Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The In-Between

(Not to be confused with the Upside Down!!!) 

single, pre-Lewis, pre-babies
post-Lewis, post-no-going-back-to-my-old-body...

Even though I have this little jelly bean dancing around most of the time, I'm not quite the mama of any earthly children yet. At the same time, I'm definitely not living free and easy, totally unattached, doing whatever pleases me most (ie. sleeping on my stomach/back and drinking lots of wine).

I've been thinking about this in-between state a lot lately.

Denver is finally finally starting to feel a little more familiar, a little less alien-planet like and this is 99% due to having found some friends. People who I know I could call for a coffee, to go to IKEA with me, recommend a nail place - whatever.  It's AMAZING. We have this fridge magnet that says something like "Where you are, it is your friends who make your home" aka it's not where you are, it's who you're with! Duh, Paige. College Life Lesson 101. But really, I did need to re-learn this SLASH learn to be patient with how friendships, life, relationships in general all always progress.

So here I am, making friends, and noticing something cool and strange - I'm in the in-between of quite a few things. It's a weird place to be. On the one hand, I'm loving getting to know just other young women (mostly single, some married, sans children). We can do coffee or happy hours (lolol), talk about work, life, the election, dating, the weather, things we read on Facebook, etc. etc. and it's awesome. One on one, just getting to know each other, going on friend dates.

On the other hand, I'm equally loving getting to know other young women who are married, with children, doing the mama thing. Those friend dates include parks/zoos/outings/whatever doesn't totally interfere with naps and we talk about marriage, birthing, sex, NFP, husbands, what we used to do with our time (them = pre children, me = pre pregnancy), etc etc.

Obviously totally different conversations and I truly love them both and am so glad that I'm still able to connect with all of these great women on some level.

But it has struck me that once I "cross over" (lol) to 100% Mamahood, maybe the conversations with single friends might not come so easily? Maybe we won't really get each other anymore? I've read a bazillion articles about this and have heard single friends lament the loss of friends-turned-full-time-moms... Is there a solution to this? Because I can't imagine that just saying "bye!" to all these friends once you have a baby is a good thing. Really, I think women should try our hardest to stick together, support each other through all the life changes, and show a lot of empathy, compassion, and understanding to each other regardless of where we are in life. SO, how do we do this when there's a cosmic shift in things? (aka baby vs. no baby)

AS THE SINGLE PERSON:

1. Don't remember... Maybe for new mamas to make a minimal effort to reciprocate, even if it's "I'm exhausted but haven't forgotten you and let's reconnect when we can."

AS THE NEW MAMA:

1. No clue. TBD.....but maybe for single friends to keep reaching out, offering to help even if it's just meals and prayers?

BOTH:
1. Lots and lots of grace.

Perhaps this isn't on the same level, but I remember that after marrying Lewis, there were shifts in some friendships. The biggest noticeable difference was TIME. The lamest of all lame excuses ("Too busy!!!") and I hate when people glorify being busy. But, legitimately, I did notice how much less time I had to spend with friends, because hello I was spending it with Lewis. AND this was obviously a conscious choice, not like, some weird obligation to spend all of my time with him and ignore everything/one else.

I remember sometimes feeling bad about this - saying no to friends because I wanted to be with Lewis instead. BUT ALSO this transition started way, way before marriage. (Anyone who's ever had a friend start dating someone and this disappear knows what I'm talking about.) So, we all slowly adjusted to how often we'd see each other, talk, whatever.

The other big shift was simply perspective. I no longer wanted to share intimate details of our life with anyone else. Nor was I leaning on my friends in the same way for emotional support or comfort. Lewis was/is that support (well not exclusively but almost) AND whatever we had going on between us, I most often wanted to just stay between us. OR, I remember wanting to only talk to other married people because they got it and also had married-people-problems. Weirdly to me, my mom ended up being right about 90% of things.... strange how that happens.

lol, also true

This is getting rambly... what was the point?

OH. The In-Between stage of pre-baby but there's no going back now. I suppose that I'm just grateful to have friends in all walks of life and I hope I don't lose them. Single friends, I REALLY want to stay friends. And mama friends, thanks for already welcoming me into the fold.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Birth planning, nesting, getting huge

Happy feast of the Assumption! I went to Mass and then Starbucks to celebrate :) (Or if you're not Catholic, happy Monday!) Ready to hear about what's been happening around these parts recently?

Firstly, we are OBSESSED with the Olympics! Are you? Aren't they the best thing ever? I'm not even a huge sports fan in general (me usually: "Go team! Beat the other team! Kick/throw/beat/hit/etc. the ball/puck/whatever"). For example, I get suuuuper annoyed when people wear Broncos athletic wear to Mass slash not during the actual game. I digress. The Olympics are literally on all the time - right now, it's women's field hockey! so random! i love it! - and I am a happy camper :) Lewis usually ends up re-watching the highlights at night. Thankfully for him, swimming is almost over so we can move on to other, more obscure sports. The exception to our Olympic marathons (pun intended! haha!) is that we started Stranger Things last weekend. Have you watched it?? If not, DO IT. Pause the Olympics and do yourself a favor. It is awesome! I'm dying to Google all of the actors and backstory and whether there's going to be more seasons, but I'm waiting until we're done because I just KNOW I'll inadvertently see some spoiler and be ultra annoyed. TV is big in this house these days.

Which may or may not have something to do with the fact that I feel HUGE. Whale-ish. I have to roll myself out of bed. I'm starting to waddle. What the what. Pregnancy is so weird! In the second trimester, pregnancy was somewhat how I imagined it (aka, cool to feel this person moving in a little cute bump and hungry all of the time). We are now firmly entrenched in the third trimester. I'm 32 weeks today. What does this mean? How much longer do I have? See helpful chart below...


I should have made business card-sized cards of these to pass out to confused people who ask how far along I am. But BASICALLY, no doctor lets you go past 42 weeks, and most babies arrive sometime between 37-41ish weeks. So I'm not "about to pop" as the not-so-helpful saleslady at Jos A. Bank commented, but am 100% unavoidably pregnant (guy at the car repair shop: "So, you have a little one on the way?" me: "Well, I didn't just have a big lunch." << true conversation). Of course, baby could arrive whenever he pleases but let's hope someone keeps cooking for a few more weeks 

BECAUSE we are totally not ready yet and I am nesting hard-core. Well, I'm sure we could be ready if all of the sudden I were to go in labor or something (mostly because I know my momma would be on the first plane down here and would organize/prepare her little heart out! Thank goodness for supportive parents). Thanks to the generosity of many wonderful friends and family, we do in fact have most of the basics, like a car seat, crib + sheets, bassinet (with sheets on the way thanks to a crafty grandmother!), clothes in a wide variety of sizes to accommodate a child anywhere in the 6-20lb. range LOL, blankets, toys, nursing stuff, and the best most amazing piece of furniture - a glider. 

But we have zero diapers or wipes or any soaps/lotions/creams or basically anything helpful in capturing and disposing of this baby's waste (changing pad, waterproof covers, etc). Pretty sure my subconscious is well aware of this because last night I had a dream about diapering. I had only seen him once (?!?!) that day and was wondering what he was up to (chilling with my parents) so went to go find him to discover he needed a huge diaper change. Long story short, poop was everywhere and I was trying to change him in the middle of the night without waking Lewis up. I woke up thinking two things: 1. Should I buy a small lamp for the dresser so I can see what I'm doing for a middle-of-the-night diaper change? How do people change diapers in the dark? Am I the only one wondering about this? Mamas with babies, lend me your wisdom! 2. We need to buy diapers/wipes/aquaphor STAT. 

I should also probably start gathering things for a hospital bag. The internet is both extremely helpful and unhelpful. Examples of helpful advice: bring bright colored warm socks and a change of clothes that fit at 6 months pregnant to wear home. Unhelpful advice: "you're going to be a leaking sack of blood so have a plan for not dribbling all over the place. Also, good luck with your first poo" (So, do I need adult diapers? Will buy stool softener I guess? Apparently post-labor = 85 years old.) Isn't this the type of interesting pregnancy information you came here to read about??? ;) You're welcome.

But seriously, if you have given birth in a hospital, was there something you were SO glad you brought or realized after that you totally didn't need?? I'm planning on bringing stuff to breastfeed (including clothes) and my kindle and cellphone. Since the birth plan is a hospital birth, I'm assuming I could show up with not very much stuff and they'll help me out? 

Speaking of the birth plan, that's an entire OTHER kettle of fish. Again, and as with virtually everything, the internet has been both helpful and unhelpful. In case you don't carefully follow "birth" "parenthood" or "opinions about your parenting choice" on the interwebs, here's the gist of things: Everything you do is wrong, not X enough, way too X, and someone somewhere strongly disagrees with your choices. SO, instead of googling "natural birth v. drugs," I'm somewhat soliciting actual personal stories from people I know and like about how she gave birth, what worked, etc. 

My research is boiling down to a few things: 
1. If you have had a natural birth, you are VERY proud of yourself as you totally should be and deserve to. I'm not saying this sarcastically. I am actually IMPRESSED with these women and they deserve every pat on the back. Just describing "dilation" to Lewis makes his face do funny things, so needless to say, we are both in awe of a drug-free birth, whether it's in a hospital or elsewhere.

2. Some people who have had drug-free/natural births can be holier-than-thou. This is annoying. 

3. Natural birthing sounds insane and awesome. I think I would like to have this? I don't know. I definitely do not feel like I must have a natural birth. If it happens that I have a natural birth, I'm sure it will be the hardest and most satisfying thing I've ever done (passing the bar being a close second lolol jk). But I'm also hesitant to make things harder for myself than it has to be. At my core, I am a 100% pragmatist. So, do I need all of that pain to be proud of myself for bringing a human into the world? I don't know. I guess I should figure this out before we come barreling into labor & delivery. 

4. An epidural, when it works, sounds Ah-Mazing. Or, it sounds totally worth it and the best and less traumatic. Additionally, it sounds like it has the potential to take away a lot of the emotional investment in birth since you aren't ramping yourself up mentally for the agony and instead, can be more, "Yay, we're having a baby today!" On the other hand, there are stories of people who come away more traumatized from wanting an epidural and then having it not work at all/mess up/stop working or some other version of this. ALSO that giant needle is apparently a little intimidating, although I don't have any issues with needles/blood/bodily fluids/medical interventions in general. So I'm less worried about that part. 

5. Probably my birth plan is something like this: Labor as long as I can without drugs. Get drugs if I want them. Have a baby. Both of us live to tell the tale. 

Other things on the to-do list before our lives change forever (as if we can go back now! ha!)... 

pick a name (we still haven't decided) 
pick godparents (we think we've decided) 
buy a lot more stuff (thank goodness for gift cards!!) 
get a pedicure

To round it all off, here are totally unrelated summer highlights! :)