Friday, December 17, 2010


God sure knows how to grow tiny humans.

Measuring exactly to the day at twenty one weeks, our little love has ten fingers, toes, and all appropriate limbs, organs, chambers and veins are present and perfect. The placenta is out of the way, up and anterior, the heart was beating beautifully at 150 and the baby was lying sideways and low, moving like crazy; making it difficult to get a decent profile shot but impressing us with it's acrobatics nonetheless.

It's surreal to think that at today's sonogram, the technician could have easily told me the gender of my child; but I figure that after waiting almost four years for this miracle to unfold, what's a few more months? And though I fall heavily into the minority on this subject, I just feel that there is nothing more special than the old-fashioned surprise of a baby's gender being found the day it's born.

Besides, I'm hoping the added suspense and anticipation will help ease the pain of labor as I'm pushing my tiny human out of a very small place.

As the pregnancy progresses, the last of my fears are slowly dissolving. And after passing with flying colors on today's absolutely perfect anatomy scan, the only self inflicted milestone I have left to survive is viability in three short weeks.

And now that I'm feeling our little one move consistently throughout the day, even the need for my doppler is slowly diminishing. But I must admit, after seeing our sweet baby again on the ultrasound screen today, I'm this close to going all Tom Cruise and renting one of those bad boys for myself.

Could you imagine? Not only being able to hear your baby's heartbeat whenever you so desire, but to also be able to watch it kick, punch, wiggle and flip as you please?

That guy is definitely crazy, but he had it right when he purchased that ultrasound machine.

My weight gain is on track, my belly is trying desperately to resembling a round circle instead of a second pointy chest under my belly button, and I've finally purchased Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks in anticipation of the inevitable; although I'm severely disappointed in the fact that it doesn't actually smell like cocoa Butter.

That just makes no sense to me.

But I'm ready for Christmas, and I'm so ready to enjoy family, good food, and the blessing that is growing in my uterus; a tiny daily reminder of how good God truly is. And as the economy continues to weigh heavily on pocketbooks and hearts, this child is a clear picture of the true reason for the season.

I can't imagine giving my only child as a gift to a lost and dying world. But Christmas is a time to reflect on God's love for us and to be thankful for what He sent to us that day, Jesus as a tiny and helpless baby that would soon become a sacrifice for the worlds sin, the illustration of new life being birthed into this world and the joy that comes from giving rather than receiving.

And even though I feel immense love as I watch my child dance and squirm on that fuzzy black screen, amazed and in awe of this perfection that only God could create in me, I know it pales in comparison to the kind of love that God has for me, for all of us.

Last week, I had a rare moment of self pity, because I felt like a water buffalo. I was having an emotional breakdown because my belly is anything but cute and round like everyone else, my husband has been out of town for the majority of the last eight weeks for work, my dog sheds way too much and I'm holding down a second job in retail at minimum wage just to be able to afford a rocking chair for this child.

But almost as quickly as it came, this wave of grief was replaced with the realization that I asked God for this; in fact I've spent the last four years praying desperately for this.

Every day that I lived with infertility-especially when the possible failure of our fourth and final attempt at IVF was looming overhead-I felt this incredible loss. I mourned for the child that I would never have, for the many experiences that I would miss out on. I longed for the day to come when I could feel the life changes that a baby brings, adored the thought of gaining thirty plus pounds and desired the pangs of childbirth; all because they led to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

My very own biological child.

And now I'm feeling movement accompanied by blissful kicks and punches, and I'm watching my body change and my oddly shaped stomach bloom. I have a beautiful, hairy dog, a husband who does what it takes to support us, and the opportunity to make extra cash at a second job this season in the midst of an economy when so many other struggle to find even one.

And despite my worst fears, I'm gloriously pregnant while so many other amazing women are still struggling to be, feeling their own sense of loss and longing for the blessing of a child.

Water buffalo or not, I'm growing a tiny, anatomically perfect human in my uterus, and that really leaves no reason or excuse for complaints of any kind in my book, especially when I glance back at the rough terrain behind us.

I'm learning that having faced the challenge of infertility doesn't necessarily mean I'll never take a day of pregnancy for granted, no matter how hard I try. I'm still amazed that God chose to give me the gift of growing a child-though I'm clearly still not humble enough to have deserved it-so I just have to do my best to glorify Him every single day, praise Him for His continued Grace when I fail to do so, and trust in the obvious.

While He's forming my perfect, tiny human, He's also still growing me.

"Everything grows rounder and wider and weirder, and I sit here in the middle of it all and wonder who in the world you will turn out to be."
-Carrie Fisher

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


There is nothing like the feeling of your child kicking the crap out of you to make you fall deeper in love.

I close my eyes, and I imagine this tiny human pushing and stretching it's spidery little limbs against my uterus, exploring it's living quarters, beginning to develop reflexes and perfecting it's acrobatic shenanigans all at the same time. And in the midst of a pregnancy that still doesn't quite feel real, these little reminders in the form of gentle tugs throughout the day help me to focus on the blessing I've been given the opportunity to grow.

In the right outfit, to a complete stranger I still may not appear to be growing a tiny human in my uterus, but to me it's becoming more and more apparent. I still don't have trouble tying my shoes, moving too quickly or fitting through tight spaces, but the overwhelming feeling that accompanies an unfinished checklist halfway through this magical time is starting to become daunting.

You'd think after more than three years of waiting not so patiently for this time in my life to arrive, I would have already registered in my head every little detail necessary for this child, from the nursery decor to the type of bottles I'd be using. But the truth is, now that I'm finally in the midst of watching my dreams come true, I'm second guessing every product I've ever considered using.

And I'm finding that reading reviews only make matters worse.

One hundred fifty-three people love it, but seventy-five people hate it. It's the most adorable one out there, but but it doesn't have the high safety ratings that the unfortunate looking one does. It worked for this person and they can't live without it, but these other two people wish they never would have bought it.

It's exhausting.

Does my child really need a cradle and sway swing, or will an automatic bouncer suffice? And I'm madly in love with the idea of Moby wraps, allowing me to wear my child for a quick trip into the store verses lugging in the car seat to place on the cart, but is it realistic to assume my baby and I will actually find it soothing to be attached to each other for long periods of time? And I love the design and concept of Tommy Tippee bottles, especially since I plan to breastfeed for the first year, but is the slightly higher price tag worth it when there is a possibility I could run into leaks and a collapsing nipple like a small percentage of other consumers have?

The most difficult part is the reality that you just never know what will work for you until your very own child arrives and let's you know what it likes and doesn't like, despite consumer reviews, amazing color pallets and good construction.

And then there is the diaper debate.

I have decided to cloth diaper. At first it was because of the cost, then it was for the environment, then it was to be trendy and different, and now it's just a fetish, fueled further by the crazy looks I get from family, friends and strangers when I tell them I'm going to use cloth diapers and-gasp-even cloth wipes. I'll admit it, I want to prove them all wrong, show them I can do this and enjoy it, too. Which shouldn't be too difficult since these aren't your grandmothers cloth diapers, either; you'd be surprised how close to a disposable diaper you can get with the added advantage of never having to buy more since they grow with the baby from eight to thirty five pounds; which for me totally outweighs the poop factor.

So after months and months of research, I've pretty much settled on Bum Genius 4.0's in combination with the versatile Flip diaper. I've found that most cloth diapering moms will agree that these are both great diapers, and though it's best to have a mix of several different kinds, one of these diaper types are almost always preeminent in their diaper stash.

But I've been warned-once again-that you never know what will work best until your baby arrives; which makes it difficult to build up a decent diaper stash in preparation of baby coming.
And then of course there's related decisions to be made such as whether to use a lined diaper pale or a giant wet bag, how to make your own baby wipe solution and how many doublers and liners you will need once your baby starts to sleep through the night.

Hemp, or bamboo?

I don't know. My baby isn't here yet.

And all it does is kick me when I ask.

But despite the overwhelming decisions to be made, I'm thrilled to be making them. I'm surrounded by friends and family who have little ones that can help push me in the right direction-even when they do give me crazy eyes for wanting to save the world with organic products and cloth diapers-and I'm ready to embrace the unexpected, live and learn.

And it's not all difficult; there are some things still flowing smoothly.

During my appointment this week, despite my lack of modesty this far in the game the doctor completed a somewhat unpleasant pelvic exam by man-handling my insides with little to no gentleness, but did inform me that my body seems to be taking beautifully to this pregnancy and I should have no problem physically-thanks in part to my birthing hips, I'm sure-managing the delivery of a nine to ten pound baby, easy.

Good to know.

Albeit overwhelming at times; I'm pregnant, my previously-disregarded-as-broken-body is finally doing exactly what it was made to do, and my half baked child is actively making his or her presence known in the form of tiny kicks and punches that still take my breath away.

It really doesn't get much better than this.

"Preparation, I have often said, is rightly two-thirds of any venture...[but] worry retards reaction and makes clear-cut decisions impossible."
-Amelia Earhart