Thursday, July 24, 2014

He laughs

and likes to be played with and talks endlessly while he holds your hand. Oh my.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Calvin and today

About a week old

I was looking through some old pictures of Cal tonight and I feel like he looks the same now, only bigger. With more smiles. And that's wonderful! I was really worried when he started to change for the first time. When his beautiful, long neck and delicate, sweeping jawline were subsumed by pudge. I even cried about it. But looking back I see that he couldn't have stayed that way - newborn and delicate - and still looked healthy and alright. I revel in his vitality and bulk these days. It makes me feel vital, and it makes me feel secure.

I also realized that he doesn't look as different as I thought. His body is much tinier in those "old" photos (of weeks back - a lifetime) but his face is the same. Well, actually, his face is all the more adorable now for learning to really smile and revealing dimples and sparkling eyes.

Man, he's gorgeous. He's a real knockout. We may never get a picture of it (he's so camera shy), but that's another thing I realized tonight: I won't forget. And not because my memory is good, because it's not, and that's been worrying me. It's because he will always look like him. He will always have the glow that I lament is missing from the millions of pictures we've taken. His height will change, his hair will change, etcetera, etcetera but that aspect of him that I adore will stay with him, and I won't have to look any further to remember the baby I'm falling in love with now.

I know this because parents say it all the time - that they look and they still see their baby - but also because I've experienced this phenomenon in my relationship with Tom. He is never less beautiful to me than when I first found him beautiful, he is only ever more than that. And also when I see my nieces and nephews, be they 4 or 14, they are precious to me as they are now, and I never miss what they were, or really think about it at all.

I realize that pictures are nice, but I needn't worry about my memories the way I do.
But stories should always be written down! Whenever there is a chance. Because they are hilarious and touching and more so in the words assigned to them in the moment. I need to write more down.


Today Calvin smiled a million times and just glowed.

We put on his CD, Sounds Like Learning, and we sang to him from the table as we tried to play a game (Summoner Wars, the last time we played was the camping trip the immediately preceded us finding out I was pregnant). He started singing along loudly and with a lot of variation - very sing-y-like. He was so excited and happy. We tried to get it on video but he sniffed out the camera, even when I hid it under the table on my lap. He got very stoney-faced, as per usual. I tried to videotape him gazing into Tom's eyes as they sang together but that also failed. He made "o" mouth and the dimples above his lips showed.

He smiled, very big, a lot today, he kept thinking things were delightful, things we did. He looks at us with such love lately. It is so humbling and so exhilarating! It feels like Heaven, but almost a little painful, like it's too much.

Today there was a huge fire at a mill very close by around 4:40. Tom came home on his motorcycle and told us about it. Somehow we hadn't noticed the giant plume of smoke, the flames, the explosions (that could be heard and felt from Eugene, they say) or the sirens or the vehicles a couple blocks away. They evacuated a one-mile radius that we and Mindy were just outside of (Mindy by only one street). A helicopter from another mill brought water to the site. They say it will continue to smolder for days. We prayed for the safety of the people involved. Everyone was accounted for and no one had serious injuries. Isn't that amazing? Praise the Lord.

Mommy (that's me) didn't do much of anything today and even watched a lot of Parks and Recreation while she breastfed. Some days are just like that.

Calvin is holding his head up independently almost exclusively these days. He loves it! He is so happy when he's standing or sitting up (with minimal support) and gets fussy about laying down, even though it takes a considerable effort to support himself. He shakes a little with the effort and makes a very wide-eyed, very excited, face, with an "o" mouth. I thought he would launch himself out of his rocking bassinet today. I was legitimately worried. He had a look of frustrated determination at one point. He's getting to be such a boy, but I still have so much baby time left. That's exciting.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Just like his father

I look at him and I can't believe how beautiful he is. He has an inner glow - I can't think of a less hackneyed way to put it right now. He's like an angel.

This picture doesn't capture it, of course. Sigh. None ever will.

Monday, July 7, 2014

This is probably what motherhood is like for many mothers many days. For me it was just today. The hard parts, I mean. I'm lucky.

Unwinding. A little. Busy, busy day. Calvin was travelling with us all the long weekend - visited Washington for the first time; met a lot of new family and slept in his first hotel room. He was so, so good about it all but today, after a necessary trip downtown this morning (to top it off) he needed Mommy Mommy and more Mommy all day long. He wasn't crying he just kept eating, peeing and pooping in an endless loop, and if he did stop and I could put him down in the swing or for a quick nap (if he fell asleep) he'd be awake and beckoning me before you could say "Facebook" or "Laundry" or "Unpack" or "Eat". I realized at 2:30 that I had had part of a piece of toast all day - and he had definitely eaten more than that. The only nap he had I slept through. Tom came home with a pizza, bless him, but then went to bed with a migraine. Laundry is going. Dishes are going. (Oh, how I love this modern age!) And I really need to take a shower before the stillness is broken by an adorable yet magnetic cry. It's unlikely, of course, he's such a good sleeper, but I shouldn't press my luck tonight.

Today Calvin didn't want me to leave his side.
Today we bought plants for the yard for $5.48 and Calvin wore orange, elephant shorts.
This evening I looked at Calvin from the side as Tom held him; his face contorted into a cry and I watched it with a huge smile on my face. He has the cutest sad face in the world.
Tonight Calvin laughed for me for the first time. (I was doing something similar to "boo!" and "ahchoo!" with a head motion while he sat on my lap on the nursery bed. I'd lean back with my eyes closed and then do it again and again. He did two guffaws and many smiles.) I was transported.
Tonight Calvin stood on my lap with his arms around my neck as I wrote a Thank You card and didn't hold him in any way. He's two and a half months. Isn't that amazing?
Days like this, I know, we're really in love.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mothers' Day

Here is my baby. Calvin. Calvin Thomas. Cal. I love him.
He's 3 weeks old today.
Yesterday was Mothers' Day and we "facetimed" with both the grandmas. We went to church and spent the whole sermon nursing and diaper filling/diaper changing in a back room. Men gave me roses. Women gave me gifts and doted on my angel. We went to Trader Joe's and I was given more flowers by a cashier. We watched Vampire Diaries with Mindy since we'd put it off this week. Tom gave me earrings - green pearls. He went out on Saturday to find the little felted animal I'd asked for when I was in labor. He didn't find it but came back with A Wrinkle In Time and The Magician's Nephew and more cloth diapers and wipes.

Calvin is growing like crazy. We have our second pediatrician appointment today and will find out just how big he is. Last time he was over nine pounds and off-the-charts for height. I've been packing away newborn clothes - especially socks. I put a newborn diaper on him last week and it literally popped off before I got both sides buttoned.
My milk production is slowing down, thankfully. We're getting in sync. I've unfortunately been spoiled by wonderfully long sleeping patterns from him at night, so now when he has a fussy night I'm beside myself. "What?! I have to get up?! Now?!" Poor baby. I've begun carrying him in the carriers. I can't get much done with him strapped to my front. I have to make sure his head is being supported and that he's breathing easily. But it does keep him happy. He may be getting spoiled... We have "Binky Day!" marked on the calendar because he loves to suck and hasn't quite figured out the thumb thing. Plus he loves to be swaddled at night: no thumbs. He also likes a light on at night, which I was told I'm not supposed to do. It's better for his eyes to be in darkness, I heard, but he cries and cries with nothing to look at. Nothing to gaze at while he makes a little pursed mouth face that I love. If he is spoiled, that's OK. I've been waiting so long for him, what does anyone expect?

Life is beautiful.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Last Saturday

On Thursday I had an OB-GYN appointment and Tom surprised me by showing up in the middle of his work day. That was nice. Less nice was that we learned that I hadn't really made any progress: Cal hadn't dropped, my cervix was maybe a little softer, no dilation - nothing to inspire confidence that induction, and even c-section, would be avoided. I cried afterward; I was having a hard time. But at this point - Saturday - I'm feeling much more peaceful and even hopeful. On Monday we will be 41 weeks along. Initially our due date was 4/10/14 but the first ultrasound put us at 4/14/14. I was excited about this at the time and am remembering again to be thankful for these 4 extra days. Every day gained feels like a victory to me because I want so much to give my body enough time to do this itself. We avoided trouble with high blood pressure and managed to make it this far without too much pressure, but the doctor has his concerns, and I've weighed the risks on both sides, and we've agreed that one way or another Calvin will be here by Wednesday, the 23rd.
So Thursday was our last Thursday without Calvin.
It was a light day and Tom didn't have to return to work after our appointment so we headed home and spent the rest of the day together there, getting small projects done and hanging out. It rained on Thursday and the blossom petals started falling off the huge, gorgeous apple tree in the back yard. Our new neighbors continued moving in to George's old place next door; we still haven't met them.
We talked about how we couldn't believe it was our last Thursday without Calvin.
Friday we said the same thing: I can't believe it's our last Friday without Calvin!
I meant to spend the day cleaning but instead I spent it organizing the baby clothes one last time. It really was worth the effort and backache and I feel like I now know what's where. I also went through some pre-pregnancy clothes and some saved fabrics and made a couple bags of things to get rid of. I've been much more decisive with my culling during pregnancy. I think my perspective has changed about "things" and it's not so much that I want to get rid of everything - because I've done that in the past, to my dismay - but I'm able to say 'this we need; this we don't'. I've become more practical... and satisfied. Probably because I have everything I want.
It kept hitting me throughout the day that I was going to have a baby; that Tom was going to have a son; that we were going to bring Calvin home, watch him grow; the whole thing. At one point I clapped my hands together in excitement, which I thought was funny. Another time I started crying in happiness.
Mindy came over with Bonnie after dark. She brought me flowers and we watched The Vampire Diaries. I hoped I would go into labor and had Braxton Hicks and sat and talked with Mindy after the show was over. I told her about the devotional message I'd read in the morning that quoted Moses from Exodus and the story of the manna from Heaven, "It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded: 'Each one is to gather as much as he needs... No one is to keep any of it until morning." This had been good for me to read. I want some assurance every day, some sign that labor is imminent or that induction or c-section will be avoided. Zero centimeters; the baby hasn't dropped; the due date has come and gone. None of this is reassuring but none of it is ultimately telling or what will happen. There is no certainty in the signs my body is giving - everything happens in it's time - and unfavorable outcomes can't be ruled out definitively anyway. God is my assurance. He gave me bread for the day. He gave me a good day in which my family was safe and healthy, I wasn't induced, I wasn't operated on, I had hope. I wasn't given anything for the next day except the knowledge that God would be there and that I can trust Him. He gave me the bread I needed and I felt good yesterday. I had read that if things didn't change in my body the likelihood of my having a c-section was 50%. For a moment I despaired. But I remembered that my sisters and my mother had all been induced, with their first children, successfully: vaginal births. And Tom's mother (and the theory in our family, whatever it's worth, is that length of gestation is determined by the father) had been a week past her due date before she delivered him without induction.
So some things were looking bad, some things were looking good. Nothing was certain but nothing was wrong and most things were very good.
This morning Tom and I woke up to cool breezes and grey skies and I cannot think of anything better to wake up to. It is so calming and comfortable and despite pains and discomfort in my body we both lingered in bed a while and were happy. Tom brought me oatmeal with peanut butter and we planned a trip to drop off some clothes at a thrift store in Eugene and get a Butterfingers-topped doughnut, I'd been craving, downtown. I was getting ready to go when I noticed that I my stomach looked low, and I think after all of our verbal coaxing last night Calvin may have dropped. My doctor had been making me nervous, talking about the possibility of Cal not dropping because he wasn't fitting, meaning (spontaneous labor or not) c-section, no question. If Cal really has dropped he may even now be triggering my cervix to thin, to open, to let him through. But I don't know and won't know until Monday. I have my bread for today. Bread and a doughnut! The doughnut gave me heartburn, but I ate it all, tiny bite after tiny bite. A last gift came in the mail: the knit socks and diaper cover we'd asked for. We went to the hardware store. Tom worked on painting picture frames, on a little patching and painting in the living room, on curtain rod parts, on the yard. I went out and pulled weeds and hoped the squatting would help my body prepare for labor. My feet slid in and out of my clogs so easily today. I felt a little more like my old self in that. I had to pee near constantly and didn't drink as much water as I should have. Max and I watched The Invisible Man and I didn't like it that much, again. I bought shampoo in bulk online and I feel like I'm starting out on a fun and worthwhile period in my life: stay-at-home wife and mother, my dream job. Praise God.
Today is our last Saturday without Calvin. Without knowing his face or the way he feels. I'm going to run around tidying up and Tom finishes up outside. We have a plan to watch Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing which Tom found, miraculously, at Value Village this week. I'm contracting. I have dirt on my hands. I can't believe this life I have. I can't believe this is the bread the Lord has given me to eat today.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


There are 11 days until Calvin's due date. My mind is constantly turning over the question of WHEN? Not because I feel that his arrival is imminent - I cannot believe I'm at the end of this pregnancy and my body feels, if anything, like it is slowly revving up for delivery - but I wonder how insistent my doctor will be on inducement and how long I can refuse his offers, or suggestions or urgings - whatever they will be - before fear and guilt overrule instinct and I acquiesce. This, I know, is a gloomy prospect, but a realistic one. My blood pressure for much of my third trimester has been described as "volatile". And though nothing else appears to be wrong and I feel that Calvin and I are safe and healthy I know that there is a tiny sliver of potential for very serious, life-threatening complications and a part of me would go to the hospital this minute for a cesarean - because right now he is alive and safe - and that scared, sad part of me would say "ok" to just about anything they told me to do. I knew this as I sat on the table in the doctor's office with a paper wrapper, and my ample belly, covering my lap, socked feet crossed and swinging nervously. I looked away from my doctor, down at the floor, as he explained that he wouldn't "tell [me] what to do", as though it were almost my choice. My nostrils expanded and relaxed rhythmically as I held in defeated tears. I will try to stand my ground, to wait for labor to begin, to refuse intervention, even to labor at home (the suggestion of which prompted him to make a terrible face I could have slapped, and one he insisted on showing me from one side of my stirruped leg. A face that said, "Oh no! Really?") Because of my high blood pressure he wants Calvin and me monitored throughout labor. My mother developed preeclampsia after her water broke. My sister developed preeclampsia the day before her due date. I've read about placenta abruption. He is a nice and gentle man, and he may very likely let me steer the boat 100%, but he has before taken an attitude that has made me second guess my choices and I don't know how brave I am to stand up to someone saying "this is what I recommend" when what they mean is "this is what is safe for your baby", whether I believe they are right or not.