Pud has a new trick this week: rolling and kicking and punching in ways that cause my belly to contort significantly and visibly in some really bizarre ways.  He is also a bit of a Michigan J. Frog personality, in that he is happy to perform his antics for me (and apparently a random stranger), but completely stops if he’s noticed by his daddy.  This would be why we will have great difficulty capturing his movements on video.

 To add even more humor to this quirk, yesterday, I went to Auto Zone to pick up some new lightbulbs for the tail and cargo lights on the truck (and yes, I changed them myself- whoo!).  While the man was helping me find the lightbulbs, Pud suddenly stretched and rolled, bigtime.  Well, this bigtime stretches can sometimes hurt a bit, and they cause me to massage the area for a second when he does it.  As I’m reaching for the right side of my navel, the guy, with wide eyes, says, “Are you okay?!?” 

I said, “I’m fine.  I’m just pregnant.”   

“I know. I saw that.  Are you okay? You’re not ready to pop, are you?”   

I chuckled and said, “No, not even close.”  I know he didn’t believe me.  I wish I had a picture of his face.

Last weekend, we were able to head to Mother Nurture to take advantage of a consignment sale and picked up a mei tai and a Moby D wrap.  B and I tried out both of them.  I think the Moby’s gonna be great, but now that I’ve seen and tried a mei tai, I think I’m going to be just as big a fan of the mei tai.  B looks very comfy with the mei tai on his body, and it can be used longer than the stretchy Moby.  Can’t wait to see baby boy curled up against his daddy in one of the carriers for some bonding and guy time. 

B's artistic rendering of our "birth journey"

Last week, our birth class focused on strategies to cope during the first stage of labor.  We talked about ways to manage fear, pain, and tension.  Our homework is to decide which calming strategies, relaxation techniques, and visualization techniques we think will work best for us.  The first step in this process has been eliminating those that won’t work for us!  One is the use of aromatherapy, since I have a very sensitive nose and our instructor mentioned that the nose of a woman in labor is even more sensitive than that of a pregnant woman’s.  I can’t imagine bringing in some favored scent and hating it forever because I remember how much it irritated me while I was in labor.  We already know for sure that water, laughter, and B’s affirmations and “verbal” (manual) support will help, as will moving positions frequently.  We’re still thinking through and experimenting with some of the others.  Deciding which strategies might help you when your body is working really hard is definitely an exercise in “know thyself.”

House-wise, we should hear something next week about our mortgage application and a closing date.  We are having a lot of trouble with this particular “hurry up and wait”!

My "fantasy birth" picture- the yellow is representing the joy, but I guess it does make for a nativity scene...

My job ended with FCPS on Wednesday of this past week.  Quiet day, but full of uncertainty about what would be happening the next day… until we all found out that we were hired by the new fiscal agent, effective Thursday.  So I have now worked for 4 hours for my new employer.  FCPS has a board meeting on July 6 (Tuesday evening); on that agenda is the sale of our current building.  For now, we’re still operating out of our current building, but there’s still uncertainty about our future there.  I’m glad that we have “back-up plans” in place, but not having the uncertainty hanging over our heads would be SO nice.  At any rate, from July 1 until further notice, I will be continuing my previous job with the family literacy program, but NOT my job with the adult education program.  That’s due to funding and a tight budget control for the beginning of our fiscal year.  B and I have so much happening at home nowadays that for me to have afternoons and evenings available for a catnap and some packing and cleaning isn’t a bad thing at all.  Job for after the baby comes?  Not really sure yet…

The fish cravings have not stopped.  In fact, I’m having to pay attention and be careful not to eat too many servings of fish in one week.  His little brain is still firing up and growing rapidly, according to the What to Expect website.  According to the iPod app, he’s about the size of a head of lettuce now.  My favorite goodies still include frozen berries, an especially welcome treat when it’s so hot outside. 

Some of the "tools" in our "toolbox"

I’m grateful that we had a bit of a temperature reprieve this past week, because life was just more bearable after the soaring heat and humidity of last weekend.  At one point last Saturday, I just started crying because I was so hot and miserable.  Being hot is bad, but hot with hot flashes AND heat rashes AND even more water retention that makes shoes and clothes uncomfortable AND a seemingly-heavier belly- and not being able to do anything about them (we weren’t at home) is probably one of the most awful assaults that can be made on a person’s optimism.  Women who are carrying around huge bellies in the summer should have the right to wear personal water suits that supply cool water to replace the heated water at regular intervals.  I am so blessed that my husband doesn’t question my body temperature needs.  Air conditioning, my little kiddie pool and swimsuit purchases, jugs and jugs of cold water, popsicles, ice, frozen berries… whatever it takes to make me happy, he provides- without complaining. 

Speaking of wonderful husbands, I am pleased that we decided to splurge on the Baby Moon classes, because I am seeing my sweet B’s confidence blossom.  He was really unsure of what he would be able to do when we’re in labor, but now, he’s realizing that he’s going to be the single most important person that can help me work through the labor process.  It’s a huge responsibility, but he is listening and taking notes and thinking about what he knows about me-and us- to contribute to conversations about what we think will and will not work for us during our own laboring experience.  There truly is a HUGE value in taking a natural childbirth class- even if one doesn’t plan to deliver “completely naturally”, just because there is so much value in the information, strategies, and relaxation techniques that they teach.  The hospital did a great job telling us about their typical policies and showing us some of the intervention tools, but they did not do a good job of telling us about what we can be doing before it’s time to get to the hospital.  The other advantage is that these classes encourage communication between birth partners- through birth artwork opportunities, the practice exercises, and homework assignments. 

My "birth journey" art. Isn't it funny how similar in theme our pictures ended up being, despite working independently?

One of the assignments we had this week was to try to watch birth videos with Callie and Bandit, as a strategy to prepare them for some of the sounds that they’d hear while I’m in labor.  We got to do this last night with our friends (and doula) Lane and Preston.  They graciously shared their birth video and, in the process, Lane was able to explain some of the things that she was doing and how they were related to the different stages of labor, like the changes in breathing patterns.  Preston was able to share with B about some of his thoughts and answer some of B’s questions about being the birth coach.  It was a great experience for all of us, and very informative.  I liked that their birth video showed that Lane was working hard, but so was Preston, and it was about as opposite of a typical episode of A Baby Story as you can possibly imagine.  The pups slept through the entire labor and delivery segments of Lane and Preston’s birth video.  Once baby was born and started crying and making baby sounds, Callie was right on top of me, alerting.  Interesting response… 

62 days left to go.  Happy Independence Day!