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Archive for June, 2012

Not too shabby.

Eight years and 2.5 kids later… we may have gotten a few scrapes and bruises along the way and there might have been one or two times that I contemplated murder {but probably only for a few moments, I promise!} but I’m a better person because of the road we’ve taken and a better person because of you. Happy Anniversary.

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For the 4 people who read this that I don’t know in real life and who aren’t friends with me on facebook, I’d like to introduce you to our newest son:

Sammy Davis Junior Junior, meet the Internet. Internet, meet Sammy Davis Junior Junior.

I know you’ve sort of met before but I think we can all agree that this time he is looking decidedly more humanesque. He’s awfully handsome, huh? More importantly, by all measurements and information they were able to gather from the ultrasound, he is beyond healthy so that nasty anxiety rash I broke out in up and down both my forearms an hour before my appointment was completely unnecessary. {I tried telling that to my own stupid self after the fact but five days later my arms have yet to receive the message that ALL IS WELL, DUMMIES. Oh well, Plague is the new Black, I guess.}

The US tech was extremely fast-talking so it took some effort to track her but she was very nice and very thorough. She told us exactly what they checked for, what the range of measurements for “normal” were and what the baby, placenta and my uterus were measuring at in relation, all of which put the baby’s and my risk for any sort of birth complication or physiological defect at essentially 0%. These things can never be 100% accurate but the measurements and positioning were about as reassuring as you can get, so PHEW and then some.

As for the sex, she was very certain, telling us the standard spiel that the rules state that she cannot say “100%” but if this baby didn’t come out a boy she was going to retire. At some point during the exam after she had gone over everything vital and I began to relax a bit but before she had revealed the sex, I found that I had tuned everything out and was completely enamored by the bouncing limbs and dancing motions of the little blob on the screen. {This is where I confess that for the most part I CANNOT FOR THE LIFE OF ME really determine what I’m looking at during an ultrasound. I get the obvious profile shot and the close-ups of the 4 chambers of the heart, hands and feet but damn if the rest doesn’t look like some sort of creepy Rorschach inkblot or like someone left a decorative Halloween skeleton lying around in my uterus.} Anyway, I just found myself smiling at this black and white blob when for no reason I felt warm, not physically warm, but emotionally warm, if that makes any sense at all~ the kind of warm that fills up your chest and sends a tingling sensation throughout your upper body and I said to myself, “There you are, pal. This is my son. This is ****.” The feeling passed so quickly that I didn’t even really register it and was still completely surprised when she told us it was a boy- not recalling the experience until later that day. I’ve had plenty of Ultrasounds with all three of my babies and I can honestly say I’ve never had that sort of feeling before, it was incredibly surreal. Needless to say, if this child comes out a girl I’ll have to retire along with that US tech. {Which will be fine by me because a girl would be absolutely awesome as well. I can see how a delivery room surprise would be slightly devastating for a first baby as you have showers and typically buy most things before the baby’s arrival. Since the things I really need to add to the baby collection are already planned to be pretty gender neutral and this is our third go-round, it just wouldn’t be that big of a deal.}

One of the biggest reliefs is that now I can refer to my little passenger as “he” and “him”. One of my biggest pet peeves of pregnancy is having to call the babies I’m housing “it”, which just feels too impersonal a pronoun to be referring to someone who uses your bladder as a trampoline on a daily {or, you know, HOURLY} basis. The second biggest relief is that Keaton got his wish. A few days before the ultrasound I was putting him down for his nap and he asked to feel the baby kick while we sang songs. He rested his head on my upper tummy and pressed his little boy fingers onto my abdomen, humming along to Edlewies, turning to look at me with a huge grin when the baby kicked his hand. It was one of those rare, truly beautiful moments between a mother and her child. Or it was until I finished singing and asked him the following questions:

“Soon we’ll get to find out if the baby is a boy or a girl. What will you do if you get a brother?”

Keaton thought for a few seconds before responding “Hmmm…pet him!”

I laughed at the funny, if not a little strange, answer. “And what will you do if you get a sister?”

And Internet without skipping a beat he nonchalantly said “I’d throw her away.”

LOVELY.

I told him that wasn’t a very nice thing to say but decided to largely ignore him, although the fear did start to sink in when I thought about it. Rowan’s been a big sister for as long as she can remember and Keaton’s been the baby for as long as he can remember. They are close enough in age where I rarely play the “you’re older, you should know better” card with Rowan. Honestly, for the most part, in any given situation both of them should know better and as the older of the two tail-end children in my family I heard this more than I cared to so I try to use it only when it actually applies. But with a nearly five year age gap between Keaton and Sammy Davis jr jr, he likely will know better in most situations and I can see him having issues with having a little person usurp his role as the youngest. Right now with so many unknowns, my motto is strictly, Bridge? I will cross you when I’m good and ready and not a moment sooner.

Partly because of this fear of a negative reaction to the possibility Keaton might get a terrible-awful-no-good sister, we decided to go with the cupcake trick for the gender reveal, this way if his world was crushed he would still get the consolation prize of a tasty cupcake which, in case you’re wondering, when you’re four is totally a fair trade. Rowan, already being a professional older sister to a brother, was decidedly less biased toward the sex and may have even been wishing for a brother so she could be “the only, very special girl” in the family. In anticipation of the big news we ordered two pink and two blue infused cupcakes from a local bakery which we picked up after the ultrasound. I sliced into one of the pink cupcakes to make sure they got it right and then we headed to Rowan’s school to surprise her at lunch…

I explained to Rowan she was getting a cupcake with a special message inside…

It took her a minute to figure it out…

Then the light bulb went off…

And she was VERY excited. About the baby and the cupcake, of course.

Next up, we headed to my mom’s to give Keaton his cupcake. We told him that inside the cupcake would be a color that was going to give him a message. He was equally excited about the prospect of using a knife and getting a cupcake but I couldn’t tell if he understood the uniqueness of this particular cupcake.

When I asked him what color he saw he half-looked and said “Green” before licking the frosting. Then we told him to look again and …

“BLUE! I GET A BABY BROTHER!” He was pretty excited. And so are we.

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…of the baby of course, get your mind out of the gutter, Internet. Our big anatomy scan is at the end of the week and it is just now starting to hit me that we might very well know if Sammy Davis Junior Junior is a boy or a girl by the end of the appointment. I always find it hard to get excited about these ultrasounds, mostly because I’m riddled with anxiety that the baby will be healthy and have all its major interior and exterior body parts working well and accounted for. It definitely helps that I had a scan at 10 weeks and there on the screen we saw a wee little head, and two arms and two legs flailing around, but still, it seems like so many things can go wrong and even though our combined genetic histories put us at nearly zero percent for defects or worse, stranger things have happened.

So to distract myself from the stress of those thoughts that I can’t seem to shut off, let’s relive how I found out what Rowan and Keaton were going to be because if my past has taught me anything it is ALL BETS ARE OFF, when it comes to expectations for finding out the sex of your baby.

{Author’s note~ This post some how got obnoxiously long {I seriously have a shutting-up problem, I promise to get it properly evaluated by a physician at some point}, in case you don’t want to read it or give up half-way through to save your eyeballs, I will sum up thusly: We will hopefully be finding out the sex of the baby in a couple of days and we really don’t care either way, The End.}

From a very young age I wanted only boys. I grew up in a neighborhood of boys. Boys were easy. You played in the dirt in the morning, played baseball in the afternoon, rode bikes in the evening and probably topped off the day back in the dirt. I liked playing with boys because I liked how boys played. At school I tried playing with girls, but there were just so. many. rules. And if you screwed up those rules you were unceremoniously banished from the game only to be the favorite again the next week. Though I definitely had tomboy tendencies, I liked playing girly things just fine as a kid {I did have three sisters after all, two older ones that I idolized and a younger one I liked to boss around} but I did NOT like the way girls played. If a boy was mad at you he maybe called you a stinky fart face or something similarly poetic, punched you on the arm and then you could all move on with the game. If a girl got mad at you it was a roller coaster of psychological manipulation and abuse for what could be weeks or months on end, depending not so much on the infraction but on the vindictiveness of that particular girl. This is the main reason why I wanted boys and only boys, the other small part being that, well, Christy as a teenager? Ugh. No thank you. No one needs a repeat of that shit.

When I got pregnant with Rowan, I kindly informed Bill that his only job was to ensure that I only received Y chromosomes from his supply, which I think was a pretty reasonable request, don’t you? {This isn’t a trick question, the answer here is YES.} After all, I had to have my head hanging in a toilet for months on end only to have my lady bits assaulted with something that GOOD LORD just does not seem conducive to its size. I was so confident after the pain and suffering of those first four months that little baby Jesus would bestow upon me the boy I wanted so dearly. And really when you took into account that Bill had an impressive amount of cousins that were having babies at the same time and they were all birthing BOYS, every single last one of them, absolutely ZERO GIRLS? Well, I thought we had this in the bag.

I was nervous for the ultrasound, having been so sick, but I DESPERATELY wanted to know the sex. I so needed something to carry me though the last half of that horrendous pregnancy. Finding out that the boy I had envisioned all my life was on his way was just what I needed to make the rest of the pregnancy bearable. The appointment was not at my normal OB office but at a hospital I was unfamiliar with and run by a tech that had most likely earned her certificate the day before our appointment. She wouldn’t even tell us if the baby looked healthy or not as “that’s your doctor’s job”. She made it very clear that her job was only to take the measurements and when we asked about the sex of the baby towards the end of the scan she moved the wand around my stomach in a  nervous fluster before saying she had no idea, not even a guess.

Unfortunately my next doc appointment was weeks away so I fumed and worried that entire time, angry that she couldn’t have at least given some sort of indication that everything looked okay and was functioning properly with the baby and disappointed that I would most likely have to wait until the birth to find out the sex. If there is one thing I hated at the time, it was the color yellow, as I knew that was all I was going to see for the next 4 months. When my next OB appointment finally came, my awesome doctor apologized for the shitty experience we had and quickly assured us that although the baby was on the small side, that it looked 100% healthy. He also took pity on me and ordered another ultrasound to check growth at 5 and a half months, making sure it would take place right in the office with the most experienced tech they had.

That scan was amazing. The tech pointed out every part on the baby, going over bones and organs, taking his time while letting us marvel at the beautiful little blob on the screen. He asked us if we wanted to know the sex and we said if he could see it then yes,

“Oh yeah, I can see it,” he said confidently, “It’s a girl!”

Me: …

Me: …

Me: Are you sure?

Tech: Yep!

Me: …

Me: How sure?

Tech: Very sure. I’m not legally allowed to tell you I’m 100% sure, but if this baby comes out with a penis, I will personally reimburse you for any pink baby clothes you buy beforehand.”

Me: {looking at Bill with narrowed eyes} He sounds pretty sure…{and in a hissed whisper} You did it wrong! You better start running now…

See how nice I was! I wanted to give him a head start so he had a chance to escape my WRATH. I was downright reasonable, gracious even! Once we got in the car my mom called, wanting to hear the big news first and I will admit that when I told her in an exasperated tone, “Well, the baby has ten fingers, ten toes and one fucking vagina, thanks to Bill”… it was maybe not my proudest, most mature moment. Bill and I went out for lunch where I begrudgingly admitted that the universe would probably not implode over this and I can tell you that after lunch it took roughly 7 minutes to fully get over myself because that is the time it took to get to Target where I was assaulted with so many twee little pink and purple, flowery sweet baby girl things and something in those feminine patterns ramped up my pregnancy hormones to FULL BLAST and that teeny, healthy girl residing safely inside of me? No longer felt like a curse but the most amazing gift I had ever received. It was the first time I could visualize not just a random baby but MY baby. And when they placed her in my arms, the deal was cinched. I know bonding and love comes differently for many mothers and babies, as the experiences between Rowan and Keaton varied wildly, but when they placed that child in my arms I was in love so completely, so wholly, and I never looked back.

Having this amazing girl-child in my life caused many changes for me, not the least of which was that I went from wanting 3 boys, to an army of girls. Seriously, that first year or so after Rowan was born, I would have gladly signed up to give her 9 more sisters. When we decided to start trying for another baby, I put in my order for another girl with Bill, and {maybe not so gently} told him not to screw it up this time.

Well. I guess we all know how that turned out.

It was less of a shock this time around because I didn’t have very long to get my hopes up. At twelve weeks the doctor couldn’t find Keaton’s heartbeat with the doppler so they rushed me in for an ultrasound where, along with a steady, strong heartbeat, the doctor also thought he spied a weinerhausen. He told us it was WAY too early to say with any confidence but that if he had to guess he’d say it was a boy. So at 19 weeks when we had the official ultrasound and the baby’s penishood was confirmed right away as he was NOT shy, it was not a super big surprise.

After lecturing Bill about learning to follow directions better {because really} I settled in to the rest of my pregnancy, trying to get used to the idea of a boy. I will admit that it took longer to warm up to the idea of a boy than it did to come to terms with a girl. While his family was definitely more populated with the male species, MY side was mostly girls. Who would he play with, with all these girl cousins running around? Plus I had spent the last two years learning to be a mom to a girl! Was I going to have to start all over again? How do you change a diaper with all those extra parts in the way? I felt like I was finally coming into my own in this parenthood gig and now I was headed back to square one. {And I was, but for reasons that had absolutely nothing to do with the baby’s sex and everything to do with his screaminess.}

To be honest, because of the severity of the colic, I didn’t really have too many thoughts about Keaton’s “boyness” until he hit about a year. Yes, baby boys pee on you. A LOT. And they pee on your bed spread and walls and drapes and floor and pretty much anything within a 10 foot radius. A LOT. But he never shot projectile warm liquid poop at my face {with my mouth agape in horror} while I was sleepily changing a diaper at five in the morning like his lovely sister did during the second week of her life so all’s forgiven.

In the end? My daughter, who I swore would be a mud loving tomboy like her mama, turned out to be a fairly accurate stereotype of a pink-loving, princess-worshiping, sparkle fashionista, American Girl-Child {although the kid’s not shy around mud or rough housing and I would never classify her as prissy}. And my son vacillates wildly between car-loving, rough-housing, sword-wielding, ALL BOY to Mr. I Do Not Care What You Think of My Sparkly Pink Toes, and can work a tutu and ponytails and strut like nobody’s business.

People often say, “oh you’re so lucky you have one of each- you can be done now!” Um, huh? Having one of each sex was never my goal {clearly} and I know that had I had two boys or two girls, I would have been just as ridiculously proud and in love with them. I totally understand that there are differences between the two sexes but in my experience people put WAY too much stock into a child’s gender rather than what really makes them them~ their own individual brand of personality.

That being said, I really DO feel lucky to have one of each. I think they benefit massively from learning from each other. They are both exposed to things they probably wouldn’t have been, had we had two of the same sex, not the least of which will be the avoidance of awkward conversations with terrible visual aids when it comes to the big body talk- there are no mysteries of the exterior appearance of the human body left to these two at this point. I can honestly say that the gender difference has in no way affected their love for each other. They truly are the greatest of friends. They love sharing a room. They don’t always love playing the same game with the same toys but most of the time they can find common ground with minimum bloodshed. I can very truly say that I am blessed beyond measure that my original gender requests went unheeded by the universe.

So this time around? I have put in no requests other than the standard wish for a healthy baby. I honestly do not care and have no clue or feeling whatsoever as to whether we are expecting a boy or a girl. Bill thinks it’s a girl based on… I’m not really sure what. Keaton wants a brother and if it were up to him, we should just throw this one back if it’s a girl, and Rowan has put in an order for one boy and one girl, so she’s going to be disappointed either way as we are already VERY SURE there is just one baby hanging out in my uterus. I entertained not finding out the sex at all and while I see why some people make that choice it is really just NOT for me and my strong propensity for impatience and planning shit. Then I entertained the thought of just keeping it between Bill, the kids and I, but who am I kidding, there are just NO SECRETS when it comes to six year olds and Rowan is so excited to find out that it would be a pretty big blow to tell her she had to wait 4.5 more months in the interest of secrecy.

Obviously, after all this blathering on, we will most likely get an uncooperative baby. I have a midwife this time around and they generally do not like to order unnecessary tests so unless we want to pony up for a private ultrasound, we’ll be left in the dark until October. And while that wouldn’t be awesome, it will be okay because I am ready for all possible scenarios at this point. I just feel so lucky to be feeling mostly alive and functioning and the reality of a third child to our little family is starting to come to light. While the thought can be somewhat terrifying, it mostly causes me to break out in a wide, stupid, silly grin for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

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