The Home Stretch

8monthspreg

I just fell over laughing at this comparison.

First, I apparently gave up with Eddie and Charlie by this point. Was I living in jammies or what? I mean, I look homeless in the Eddie shot.

Secondly each tummy is progressively bigger…like it’s giving up a little with each pregnancy. It’s all “look how cute and small I still am” with Eddie and now with Alice it’s all “ugg. dude. get it OVER with already.”

It’s also funny to me that I have a helper in the Charlie photo because look:

2015-01-21 17.48.33

Yup, Charlie was all sorts of excited to help me out with the Alice picture!

So I’m officially in the 8th month of my last pregnancy. Suddenly all the “Alice Will Be Here Soon” things are starting to happen: My sub for the rest of the school year has been hired. My 12 weeks off has been approved and put in the system. I have done a load of baby laundry. We have a lot of the infant stuff located. We even have some diapers and a stockpile of formula.

We need to put the car seat bases into our vehicles which may be a bit of a puzzling challenge with the other two 5-point harness seats in there already, but we will make it work.

We need to dust off the swing and the bounce seat.

I have a colleague who is generously giving us their rock n play for Alice to use, and we probably should get some more baby pants and socks and hats.

We need to find the bottles and wash them.

We should probably get serious about organizing what the heck we are doing with school pick up and such while I am still healing from surgery. I thought about making some freezer meals, but we all know I don’t have time for that. I will just accept whatever comes our way and ask Cortney to pick me up a taco the other times.

I am starting to feel the need to reduce everything extraneous from our schedule and prepare to hunker down in the baby daze. I am excited to have that small bundle in my arms rather than kicking my butt…from the inside.  I want all the things in my house clean, but I also want all the naps to be mine.

And there is that wee small part of me that realizes that this is the beginning of the end.

No more pregnancies after this. 98% of me says THANK GOODNESS! That tiny 2% of me is like “aw”.

We are in that home stretch of reaching brand new territory.  Only one more monthly photo to go before show time!

Blissfully Ignorant

“I think I’m afraid of her already,” I told my therapist.

“What do you mean by ‘afraid’?”

“I don’t even know, I’m not sure ‘afraid’ is the right word at all. But I feel something foreboding. Something that is like fear.”

I’d been trying to find a word to name the feeling that keeps coming up whenever people ask me if I am just so excited to have a daughter. I mean, I don’t want to say “no” because that’s not true.  But “excited” seems not right either. Or maybe it is.

I do get excited as I sort onsies by size and decide which of the boys’ jammies (the ones that don’t say “mommy’s little man”) Alice will be able to wear. Each pair of shoes or dress that someone gifts her makes me smile in a way I never did over all those little man clothes I so love.  It’s almost a smooshy, ridiculous smile. The kind you get when you’re twelve and you fall hard for that one boy in class you will never talk to…a dreamy smile.

Imagining headbands and white mary janes makes me turn all goofy in a way I never have before. So I guess I can’t say I’m NOT excited, because those seem like pretty clear indications of excitement on my part.

But there is something else pulling at me.

Something unsure.

“You know what I think it is,” I tell my therapist, “it’s that I remember too much.” I was pretty pleased with myself for this breakthrough, but it was clear she didn’t get what I was talking about, but it was becoming clearer in my mind.

I remember way too much of my childhood…of what was rough as a girl growing up. I remember how tough middle school was. I remember the choices in front of me in high school and college. I know what adolescent icky feels like for a girl. I remember all the uncomfortable firsts that felt not just “uncomfortable” but horrible.

With the boys, I don’t have these memories. I was never a little boy, or an adolescent boy, or a teenage boy, or a college boy.  I knew many of these boys. I married one, but I was blissfully ignorant to their first-person experiences. I didn’t have to go through it, so as a mom, I could be the facts and support when my boys went through it, but I would never be “re-living” it.

I have never had a desire to have a daughter until I knew there was one in my tummy. The thought of re-living my girlhood is the last thing I ever want to do. In fact, I hate that I can remember so much of those painfully lonely and embarrassed moments so vividly.

It had nothing to do with my upbringing either. My parents were wonderful and loving. No, it had everything to do with just “girl stuff”.

Girl stuff that I has, up until very recently, been shoved to the back regions of my memory never to be brought out unless a Boys II Men song comes on and inadvertently triggers it.

Now I will go through all those stages again via my daughter, and just like the first time, I won’t be able to “fix” any of the loneliness that goes with it. I won’t be able to prevent the embarrassment over non-embarrassing things. I won’t be able to stop that boy (or girl) who Alice likes so much from saying that mean thing that she never forgets.

So I guess I’m not afraid of Alice. I’m afraid for her.

I am sitting here, feeling her turn and kick and hiccup, and I can’t do a damn thing about what is coming down the road that “happens to us all” and I hate that.

The best I can do is love her.

I hope that is enough.

I hope that love with be what leads me to the right words when she feels ugly or ashamed or lonely. I hope that love closes my mouth when necessary and opens my ears and arms.

I hope the good outweighs the scary.

Growing a Sluiter

Because my blog went wonky for a few months, I haven’t been putting many pictures up. BUT that is FIXED! So I can finally share some bump photos.

I had my 28ish week OB appointment yesterday along with my glucose test (which I passed!  Woot!), and I am measuring at 30 weeks.  That is exactly how I was with both boys. I was was always measuring 2 weeks ahead by this time.

Check out all three pregnancies…

20weeks

So here we are at 20 weeks.

 

I would say that my level of caring what I looked like took the biggest dip with my Charlie pregnancy. Either that or I was just gross that pregnancy.

and 24-25 weeks depending on when I remembered to take the picture.

and 24-25 weeks depending on when I remembered to take the picture.

I don’t look as bad in that picture with Charlie. But I hated my hair. Never make a decision to chop off all your hair when you are pregnant.

and this is where I am with Alice now...the 28th week.

and this is where I am with Alice now…the 28th week.

These pictures crack me up because I can’t stop looking at how young and dumb I was when I was pregnant with Eddie. I had no idea what was coming. I know that sounds cliche, but I just didn’t.  And with Charlie I was already tired thinking about what he could be like as a newborn (Eddie was a colicky mess).

This time, as my OB says, I am a veteran. I know both the difficult and the easy things that could lie ahead. Because everything is looking great and exactly how I carried and measured with the first two, my OB has even spaced out my visits for me so that I don’t have to come in so often just to be measured. That means I only have maybe 5 more OB visits and then the C-section on March 6.

For those keeping track, that means I only have 10 more weeks left. Ten weeks from today will be my last day of teaching for this school year.

And then Alice will be here.

Our family will be complete.

twenty-eight weeks, eleven to go

Dear Alice,

If everything goes ok and you and I both stay nice and healthy, we have eleven more weeks of you on the inside. At this time (9:04am) in eleven weeks, you will probably be here. Your brothers may already have met you.

Baby girl clothes have been showing up from friends who have older girls. Really cute hand-me-downs, and even a few new things have arrived in the mail. As I hold them I have all these mixed feelings. I’ll be honest with you, Alice. I am scared to be a “Girl Mom”.  It might be silly, but I feel like I don’t know how. All these dresses and cutesy things…they are so foreign to me. Tiny mary jane-style shoes and flowery shirts are a far cry from little man khakis and cardigan sweaters. I’m used to converse and bow ties. I’m used to dressing up tiny little men. I’m used to boys.

You are a little scary to me.

Daddy keeps reminding me that you are not going to be born an 8-year old with an opinion. That you will be a small cuddly baby who will need me to feed you, and change you, and cuddle you. That I know how to do all of those things very, very well. He is right, and I am very VERY much looking forward to those first couple months when it’s just you and me and time to be together.

But as I rock Charlie before bed, I look around the nursery. I imagine your name on the wall instead of his, your clothes hanging in the closet instead of his sweaters, your shoes lined up instead of his, the trucks put downstairs to make way for whatever you love. And it’s weird.

When I was pregnant with Charlie, the only things I put away from the nursery were things that said “Eddie” on them. Now I am also gathering up “boy stuff” to put in the “boy room” downstairs. I want a clean slate for you. It’s very possible you will also be in love with trains and trucks, and that is great! We have lots! But maybe you will love baby dolls and My Little Ponies, and I want the room to be ready for that too.

So it’s strange.

I’ve had two babies before you, but it’s feels like I am starting over from scratch. I feel that sense of not knowing what to expect all over again. In fact, I have been so nervous about it, I have refused to let go of the boy clothes I have in storage that Charlie has grown out of simply because…well…what if you’re NOT a girl?

I mean, I SAW the ultrasound. I know there are no boy bits. I know that. But something in my head just can’t wrap itself around a GIRL.

I want you to be here. I want you to be real. I want a daughter.

But I am afraid.

I hope it’s Ok to admit that to you.

Eleven more weeks and you will be on the outside, but still in my arms.

I’m very excited, Alice. Despite the nerves.

I promise.

Confession: I’m Not Convinced

Yesterday my mom and I went shopping for Black Friday. We don’t get up super early or go on Thanksgiving or anything. No, we get up when we feel like it and are usually at the mall around 10am, give or take a few minutes depending on how slowly I am moving.

Anyway, we were in the infant/toddler section at Younkers’ yesterday looking at tiny clothes for tiny people. My mom wanted to buy Alice a little something for Christmas. I have wanted to try to pick out a jammy for her too–something that can be her coming home from the hospital jammy.

Something has held me back, though.

My mom had no problem digging through all the pink and purple searching for a cute little something for her second granddaughter. I looked, but I also looked through the boy things thinking about how I will miss the tiny man clothes. My mom told me to get over it.

But really? I think I am just not convinced I’m having a girl. Or I am skeptical. Or I just can’t wrap my mind around it. Or I have a mom “feeling”. Or I am paranoid.

I am something all right.

Both boys had unmistakable ultrasounds. There were most definitely boy bits on the black and white screen.

Alice was different. She didn’t cooperate at first and when she did, there wasn’t anything there, but I kept thinking maybe we just missed them? Is that possible?

I love looking at little girl stuff. It’s a whole new world to me to be fascinated by.

Yet I’m not convinced it’s my new world. I can’t imagine being handed a girl baby. I can’t imagine having another female in the house. I can’t imagine girl diaper changes and hair “pretties” (OMG the hair pretties).

Maybe I am just scared.

Last night I told Cortney I wasn’t 100% on board the girl train like I was with the boys. He said, “well we better talk about a boy name then, just in case.”

I love that guy.

He didn’t tell me to quit worrying or to accept that it’s a girl.

Nope. He said, “well, let’s be ready either way.”

And that is what we will be: ready either way. Because like we said before, it truly does not matter whether this is a boy or a girl, we are so SO excited to meet this new baby and complete our family.

Sunday Fun…er Sleepday

It’s almost 7:30pm.

I’m not entirely sure where this day went.

Yesterday I was on the go from 7am until 10pm: salon, birthday party, purge basement of toys, feed children, put children to bed, crash.

Today I paid for it. Today for the first time I thought I was going to fall asleep in church (and not because the sermon was boring, but because I was exhausted).

Cortney has been sick with a pretty bad cough/congestion thing. Yesterday I made him take a nap while I did the Toy Purge of 2014. Today I told him to stay home from church and rest–that I could handle the boys.

To their credit, the boys were very good, Sunday School went really well, and we all made it home without gnawing off any arms, but I had a pounding headache and tired aches everywhere.  As soon as Cort saw me walk in the door, he sent me to bed.

And I stayed there for two hours.

Like I said yesterday, this pregnancy is exhausting.

Since waking up, I’ve sat in sort of daze. My head still hurts, now I’m coughing, and somehow it’s 7:30pm already so it’s time to put the kids to bed.

The bright side is that Eddie and I only have two days of school this week and Charlie only has two days of daycare. Just two mornings to get through. Two.

We can do it.

Nesting and Resting

This pregnancy is so dang weird. I mean, it’s weird in the sense that it is really nothing like my pregnancies with the boys.

One way is that I am tired ALL THE TIME. When the second tri hit with the boys, I was all about the energy kick and taking advantage of it.  I felt great and I loved my baby bump that stuck out.  Other than the constant peeing and the partial placenta previa with Charlie that kept me on my butt a lot, I felt really great.

This time? I got nothing. I’m still completely wiped out all the time. It’s almost as debilitating as the first tri, just without the barfing and near-barfing. I start the days so tired I feel a little like I could fall asleep driving…even while blasting some righteous old school rap. I feel like I stop and sit a LOT during class time rather than roam the room like I prefer to do. By my prep hour (the last hour of the day), it takes everything I have to not just sit and stare blankly out of exhaustion.

Even with all the ways that Cortney picks up my immense slack, I still find myself falling asleep before 8pm while putting Eddie to bed. My OB checked my iron. It turns out I am just really, really tired.

Oddly, the other difference is that with the boys, I had no desire to nest. Ever.

In fact, Cortney asked me while I was in my last month of pregnancy with Eddie when the nesting thing was supposed to kick in because each day I got lazier and lazier. I wanted to do nothing but watch Sex and the City reruns, eat Cheetos, and sleep.

This time, although I am so very tired all the time, I feel itchy to clean and purge everything unessential from this house. I can stand to think about how much STUFF we have accumulated in closets and shoved in drawers. I want to take an entire box of trash bags and fill them up  and get rid of them.

Today I did just that with the toy room.

That room gave me all the hives, so even though I wanted to nap (Charlie went down for a nap, Cortney has a cold so he took a nap, and Eddie was quietly watching Netflix), I grabbed some boxes and bags and headed downstairs.

And let me tell you, I purged so much that when Cortney went downstairs to grab the boxes and bags and put them in my car before little eyes saw what I was getting rid of, he was shocked at how much better it looked. I wanted to continue into Eddie’s room and relocate his toys to the toy room (and maybe purge some stuff on the way) and go through the boy shoes and clothes that no longer fit Charlie.

But I ran out of steam. You know, being pregnant and lifting and bending and starting out all tired didn’t really help.  But I made a dent.

And tonight I will be falling asleep moments after I hit publish on this because holy cow…everything on my body is angry.

Did you get the nesting bug with your pregnancies? Or were you like me with naps and Cheetos? Maybe this nesting thing is because it’s a girl. Or because it’s my last.

Whatever it is, I’ll take it because I love to clean out and get rid of stuff.

Just don’t tell the dudes that live in my house…they get nervous every time they know I am going to tackle a new room. Ha!

The Last Time

I have been asked a LOT if, because we are having a girl, this will be our last pregnancy.

It will most likely be our last pregnancy, but not because we are having a girl.

When I was pregnant with Charlie, Cortney made no secret about the fact that he would be perfectly happy with just two kids. Two boys. The Sluiter Boys. The Sluiter Brothers. A family of four.

I said I wouldn’t know until he was here, and less than two hours after he was born I finally looked up from staring at his wrinkly newborn face with tears in my eyes and said, “this can’t be my last baby.”

Within a month of finding out I was pregnant with Alice, after barfing for the thousandth time in a day plus running after two boys and breaking up bickering all day, I announced, “THIS IS IT. I can’t do this again. The first trimester is too dang exhausting. This is the last baby!”

And Cortney rejoiced. In fact, I had to tell him to maybe hold off on making any “appointments” until after the baby was here.

So the decision to be done after three was made long before we knew #3 would be a girl.

I thought I would be a lot sadder about going through my LAST pregnancy. I didn’t mind being pregnant with the boys once I got through the evil first trimester, but this time EVERYTHING has been different. For one, the first trimester ended and while I do barf less, I still get gaggy at random times–especially if I am congested and can’t breathe out of my nose.

I’m also just as exhausted as I was through the first tri. My doctor tested my iron, but it turns out I’m just exhausted. Working and having two kids at home knocks me on my butt. The eight hours of sleep I make myself get per night is not cutting it. In fact, I find myself struggling to stay awake while I drive to work at 6:45am, and when I get home I’m useless. I can’t bring myself to empty the dishwasher or reload it. Making dinner is a huge exertion, and getting Eddie to get his homework done, both boys to have baths, and both boys in jammies by bedtime takes all the strength I can muster. Then I almost fall asleep on the couch until I just go to bed.

And I can’t keep track of anything! I have missed appointments (even with the reminders); I have missed turn in deadlines for Eddie, and I have missed deadlines for myself.  I have had a blog that is half-broken for two months now and I just don’t have the energy to get anyone on the phone and crab about it because I will probably cry from being so tired and over it.

I am also starting to feel BIG. At 22 weeks, I caught myself waddling in the hall today. WHAT? Going up and down steps is starting to wind me and lifting Charlie (or too many books) gives me a cramp.

I know! This is a rant of whining!  Which is exactly why every time something hurts or I want to lie down and cry (or sleep), I tell myself: “this is it. The last time.”

What I will miss is the excitement of that ultrasound around 20 weeks. The feeling of the baby moving and grooving inside me. Of being one with another person. I’ll miss the help my students give me because watching me try to bend is too ridiculous.

I’ll miss the back rubs that Cortney gives me (without me even having to ask) and the way Eddie says, “bye mom and Alice!”

Even though I feel like my body is mad at me for being pregnant, I know it will be a little bittersweet once Alice is here and I know that I will never be a home for a growing human again.

Cortney and I always said we would know when we were done, and we just know.

Alice is the last piece of the Sluiter Family Puzzle.

We just know.

ramblings of a pregnant mother

I haven’t written much about this pregnancy.

Sorry, Alice.

In the beginning, when I had time, we weren’t public with it and I was sick as a dog. Once I was free to write all I wanted, I was so busy I wasn’t sure if I was wearing pants most days (I assume I was, or someone would have said something. I hope). Then when I was aching to write, my dang blog broke for almost a month.  It’s back. Sort of. I still can’t post pictures.

This pregnancy has been…different.

I am not sure how to put into words how it’s been different though. I was super sick in the beginning, just like with the boys, but it was different. Less puking, more inability to do anything.

With the boys, I worried about the typical things–probably more so with Eddie since he was my first pregnancy to make it past 10 weeks. With Alice, I have been a ball of anxiety. I was terrified they would find something wrong at the ultrasound.  I was sure something was wrong because I didn’t feel her move much (now she is out of control, just like Charlie was). Before that 20-week ultrasound, I couldn’t shake a feeling of dread.

Thankfully the ultrasound and the confirmation that everything looks “just right” from the OB has almost entirely wiped out that feeling that something is just not right.

Up until the ultrasound I was just not letting myself engage in this pregnancy. It felt an awful lot like my first two pregnancies that didn’t make it.

It was not until I saw her–found out that she was a SHE–and saw that all her organs and limbs were normal. That my placenta was normal. That my cervix and ovaries all looked normal.  It was not until then that I settled in to the idea that Alice is our third baby. She is the last piece of the puzzle that is Sluiter Nation.

I began to think of pink and purple and ruffle buns and lace. I began to dream of a three generation photo with my mom, me, and Alice.

I still start to laugh when I remember that the baby growing inside me, wiggling and kicking and hiccuping, is not a boy.

The ultrasound tech had asked if we wanted to know the gender and we had said, “yes!”

She was busy measuring bones and checking organs. She was measuring the femurs and I knew that we would be able to see what was there (or not there) soon because we were in the lap region. At first baby’s legs were right together. Then suddenly they parted. The tech froze the image and said, “what do you think?”

“There are no boy parts there!” I almost yelled.

“nope,” she said with a sly smile.

“So…it’s a girl?” I asked all confused. I mean, I KNOW what it means to not have boy parts, but don’t we have boys? Isn’t that what we do? I was so confused. I had been thinking of my third boy for a long time.

“It’s a girl,” she confirmed.

I started laughing. Hard. I started laughing so hard, in fact, that my belly was jiggling and she has to wait to continue her measurements. Tears were in my eyes from laughter. I looked over at Cortney and noticed he was also wiping away a few tears, but his weren’t because he was cracking up. That made me laugh harder. Not at him, but because…a GIRL. A DAUGHTER. How could this be real?

It’s been almost two weeks and I still can’t quite believe that a little girl will be joining this family.

I have a lot of thoughts, both funny and serious, about this thing that I will be: A Girl Mom. Hopefully I will write them out.

In the meantime, I am going to go ahead and give in to my cravings for Skinny Pop popcorn, Oreos, and coffee.

Boy…Boy…??

Yesterday was the big ultrasound.

All was healthy and well.

And then we found out the sex of the baby.

And I laughed so hard that the ultrasound tech had to wait until my tummy stopped jiggling to continue.

Because there were no boy parts.

We are having a girl.

Alice Katherine Sluiter.

A GIRL!

(I can’t upload pictures to the blog right now, so if you want to see how I revealed it on the facebook, head over to my Sluiter Nation page).

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