Tag: Pregnancy


Is There Life Outside of Blogging?

What I’ve been doing instead of blogging:

– Staggering around in a state of mild extreme shock at the fact that our earthly possessions actually made it across the ocean and to our door. Intact! In just one month! Our stuff! (Keep in mind that we haven’t had access to it since May. See, it’s not that bizarre for me to keep groping our lovely, soft mattress…)
– Unpacking, and unpacking, and then unpacking just a ton more.
– And cleaning, which you would think could have the decency to wait for a week or two while I tackle our sea of boxes. (You would be wrong.)
– Eating marvelous food at the homes of marvelous new friends, and keeping up with conversation more easily every time. Perhaps I will learn Italian after all, despite the fact that I have been
– Not studying my Italian books. Bad, Bethany, bad!
– Growing more bellyful and simultaneously less capable of things like movement and rational thought.
– Pining away for DSL, which I am estimating–based on current speed and helpfulness of phone company–will arrive in 2010.
– Forgetting how to write.

To those of you still reading, thank you. I’ll get back into my daily rhythm eventually. Or rather, since I haven’t had a daily rhythm since EVER, I’ll just try to carve out more quality time with my laptop in between unpacking the picture frames and forgetting where I put them. (Ah, the joys of placenta brain…)


All That Time

So you don’t currently have a job; what do you do with all that time?

8:00a – Wake up. Wonder why I feel like a poorly-engineered hybrid between a whale and overcooked spaghetti. Wonder also why my internal organs feel as though they’ve been through a 40-round boxing match. Have the vague sense that I used to have abdominal muscles, but can’t quite remember where I put them.

8:03a – Remember I’m 7 months pregnant. Ah.

8:15a – Set table, pour juice, get out vitamins, cut bananas for cereal, gather napkins from afar… and realize husband and daughter have already finished breakfast. Feel horridly motherish.

8:45a – 10:25a – Clean up from breakfast, sweep house, primp, re-sweep house after Natalie procures fresh dirt from her secret stockpile, run two loads of laundry, water flowers, sing forty-five verses of “Old MacDonald” (including the ever-popular elephant and kangaroo variations), dress Natalie, wipe Natalie’s nose 5,142 times (how did she manage to catch a cold in August?), clean Natalie’s room, wipe Natalie’s nose another 4,916 times, and sing on demand “the Elmo song,” “the Ernie song,” “the Bert song,” “the Barney song,” “the tomato song,” and “the broccoli song” (guess how many of those I actually know?).*

10:26a – 11:45a – “Mommy, you want to read a story?” Translation: “Mommy, I want you to read me every story we own, and then some more, until your vocal chords start making horrible grating noises. And then just one more, pleeeeeeease?”

11:46a – 12:35p – Let MP3 player take over Sesame Street Sing-along duties. Channel my inner Martha and prepare an unrecognizable form of chicken for lunch, using things like capers and fresh rosemary from my little balcony garden. Feel very impressive and Ratatouille.

12:36p – Wonder why I’m melting into puddles of sweat, steaming like a teakettle, and then evaporating when such pleasant, mild breezes are blowing through the windows. Wonder also why I find myself on the brink of starvation just half an hour before lunch. Fight the urge to consume a pre-lunch snack of everything in our cupboards. Conclude death is imminent.

12:40p – Remember I’m 7 months pregnant. Right.

12:45p – Put deliciously clean, sunshine-scented sheets on beds. Fight the overwhelming urge to nap for an hour or four (see above).

1:02p – Suddenly realize gourmet chicken contraption has been in oven for… a while. Discover it burnt, of course. On cue, polenta explodes all over stove and grievously injures my finger. Feel not so much like Martha Stewart, more like Mr. Bean.

1:15p – Welcome husband home for “Blackened Chicken Medley” and “Firecracker Polenta.” Enjoy lunch despite itself. Bravely conquer dishes despite wounded finger, and feel a little like William Wallace.

2:15p – Finally collapse onto lovely clean sheets to nap.

2:45p – Can’t.

2:50p – Dan, getting ready to go back to work, invites me to go with him to the electronics store tonight. Fondly reminisce about last night’s trip to the electronics store in which I inadvertently set off the store alarm and, in my consternation over our bus being 15 minutes late, left our bag at the bus stop, giving Dan the unique opportunity to run frantically through town in the dark to rescue our new telephone, which turned out not to be in its box in the first place. I opt to stay home.

3:00p – Settle onto couch with laptop and aspirations of grandeur. Nothing will stop me from writing this afternoon!

3:01p – Natalie wakes up crying and rubbing her head. Soothe, kiss, and put her back to sleep. Wonder mildly if she could have head lice.

3:10p – Wish I knew what lice looked like. Resist impulse to reawake Natalie and search every pore on her scalp.

3:14p – Start to feel terrified of couch, bed, own hair, and every other soft substance in our house. Wonder where one goes to buy industrial-strength gasoline in this town.

3:18p – Reflect that if bugs are found occupying heads of anyone in a 20-mile radius, I will surely die.

3:19 – 3:26p – Shudder violently.

3:27p – Tired, tired, tired from all this worrying. Doze off despite my newfound phobia of pillows. Firmly resolve to be up by 4:00. I will write this afternoon!

4:00p – Press snooze.

5:15p – Wake up. Stare at ceiling during that buffer zone between waking up and getting up in which I closely resemble the undead.

5:20p – Get up, though still a zombie. Snack: brains. I mean, popcorn.

5:30p – And coffee yogurt, because I’m adventurous like that. (And also because, despite the widely-known fact that coffee and yogurt should never mix, it’s spectacularly yummy.)

5:35p – And wafers, which are basically crisped air with vanilla creme filling, yet snacks nonetheless.

5:40p – Natalie: “Mommy, my head hurts!” (Rub, rub, rub.) Me: “Why does your head hurt?” Natalie, shrugging: “I don’t know anymore.” Call husband to see if the internet knows whether Natalie has lice or not.

5:55p – The internet isn’t sure but can tell me how to save 15% or more on my car insurance. So helpful.

6:10p – Give Natalie shampoo of the century. Remind her 46 times to stop drinking the bathwater (a favorite pastime of hers since her very first bath).

6:40p – Peel off her scalp and dissect it with the finest-toothed comb in modern history. Find nothing growing on it but hair. Rejoice!

6:50p – Wonder why else Natalie’s head would hurt. Can only think of leprosy. Feel slightly like House, M.D.

6:55p – Natalie starts chanting, “PLAYGROUND! PLAYGROUND! PLAYGROUND!” Am amazed that she remembers my promise of a trip to the playground from 9 hours ago, while I cannot seem to remember why my own stomach looks like a watermelon. Revisit fears that other moms will criticize, ostracize, and possibly throw gravel at me for not speaking perfect Italian.

7:00p – Look at Natalie’s bright, expectant little face, suck up my fears, and walk with her to playground. Natalie surveys the 803 other children running amok around all the exciting equipment and opts instead to sit in a pile of gravel already occupied by a little girl, her mother, and a plastic shovel (“I help play!”). Ask the mother if it is OK for us to join them, and she briefly says yes without looking up. Awkward silence ensues. Feel like a trespasser. Quite certain of being prosecuted.

7:15p – Hear mother speaking to daughter in… well, not-Italian (something closer to a coughing fit actually). Realize that I might not be the only foreigner in Italy. Realize that I might not be the only woman at the playground afraid of talking. Realize I’ve been wretchedly pathetic.

7:20p – 8:00p – Start a conversation with the other mother. Help Natalie make a new friend. Relax. Feel like Wonder Woman.

8:01p – Dan returns from non-disastrous (i.e. – wifeless) trip to electronics store, and we settle into our evening together. Am happy to be.


The Belly Nears Its Expiration Date

The moment I first suspected I was pregnant with Natalie, my stomach performed a complicated gymnastic maneuver and my mind fogged over. When I regained conscious thought, I could hardly stop worrying. Details like finding a doctor and buying maternity clothes seemed overwhelming because I wasn’t sure I’d even love Natalie when she came. Needless to say, the start of my first pregnancy wasn’t exactly the thrilling, Hallmark-worthy experience I had always imagined.

Along the way, though, excitement managed to sneak in between all the doubt. I felt Natalie move for the first time as the results from the 2004 presidential election were being broadcasted, and after that one tiny flutter, I wouldn’t have cared if the antichrist himself had been elected grand dictator of the previously free world. I fell in love with her long before her birth, but I still wished that the first weeks hadn’t been tainted by so much anxiety.

Enter my resolve to thoroughly enjoy this pregnancy. And I have enjoyed it, from the moment Dan’s smile told me we had our blue plus sign (I was too nervous to look for myself). It’s been so much easier, physically and emotionally, than last time, and I love the wriggly roundness in my belly that means our family is finally complete.

Lately, though, my pregnancy has been on the back burner of my mind. I suppose it could have something to do with moving three times in one summer, learning a new language, hanging out with a busy two-year-old, etc. At any rate, my stomach did another highly athletic move this week when I realized that we only have ten weeks before we meet our baby girl face to face (and quite possibly fewer, considering how early Natalie decided to make her appearance). Where in the world did time go?

While I have zero (0) clue how life will function with two little girls, I can’t wait to find out. I can’t wait to cuddle my newest daughter and watch my oldest learn how to love in a new way. I can’t wait to see my husband’s face glow even brighter as yet another female wraps herself around his heart. I can’t wait to tell people our baby’s name and have her warmly welcomed into the world.

Ten weeks…

::Deep breath. Smile::


“Perineal Tear”

I found myself today, for the umpteenth time since getting pregnant with Natalie, reading a birthing story online, all the while shuddering in horror and praying for Dan to walk in the door with a crowbar and pry my eyeballs away from the screen. It’s rather hard to appreciate the miracle of life when it’s described as a series of excruciating pains, awkward bodily functions, and positions that suggest the mother has officially renounced her dignity. Plus, no matter how special and unique your baby-having experience may have been, I’m still not [at all] interested in a grand tour of your womanly regions!

Maybe I just don’t have the proper respect for such things. After all, I spent the “breathing” portion of Labor 101 giggling into my jacket. (You try keeping a straight face in a room of purple-faced women gasping “Ooo-ooo, eee-eee!” as if their lives depended on it.) And Natalie’s birth basically consisted of a leisurely breakfast with Dan, a supposed-to-be-quick stop by the hospital, and a simple surgery. No screaming, no squatting, no squeezing — no gruesome or terrifying details to brag about later.

Online stories containing the words “perineal tear” aren’t the only features of childbearing that make nunhood sound appealing to me; I’m also quite horrified by curtain-inspired maternity wear, yoga labor positions like The Incontinent Cow, and breastfeeding in public. (Yes, I know that’s a right being vigorously defended by many topless mothers, but having a baby somehow failed to turn me into a nudist. Call me old-fashioned.)

Here’s the point where I would just end up paraphrasing my parenthood entry, so I won’t. Instead, I’ll just remind all of you in the blogosphere that it is possible to become a mother without dressing like a wall-hanging, undressing like a Vegas showgirl, or telling the whole world how many stitches it took.


Epic Paperback Life

Some weeks are just weeks, published with simple words, full-color illustrations, and cardboard pages for easy turning. Then there are weeks — the epic paperback kind with size 8.5 font, no chapter titles, and frequent lapses into ancient Latin. Guess which category last week fell into?

My hormone-riddled mind is having a hard time adjusting to our second summer move into a place that is neither our house here in Delaware nor the house waiting for us in Italy. I feel like I’ve earned the right to be impatient after SIX MONTHS of being strung along by foreign bureaucracy. Or, at the very least, I’ve earned the right to buy an exorbitant amount of orange sherbet to ward off uncontrollable weeping. (And you think I’m kidding…)

I haven’t felt this intensely frustrated about life since I was 14, and yet I’ve never had so many reasons to be grateful —

For Game Night Till 3 AM Friends; for Barbecue At The Beach Friends; for brilliant, scientific friends who know more Dora the Explorer trivia than we do; for friends who share their homes with us and teach us about generosity —

For a Walk Laughing In The Rain On Our Anniversary Husband; for a Secret Dishwasher Husband; for a husband who knows how to bring out my tears and my joy and my hidden imaginations; for a husband who loves me —

Happy us at Amada

For my Drama Queen Daughter; for my too-clever two-year-old; for my curly-haired bolt of energy who astonishes me daily; for my little girl who is delighted to be mine —

Giggly Mommy and Natalie

For Little Girl #2 twirling inside me; for the tiny life fast on her way to completing our family; for my unborn daughter who gives me far more to look forward to than an overseas move ever could —

For breath and food and working air conditioners and hope, however shaky, however absurd; for the knowledge we are neither alone nor forgotten; for the assurance that our lives will take a miraculous twist in the next few weeks because there simply is no other option.

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all.”
~Emily Dickinson


Small Victories

Looking at the grand scope of life, in the invent-a-light-bulb/achieve-world-peace sense, my past week was a blot of unproductivity. However, it was full of the kind of small victories that make life, in the living-between-homes/having-a-two-year-old sense, beautiful.

1. Natalie started using the potty after 2-1/2 weeks of futile attempts (and 2-1/4 weeks after I convinced myself she would be in diapers until junior high). I haven’t had to clean a poopy diaper in three days. What greater joy can there be?

2. I learned to catch grapes in my mouth after 20-something years of embarrassing incompetence in this socially significant area. Now, if I can just master water-skiing, I will be cool.

3. The hubby and I beat the odds–and the frenzied bidders–to get a sacred Nintendo Wii for our collective birthdays. I feel like we conquered the world! (At least, I will until the Wii arrives and I remember how badly I suck at video games…)

4. As shocking as this may sound, Dan got in touch with his new boss this week. Keep in mind that he’s called multiple times nearly every day since December, and the Godfather has only answered about four times (not to mention all the unanswered messages and e-mails!). At any rate, we found out that the sole reason we are not in Italy already is that the Godfather has not yet procured an apartment for us. That would be why my head exploded at 2 a.m. last Tuesday. The only victory in this is that I now know for certain that Natalie will be in junior high (diapered or not) before we get our paperwork for Italy. Let’s change the subject.

5. I discovered that if you’re the lead singer for the Eagles and you happen to have a pair of small green maracas, your crotch is not a flattering place to hold them.

6. I’ve been writing again and feeling far more fulfilled than I have in months. (Obviously, nothing beats the satisfaction of using “maracas” and “crotch” in the same sentence!)

Another week gone, and I’m lounging in bed with a bellyful of dancing baby and a content heart. It’s more than I could ask.

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