Becoming a Stay-at-Home Mom

Do you sit in meetings and wish for a boss who demands unfettered access your boobs, sleeps while you are at work and screams until you pay attention to them every time you try to eat your lunch? Do you already have a boss like that, but you’d like to enjoy all of these benefits from the comfort of your own home where you cry from happiness if you get to take a shower before 2pm? Then Stay-at-Home Mom is the job for you! Perks include a seemingly bi-polar little blob of cute that will melt your heart by smiling and cooing at you and, literally 0.5 seconds later, will scream at a decibel so loud and high pitched that your ears ring and your vision blurs. You may also suddenly find yourself free to stop by Bacon and Beer night at your neighborhood pub at the unheard-of hour of 4pm before all the bacon runs out, baby and husband in-tow so you can enjoy a half-pint of the beer (you’ll feel like a Hobbit) with the lowest alcohol content because you are still paranoid that your baby will want to eat again before your obligatory 2 hours after a drink are up.

Blogging in my favorite pub with my baby in my lap. And it’s MY JOB. (The baby part, not the blogging part.) Stay-at-home mom is the coolest job I’ve had so far!

I recently turned in my notice and then my laptop and keys at my old job so I am now officially a stay-at-home mom. The transition from working non-parent to stay-at-home mom technically started once we brought Samuel home, I guess. Still, making it official is definitely kind of trippy. This little guy got here and I just couldn’t imagine being away from him all day 5 days a week if I could help it. I’m so blessed to have a husband who agrees that it’s more important for Samuel to be at home than for us to have the extras that two incomes provide so we are now rocking one income, 1950’s style. Except, instead of vacuuming in heels and pearls, I watch JJ Abrams shows on Netflix when Samuel nurses. I’m a totally cheap-o-rama and we haven’t always had two incomes anyway, so that helps it not be too freaky of a transition in that respect.

Who could resist this face, anyway? Best looking boss I’ve ever had, for sure.

Stay-at-home mom's boss

30 Weeks and 4 days

5 Weeks and 3 Days to go

I have a new goal in life. That goal is to not set foot in Labor and Delivery again until it’s time to have a baby 5+ weeks from now. It’s a ridiculous goal to set since I have no real way of making it happen and I’ll just be disappointed and depressed if I take it seriously and then fail. But I’m just so very frustrated that I had to spend several hours there tonight after my regular Tuesday appointment.  On the plus side, when I’m up there and get labs I get results back before I am allowed to leave instead of having to wait days for them.

Tonight I found out that my liver levels are continuing to respond to the Urso and that they keep dropping. If it keeps up this pace, my AST levels just might be in the normal range next Tuesday! Probably not my ALT levels but give that two more weeks and that one might be down there as well. Last Tuesday they were only about 8 times what they should be as opposed to the 15 times normal on my first test the week before. Now, as with everything to do with Cholestasis, it’s always a cautious optimism. My numbers are dropping now, but they could spike back up any minute. No matter how low they get I will continue to be closely monitored 2 days a week until we hit that 36 week mark. I do feel better mentally about making it to 36 weeks now. Plus my itchiness is a little better and I have slept through the night several nights in a row now without getting up to put my feet in a bucket of ice cold water to numb them so I could get back to sleep.

But my Cholestasis and liver levels are not what sent me to Labor and Delivery today. My BP was elevated last week but today it was straight up HIGH. I knew something was up when my nurse took it 3 times and then my Dr came in to see me before they even started the non-stress test on the baby. She usually just comes in after that’s all done to talk about the results. And then they kept coming in the check on me. She poked at my ankles and confirmed that I am NOT swollen. I told her I have not been having headaches or floaters. There was no protein in my urine sample. All these things mean that I do not have a bunch of signs for pre-eclampsia.  Just the high blood pressure one. Up I was sent to the 2nd floor where L&D resides to sit on a fetal monitor and BP cuff for 2 hrs for a blood pressure series. I had forgotten my book so it was nice and boring. I mostly catnapped. They also went ahead and drew my labs there since the results come back more quickly than from sending them out downstairs from my Dr’s office. After my labs were back and my BP results were sent over to my Dr. she called and said I could go home, since both had dropped enough for her. That was great news since I did NOT want to spend another night in the Hospital!

I didn’t come home alone though. No. I came home with a giant jug to pee into for 24 hrs. A jug that then has to go into the fridge. I have a urine jug in my fridge RIGHT NOW. Hopefully the alleged scary ice storm we’re getting tomorrow will wait until after my 4pm Dr’s appointment to bring in my pee bottle and get some more blood drawn. I’m starting to look like a junkie with all my needle pokes. They’ll be checking my giant bottle of urine for protein to either diagnose or rule out pre-eclampsia. I’m going to be super honest here. I will be SO PISSED if I have Pre-E. I just want the Cholestasis to be the last issue. I’m done. All I wanted was to enjoy this pregnancy and then have a nice, med-free, natural birth. Instead I have been too sick to enjoy any of it. As soon as I think I might be feeling pretty good something else comes up. It’s just exhausting. I asked the Dr if this was related to the Cholestasis and she got the most sympathetic look on her face and said “No, it’s a completely different issue. I’m so sorry, you just can’t win, huh?” Ugh. I’ll say it again. This baby better not be a dud. I better not be going through all this trouble for a jerk baby. Or one that will grow up and be on Jerry Springer or something.

Ending on a happier note, the baby has been VERY active lately. Sometimes I make a weird noise and Daniel looks at me like I’m crazy because I’m trying to figure out exactly WHICH organ I just got kicked in. Unless it was my bladder. Then I KNOW there has been baby/bladder contact. My belly fairly swims these days. It’s so fun to watch it ripple as the baby adjusts. Daniel says it’s squirmy like me. I can never quite get comfortable so I fidget a lot. Also, a new revelation this evening. Apparently pregnancy makes me a sleep-kicker. Not only do I toss and turn like I have always done, I apparently have been thrashing about lately and kicking Daniel pretty hard in my sleep. He says it’s not like involuntary movement form my pregnancy restless leg. He seriously stops and thinks “WHAT is she dreaming about that she needs to kick something that hard?” My poor husband. But it’s still kind of funny.

Retroactive Baby Update

This poor kid. I fear that, after this day and age of people documenting every little thing, our kid is going to come home from school some day and ask, eyes filled with confused tears, why THEY don’t have a snazzy memory book filled with weekly updates of their gestation and belly pictures of me.  “Didn’t you love me, Mama? Didn’t you WANT me?” they’ll ask with a shaking voice. I’ll have to reply, “Oh, sweetie.  Mama was afraid that if she wrote it all down she’d actually remember what it was like and then never have another baby ever again.” Plus it would have been really boring. But, just in case it will save me some time and maybe therapy money down the road, here is a quick recap of the past 6 months.

Weeks 4-8: Shhhhh! Nobody knows about the baby other than a few people at work who have noticed Mama’s constant emergency trips to the bathroom. Mama doesn’t look any fatter. Probably because she’s either barfing or trying not to barf every second of every day.

Week 9: Granny and Pike know! They are very excited. Mama’s pants are starting to get tight but she’s still barfing barfing barfing. She can’t wait for the first trimester to be over so she can quit barfing. Also she hasn’t pooped in two weeks and she’s not too thrilled about that.

Week 12: First trimester is over! We’ve announced our happy news on Facebook and on Mama’s blog. Still barfing but the Dr. says that will definitely be gone by week 15. There are also many naps at this point. Growing a human is exhausting!

Week 15: Mama’s Dr. is a lying sack of poo.  Mama would like to punch her real hard but it would probably make Mama barf. Everything else does. Mama is starting to feel little somethings in her belly but she’s not sure if it’s baby or if she just needs to toot.

Week 20: Mama only barfs first thing in the morning now! Or if she waits too long to eat. Or if she smells something weird. Baby movements are clear at this point and sometimes Daddy can even feel little movements from the outside. He says it feels like Mama has gas. He’s so sweet. We had an anatomy scan and it looks like the baby is coming along nicely with everything where it is supposed to be. Only the ultrasound tech knows the sex, not even Mama’s lying Dr. knows because, on top of lying about morning sickness, she also apparently can’t keep a secret.

Week 23: Mama had a strange pain the day after Christmas that went something like this: Back spasm? Braxton Hicks? Dear Lord I’m dying something is wrong call the Dr. NOW!!!!! Turns out Mama has a kidney stone (or a bunch, who knows?). And kidney stones hurt real bad, mmkay? Lots of water, heating pads, scalding hot baths and the occasional guilt-ridden pain pill are helping Mama endure the pain that some people are telling her is worse than childbirth. Mama didn’t want to take the pills at all but she was no match for a worried Daddy AND visiting Granny and Pike. If they discover later that they cause some horrible birth defect like being allergic to chocolate, you can blame your Granny. Also, the not pooping is back. What the heck?

Week 24: Mama saw her Dr. this week and her Dr. basically said “Yah, nothing we can do. Suck it up.” So Mama cried in her car for a long time then drove home where she pretty much cried the rest of the night. Because having kidney stones when you are pregnant sucks the big one. She would rather be moving furniture out of the guest bedroom to get ready to set up the nursery but instead she’s stuck on the couch attached to her heating pad most of the time.

So there you are, sweet child of mine. That takes care of the first 6 months of your existence. I will try to remember to do a weekly update on Thursday or Friday every week for the rest of your stay in my belly so you don’t have to feel like a total outcast among your pretentious little hipster spawn classmates with their fancy “When I was a zygote” storybooks. Night Night!

NaBloPoMo Fail

And I was doing so well! Twenty days in a row is the longest into November I’ve gone for National Blog Posting Month so I’d say I didn’t do too terribly.  I should have scheduled some posts for the week of Thanksgiving. We were so beat by the time we got to Memphis on Wednesday night that I completely forgot about a post for the day. After that it was just easy to give up for the week and visit with Daniel’s family.

On Thanksgiving Day I got up early with my little cooking schedule and cooked Thanksgiving dinner with the help of Daniel’s Aunt Jan (not to mention her brother who sent up TWO trays of homemade dressing). We planned to eat at noon and the ten of us were digging in at 12:25. Success!

Daniel climbed up in the attic and pulled down the toy box that his grandad made for him when he was little.  It needs a little bit of love to fix a few things and I had to spend some quality time with it and a bottle of Goo Gone to peel off a sticker, but we are so thrilled to be able to have such a meaningful piece in the baby’s room!

Daniel’s childhood toy box. Ready to come home to our nursery.
Goo Gone vs a 25 year old sticker
Scrub Scrub Scrub
I give up. Time to resort to the fingernails.
Success! The leftover rectangle is even kind of a sweet reminder of Tiny Daniel.
What better toy for a kid than the best dog on the planet?

Now we just need to find someone to fix the joints and the bottom.  The toy box isn’t put together with nails, it has something like tongue and groove joints on the edges holding it together, which it neat, but a few are pulling apart. There is a missing brace on the bottom as well so it doesn’t sit evenly right now, but once we get those fixed it is going to be the perfect addition to the nursery. The room is still the guest bedroom full of junk right now but that will be changing next week in Week 2 of our Simplicity Experiment.  Can’t wait!

 

Fundamorphosis–Without this book my kid wouldn’t exist

I cannot wait to read this book!

You can hear Robb talking about his journey out of fundamentalism and the book he wrote by downloading This Podcast of his radio interview on The Ragamuffin Show.

This journey that Robb took has shaped my life so greatly. My world would be completely unrecognizable if he hadn’t taken this journey that led him to a new kind of faith. Which led him to Fayetteville and the to creation of Vintage Fellowship.  If his journey had ended differently or had never begun, my faith would take a different shape than it does today. My friends would be different people. Most definitely not as talented and inspiring as the ones I have now.  I might not even still live in Fayetteville. I wouldn’t be married to my perfect match and best friend because we met and got to know each other through Vintage. Someone else would have our Sweetie Wheatie, and her name probably wouldn’t be Luna Lovegood.

How depressing would my life be without these two?

Even though Robb didn’t know it at the time and neither did I, the transformation that was going on in Robb’s world and in his heart are the reason I am who and where I am today. Basically, it’s my pastor’s fault I’m pregnant right now. I bet that brings in some interesting hits from Google.

 

That’s weird. The elections are over and the world still exists.

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but I’m currently incubating a small human. It came along today when its Daddy and I voted. I really wanted to be cheesy and put my “I voted” sticker on my belly but our polling location never gives stickers. Bummer of the day.

Later in the evening we went to Vintage for election night communion. How beautiful it was to sing together about turning our focus to Jesus when there are so many things pulling us in other directions lately. It’s so easy to get sucked into the political bickering. It’s kind of fun and we want to be right, don’t we? Tonight I came together with my church family to rest in the knowledge that, no matter how the elections ended up, I believe that God is sovereign and where our focus needs to be. Jesus didn’t call us to convince everyone we know to vote the way we want them to. He called us to LOVE.  We gathered together tonight as a group that represented pretty much every bubble on the Arkansas ballots.  There was no tension or arguments. Just the joy of being together. A feeling of love and trust that our votes do not separate us in any real ways. And the knowledge that no election results will change any of that.

Back to the tiny human-shaped critter currently giving me killer heartburn.

I have no memories of a time without MTV. It may be lame now, but it does still exist. This little one will come into a world with an African American as the elected leader of the USA. He or she will probably never know a world where it’s a big deal. Maybe our kid will grow up and just not be able to stand Barack Obama and think “I hate that my least favorite President was in office when I was born!” But, while I hope we will have instilled in them an understanding of the importance of the step forward, they won’t have any memories of Americans electing a non-white President being any big dang deal.

That makes me so happy.

I didn’t get that, though I wanted it so badly growing up. I seriously felt like a 60’s era civil rights activist in a little 7 year old body. I was an odd kid.  I know that I can’t truly understand the experience of growing up a person of color in this country. I’m a white woman who grew up in a home with both parents and, no matter how tough times got, I never had to worry about a roof over my head or dinner on the table. Maybe my parents worried about it at some point, but I never did. I was and am a child of privilege. I married  a white man. We have good educations and good jobs and a roof over our heads. I have had great prenatal care from before this baby was even sparked into existence. It was a child of privilege the moment it began to grow. Still, I am so happy that it will have a privilege that I didn’t have. The privilege of always living in a world where a black man got elected to the presidency of the United States. Twice. No matter what his politics are, that is such a joy to me.

I got into a lot of fights as a kids about race. I’m not sure how much of it was my personality and how much of it was something my parents did early on, but I was never shy about standing up for issues I felt strongly about. It might have stemmed from me finally figuring out the whole “color” thing.  See, I had two bi-racial cousins when I was a little kid. I knew their white mom (also my cousin) but she remarried a white man before I was old enough to remember anything else.  So, in my infinite 4 year-old wisdom, I put two and two together and decided I knew how it all worked. Let me explain genetics to you through a Pre-Ker’s eyes.  Before you have any kids you don’t know what race they will be.  Then you have your first one and you find out.  My cousin had her first baby and she was black. So obviously the second one was too.  Thus, when we went to visit her to see her new baby with her new husband I was very confused and, frankly, pissed off that her baby was…white.  What the crap? What business did that baby have being white? Once my mom explained the situation I was pretty ticked because I had been really looking forward to finding out what kind of babies I was going to have. Also, now that meant I was probably NOT related to Ozzie Smith, after all.  I think that just made me extra sensitive to the whole issue of race at an early age. So I noticed a lot more than most other kids around me when the grown-ups talked about it or it was the subject of a tv show or movie.

In Kindergarten we had one of those worksheets where they tell you what color to use on each area. Like a paint by numbers only with crayons.  The worksheet was a picture of a Native American (only we still called them Indians back in the early 80’s and sat “Indian Style” instead of “Criss-Cross Applesauce.”) My teacher instructed me to color my “Indian” Red. I don’t remember if I hesitated. I just remember refusing to do it.  I told her “Indians aren’t red. They are kind of brown” It wasn’t a political statement. I just thought it was stupid. Why would she be trying to force me to color a person a color that didn’t actually match them? I never did color my picture red. Usually I would have gotten in trouble for talking back to a teacher but I think my parents were actually pretty proud. It never occurred to me after that to adapt to fit the norms around me when it came to something I felt was right or wrong.  A lot of self-confidence came out of that one moment of not getting in trouble for sassing.

When we moved from Kentucky to Missouri I was 10 and in for a big shock. I had only heard the “N” word a few times before that. I started hearing it a lot more. I heard it within the first few weeks when my mom put my ponytail in a bunch of tiny braids and sent me to school. I could wear that hair-do for a week and then I’d have wonderful crimps when it came down. Hey, it was cool at the time. That first day a boy came up to me and asked me if I was a “Some kind of N—– lover or something?” I was so very shocked. I never ever come up with good comebacks so I’m pretty proud of my 10 year-old response of “I love all people. Except for jerks like you.” Smooth, tiny blond girl. Smooth. I did adjust to my surroundings there.  I stopped calling everything “Coke” after a while and switched to “soda pop.” I stopped using “ma’am”  and “sir” when speaking to adults because my entire 5th grade class laughed at me my first day when I said “Yes ma’am” to our teacher. But that particular trait, the horrible bigoted racist one, never rubbed off on me.

Again, I just want to reiterate that I don’t think my experiences are anything in comparison to kids who dealt with racism directed at them. Mine was 3rd party indignation. I could step outside of the sadness and hurt I felt. When I had a teacher in 6th grade who continually made racist remarks about property values and black neighbors and Michael Jackson being glad he was “turning white” I was angry but it did not affect my self esteem in the ways that I’m sure it could/would have an African American kid. I’m  not comparing my experiences with those kids.  But my experiences will be comparable to the little human I’m cooking right now. And I want so much more for her/him than we had. The election four years ago and the one tonight made sure there is at least one thing that will be different for this new generation. I am so glad for that.

PS–I’m not forgetting the awesome results tonight where women were elected to various offices for the first time EVER. It’s just really past my bedtime and I’ve already rambled enough for one post. Maybe I’ll revisit it later.