be a more ideal situation.

But then I think about leaving my Christopher.

And my heart breaks and my face crumbles. My blood pressure triples and I feel like every vein in my forehead is about to burst out of my face. You see, I don't mind the fact that after Thursday it's no longer going to be just the two of us. (That's what we've dreamed about and prayed for, practically since we brought Christopher home from the hospital - how could I be sad about bringing him a buddy?!) What I do mind is the fact that I have to give up control. I have to give up my knowledge of his every minute and allow....and trust....someone else to help me by caring for him. Sigh....outsourcing control and asking for help. My two strongest traits.

So last week I was sitting downstairs at the computer typing up my "How to Keep Christopher Alive" manifesto to leave for my mom and Tim's sister. Christopher had been in bed for a while, but was clearly having a little too much fun. To calm things down, Tim went upstairs to read to the boy while I continued this very important task. Only minutes later, it seemed, I heard the following coming from upstairs: "Christopher, NO! NO! NO! NO!".....THUMP!...."Waaaah!"

My PLANET of a body sailed up the stairs faster than I've moved since....well, EVER.

The boy had climbed out of his crib. Thank GOD for the fact that Tim was still in the room and caught him before the "THUMP" that I heard turned from Christopher falling back onto his mattress into Christopher falling onto our awful, unpadded carpet. The entire event sent us all into orbit, but once we settled down, everything was fine. And now, Christopher's mattress sits on the FLOOR inside the walls of his crib. It makes me feel like we've got a litter of puppies - should have just bought a cardboard box.

Anyway. All that being said, I DO recognize that regardless of what I do or where I am - even if I'm breathing down his neck every second (which, admittedly, I am not) - accidents will happen. Despite the fact that I know everything about Christopher's day, I cannot stop him from growing, from exploring, and from learning. Even from his accidents and mistakes. But for me, handing that responsibility...that PRIVILEGE...on to someone else is not something I'm too pleased with. Even though they ADORE him. Even though they will probably be more watchful and more vigilant than I ever am.

Currently this anxiety is manifesting itself in my attempts at planning transportation for my boy while I'm in the hospital. Originally we had talked about moving the carseat from the expedition to the Taurus. That way no one has to move the carseat and worry about whether or not they have installed it properly, nor do they have to worry about driving around my beast of a vehicle when they are far more accostumed to their own cars. At least by having it in the Taurus they'd be downsizing. That's always an easier transition.

Today I was informed that my in-laws want to buy their own carseat. NOW. They've told me this for months, and I've always put it off. I've never really felt the necessity for anyone else to take the boy in their car, and because of that I've always felt that for them to shell out that kind of money would just be too much. Especially when I don't anticipate taking them up on carting Christopher around. (Remember that whole asking for help thing? That whole "I'm an independent person who likes to do things herself" thing?) While the smart side of me recognizes the generosity and kindness that this offer entails, the newly-developed anxious side of me wonders why we need to do this right now. Okay. Why we need to do this at all. Why, at a time that is fairly considered to be a very anxious time, do we need to deal with this issue that is clearly making me even more anxious about the whole event?

Why? Because it will make things easier on me. Or at least that's the goal. And that is the truly wonderful thing about living so close to Tim's family. They have this genuine concern for my welfare - for truly being a family and helping out where and when they're needed. Even when that need is solely in their own perception, rather than in my reality. For all of that, I am incredibly grateful. I'll admit though, as if it's not already painfully obvious, that my independence, my confidence, and okay my pride all have the tendency to get in the way of my truly appreciating that helpfulness. I don't like being told when I need help, but rather would prefer to ask for it when I honestly feel its need. Based on the above, yes I do recognize it, the whole asking thing is a challenge that I need to overcome. But I know my limits and I'M WORKING ON IT.

To resolve the issue, my wonderful husband tells me to just leave the carseat in the expedition and that's that. Why are things so much easier in his brain? Why do I need to add so much drama - even if it just stays inside my own head - to the situation? Why do I need to make an already-anxious week even more anxious by worrying about this?

All of those questions, for now, will have to be answered with the same resolution that I've used to justify everything else in the past week (from ugly clothes to going bra-less in public. OKAY. I didn't really GO bra-less. But boy was I tempted.):

I'm having a baby in five days and I can do ANYTHING I WANT.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ho Ho Ho....

This past Christmas was Christopher's first "big boy" Christmas. Sure, he was only 15 months old, but he was big enough to walk around and help people pull the wrapping off of their gifts, old enough to get a massive sugar high from showing his sweet face around the dessert table any time one of his aunties was there, and strong enough to climb into his brand new 0ff-roading red wagon that he received from his Auntie Erin. While his language skills were still very much in development mode, he somehow managed to pick up on the fact that Santa says "ho ho ho." It really was the cutest thing ever. Any time he saw anything that even slightly resembled Santa, Rudolph, Frosty...okay, any Christmas character with a face....he'd point at it with a big smile and say, "Ho ho ho!!!"

During a post-Christmas trip to toys-r-us, I was pleasantly surprised to see that, even WEEKS after Christmas (once all of our personal "ho ho hos" had long been packed away) he still recognized all of the Ho Ho Ho's in the clearance section and was THRILLED to be reunited with his long lost red and green friends.

Since then, "ho ho ho" has been replaced by incessant "mamadadamamadadaBUBBLES!!!!!!" Yes, it is precious. Yes, I will get that sweet little voice on video so we can cherish it forever and (one day in the very distant future) listen to it with nostalgic tears dripping down our faces. And yes, bubbles do have a way about them - a way of turning even the oldest and grumpiest of adults into children again, blowing them into the sunshine and watching the wind carry them up, up, up, up until they finally POP! But honestly, the fact that NOTHING in the world could satisfy him (morning, noon, or night) unless he was blowing bubbles was starting to grate on my nerves.

And then. You won't believe this. One night last week, when Tim was at his parish council meeting and I was sitting on the floor folding laundry, a certain little person says to me, "Ho ho ho?" I just looked at him quizzically, and went back to my business. "Ho ho ho?" "Momma?" Looking up from my laundry again, I see that he's walked across the room, picked up the remote control and is now bringing it back to me. "Ho ho ho?" This process was repeated THREE times, with THREE separate remotes before I finally caught on. Well, kinda. I mean, where did he come up with this? So I started going through the DVDs and found his veggietales Christmas, popped it in (no, excuse me, HE did that) and turned it on.

And now EVERY. DAY. I am the recipient of every remote in the house, with a questioning "ho ho ho?" Until I finally give in and we watch The Toy that Saved Christmas. Again. And Again. In May. During a HEAT WAVE. (A heat wave that is hitting ONE WEEK BEFORE I DELIVER THIS BABY - a point that should not go unnoticed.) When we should be sitting out in the shade blowing bubbles into the breeze.

We'll come full circle, though. I'm sure of it. Come Christmas photo-ops, Christopher will be sitting on Santa's lap. And they'll both be blowing bubbles.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

WHY does blogger format my posts HOWEVER it wants without my permission!? Argh.

Everyone has things that they say that make no sense. Right? Whether it's because they mess up an expression that has been around for years (I once used "put it on the back porch" rather than "back burner" a college paper, no less. It really is amazing that I came away with any degree at all) or because they just seem to make up their own language over time.
My Father-in-law is the latter. One of the first things Tim told me about his dad when we started dating was how he had this completely unique language that he has developed over his many years. Sometimes the family plays along (because, by now, they usually know what he's talking about) and other times they seem to have no patience whatsoever for this completely absurd way of speaking. I don't know if anyone has given it an official name, but for posterity's sake, let's call it "Pop-ese."
Pop-ese consists of your standard, everyday fake words such as:
Eephus geephus (which can really be a noun or a verb)
....the list goes on....
But there are also entire expressions that I honestly have NO idea of their origins, or really even their meanings. They include:
"At the rate of 6-40"
"Since Hector was a pup"
"Palpitations of the gizzard"
"A message for Garcia" (this one, I think, is not very nice. But it must be included.)
...I know there are more, but they seem to be escaping me at the moment.
Anyway. I bring this up because I've really come to enjoy this aspect of Pop's personality lately. I find that we're going through a period in our lives when time is simply moving too quickly and I'm confronted with the fact that these wonderful people who have been a part of our lives for all of our lives will not be here forever. I am very blessed to still have 3 living grandparents who, despite their struggles, have always been healthy and strong in my view.
Christopher and Jake's "Poppie" who has been healthy and strong FOREVER has encountered a bit of a hiccup with his health lately. About two weeks ago he had a cancerous tumor removed from his bladder, and today he learned that his prostate is similarly affected. He will start treatment for both by the end of next week. I honestly do believe that this is nothing more than a hiccup (although it really is a big one) and that, long term, Pop is going to be just fine. But it has gotten me to thinking...
I don't know what is up with this timing - the end of my pregnancy with Christopher was consumed by dealing with my mom's diagnosis and journey with breast cancer. Now at the end of this pregnancy with Jake, we're walking down the same path with Tim's dad. At a time when you're already being hurled at light speed into grown-up land by becoming parents, I see that we're honestly stuck right in the middle - where we get the extreme privilege of caring for and loving family members at both ends of their life. It is a time when our existence will turn into one completely immersed (if we let it) in compassion, love, tenderness, mercy, and even suffering not only for our newborn son, but for our parents who first loved us. Who taught us to love, to serve, to sacrifice, and to CARE.
So my prayers are offered for this member of our family who has been around, at least in his grandchildrens' eyes, Since Hector Was a Pup. Here's to many more long years of serving up a Famous, fried eggs and hash browns on Sunday mornings at Pop's Greasy Spoon, and teaching our children how to attach the eephus mit the geephus.
We love you, Pop.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

I keep picturing a shitsu....but I feel more like a Saint Bernard

We've gotten to the stage where the doctor has officially stated, "you could go at any time." Really, that is not a very nice thing to say to a pregnant woman who is about to burst at the seams. I recognize that the conversation was more of a "you could go at any time and be just fine from here on out," but honestly? I don't think he realizes the power of his words. That in my brain, even though we've done this before, I still take that to mean "any slightest little pain or cramp that you feel is the onset of labor so GET READY!

When I was pregnant with Christopher, I had three due dates. THREE. Another not-so-nice thing to do to a pregnant woman. So I never really knew when I was due, and with each date that came (and went) I could just dismiss the whole thing as the doctor being wrong with that little wheely thing that holds the power of the Almighty within it's little bracketed cardboard self based on the date of a period that (by the time you're actually in the doctor's office) you already have missed for 2 months. By the time the third date had passed, I was so busy feeling HUGE (a trend throughout the entirety of that pregnancy, actually) that I didn't really notice any other pre-labor symptoms.

This time has been entirely different. I've felt so good throughout the entire pregnancy that, in a way, I feel like it's just about time that I started to complain. Not that I'm complaining for no reason, of course. All of a sudden, I'm HEAVY. And SORE. And GRUMPY. And....well....DONE WITH THIS WHOLE ENTIRE GROWING A PERSON INSIDE MY BODY thing. Okay?

Over the past few days, since the "you could go anytime" declaration, I feel like my body is preparing itself to hunker down and get this baby out. Deep within me is this draw to sleeping and storing up my energy for the marathon that is childbirth. I feel very connected to nature - like I'm really a part of the Circle of Life. (Good grief, I just had this image of Elton John singing in my delivery room. No further comment is necessary.) But, seriously, yesterday I had this image of myself as a dog getting ready to have her puppies - sleeping a lot. Panting a lot. Just ready to get down to it and PUSH!

The irony here lies in the fact that I'm having a planned, scheduled c-section. There will be no labor (even if the baby comes early, there will only be labor to the extent that it takes 20 minutes to drive to the hospital). There will be no panting. There will be no pushing to the count of ten. What there will be are drugs. Lots and lots of drugs. And four nights in the hospital getting used to having this new little person with me, while missing my bigger little person who will be at home being spoiled rotten by his grandmother.

I feel like I'm cheating the system. Like I'm TiVo-ing my childbirth ahead of time so that I can fast-forward to the joyful part. And, really? I'm okay with that.