Sunday, September 30, 2012

It Is Finished

Friday afternoon, around 2:00, I went to the post office to drop off the thing I'd spent most of 2012 working on.

Well, the one knitted thing. I suppose you could say my body has spent most of 2012 working on this baby.

But in all seriousness, that scarf that I've been working on forever is finally done, and out of my apartment. Out of my life. FINALLY!

I wish I could show you pictures of the final product, but really, this was one of those things where I was so glad to be done with it that I just didn't care anymore. When my friend gets it, if he takes pictures, I'll share them here.

My original plan after I finished the scarf was to sew, sew, sew on Christmas presents to get ahead on them before the baby arrived, but guess what? My sewing machine is being a jerk. Of course. I might just fabric glue, fusible web, and hand stitch my way through some of them until I can get a new sewing machine ... maybe one of those fancy ones with lots of stitching options....

Whoops! I started day-dreaming and drooling over a new machine. Gross.

I do wonder if I can convince Mark that I need one as a push present though.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Appointment at 36 Weeks

After last week's very eventful, almost frightening appointment, I wanted a low-key visit with my doctor.

Be careful what you wish for.

Baby Boy's heart was chugging along at 150 beats, and the doctor estimates his weight to be about 6 pounds by now. My fundal height is on par with how many weeks I am, my blood pressure was good, and everything else was normal. My doctor did a swab for Group B Strep which I'll know the results of next week. Then it was time to check and see if I was dilated yet.

Honestly? I've been looking forward to this part. Yes, it was majorly uncomfortable, as I knew it would be, but I was really curious to hear how much I was dilated and effaced. My sister-in-law found out on Thursday (the 20th) that she was already dilated 1cm and 50% effaced ... a fact which my brother-in-law has been bragging about ... but anyway, if she had already started, surely I have too, right? Her due date is only three days before mine....

Nope. Closed tight. His head is low, but no progress has been made besides that. So all that pain I've had lately is just pain, and not my body getting ready for imminent delivery.

Body, you kinda suck right now.

I've had a few contractions since I left the doctor's office, and every time I've wanted to shout at them like you want to shout at a spoiled child who is throwing a tantrum. "STOP THAT! You're not doing any good and no one likes it when you act this way!" My mood has soured significantly, to say the least. And I know it doesn't mean anything, I've read other people's forum posts and seen that it is very possible that I could go from closed to 10cm in 48 hours when the time is right. I know 36 weeks is still too early to have a baby. I just wanted to be able to tell my brother-in-law to shut up.

I hate that my first pregnancy feels like a competition. Like, if I don't deliver first, then my baby isn't as good as theirs. And it's just going to get worse. "Oh, yours can't pull himself up yet? Well. I'm sure he'll get there eventually." And I'm going to be running home to my pediatrician, in tears, saying, "I saw my in-laws during the holiday and their baby can already do this list of things and ours isn't doing that yet and O-M-G COULD HE BE DEVELOPMENTALLY DELAYED?!"

I can already see the pediatrician trying not to roll her eyes at me now.

Blogging Therapy

Writing these posts has been strangely therapeutic for me, which is exactly what I hoped for, and why I decided to share them. Some of the things that bother me are really heavy topics (what if my son gets bullied by his cousin, and what do I do about my own insecurities with men?) but then again, if I say nothing and bottle it up, what good does that do?

I can see my own irrationality when it's all written out. Why should I be worried about something that may not ever be a problem? Why should I assume that because men I know think poorly of their mothers that my son will think poorly of me? Is it really fair of me to assume that my son will need protecting from a cousin that also hasn't been born yet?

I'm going to make a lot of mistakes in the coming years. Some mistakes will be very minor. Some mistakes will haunt me for the rest of my life. But this could be a learning opportunity. When I admit to my son that I messed up, he will learn that it is going to happen ... but that life will go on. I hope he will accept my faults and not use them against me later. I hope he and his cousin enjoy each other's company.

I hope he grows up to be someone strong, but compassionate. A leader who can also ask for help when he needs it. A person who achieves much, but also knows how to be humble.

In short, I want him to be awesome.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Appointment at 35 Weeks

Tuesday I went in for (what should have been) a normal appointment. I got a flu shot, hoisted myself up on the table, and had goo rubbed on my stomach so the Doppler could pick up the baby's heartbeat. The nurse had trouble locating it for the first time in ages. Despite the sugary breakfast cereal I'd eaten that morning, the baby was still sleepy and would not be prodded into a better position. But we did finally record a heartbeat of 140 or so.

I mentioned to the nurse that I had some intense pelvic pain on Wednesday night (the 12th) and believe that the baby dropped sometime later that night or early Thursday morning. I said that his movements haven't been nearly as frequent since then. She notified the doctor, who set me up with an ultrasound and a non stress test to be done right after my appointment.

Mark and I hadn't seen the baby since my scan at 25 weeks, and he looks so much more like a baby now. Chubby feet, chubby cheeks, and the sonographer even highlighted an area at the top of his head where little hairs had sprouted.

And then I finally connected with him. He isn't this weird alien thing that was being projected on the wall. He is a human, a human that is part me, and part Mark. He is a tiny little being that needs me and depends on me. I'd been a little scared because I hadn't made that connection yet. Yeah, I loved him and I was going to take care of him, but it wasn't that agape love that parents develop for their children. That unconditional love, that sacrificial love. Some moms develop that love the first time they see the little bean-shaped fetus at their first ultrasound. I worried that something was wrong with me because I didn't. But really, just because you don't doesn't mean that you won't.

He squirmed a bit on the screen, but wasn't really interested in punching or kicking like the sonographer wanted, so she used a little vibrating tool that would elicit a stronger reaction. I think he elbowed me so hard that my entire stomach moved! After that, I went to another part of the clinic for a non stress test. The nurse over there was the first nurse that I've had who wasn't very nice. She was very snippy and didn't explain what the monitors and the button were for - I was glad I had already done some reading on them so that I wouldn't just be sitting there, helpless. She almost made me feel like it was my fault that the monitor wasn't able to pick up the heartbeat, like I was moving around too much. She came in to check on me after I had recorded three kicks and stomped off again, as if it was my fault that I was having decreased movement and was wasting her time. I was glad when a different nurse came in a little later and said that I was good to go after looking over the readout that the machine I was hooked up to had printed.

The doctor wanted to see me again but was falling behind with her appointments, so her nurse came back in to tell me that the doctor was satisfied with my ultrasound and non stress test. I still have been having less movement than before, but I think this is my new normal. I can accept that. I start my weekly appointments now, so I'll see her again on Tuesday the 25th. Since I'll be 36 weeks (9 months) then she'll be checking me regularly to see how close I am to delivery. I can't believe it's almost here! At last! The light at the end of the tunnel!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Biggest Fear in Raising a Boy

Even though I have more experience raising and being around boys, I feel infinitely less prepared to handle this than I did when I thought I was having a girl. To some extent, I am afraid of having a boy.

So what am I going to do? Even admitting this will make some people raise their eyebrows and mutter "ungrateful." But being judged isn't making them go away. It just makes me feel belittled. For now, I can put aside most of my fears. A lot of them are petty, and I may not have to deal with them at all, so worrying about them now is silly. But there is one fear that nags at me.

I worry that he will make me feel stupid.

Ever since I was little, men have been putting me down and making me feel inferior. Male teachers made jokes at my expense when I didn't understand material. Male friends enjoy humiliating me for a laugh. Even men in my family, including a nephew who used to adore me, tend to use that incredulous voice when they talk to me - the one that plainly indicates that they can't believe they're talking to such an idiot.

I can't even convince myself that he wouldn't do that to his mommy. I know just as many boys who think their moms are idiots as I do boys who think their moms hung the moon. My odds are not good. If friends and family already think I'm stupid, he's going to pick up on it. If he ridicules me and anyone laughs at it, his behavior will be reinforced. Then what do I do? Once it starts, if it starts, how do I stop it?

And how do I stop feeling like this? Feeling like I need to be guarded against a baby now because of how he might behave when he gets older?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sibling Rivalry

My sister-in-law is due three days before me. I should be elated. In my family, I never had cousins to play with because they were all 10 or more years older than me. My baby will have a playmate on every family vacation, and share a birthday with someone who could potentially be his best friend, especially since she's expecting a little boy too.
But I'm not really that excited about it.

I've been asked if I would be jealous about my baby sharing a birthday with a neighbor's newborn or a celebrity's baby, and I don't think that's fair at all. My in-laws didn't tell me that they might miss the birth of our first-born because some random person is having a baby. If they miss it, it'll be because they decided to be with their daughter and her children ... and probably because they live closer....

I shouldn't be so judgmental. I know the car ride between their town and our city is unpleasant, totaling more than 300 miles. We've made the trip about once a month so far, so I know very well how disheartening it can be to get in the car and know you're going to spend a quarter of your day there.

Sometimes I also worry about the effect their son will have on mine. Judging from my nephew, her first (and until now only) child, this new boy will be raised to be a rough-and-tumble sort of boy. That's pretty much the opposite of how Mark and I behave, and probably the opposite of how our boy will behave too. Will family vacations be spent drying my son's tears because his cousin shoved him again, or called him a sissy because he wouldn't play-fight with him? When I pick him up from Nanny and Papa's house after spending time with his cousin, will we have to help him unlearn aggressive behavior?

Of course, it's just as likely that my son will be the terror that will give my sister-in-law grief. She may be the one who has to remind her son for the umpteenth time that "we do not hit!" after he spends time with my son. Our son might spend more of vacation in time-out because he was bullying his cousin. We won't know for a few more years, so there really isn't any point in speculating about it now.

Besides, there may be no problems at all.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Never Forget?

This popped up on xkcd a while ago, but my mind keeps dwelling on it.

There is a substantial amount of things on this list that I already don't know anything about. Yeah, I've heard about what happened to Challenger, and I know about Chernobyl because my dad worked at a nuclear plant, but I don't have memories of sitting in front of the television, horror-struck as I watched these events unfold. I don't think back fondly on any Star Wars movie, and working on any Apple computer doesn't make me smile and realize how far we've come in the last 36 years.

It's not until OJ Simpson's Trial that I finally start remembering something. I wondered why the news was showing a white SUV driving down the highway, why they weren't talking about anything else, and can we please switch it to Nickelodeon now? I remember having a brief discussion in my third grade class, and Mrs. McLemore giving us a very basic description of the purpose of a jury, and then we got to play the jury and determine if we thought he was guilty or not. (Times were very different then - no third grade teacher could get away with discussing a murder trial with her students now.)

I remember learning what impeachment meant in fifth grade, and how it didn't necessarily mean that the president was removed from office, and that until now Andrew Johnson was the only president that had been impeached.

I remember Columbine. I wrote a note to my 7th grade counselor after it happened because a boy in my class thought that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold had the right idea. "People here don't understand people like me, and they should be shot." His name was Allen. I was afraid of him after that day.

I remember 9/11. I remember the principal asking teachers to turn on their televisions and that there would be no morning announcements. I remember my choir director saying, "Nothing is more important than our upcoming concert." I remember going to second period, Sophomore English, and being told that class was meeting in the library. I remember watching the big screen TV and wondering why we were watching a movie instead of learning. I remember realizing with horror (and a little embarrassment) that it wasn't a movie. I remember that some students were in a panic because they thought our tiny town would be hit soon too - with a nuclear plant just 10 miles away, people tended to be on edge. I don't remember much else. I probably asked Dad if we were safe when he got home, if he got home before I went to bed. Fall is outage season, so he would have been working longer hours, and I'm sure the stress level was much higher that day than normal.

It's so strange to think that one day there will come a time when the people who don't remember such a traumatic incident will outnumber the people who do. But when I think about it, it's not so strange. Even my oldest nephew, who is about to be sixteen, most likely too young to remember it. The other two are far too young. A little sad maybe, that they don't have anything so unifying, but I suppose that they will eventually. Hopefully it will be something more positive.

I wonder if my son will ask me if I remember 9/11, or anything else from this list for that matter. Will stare at me with the look of someone trying so desperately to put himself in my shoes so he can experience what I experienced, just like I did when I asked my parents if they remembered the Kennedy assassination, or Woodstock? And what major event is going to happen in his lifetime that will affect him and everyone around him so greatly?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Class About Llamas

Spoiler alert: There were no llamas. It was actually a Lamaze class.

Today my husband and I woke up earlier than normal and went to my hospital for a birthing class. Earlier as in 7:30. Considering how little sleep I got, it hit me like a truck. But! I didn't fall asleep in class. It's the little victories. I'm really glad that Mark was there with me to hold my hand while we introduced ourselves to other people in the class. I don't know why I was so introverted today, but I was glad that he would fill in the gaps of silence.

Even though it was a Lamaze class, I was actually surprised how little time was spent on practicing breathing techniques and coaching. We did a little bit of massage and birth positions, but they were really just a small portion of the class. I much of the class was spent talking about medical interventions and cesareans. Granted, both of those are much more complicated than a non-medicated birth. Epidurals require a consent form, and they have to talk about the risks involved when you bring those medicines into your body. The video of the non-medicated birth was a little more ... I hate to say it was entertaining, because birth can be difficult to watch, but you felt more connected to the woman who was not medicated versus the women who were medicated and the woman who had a cesarean.

Before we went on lunch break, we got to take a small tour of the labor and delivery floor. It was neat watching the instructor break down the bed just like the nurses will when it comes time to deliver the baby.

When we got back from lunch we were shown things that would be provided for us by the hospital, like the mesh underwear I keep hearing about. They look like the top part of control-top pantyhose! I will remain skeptical of their awesomeness until after delivery, I guess.

We also learned about cesarean sections in the afternoon portion, complete with a computer-generated version of the incisions made and how the baby is removed. Let me tell you, I've read a lot about cesareans ... reading is nothing like seeing it, even in animated form. I was pretty freaked out by the entire thing.

My favorite part of the day was when we went to the postpartum floor to tour the nursery and postpartum rooms. Two of the three babies were already asleep when we walked past the huge window, but one of them watched us through sleepy eyes. Absolutely adorable.

I can't wait to see my little boy and his little knit pumpkin hat, sleepily gazing at me.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Boy Fashion Makes Me Say "Eww!"

Can I be honest here?

Whenever I walk into the Gymboree at my mall, I die a little on the inside.

On my left is a plethora of lovely dresses and stylish patterned shorts and t-shirts, complete with adorable accessories. On my right are some clothes that are trying oh-so-hard to be cute, but they just don't quite make it there, or they crossed the line entirely and look extremely effeminate. I think the ladies that work there know it too, since the boy-clothes are mostly positioned on the wall with maybe two floor displays, while the rest of the store is girl-clothes and coordinating floor displays.
Avenger Graphic Tee, $6.97

Bigger, all-in-one stores are even worse. Passing by the boys' department is like walking through a giant advertisement for whatever superhero/cartoon character/wrestler is popular at the moment, designed by people who couldn't be bothered to put something sophisticated on these fabric sandwich boards. The designs on these clothes are so bold that they are borderline offensive.

That's not to say I wouldn't let my boy wear superhero-themed clothes at all. I just prefer subtle designs over boisterous slaps-in-the-face. I would be okay with my son wearing shirts like these onesies at ThinkGeek. They say, "Yes, this is the logo for my favorite superhero," but they don't scream it at you.

One of my favorite stores is Threadless because of their awesome prices and clever designs, which sometimes include subtly nerdy prints. And now they carry baby clothes too! One day I will have to order a kid-sized "Do-Re-Mi-Quack!" shirt so that he can match me.

I think the biggest issue I have with boys' clothing, though, is the fact that there is very little crafting/sewing/knitting/creating done for boys on the internet. There are endless tutorials for pillowcase dresses and giant head-eating-flower headbands, but when it comes to making things for boys, most of the time I see "he doesn't like handmade stuff, so I don't bother." But there are people who are trying. I started following Seven Thirty Three because she does a weekly linkup of boy-themed projects on the internet. Dana from MADE has also done an annual series on Celebrate the BOY, and I really hope that she does it again this year because the projects from the last two years are phenomenal.

Maybe I should be the change I want to see in the world, and start devoting my time to boy-specific projects, to finding fabric prints that are appropriate and not tacky, to creating patterns that result in garments that will make both of us yell, "AWESOME!" and give each other high fives. And then some future crafty mom who's expecting a boy can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that she can still continue doing her thing but now she can share it with her son too.

It's definitely something to think about.

For legal purposes, I should probably mention that while parts of this post read like a review, I was not approached by any company or person, nor was I compensated for any opinion I had. This post was thought of, researched, and written by me, and only me.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Laborious Knitting

I'm spending my Labor Day trying to knock out some more rows on the Doctor Who scarf. (I guess I don't really understand the purpose of Labor Day....)

For some perspective, I made little graphic of the scarf. The true colors at the top shows how much I've knitted, and the faded colors at the bottom show how much is left to go. Honestly, it was reassuring to see more than half of the scarf done. Suddenly, 376 rows doesn't look quite so intimidating.

I mean, it's still a little intimidating. But slightly less so.

My main goal for this month is to get this scarf absolutely finished - meaning not just the knitting part, but also the weaving in of ends and attaching fringe as well. I hope to be taking this scarf to the post office on September 30th. That way, I can spend all of October focusing on baby knits. I'm ashamed to say that I've knit nothing for my little boy yet, and I'd really like to have something done for him when he arrives.

You might be looking at this and wondering why it looks so crazy long, maybe longer than one you saw on another blog. That's because this is the scarf used in seasons 16 and 17. It's a compilation of two previous scarves, and is pretty monstrous. I have no idea how long it is actually supposed to be. One website said 15 feet, another said 26, and I naturally did not want to be working on 26 feet of scarf so I'm going with 15. Although now that I look at it, it probably is supposed to be closer to 26....

Some changes were made to my pattern because I'm starting to run low on the off-white color. I really don't want to buy another skein just to knit a few rows, particularly since I'm trying to pare down on my crafty supplies before we move again next summer. I'm trying to keep the stripe widths as proportional as possible, but I can tell that the chunks on one side of the scarf are quite a bit smaller than they are on the other. Hopefully the guy I'm knitting this for won't notice.... Or if he does, hopefully he won't care.

Oh, by the way, my nifty little graphic on the side was shrunk down slightly so it wouldn't take up a lot of space. If you want to see the clearer, full size one (which also has no fading on it) then just click here. Want to use that graphic for yourself? That's fine by me. Just leave a link here in the comments or on the Flickr page. I just like seeing what other people make.