We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

I am 39 weeks pregnant. Due any day. How did the time go by so quickly?
One one hand, I feel like it was just yesterday that I was staring at the positive pregnancy test and on the other.. I feel like I’ve been pregnant forever. As my pregnancy draws to a close, I have to stop and look back on the journey that my daughter and I have had so far.

It’s strange, knowing that you’ve been pregnant for the majority of one calendar year. I think back on all the holidays that Nellie and I have been through together: Mother’s Day (our first). Fourth of July. Memorial and Labor Day. Halloween. Thanksgiving. Christmas. May of 2009 seems like it was so far away, and simultaneously it seems like time has flown by in the blink of an eye. I look back on my old posts from my early pregnancy with fondness, and a smile on my face. Even reading my posts about morning sickness makes me remember with a certain happy nostalgia. I remember being so excited when I caught my first glimpse of “baby bump” at around 15 weeks. It wasn’t visible to anyone but Josh and I, but it excited me so much. I remember going into Motherhood Maternity and proudly purchasing my first pair of maternity jeans at 18 weeks. I remember thinking I looked “soooo pregnant” at 20 weeks, and now when I look back I can’t help but laugh at myself.

Nellie was there with me for my chorus’s yard sale in June – when we were outside for hours in the hot, Southern summer heat. She accompanied me to Birmingham when I went to summer camp with the ladies from my chorus… And missed a bit of the workshops due to frequent trips to the bathroom to throw up. She was there; so little and so tiny when my friend Deborah and I walked downtown to watch the fireworks for the Fourth. Once upon a time she wasn’t Nellie, she was simply known to us as “Gummi”. A tiny little black and white figure on an ultrasound screen; arm and leg buds just barely recognizable. I remember putting various countdowns right here on my blog – ticking off the days until the 2nd trimester, the 3rd trimester and finally until Full Term. Now the only ticker that remains is her Due Date ticker, which is now down to 6 days.

It’s amazing to me that this little girl has been present for so many events and days in my life and she doesn’t even realize it. She’s been to Ruby Falls and to Rock City. She’s been sung to by her mama (and daddy). She’s been out with her mama while she performed with her chorus and quartet. There are so many people in our lives who are so anxious and excited to meet her…. None more than her very own mommy and daddy.

As I reach the end of my pregnancy with Nellie, I can’t help but be a little sad. I was laying in bed last night, feeling her kick as Josh and I were talking about how she’d be here very soon. I watched my belly swell as some body part of hers pushed against my tummy. I got choked up and tears came to my eyes. Very soon, I’m going to have to physically let her free from my body, and she will be shared with the world. Nellie isn’t the world’s most active baby but she has her moments. It’s been difficult for people who aren’t around her all the time (AKA, me and her daddy) to feel her move. There is a secret part of me that is just a tiny bit happy when she only kicks for daddy and me. It’s like something special just between the three of us. Soon we’ll have to pass her around to be held. People will want to feed her, give her gifts and sing to her, they’ll want to hold her little hands and kiss her cheeks… And while she’ll always be our little girl, others will be a part of her life as well. Right now, we are all she really knows and that’s special. It’s a little sad to give that up, but obviously we can’t keep her to ourselves forever. I realized while I was watching my belly swell how much I’m going to miss this connection that just our little family has. I know that we’ll have other special moments as a family, but the quiet times resting on the couch where Josh puts his hand on my belly with a smile and I put my hand over his won’t be here much longer. I know that we are about to have so many more amazing moments with her here… But I’ll miss these ones a lot.

I cherish each and every memory I have of my pregnancy. Each minute with our Nellie has been a blessing.. I am so very grateful that Josh and I have been given the opportunity to be a mom and dad to this amazing little girl. I hope that she knows how much we love her already and that she never, ever questions that love. I want her to know how desperately she was wanted and how strong our love for her was from the very first second we knew of her existance. Before the belly swelling, before the first kicks, before the first ultrasound we loved her. Really, we loved her even before the positive pregnancy test.. We’ve been waiting for this child for such a long time.

We certainly have come a long way, baby. From pregnancy test to Gummi Bear… From morning sickness to my growing belly… From hearing your heartbeat, to finding out you were our Nellie Rose… I’ve enjoyed the hell out of this ride, kiddo, and I hope that you have too. It’s almost time to meet face-to-face and I just cannot wait. We love you so, so much little girl.

The Last Halloween

I am coming to the realization as each holiday passes that it is my last – ever, in my entire life – where it will be just me and my husband. When I mention that to my husband, he smiles and pats my stomach and says it’s already the three of us. True, but I think you get my drift. This time next Halloween, Nellie will be nine months old. She will be nine months! How insane is that?! We will pick out a costume for her, probably take her to get pictures.. She will be sitting up, probably starting to eat solid foods – she could even be walking. It’s true, I have a friend whose baby started walking before she was a year old.
I was laying on the couch last night watching Supernatural (which is made of AWESOME, by the way if you haven’t seen it yet) and feeling Nellie kick when I realized how strange it’s going to be to sit, or lay and not get kicked from the inside. I’ve grown so accustomed to the little bumps, jerks and earthquakes from within my belly it’s hard to picture what my life was like before them. I’ve been feeling her move every single day for about 5 weeks now and she will continue to do so for (hopefully) at least 10 more weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely cannot wait to meet my little girl but it’s going to take some getting used to not having her in my belly.
Pregnancy is something that has just come very naturally to me. Perhaps I’ve just been blessed with an easy pregnancy, but I’ve never felt better than right now, at 7 months pregnant. When I walk down the street and catch a glimpse of my shadow, I smile at the round silhouette lying on the street. If I am passing a mirror and happen to see my reflection, I stop and admire it for a moment with a smile on my face; my hands tracing the curve of my belly. I find myself resting my hands on my stomach all the time – in line at the grocery store, walking down the hall, even just sitting at my desk.. My hands are on my belly.
We’ll be attending a Halloween party – in November. Crazy, I know. But my brother-in-law is the one who hosts it every year, and his October is booked solid as he co-produces and co-directs the Ruby Falls Haunted Cavern each season. He has since 2006. We’ll be having the Halloween party the 2nd weekend in November. I always get funny looks when I tell people I’m going to a Halloween party in November, but whatever. I’ve got a pretty fun costume planned for this year; you’ll just have to wait to see pictures. Until then, you can tide yourself over with my favorite costume that I’ve ever had. From our 2007 Halloween party, I give you…

Lois the Crazy Cat Lady.

Happy Halloween, everybody!!!!!

Warm Fuzzy Feeling – Not Coffee Induced

I decided to treat myself this morning to some Starbucks. A bunch of my friends have been going on and on about Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes…. So I had to have one. I went, and had the best barista (is it still a barista if it’s a man?) ever. He was cheerful and funny, and just made my day. When I pulled up to the window, he gave me my decaf pumpkin latte, and said he himself had been decaf for over ten years and that Starbucks had many tasty decaf drinks. I patted my belly and said, “Well, I don’t have a choice but to drink decaf, being pregnant.” and he nodded and said, “I’m glad to hear that. I always get worried when I see pregnant women coming in here ordering shots of this, and extra shots of that and so on.”

Now, I could have gotten very offended and ruffled. I can see how someone might get offended by this guy’s statement, but I happen to agree with him. I realize that a little bit of caffeine probably isn’t going to hurt your baby, but it certainly can’t be the healthiest thing in the world for that tiny heart, so why not abstain or cut down for 9 measly little months? So this man’s statement did not offend me, I just nodded in agreement and thanked him for my coffee. Before I pulled away, he smiled and said, “You’re already a great mommy. You have a wonderful day.”
And I felt like a freaking superhero. I had the biggest smile on my face all the way to work, and still do. I feel like I’ve done very well by this little girl so far. I have tried my best to eat healthy foods (I fail, I admit, but I DO try), I don’t smoke or drink, and I have almost eliminated my caffeine intake entirely. By “almost” I mean sometimes I do have a sip or two of Coke or sweet tea when my taste buds are interested in it. But I’ve never had a full glass/serving of anything caffeinated since seeing that positive pregnancy test. I drink water all day long, and take my prenatals. It was really nice to be acknowledged for doing something as small as ordering a decaf coffee.
My hair is a mess right now, and I blame it on the fact that I can’t afford the shampoo and conditioner I normally get, which is this:

Because they’re $8 a bottle. I know, it’s outrageous but it’s really good shampoo and conditioner. So I’ve been using the Pantene shampoo I bought during a temporary moment of insanity (I HATE Pantene, and don’t know why I bought this crap. I think it’s because it smelled good) and some leftover Kiss My Face conditioner that I had. Hopefully I’ll be able to justify a $16 hair purchase in the near future because my locks look like crap.

One of the ladies at chorus came up to me last night and proclaimed, “You weren’t pregnant two weeks ago! I swear! Look at you, you look SO PREGNANT now!”
See?

…….. And I still have 3 months to go.

Excitement to the Point of Explosion

I just got an e-mail from my dad.

I had e-mailed him Friday to ask if he and my stepmom would be willing to make our Christmas present this year a 3d ultrasound session. It’s $149, and you get a 25-30 minute session, 4 photo print outs, a DVD of the ultrasound, and a CD with 15-30 pictures. We figured it would be a great way to get one last look at the little lady before her big debut, and something we could cherish and keep forever. Also, Christmas presents for the grandparents!

Well, he originally said that they wanted to contribute something we’d need for Nellie, and we said hey, no problem. Just thought we’d ask! No harm in asking, right? DH and I were already making plans to budget so we could get the cheaper $99 session. Well, I open my inbox this morning and there’s a message from my dad….

SAYING THEY’RE GOING TO PAY FOR OUR 3D ULTRASOUND!!!!!!!!!!!

I AM SO FREAKING EXCITED. I have already booked our appointment for December 5th. The woman on the phone was so friendly and excited, and said that if the pictures didn’t turn out well we could come back about a week later for another look for free! I am literally walking on air right now, and DH is too. He wanted to do it this weekend! I told him I wanted to wait until she got some more baby fat on her, to which he sighed and said “okay”.

Then I was talking to my stepmom via e-mail, thanking her for doing this for us and we got to talking back and forth about the baby and how exciting a time this is… And I just got huge butterflies in my stomach and am so psyched. I just got this burst of happiness, anticipation and excitement that filled my entire body. I can’t stop smiling. It’s like something new happens every day that says, this is all really happening. It’s all coming true. It’s just so crazy; I have wanted this for so long, dreamt about it and now it’s really here. My little girl is going to be here in 3 months! This time three months from now, my daughter could actually already be here if she decides to come early. Eek!!!!!
Life is good. I am blessed! Blessed beyond belief.