Thursday, November 12, 2015

36 weeks

Four weeks to go -- if that. If this little guy wants to be like his siblings, he'll be here in about three weeks. But maybe he wants to be different, and this is going to be the first time I see 40 weeks of pregnancy. It's been known to happen. I really, really hope that doesn't happen because I am now down to weekly visits with my midwife, and it is a lot to be driving 75 miles each way to Charleston.

Physically, I am still doing well, no real complaints -- just usual third trimester stuff like the need to pee every 20 minutes, and not eating as well as I was before. I'll get really hungry, and then only be able to take a few bites of a meal. It's just too much work to try to get things into my stomach. But I'm still gaining. I was 140 at my last weigh-in, so a total of 32 pounds gained so far. I snack a lot on fruit, cheese, almonds, and my "superpower muffins." When I'm on the couch at night watching Breaking Bad (Tim's and my new addiction), I crave Wheat Thins. Apologies to Tim for making the bag rattle while we're trying to hear the show. I am always too hot, and I still have not had much use for the sweaters I thought I'd be wearing at the end of my pregnancy. My Liz Lange maternity tank tops from Target are my go-to, and I am continually messing with the thermostat and turning on fans to try to stay cool. Sleep is still good, and luckily I only need to get up once at most to use the bathroom. I have NO problems falling asleep and staying asleep, and I am enjoying it while I can. I take a nap almost every afternoon too, for anywhere from a half hour to an hour.

I'm still doing my prenatal yoga, and taking walks when it's cool enough and the bugs aren't biting too much. I started seeing a Webster Technique-certified chiropractor about a month ago, and I really like her. I continue to see her even though the baby has been consistently head-down for the last few weeks, and it looks like he's going to stay that way. She found some imbalances in my spine on the first visit, and I have to admit I don't really understand this stuff but I do believe that I give myself the best chance of an easy labor by making sure that my bones are all lined up properly. I always feel so much better when I leave her office too. I was surprised when she adjusted my neck at the first visit too. I hadn't known my neck needed any adjustment, but I was sitting there and she twisted my head first one way -- "crack!" and then the other -- "crack-crack!" I let out a "Whew!" that probably everyone heard. It is the strangest feeling to be first scared to death that your neck is about to be broken, and then relieved and happy because now it feels so much better.

I am slowly but surely getting it together around here like I knew I would eventually.

Our room is looking like a place a baby is going to be born. I've got the pack 'n play set up. I know, it's a pack 'n play and can be set up in about a minute, but we don't have a crib and I really wanted the baby's bed set up. I'm happy to say that the Graco Pack 'n Play has not changed in eight years. But I do like the colors of the new one better -- brown and sage green, and no funky plaid. I've got the glider and ottoman in the corner, and I was very pleased that the upholstery detached and washed up nicely in the machine. I'd been ready to replace the upholstery altogether, but Tim's cooler head prevailed and he suggested just washing it first to see what that would do. I love that chair. I've spent so many hours nursing my babies in that chair, and in a matter of weeks I'm going to be sitting there nursing another! It doesn't seem real. I've gotten almost all the rest of the baby gear that I need, either gently used or on sale at Amazon. I just ordered a changing table. I can't wait to organize all his little clothes, diapers, wipes and whatever else in it. Ah, that will be fun.

My midwife Joanne and her assistant Stephanie came last week for a home visit, and left the birth pool. Tim has already set it up once, and after obtaining the one part that was missing at our appointment yesterday, that's good to go. I've got a basket of supplies that I've put together, some from Joanne's list and some just things I know I want to have. The birth kit arrived the other day, and it's got things like enormous pads, gloves, and other assorted medical type stuff. I just made my "laborade" popsicles today. I remember how much I liked having them when I was in labor with Timmy. The recipe is simple: water, honey, lemon juice, salt, and crushed calcium-magnesium tablets.

My next appointment with Joanne is next Friday, and she has another client who lives in my area who also has an appointment that morning. She and Joanne suggested we carpool, and I wasn't initially keen on the idea. I've kind of gotten in the groove of those long drives by myself, and I like to sing along with the "random" music radio station (random with heavy emphasis on the '80s) and just enjoy my solitude. Who wants to be making conversation for a three-hour roundtrip car ride with someone they've never met? Not this introvert. But then I shrugged and told them if she's interested they can pass on my information to her and she can give me a call. I'll swing by and pick her up, but she'd better be ready bright and early. I have to admit I'm curious about the other person who lives in Beaufort, SC who's giving birth at home. I never meet anyone else like me around here. I know they're out there, but they're like unicorns. There is no LLL here, and no natural parenting community here where I might run into another homebirther. I amused myself for a little while as we all drove home yesterday, imagining what Joanne's other Beaufort homebirth client would be like. "I'm going to drive to the end of a dirt road, and there's going to be a chicken coop, and a bunch of kids and dogs running around.. And she's going to come running out in a long skirt and Birkenstocks, and when she gets in the car she's going to smell like sweat and patchouli and I'm going to have to drive with the windows down.." Tim smirked at me. Then with a cackle I said, "She'll probably be expecting me to show up in a Volkswagen bus! With a dreamcatcher hanging from the rearview mirror!" I do crack myself up.

My wonderful neighbors are throwing me a baby shower, and that's this Sunday. This baby boy and I are really lucky! I will be taking my girls with me. Tim, to his everlasting relief, is not invited. We are old school here, and don't believe men have any business at a baby shower.

As the time for baby number 4's arrival gets closer, you know who I'm excited for (besides myself)? Tim. He was on a ship from the time I was five months pregnant with Timmy to when he was six months old. It blows my mind still to think of how much he missed out on. We made the best of it and I sent him tons of pictures and videos. I remember him telling me that the girls when they were babies had had no use for him until they were six months old anyway. But he did get to snuggle lots with them when they were newborns, before they had realized they had no use for him. So the last newborn he snuggled was Annie. And the last time he saw a belly this full of baby was Annie. The last time he was there for a birth was Annie's. I'm just so grateful that he will be there every step of the way this time around.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Halloween Week Photo Dump

The week leading up to and including Halloween was a busy one, with events at school and a party on Friday. I took a lot of photos so I thought I'd make a blog post out of it.

On Wednesday the 28th Timmy's class had a "Harvest Party," so I came and helped out a little, but mostly just enjoyed watching Timmy in his element. When I first walked in the door at 8:30, this is what I found him doing, so absorbed that he didn't even notice I was there for at least a couple minutes.
We spent the first hour or so with the kids just rotating to different stations the way they do on any given day, with an activity at each one that lasts maybe five to ten minutes. One station was the snack station, another one was a applesauce-making and eating station, and my station was the one where kids had to measure the circumference of a pumpkin. It was not very interesting, but they all got a prize for trying. Timmy hardly paid me any attention, just went from one station to the next as usual. Then everybody had to clean up and put things away, and there was a story time. Lastly, they played a few songs and videos, and the kids sang and danced along on the carpet before it was time to go home. So it was just a Halloween spin on what is just a typical day of Pre-K. Other than the one snack that each kid got to have, which I think was a frosted Halloween cookie, there weren't any sweets being given out and that made me glad. At this school and at Delaney's, sweets are restricted, and healthy eating is encouraged at least in theory (e.g., no one is allowed to bring in birthday treats). That makes me happy because goodness knows they get enough treats at Halloween without the teachers, bus drivers and other parents at school handing them out left and right. Timmy was very happy with the little goody bag he got to take home. It was filled mostly with dollar store crap that will be in the trash soon, and maybe just a handful of candy.
Timmy was allowed to call on a couple classmates to ask him questions about what he'd made. This made him a little bashful.
Thursday was a day off school for Timmy and a half-day for the girls, and nobody had school on Friday. This was for parent-teacher conferences beginning Thursday afternoon and going all day Friday. I think it's nice that the teachers don't have to squeeze in the conferences after hours. On Thursday morning Timmy and I went to Annie's class for a "Celebration of Learning" in the classroom, and a "Readers are Leaders" awards ceremony for all the first grade classes. Delaney was jealous that she didn't get to do something like that with us, and I told her to just be glad her class didn't have something scheduled for the same day. I can't be in two places at once. Then, we've never been invited to attend anything with Delaney's class, so I need to make a point of at least coming and eating lunch with her sometime. Probably in the next few weeks would be best..

We had a really nice time in Annie's classroom. We spent about a half hour playing math games, and Annie helped Timmy solve problems with candy corns and pumpkin seeds. She was very sweet with him and seemed very much at home in the classroom. I couldn't be more pleased with what a great school year she's having so far. Once again, she won the lottery for good teachers, and has one that is youthful, enthusiastic, and never raises her voice above normal conversational tone to get and keep the kids' attention. I know she probably made sure to be really on her game with all the parents hanging around, but I get the feeling that her classroom is typically a very orderly place with the kids all just doing what's expected.

The "Readers are Leaders" ceremony was kind of meh as far as I was concerned. What it is is the kids in the primary grades have a log for filling out every time they read a book alone or you read with them. I only received one log for each of them, filled it out in a matter of days and sent it in. I never saw another. I guess I was supposed to ask for more. So Annie received an award for 'meeting the goal', when we all know she reads constantly. Whatever. I think the whole thing is kind of silly anyway, but easy for me to say as the mom of kids who've needed no encouragement to read books.
Tim and I have talked about what a difference there is between Annie this year and last year. Last year she had a wonderful kindergarten teacher, and we feel we couldn't have asked for a better experience. But Annie would puzzle us by behaving so perfectly at school and then being a bear at home. She really drove me crazy some days, and I didn't know whether she was having some kind of crisis or just being a turd for its own sake. I was really holding my breath at the beginning of this school year because I had them switching schools again, and I didn't know how that transition would go for Annie. I am so glad to say that this year she has been much less moody, and more happy and helpful at home. I don't know why .. maybe it just took time to adjust to the new reality of full time school? Whatever the reason, I am grateful.
On Friday afternoon the kids donned their costumes for the Halloween party down the street. A great time was had by all. The neighbor who hosted is like a big kid, and she went all out with planning games and crafts for the kids, as well as having tons of yummy food. 

Before we left I had the kids pose for the customary 'costumes on the porch' picture. I promised them that if I got a good picture that night I would not make them pose for any pictures the next night before trick-or-treating. I'd say they delivered on their end of the bargain.
Delaney knocked the pinata down.
Annie bobs for apples while her brother tries to turn them stem up for her.
Bobbing for apples .. it's one of those traditional Halloween games that I think should just go away. It is pretty gross. Tim tried to volunteer me to go first, and I said to him (under my breath), "No way. I'll just tell them I have herpes." Not that I needed to worry, only the kids were invited to participate. And with the host dad being a doctor, an attempt was made to keep it somewhat germ-safe for the kids. The kids who had a cough were given their own bowl with their own apples to bob for. Everybody else just dunked their faces in the communal bowl. Well, one kid slipped through the cracks. He came up out of the bowl, stem of an apple held triumphantly between his teeth, and a rope of snot at least four inches long hanging from his nose. Everyone in the room went, "Oooohhhhhhh.." Then raucous laughter and shouts of "Game over!"

There was also a costume fashion show, a craft, 'pin the hat on the witch' and copious sweets. Toward the end of the night as the kids were starting to crash from the sugar and lay glassy-eyed in front of the TV, someone said to our hosts, "This was a five-year-old frat party!" Well done, neighbors, well done.
After that, most of the grownups on our street were feeling like they'd already had enough Halloween, but the next night was round 2 with trick-or-treating.

I made good on my promise to not make the kids pose for more pictures, but after I dashed back inside to get my sunglasses (trick-or-treating started at 5), Tim got a few more of them on the porch which were a nice surprise for me later. I promised not to take any more, but no one said anything about dad. It doesn't look like they minded.
As Delaney and 'other Delaney' strolled along, ours was saying, "One Delaney lives in a palace, and the other lives on a farm!"
When Timmy tripped and spilled his bucket of candy, these good boys stopped to help him.
When we got back home, three very excited kids sorted their loot.
Trick-or-treating was from 5 to 7, but it only took us a little over an hour to go down every street in our neighborhood and fill up their pumpkins with candy. Perfect. By then we were starving, and we headed home and Tim made a pizza, and the kids got to have a treat before getting ready for bed.