Listening to Myself

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Letting go of things

In the course of going through things in the closet, we came across a box of my cycling gear. For the last two years of high school, through college, and after I graduated I was really into cycling. At my peak I would easily ride 100+ miles a week, and I participated in a number of 50 and 100 mile events. It was something I loved, and something I never thought I would give up. For a number of years, it was a defining part of who I was, one of my favorite things to do and my preferred way of challenging myself physically and blowing off steam. I was hoping that I could someday ride multi-day events, tour on my bike, and perhaps participate in one of the big fund-raising bike rides. I was even signed up for such an event... and then I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. (It, err, happened a little faster and easier than we expected!)

After I had my daughter, intended to get back to cycling... but it never happened. Now reality is staring me in the face and I've realized how much I have changed, and how much my life has changed. And perhaps even more importantly, I'm seeing how much my priorities have changed. Cycling, at least at the level I used to do, is not something that works very well with a family (especially if you're the mom!). Sure, you can pull a trailer or put a seat on your bike, but that's more for recreational cycling than for whizzing along at 50 mph down a hill or seeing if you can break 35 mph while in the drops with a tailwind. I've come to the realization that my cycling days are effectively over, and really, I'm fine with this. Letting go of my cycling gear brought tears to my eyes (and even writing about it brings them back again), but my grief is from the memory of what it once meant to me, not from any current regret or sadness. There is no bitterness in this letting go, only an acknowledgment of how much I've changed, and a realization of how happy I am with my life and my young and growing family.

I know I still need a way to blow off steam, get exercise, and physically challenge myself, and I think I'll go back to running. I used to enjoy it in high school (although I hated running around the track in PE) and for some reason I took it up again at the beginning of the year. I've missed it all through my pregnancy and I'm looking forward to getting back to it once I lose a bit more weight. In running, I've found the same sort of enjoyment and rush I used to get in cycling, but it seems far more practical for my life as it is now. I can get as good or perhaps even a better workout in a much shorter period of time, and I don't have to go nearly as far from my house to do it. Running also allows me to stay in more populated areas and away from traffic, big pluses ever since my fear of death and serious injury kicked in a few years ago.

Now I need to figure out if I'm ready to give up my bike... I think I am, but perhaps I shouldn't get back on it before I make that decision. I don't think I'm ready to give up my mountain bike yet though!

Too much stuff!

Matt and I have started to feel rather overwhelmed by the amount of stuff we own and have crammed into our humble abode. It could be worse I suppose, but then again it could be quite a bit better. It doesn't help that we live in a rather small place that tends to look cluttered very easily, making things appear perhaps worse than they are. Matt and I both have some pack rat tendencies, as well as a tendency to think "well, this might be useful someday" which is not very useful in our efforts to improve the situation.

We've been trying to clean things out a bit, but we start to feel overwhelmed by the task and end up not getting very far in our efforts. Recently though, we've started just trying to do one area or one type of item rather than an entire room, and we've had more success in this fashion. We also seem to do better when we tackle an area together, and luckily we tend to reinforce each other to get rid of more stuff, rather than encouraging our inner pack rats. So far we've weeded through books, dumped a ton of stuff from under the sink in our bathroom, and today we started in on our closet. We pulled out an embarrassing amount of clothing and other assorted things, which all now need to go to the dump or to Goodwill. We're not quite done in the closet, but we're definitely on the home stretch. I still probably (definitely!) have more clothes than I need hanging in there, but it is pared down... and I also got all my maternity clothes put away and brought out my in-between clothes. It is an improvement and a jump in the right direction!

Now the big struggle is to do the next step... getting the things out of the garage and to the appropriate places! I have a feeling we'll end up clearing out the house, and in the process our garage will be packed with everything we've removed. I suppose that so long as we eventually (and sooner rather than later!) tackle the garage it doesn't really matter too much.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I've been meaning to post for awhile now, but I've been a little, well, preoccupied. I'm sure you can understand. We're all doing well here though, and settling in nicely together. Gregory so far seems to be a pretty mellow baby, which makes for a nice switch from our delightful but sometimes a bit intense daughter. From the beginning he's slept a good 4-5 hour stretch at a time at night, which took a little getting used to. For the first couple of nights I kept waking up to make sure he was still breathing! Emma was one of those babies who was up every hour and a half for months and months, so this is quite a change. Gregory also sleeps in longer chunks during the day, which is taking a little getting used to as well. Emma tended to only sleep in my lap, and spent a large portion of the time attached to my chest, whereas this little guy nurses intensely for about 30-40 minutes, is alert for quite awhile, then sleeps hard for a couple hours. I've already gotten quite used to nursing and reading to Emma at the same time, and that is working out well. Emma will ask me, "Will you read to Gregory?" or suggest that I nurse him so that I can also read to her. She's doing really well with him - she clearly adores him and loves to gently kiss his hand or forehead. She also just loves to look at him and wants him there when I read her a bedtime story.

I'm doing pretty well, really, but a definitely a little more tired than usual. I am still napping almost every day, but I'm not sure how much longer I'll get to do that as Matt is back at work and my in-laws are heading out early tomorrow morning. We'll see how it goes! On the plus side though I've already lost almost 25 lbs... only 20 more to go! *grin* Sounds like a New Year's resolution in the making, doesn't it...

I've had a couple other posts I've wanted to write and things I've wanted to say, but Gregory is waking up now so I think they'll have to wait until later (or never, I suppose, we'll see how it goes!).

Sunday, December 18, 2005

A Picture!

Here's Gregory, looking quite alert. This was taken only a few hours after he was born.

By the way, I should have mentioned that he was 8 lbs, 2 oz, and 21 inches long. I just can't get over how long he is - a full 4 inches longer than his sister was at birth!

We're still all doing really well, and it is so nice to be home and not stuck in the hospital!!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

We are proud to announce...

The birth of our son, Gregory Alan! He was born at 5:25 am this morning, at home with our midwife and her assistant present. It was absolutely wonderful, I couldn't have asked for a better birth experience.

Gregory is doing very well, and I am feeling tired, but well and healthy. It was a pretty fast labor, really - I started having contractions at about 7 pm, but they weren't really that strong or that close together (maybe about 10 min). They continued through the evening, and when we went to bed at about 10 they were closer together, but I could still easily doze between them. I'm glad I took the opportunity to get a few hours sleep, I think that was very helpful!

At about 1:30 or 2 they got a lot stronger and I couldn't stay in bed anymore, so we called my Mom to pick up Emma and called the midwife so she could come over. She checked me at about 2:30 and I was at about 4 cm, then again in about another 30 min and I was at 5 cm, so things were moving right along. It was so wonderfully peaceful - we all chatted between contractions, Matt helped me by giving me pressure on my back during contractions, then we would chat a bit more and rest. My water broke (with a little pop sound, which I thought was funny) and things got a bit more intense at that point, but still everything was so much easier and more manageable than last time. Not being stuck in bed with IVs and a catheter (not to mention w/o the pitocin!) makes everything so much better!!! The pushing even was very peaceful - we had a fire in the fireplace, the Christmas lights turned on the tree, and my midwife was knitting away (I love the sound of knitting needles clacking together!) while her assistant kept an eye out for the baby's head. Matt was absolutely wonderful through everything - a firm, steady hand and a loving presence. I couldn't have asked for more! With my last birth, I felt like I had been hit by a truck afterwards, but this time I just feel like I was out running for a long time... muscles sore and tired, but nothing that won't be back to normal within a day or two.

Gregory's already nursing well and his alert periods seem more alert and longer than I remember with Emma. Right now he is sleeping in the cradle in the middle of the family room, making cute little newborn noises. Emma is still with my parents, but they are bringing over dinner shortly and then Emma will stay home after that. My family dropped by this morning after Matt, Gregory and I took a nap and Emma got to see him and hold him. She is completely enthralled with her new baby brother!

My mom took some photos, but now I can't get the site up to grab one to post here. I'll try to do that at some point today or tomorrow.

Friday, December 16, 2005

No Change

I haven't posted anything because nothing particularly interesting is happening. Well, that's not entirely true... progress is being made, it is just happening veerrryyy slooowwwly. Another cm dialated, irregular contractions are getting a little stronger, that sort of thing... all good things, but it would be nice to actually really go into labor! My midwife seems surprised that I haven't delivered yet - I guess physically I look ready to go, and have for the last week and a half. So, still waiting...

Tomorrow I'll be at 41 weeks and in order for my midwife to fulfill her licensing standards of care obligations, I have to start doing a half hour with a monitor strapped to my belly starting on Sat and then every three days after that until the baby comes. If the baby hasn't come by early next week, then we get to start talking about castor oil and such. I am thankful that I'm not with an OB who's chomping at the bit to hook me up to some pitocin, it is wonderful not to have that pressure at this point. I am also thankful that my midwife has the monitor in her office so that I don't have to go to the hospital for this. Not only will it be more comfortable to be in her office, we can skip the $450 hospital charge too.

I'm really hoping that I'll have the baby before my appointment tomorrow morning, but I'm not feeling especially hopeful about that at the moment. But still, this baby has to come out at some point, right?!?!?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


waiting. And waiting.

Yes, yes, I know, it takes as long as it takes and all that. But yes, we're ready.

The house is so quiet and peaceful right now... Emma is up in the office bothering, err, visiting Matt and it is nice to just sit here in the still downstairs and sip my tea.

I just recently read this - A 2005 Rollick, by James Lileks - which wins my vote for best 2005 rap-up. Not that I've read many so far, but I think this will be the one to beat.

Anyways, there must be something more productive I could be doing at the moment, so I should probably try and figure out what that might be.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Due Date

Yes, today is my due date. I suppose it doesn't mean all that much, other than a rough approximation of when the baby's expected... but still it carries quite a lot of psychological weight. At this point I am in the odd position of feeling like the baby's birth is both imminent and impossible. Completely contradictory, I know, but there it is. I'm starting to feel more emotional and more tired, and just generally ready to move from pregnancy to mother of a newborn. Soon, soon...

At my 39 week appointment on Wednesday my midwife felt that I was really quite close. My impression was that she thinks it may even be this weekend. No way of knowing until it happens though, is there!

I was at a local hardware store today and a woman asked me when I am due. I told her "today" and her eyes widened and she looked startled as she stared at my huge belly - it was if she was envisioning a ticking time bomb strapped to my torso. She cautiously asked "well, do you think you'll be late?" I responded, "well, it certainly is looking that way". She nodded, accepting this, and continued to stare at my belly. I think she was expecting me to go into labor right then and there.

We (Matt & myself - we did not take Emma) did go and see The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe today, and we enjoyed it. There were definitely some changes from the book, but for the most part I think they made sense. There were a few things that bothered me (namely how they handled Edmund's departure from the Beaver's, the Beaver's interaction with each other, and how they got all the children to Narnia in the first place) but on the whole I thought it was well put together. I think I would have enjoyed the movie more had I not just finished reading it to Emma within the last few weeks. The audience (a mix of families and church youth groups) were very excited and enthusiastic about the movie, applauding at several points and at the end of the movie. I am certain it will be quite successful, but I couldn't help feeling like it was missing something. I wish I could figure out what it was. I'm glad we didn't take Emma though, there were parts that would definitely have been too intense for her. I think she will be fine watching it when it comes out on DVD, though, and I think she'll enjoy it then. She'll be another 6 months older or so, and we can watch it at home with the lights on which should help her get through some of the tenser scenes. There was one family there with a little boy who couldn't have been more than two and at one point in the movie he just started shrieking with fright - poor little guy just sounded terrified.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Still here...

and still pregnant. Just thought I would let you know.

It is very strange to think that I am now less than a week away from my due date, even though the due date doesn't exactly mean much. It is bugging me a little though, I feel like I am expected to produce this baby by my due date, because due date just sounds so much like a deadline to me. I'd love to just get this crossed of my todo list, but it isn't like there's much I can do about it! Really though, I'm not feeling that anxious (yet) - it is more just a nagging sort of sensation that is developing in the back of my mind.

And why oh why is my f key being so stubborn? Oh, massively grungy keyboard. Eww. Guess I should do something about that.

In the past week and a half or so I've seen 3 movies - which doubles the number of movies I've seen this year. It has just sort of worked out that way... First I saw the new Harry Potter movie with Matt after Thanksgiving, then saw Pride and Prejudice with my book group. Tonight I saw Walk the Line with someone I'm slowly becoming friends with. I've enjoyed them all - although in different ways. (argh, this f key!) The Potter movie was really strictly entertainment and eye candy... seen because we enjoy the franchise and we figured we'd see this newest installment. Pride and Prejudice was our November book (picked in Feb, before we even knew the movie was coming out in Nov) so it just seemed so appropriate to go. I thought they did a very nice job with the adaptation, even if they did take some liberties with the social mores of the time. Still, it was better than I expected it to be, and now I am really looking forward to seeing some of the other adaptations (one is on the way from Netflix as I type). I wasn't really sure what to expect from Walk the Line (my brother had given it a only so-so review, but he is quite a movie snob) but I ended up throughly enjoying it. What an impressive effort from everyone involved in the project. I think one of the parts in the movie I found most moving was the role played by June Carter's parents in Cash's life. The love they had for their somewhat wayward daughter, as well as the love and support they were willing to give to a the massively drug addicted and screwed up Cash was really remarkable. How much easier it would have been for them to walk away from him, and to try and shield their daughter and granddaughters from him... to give in to that urge to protect and to turn away from the ugliness that had consumed Cash. Instead, they encouraged their daughter to help him, and they helped him themselves - showing him love and showing him that there was another way, another path he could take. What absolutely amazing people.

If this baby still hasn't come by this weekend, I'm going to try and go see The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Part of me almost kind of hopes that the baby does wait a little bit longer because it would be awfully neat to see this movie in the theater... but really, that is rather silly isn't it.