Dear Baby Girl,

There are a lot of mommyblogs out there where mothers write to their children. I have always thought this was a great idea. I love the image of you coming upon this blog and reading my thoughts about you. Words, sentences, ideas, language. Communication. These are extremely important concepts.  I suspect you’ll find these letters in the next year or so, because I have a weird feeling you’ll learn how to navigate the internet and read very quickly. Your parents are geniuses, you know.

You are at 34 weeks gestation. That’s something like T minus six weeks before your arrival. Last night after Sunday dinner at your grandparents’ I was feeling really full. So full that I turned down dessert. And I don’t really turn down dessert, even if it’s just a sliver of what’s offered. And Baby Girl, dessert last night was strawberry shortcake. You’ve had it before, and I’m sure you like it. But for some reason if I overeat my back aches and I can’t get comfortable and I have to stretch and breathe, though some relief does come when I fart. Sorry if that’s crude, but you try make more space for yourself, and who am I to get in your way?

Which leads to repeating the point that I turned down dessert. There just wasn’t any room for more food. And because I turned down dessert, it means that you’re grounded. Of course it’s not your fault: you’re a growing baby and I’m short with a narrow ribcage and discomfort is inevitable. But look here at the difference of my insides with you in it: Can you begin to understand?How can you possibly be aware of what’s going on inside my body? And it’s not your problem, really. As long as you’re cozy and eating and growing, you know I don’t have any beef with you. You know that I love you anyway. As long as there’s yoga and warm baths and massages, I’ll be fine.

You know what though? You and I need to talk about you letting me sleep. When I get a good night’s rest, I feel refreshed for most of the day. But when I get very lousy sleep, my back stays cramped and my brain stays fuzzy. Again, not really your fault — just the way things are. And not for too much longer. But you know, on those nights when I wake up after sleeping for four hours, I can work on homework because the night is still and I can somewhat focus, so maybe I should thank you for helping me along in my masters program.

I may unground you today after seeing the doctor. Depends on how I feel.

Have I mentioned how much I’m in love with you? I love the way you move around and feel your way inside my womb. We are becoming very familiar with each other and getting a sense of each other’s personalities. I like to guess what certain protrusions are from my tummy are and imagine how you’re oriented. Your father and I watch my tummy as you shift around. He always assumes any hard surface is your head, while I go between thinking it might be a sitbone or a foot. Yesterday at church I wore a dress that accentuated my tummy and we spent Sunday school watching you. The lesson was about the Abrahamic covenant and we didn’t think it would be a huge distraction to contemplate our posterity by watching you. It’s one of our favorite things to do, besides reading stories and singing to you.

Your Utah grandma and aunt threw a baby shower for you on Saturday. I’m pretty sure you could hear the commotion, but there were a lot of people there to show their excitement and support for you! You got some really cute clothes and a lot of diapers and other very cute things. Just know there’s a world out here that can’t wait to see you.

Your Florida grandma and her husband will be coming to visit. They want to be here around the time you arrive. Your uncle–my brother–wants to visit sometime this summer. Your uncle is quite a character and I know you’ll love him.

A woman stopped me in the hall yesterday after church. She told me about how excited your father is about you. This thrills me to no end. Several people have told me he gets this sparkle in his eye and a huge smile across his face and that makes my heart want to burst with joy. He marvels at the sheer miracle of you growing inside me. He points to my tummy and says, “There’s a baby in there” in a cute voice and no matter how I feel, it makes me smile.  He’s quite in love with you, too. Of course.

It’s important for you to see how much your father and I love each other. We have promised to take care of you and teach you what you need to know to thrive in this world. We also accept that you’ll probably teach us quite a few things. You’ve already taught us a lot about patience. We hope you’ll be patient with us, not only as we raise you, but during the next few weeks. We still haven’t decided on a name for you. Please don’t ground us.

Dear sweet child, our Baby Girl, thank you for blessing our lives. Your father and I can’t wait to start a new journey with you.

Love, Mom

It’s like inflating
a 17-inch balloon
inside a 12-inch barrel
made of popsicle sticks.

This balloon won’t pop.

Tension increases.
Pressure persists.

What is the breaking point?

When will the popsicle sticks
snap?

She has strong feet
or hands; I guess at
whatever moves inside.

Dad watches and feels
pokings and undulations
in thrilling unpredictabilities.

We three toss and turn throughout
the night. We want comfort in
limited space. Dad, though, does it
while sleeping.

She crowds my
intestines, stomach,
my lungs, bladder. To breathe
is to live; to poop is
to breathe. To pee means
not sleeping.

A little human–filling more
with brains and blood and
fatty tissue and a pumping heart;
with personality; with
muscles that make fists and smiles
and curiosity;
with life and joy and beauty–
as I lie on my side
pulls my ribs down,
weighing,

stretching bone and
cartilage and my
threshold for pain
and my capacity
to love.

This barrel has already burst.

Last Monday my phone lit up with a call from an 888 number. I thought it might be a telemarketer or some other type of solicitor, so I didn’t answer the phone.

Whoever called did leave a message.

I listened to the message.

The person who left the message said she was from my bank’s [static] department and to call a number at [static].

I listened to the message again to see if I could understand more of it.

Then I decided to check my bank account online.

Fancy. There were two $100 charges from gas stations somewhere in Texas in the past five days. Thank goodness it wasn’t more, but still: $200 is a lot of money.

The last time I was in Texas was February 2008 for the Austin half marathon. If my information was stolen then, would the perps have waited six years to use it? Besides, I’ve changed my debit card at least once since then.

From the partial voicemail message and looking at my bank account, the puzzle pieces finally fit together to form a very annoying, cussworthy story. But since I still couldn’t discern the static for the number on my voicemail for the bank’s fraud prevention department, I called the general customer service number instead.

I explained my situation to a nice person. He went to get someone from fraud.

The person from fraud was also very nice. I told him about the suspicious debits. He told me that he’d file a claim and send me another debit card overnight.

He also told me that it would take up to 90 days to reverse the charges. At the time that sounded like a horribly long time to wait, but both debits were readjusted just two days after this phone call. And since I couldn’t see my online account until I activated the new card, I had no idea that my account had been reimbursed. (I could have called and found out, but I decided to wait.)

While the nice fraud department guy was processing the claim, he saw that the bank had already sent me a replacement card by regular mail. He said my card was one of the compromised ones from the holiday season. He asked if I shopped at any of the places featured on the news for having customer debit card information stolen.

I said that during Christmastime, I had definitely shopped at the place whose company logo looks like a bull’s eye. A red circle surrounding a large red dot.

Hackers. They got me.

My new debit card arrived in the mail a week later. I activated it and regained online access to my account. While I don’t use my debit card a lot, it’s nice to have the account and my information (somewhat?) secure. It just bothers me that people out there have no qualms about stealing other people’s private information and spending their money. It bothers me hard.

Thankfully everything ended well for me. I hope all the other hacking victims were just as fortunate.

Three little anecdotes, either because 1) the public shouldn’t know every lapse I have beyond three, or 2) I have been extremely alert and conscientious, and I only have three imperfections to report. You choose.

At church:

  • One time during the final hour of the three-hour block, I was walking around as usual, finding new people to talk to and asking people to offer the opening and closing prayers. I walked from the front of the room toward the left side (stage left/house right) and rammed my leg into a chair in the middle of the first row. An aisle divided the rows of chairs and my leg bumped into the first chair of the first row on the left side. It seems in a subconscious effort not to bump my tummy into anything, I leaned the upper half of my body away from the chairs while I let my legs continue in a straight line toward the chairs. It did not hurt, but I asked myself if I had bumped into more things I wasn’t aware of. No bruises, but a new weird self-awareness of my body.
  • Another day during the first hour of the three-hour block, Reilly and I were listening to one of the first two speakers. It might have been a young man who told a story about the time his mom told him not to eat candy in bed, but he kept a stash of candy under his pillow, and he checked the hallway to make sure his mom wasn’t coming to his room. He ate one piece, then another piece. He then heard his name in a whisper, so he checked the hallway again. No one was coming. He ate a few more pieces. He checked the hallway again, and no one was there. He ended up eating all the candy, savoring every piece. Then he heard his name again and his mom jumped out of the closet and busted him for disobeying the rules. When he concluded his talk (about obedience) and the congregation said “Amen,” I didn’t say “Amen.” Instead, I raised a sustaining (or opposing) hand. I realized what I’d done, but I leaned over to Reilly to make a comment about the talk and  didn’t look around. Looking around would have made me look guilty.

Just yesterday:

  • I met up with some coworkers for lunch up in Salt Lake. As in most cases where I don’t know people very well, I mainly kept to myself and listened to everyone else talk. One person ordered the white bean burger, another person ordered French onion soup, one person ordered the crab macaroni and cheese, and I ordered a blackened salmon sandwich. All the orders looked amazing (most food still looks incredible to me), but I want to talk about my sandwich. The decently-sized fish filet was well seasoned and perfectly cooked. It came dressed with baby spinach and a nice tangy mayo inside a sliced fresh ciabatta roll. Then there were a side of fries, which were also so very yummy. I cut my enormous sandwich in half, then I cut one of the halves into quarters. Everyone around me kept talking, and I listened while slipping into food ecstasy. While listening and occasionally interjecting nods and chuckles, I finished the two quarters of the sandwich and most of the fries, and almost an hour had passed. We paid our checks and I asked for a box, excited to get home and have my leftovers for dinner, perhaps even let Reilly have a bite. I readied the sandwich for departure. My coworkers and put on our coats and headed out. I did turn around and check the table to make sure I didn’t forget my wallet. Satisfied that I had remembered my wallet, I joined the others outside. When we got back to the office, I realized I left my sandwich at the restaurant. My heart instantly broke. I sulked on the train home. My forgotten sandwich is probably why I didn’t sleep very well last night. I’m still very sad about it.

The last story is the saddest because it’s my biggest, most tragic lapse during this pregnancy. Not pregnant, I’ve forgotten my food at restaurants, but I haven’t been this pathetic about it. While I can certainly blame “pregnancy brain” for this indiscretion, such blame will not bring the sandwich back. I guess I could also blame my hormone-befuddled brain for my intense affinity for sandwiches (HOLY CRAP I LOVE SANDWICHES), without such affinity I would not be in deep mourning.

So far this morning I had breakfast, did some homework, and did some yoga. My tummy feels good, Baby Girl has been moving around, and my back has responded well to the stretching. I even had a small second breakfast while writing this post. And I may even be up to making my own damn good sandwich for lunch.

I can get through this.

Video title

Baby Girl seemed to know when I picked up the camera. I’d feel her move and want to get it on video, but once I turned the camera on, she became quiet. So I had to be sneaky about it. The camera captured minutes and minutes of stillness, except the 20 seconds or so you see in the video.

The segments you see are in the order they were filmed. Our baby obviously came up with a well-planned storyboard and didn’t depart from it.

I’m sitting sort of slumped back on the couch. Baby Girl moves best and most often when I’m in this semi-reclined position.

Baby Girl quickly warmed up to the idea of another video about her. She insists on the credits being longer than the actual video; sorry about that. She likes seeing her not-yet-decided name rolling up the screen.

The video was fun to make, but I also consider this real documentation, acknowledging our blessings. Besides, it’s important to preserve certain things for posterity and the improvement of the human race.

Our daughter would like you to know the rules for watching this video:

Do NOT:

  • make fun of Mommy’s tummy
  • laugh, unless it’s out of awe and excitement
  • say out loud how cheesy you think it is

Do:

  • watch with the sound on. In Baby Girl’s opinion, the soundtrack is one of the greatest introductions to anything she’s ever heard.
  • watch closely. The movements may look like indistinguishable jiggles, but they’re actually quite distinct.
  • smile a lot
  • be nice

Depending on what Baby Girl wants, she may post more videos in the coming weeks.

Enjoy.

Tweety Bird!

30 is 3/4 of the way there.

75%.

I feel like I should have something amazing to report from today’s doctor’s visit.

Well, the awesome thing is that we’re going to have a baby in about ten weeks. Can’t just brush that off.

From today’s visit itself? Let’s make a list:

Beepee: At every visit the nurse takes my blood pressure. Today it was 100/60. It’s been around this low the whole time so far. Baby and I are just chillin’ together. You know, smokin’ weed.

Eye urn: Since I’m at 30 weeks, the doctor wanted to know iron levels. The nurse pricked my finger and took a microslide of blood. She used my middle finger because it’s less sensitive than the other fingers. I leaned over to Reilly and said, “That finger is less sensitive!” The nurse laughed and said, “And also pretty mean!” The nurse came back after a few minutes to report that my iron is great. She even gave me a cool Tweety Bird band-aid.

Mo billadee: The doctor asked me to get up and sit on the cushy table-chair thingy covered in hospital paper. He observed from the way I stood that I still move pretty well.

Art beat: Reilly has become an expert at finding the baby’s heart beat. He put the gel on my tummy and the microphone where it’s supposed to go and voila! rhythmic swishing. The doctor said that Baby sounds awesome.

Maize your: The doctor stretched a measuring tape from one end of my bump to the other. He took about two seconds, and when he saw the length — whatever it was, and whatever it means — he said, “Perfect.”

Quest yons: The doctor answered our questions about taking a labor and delivery tour at the hospital we’ll be going to. He said the hospital will let us preregister so that we won’t have as much paperwork to sign on delivery day. He told us to ask the lactation specialist about breast pumps. He also said that if an emergency arises or something happens before 36 weeks, to report to Utah Valley hospital. All very useful things.

Phoo duh: We thanked the doctor, left the clinic, then went to a sandwich place to eat Philly cheesesteak sandwiches. All to mark a successful visit.

Ten weeks left, everyone.

2nddayclass

You guys, I started grad school this week.

Baby and I are learning so far about library history and library ethics. We’ve gotten an introduction to information-seeking behavior. That’s a good behavior for Baby to learn.

It seems like a great program so far. It’s blended, which means it’s partly online and partly face-to-face. Our first in-person class weekend with fellow classmates isn’t for a few weeks, so I’m just making sure to keep up on reading, quizzes, and other assignments. We meet on four weekends during the semester.

Oh, we had orientation back on January 4, and I got to meet classmates and had my picture taken for the student database. We met the dean of the school of library and information management, and we also met librarians from different branches of the library kingdom. That was cool.

Quite a few of my cohort already work in libraries; they need the MLS to move up in their careers. I think there are 16 or 17 students total in my cohort. It’ll be nice to work with this group for the next two years. One student comes from Idaho; one comes from Vancouver, BC. The rest of us live in Utah.

Also, one of the class weekends this semester happens to fall on the weekend Baby has been predicted to arrive. I’ve already told my professors and the director of the program.

While I’m not getting any sleep, I might as well be getting a master’s degree, right?

Reilly’s 2nd semester is already in full swing. One class continues from last semester where he watches movies and writes papers about them. The other class consists of him watching cartoons and writing papers about them. I’m glad to see him enjoying himself so much. He’ll actually get to teach a film studies elective next year at the school where he works. Yeah, he’s awesome.

We are pretty much a power couple, soon to be a mega power family.

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