family, gratitude, parenthood, pregnancy, single mom by choice, SMC, writing

quinoa and gratitude

I’m going to try a new strategy tonight: write a little before the quinoa is done, and write a little after.

I’m so beat. Sometimes acupuncture just knocks me out so my eyes are heavy like I need to go straight to bed and it’s only 7pm. And sometimes just being this pregnant is enough to make anyone deeply tired. I keep dropping things on the floor! Over and over. It’s a long trip down and a workout coming up. I got on the bus tonight and three women jumped out of their seats. So I guess I’m getting on the more noticeable side of looking big and tired.

So much to write about! Better check the quinoa.

I’m eating leftover Thai basil chicken with quinoa now, and baby boy is tapping my belly button to let me know that he is probably still posterior. Thankfully, he’s head down but we want him facing my back and lately he’s facing front. My sister’s daily chant to her babies in utero: “Head down! Chin tucked! Arms straight! Back to belly! Yay, baby, yay, baby!” (Did I get it right, D?)  It worked, so I’m doing it. I have yet to look at the site, but apparently there’s advice on how to get your baby positioned on (love the name)

I had my shower last Saturday. It was one of the happiest days of my life. Coincidentally on International Women’s Day, this was a collection of amazing women–artists, therapists, health practitioners, small business owners, nonprofit directors, entrepreneurs, salespeople, musicians, researchers, engineers, teachers. Stay at home moms, single moms, partnered moms, single ladies, and pregnant homebirthers. Dreamers and doers, big-hearted givers, touchy-feely sentimentalists, smart and sassy jokesters. They offered to babysit, they offered to drop what they’re doing to help, they offered their husbands’ help for man jobs.They brought baby gear from their garages and closets. I adore these women and feel so fortunate to have this local community (plus many dear friends afar!). One thing I am proud to say I do well is pick my friends.

Many joyful tears were shed as we anticipate the arrival of Baby Boy! Having my sisters on either side of me at the front of the room (in matching dresses, unplanned) left me so moved that I became kind of quiet and awestruck (although in all the photos I have this huge, glowing smile). D flew cross-country to be there and brought adorable decorations. B hosted and made it look easy. They, along with my mom and friends L and C, planned and executed the shower I wanted, without me lifting a finger or even being very specific. L made eclairs. C was a blur of activity throughout the party she worked so hard.The concentration of love that day was so sweet.

So, I’ve been floating on a love cloud ever since Saturday, and, on top of the outpouring of love, there’s been an outpouring of help. After being so used to doing everything myself, it is a miracle when someone takes down the trash or cleans the bathroom floor (let’s be honest, I just don’t do it–thanks Mom), or grocery shops, or does the laundry. And then there was all the baby prep–clothes categoried by 0-3 months, 3-6, 6-12, 12-24. This kid may not wear the same outfit twice with all the hand-me-downs we’ve received (I might add–thanks especially to M and A for mass quantities of beautiful boy clothes). During the shower, my dad and J went to Target to get big storage bins and then attacked my closets. Furniture is all in place. Random things around the house have been fixed. My sister D helped me comb through what I should keep and what’s duplicated or unneeded and what I’ll need when. My parents even took a giant ball of tangled jewelry and made a project of matching the earrings, hanging the necklaces, collecting the rings. I would have never found the time to do that!

All the big stuff is pretty much in place, which means I no longer have to sit around wide-eyed wondering how it’s all going to happen. I have a changing table, a co-sleeper, 3 strollers, I think 5 different carriers, dressers and cabinets full of clothes. I have diapers and wipes and burp cloths and swaddling blankets and a carseat for now and also the one I’ll need 6 months later. So so so many hats. Many terrific books! Gift certificates for food! And even some cash for necessities! The relief I feel is consuming. The nesting/prep impulse satisfied. I’m not done but I’m in really good shape, and if baby came tomorrow, which is always possible, I would be pretty darn ready. (Please stay in there, dude.)

So, yes, another gratitude post. Such a one-hit wonder! But it’s kind of shocking, even for me, how fabulous this all feels. This baby has already: made me stronger, brought new friends, somehow engineered a bigger apartment right before he was conceived, gotten me to dream big about my future, helps me  take better care of myself, and teaches me not to take any of it for granted. He’s an amazing guy!!

I already do feel like I know him. And I do. Just not in the way I know anyone else. It’s the coolest thing.

And I never forget the path that got me here, nor my friends still on that path. Love to you, and blessings.

I’ve been wanting to make this list for a while so I’ll do it now even though this post is getting long:

Things I want to remember about pregnancy.

–My left outer thigh has been pretty much numb for the past 4 months.

–Sleeping positions require strategy. I wake up whimpering and then have to set up the pillows in a new configuration. Then hope I can get back to sleep before getting too hungry or having to pee.

–All day, I’m having an ongoing, internal conversation with the little one who so randomly flails around in there and gets the hiccups a lot. It’s impossible to care as much about a conference call when your baby has the hiccups in your belly. Sometimes he thumps (lately on my bladder). Sometimes his movement feels shivery or bubbly. Sometimes it feels like there’s a little hand feeling around thoughtfully on the other side.

–I crave meat. I recently read that my blood type (O negative) does better with meat (so much for 10 years of vegetarianism back in the day). I also crave chewing ice (my iron is low but not really that low). And, of course, carbs and sugar but that’s nothing new. Dairy is my friend.

–There are many, many discomforts of pregnancy that I have been lucky not to experience. But today I was walking and wondering if I’d experience round ligament pain. Maybe I was wondering because I felt like I was starting to get what felt like a stitch in my side. Pretty soon it was so bad I had to stop walking and take the bus. Who knows? It’s all par for the course.

–Every time I do anything, I am conscious of being a pregnant lady. The only exceptions are: momentarily when I’m really concentrating on something. And there’s a side-lying position in bed when I can almost imagine I have my regular body (and this is achieved by a complicated pillow configuration). I stare at women’s flat bellies, remembering. But lately it feels like my identity and it’s hard to imagine that a big transitional life event is about to put me on the other side. I always thought the empty belly would be a little sad, but then there’s the enormous consolation of having your baby where you can see him and love him up.

–The timing of the pregnancy has gone ideally. It doesn’t feel too fast or too slow, just right. Last night, my friend E advised, “Pretty soon, you’re going to start feeling trapped and freaked out like–I need this baby out! And that’s normal.” So, that may be coming (especially considering I have about 8 weeks of continuing to get bigger). But even the crappy parts are part of pregnancy, and I wanted to be pregnant for so long… It’s hard to be too pissed off about any of it.

–and, finally, my boobs are barely any bigger. So weird! We’ll give this one time.

OK, friends, time for bed. Love to you. Thanks for letting me bliss out for a sec. xo




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