Wednesday, December 30, 2009
So just last week I was thinking to myself how lucky I’ve been with this pregnancy. Right from the start, this baby has been healthy and strong and very easy. I’m hoping he or she continues this trend outside of the womb too. I never really had morning sickness or any other sort of pregnancy ailments. I’m healthy, the baby’s healthy, what more could I ask for?

I totally jinxed myself.

Perhaps because I was thinking how wonderful everything has been, the universe decided to intervene and make things a bit more difficult for me. Last Wednesday, I received a telephone call from the director of the birthing center. She was calling to let me know that the birthing center had a bad fire, which burned down part of the building. The timeline for necessary renovations would mean that the birthing center wouldn’t be available until the middle or end of January. Ha! Of course the birthing center burned down two weeks before I’m supposed to give birth, of course it did.

So instead of giving birth in the comforts of an old Victorian home, I’ll be having the baby at the hospital across the street. Actually, all things considering, I’m fine with this. The care will still be the same, meaning I’ll still be giving birth naturally with a midwife. Plus, the director said the hospital gave the birthing center two rooms and they’ve brought over a bunch of things from the birthing center and decorated the rooms to make them look as much as possible like the rooms at the birthing center. During my appointment tomorrow we’ll be able to check out the rooms.

I think the director felt really bad about the whole situation. But I told her, what could she do, it's not their fault there was a fire. These things happen. Stressing about it is not going to solve anything.

Being a parent is learning to adjust on the fly, right? So we adjust. As long as I am still able to have a natural birth and the baby comes out healthy, all is well. It really doesn’t matter where I have the baby. As I told Matthew, one benefit of having the baby at the hospital is that the hallways are longer, which means I’ll be able to walk around more. (I’m trying to look on the bright side here.)You have to laugh though, it’s almost too funny.

Christmas Recap

This post is more for posterity than anything, so feel free to skim (or skip).

We had a lovely Christmas. In fact, we had a lovely Advent Season. In some ways, it felt like our first real Christmas together (as a married couple). Last year I was working right up until Christmas Eve and then we flew out to California, so there wasn’t much time to prepare and anticipate the birth of the Christ child during December like there was this year. Being able to fully celebrate Advent made all the difference.

On Christmas Eve we went to Mass at our local parish. The church is an old stone building with stunning stained glass windows and it was decorated so beautifully for Christmas. I’m in love with this church. I took a picture after Mass because a light snowfall had covered the church and the scene was absolutely breathtaking.

After Mass, we went home and dined on salmon, mashed potatoes and a delicious goat cheese salad. We decided this meal would be an annual Christmas Eve tradition. After dinner, we each opened one small present from one another. After our gift giving exchange, I made a pumpkin pie and we watched Elf (another Christmas Eve tradition). We love that movie, Matthew thinks Will Ferrell should have won an Oscar for that role. All in all, Christmas Eve was nearly perfect, a wonderfully relaxing evening.

Bright and early Christmas morning, we awoke to find Santa had indeed visited our house. We must have been good this year because we were blessed with many a presents. We had left out Christmas cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer and found that Santa had enjoyed the cookies and the reindeer had left a few carrots out on the balcony as they flew away. Haha, we’re such dorks. Anyways, we enjoyed a nice slice of pumpkin pie for breakfast as we opened our presents together. I think we both enjoy giving thoughtful and creative presents more than we do receiving them, so we had a lot of fun Christmas morning. Matthew gave me a new pair of running shoes (which is what I had asked for) a new fleece jacket, an exercise ball (do you sense a theme here?) and several other small items like a book and a movie. I gave him a new black sweater and a rugby shirt along with a new wallet and a gift card to a ski resort in New Hampshire. I told him after the baby is born I want him to take a day trip and go skiing. That’s my real gift, a day off to go skiing.

After opening presents we went to Matthew’s mom’s house for brunch and unfortunately ate too much because later when we went over to his sister’s house for an early dinner there was so much delicious food, but sadly we just weren't hungry. It was nice visiting with all the in-laws and I'll admit, I had more fun than I thought I would. It was also nice to be able to talk to Matthew's sister and sister-in-law about childbirth and babies because let's face it, women are just better to talk to about these things. The family took a baby poll as to what (boy or girl) and when they thought our baby would come. One of Matthew’s nephews chose January 32nd as the birthdate, good luck to him.

After celebrating at my sister in law’s, we came home and were so tired, but still wanted to spend a little time with my family in California. So we had arranged a Skype date with my entire family who was busy enjoying Christmas dinner at my parents'. During our Skype session my siblings and Matthew and I opened our Kris Kringle gift and the gifts from my parents. My parents gave us a child bike seat, it’s so cute and perfect because we really love riding our bikes. Hopefully we can use it this summer!

Christmas really was wonderful this year and I can’t wait until next Christmas when we have a little one who will make the season all the more magical.

Considering it’s Christmas for 12 days, I’m still trying to carry on the celebration. But with about one week left in this pregnancy, I’ve been so exhausted lately, so the celebration has been, unfortunately, kept to a minimum. Although, we’re hoping to have a Thanksgiving type meal on the Feast of the Epiphany. Only this baby knows if that will happen.

**On a side note, my husband was involved in a campaign this year called Stand For Christmas. It’s sponsored by Focus on the Family and it involves rating and reviewing retailers with regards to their Christmas spirit, or complete lack thereof. I just checked out the website for the first time yesterday and it’s actually really informative and will definitely affect how I shop next year. Check it out here.

Baby Updates

Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Maybe it’s because Christmas was so busy, but I’ve been exhausted these past couple of days. I’ve been taking at least an hour nap every day, which is a bit unusual for me. Although I read that one sign of impending labor is alternating feelings of exhaustion and spurts of energy, during which you clean. That sounds about right. Last night I was feeling a bit nauseous, but still insisted on cleaning the bathroom. And good grief, I vacuum like it’s going out of style, but I just can’t help myself.

For about the past week, I’ve been having a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions. They’re not painful or uncomfortable, but feel more like my muscles are doing a situp. And the baby has been moving a ton lately. I was reading that as labor nears, the baby’s activity is supposed to slow down, well not this kid. He or she is having a ball in there and seems to be wide awake a lot more often these days. Plus, the baby has been having the hiccups about three times a day , so I’m not sure if that’s keeping him/her awake. Actually, the hiccups are pretty cute, and apparently, they’re a good sign that the baby’s lungs and nervous system are mature. But I do feel a little bad every time the baby gets them, it must be at least a little annoying to get the hiccups so often.

I have another midwife appointment on Thursday, so hopefully I’ll find out if I’ve made any more progress. I can’t believe the due date is almost here. It’s a bit scary. I told Matthew that I almost want to just stay pregnant because at least it’s familiar. “Almost” being the key word there. Seeing as this is my first time giving birth, I really have little or no idea what to expect. I’ll admit, I’m a little frightened of the pain and of something going wrong. Not to mention, that once the baby’s is born, I’m going to be fully responsible for her or him. Having a little person who is completely dependent upon me is just a tad bit intimidating, to say the least.

But I keep reminding myself, I’m doing all of this out of love for my child (and my husband too). I’m willing to endure the pains of childbirth and immensity of parenthood because this child is worth it. Gosh, I sound like a full fledged mother already.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Friday, December 25, 2009

I made this birthday cake for Jesus today. I thought it would be fun for the little ones. It was a big hit with the 12 and under crowd, but I think the adults enjoyed it too. Although, a few of them asked me, "whose birthday is it?" I was like, "umm, Jesus's."

Joy to the World!

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Merry Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

"He has become so small- you see: a Child- so that you can approach him with confidence."
~St. Josemaria Escriva
Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I love my husband and he's the smartest person I know. He has many talents and is extremely capable. However, wrap a present, he cannot.

(In his defense, he is getting better with practice. He also wanted me to take this picture.)

The Visitation

The Visitation is one of my favorite biblical readings and mysteries of the Rosary. The Angel Gabriel had just announced to Mary, a young virgin, that she would bear the Messiah, the awaited Anointed One of the Jewish people and what does she do? She immediately travels “with haste” to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, who is also with child. Her thoughts turn immediately towards those of another expectant mother, perhaps one who may have needed some extra assistance due to her “advanced age”. Perhaps Mary performs this act of charity because she carries the Christ child within her, but I like to think she would have gone to visit Elizabeth regardless. She has such a generous heart, Our Lady. She, like Christ, gives fully and entirely of herself.

Something else that caught my attention in Sunday’s Gospel reading was the mention that Mary traveled to the hill country to see her cousin. The phrase “to the hill country” really struck me because it means that she was traveling through difficult terrain during the early weeks of pregnancy. I remember being newly pregnant and huffing and puffing just to reach the top of the subway stairs. Before I actually found out that I was pregnant, I just thought I was really, really out of shape. (Little science lesson: the extra progesterone in a pregnant woman’s body along with an increased blood flow to the uterus can make breathing a bit more difficult in an expectant mother.) Surely, Mary would have struggled to trek through the hilly landscape and surely it would have caused her to become a little winded while doing so. Yet, she continued, she did not hesitate, despite the difficulty, in order to reach her cousin.

Mary’s generosity is something every woman should try to emulate. Even when we find ourselves in challenging or uncertain times, we should always be ready and willing to give ourselves freely to others. I admit that I could have and should have done more during this pregnancy to reach out to other expectant mothers. Theses last six months or so, I have felt a great tugging on my heart to return to volunteering within the pro-life movement. But selfishly, I have used the excuse that because I’m pregnant now is not really a good time. Where is my “haste”?

Inspired by Sunday’s Gospel reading, I have once again begun to look into volunteering at a local crisis pregnancy center. I found one in particular that offers Mom-to-Mom counseling and I intend to start volunteering there as soon as I get a few months of momhood under my belt. So while perhaps I did not fully utilize the time available to me while I was pregnant, I intend to offer myself more generously in the New Year.

Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

Nesting Much?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Today I scrubbed our stove top and cleaned underneath the burners, washed a ton of dishes, vacuumed the living room and entry way twice and am still planning on mopping the kitchen floor tonight.

I think I'm nesting...


Sunday, December 20, 2009
We got about 8 inches of snow last night and the flakes are still coming...We're hoping this means it will be a white Christmas! This morning, we decided to brave the cold and trek to a nearby breakfast cafe. Here are a couple videos from our little adventure.

Almost 37 Weeks

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Almost 37 Weeks update:
My midwife said the baby did indeed drop and while its head is still at a negative station, the baby's floating right where it should be. And the good news is that my cervix is 50% effaced and soft (which was more than I was expecting), but not dilated. I guess it's normal in a first pregnancy to efface and then dilate, subsequent pregnancies efface and dilate at the same time (or so I read). My Mom said that she didn't start dilating until she was actually in labor, so I'm guessing I'll be the same way. All in all, great news! I'm going to keep up all the walking I've been doing because I'm convinced it's helping move things along. Can't wait to meet this little person!

Breastfeeding & Lost

Monday, December 14, 2009
Our birth center hosts a free breastfeeding class once a month. The class is taught by a nurse midwife and certified lactation consultant (yes, they’re actually called that) and is designed to help expectant mothers learn the basics of breastfeeding. I definitely intend to breastfeed, in fact I don’t have any bottles or formula in the house, so breastfeeding is really our only option at this point. Last week I attended the class and it was so helpful. Certain tips and strategies, which I won’t go into detail here to spare people, were really helpful. One thing the nurse mentioned was that it takes about 2 weeks for mom and baby to really get the hang of breastfeeding and that during that time it’s really important for the mom to stay focused while the baby latches on and feeds so that she can learn the baby’s cues and such. I was thinking, “okay, I can do that”. Then she added, “so that means actually paying attention to the baby and not catching up on the latest episodes of Lost”. Ha! I was like,” oh crud, she found me out”. Seriously, that was my plan, to nurse the baby as I caught up on season 2 of Lost. Now what am I going to do?

Gaudete Sunday

Sunday, December 13, 2009

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer let your petitions be made known to God” (Phil. 4: 4 – 6)

Duggar Family

Call me corny, but I really love this Arkansas family and their TLC show, 18 Kids and Counting. The mother, Michelle, was expecting their 19th child and unfortunately the baby had to be delivered early (at only 25 weeks) in an emergency C-section. The baby, a girl named, Josie Brooklyn, weighs only 1 pound 6 ounces, but is in stable condition. Prayers are appreciated for the family.

Almost Positive

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I'm almost sure that the baby has "dropped", as they say, into my pelvis. I am definitely having an easier time breathing and the little kicks and punches feel much lower now. Not to mention there's a lot more pressure on my pelvic floor. Although, none of this indicates that the baby is coming soon. First babies tend to drop early, so who knows, we're probably still looking at an early January due date. I have a midwife appointment next week, so hopefully I'll find out more then.

Here's a picture of how my baby may be positioned right now.Looks comfortable, doesn't it?

Say What?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009
The two Senators from the great state of California are demonstrating quite clearly that they are becoming a tad senile in their old age.

Senator Feinstein stated that it is "morally correct" to force taxpayers to fund abortion. And the crazy lady, Senator Boxer, compared denying women (taxpayer funded) abortion coverage under the health care plan as the equivalent of men being denied Viagra under their pharmaceutical plan. Say what? That doesn't even make sense, ma'am.

Time to vote the old ladies out of office.


This morning I awoke to this beautiful view. And apparently, it snowed a few days ago in my hometown in California, which pretty much never happens, ever. So much for global warming...

Our Tree!

We've been celebrating the Christmas season in style this year. Last weekend we went to hear the Back Bay Ringers perform their annual Christmas concert. It was wonderful. We also attended a free Christmas performance of Handel's Messiah, which was incredible. I've never heard the entire piece performed, so it was such a treat. Except when this guy in a Santa hat interrupted the performance by stomping his feet and yelling "stop", that was weird, but he was quickly escorted out. I also visited our church Christmas Fair and bought a few trinkets.

We also celebrated the Feast of St. Nicholas. Matthew had never heard of the tradition of putting your shoes out and night, so we tried it this year, and guess what? St. Nicholas came and left some Hershey's kisses and candy canes in our shoes. When we woke up in the morning to check our shoes, I feigned excitement and surprise that St. Nicholas visited us. And then I told Matthew that this will be a lot more fun when we have kids.

And finally...we went and bought a real Christmas tree this year! Last year we had a sort of Charlie Brown Christmas bush, so this year is a huge improvement. It's such a beautiful tree and we put it up in front of our sliding glass door so that other people can enjoy its beauty. Matthew also surprised me with Christmas stockings. They're so cute and he had them monogrammed to read "Mom" and "Dad". How cute is that? It's fun to think that next year there will be another little stocking to add to the mix.

So we've been decorating the tree and drinking hot apple cider and eggnog, eating pumpkin pie, watching all sorts of Christmas movies and thoroughly enjoying this Christmas season. I love this time of year!

If you click on the picture you can see that our stockings say "Mom" and "Dad".

Baby Dreams

Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Last night I dreamed the baby was a girl. Again, the baby came out about 2 and a half years old, but still, a beautiful little girl. She had brown curlyish hair and big blue eyes (Kerry, I remember actually thinking in the dream that she looked a lot like Isabel:), probably because I went to sleep thinking about you guys and your upcoming move!) So of course I woke up thinking, if my kid is going to be that cute, I want a girl. Usually, I’m an equal opportunity dreamer, if I have one dream in the course of the night that the baby is a girl, then usually I will have another dream later the same night that the baby is a boy. But last night, just a girl baby dream. So that puts the score at:
Baby Girl Dreams: 3
Baby Boy Dreams: 2
We’ll find out soon enough!
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