So, here we are. One day shy of 38 weeks. Still here, still pregnant. Just kinda waiting. Things were really trucking along until a week ago. I actually felt... ready. Like, really ready. Ready to have an actual new baby. It seemed real. It was very odd. We are still hoping that New Baby will stay internal until Thanksgiving Day, 1:09pm or later so that my mom will be here to watch Hannah and help out, but I've got Hannah's little suitcase packed just in case. I've talked to her so many times about how one day mommy and daddy will go to the doctor to get the baby out and Hannah will go sleep at Babby's (her little BFF, who she loves beyond all reason) house that she runs and tries to get her bag every time I have a doctor appointment. Which is pretty often nowadays. We've had to clarify between going to Babby's house for an hour so the doctor can LOOK at the baby and going to Babby's house to sleep all night because it's time for the baby to come out. Amazingly enough, she actually seems to understand. (It helps that we had an epic week of doctor appointments last week, with Hannah having her two-year checkup and Joel going to a chiropractor because he screwed up his back. Now we're at the point where one of her friends was crying as we left a playdate and Hannah told me that his mommy should take him to the doctor because he must be sick.)
Anyway, at this point last week I felt ready. Especially after I felt the baby drop -- which felt like she was taking a tiny uterine elevator down a few levels -- and had a bunch of contractions and generally felt very off and thought it might be Go Time. Spoiler alert: it was not. What it was was an awful stomach bug. Last Monday was, I think, the second-worst day of my life. Top honors still goes to last year's Family Stomach Bug, but it is a close call. On the plus side, at least this time Joel didn't get sick until I was pretty much recovered. And Hannah at two is much more capable of entertaining and caring for herself than she was when I was out of commission last year. She asked for a snack at one point in the afternoon and I told her she could go and get out the Halloween candy if she wanted to. She went upstairs, opened the closet, got a single peice of candy, and came back down to show me. She even threw the wrapper in the trash. And now she will sit and watch TV, which yeah yeah screen time, WHATEVER. There is no screen time limit when you're puking your guts out all day. And also you're allowed to wear your swimsuit indoors for no reason at all because mommy has no reserves to argue.
And best of all -- though I'm still hesitant to say this, so please knock on any wood you have nearby -- Hannah seems to have somehow avoided catching the bug this time, thank you baby Jesus. So. That was all good.
On the other hand, I cannot recommend coming down with a stomach bug while looking like this. That definitely took things to a new level of unpleasantness.
So last week felt like we were just barely clinging on to survival. First I was out, then Joel was out, and even though I was feeling much better I stayed up all night having awful thoughts about what in god's name we were going to do if I went into labor at that very minute, with Joel completely incapacitated, Hannah likely to become violently and contagiously ill at any moment and... yeah. No sleep.
Then the next day our landlord informed me that he was putting our house on the market. So we need to move. Soon. And in the meantime there will be showings and all that jazz and yeah, I had a small breakdown. It was not a good week.
Thank goodness for good friends, who talked me down off the ledge on Thursday. My mom will be here in eleven days. If the baby does come before that, we have a plan in place for Hannah and everything will. be. FINE.
But now I'm back to just feeling plain old pregnant, la-dee-da, going about my pregnant business and we're a week closer to New Baby making an appearance. It's back to feeling like some mystical event in the distant unknowable future, rather than something that could be any day now. But hopefully not tomorrow. Or the next day. Or any day before Thanksgiving.
I still feel like this pregnancy has overall been easier than my first one. I've gained a ton more weight (yaaaaay) and I have some heartburn and a very uncomfortable 1-2 hours every evening (always about 10pm to midnight, which is super convenient timing), but I think things were far worse at this point with Hannah. So that's nice and I'm enjoying every magical moment and all that, especially the perpetual game of is-it-a-contraction-or-is-the-baby-just-blocking-my-digestive-tract-again.
I'm worried about breastfeeding, but I hope that this time I can at least have the perspective that I totally THOUGHT I had last time but got lost in the rush of postpartum hormones. I will try, and if it works I will be so happy. If it doesn't... it doesn't. I know now firsthand that the world does not end when you give your baby a bottle of formula. And I honestly don't even plan to attempt to "exclusively" breastfeed. Even that term annoys me. I'm not going to kill myself pumping all week just to get enough milk banked up so I can go to yoga on the weekend or go to the grocery store myself. A bottle of formula here and there -- hell, a bottle of formula every DAY -- is not the end of the world. Especially not when weighed against my sanity and my ability to take care of the entire other child I have. This entire paragraph is mostly for myself to come back and read in a few months, if that were not entirely obvious.
(But to go off on a tangent about the whole "exclusive" thing -- why do people love that word so much? I hear it all the time in reference to cloth diapering at well. "Oh yes, we exclusively cloth diaper! Have since Day 1!" You know what? I do not exclusively cloth diaper. I used to. And I used to feel like a huge, fat failure every time I used one of our precious for-emergencies-only disposables. And then we had to use ONLY disposables for several months while dealing with the thrush diaper rash from hell, and you know what? It was OK. We eventually got back to cloth diapers, but then when Hannah started sleeping through the night -- like, 12+ hours through the night -- none of our cloth diapers could cut it. I ordered some wool covers, I ordered extra hemp and bamboo inserts, I tried quadruple stuffing pockets to the point where we couldn't fit any pajamas over her enormous night diaper. And still, they leaked every night and I got sick of not only changing the crib sheets but also of wondering if she would have slept longer if her diaper, pajamas, and sheets hadn't been soaked in urine. Oh, dear, sweet sleep. I was not ready to trade even a MINUTE of nighttime sleep for a measly cloth diapering medal, so we gave up and started using a disposable diaper overnight and I have never looked back. I also stopped carrying more than one spare cloth diaper with me in the diaper bag around the time that Hannah's diapers became the approximate size and bulk of a throw pillow. If we're out for more than one diaper change, she goes into an emergency disposable. And NO ONE CARES! The cloth diaper police haven't shown up a single time! Exclusive anything can basically bite me, is the moral of this parenthetical story.)
I'm also worried about Hannah, which I know is the oldest sibling worry in the book. I'm sad I won't be able to give her the level of attention that I can now. I'm worried she'll resent her sister or feel confused and generally be thrown off -- which is pretty much guaranteed, as our entire household is about to be turned upside down. I know, I know, it's all worth it and she'll adjust and blah blah blah -- trust me, this is what I thought every time I've heard someone else worry about this and I know it's true. But I'm still worried about it, and also sad that the days of us being a family of three are almost over.
I want to write pages and pages about Hannah now, at two plus two months, but I can hear her waking up from her nap so I'll suffice to say that she is SO much fun (except today, when she has been UNBEARABLY whiny -- but most days, she is truly a delight). I love age two so, so much. It's just the greatest.
I love it when other people do those day in the life posts -- there is something wonderful about seeing how other people's days unfold. If you enjoy these as well, here's far too much detail about a mundane day with a two year old.
6:20am Hannah starts moaning over the monitor. I elbow Joel, who gets out of bed to tend to her. Back in the day I used to feel obligated to get up and take care of Hannah in the morning because Joel has to go to work! To an important job that pays him money! He can't possibly prepare himself for a day at the office while caring for a small child! Um, yeah. After maybe six months of sleep deprivation I realized that if Joel is going to get up at 6:30am anyway because he likes to have a leisurely breakfast, read the news, check his email, and take a nice long shower, then he could just as well do those things with an infant sitting in the bouncer. I don't get to sit in peace and read the news and eat my cereal, so why do I feel like this is absolutely necessary for him? That extra hour and a half of sleep makes an enormous difference in my day. It's my best natural sleep time, and it was especially precious back when Hannah was small because it was the only sleep I got with zero worry that I could hear tiny baby cries coming over the monitor at any time. Joel is a good, good man for doing this every day without a single complaint. This is also often the only time he gets to spend with Hannah, so. It works.
8:00am Joel plops Hannah in bed with me. She loves to roll around in our bed lately. She requests milk, as she does every day, and I heave myself out of bed and get it for her. She drinks it and plays with the six pacifiers she's brought into the bed with her while I brush my teeth and put on pants. It is gloriously chilly in the mornings lately. (I can't believe I am saying that, but I am so very pregnant and so very, very hot all the time.)
8:20am Joel calls out that he is leaving and Hannah and I come out in the hallway to give him a kiss and a hug at the top of the stairs, as is our morning ritual. I scarf down a bagel and coffee while Hannah entertains herself with the Megablocks she got for her birthday.
8:45am I tear Hannah away from her blocks so we can leave for the park for our daily morning playdate. I am always, always five minutes late and I hate this about myself. I am determined to be on time today. (Being on time would not matter in the least, except that we go for a walk before letting the kiddos play at the playground and the other ladies will wait for me to leave for the walk.)
9:15am Except we are going to a new park today and my GPS leads me astray, so I arrive late. As usual.
9:30am Strollers loaded with toddlers and toddlers equipped with snacks and dolls, we start our walk. This new path is extremely hilly and there is much huffing and puffing. Mostly from me, packing 30+ lbs of baby weight and pushing a 30+ lb toddler in a giant stroller.
10:00am We return to the playground, walk aborted early due to cranky toddlers (I was none too sad to cut the walk short. Jesus, those hills.). The kids play on the playground and feed the ducks and laugh like loons running back to the parking lot.
11:15am We pack up to leave. Hannah cries because she wants to ride in her BFF "Babby's" car. Her love for Babby (otherwise known as Gabby) bursts my heart. These two adore each other and it is the cutest thing ever. Hannah asks for her a million times a day and when they are reunited at the park every day they run full speed into each other and hug. Hannah is contented with seeing Gabby in the car next to her at the first stoplight we hit, and waves and yells "Babby! Bye!" as they go straight and we turn.
11:30am We make a quick stop at post office to mail off a huge return to Old Navy (free shipping and free returns means I order everything I might possibly want for me and for Hannah when it's 30% off, try everything on at home, and ship back 75% of the order) and buy a roll of stamps. I let Hannah hold the stamps in the car against my better judgement. She doesn't manage to get them open.
11:45am We arrive home and Hannah insists on "driving" the car for a bit. She climbs up to the front as soon as I unbuckle her from her car seat and plays with all the knobs and buttons in the driver's seat while I check email on my phone in the passenger seat. When she wants to switch seats, she pushes my legs and says "scuse me". When I don't move fast enough she looks me in the eye, pushing again, saying "scuse me! Scuse me! SORRY!" We haven't managed to get her to say "sorry" when she does something wrong, but she is very good at saying it for me when I do something she doesn't like.
12:00pm Hannah finally comes in from the car and lugs herself, a doll, and her doll suitcase (which she brought in the car, because toddlers have a lot of shit they need to carry around) up the stairs. I rejoice at the lack of Stair Tantrum, the bane of my existence. I refuse to carry her up the stairs any more and girlfriend is NOT pleased with her lack of a personal elevator. She often cries for 20 or 30 minutes at the bottom of the stairs, wailing for me to come and get her. EVEN IF SHE WENT DOWN THERE ON HER OWN. Gah.
12:10pm Hannah is in her high chair, eating lunch (hummus, carrots, mix of nuts/craisins/crackers, and a quarter of a bagel with cream cheese) and watching Phinneas and Ferb on the kindle. I don't feel great about her dependence on "show" to eat lunch, but a few weeks ago her eating habits (or more precisely, complete lack thereof) were pretty much ruining my life and now they're not.... so. I deal with it. I check emails and Twitter and eat cake frosting out of the jar while she eats.
12:45pm Shows are over. Hannah complains to watch more and claims she's still eating, shoving a bite of bagel in her mouth as evidence. Nope. Out of the chair. She tries to sit in her doll high chair, then runs off looking for the cat, claiming he's going to sit in the doll chair. Shockingly the cat does not come out of hiding as she calls "HENWY! Henwy eat!"
12:50pm I coax her into her room with the promise of pacifiers. Many, many pacifiers. I change her into a disposable diaper, put on new PJs because last night's pajamas smell like piss, read her two books and toss her in bed. As I'm walking out she asks for more pacis, and I promise to look for them and bring them in if I find any. She nods her approval and rolls over.
1:00pm I collapse on the couch for a few minutes, as is my daily nap ritual. I check emails and Twitter, RSVP to a few new meetups posted in my moms' group, send Joel an email with the subject line "did Hannah piss in the bed last night" (spoiler alert: she did). I wish for the millionth time that we had a house elf to fix me lunch. The cat comes out of his hiding place and plants his ass on my legs, because what I need at 30 weeks pregnant is an 11-lb cat adding his weight to me.
1:45pm I peel myself off the couch and throw together a nutritious lunch consisting of a buttered Lender's bagel with jelly and a large glass of chocolate milk, my most persistent pregnancy craving. Normally I hate milk (and still can't drink plain milk) but when I'm pregnant, chocolate milk is the most refreshing, delicious drink I can imagine. In fact, I pour myself another glass, stir in the Nesquik, and pound a second round as soon as the first is gone.
2:00pm Time to take care of business, as it were. I unload the dishwasher, do all the dishes in the sink, and clean up the kitchen, which somehow devolves into disaster every few hours. I wash down Hannah's filthy high chair and throw away the remnants of her lunch. Then I clean off the little table and chairs she got for her birthday last weekend, which is already covered in food particles and crayon marks. I pick up a few toys and put all the stuff out on the counters and floor back where it belongs. I feel like I spend an enormous amount of time each day on these small tasks. When the kitchen is done, I wander into the bedroom and fix the curtains that I bought approximately four months ago but we just got around to hanging this past weekend. I adjust the curtains on the rod and tighten up the little screws when I'm satisfied. Henry immediately takes up residence behind the curtains. He has basically remained there ever since.
I make the bed and put away the screwdrivers, leftover hardware, measuring tape, and step stool left over from the curtain installation. That done, I bring a load of laundry downstairs and start it running, take the load of Hannah's diapers out of the dryer and stack them up so I can put them in her changing table drawer quickly when she wakes up, before she has a chance to scatter them all over the house as she diapers her dolls and stuffed animals. I set that basket outside her door and put away the clean load of clothes sitting on our bedroom floor from last night. I think I hear Hannah moving around in her room over the noise of my audiobook, but when I check the monitor she still looks pretty passed out.
3:15pm I sit at the kitchen counter and tap out some notes for this post on my phone. Hannah is starting to move around now.
3:30pm Hannah's up. I text my friend to see if they're still going to be at the park when we get there, as Hannah's new later nap schedule has us missing half our afternoon activities (though you will NEVER hear me complaining about her glorious long naps). Hannah continues messing around in her crib, tucking in her frog, tucking in herself, reading books to her stuffed animals and shining her flashlight in her eyes.
On days when we don't have anything planned for the afternoon I happily let her do this for as long as she wants to. When I finally get her up she insists on wearing "dress! bow!", which is how we end up wearing the frilliest dress in her closet and its matching headband (birthday gifts), even though I have no idea how to put headbands on toddlers. Shit, I don't even know how to style my own hair. Hannah is two and is already far more fashionable than I am. She's also shaping up to the an extremely girly girl, hence the change into pajamas before nap -- she used to just sleep in her clothes, but one day realized she could score an extra wardrobe change if she asked to wear pajamas for her nap. I can't make myself care, as it makes her happy and I'll do anything to keep these excellent naps going for as long as possible.
4:10pm We leave the house. I smell orange as we're driving and remember that Hannah had shoved two clementines into her little suitcase earlier. When we arrive she's done a pretty good job peeling half of it and sucking out all the juice. I can't find any peels, and make a mental note to not be shocked if her diapers are extra orange tomorrow.
4:30pm We arrive at the park (a different park from this morning -- Utah has more parks than I've ever seen in my life) pretty much as everyone is leaving. One friend stays for a bit to hang out with us. We feed the ducks stale hot dog buns, walk around, and buy Hannah her first twizzler at the candy store. She approves. She and her little friend have dance party on the sidewalk and feed the ducks again before my friend's husband calls and she takes off because her spouse gets home from work at a normal time. Hannah and I hang around for a few more minutes and watch some big girls hang from a tree. (The next day she starts hanging from things on the playground -- THANKS A LOT, GIRLS.) The girls say they are 8 and inform me Hannah is "soooooo cute." We share our last hot dog buns with them and they help us feed the ducks. Hannah is delighted and keeps pointing to them, saying "help."
5:45pm I start herding Hannah towards the car. She whines the whole way home about not being able to get her keys (I made her a set of keys from all the old ones we have that go to nothing) apart. I explain for the ten millionth time that I cannot help her with these tasks while I'm driving.
6:00pm I stop for gas. Hannah points to the windows and says "wash!", a word I didn't know she knew. This shows you that Joel usually pumps our gas, because I don't think I have ever washed windows at a gas station in my life. But I dutifully wash them while the gas pumps and Hannah is delighted.
6:15pm We arrive home. Hannah plays in the car for a few minutes. She finds a juice box in the console and manages to get the straw out and insert it in the box with zero help from me. Independence! It is coming!
6:30pm After playing in the car/garage/driveway for a bit, we head inside. Hannah carries her suitcase up the stairs by herself AGAIN. Zero stair tantrums! This is a great day. We change her diaper and she insists on wiping herself and then throwing her washcloth in the diaper pail herself. I stand in front of the fridge trying to figure out what the hell to give her for dinner. She solves the problem by taking a giant container of parmesan cheese out of the fridge and carrying it to her high chair. She then runs off to her room mumbling something I can't make out... which turns to be "bib." I convince her to wear a different bib, one with a pocket to catch all the shredded cheese she's going to drop all over the place, and set up a Phinneas and Ferb for her. She also eats some banana, crackers, and orange/carrot juice. While Hannah eats, I make meatballs for Joel and I to eat for dinner (will be Hannah's dinner tomorrow) (and by that I mean it will be presented to her for dinner, even odds on whether she eats a single bite) and check email and twitter... meanwhile reminding Hannah to keep eating five hundred times. I refill her cheese and juice once. She doesn't eat much, but given that she ate an orange, a box of apple juice, and a squeeze pouch in the garage I'm not too concerned.
7:15pm The show ends. Hannah insists she is still eating, though I've been watching her work on the same single shred of cheese for the last five minutes. I rewind the show five more minutes and tell her she better eat all that cheese.
7:20pm Show is over again. Hannah insists she is still eating (masters of negotiation, two year olds) so I tell her to grab anything she still wants to eat and she can bring it in the bath. (I am not above this. I am not above much.)
7:21pm Hannah starts yelling for "sell" (Stella the doll) and insists she needs to feed Stella some of the cheese she grabbed while exiting the high chair. There is no way in hell I am turning her loose in the house with a bowl of shredded cheese, so I give her some cubed cheese instead (girlfriend eats a lot of cheese). Then Stella needs a bib. And a plate. I tell her I'm going to get the bath ready and count on the fact that she will wander in when she hears me doing something in another room without her (and she does).
7:30pm Joel texts that he is leaving work as I get Hannah in the bath. Sadly this is pretty average and even somewhat early. Please say a prayer that these hours let up before December 2 or I will have a mental breakdown. Or change all my locks and refuse to let my mom ever go home.
7:40pm Hannah has been playing happily with her "guys" (intended to vent pot lids while cooking, but long ago appropriated for bath play) for ten minutes but suddenly decides she is done, which is good because we are now WAY behind schedule and in the world of toddler bedtime, behind schedule usually means crying.
7:45pm Hannah bolts from the bathroom as I try to dry her off and I hear her pound into the kitchen. After I throw her diaper in the pail and her clothes in the hamper I find her sitting naked in the kitchen at her little table, playing the harmonica she got for her birthday. So, you know, the usual. I microwave her cup of milk and tell her to grab her pacis and come in her room, and thankfully she complies after demanding that I wrap a towel around her "like daddy" (regular towel wrapped around her waist).
7:50pm She is miraculously compliant in putting on her diaper and pajamas, given the late hour. She does add three books to the book pile and runs from the room twice while we are reading to collect more stuffed animals and throw them into her crib, along with her bath guys and the harmonica. (My rule about stuff in the crib is: as long as it's not outright dangerous, be my guest.) We read our books very quickly and halfway through the last one Joel arrives home in time to kiss Hannah good night. She gets in bed without complaint and even says goodnight as I walk out (I die).
8:00pm Crying. I knew that was too good to be true. She complains that the room is too dark (shorter days are killing us, this is a nightly complaint) and that she needs more pacis (she has six). I turn on her crib aquarium and flashlight, assure her these will keep it bright for her until the moon comes out, and tell her to lie down and go to sleep while I look for more pacifiers. I have no intention of coming back with more pacis, but I tell her this every single night. She just likes to have one last demand met before she can go to sleep in peace.
8:02pm I get the meatballs and pasta started cooking and chat with Joel. He goes downstairs to watch tv while I make salads and clean up the kitchen again.
8:45pm Dinner is served! This sounds super late to most people, I bet, but I cannot manage having dinner ready much earlier while simultaneously getting a small child fed, bathed, and in bed. And neither of us really cares. I have always done well on a European eating schedule. If I eat dinner at 6 I'm starving right around bedtime.
9:00pm Joel watches some new show about hostages while I surf the internet on my phone and write this post (also on my phone -- I've gotten pretty good at the at the touchscreen keyboard, though I do still miss my old phone with the full slider keyboard). This is a rare and wonderful night where Joel doesn't work from our dining room table from the minute we finish dinner until I beg him to go to bed so I can go to sleep (I can't go to sleep if he is still up. I have many, many sleep problems and this is one of them).
10:00pm Show ends. I go upstairs and put away our dinner dishes and put the pots and pans from cooking in the sink. Normally I would wash these now -- I hate waking up to a sink full of dirty dishes -- but since Joel isn't doing any work tonight it's a prime opportunity to go to bed at a reasonable hour, dishes be damned. I take a quick shower and get ready for bed before sneaking into Hannah's room to close her curtains, turn off her flash light, and take out the milk that she didn't drink. Henry, being the most annoying cat in the world, leaps off the bed the minute he hears me opening her door and attempts to follow me in. After I kick him to keep him out, he races up and down the hall yowling and jangling his collar as loudly as possible. Luckily Hannah is very used to this noise and doesn't flinch.
10:37pm In bed before 11pm. BOOYAH. I am pissed that I forgot to go on the library website during the day AGAIN and find a decent ebook, so I have to settle for reading Game of Thrones Book Five, the most boring book in the history of medieval fantasy fiction. Seriously, I have been working on this book (which I purchased, since I knew I could never finish it during the three-week library lending period) for well over a year. I am pretty sure that my bookmark got reset at some point (THANKS, HANNAH) because I was sure I was more than 30% done with this fucker, but I can't really tell because it is all the same. Jamie Lannister continues to be an asshole, more people die, new characters that I don't care about pop up to take their place. There, I just saved you reading five 800-page books. I make it through a few pages before drifting off for another night of uncomfortable pregnancy sleep. FIN.
This pregnancy has been both very similar and completely different from my last one. For one thing, this one seems to have flown by... but at the same time, I feel like I have been pregnant for at least ten years. I realized the other day that I have been pregnant the entire time we've lived in Utah. The first time I met one of my closest Utah friends we got to talking about when/if we were thinking about second kids, and I admitted that I was already kind of six weeks pregnant. I feel pretty settled here, which is really nice. And I've been pregnant for this entire segment of our lives, which is insane.
People ask me if I've got the baby's room all ready (ha ha ha... yeah, no) and I want to laugh because I have PLENTY of time. Are these people nuts? And then I get a glimpse of myself in the mirror and holy shit. I look like I'm about to deliver any day now. Objectively, I'm three-quarters of the way through this pregnancy. That's... a lot. Whoah. Where did the time go?
Symptoms-wise, I feel like things have been... pretty good? I had the same first trimester nausea and crippling tiredness as I did last time, but that seems like ages ago now and has been pretty easy to forget. (Selective amnesia! It's pretty great!) Every one, including me, seemed to think that being pregnant-sick with a toddler sounded like about the worst thing ever, but honestly? I think it was better than having to go to an office job being pregnant-sick. Yeah, chasing a toddler around was rough. There is one particular instance I remember when I asked another mom at the playground who I had just met five minutes before to watch Hannah while I ran to dry heave in bush. That was not pleasant. BUT! Toddlers don't require you to put on business casual outfits and sit in meetings and pretend to be a professional type person who is paying attention to what other adults are saying. Not having to wear pants and sit upright like an adult all day helped an awful lot. Getting in an afternoon nap almost every day helped quite a bit too. The minute I had Hannah in her crib, I shoved some sort of food product in my mouth, checked off "lunch" on my to-do list, and launched myself into bed. I always planned to just rest and listen to my audiobook because I usually have trouble falling asleep for naps and then want to scream when I waste my only free time all day trying to fall asleep -- and then two hours later I'd wake up in a puddle of drool, feeling almost ready to take on the rest of the day. So overall, I honestly think being pregnant-sick while caring for a toddler was easier than working at an office job.
(Unisom and B6 helped a lot too -- how did I not know about these magical friends last time? It just kind of never occured to me that there were things you could take to help with nausea. Um. Durr.)
Once I crossed that invisible second trimester line I again felt so, so, so much better -- just like last time. And now I'm officially in the third trimester and... things are pretty OK. I am huge. Very huge. Possibly even huger than last time. I gained 39lbs with Hannah, which I thought was A LOT (the healthy guidlines for my height are supposedly 25-35lbs). I'm already up 36lbs this time. So. That's terrifying. But thanks to not working in an office full of clueless males, I have only been asked if I am having twins/hippos twice so far. Progress!
I've had some heartburn, and some back pain, and some pregnancy insomnia, blah blah blah. The carpal tunnel I had last time never fully went away after Hannah was born, but it's not bothering me nearly as much as it did last time -- probably because I no longer sit at a computer typing all day. I had a few rough days, uh, intestinally speaking, but I don't think the constipation is as bad as it was last time. And at least this time I don't share a tiny bathroom with my boss and my boss's boss and my boss's boss's boss. (I do have a tiny ladies' maid who enjoys accompanying me to the bathroom, but hey! She rips off my toilet paper and flushes the toilet for me. It's actually quite helpful!) My ankles are still present and accounted for, though I know that might change any day if my body suddenly decides it needs to hang on to a few pounds of water.
New stuff this time around... I have this wierd mole/dark spot on my face that I was convinced was cancer, but my dermatologist assures me is just "pregnancy weirdness" (his words) that will not kill me. And I have been dizzy a lot. So much so that I actually fainted one time and fell down the stairs. Good story, right? It was not a great time, but I am fine. Baby is fine. Hannah was momentarily traumatized, but moved on to doing dramatic re-enactments of mommy falling down and bonking her head by the next day. I no longer do yoga squats to stretch my back first thing in the morning next to the stairs.
Best off all, I don't feel the panic I felt last time. I never really felt excited last time, the way other people seemed to, about meeting the baby. I just kind of wanted that baby to stay in for as long as possible because I didn't know how to take care of a baby. I expected that would all resolve the moment I saw Hannah's tiny face, like it does in the movies. It didn't. I didn't feel connected to her. And that made me feel like a pretty terrible failure as a mom, and things were not great.
I'm not deluding myself into thinking that taking care of an infant and a toddler is going to be easy, but I'm hoping that things will be a little less bleak with perspective on my side. I... don't really like infants. They are a lot of work (understatement) and they don't do anything. They're like sacks of potatoes that you have to feed and diaper and they cry all the time and don't let you sleep. People who love tiny newborns? I don't understand them. They're kind of... not that great? Can I say that? But this time around I really know that it WILL end. I didn't really believe, in the darkest weeks of no-sleep and colicky crying, that a day would really come when breastfeeding woes didn't rule my life. That Hannah would actually sleep through the night... in her own crib. In her own ROOM. It truly felt like I would spend the rest of my life trying to get a tiny, angry person to stop crying.
I'm actually excited to set up New Baby's room. And while I'd like her to stay inside for as long as possible (I'd happily gestate babies until they were a year old if that were physically possible), I'm actually excited to meet her. To see what she looks like. To see Hannah be a big sister. I can't tell you how great it feels to feel... normal.
And huge. Let's not forget the huge.
Utah is a weird place.
When we decided to move here, Joel had visited once for his job interview and I'd visited once for work five years ago. (I have seriously neglected this blog since I had a baby, left my office job, and started doing 98% of my internetting on my phone but I am so grateful for the record of things past that it provides. Without this blog entry I would have zero idea what year it was that I went to Salt Lake because REALLY? FIVE YEARS AGO?, as well as zero proof that I actually HAVE worn that green corduroy jacket that I cannot seem to part with, even after lecturing Joel many times on his hoarding.) And even from that one visit -- during which I saw much more than I normally did on quick work trips because of the awesome tour Heidi gave me in her fabulous red beetle (RIP) -- I got the sense that Utah was an odd place. Weird and wonderful would have been my description, to rip off West Virginia's state motto. The mountains. The impossibly clean city. The... statue of a sphinx with Joseph Smith's face. Beautiful. Amazing. Weird.
Living here for six months has pretty much changed nothing about that initial impression except to deepen it, both in the wierd and wonderful categories. It's odd living in a red state when I've spent my whole life on the East Coast. Maryland had its fair share of rednecks to be sure, but Baltimore is about as liberal as a city comes. I stay as far away from politics as I possibly can (not just on this blog, but in real life too), but I didn't realize how used to living in a largely liberal bubble I was until I started seeing the billboards on the highway about how Obama is out to steal our retirement savings. I don't think we're in Baltimore any more, Toto. I have not seen a single billboard for HIV or paternity testing since we moved, that's for sure.
I also cannot get used to seeing people who are not police officers walking around with guns clipped to their belts like someone else might have a cell phone. Utah is an open carry state. It is perfectly legal to bring your gun to the mall (which is where I first saw a regular-looking dude walking around with a handgun clipped to his belt in Macy's). A good friend of mine, a fellow stay-at-home-mom of a toddler, has a concealed carry permit for her handgun. Why, I asked her when she mentioned it. Why not, she responded with a shrug.
And of course, there's the Utah equivalent to "what exit are you from" New Jersey joke: "so, what number wife are you?" Oh, how hilarious. But it's true: everyone in Utah is Mormon. (Though I have yet to meet a single polygamist. Or see a single Home Plus store. It's like HBO just... makes stuff up or something.) I know MORMON is the first thing people think of when they hear the word Utah, but I kind of figured it was one of those exagerrated stereotypes, like the idea that everyone from New Jersey has big hair and everyone in Baltimore says "hon". Turns out, no. Everyone in Utah is Mormon. That's not a bad thing, because by and large Mormons are exceptionally kind, conscientious, family-oriented folks... but it is a bit odd to be a non-Mormon in the land of Mormons. There are Mormon temples everywhere. Like, probably five within five miles of our house. At the park you're as likely to overhear conversations about temples and missions as you are swim lessons or preschool. As a white middle-class very average lady, it's been strange and probably a good experience for me to see what it's like to be in the minority for the first time in my life.
There are some big perks to living in the land of Mormons as a transplant, though, as opposed to moving to another "regular" place. There is a cohesive non-Mormon community that made it almost too easy to meet new people -- which was one of my biggest fears about moving. I was expecting to spend a few months courting new mom friends and creepily handing out my phone number at the library just to stave off the crushing sense of isolation that can come with stay-at-home parenthood. Instead I found a mom's group specifically for non-LDS moms of infants and toddlers before we even moved. Since then I've found several other groups and made some great friends. It's been a huge, huge relief to find a network of other moms and kids to hang out with (this probably sounds very pathetic to those without kids, but dude. I love staying home with Hannah. I love it. As long as we don't actually stay home. The difference between counting the seconds until bedtime and looking at your watch and realizing oops it's 6pm, I need to get this kid home and in bed is having mom-friends to talk to). I miss our Baltimore friends, but love the people I've met out here. And I spent nearly a year handing out my phone number at story times back in Baltimore; here it was easy. Simply because we all have two things in common: we have small kids and are not Mormon in a land where most people are. So, that has been really great.
Plus, you can go to the grocery store or Sam's Club on Sunday and there is NO ONE THERE. No one. I normally go to the store during the week just because I don't want to waste precious weekend time on chores I can do with Hannah by myself, but dude. Sam's Club on a Sunday in Baltimore was something we did with a game plan and a map and emergency supplies. Just the parking lot was such a shitshow that it gave me panic attacks. Here? The store is empty. EMPTY. You can wander the aisles all leisurely-like, check out quickly, and then walk to your car -- which is parked in a spot not ten miles across the parking lot. Because everyone is at church! It's pretty wonderful. It balances out the fifty times I've tried to go to other stores on Sunday morning and found out that DURR THEY ARE CLOSED beacuse it is Sunday and everyone is at church.
That's the weird stuff. And then there's the wondeful.
Things here are so cheap. So, so cheap. I have never been a person who has a set grocery budget, but I have been using a meal planning service (The Fresh 20 -- LOVE IT) to help pull me out of a what's-for-dinner-oh-how-about-pasta-again rut, and along with the shopping list for the week, it gives you an estimate of how much the week's groceries should cost. Our total is always $15-20 below the estimate, which is fairly conservative to begin with. Hannah and I are on a two-week visit to my mom's in New Jersey right now and my eyes just about bulged out of my head when I saw the price next to a gallon of milk was $3.99. A non-organic, regular old gallon of milk at a non-fancy grocery store. FOUR DOLLARS. Milk, the thing we buy most often with a cereal-loving husband and sippy-cup chugging todder, is one of the few things I do know the price of off the top of my head. In Utah it's $2.00 or less. Even at Whole Foods.
Everything else is cheap, too. I laughed out loud the first time we parked downtown in a garage right on Temple Square. Parking is FREE for the first two hours. FREE. No money. After that? TWO DOLLARS AN HOUR. I used to pay more than two dollars to street park outside the public library in Baltimore. (Of course, that first time we were there I also lost our parking ticket and we ended up paying the maximum fee to get out of the garage. Luckily the maximum was only $20.) Swim lessons at the local, beautiful rec center are $12. A MONTH. Not $12 a lesson. $12 a month. I knew that things were cheaper out west, but it's one of those things that I just couldn't fully grasp until I saw the bills myself.
And then there's the mountains.
The mountains are everywhere. You cannot escape them. They loom over you when you drive down the highway and they peer in, impossibly close, through the windows in our house.
They're there when you're stopped at a stop light. They lurk behind the neighbors' houses. They tower over the Target parking lot.
I've stopped noticing them all the time, until someone comments on a photo that I post on Facebook about the view. Oh, yeah. That. That's pretty awesome.
Now that the weather has transitioned to full-on summer, we've been trying to get out hiking as much as possible on the weekends, while I still can*. There are tons of trails just a few miles from our house that have views of waterfalls and unbelievable mountain vistas.
It's an easy 30 or 40 minute drive up the canyon to reach the ski resorts, which all have impossibly beautiful, well-maintained trails. We can drive up to Snowbird or Alta or Brighton, get in a hike, and be back in time for Hannah to take her nap. It's amazing. It's everything we wanted.
I'm a little afraid of the winter, but spring and summer in Utah have sold me so, so hard. I love it here.
*I have been kind of bummed that we're only able to hike on the weekends, since a bunch of my friends do mid-week hikes. But I need Joel to carry Hannah because 1) she weighs upwards of thirty pounds now, and 2) I can no longer buckle the hiking backpack around this.
Surprise! (Or, uh, not so much if you follow me on Twitter, where I outed myself at about six weeks pregnant because a lady needs a place to complain about the fact that Wendy's does not deliver fried chicken sandwiches.) We're having another baby! It's allegedly another girl, though she had her legs pretty firmly closed during our ultrasound and since we didn't find out Hannah's sex until she was born I am sort of dubious of this whole science. You can see inside my belly? With that magic wand thing? Ask the baby what its name is while you're at it then, and save Joel and I some serious list-making.
The alleged Baby Girl Herring 2.0 will be making her debut on December 2, 2013 and not a moment earlier because I need my mom to fly out and watch Hannah and the weekend before is Thanksgiving and there are going to be no flights. So. That's settled.