Saturday, May 29, 2010

Bomps: Eloquently Explained

This baby moves inside me now
Sending messages at night-
Morse code
About life on the inside:
It is dark
But warm and quiet
With only muffled echoes softly pleading,
Wake up, little one.
I want to know you're in there,
Happy and safe.
Answers come again-
A sudden flutter-
Secret lyrics of song with no rhythm.
Played with hands and feet.

Someday I will hear the song again-
A high-pitched, quick and breathy humming.
I will teach her that she's been singing that old song forever,
And reach out for little splayed hands
That have long since held my heart.

By Yvette Benavides

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Dear Chickpea" - A Letter From Mama

Dear Chickpea,

As of today, you've been growing in my belly for 23 weeks.  Aside from your strong heartbeat heard with help from the doppler I bought to alleviate the early worries, for about 18 weeks I had to give into the unknown, only assuming you were growing and thriving just as you should.  For the past several weeks, however, I've felt you move more regularly in my ever-growing stomach.  Your first movements felt like little goldfish flipping or like butterfly wings tickling me from the inside.  As time passed, it felt a bit more powerful - enough that I nicknamed the feeling/movements and could be heard excitedly yelling out to your daddy, "I just felt another bomp!!"  Since then, you've been bomping your way straight to my heart, stronger with each passing day. 

In the past week or two, I've noticed that you will move more when I talk a lot (which happens quite a bit, as you'll eventually learn!).  I can't quite describe the pride I experience every time I talk and feel you immediately wiggle about in response.  This first form of two-sided communication has me daydreaming about how much fun we'll have someday, giggling well past your bedtime and telling each other tall tales. 

Last week, your daddy came home from a busy day and announced that he thought it was time he start talking to you so you'd recognize his voice when you finally arrive. He sat on the couch, head tilted down toward you, and began to tell us both about his day.  It didn't take long before you were bomping like crazy - the most active I'd ever felt you be, as a matter of fact!  I read the next day in my pregnancy book that your ear bones are hardening now, and that the first bones to harden allow you to hear low-frequency sounds even better than higher-pitched sounds at this stage.  This was just another amazing thing I was happy to learn about you.  Because your daddy has a strong, deep voice, you're able to hear him from the outside - this makes me so, so happy, because I have a feeling your daddy has felt a bit left out of the process up until now! 

Tonight as I ate dinner, you bomped up a storm, so much that I felt compelled to lift my shirt to see what was going on.  To my delight and surprise, I could see my stomach move with each kick you made!  This is, by far, the coolest thing I've experienced with you.  Now I can hear, feel, and "see" you, and all of these little messages make you seem even more real to me.  They've allowed me to go from worrying about your well-being (which will never stop, of course) to feeling much more relaxed and confident that in just a short while, you'll be wriggling, grinning and stealing my heart with each and every move and sound you make - only you will be outside of my belly, able to be kissed and cuddled a million times a day.  Thank you for giving me so much to look forward to, Chickpea.

I can't wait to meet you, little one.  We are going to have so much fun bomping around together once you arrive...

I love you,


Monday, May 24, 2010

Bump Watch: 22 Weeks

You guys, I'm getting HUGE!  And I have...four more months of growing to do.  Something tells me this is going to be a long, hot, uncomfortable summer.  Let's hope that when my uterus reaches its final destination, the baby is able to distribute evenly as opposed to going OUT even more.

Don't ask me what I'm doing here, because I don't know.  It sort of fits, though, doesn't it?  Looks like I'm thinking, "OMG, am I going to fit into ANYTHING by the time this is said and done?!"

Don't worry - no matter how big I get, I'll still act like a jackass.  See?

And I'll still be able to play with the puppers (I hope?!)...

Let's hope I continue to have smooth skin no matter how big I get (I think the awesome lotion and oil Jilly got me is working!)

I must admit this has been a rough week, health-wise.  I started feeling really dizzy and out of breath last Tuesday, and it's getting worse with each day along with excessive tiredness.  I went in for blood tests; hopefully they will just show that I'm anemic or something easily fixed.  In the meantime, I'm trying to rest as much as possible (which is hard to do since I've been getting up 3-4 times a night to go to the bathroom lately!) and feel thankful this is one of the only problems I've encountered so far in this pregnancy.  Up until now, I've had very little to complain about.  Imagine that! ;o)

*I wanted to point out the bird scrabble pendant I'm wearing - isn't it adorable?  Bean and I share a love of all things 'Bird' and she sent it to me out of the blue about 6 months ago.  Thanks again, Bean/Jill!  I love it and always get compliments when I wear it!  xoxo

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Anniversary Weekend Rundown

As I mentioned, Mark has very little free time these days.  Being the dedicated man he is, though, he skipped a couple weekend meetings and spent a lot of time on the phone on the way to Petoskey, and was able to get away to celebrate our second wedding anniversary (despite making a whole lot of work to come back to for him).  He's the best!

We arrived to the Terrace Inn on Friday around 5pm and were greeted by the nice staff and the chef's CUTE dog, of which was hanging out in the back with no leash to keep her there.  I'd been thinking about how much I missed the girls, only to be able to instantly pet another pup!

We climbed the grandiose staircase to our queen whirlpool suite, unpacked, then went for a walk to check out the neighborhood:

We walked down to the beach (where, on Sunday, we hunted for - and found! - Petoskey Stones) and enjoyed the beautiful sky:

Later, we had dinner at the Inn's wonderful restaurant (oooooomg, it was so good), then rushed down to the shore to capture a few pictures of the amazing sunset before it nestled into the other side of the Earth for the night:

We even got a picture of the two of us, which is always hard to do when you're traveling alone:

The next day, we got up early, ate breakfast and went into town to shop for a bit before heading back to the Inn for our in-room massages (aaaaahhhh).  We walked past the most whimsical tree (which reminded me of the candlestick guy in 'Beauty and the Beast' and had me singing "Be Our Guest" for two days):

Then we bought a couple of presents for Chickpea - our first real purchases for the little one, besides some books I've been collecting over the years:

'Harper the Hippo'...could this be any cuter?!

This little pull toy was too much - I couldn't resist!

We went back to get our massages, then took a GLORIOUS nap before getting ready to go into town for a nice dinner.  Do you see a trend here?  Shop, eat, sleep.  Isn't that what trips away are all about, though?  LOVE.

The next day, we got up early, had breakfast, then headed to Traverse City and went to a couple of wineries so Mark could do some wine-tasting (we went here and here - the latter was the clear favorite, according to Mark):

It was my idea to go tasting, and while I was so happy Mark got to try some yummy wines, I'm not going to lie: it was a wee bit awkward being pregnant in that setting!  It was also quite hard to not take a sip or two ( I did take a sip of one that we later bought a couple bottles of so I could enjoy it after Chickpea is here!).

We then drove into downtown T.C. and did some shopping after having a pizza lunch under the sun.  My favorite shop was the hat store!  I even got Mark to try a couple on...

And I totally ROCKED this Alice in Wonderland one, if I do say so myself:

Mark even put one on (but was a bit O-V-E-R the whole thing by this point; can you tell?):

Overall, it was a great weekend with my sweetie.  We talked and laughed so much.  On the way back, I was excited to get home to see Molly and Lucy, but also quite wistful that it meant I wouldn't have 24 hours a day to spend with Mark anymore.  He's just so fun to be with, and makes me grin in a way very few people or things can.  I can't wait to get away with him again, although I'm almost positive it won't be until after the baby is here.  What a year we have ahead of us!   

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bump Watch: 21 Weeks

Hello!  We are back from our anniversary getaway (following 5 days of no Internet at home - I'm trying to catch up on posts retroactively, as you'll soon see), which also means we are back to the grind.  We had a wonderful time was so, so, SO nice to spend some time with Mark all to myself.

I haven't talked about it here, but I rarely get to see my guy these days, as he's running a statewide campaign and is working 18+ hour days.  Poor thing barely has time to sleep!  I like to think of it as his baby...I sit here and grow our baby, while he works to grow our future.  I think it's only fair. One good thing about this situation, I guess, is that I am given the chance to know that when I'm not with Mark, I really, truly miss him.  And when I'm with him again, I get reminded how how much I actually like and enjoy being with my husband!

We took a couple belly pics while we were away, but they didn't turn out so well.  Blurry (were there ghosts in the purportedly "haunted" bed & breakfast, messing with our lens?):

(Feel free to click on the photos to see just how blurry they really are...)

This was the first version of the thumbs up (whoa!): 

This one turned out better: 

Can you tell in these pictures that I'm super rested, having done nothing but sleep, eat, and laugh over the course of the weekend? *sigh* Can I go back now?!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Table for Two at the Gratitude Café

Today Mark and I celebrate our two-year wedding anniversary.  Two years ago today, I couldn't stop smiling.  I didn't have a nervous quiver in my stomach to speak of, and people giggled at me every time I would hop up and down with excitement about what I was about to do.  It was my favorite day, because I was there to marry my amazing, perfect-for-me best friend.

I've gushed about Mark before and talked about how happy I am with the life I've been given.  And yet, I don't think there are enough words in the world to truly convey how blessed and content I feel to have Mark in my life, to be able to call him my husband.  Thankfully, I have the rest of my lifetime to figure out how to express it to him in a way that measures up to the happiness he brings to my heart.

Last year, I made a video for Mark to commemorate our first anniversary.  I thought I'd share it with those of you who might not have been with us on that wonderful day or who haven't seen it yet (and yes, I totally just cried while watching it again...):

Amy & Mark's 1st Wedding Anniversary Montage from Amy B on Vimeo.

There was a time when I wondered if I would ever find someone to love me the way I was able to love - I worried that I might be too old to have children once I did find him.  I used to listen to a song that spoke to me, hoping that someday it would come true for me.  IT DID.  Two years ago today, Mark and I danced as husband and wife to that very song...and the meaning took on a new understanding.  I truly am The Luckiest.

Two years later, I'm so honored to be carrying within me a unique, amazing product of our love.  Five months from now,  everyone will be able to see for themselves just how powerful that love really is.  Thank you, Mark, for helping to complete the scattered, unfinished puzzle that was my life.  You were the piece I'd been looking for - dreaming about all along.  What a beautiful picture we have made together; I can't wait to add color and depth to it with each year I'm blessed enough to have you standing by my side.

Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality. It is the words that speak boldly of your intentions. And the actions which speak louder than the words. It is making the time when there is none. Coming through time after time after time, year after year after year. Commitment is the stuff character is made of; the power to change the face of things. It is the daily triumph of integrity over skepticism.  ~ Abraham Lincoln

Friday, May 14, 2010

Away We Go

I'm sitting in the comfort of my home in front of my own computer, waiting for my hard-working prince to come take me away for an anniversary weekend in Petoskey.  On Sunday, we will celebrate two years of loving and living as husband and wife.  It honestly feels like only six months have passed since we said, "I Do" - I'd say that's a good sign.

Stayed tuned for a schmoopy anniversary post (grab your barf buckets, boys and girls!) on Sunday.  In the meantime, I hope you have a happy, cozy, loved-filled weekend all your own. 


Monday, May 10, 2010

Bump Watch: 20 Weeks

Hello, my pretties!  I hope you had a lovely weekend and an even better Mother's Day if it applied to you (and if you are mama to an animal, stepchild or have a wee one on the way - it applies)!  I had a great day yesterday, despite the fact that I went into a cleaning frenzy after telling myself not to...I rationalized with myself by thinking, "This is how every future Mother's Day will be, me taking care of a little one, feeding and cleaning up after it...might as well start now!"  Makes sense, right?

Mark took me out to a nice dinner and for frozen yogurt, and bought me the cutest sun hat to wear now that I'm more susceptible to burning.  I can't wait until we have enough sun to use it!

This week I seemed to get bigger and then suddenly a little smaller. Gas? Water weight?  It's anyone's guess:

I also noticed that from the back, my behind and hips seem to be widening a bit.  SAY IT ISN'T SO!

I'm getting to the point where I can't wear too many of my non-maternity pants without using a hair tie to rig it up.  The khaki's I'm wearing here are the last ones I can button up without feeling like blood is going to shoot out of my ears.  Oof!

It won't be long before Miss Molly can't sit on my lap anymore.  I'm kind of sad about that, but I'm sure she'll understand...or find a new way to sit on me!

Just for posterity, I thought I'd post a belly picture from Week 16 - the 1st week I started documenting. Ah yes, I see a difference!  Do you?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mother's Day Came Early for Me

Today we had our 20-week ultrasound and appointment.  This was the one I was equally excited and nervous about.  You see, after the bleeding scare, we had a visit with the doctor to talk things over.  She suggested we opt for the round of blood tests that look for abnormalities.  We were originally going to skip this, since no matter what the results were, we would have kept the baby anyway, but she made a great point that it would enable us to secure a 12-week ultrasound scan that insurance otherwise wouldn't cover.  Naturally, we jumped at the chance to see the baby earlier as additional proof that things were OK despite the bleeding.  Today was the day we were to not only get our second - and last, as long as everything continues to progress well - ultrasound, but also the results from the multiple blood tests.

When you are carrying a baby, it's impossible not to worry and wonder if things are going well.  I try not to dwell on the things I can't change or control, but this is our baby! You can imagine my mind occasionally goes to "What If" Land., we not only got to see Chickpea again, we also got a perfect report card for all of the tests - the results honestly couldn't have been any better.  WHEW!  I was practically walking on air on the way out, thinking to myself that this was the best possible Mother's Day gift anyone could ever ask for.

That, and these pictures of our wriggling, stubborn Chickpea (it took them a LONG time to get pictures of the face, and when the baby finally moved in place, the little one wouldn't stop moving!):

Profile 1 (head to left, looking up)

Profile 2 (look at the little arm up over the side of the least I think it's the arm!?)

FOOT! Nom nom.

My personal favorite - side profile of a little hiney (to the right) with a curled-up frog leg!


This is of the face from straight-on.  Does anyone else think this looks a little like the button-eyed kids in Coraline? Hee!  We saw the baby in this position waving it's arms in the air like s/he just didn't care, too, and it was quite hilarious!  So far we know that Chickpea is very active, stubborn, and a comedian - who said you can't learn about your baby from ultrasounds? ;o)

The baby was measured at just over 14 ounces and 10 inches long.  Now we know why my belly popped so much in the last month.  Grow, baby, GROW!  20 weeks down, 20 (give or take) to go.  Also, they moved our due date up one day from September 23 to September 22!  My dad will be happy to know this, because he called that as our delivery day using the lunar calendar (a trick my grandma used that led to an uncanny record of correct birthday guesses).

And speaking of my dad, it's his birthday tomorrow!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, daddio!  We all love you so much -- Chickpea says s/he can't wait to meet you! (((HUGS)))

P.S.: One last thing...I know I'm rambling but I'm clearly on a high from having seen our sweet baby today.  When we walked into the scan room, they asked if we would be finding out the gender. We said no, and later were told that only about 10% of people these days don't want to find out if their baby is a boy or girl.  I was shocked!  C'mon, people...whatever happened to the element of surprise?!

More Cuteness

In case you were mistaken about who has the best blog readers, I'm here to set the record straight.  That would be me.  Sorry, but I call it like I see it!

On Tuesday I arrived home to a package from Bean (who just found out she is also pregnant after trying for a long time!!).  Inside, there was the sweetest painting she made just for Chickpea:

And a precious receiving blanket to match! I sent Bean a text later to thank her and said, "I can't believe I'm going to have a baby small enough to wrap in this soon!!"

And then yesterday, I was greeted with another package in the mail from Val.  She shares my love of books (and works in...a BOOK STORE!) and couldn't resist sending this one my way:

How cute is that?  It is sooo soft and has a little movable baby bird that nestles into different nooks throughout the book:

Thank you ladies - I could get used to this 'present at the door every day' thing! ;o)  You are just too kind.  Mark, Chickpea and I appreciate your thoughtfulness so much.  Most of all, I appreciate your unwavering support and how great you are at picking me up when I need a verbal hug - you're the best! ((hugs))

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Like Wine I Can't Have, I Like to Think I Get Better with Age

As I come up on the halfway mark of this pregnancy, I can’t help but reflect on age and time. I’m not someone who has many regrets (really – we grow so much from those things we probably shouldn’t have done) and honestly wouldn’t change much about how my life has played out thus far. I’ll admit, though, that while I never thought I’d be a young mom, I also never thought I would be thirty-four by the time I gave birth to my first child. Not that I think 34 is old -- it’s just that in my early twenties, there was a time when I thought I was more ready for this big step than I did when I was in my late twenties and early thirties!

I look in the mirror and I see a slowly-deepening line spanning my forehead, a faint 'V' crease between my eyes, smile lines, and silver hairs that seem to multiply by the month. I look down at my hands and see the beginnings of thinning crepe paper skin, and can’t help but notice that I must now watch what I eat in order to not gain weight, despite not having a problem with this just 5 short years ago.

I could feel chagrined that these signs of aging are already being presented to me. Instead, I make myself see the beauty behind these unconventional gifts:
  • The line across my forehead is from all those times I raised my eyebrows in wonderment during a heartfelt conversation with a friend, and for all the times I was greeted by a joyful surprise;
  • The little creases between my eyes are from all those moments I spent deep in thought, studying the world around me – learning every step of the way;
  • The smile lines signify all the times of laughter, all the plentiful reasons I’ve had to smile in my lifetime;
  • The silver hairs – the same color as the hair both my sweet grandmothers had that I used to lovingly touch and call beautiful – are a symbol of the overflowing wisdom I’ve gained from real life and from those who loved me enough to teach me;
  • The less-than-smooth hands indicate a life of hard work, of cleaning and caring and living and washing away the dirt of life that I didn't let beat me down;
  • The extra weight on my hips is from the food I’m blessed enough to have plenty of, consumed during the many celebrations I’ve been a part of that included cake and champagne, hugs and cheers.
When I allow myself to reflect positively on the physical changes that are happening to me, I feel proud. It is all of these visible markings that have ripened my soul enough to give me the life experience I need to be able to someday pass it on to Chickpea, to show him/her the beauty and ways of this world s/he is about to enter into. There isn’t anything I would change – not the lines or the extra pounds; they were earned and will serve me well as I go from being a lady to becoming a mother.

These are the gifts I’ve been given and I will continue to graciously accept them with each year I’m blessed enough to be on this Earth.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Bump Watch: 19 Weeks

Greetings from Sleepy McPreggerson (I, once again, overdid it this weekend...)! 

I'm ALMOST halfway through this pregnancy - I'll be 20 weeks along this Thursday! 

It's kind of hard to believe that much time has passed, but it's also kind of hard to believe I still have 20 weeks to go.  Especially when you look at the size of my growing belly: 

As a matter of fact, right before these pictures were taken, Mark went to slip by me to grab something and accidentally bumped right into my baby bump!  Hahaha...if this is already happening, we might run into problems later.

Sometimes I look down and think, "Is it possible there are actually two babes in there?!"

...and then I thank my lucky stars that we have ultrasounds* to debunk that theory.  One is just fine for starters, methinks!

*Speaking of ultrasounds, we have our 20-week scan on Thursday.  Stay tuned for updated Chickpea photos - if all goes well, this will be the last glimpse we get of our little sweetie until s/he is here with us!