Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Estoy embarazado y soy feliz

Estoy embarazado y soy feliz means I am pregnant and I am happy. I like the "estoy embarazado"---as a fun play in language. It's a "false cognate"----making it easy for an English speaker to attempt to tell someone in Spanish that they are embarrassed and end up saying they are pregnant---ooops!

I am pregnant and I am happy.

I am in Maine visiting my family. I've been staying with Mommer and Popper. Today my two older sisters, Jody and Christy, and I planned to meet at Jody's house, along with our mother. I was going to "teach" them my favorite bread recipe. They all feigned being very interested in making bread together. When Mommer and I showed up at Jody's, Jody had teacups and tiny sandwiches ready for a sweet, tiny, just-family Baby Shower. No bread-baking!

Now, I've been slowly easing myself into being OK with a baby shower. Peach, please understand. It's not to deny you any of the things you'll want or need. It has to do more with own dis-ease with consumption and, perhaps, with receiving gifts. But friends have assured me that friends want to give when babies are involved. Peach, you are pure innocence! Consumption is not a concept that I need to associate negatively with you! So if friends and family want to help me begin to provide for your comfort and safety, I am slowly letting that in. And we had fun today! Perhaps the grand gift of the day (they were ALL lovely!) were the onesies from Christy with every single one of Peach's cousins silk-screened onto the front--one onesie for each of the four cousins. These are especially sweet knowing that Peach will not grow up playing in the backyard with these cousins since they are a couple thousand miles away in Maine.

I realized some weeks back, and it hit home even more today, that I am joining my sisters in a very special way. I hadn't given too much (I'd given a little!) thought to the fact that not having children was one way that I was very much NOT like my sisters. I am joining their "club". I am joining mothers. I am joining motherhood. We are the creators. While I acknowledge the beauty in all paths chosen, I see immense beauty in this path of bringing life out of your own cells, your own body, your own womb, your own soul. This is a pretty damn special club. This is sisterhood at its most sacred. I am pregnant and I am happy. 

Here are some pictures from our shower today as well as some pictures of Jody and Christy and I in years gone by. 

Christy, Jody, Melissa, Mommer in California. The "32 shirts" were a favorite for years and years.

Melissa, Christy, Jody.

Melissa, Christy, Jody

Jody, Melissa, Christy

Jody, Mommer, Melissa, Christy

Christy, Jody, Melissa at The Sawdust Pile, a favorite playplace in Seboeis, Maine.

It's complicated. Wanna get it right this time.

I love Poi Dog Pondering (http://www.platetectonicmusic.com/). Mark introduced me to them when we first met over 15 years ago. I think he'd discovered them with his old love Claire--who we are both still good friends with and who has been a light to both of us over the years. Poi Dog's song "Complicated" has intense meaning for me. Forever this song will bring to my mind an image of Mark on the bike trainer in the months following his accident--working out hard, with the hope that his bone would heal and he would be able to do the things that make him (and us!) feel most happy and alive---hike, rock-climb, ski. As he worked out on the trainer with Poi Dog blasting, I wondered what the future held for us. This accident had put the discussion of having children on an indefinite hold. That was very hard for me, yet we were also very much in the moment, healing and hoping and healing. Poi Dog's song "Complicated" also captures something about how I am sensing my way into parenthood--it may sound a bit oversimplified but how are these lyrics for summing up life?:

"...and I've f*cked up so many times in my life --
that I want to get it right this time...."

Hmmm, maybe you have to know and love Poi Dog to get it. Or maybe some of you out there haven't f*cked up like I have. Either way Poi Dog Pondering is worth a listen. And as for how it relates to how I am feeling these days at 22 weeks pregnant, here we go....

I think that becoming a parent probably provides the most profound opportunity for repair of the self that exists for us humans. I look at my own childhood, my own growing, my own moments of f*cking up, my own hurts. I think that becoming a parent provides a seismic opportunity for self-reflection and (hopefully) inspires a desire to make steps forward, to make change, to "get it right this time". And I know that getting it "right" is an illusion. Getting it "right" is not my goal. My goal is to be reflective and to be the best parent I can, knowing I will bring all of my imperfections to the job. And my perfections too! 

See, what I most hope for is to like Peach and to have Peach like me. I feel so very fortunate to really like my own mom and pop. And yet I know that this is not the case for plenty of families. And it has not been easy! I have not always liked my parents! Mom and pop, if you are reading this, please just chuckle---you know this is true! And it's not as if you always liked me either! It's "complicated", right? I was a pretty difficult middle and late adolescent--I'm pretty glad I didn't have to put up with me as a parent! But I like mom and pop now and we've come a long way together. And I enjoy these relationships that I have with them immensely. I hope that Peach and I will be friends along the way. I hope that both the ways that I have struggled and the ways that I have thrived will serve me in understanding Peach and the path she will take. 

OK, here are belly shots from 22 weeks and 5 days. This is while walking in the blizzard this week with Mommer and Popper in Amherst, Maine. 

Mommer and Popper

Frosty Belly

Frosty belly from the left

Frosty belly from the right

More frosty belly

 And here are the words to "Complicated" along with a mediocre video clip:



Wanna Get it right this time.
 Complicated is all right
 Complicated it's all right.
 Sorrow is an angel that comes to you in blue light
 and shows you what is wrong just to see if you'll set it right
 and I've fucked up so many times in my life --
 that I want to get it right this time.

 Complicated, it's all right.
 So tell me something someone and help me get it right,
 or hit me over the head, box me up and say good night.
 I can't stand to see myself go through the motions
 that bring me back into these same old sad emotions.

 Wanna get it right this time.

 what to get free with it
 (Tell me!)
 what to get free with it
 (Tell me!)
 what to get free with it
 (Tell me!)
 what to get free with it
 (Tell me!)

 Sometimes I get so afraid of life
 I'm not afraid of death
 I'm scared of going through this thing twice

 Wanna get it right this time
 Complicated it's all right

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Making space


Making space in our home----we cleared out your room today! You'll have a tiny room (our walk-in closet!) right in our bedroom so we can all stay nice and cozy-close for your first year.

And I'm making space for you inside me, both my belly and my heart. For the first time, I felt your movements yesterday morning. I am really looking forward to meeting you in 20 weeks or so....

Here's the song I keep singing...I've just changed the word "go" with "come"----hoping that you and I can have a joyful labor together in April!

"You shall come out with joy
And be led forth in peace
The mountains and the hills will break forth before you
You shall come out with joy
And all the trees of the field
Shall clap shall clap their hands

And the trees of the field will clap their hands
The trees of the field will clap their hands
The trees of the field will clap their hands
And you'll come out with joy."

Here's a not-so-fabulous YouTube version of it...YouTube has a bunch of pretty bad versions of this upbeat joyful little ditty!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Who am I?

Try to roll over in bed. Lots of pillows to rearrange to try to keep my back and hips from aching. It takes a few minutes. I'm winded! Jeez, really? Phew. And fabulous, I was only up three times tonight to pee. And once to eat some soup..... Talk to Mark about his intentions for himself and Peach. Feel teary......Kegels, kegels, kegels. Worry a bit (effective worry!) about all those stories of women who now pee themselves a little bit when they cough or sneeze because "they didn't do their kegels". Kegels! Stop the urine flow 8 times every time you go....OK! Got it. And while you're in line at the grocery store. And when you're brushing your teeth. And....just remember to do them........ Fall asleep on the couch with Teacup, ancient little critter. Think about how she and Peach are getting to spend this precious time "together", the three of us napping on the couch. Wonder if Teacup will be alive when Peach is born. Get weepy about how we all have to die. Let it go, let it go, Peach isn't even born yet........ Go to the gym. On the treadmill, my heart rate goes up so quickly at such a slow trot! Wait a minute, I was going to be an Olympic runner. Oh, yeah, that was 18 years ago. Wait a minute, who AM I? I'm a mama. A mama still addicted to hard cardio just like she was 18 years ago. Addicted but definitely not very fast. Laugh a my 13 minute per mile waddle. Ha. Catch a view of myself in the mirror. Wow, I think I'm really pregnant. This is no joke........At work, sitting in on a meeting and listen to a co-worker describe the emergency call she got last night from a mama in a violent relationship trying to protect her baby from the chaos. Tear up and wonder how we do this work. Sigh. Regulate myself by sitting up a little straighter and wiggling my toes........ Out hiking. I love the Mesa Trail. Whenever other hikers approach from the other direction, I find myself feeling my belly as if to say to them "I'm pregnant---really I'm not this fat---I'm pregnant." Body image issues? Alas, maybe. How many women make it through this life without some private highly individualized version of this? Think about how much I'm actually loving this strange body transformation even as I watch the scale to see if my gain is that preferred "gradual gain"........ Eat fish once a week. Peach is not vegetarian. Neither am I, obviously, for now. Wonder about raising a child vegetarian. I can do it. Wonder about raising a child sugar-free. This I am not sure I can do. It would be convenient to blame this on Mark but the reality is, it will be hard for me too. Little bit of worry....turns into.... sudden surge of overwhelm. What about flouride? What about immunizations? What about banking the umbilical cord? What about paying for college? What about global warming? Will Peach be angry at us that we are bringing her into a world that is so very very fragile and tumlutuous? Try to regulate myself with a smile. And wiggling my toes. And breathing...... Look up at the mountains that guide me daily. Feel grateful for the beauty of the earth and for the place where I live. Where Peach will live. And play and grow.......Singing. Singing to Peach. I know, that if she is developing according to plan, that she can hear me. Hi, Peach........Mark and I looking through The Mother of All Baby Name Books (Thanks, Jacqui!!!!). What will we call you, Peach? Peach is NOT in the book. Family members tell me that they will be calling  her Peach for life. Thinking that Peach will probably have my last name and have Mark's as a second middle name. Thinking about what is in a name. Peach, your name will be made of love, love, love......Breastfeeding. Stories in my head about bleeding nipples and disconnect. Stories about how luscious and joyous a relationship it creates. Stories in my head about feeling like a cow. Stories, stories, stories. We all have our stories. Wonder what mine will be. As much as possible, I choose love......Try to roll over in bed. Lots of pillows to rearrange......

Melissa and Teacup and Peach napping on couch.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Belly Shots 19 weeks 4 days

I sort of wish I could go on sabbatical just to be pregnant. This is so fascinating! I want more time to just be. Just be pregnant. 

I'm more at peace with how large my belly is getting. I am happy to share the space (my body) with Peach. And it's a little easier now that I'm actually starting to look pregnant instead of being in the awkward stage of just looking like maybe I've been "eating too much cake" (as my good friend Jacqui described early pregnancy.)

Here is what my belly looks like at 19 weeks and 4 days.


I'm convinced that one of the most vital ingredients of a thriving long-term relationship is the ability to tolerate and support change in one's partner. Mark and I have been a couple for over 17 years now. We have both changed so much in that time. I often tease Mark that I'm going to post his Princeton senior picture somewhere in the halls of CU law school and "out" him. You see, Mark's colorful past would be a bit shocking to his current classmates and professors who see Mark as fairly driven, fairly Type A, fairly clean-cut. In Mark's senior picture at Princeton, he had two very long neatly constructed lovely blonde braids. In those days he also wore skirts and had earrings in both ears. Yep, and I fell in love. We climbed trees and had midnight (naked!) runs on the Princeton golf course with other hippee friends. We protested this and that. We sat on the porch of the vegetarian coop we lived at and had sing-a-longs of Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell. We actually didn't even worry that much about the future and what we'd do with it--I think we both fancied that we'd spend our future together, but there wasn't much talk of how we'd co-construct it. We never talked about having children together. In fact, as a couple years passed, we even seemed to be in agreement that we would not have children---raising a family was for more mainstream folk than us--we had more important things to do!

And then time went on. And then we changed. Each of us in our own way. Little by little sometimes. Sometimes in what felt like a great big thumpity bump. Sometimes it felt fantastic. Sometimes it was horrible and we didn't know if we'd make it out alive, or together, or alive together.

Well, a story for another day will be how we made it through the change process of a couple not planning to have children into a couple who is going to have children. For now, let it suffice to say that we made it out of that change process alive AND together.

And now I see my beloved partner so happy to be becoming a Papa. From the porch of the coop 17 years ago, I would not have recognized this person in front of me who wants to sing to Peach in my belly, who wants to write out and "time capsule" his "intentions" to give to Peach when she turns 18, who is signing up for a breastfeeding class with me, no questions asked.  No, he didn't even ask about the fact that he doesn't have breasts. He's in this 100% and he's doing what a happy expectant Papa needs to do.

I'm a touch sad that Papa Mark is as busy as he is because I've been wishing that he were recording some of his thoughts and feelings about Peach here as well. It has been very sweet to witness his unfolding in this change process. I'm going to try to capture just a few recent moments of Papa Mark.....

Papa Mark likes to sing to you, Peach. There's a good chance that you'll come out singing rather than crying. It seems to be mostly either a morning ritual or an evening ritual, sometimes a cappella and sometimes with guitar. Bouncing 'Round the Room by Phish is a recent favorite, as well as the standards we picked out a few weeks ago.

Papa Mark also likes to put his mouth right up close to you and say with excitement and anticipation "Where's Melissa?!" This, as silly as it sounds, makes us both laugh a lot, which I can only believe is good for you, Peach. This "Where's Melissa?!" question is a gift from our many days with Glory Dog and Teacup. See, years back, I started saying to Gdog and Tcup, "Where's Mark?!" in a expectant and happy tone. Dogs learn tone quickly. They learned that this "command" meant to look around eagerly for Mark because he must be nearby. Over the years, those two words said in the right tone would alert the pooches that their Papa might be just around the corner....how very very exciting! Somehow, we are finding that asking Peach where Melissa is is perfectly funny, perfectly absurd, and perfectly tied to our crazy love for our first generation of dogs/children.

Papa Mark is preparing for sleep deprivation. How? Teacup is becoming more and more needy in these twilight years and she usually wakes up in the middle of the night asking to go out. She's wearing a night diaper these days, so we could ignore her and let her pee her pants, but Mark gets up, faithfully, carries the old pooch out, lets her do her thing in dignity, and then comes back to sleep. Sometimes this happens more than once a night. No complaints (well, at least not that many!)

We have changed together. Tolerated it, supported it. Alive and together. With Peach on the way.

Maybe Papa Mark will log in to the blog here and do some writing sometime in the next couple weeks when his semester ends. Until then, here's a picture of this good man.

Mark in Estes Park summer 2009.