Friday afternoons have never dragged on as much as they have the last 5 weeks. I want to get home and be with Xavi and Sean. I can’t wait to see his little gummy smile again.
Note: I wrote this a few weeks ago while still on maternity leave.
Years ago Lori told me about a conversation she had with our mom.
Mom: I want Cindy to hurry up, get married and have kids so I can quit my job and be her babysitter.
Lori: Do you only want to be Cindy’s babysitter? What about me?!
Mom: Oh, I didn’t think you’d want me to watch your kids because we clash a lot.
Lori: Of course I would. You raised us and did an awesome job.
I don’t know if I was even seeing anyone at the time, but I remember thinking this arrangement would be awesome. I could work and still make sure my future child was with someone I trusted and was great with children. Not only had my mom been a stay at home mom and raised four children, she had also worked in primary education for several years with special needs children. Oh, and this was way, way, way before I even had a clue about childcare rates in Los Angeles.
As awesome as it would be for grandma to be the babysitter, I knew it was unlikely in my case. My parents need those benefits attached to my mom’s job. (Dad is self-employed.) My in-laws are both retired but live in New York, so that’s out of the question too.
Throughout pregnancy I kept thinking of that conversation. I was so envious of friends and cousins with this arrangement. As I prepare to go back to work and figure out our childcare plans, the green-eyed monster returned especially as I stared at our budget spreadsheet.
And then I thought about what I do have and what I am grateful for.
A healthy, happy Xavi.
An engaged and fully committed partner in parenting
It’d be too sappy to enumerate the many ways Sean is the partner I need. I have no doubt his love, support and help will ease the transition.
While neither set of grandparents can be full-time caretakers, they have been immensely supportive and loving. My in-laws spoiled their first grandchild with several of the big ticket baby items. We’ll be seeing them soon too. My parents have been around at least once a week to visit Xavi as well as help Sean and I with things we don’t get to as new parents (household chores, bringing prepared meals). As soon as we’re ready to leave him, they’ll jump at the chance to babysit too.
I was lucky enough to get to know all four grandparents. Xavi has four grandparents and two great-grandparents. Lucky kid.
Siblings and extended family nearby
It was super nice to have my siblings drop by during maternity leave just to visit or help out with Xavi for a few hours. There’s no shortage of people who would jump at the chance to babysit him if we need a night out.
I like my job. I miss my co-workers and the students. I’ve seen them a couple of times since July at the closing dinner for one of the research programs and a staff appreciation bowling outing. My job is generally stress free and rewarding. More practically, I don’t work crazy hours and have a short commute (for LA). I can’t forget that I also have excellent benefits. Health insurance should be it’s own category.
I’ve been off for the better part of three months. Most of my leave has been paid even though I wasn’t able to use my short-term disability insurance (I set it up wrong when I was hired in my current position). Fortunately, since I’ve been employed at the university at least part time since 2006, I had a lot of sick, vacation and comp time saved up. I could have taken off about another 6 weeks but we can’t afford to be a single income family that long.
A rent-controlled apartment
This is big. We have plenty of space for our little family and short commutes to our workplaces. While I sometimes complain about our neighbors, the neighborhood is nice, generally safe, walk/run-able, and is kid-friendly.
Jaclyn Day’s post on childcare and maternity leave really hit home.
They [46 million people in poverty] are the mothers and fathers who have few options and who can’t make the “hard” choices about breastfeeding, childcare and what elaborate decorations to have at their child’s first birthday party, because there may be no choices to be had.
Our budget might be tight, but we’re still quite privileged. I’ll keep that in perspective as I make another big transition.
I’m a day late on this anniversary post. I was too busy yesterday spending time with Sean and Xavier, catching up with friends visiting from NYC, and freaking out over Breaking Bad to do some writing.
The day after we got married, we checked out of the hotel, and went to my parents’ house for leftovers and to open up gifts. Later that afternoon, Sean took a nap and I stayed up to brainstorm the moments I never wanted to forget from our wedding day. I wrote a long list of details and moments that would not be captured by any photographer, videographer or guest. A year later, I re-read the list and am so glad I wrote those memories especially the one after the vows.
When it came for the rite of marriage, Sean and I followed Fr. Ricky’s directions. We stood, faced each other and held hands. Our guests looked on quietly — mostly — as we stated our intentions.
Yes, we had come freely and without reservation to give ourselves to each other in marriage. Yes, we would love and honor each other as man and wife for the rest of our lives. Yes, we would accept children lovingly from God and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church.
The church was quiet except for a friend’s toddler asking “Where’s Buzz Lightyear?” I thought that was fitting since we had just pledged to accept children.
Following the statement of intentions, it was time to give consent to marriage through our vows. Sean went first and repeated after Fr. Ricky that he promised to be true in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. His voiced cracked and tears welled up as he professed to love and honor me all the days of his life.
Nervously, I took my turn and repeated the same words Sean had just uttered. I, Cynthia, take you, Sean, to be my husband. As I continued, I tried my best to keep my voice steady and eyes dry but was only half successful. I couldn’t help tearing up as I saw the emotion in Sean’s face as I promised to love and honor him all the days of my life.
When I was done, Sean mouthed, “You won.”
I shook my head. No, we pretty much cried at the same time. The bet and bragging rights didn’t matter anyway.
A year later after reading my notes, I realize that Sean was right. I did win, but it wasn’t a bet and the prize was better than bragging rights.
I got him. And Xavier too.
Happy anniversary, Sean.
“You know, this is likely our last lazy Saturday morning doing nothing in bed together,” Sean said as we watched cartoons (Adventure Time and Justice League) following a late breakfast.
The past few weekends have been low key since we’re not making many plans, but earlier in the summer and spring we were driving around Southern California for family events and preparing for Meatball’s arrival.
Sean and I met up with the cousins for Café Tacuba at the Glass House in Pomona. I’ve seen Café Tacuba a few times with Rene, but this was the first time I’ve been to a concert with Vanny and Junior. Rene represented us in the pit while the rest of caught the show from further back. Even before pre-pregnancy I wasn’t up for the craziness of the pit. Rubén, Meme, Joselo and Quique put on a great show. I’m happy I got to see them perform songs from the new album (favorites are “Olita del Altamar” and “Aprovéchate”) as well as my old favorites. Unfortunately, I left during the encore because I started feeling lightheaded and had another one of my dizzy spells.
After choosing a color, Sean and I painted the nursery. He took the lead on putting together the furniture and other baby items we bought or were gifted. We’d been using the closet for storage.
My parents and sister hosted a baseball-themed baby shower in honor of me, Sean and baby Meatball on June 22nd. It was a beautiful day filled with family, friends, good food, cute decorations and — of course — lots of adorable baby clothes.
My family once again showed that they’re experts at party planning and hosting.
My mother-in-law, Eula, hosted her a baby shower in NY a few weeks before the California party. We tried to Skype in, but there were technical difficulties.
We’ve been very blessed by our families’ and friends’ generosity. I know it’s cheesy to proclaim “so blessed!” on social media, but I can’t help it.
It’s the truth.
I’m at 35 weeks now.
Our doctor took an estimate of Meatball’s current weight, size and position. He’s getting big and he’s in position ready to go.
I’m not sleeping as well and am a little more tired, but it’s not too bad. There were a couple of nights where I woke up every 2 hours, but most nights I only wake up twice. The only things about sleep that are annoying are trying to find a comfortable position to sleep in or waking up with a cramp in my leg or foot.
I’ve only had one sorta dizzy spell. Nausea is coming back with occasional vomiting. It makes me wary of taking the prenatal vitamin because it always makes it worse.
Sean and I have been taking several classes. So far, we’ve taken the four-session prepared childbirth (Lamaze) class. The class was pretty small with only about 10 couples and we did it in two Saturdays. Our teacher, Christina, seemed like a cross between a very knowledgeable labor & delivery nurse/lactation consultant and a stand-up comedian/your hilarious friend. She had the props, stories about family members (mainly her sister), stories about her fiancé, silly gestures/facial expressions and even had the timing down. It was a nice change of pace from the generic DVD we watched in between her bits.
We’ve also had Tuesday evening classes at the hospital where we’re delivering. Our teacher, Gwen, has the same qualifications as Christina but instead she’s an older Jamaican woman. She’s not as funny, but I still like her classes and responses to some of the odd questions she gets. So far, we’ve taken: labor and delivery, breast feeding with success, and newborn care basics.
I feel like I’ve learned a lot, but still have a bunch of questions. I also fear that I’ll miss some early signs of labor or forget what I’m supposed to do.
My baby shower is later today. My sister said she and mom stopped counting the RSVPs after 100 people.
I’m 31 weeks along today! I wanted to take a cute picture of my bump to mark the date but my plans changed after something unexpected this morning. Now, I don’t even want to bother with putting on pants.
I did take pictures today, but they’re dramatic and don’t show much bump. I only took them to pretend I’m a badass or freak out my siblings (depends on the sibling). But, I’m not an alarmist jerk, or I try not to be. When I texted the photo of the IV in my arm and the patient bracelet, I made sure to add that Meatball and I were okay.
Now, for two stories. I’ll tell you the end right now: I was sent home from labor and delivery after some tests/monitoring and am okay and so is Baby Meatball.
Sunday night: Midnight visit
My first thought when I saw the blood in the toilet and on the toilet paper was, “Should I tell Sean?” Of course, I knew I had to. I know spotting early in pregnancy is normal, but this wasn’t early. I was 30 weeks along.
I went back to the bedroom and turned on the lights. “So… there’s some blood.”
He immediately got up and stayed calm. While looking for the number to the doctor’s office, we double-checked what the Mayo Clinic book and literature from Kaiser said about bleeding at this point. The doctor’s office put me through to the advice nurse who asked a few questions and then told me to call labor and delivery. I summed up my issue in one sentence to a nurse. She responded succinctly, “Yup, you need to come in.”
We changed quickly and were at the hospital five minutes later. (I’m glad I live so close.) It was a little after 12:15 when I checked in.
Once admitted, I was monitored by the nurses for contractions and asked several questions about the bleeding and my medical history/pregnancy thus far. The doctor on duty checked me out and concluded that everything looked okay (cervix is fine, placenta was away from the cervix thus not the cause of the bleeding, no contractions). I was sent home with directions to not have sex and return if there was more bright red blood or cramping.
I’ve never been admitted to the hospital for anything, so the whole experience was surreal even if I was just there a couple of hours. The scariest thing, according to Sean was when the machine monitoring my contractions made a long beep noise. Seriously, it sounded like it was flatlining. A nurse rushed back and said, “oh, the printer is stuck.” Sean did not like the printer’s warning beep.
On the bright side, I did get to see Baby Meatball briefly during the quick ultrasound. He looks good and definitely has Sean’s lips. We got home a little before 3 and I emailed my boss to let he know I’d be taking the morning off.
Today: Too many needles
Despite starting off the week at the hospital, I felt fine for the next few days. I was especially happy this morning because Baby Meatball is now 31 weeks old.
I went in for my monthly appointment with my OB. It was short and sweet. The nurse who checked me in gave me a TDAP shot (ouch!). My doctor mentioned my low blood pressure, but wasn’t worried since it’s been like that for the past few months, my heart rate is fine, and I’m asymptomatic. We talked about baby’s growth and what to expect when I come back at 35 weeks. Everything looked good during the quick ultrasound and then she sent us off on our way to my next appointment with the lactation nurse.
While Sean and I were in the RN’s office listening to her talk about how to get the baby to latch on, I started to feel sick. I had the same symptoms I had on the bus in February and after the Café Tacuba show last month. I told the nurse I didn’t feel well and she gave me a plastic trash bag so I could vomit. The nausea and faintness were relieved by vomiting, my vision returned to normal and I cooled down again. The nurse took my blood pressure and consulted with my doctor. Instead of sending me home, they sent me next door to labor and delivery.
Once again I was monitored for contractions. My blood pressure was checked every 15 minutes and I had blood drawn for a few tests (blood sugar, anemia, electrolytes). I was hooked up to an IV to ensure I got more fluids in case I was dehydrated. I got my results and everything looked normal, I didn’t have any contractions and once again Baby Meatball was fine. The midwife on duty ruled out potential causes for the dizziness and then said I was fine to go home to rest. Before I left the nurse gave me warning signs for preterm labor, pre-eclampsia, and tips on dealing with dizziness during pregnancy. I spent the rest of the day resting at home and Sean went to work.
It was funny, shortly before I got sick, Sean thought we were going to be in and out of our appointments quickly. Hah. I guess I had other plans.
*Countdown to the expected due date. Of course, I know this is plus/minus several days.
A few weeks ago, I went in for my monthly appointment with my doctor. While waiting to check in, the woman ahead of me told a teenage girl next to her, “I keep seeing pregnant women. It must be a sign.”
“Huh? I’ve only seen two,” replied the teenager.
“I’ve seen five. Three walked by. One was just ahead of us in line. And there’s the other woman in line behind us.”
She wasn’t talking about me. She was clearly talking about another woman who looked much further along in line behind me.
When Sean joined me in the waiting room, I told him the story and offered a fake cry. I was a little bummed about not yet looking pregnant to strangers. I guess there’s benefits to that.
I can still wear a couple pairs of pre-pregnancy jeans if I use a ponytail holder looped through the button hole. Strangers don’t reach out to touch my bump or try and make conversation about my pregnancy. No one has said “Wow, you’re getting big!” or made other rude comments about my size. Nor do I receive unsolicited advice — actually we’ve been asking friends for advice and they’ve been awesome. I’m on pace for the recommended weight gain.
And I got accused by my cousin Nancy of exaggerating my bump in the Instagram photo above (taken at 23 weeks). She was right, but how often do you pose for a picture by sticking out your belly?
Anyway, I know this will change as I approach the third trimester.
When I got in to see the doctor, she started with her usual, “how are you feeling?” We followed up about my near fainting episode. She then went on to the routine ultrasound. She hadn’t been looking around for more than two minutes when she stopped.
“Let me go get my colleague. I want her to see something.”
She left the exam room and returned with a second doctor. The second doctor introduced herself, asked me if I’d been leaking fluid (no) and went on to continue with the ultrasound. They took some measurements and determined that there was a normal amount of amniotic fluid.
“Sorry for scaring you,” she offered.
The whole thing happened so quickly, that I barely had time to get scared and think of all the what-ifs. Sean, on the other hand, had plenty of time to get worried.
I was told to focus on drinking more water throughout the day.
I probably would’ve been more scared if I hadn’t felt Baby Meatball move for the first time just a day before my appointment.
Since then I’ve felt his movements gets stronger and Sean’s been able to feel him too. It’s still weird, but I don’t want it to stop.
I passed on the baby registration process to Sean after our initial visit to Baby’s R Us (his post on that). I was a little overwhelmed by the various products. Sean’s been taking his job seriously and doing a lot of research. He’s awesome. Also on the awesome list: the friends and family who have offered hand-me-downs (e.g., my boss who gave us the crib her daughter has outgrown. w00t!)
We’re close on two important decisions:
1. The name. We have the same first choice and no clear second choice. Sean is ready to choose [NAME]. I feel like I need to see Meatball first to know [NAME] is right, but maybe that will change in the next few months. How did you know the name was right?
2. The paint for Meatball’s room. We just have to decide if we want three neutral walls and one brighter accent wall or four walls of the brighter color. I think both would be good with the crib we just received.
My dad is worried Meatball is gonna stick as a nickname, especially if he is chunky. My cousin Nancy thinks it’s inevitable.
Things I wonder about at 22 weeks:
Why haven’t I felt Baby Meatball yet? Does my extra padding block the feeling of his movement?
If Sean and I choose a name with an uncommon spelling and alternative pronunciation, will Meatball get annoyed that his name is frequently mispronounced and misspelled? At least he can commiserate with his father on the latter.
Do all maternity pants sag? Is that just me?
Speaking of sagging, how do young guys do this? It’s so uncomfortable and inefficient for walking.
Am I super behind on prepping for Baby Meatball’s arrival? Pregnancy forums make me feel that way since all I’ve really done is clean out the room that will become his nursery and secured a secondhand crib that I still need to pick up. Color scheme? Theme? Nope. Far from that.
Will I come back to running from pregnancy as a better, faster, stronger runner? (See: Marie’s latest race report.)
When will I actually start to look pregnant rather than just looking like I’ve gained weight?
Why did I get rid of most of my pre-weight loss clothes? I could’ve gone through pregnancy without buying much.
Why did I take such a long break from running last summer and early fall?