Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Buying time....

Dear Soybean,

I've bought you some time, now what you do with that is up to you  :-) 

I had some spotting late yesterday morning about 11:30; I called up to the doctor's office and the nurse told me that it's the body's normal way of getting ready for labor.  Thus, I didn't have to go in early--we kept the 3:40pm appointment.  Your daddy and I went to the doctor together; the ultrasound was a bit of a disappointment, but only because you are so cramped that there weren't any good views of ya.  You seemed to get really active the moment the sonographer put the warm goop on my belly.  It was neat to see, through wincing eyes, you move as I felt it.  Apparently the big lump I get on that right side of my belly that you love so much is your foot.  We could see on the ultrasound you flex your foot and then again your hand trying to grab your foot (the sonographer had to do a lot of pointing stuff out to us, because as I said, it was mostly unintelligible to me with you all cramped up).  Very cool.  The songorapher could only manage to give us one glimpse of your face because you were so cramped and she mentioned that it looked like you were frowning.  It was true!  Perhaps there was a "shadow" on your face from the arm you had partially blocking our view but I have never seen such a frown--a deep, upside-down "V".  I promise, you'll be much happier out here--there's more space! You're estimated to weigh 6 lbs 2 oz.  Can you imagine how much less room you'd have if you were any bigger??

You were at 41 weeks 1 day yesterday and the doctor went over the sonography results with us.  He said the amniotic fluids were getting low and that "anything" could happen over 41 weeks so he gave us the option of inducing "tomorrow or... tomorrow."  I asked if the fluids were dangerously low, or just low.  He hesitantly said they weren't dangerously low and I then asked if we could wait until Friday morning to induce.  He paused and said it makes him a bit nervous but since all the test results were satisfactory, he would honor my wishes and let the cervix soften up a bit and let us wait for Friday.  I was having some discomfort just sitting there on the examining table so I was pretty sure you'll come before Friday on your own.   The doctor checked my cervix (ask your daddy what the doctor said as he put on his glove!).  It was really uncomfortable but I guess he was finally able to "push through" the cervix because he stated with some relief when he did so that he had wanted to be sure he'd at least be able to get through to break my water Friday.  I was having some tightness and more spotting yesterday evening, but as usual, the signs of impending labor eventually receded instead of built. 

So... there is a clock ticking.  Friday morning at 5:30 your daddy and I have to report to the hospital for the induction.  I'm telling you, this has all taken on a bit of a surreal feeling.  There around the due date, everyone's excitement reached such a fever pitch that it was downright crazy. I swear the same 6 or 8 people reached out to me twice a day to ask if I was in labor yet and there were a lot of other inquiries from the non-regulars.  Maybe that's why I took it so hard when you didn't come "on schedule."  But thankfully, people have calmed down in the couple of days since (you have to forgive their excitement) and I've been able to relax and just wait for the most part and do things like looking into refinancing our mortage for a cheaper monthly payment and shopping around for cheaper auto insurance rates.  It's amazing the ways you can find to save money when you're not actually too busy trying to earn that same money.

Your daddy and I discussed names again last night.  We've gone back and forth between Natalie Ann and Aaryn Dawn.  Some days one is our favorite and then the next day we're liking the other best.  As it stood last night, we preferred Natalie.  Your daddy mentioned that it seemed like a "good, solid name for a firstborn."  I had to laugh because I had thought the exact same thing.  It sounds responsible and sophisticated and elegant.  Aaryn carries a bit more of a carefree, whimsical tone which might better suit a younger sibling.  Your daddy said with a chuckle, "Here we are about to have the first and I'm already eager for the next."    He has wanted to be a daddy for so long.  :-)    I just hope your face shouts out us what your name should be.   And, please, no huge frowns!  I'm telling you, that frown we saw on yesterday's ultrasound was scary enough!  haha

Your dad had kinda hoped you had would yesterday so that you and he would both share a birthdate of "the 18th" but as I was making your dad's breakfast this morning and heard him loudly singing "My Baby Loves Me" with Martina McBride on the radio I had to laugh and believe that any day starting out like this would be a good day to be born too.

Love you baby girl. 
XoXo

Mama

Saturday, October 15, 2011

You should have seen his face...

Dear Soybean,

Happy Sabbath, first of all, little one.  I know it's a day of rest but I think you've been doing plenty of that already, hehe.  Don't you think it's about time to come?

I'm looking back today and thinking of when I called your Uncle Adam on my way to your Great Aunt Cindy's 50th birthday party.  I didn't get him on the first try so I left him a voicemessage telling him that since he wasn't going to be at the party to hear the big announcement, I wanted to go ahead and let him know first.  He was an uncle!   Of course, I didn't get to hear his reaction but his girlfriend was with him when he listened to the message and said he was whooping and hollering... simply elated.  I got a call back  from him shortly afterwards and he made me make him an absolute promise--to make sure that someone took a video of your Grandpa Scheffler's face as he heard the news he'd be a grandpa for the first time.  He was positively serious and I made good on my promise.  Thing is, your Uncle Adam never saw the video; he died only 15 days later.  I feel badly that I waited too late to share it...  BUT here it is now.

Your Uncle Stephen texted me at 4:05am the other night saying,

"I was just thinking about how excited Adam would be right about now.  How much sleep he would lose because he was too happy anticipating his niece's debut."

Last night your dad and I watched the video again and talked over the experience of the Big Announcement.  We both felt it was so surreal, so perfect, so overwhelming.  We both expected a good reception for the news but nothing like what we got.  I'm telling you, I may have never felt as loved as I did in that moment.  There was a literal ROAR of love that swept up your dad and I and surrounded us on all sides for a loooong time. 

I guess having the father-to-be being the one to take the video was a mistake, as he got so many bear hugs that most of the video is of people's feet, but how could you ask someone else to take the video with the request to make sure they kept your Grandpa Scheffler's face in view without arising suspicions? 

I was so nervous, as you can probably tell from the footage.  I even felt a remnant of the stress coursing through me again as I watched the video last night.  I guess I just wanted everything to go perfectly and there were still all the questions of what kind of horrible situation it'd be if I were to have a miscarriage (since it was still so early in the pregnancy) and have to go back and tell everyone after them being so happy for us.  Plus, there had been the stress of trying to make sure everyone was out there to hear the news without giving ourselves away.  I can't tell you how many times one of the uncles or my dad would disappear into the house and as soon as I made sure he was outside, another one would disappear  :-)

Start the video at the 3min45sec mark if you want to skip a lot of the fluff.  And, yes, the look on my dad's face was priceless.  Just wish your Uncle Adam could have seen it.  After seeing this video, you can never doubt that you aren't the most loved and wanted baby ever.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

October 12, 1977

Dear Soybean,

Your Grandpa Scheffler called yesterday and said it would be neat if you were born today because October 12 was the day in 1977 that he and your Grandma Joy got married.  I assented that if it hadn't been for them getting together and having me, there would be no you, so October 12 would be a nifty date indeed.  It even falls on the same day of the week this year, a Wednesday, as it did that year.  I wonder if they know there was a full solar eclipse that day in 1977 (oh, the wonderful facts one can find on the internet!).

HOWEVER, you are going by your own schedule and no one else's  :-)    The doctor checked to see if I had dilated today and stated, "She's not even thinking about coming yet!"  He has us scheduled to come in next Tuesday (which would be 41 weeks and 1 day) for an ultrasound to see whether the amniotic fluid levels are still sufficient and for a non-stress test in which I just lie on my side and have you monitored for 30 minutes to make sure you're not in any distress.  As it is, your heartbeat sounded great today and my blood pressure is still good too.  If next Tuesday's test results are satisfactory, he'll defer an induction until the end of next week.  I'm hoping you come before then.  An induction would mean pitocin, which often means constant monitoring and stronger-than-normal contractions, which in turn means the possibility I ask for paid meds would increase too.  I really am going to try and do this the natural way.... we'll see.  Not only do I prefer for you not to be flooded unnecessarily with pain meds, the $1500 price tag for the anesthesiologist is nice deterrent too.

I should amend my statement that "my blood pressure is still good" to say it was good.  Upon leaving, I found out that I still had a $300+ balance on my account.  I had thought I was all paid up (because I had been told I was)!  Well apparently the down's syndrome test that I had asked not to have if insurance didn't cover, was done even though it wasn't covered so that was $200 right there and then the rhogram shot I had to have (since I had the bad manners to be born with B- blood type) was not part of the "global plan" quoted to me at the beginning.  And then there was the $25 fee for them filling out my disability forms.  Healthcare cost is a ridiculous, necessary evil.  All I want to do is have a baby!!!

I told your daddy that it would be cool if you were born tomorrow.  Thursdays are my favorite weekday.  My favorite two tv shows come on those nights and I can't think of a better way to get my mind off contractions... haha.

So, as it turns out, every day would be a great day for you to be born  :-)  It was so cute last night.... your daddy was talking to "the belly" and telling you "you better come out, little girl".  You were pushing from the other side with a knee or foot or something and touching his face... following his voice it seemed. 

Yesterday I walked quite a bit and also worked on reflexology points that are supposed to bring on labor--all to no effect.  It's weird how even though we're only two days past your arbitrary "due date", it can still play mind games on a person.  You're just a baby but yet the thought has crossed my mind that you don't like us and don't want to join our family.  I know that's completely absurd and I hesitate to even write the stupid thought down. It could also be taken as though you are a "mama's girl" already and are unwilling to leave me (much better scenario!).  It's just nerves getting to me, I guess.  I have all these questions about whether I'll be a good mom and then for there to be a seeming reluctance on your part to make your appearance...well, it's taking it's toll.  You know what, though, little girl?  I'm making a promise to you and myself right now to breathe and relax and just chill out about the whole thing. 

In a way I have felt anxious too because these days with you still in the womb could be seen as "wasted" days in that I'm already using up maternity leave just waiting around and that means fewer days with you once you're born.   But I have to ask myself if I'd rather be at work being all big and pregnant?  Nope!!  It's been actually fun getting to do house-wifey things like running errands for Chris and making home-cooked meals.  It's been interesting to see life from a slightly different point-of-view for a change.  Changing to the role of a "helpmeet" and not being the main"bread"-winner has been refreshing.  I know apart from a miracle, this arrangement won't last long and I'll have to return to the workforce but I appreciate this time for what it is.

Well, chicadee, it's getting a bit late so I'm going to put us to bed.  Love you!

Sweet dreams,

Mama

Monday, October 10, 2011

Answered Prayer

Dear Soybean,

Well, today was our first day of maternity leave together.  We went grocery shopping and I went on some kind of cooking/baking binge.  My way of nesting, perhaps??  Probably more like my way of trying to ingratiate myself with your daddy so that he will be willing to do anything to make it work where I don't have to go back to a full-time job at the end of my maternity leave.  hehe.  Sneaky, sneaky!  I made a King Ranch Casserole (I knew they tasted good because your Grandma Barbara makes it from time to time) from scratch.  I think it was the first time in my life that I boiled a full chicken, extracted the innards, took the skin off, deboned it, etc. It was a lot of work but it paid off.  Your dad said it was wonderful, even better than his mom's.  You know that has to be good!  I also made a cheesecake.  Your dad is anxiously awaiting for it to finish its 4-hour mandatory chilling in the fridge; in the meantime, we're watching Monday Night Football. Rather, your dad says he's watching the game but really he's sleeping off some muscle relaxers and pain killers he had to take for his back pain. Somehow the grocery store trip and the cooking took all day and I tired out.  Your dad and I did some more walking today, but only from the house down the street to see your Grandma Barbara.  I joked that you may be confused as to what direction you're supposed to be going because you always seem to try to push your way through the right side of my belly, haha. 

It's just to the point where everyone is just eager to meet you.  I thought I should take this opportunity to tell you again what an answer to prayer that you are.  Your dad and I quit using any form of contraception in February 2008.  We had just been to your Grandpa Nall's birthday party and seen his friend Troy's large family (they have like 8 or 9 kids).  It made me think... and we decided, yes, we were ready.  At the time, your daddy and I were going on 7 years of marriage and I was in the last year of respiratory school so even if we conceived right away ,by the time you would come around, I would have graduated.  We thought we would have no trouble getting pregnant.  Well, fast forward through three years of disappointingly negative home pregnancy tests and saying "it will happen when it's meant to" in answer to the well-intentioned questions from family and friends as to when we would have kids. I had even started on a quest with a fertility doctor to see where the problem was; I believe it was December of last year when this occured.  The doctor suspected PCOS from some of the inital test results like the ultrasound and wanted to do some extra testing for a definitive diagnosis.  They also wanted your daddy to come in to give a "manly sample."    Thing was, the test they wanted me to do needed to be done on the third day of my cycle.  With not knowing exactly when my cycle would start and their Woodlands office being only open one day a week, it was nearly impossible to be able to "schedule" anything and they wouldn't accept a walk-in.  I got fed up and was intending on asking around about some fertility specialists close by whose offices were open M-F.  Then, there comes along the chili cook-off and pinewood derby at church on January 29.  Pastor John MacFarlane, being the awesome person he is, asked a very John MacFarlane-esque question as he was getting food in the potluck line.  He looked me straight in the eye with his direct Jesus-like gaze and asked, "So, April, what is your focus in life right now?"  Even though there was a line behind him, I knew he wasn't moving because he was genuinely looking for an answer.  With that kind of direct question, I couldn't help but give a direct answer.  "Family," I replied.  He asked, "Your nephews and niece?"  "Well, yes, but mostly a family of my own."  He nodded in seriousness, reached out a hand, put a pointed finger on my belly, and said simply but with authority, "In Jesus name, move!"  And the moment was over, he had to move on, the potluck line continued.  But I claimed those words as healing for my body and awaited for God to reveal an answered prayer.  Two days later at the doctor's office, as already detailed in a prior post, I was sick with sinus issues and realized, from the doctor's routine question regarding the first day of my last period, that I was two days late.  Sure enough, I got a positive home pregnancy test.   Now some would say that the pastor's strange words were just a coincidence, but I think maybe, perhaps just maybe, you, in fertilized egg form, did indeed move and implant in a favorable spot at last.  Then again, maybe you were already set but God still wanted me to know that my inward heartache and feelings of loss had been noticed and that the good news I was about to receive about you was indeed a gift.

As before when we were trying to get pregnant, your daddy and I are still waiting, but this time we are waiting with the knowledge that it is now only a matter of days before our dream is realized before our eyes.  Even as impatient as everyone is (including your dad), this kind of waiting is far better. 

Whenever you're ready baby girl, we're ready for you.

Love you!!

Mama

P.S. Ha, and what do you know?  Of course your daddy perks up as the cheesecake's allotted time in the fridge winds down and he slyly inquires about it. He says it's sooo good... better than Sara Lee's.  If he's just trying to make me feel good, it's working  :-)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

"When the Switch Goes On"

Dear Soybean,

Tomorrow is your due date!  :-)  I thought labor might have been starting last night.  Since I had a $3 for $25 Restaurant.com coupon for Crush Wine Lounge at The Woodlands Waterway, we decided to give it a try.  The coupon excludes alcohol and since I'm obviously not drinking anyway, it was perfect.  The walking there to the restaurant from where we had to park was probably the longest I've walked at any one single time in a good while so when we got there, I had some lower back ache and some tummy tightness.  But it went away.  The food was horrible (gag!) and way over-priced for the quality and quantity; however, the view from our table on the terrace of The Waterway was its redeeming feature.  We could see families milling about, the lights in the fountains changed colors, the moon was shining, and the weather was absolutely perfect temperature.  We then went and saw the movie Real Steel, which your father loved and I tolerated as half-way decent.  Your dad treated me to some ice cream at the theater as we waited for our movie to start (since Crush didn't offer any tantalizing desserts); I was a bit perturbed that the vendor charged 50 cents for each condiment.  So 50 cents for the sprinkles, 50 cents for the chocolate syrup, and 50 cents for the whipped cream.  I would have told your father not to worry about it at those prices but I didn't know until it was too late.  The walk back to the truck produced some more of the same interesting effects as before, but again they slowly subsided.  We were peckish by the time we got close to home so we stopped by Whataburger for a midnight snack.  Your daddy and I both talked about how this was probably our last outing for awhile with our focus being all on you and pinching pennies pretty soon.  It had been awhile since we'd gone to dinner and a movie though--it used to be all we did. 

With your delivery story yet to be written, I thought you might be interested in finding out the story of how I was born so I asked your Grandma Joy to write it down.  She did and this is what she wrote:

     "Your dad and I went to the theater to watch a Rocky movie, maybe Rocky 2.  While we were standing in the long line outside waiting to get our tickets, it seemed that something heavy was weighing down on my pelvic floor.
     I ate a lot while watching the movie.  I had a soda, something chocolate like Milk Duds, some hot candy like Hot Tamales or Red Hots, and some nachos with cheese and jalapenos. 
     After we got home and went to bed, I was unable to fall asleep because of constant pain in my lower back.  I had had back pain before during my pregnancy but it had never kept me from sleeping. 
     By daylight the following morning the pain had shifted from my back to my abdomen, and the pain was no longer constant but intermittent and was occurring at somewhat regular intervals.  "
She told me that she had never indulged with junk that much before during the pregnancy.  As far as the movie being a Rocky movie, it doesn't really check out date-wise, but I had hoped it did.  I am such a Sylvester Stallone fan.  I joked with your daddy today that he would know when I was in labor.  He asked, "How?"  In reply, I took off my ballcap and put in backwards. Your dad got the reference to "the switch" in the Stallone movie Over the Top right away and chuckled.

Today started out to be a great day.  The rain which we badly needed came down steady.  We grabbed a bite from Sonic and made it home in time for the Texans game and they had a good start.  During halftime your daddy and I made some no-bake cookies.  Ahh, but then, situations always change, don't they, baby girl?  The Texans lost momentum in the second half (it's getting to be a pretty ingrained pattern for them by now) and gave up the game in dramatic fashion at the last moment.  Your dad lost it (he apologized later).  And the cookies absolutely refused to firm up (your daddy is trashing them as I type).  Your Grandpa Nall was harassing your dad on the phone looking for Mike. Your Grandpa had already called your dad earlier today wanting him to do some errands for him when it's not even your dad's week to help (it's your Uncle Bobby's week to help but your Grandpa would rather just inconvenience your dad instead since Bobby was just there a day or two ago).  And we find out that your 15-year old cousin is home alone with his 16-yr old girlfriend.  I was thinking wryly to myself that my teenage nephew and I could both be having kids pretty close in age here pretty soon.  Breaks my heart.  But what can one say without coming off as appearing judgmental and interfering when the parent is okay with it and everyone knows that you yourself are far from perfect?  Family.  You gotta love them, and I do with all my heart.  I wouldn't care nearly so much if I didn't.  So, a little of bit of everything started weighing my heart down when I thought to myself, "At least the weather's still nice--still raining."  I caught myself.  I should have said, "At least God is still in charge."  I know my attitude should never depend on circumstances, much less the ever-changing weather.  I'm still trying to learn, pumpkin. 

Friday was my last day of work.  It was a powering feeling knowing as I left work that evening that the next time I returned, my world will have been changed forever--for the better.  I will be different.  I will be a mama.  A new person will have made her appearance in the world.  It was a little emotional so I made my good-byes to everyone really quick.  I met up with your "Aunt" Kristi at Starbucks for my favorite white mocha cappuccino (decaf of course).  I got teary-eyed a little telling her about the baby bundle (which I have yet to do here) and telling her I will miss her a lot.  She may be moving to Seattle since her hubby has a job opportunity there.  When I had told Chris about the possibility of her moving away, he smiled compassionately and gave me a big hug as he exclaimed, "Our baby won't have her Aunt Kristi; what are you going to do?"  I'm happy for her if it works out though, and I've always wanted to visit Seattle, so seeing her would be my perfect reason to go.

The rain has slacked off and your dad's NASCAR race is over, so we're going to go to the college grounds and do some walking to see if we can't jump start this labor thing  :-) 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Countdown Begins

Dear Natalie Ann or Aaryn Dawn...

Your due date is less than a week away!  I had been feeling some sharp pains in a new place yesterday and the day before so I was sure that this time doctor would be able to report some dilation at our appointment this morning, but all he could say was that "it was softening."  He said that he would only let you go a week past the due date; I mentioned that I had heard that it was okay to go two weeks past.  He said that was an old wives' tale and that the chances of something going wrong after a week dramatically increase.  I told him that I felt you'd come when you are ready and  he replied that you will be ready.  I'm not so keen on induction but neither do I want to butt heads with the doctor (but I will if I have to!), so I'm hopeful it won't even come to a decision like that.  I see some walking in my future!  :-)  Your daddy says if you're anything like me, you'll be right on time and will come exactly on October 10th.  We both had a laugh when I said you could be just like him.  We agreed that in that case, you would be so very late that you might decide not to come at all... You might decide you rather like where you are right now.  Your Uncle Stephen said that his friend Chelsea was born three weeks past her due date, and she's one of the smartest people I know.  If I was more bent on traditional/westernized medicine, I would love my doctor.  But he seems to sniff at anything I have remotely inquired about such as water birth or waiting two weeks--he hasn't even bothered to go over the birth plan I brought in and hasn't mentioned the Prozac since first prescribing it.  I told your Uncle Stephen today that he should get into women's medicine.  He's enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the subject and, being the "people person" he is, gets engaged with whomever he's talking.  And I told him that "engaged" is what women want in an OB or midwife.  They want to feel special--all I have felt from my doctor is like I'm simply another number, another patient, another 2 minutes carved into his schedule. 

I've been experiencing some blues here lately, but again maybe it's because I've been so tired here lately.  I'm not quite sure.  Anyway, I told my boss today that Friday will be my last day before maternity leave.  Monday's the due date and I just don't have the "want-to" to keep climbing in and out of my truck all day long for work and waddling from patient's house to patient's house.  Maybe my blues will be allayed by getting to spend some quiet time thinking about the hour we get to meet at last. Speaking of which, I'm a bit scared about labor.  I know your daddy and I "graduated" from childbirth class Monday, but it's one of those things that I just don't know what my personal experience will be.   It's hard to feel prepared for something that you've never experienced before, regardless of how many stories other women tell you about what it was like for them. Because I'm not them and just as some women don't like chocolate, their experience may be completely foreign to me.

Uncle Bill, or my "beautiful Uncle" as I call him, calls every day now to see if there's any news.  He has been "bullying" your Daddy and I over not having any children for years now  :-)  I told him I want pan-crust Pizza Hut veggie lovers pizza as soon as labor is over.  I told him I'll be starving since they only allow you to have ice chips during labor in the hospital.  He said that he was pretty sure Pizza Hut would deliver to the hospital.  I had to grin just thinking about it.  Your Grandpa Scheffler calls every day or nearly every day now too.  I don't think there's EVER been a more excited grandpa and I mean it.  Your great-grandma Hazel must write my appointments on her calendar because if it's past noon and she hasn't heard any news from my appointment that morning, she'll call and leave voice messages ever so often until she hears back from me.  You have so many family and friends that already love you and can't wait to hold you.  It's a bit surprising to me, in a way, that they can all love you without even knowing you--but a baby is a special thing and I know they love your daddy and me so maybe they just assume you'll be a combination of our "awesomeness."  ha!  but then again, some people are just "kid people" regardless.  As for me, I still have some some quiet fears--what if you don't like me?  what if you wish you were born to someone else?  It's not like meeting another stranger in that I can't hold you at arm's length until we can get to "know" each other.  You will need me from moment #1.  I can't stand idly by and observe you.  I will need to be involved, extroverted.... I guess that means that while you are still impressionable I can brainwash you into believing that I am a great person to know.  :-)   You know, perhaps that "maternity instinct" they talk about with wash in and overwhelm me the moment I see you and I will no longer have any of those questions lurking in the back of my mind.  Perhaps at that moment I will simply be metamorphed into "your mama" and there will not be the slightest question of whether you and I are the perfect fit.  I guess I've just seen too many tv shows where these out-of-touch mamas just assume their babies will be a mini-me of themselves.  I am much too independent myself to have any such misconceptions of you.  You will be your own person, and rightly so.  I can't wait to see the person you become. 

It's time for bed, but I will write to you about the baby bundle I took to Monday's class and the daycare your daddy checked out today.

Sleep tight little Soybean,

Mama

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Home Stretch

Dear Soybean,

Your room is ready!  I think your dad and I did at least three takes for this video tour of your room and we STILL ended up looking like complete goof-balls.  Well, at least that means it's true to form and you know what you're getting yourself into  :-)

The last baby shower went great.  Your Aunt Charlene even had special embossed ribbon that said, "Chris & April" and "Shower 9-18-11" on all the brooches/pins.  Who does that??!  It was all over the top :-)  So many people showed up I even got a bit claustrophobic.  We were there for 5-1/2 hours--I'd call that a party!  It was a great success--not to mention it was the first EVER that your grandfathers met.




"Green Eggs and Ham" Deviled Eggs




Cat in the Hat finger puppets



Your Grandpas Meet for the First Time EVER



Monday will be the last prepared childbirth class.  We were encouraged to bring a "birth bundle" to the next class... so I'll see what we can find.  Never heard of a birth bundle before, eh?  Well neither had I.  Found this website though about it: http://www.birthingfromwithin.com/birth_bundle

At yesterday's appointment, the doctor said there was still "nothin' happenin'."  I guess that means we'll probably make it to the due date or beyond.  I am more convinced now than ever that next time around I want to go with a midwife or birthing center.    I know the doctors deal with babies all the time, but this is special for ME and I want a little time.  The doctor didn't even take the time to look over the birth plan I brought in and when I asked if he would consider my having a water birth he said, "You wouldn't want to do that anyway; there's been shown to be increased risk of infection in tubs like that."  Bologna! and that he'd have the audacity to guess what I'd want was a bit much.  Well regardless of whether the doctor cares to honor the document with his eyes or not, I was able to go to a neat website and create this handy little document.  I had heard several people recommend having a birth plan but no one would actually tell you exactly WHAT that meant/included.  This website made it easy: http://www.childbirth.org/interactive/ibirthplan.html

Today's been a bit rough and I'm not even quite sure why.  I think the money situation of how to keep things afloat once you're here are weighing on me a little.  Or maybe I'm just tired.  All I know is that I've been moody--oh yes, moody.  In fact, I found myself getting a little irked at YOU, all because you wouldn't quit having hiccups last night.  I was a bit horrified at myself for feeling that way.  :-O

Won't be much longer and you'll be seeing this little ol' world.  I hope you won't be too disappointed.  It's home, or at least will be until we all make it those mansions in the sky.

Love you baby girl,
Mama

Friday, September 16, 2011

Chewing One's Way Out

Dear baby girl,

I am so uncomfortable... I swear you are trying to chew your way out underneath my ribs on the right side.  As you can't possibly have teeth yet, maybe your doing your best to gum your way out.  I had always thought pregnant women rested a hand on top of their bellies because it was a "cutesy" thing to do and it kinda got on my nerves but now I'm more of the opinion that they do that to put a little extra weight on the belly to push, or rather "encourage" the baby to sit lower. 

HEY!... your room is done!  okay, not done done, but painted!! All the furniture you Grandpa Scheffler bought for you has arrived and is sitting in boxes ready to be put together.  The changing table parts have already made their way to the floor of your room.  Your daddy says he'll start putting it all together tomorrow.  :-)  With the paint done, it already looks so much better than it did before.  It had been bland, boring--not at all you.  It's going to look great.

Monday we had our first night of prepared childbirth education.  I think your daddy really liked it, which was really good because it seems like most of the material is for the support person since the preggo's job is pretty obvious.  I was a bit tired as I didn't have a chance to eat before I went.  Believe me, I helped myself to the offered snacks at halftime.  I think I had four graham crackers packets and an apple juice cup.  Next week's session may prove to be the most helpful as it gets down to the mechanics of pain management, including positioning, "mindful" techniques, and pressure points.  The instructor had the couples in the group introduce themselves, tell what the gender of their unborn baby is, why they came, and their due date.  She started with us, stating we "looked friendly."  We had a good chuckle at that.  Come to find out, the vast majority of the couples are expecting girls.  There was only one couple that are expecting a boy and one couple that will be leaving it for a surprise due to their culture (Indian).  We were the couple with the soonest due date.  We had everyone else beat by at least two weeks. Yes, I guess that proves we are procrastinators.  If you come on your due date (which only 5% of babies do), the information will only be a week old--so pretty fresh  :-)  I was surprised that I had the uncontestably smallest belly of the women, especially since I was the farthest along.  I guess I should feel pretty good about it (people say I should bounce right back to my pre-baby weight), but I found myself having the urge to poof out my belly a bit as if to assert "I'm pregnant too!"  haha. 

Wednesday my coworker Becca hosted one heck of a shower for you--coworkers, some current and some former, showed up.  I was really touched with how much time, effort, and money she put into it.  I wasn't expecting anything nearly so like a real shower.  I had thought it'd be more like a a simple social hour where we got together to eat and opened some gifts as an afterthought of sorts. She had a huge cake, balloon bouquet, little pacifier necklaces for the "don't say the word baby" game, paper and pencil for a baby word scramble game (in which I was the proud winner of a Subway gift card), etc.  Our friends Liz and Dezryn showed up too.  It was amusing to find out that Dezryn prefers Liz's left side whereas you prefer my right.











Sunday will be the last of the showers and it promises to be perhaps the biggest.  It's going to be fun.  Some of your daddy's family from Henderson are coming down.  You are quite the star! 

I've found the perfect photographer!  Yep, Subrina will be coming out a week from Sunday to take the maternity pictures and she'll be coming out on/around Oct 14th for your newborn pics as well.  I don't know her personally but she was recommended by Jessica Matthews and after checking out Subrina's portfolio, I couldn't be more excited. 
Love ya baby doll,

Mama

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Psych!

Dear Soybean,

Did I tell you that we had pretty much decided on naming you Erin?  Well.. Psych!!!!!    The new forerunner in this name game is Natalie.  Dad had mildly asked at the Scheffler family baby shower on Saturday if we had considered the name Natalie. I love my Daddy so much that I think I may have taken any suggestion of his to heart, except for the name Brunessa  :-)    I said it was pretty and then asked Chris about it later that night as we drove to New Braunfels to surprise your Aunt Kadi for her 31st birthday party.  I was almost certain Chris had suggested the name himself somewhere along the way.  He said he liked it too and of course I had to ask a few more times just to make sure; he finally said that I should know by now that if he didn't like a name he'd say so.  And, yes, he was right.  I asked him what his feelings were about the name Erin now--he said he still liked it but that Natalie was great too... as long as the middle name was Ann.  And that's was the only middle name I had even thought about to go with Natalie.  Everyone seems to think the name is pretty--everyone except my mother of course.  She said the name seemed old and not in a cute way.  I somehow knew she'd feel that way, but she quickly added that she would/could grow to like anything we named you.

As I write this, wildfires are still burning in Magnolia north of here.  Yesterday was pretty scary not knowing if we'd have to start evacuating or  not, but so far the crews have managed to keep the blazes north of 1488.  The picture below is one I took this evening on my way home.  To me, it looks like huge smoke clouds that are drifting downwind from the flames.



Your dad did a lot of work on the house yesterday and today to get it ready for you.  All of the junk has been moved out of  your room and either thrown away or put into storage.  Almost all of the painting has been done except a second coat is needed on one wall and he wants to touch up the trim with some white paint.  It's starting to all come together!

Oh, your Uncle Mike got engaged over the weekend!  Saturday evening he proposed to Marianna.  We found out on Facebook which wasn't exactly the way we would have preferred to learn about it but we're happy for them all the same.  :-) 



Saturday's baby shower was great.  Family is such a wonderful thing, when it works.  Definitely a blessing and I hope your experiences will reinforce the same message. 

Oh, and sometime during this holiday weekend I went from being a preggo to a preg-OH!!  Yep, Sunday Sarah exclaimed that my hands were swollen; I then decided my ankles were swollen too and that's why they had looked unexplainably strange/foreign to me.  Everyone promptly put my feet up and Sarah arranged pillows behind me.  Everyone is so sweet, except that Sarah would have denied us the bit of whipped cream I put on my decaf coffee that night if she had had her way, haha.I've had to take off my wedding ring and put it on a necklace, and today my ankles are still swollen--you can't really see the anklebone clearly defined.  At least, the swelling hasn't gone to my face... yet!  Pregnancy is so hard on one's one body-image. But it's all worth it.. YOU're worth it! 

Well, your daddy has turned off the light so I guess that's my cue  :-) 

Goodnight little one.

Love ya,

Mama

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dearest baby,

So maybe I haven't been the best letter-writer here lately but you and I have been busy!!  1)  We had another ultrasound done last OB visit...



In this 3D pic you look so much like your daddy did as a baby; however, you know who you really look like?  Your Uncle Stephen! 

I call this pic "Sleeping Beauty".  The sonographer says you will be a small baby at at big 6lb'er if that.  But your daddy was a 6-lb'er too.  I was the 8lb 12oz one!

Even though you are a small baby in the 32 percentile in weight for your age, the sonographer says you have a wide foot  :-)

can you see the fuzzy hair?  :-)

2)  We had your first shower with the church ladies (which was a huge success!),


Deanna outdid herself again!

See how the traditional item was replaced with a Sobyean?  Haha, the perfect touch!



























3) You went with me and Daddy on our 10th wedding anniversary trip (as much as I love you baby this will be the last anniversary trip you join us...haha)


This is us at Krause Springs


This your Daddy and I all cleaned up for a nice dinner

This is the 3 of us at the Longhorn Caverns.  Your daddy can't wait to bring you back.


















So, yes, again, we have been busy.  And there's so much more to do!  I still don't have your daycare arrangements scheduled and we have more showers to go!  Your room has made SOME progress.  There's paint on 3 of the 4 walls but it will all need a second coat. 

There's been a lot of drama we could do without and maybe I will tell you about that later, but as usually happens, I'll probably forget because it probably wasn't that important to begin with.  Funny how time puts everything in perspective.

We had another OB visit today and "we" weigh a cumulative of 150.0 lbs.  I'm sure at least a good 30 of that is all you!  haha, yeah right!  That means almost 7 lbs gained in two weeks (yikes!). Good thing I finished off the last of the Oreos this evening... no more temptation!  ;-)

The main point I wanted to write about today though was your name.  I was driving to work last Thursday morning when I came to the conclusion that I should leave your naming to your daddy.  The names I like are a bit too odd/exotic for most tastes and I knew that the fact your daddy named you might be pretty special to you.  The daddy/daughter relationship is one-of-a-kind.  Well, not 30 minutes later, I get a call from your dad and he says with conviction in his words, "I have the name for our daughter."  I said, "That's great because I just decided you could name her."   "Erin Dawn."  He went on to explain that he loves his middle name of Aaron and had kinda wished he had been called by Aaron instead of Christopher.  So he'd give you his middle name with the feminine spelling and combine it with my middle name of Dawn.  I just asked that we not set it in stone until we see you... just to make sure it "fits."  He reluctantly agreed, still very leery that I am going to try to name you October in the "glow" of the moment.  He then stated that even if you come out with a birthmark in the perfect shape of the word "October" that you will not be named that.  I had to laugh. "Fine, fine" I said.    Everyone seems to like it and think it's cute.  I knew of two Erins when I was in middle school... and neither acquantance was warm.  Chris says I have to let it go.  :-)  And yes, he's right.  Maybe he'll agree to change the spelling up a bit more agreeable to me.  Plus, I know I will love you whatever your name... Why?  Because you are my baby!!!  I can't wait to hold you in my arms and kiss your nose and caress your hair (yes, we saw your fuzzy hair on the ultrasound!).  I asked for the sake of the baby book record when this name "came" to Chris.  He said the night before.  He had been on his way home from helping Grandpa Nall and was sitting at the red light on 2978, waiting to turn onto Carraway Lane when he said it just came to him.  In fact, he got a bit religious about it and said he felt it's what God wants you to be named.  How can I argue with that?

I love you.  I hope I can get some sleep tonight while you do your nightly acrobats  :-)  It's crazy how time is going by so quickly; before you know it, you will be here crying and messing in diapers! 

I still miss your Uncle Adam so much that I can't bring myself to write about it a lot but I just remind myself that there are many others here who love you too who will be ready with open arms to hold you tight.  I may hold you extra tight just for him.  I guess I bring him up because the day after tomorrow is the Scheffler family baby shower.  You are 1/2 Scheffler which means you are 100% "tainted"... LOL.  They are a great group and I can't wait for you to meet them all. 

Yours truly,

Mama

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Red Paint and Warm Fuzzies

Dear Soybean,

Your room is getting its first coat of paint as I write this!  I was beginning to wonder if we were ever going to get started.  Granted, I think it's because up to this point we weren't sure whether we'd be moving in with your Grandpa Nall or not (long story). I think we've come to terms that even with all the benefits of moving in with him such as it affording me to be a stay-at-home mom, it wouldn't really work, not if I'm being honest with myself.  There are just too many red flags.  So, painting the room is our first step in addressing this reality and doing what we can with what we've got in the moment. 




We're almost to the end of 32 weeks and I'm feeling very... well, "ripe" is the word that originally came to mind.  Don't you love the ugly handtowel that makes its way into all of my pictures?  ha! Ah, well we have another OB appt this coming Thursday!  I found out we'll be having our last ultrasound of the pregnancy at that time.  I'm psyched about getting a peek at you again.


Things are starting to really pick up pace.  Next weekend you're having your first shower! this one will be with the church ladies and I'm telling you my friend Kristi has outdone herself again.  The invitations she sent out were absolutely PERFECT! For the picture, I purposely didn't capture the part that includes her address and so forth but isn't it adorable?  On there, it also states, "in Lieu of a card, please bring a child's book signed by you." 
I can't express how touched I was when I saw the invitations but my heart swelled up with gratitude and all kinds of warm fuzzy feelings.

Well, your dad is washing off the paint rollers for the night (we'll see how the one wall looks dry tomorrow and go from there) and I'm feeling a bit tired so I guess I'll close up tonight's letter. 

Love you,

Mama

Monday, August 8, 2011

And the Baby Said, Oooolala Hamburger!!

Dear Soybean,

I listened to NPR this morning and heard this fascinating piece on how you can taste what I eat from the amniotic fluid in the womb and that if I want you to "program" you to like veggies, I should start now.   It's probably too late for you to not like ice cream and hamburgers (sorry!) but I will do what I can to whip my cravings into control.  The human body, or bodies in this case, is so interesting.  :-)   Fascinating, really.  Wouldn't you agree?

Love you, little one.

Mumsie

http://www.npr.org/2011/08/08/139033757/babys-palate-and-food-memories-shaped-before-birth

Monday, August 1, 2011

Confession

Hey there chica-dee!

We may have made some progress on a name for ya!  If nothing else better appears between now and the immediate days following your delivery, we have a stand-by!  ready??  Charlee Ann Nall.   I say that but still most of the day was spent on looking through lists and lists of more names.  This has been seriously stressful!  Chris and I both like Charlie or some variant spelling thereof (we think it's cute!) but then we worry about what others would think about this boyish name.  But try to we convince ourselves it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.  You're our baby!  And believe me, plenty of people have given their babies names that I thought were ugly, but ya know what? I still smiled and nodded.  Oh, mercy..

I have something serious to confess and I don't want you to take it wrong.  Hear me out and I think you'll find what my heart is trying to say...  I was worried you would be a girl.  But only slightly, because I just KNEW you would be a boy (the joke was on me!  ha).  Still, I'm not stupid and knew there was at least a chance you'd be a girl (and 50/50 is quite a substantial chance, don't ya think?) so I thought I should address it.  I saw a counselor a few times back in May and spilled my heartache that I was horrified that if I had a girl that we would have the same relationship I have with my mother.  I'm not saying your grandmother is a monster... far from it!  She's a great woman with a big heart but something about the dynamics of our relationship are strained, or at best, not what I had hoped for.  There's no real communication and though I believe we both try at times, it's non-effective. We're just giant puzzles to each other.  And something about getting pregnant aroused both old fears that I'd be a bad mom and idealistic expectations that my mom and I could magically bond into closeness I've heard about others having. I imagined her logging onto Facebook to look at your ultrasound pics and gleefully reading the baby blog... no such luck (I don't think she's read one entry). I had thought she'd be wanting to accompany me on OB visits and putting her hands on my belly to try to feel you move... I mean, golly, we live in the same house!  Not that she doesn't look forward to you coming... if I had to guess, I think she's interested in most of those things but wants to be "baby-fed" all the information personally, not learn from Facebook.  But for the sake of time and how I best communicate (through writing), I don't see why she doesn't try a little.  But there's my prejudice speaking again--I'm sure I could bend to her needs a bit more.  I finally decided I had to get some help once I saw my mom put some jewelry I had given her for special occasions into a give-away pile (she has quite the obsessive buy-then-trash-everything impulse)--I was through trying at all.  I grabbed up the jewelry including a necklace of a heart within a heart--it had reminded me of the parent-child relationship when I bought it and then I tried to remind myself that not everyone's love language is gifts like mine is.  Now I wear the necklace and think of you.  The counselor had some one-on-one time with mom during the first session and later told me that until mom seeks help for her own depression, ADD, childhood traumas, etc., that all I could change was myself.  She strongly encouraged that I form reasonable expectations for my relationship with my mother considering our obstacles but that I use most of my energy to concentrate on YOU.  She said that thoughts will come... thoughts created from emotional baggage I've carried over from my childhood, but that I should just acknowledge them for what they are and let them pass on through... like a cloud in the sky that changes shape as it drifts on by (her simile).  She also stated that I should use my energy envisioning what I want my relationship with you to be like.  And so I imagine us cooking holiday dinners together (your grandma doesn't like cooking), going shopping together--it goes on and on.  The counselor also reminded me that I'm in a different place than my mom was--I'm in a solid marriage with a great guy, meaning I have a support system she didn't.  And your Uncle Stephen reminds me that there was indeed a time when our relationship with our mom was very nurturing and protective.  Several women I've had the courage to confide my fears to have revealed that they too didn't have close relationships with their mothers but that those facts just made them that much more determined than ever to have something special with their own daughters...and they do!

So believe me baby girl, I'm jumping into this with my whole heart... I hope we never stop talking (once you can start anyway..ha)--never stop laughing together.   I hope you can cut me as much slack as your dad does because I know I'm moody, judgmental, quiet, etc.  I knew your daddy was "the one" because he was able to put up with me and all my quirks--I was sure no one ever could.  Now, with you, I'm scared but I'm ready to give to give this everything I've got and more.  Because you're worth it...

Love,

Mama






Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Leg Cramps and Bathing Suits

Dear baby girl (your daddy and I are still killing ourselves trying to settle on a name for you),

I found out this morning that there's no ultrasound scheduled for our visit to the doctor tomorrow (bleh!!!).  They explained that insurance only pays for 2.  Seeing as I've had 3 already, I'm not sure that we'll get to have another picture of you until you arrive.  What if you turn into a boy by then?  ;-)   Our sonographer seemed pretty sure of herself though so I guess it's safe to go on planning in pinks.  :-)  My coworker Becca said that from now on the appointments get pretty boring.  I would say so if there aren't any ultrasounds!  She also said that I need to start eating bananas for the horrific leg cramps I've been getting because of all the nutrients you're leeching from me.  Ok, maybe "leeching" wasn't quite the word she used but I have to give you a hard time  :-)  Last night I woke up from sleep with this one leg cramp that took my breath away and lasted forever. 

It's amazing to feel you move more and more strongly.  So amazing in fact that your late-night romps that make mama have trouble going to sleep are quite forgivable.

I've "unplugged" myself from Facebook for a few days.  It's thrown a few people for a loop but it's amazing that I'm still alive and able to function without it.  In fact, I'm getting "real" stuff done like laundry and making extra effort to keep in touch with people in other ways.  In case Facebook is obsolete by the time you grow up to read this, I'll let ya know it's a social networking site.  I thought it a good time to get a dose of non-cyber reality. 

Your daddy was gone over the weekend; he took your Grandpa Nall to the "farm" out in New Baden for a few days out there with Ricky.  While they were gone, you and I went shopping.  At Maternity Motherhood, I saw some cute bathing suits!  The tops were colorful and beautiful and full-coverage; however, the bottoms were a different story.  Half of my cellulite-fest butt cheeks were hanging out and the swimsuit bottoms made my thunder thighs look like exactly that!  ugh!  Maybe I just won't swim the rest of the summer  :-(

I think we'll get to see my cousin TJ tonight at Grandma's.  He's coming down for a quick visit. Last time I saw him, your daddy and I were still living in Amarillo.

Well, my lunch break is almost over here at work, so I'll close this letter for now. 

Love you,

Mama

Postnote: we did get to see TJ and got to play a killer game of Wahoo! with him, Aunt Shirley & Bill, and Grandma Hazel.  ha, Grandma and her, "Who's green?"  I was!!  She shows no mercy  ;-)


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How You Were Discovered

Dear baby girl,

Today your father is a full-fledged 32-year-old; yesterday was his birthday  :-)   I haven't asked him yet whether it felt the same for him, but I know my recent birthday wasn't nearly as traumatic as I'd expected, especially being the big 3-0, or as I'd experienced in birthdays past.  I think you played a big part in that.  How can I feel old when a life I'm carrying is just getting started?

Journaling is wonderful.  Memories can get blurred so quickly that even the most important/world-rocking ones can get fuzzy frustratingly soon.  Good thing some events are captured on paper; and thus, today I get to "cheat" by copying and pasting my journal from February in which I recount how I found out about you and in turn told your father.  Please forgive some of the inconsistent use of past and present tense.

Day 1
We made it to Colorado!  Snow is falling outside as our car moves along… Stephen driving expertly behind the wheel.    But let me get your caught up on how we got here.
3am  The alarm goes off
3:30 Chris’s mom pulls into the driveway to take us to the airport.  Load and lock.
4:40  Arrive at airport.
We step up to the Continental kiosk and enter our flight confirmation numbers.  It doesn’t recognize them; I swipe my debit card and it states that our flight is with United.  We go to the United kiosk and start the process all over.  Same thing, except it states our flight is with Continental; United rep tells us that we need to go back to the Continental desk.  Okay, so we go back to the Continental check-in and have to speak to a rep; the lady a bit gruffly states at first that we are supposed to be on a United flight.  I have to go into the whole story.  I am getting a bit anxious when she can’t find any information with the confirmation numbers that had been emailed to me.  I breathe a sigh of relief when she finds us under the ticket numbers though.  Then, anxiety kicks in again as she says that we had been booked for a 3:45pm flight.  Heck no!  I’m sure a hint of desperation colors my words as I ask if there is any way possible we can get moved to the 6am flight.  Thank God she says yes!  She still isn’t portraying anything close to a caring, grandmother type but I almost feel like hugging her all the same.  She gives us the correct confirmation numbers so that we can check in on the kiosk.  As we print up our boarding passes, Stephen’s texts come through, making my phone give off it’s notification sound which I have set to Lt. Whorf’s words “It is a good day to die.”  Chris nervously laughs and asks with tension in his voice that I turn it off.  We aren’t quite so sure that security personnel would understand my Star Trek obsession.  The last thing we want is to get arrested.
We make our way to security check-point and try to take our cues from security personnel.  Apparently we don’t raise any red flags because we aren’t even asked to go through the “invasive” body scanner. Woohoo!  We sit down at the correct gate and I have just enough time to text Stephen to let him we know we made it okay when they start boarding us.
We take our seats—Chris and I are across the aisle from each other and we have each of the three seats to ourselves.  Chris suggests that I join him and sit in an empty seat next to him.  I shake my head no, saying with a smile that in case the plane goes down they’d have an easier time identifying our bodies if we were in our assigned seating. The flight is rather uneventful… only a few rough spots.  I am much too cold until it dawns on me to turn off the air vents above my seat.  We only get a few crackers and juice—no real breakfast  L.  I find myself jerking as my body starts to fall asleep.  Chris is across the aisle from me and he gets a window seat for the first time in his life.  He’s transfixed the whole time, taking in the snowy landscape as the sun starts peeking up over the horizon.
We land at the Denver airport.  It’s not adjacent to Denver itself, I’m sure because of crosswinds from mountains would make landings difficult.  Chris laughs later and explains to Stephen he thought we were landing in a very remote field.   We disembark and try to find the baggage claim area, which proves to be a bit more challenging than I first thought.  But thankfully Chris asks a gentleman at the information desk, and armed with real information we head off in the right direction!  Stephen calls and I talk him through what we’re doing as we try to find our luggage.  I guess since we took so long that our luggage was already off the conveyor belt and off to the side.  We pick it up and hurry outside as Stephen states he’s driving up.  We find out out though we’re one level higher up than the passenger pick-up area and we hurry down the escalator.  Stephen states on the phone that he sees a beautiful woman coming down the escalator.  Of course, he’s talking about me!  He embraces both of us as we approach and we toss our bags in the HHR car he rented for the week.
We decide to go to our hotel in Dillon first to drop off our luggage and get dressed into our ski clothes instead of going straight to Arapahoe Basin.  The roads are a bit treacherous and slick and we have to drive carefully.  We see several accidents due to the ice as we drive along.  The scenery is beautiful.  Stephen says we have to hold our breath when we pass through tunnels, so we do.  But this first tunnel is very short and Stephen says the real challenge is the tunnel coming up.  So on we go, avalanche warnings and all.
Oh, second, amazingly-long tunnel is done.  Want to know who made it and who didn’t?  Stephen is the only champion… I whimp out first (probably not even halfway through the tunnel ) with Chris giving shortly thereafter.  Stephen persists with me cheering him on, pausing for dramatic effect at one time to say, “But wait!   Aren’t you our driver?”  After he clears the end of the tunnel, he asks with a twinkle in his eye whether we saw the birdies.
I learn Stephen’s been learning how to play drums for the past few months.  He laughs and says he sucks at it.     And now you’re all caught up.  We’re only 1.2 miles from Dillon.
Okay, it’s now Day 3 so let me get you caught up; best place to start would be where I left on Day 1.

So, we show up at the hotel and we’re a bit too early to sign in so we cross the street and look at the frozen pond.  Without our snow gear, it gets cold quick.  We head back up the hill to the hotel and sign in.  We drop everything off at the room and then we brainstorm as to what we want to do.  Chris didn’t get but maybe a few hours of sleep the night before, so he decides to stay at the hotel to rest while Stephen (who up to this point has still not received any sleep since Thursday night) and I go to Arapahoe Basin  right before noon and I try snowboarding.   I have a lot of fun but get stupid as I get tired.  I am definitely not in shape, and especially not in this altitude but Stephen is a good teacher.  The feeling of gliding on the snowboard, what time I can stay up on the board, is exhilarating.  After only a few hours of falling on my butt and my arms, I decide I have put in all I can for the day while still having something to give tomorrow.  I wait at the base while Stephen goes up to the top and makes his way back down.  At 3pm we leave and head back to the hotel.  We pick up Chris and go to Old Chicago to eat (none of us have really eaten all day) and watch the Superbowl XLV.  As everyone is exhausted and we’ve all now eaten, we decide to go ahead and leave, even though it’s only the second quarter of the game.  Stephen had been to an Old Chicago before and had said the Snakebite was a great drink, so before we leave I order us each one.  Before we take a drink, I propose a toast: “To the best new dad and uncle in the world.”  The smiles on their faces kinda go blank and they try to process what I said.  I think Stephen is the first one to "get it" and a question mark forms on his face.  I nod my head and can feel my eyes get a little misty as I say, “yes, we’re pregnant.”  They ask if I’m kidding and I shake my head no.  They can’t believe it.  I had expected an explosion of verbal outburst and overflow of emotions but here they sit, just stunned and happy.    Chris wants to immedetially call everyone (as I knew he would) but I told him we should wait until we can tell people in person.  He is flushed red with happiness and shock and gives me two or three very heartfelt kisses.  Stephen sits there staring at me, leaning forward on his elbows, with his face cupped in his hands and this soft wonder in his blue eyes.  I push the drink away from me, letting them know I had to order one for myself just to keep up the mystery until the very last moment.  Chris asserts that I did a hell of a job keeping the secret because he had no earthly idea.  The next minutes are filled with my explaining how I found out last Monday and what lengths I had gone to in order to keep it a secret until the big reveal at this moment to my favorite two people in the world. I had lied and told Chris I was taking my antibiotic every day, told Stephen I would bring my bathing suit for the hot tub, etc.  I myself had found out like this:  


I call in sick Monday with a sinus infection and go to the doctor.  The doctor asks a routine question of when the first day of my last period was.  With my heart racing and face hurtin--both from the sinus infection, I numbly pull out my phone and look at the app on my phone that I use to keep up with my periods and so forth.  I’m midly surprised as I notice that according to the app I should have started my period the day before.  I almost always start my period the day before the app says, or the day of at the latest.    I tell the doctor as much and he prescribes me an antibiotic; he says that if I find out I’m pregnant to just stop taking it.  At the pharmacy on the first floor of the doctor’s building, I wait for my antibiotic to be filled and grab a few pregnancy tests while I’m there. The whole time I try not to get hyped-up over the possibility of being pregnant and I try to steel myself for the all-too-familiar let-down.  I go home and take a test, well actually two.  Both came back positive.  I have been so used to negatives or trying to see an extra blue line that’s not there that I don’t really believe my eyes now.  So I take pictures of the results and wait until the next morning to take another one, which is also positive. 


I now explain to Stephen that as much as I had enjoyed the snowboarding I had felt that it had put my body through a lot and that I wasn’t really comfortable trying it again.  Chris adamantly says I can’t snowboard anymore and gives me another firm kiss.  We drive to the apartment in the snow and lie in the beds watching the rest of the game.  Everyone’s halfway asleep as the game ends so I turn it off the minute it’s over, around 7pm Mountain time. 


Day 2
We get up and take advantage of the very nice continental breakfast provided by the hotel.  We get dressed in our snowgear and then head out to the frozen lake in order to waste some time so that we would only get charged for half-days at the ski resort later.  We take lots of pictures and videos there at the lake and then go to A-basin.  I turn in my rentals and am able to get a partial refund of the days I’m not going to be using them.  We get Chris all fixed up and we hit the mountain.  As far as the lift, he does great—much much better than I did.  When I tried the lift the day before I had fallen forward and the attendant had to stop the lift as I crawled frantically away.  So we proceed on, with me as a foot passenger, and get to the restaurant halfway up.  There, Chris takes off his board and the three of us proceed to the lift that would take us to the top.  At first they say foot-passengers aren’t allowed up, but Stephen tells them we were told we could just to stand there for a minute.  They call and come back to say we can just this once because we had been misinformed, the policy had changed the beginning of this season.  The lift to the top is looooong and sooooo cold.  There at the top there is no visibility because of the snow and wind, all of which were heavier than they had been yesterday.  We take video and then Chris and I take the lift down by ourselves—Stephen will snowboard down. 



The lift drops us off and we hike up the torturous little snowy hill there to make it back up to the restaurant where we sit and get warm.  We’re not there for long at all when Stephen arrives, not looking good at all.   He says it wasn’t fun because he couldn’t see where he was going because of the snow and wind.  He has a huge headache and is still experiencing some disorientation from the whiteness all around him as he had made his way down the hill.  We order some chicken strips and ate our full.  Once we are back out, we get Chris back in his board to try snowboarding for the first time, not just some “skating”.  He is having some difficulties and doesn’t feel safe; he says that now that's he's a daddy, he needs to make sure he lives through this.    Once he says he isn’t having fun trying this anymore, that is the keyphrase for us that this is it.  Stephen takes Chris’s board and skis down the hill with him as Chris and I take the nearby lift down to the base.  We turn in Chris’s rental equipment and wait for Stephen as he takes a few more trips down the slopes.  Stephen turns in his rentals afterwards too once he learns that Chris isn’t wanting to try again tomorrow.  The three of us head back to the hotel and take a nap.  Stephen is still having a huge headache and some vertigo.  We eat some leftovers and Stephen insists he’s well enough to for us to go see a movie.  We go to a nearby theater and watch the Green Hornet.  Towards the end of the movie, Stephen is experiencing some very concerning chest tightness.  We go to the Summit Medical Center in Fresno and get him checked out.  His EKG and other tests come back fine, but the D-dimer that test for blood clots comes back positive.  They say this kind of tests gives a lot of false positives but that they need to go ahead and do a CAT scan of his chest to rule out any pulmonary emobolis.    That test comes back clear so they release him and we all go home.  It’s about 2:30am when we head back to the hotel.  I take a shower, Chris is playing his Mad Birds game on his phone, and Stephen is doing stuff on his computer.    By the time we are in bed it’s almost 4am.
Day 3
We get up about 9:15 and get dressed in order to eat the hotel’s continental breakfast again before it gets too late.  We pack up and sign out with a few minutes to spare before the 11am check-out time.  Stephen had checked the weather report and it seemed that speeds on the icy roads were still slow, so we figure we better head towards Nebraska instead of hanging around to do any touristy things or see Breckenridge.  And here we are now, driving towards Denver.  Stephen says he’ll ask one of us to take over driving once we get to Ft. Morgan, because even though he’s feeling better, he still has a bad headache he can’t seem to shake.