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  In case Facebook is obsolete by the time you grow up to read this, I'll let ya know it's a social networking site.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,


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. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Yoga and Ice Cream by the Pint

Dear little lady,

We made it! ... to the third trimester, that is.  I'm getting huge!  Today one person mentioned that I've gotten the pregnancy-waddle going on and another exclaimed that I am getting bigger every day.  I was fine with that until she told me that my cheeks were filling out too.  Not so cool.  The last couple of nights I've noticed that I'm having more trouble getting to sleep and that I'm a tad uncomfortable lying down.  I attribute a lot of it to the fact that you seem to have taken your exercise regimen to the next level (I tell Chris to tell his daughter to settle down when I try to sleep).  You move around a lot!  :-)  Which is very very good; but I wonder sometimes if people realize that my thoughts drift during conversation because I feel "alien" movements like crazy inside me.

I've been having some bouts with depression here lately; honestly, I have felt nagging guilt about not exercising or eating nutritious food like I know I should for the both of us.  But the last two nights I did the "Yoga Mama" exercise video for preggos and it seemed to have helped with my mood a bit.  Today I did great with eating well for the first time in forever; but my melancholy kicked in again this evening and your dad did the only thing he knew to do-- buy me a pint of my favorite ice cream.  And, yes, it worked.  I sit here pretty well soothed--fat and exercise-free.

It's also bothering me that you don't have a name yet.  I feel that you "deserve" a name by now but the name-game has somewhat stalled.  From the beginning I said that I'd have to see you first before pinning you with a name for life, but as we get farther along in this pregnancy, I'm wishing your daddy and I were able to decide on something.  I guess the names I like are a bit too off-the-wall, but to me you will always be my October Jewel.  Your dad is still loving either Jessa Danielle or Carlie Ann, perhaps even Aven.  I won't stop looking.  I just want to find something that feels good on the tongue, has a nice cadence, means something, "fits" you, and isn't too far-fetched that no one would dare guess how to pronounce/spell.  wow, I guess that's asking a lot.  It's just that we've waited a long time for you, baby girl, and I want to get it right.

I can't count how many times your daddy has said that he can't wait to meet you but I can tell you he says it more and more often here lately.  I'm sure you've come to recognize his voice by now; I hope you hear all of his "I love you's" and take them to heart.  You are so very loved.  You can never ever doubt that.

It's been a bit stressful thinking about the baby showers, trying to get all the dates hammered out and communicating with my hostesses.  I'm thinking I probably should have just had one huge mega-shower for my 80+ guests and rented a hall for the event.  But as it is, I'm sure it will all work out... surely... i mean, right??

Your mama got invited to be a bridesmaid! Yep, your cousin Brendon is getting married to the sweetest gal, Kristine, next summer.  It'll be the first time I'll be in anyone's wedding since being a flowergirl in my Uncle Bill's first wedding and then of course the bride in my own.  I'm excited!  It could very well end up being your first out-of-state trip! 

I'm still trying to figure out how things are going to work career-wise once you arrive.  If I think about it for too long, it tears me up inside because I know I'll want to stay home with you full-time and it doesn't look like we can afford for me to do that.  So, it's either going back to Apria or trying my hand at a hospital PRN.  I want you to know that you can do anything you put your mind to; and so I try to believe the same for myself too, but just the thought of working in a hospital is intimidating.  Since graduation I haven't worked in a hospital at all; I feel I've lost all my clinical skills and, for sure, I don't remember any of the values and equations I need to know for critical care.

Anyway, there's a lot more I could write but I guess I need to wind this up for now and get us ready for bed.  Sweet dreams, little one.



Saturday, July 9, 2011

Half-eaten cakes and Heart-shaped rocks

Dear baby,

So much has happened since I last wrote that it seems a lost cause to catch up on everything, but I'd like to try and catch some of the highlights.  For one thing, your daddy celebrated his first Father's Day.  He got a ton of texts and Facebook wishes--all full of congratulations. 

I made him a Father's Day cake... but it may have been missing a few pieces by the time it got to him... oops!
We got the yard ready for my birthday party, and it looks a lot better.

The morning of my party, I woke up to find one of our trees had bloomed for the first time.  Talk about a thoughtful gift from God.

Your dad bought me a Wii for which I had been pining and my party guests gave about $500 bucks towards my camera and equipment, but I'd have to say the most wonderful thing that happened that day was Stephen surprising me by coming down from Lincoln, NE for my birthday party.  The morning after Dad treated us all, including Brendon and Kristine, to breakfast at the Magnolia Diner:

Stephen stayed for a whole week (yay!) and we all went to see the new Transformers movie in 3D at the IMAX.  That following weekend your dad and I went to New Braunfels for Fourth of July weekend.  On our way up there, I was distressed to discover that I had paid $1000 towards my student loan via online bill pay instead of my usual $100.  What a difference a zero makes!!  And they wouldn't refund the money of course.  :-(  That was a downer for the weekend but at least we had the money (barely).  Of course, it wiped out our  meager savings that I had been counting on for your baby room stuff and the wedding anniversary trip, but still.  I guess you can look at it that we're just that much closer to being debt free.  There were no fireworks due to the droughts (this year we broke a record for the most counties with a burn ban within the state) but we had fun regardless.


Your dad found this while skipping rocks at the Guadalupe and brought it to me... I thought it terribly sweet!
This past Wednesday I met up with Kristi and we went to Babies 'R Us to get registered.  I am so relieved I had her help.. I would have been so lost without her.  Now, my Aunt Cindy can quit asking when/where I'm registered, haha.  It's done!  :-)   It's still difficult to imagine that a baby, OUR baby,.. YOU will be actually using all this stuff.  

Now, this weekend we're finally catching our breath.  Not for long, though. Next weekend is your dad's birthday and then I'm trying to plan something nice for our big 10th wedding anniversary next month.  It's a busy year!

Changes are always going on in the world around us too.  Yesterday the shuttle Atlantis blasted off into space, marking "the end of the three-decade U.S. shuttle program and a fundamental shift in focus for NASA."  It brought back memories of my dad taking me to NASA when I was little.

And, while you have been incubating, the world map has been forever changed, for South Sudan became its own country as of midnight last night. 

Change--it's inevitable.  Things grow, they age, they die, and other things take their place.  But one thing I know, the change that's coming with you being added to our family is one I look forward to.

Love you,