Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Let's do the time warp...please?!

I'd like to begin by noting how very much I love my daughter.

She is this beautiful, fiercely alive creature that I still can't believe we made out of thin air. I would not trade staying home with her for anything. Marryn is my whole heart.

That being said, sometimes I feel as though time has forgotten me. When people ask, "Isn't time just flying by?" I want to yell that "No! It is most certainly not." Is it supposed to be flying, because right now it feels like my 13 week old should be about seven?

Maybe it's the sleeplessness talking. When you don't sleep more than three hours at a time for seven months, I guess you're bound to get a little loopy.

I can say that on the whole I enjoy what happens while time is moving at a snails pace. The cycle of nursing, playing, changing, rocking, rinse and repeating is one I look forward to everyday. I love every minute being with Marryn. All I'm saying is I feel every one of those minutes for what they are, and I'm afraid this makes me a bad parent.

Ahhh second guessing oneself...

Conversely, I have marveled at the almost immediate speed which mother's guilt sets in.

Santa, I have a baby

Marryn is alomost 12 weeks old. This lil' cutie pie is very smiley, has almost total head control, and rolled from her tummy to back recently. She's amazing, she's fun, she inspired a little Christmas ditty.


Santa I have a Baby

So slip an upper into my tea for me

Been an awful tired girl

Santa I have a baby

So help a new mommy tonight

Santa I have a baby

I need under eye concealer too

Light blue - hides redness well

I'll be up at 1 am for you dear

Santa I have a baby

So help a new mommy tonight

Think of all the sleep I've missed

Think of my husband that I haven't kissed

Next year I could be just as tired

If you were to hide my contraception

(and I'd be pissed)


Santa I have a baby

I wanna yacht - to nap on

And really that's not a lot

Haven't slept in a year

Santa I have a baby

So help a new mommy tonight

Santa honey, there's one thing I really do need

You to feed

My infant at 3 am

Santa honey

So help a new mommy tonight

Santa cutie, fill my stocking with a duplex and checks

Too tired to think of a clever line

Santa cutie

So help a new mommy tonight

Come and put up my Christmas tree

With some decorations bought anywhere - because I haven't gotten around to it yet

I really do believe in you

Let's see if you are worth all those years of milk and cookies I put out

Santa I have a baby

Forgot to mention one little thing

A ring

To a housekeeper's phone

Santa I have a baby

So help a new mommy tonight.

Help a new mommy out...tooooonight.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

New Mother or Homeless Person?

Baby news first. Marryn is now two months old. She’s more alert and awake now. She doesn’t care much for tummy time, but enjoys practicing her head holding skills on your lap or your shoulder. Her eyes will follow you around the room. She’ll start to look like she wants to smile or talk to you…then she usually passes gas. It’s very lady like indeed.

I was looking in the mirror yesterday and had to laugh at my appearance. Stringy ponytail, red eyes, stained baggy t-shirt, flip flops. You know when you’re barely pregnant, and you just look kind of fat? Well something similar happens on the other end of pregnancy. When you’re barely a mother you just start to look like a homeless person. The funny realization came when I started counting the similarities, and found they weren’t just physical.

New Mother or Homeless Person?

You rarely bathe or brush your teeth.

Your companions are dogs.

You get excited about drinking alcohol because you can’t have it much.

Nice people who feel sorry for you bring you food.

You’re unemployed.

You wear ill-fitting clothes during the day because you can sleep in them at night.

You sometimes expose yourself in public.

You can wack out on someone and they’ll easily excuse your erratic behavior.

You talk to inanimate objects.

Wiping someone else’s bodily fluids off you is a regular occurrence.

You tote around a small closet’s worth of blankets, clothes, food, etc.

What am I forgetting? Oh yeah, that’s another one.

RIP self possession. See you in about five years.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The cow goes "ouch".

As a child, one of my favorite toys at Grandmommy & Papa’s house was a farm animal-themed wind-up toy. You would pull a lever and a warbly voice would randomly select a farm animal to impersonate. “The chicken goes ‘cluck cluck’. The horse goes ‘neigh-neigh’”…and so on. My favorite was the cow because of the deep and long sound it made. “Mooooooo”. Then I could always look out the window and see the red Herefords doing that very same thing…”Moooooo”!

Fast forward 30 years to present day and I never would have guessed who the cow would be now. Who has two thumbs and a demand based breast feeding infant? This girl!

I’m all for breast feeding. It’s just one of those things our bodies were made to do. It’s fascinating to me that mere minutes after your baby is born, your body starts trying to keep it alive. It’s so perfect that colostrum coats an infant’s stomach providing antibodies protecting them for years from allergies and sickness. I watched my mother breast feed my brother, and it made an impact; so much that I breastfed my baby dolls. (I got some weird looks in mother’s day out.) I love the convenience and cost saving associated with breast feeding. Since I found out I was pregnant, I had been planning on breast feeding. All in all – yay boobs, ya dig?

What I never anticipated was HOW HARD IT WOULD BE! Seriously! Hard! Really! For something that is supposed to be the first natural bodily function we perform ex-utero, breast feeding is remarkably complicated.

Our breast feeding odyssey began in the NICU 24 hours after Marryn was born. She was super sleepy, so mostly we just cuddled. She had just a few really weak little latches. Such was life for the first few days, until we realized that in order to get her out of the unit we needed to really punch up the feeding times. Somewhere along the line, a speech pathologist recommended using a nipple shield. She said it worked for many premies, and would be our ticket out of the unit. She was right, Marryn took right to it, and we were discharged with no less than four nipple shields in the diaper bag. I marveled at how simple using the shield was, and wondered how any woman could complain that breast feeding hurt. It was a snap as far as I was concerned.

Days at home turned into weeks and Marryn began eating every hour or so, and then acting like she was still hungry afterwards. I had never felt like such a mama cow, and my little calf was demanding a lot from me. After much worrying about her weight gain and questioning of my milk supply, we called a lactation consultant for an in home visit. Before she even came over, she suggested getting rid of the shield. Apparently they can inhibit supply and definitely draw out feeding times. Hmmm, sounded like she was onto something. So armed with nothing but my innocence and hope, me and my tender virgin nipples dropped the shield and hooked Marryn up. The cow most certainly went “ouch”! Actually the cow said some choice words that aren’t fit to type in a public forum. Suffice it to say I immediately knew why so many women say it hurts and give it up after a few tries.

After our professional consult, we now know our enemy. Marryn doesn’t like to put her tongue down because she never had to with the blasted nipple shield, thus causing the painful latch. My beloved tool was teaching Marryn bad habits for the duration of her short life. I felt like my best friend kissed my boyfriend. Traitor! This was going to take some work to remedy.

As of today she gets the latch correctly about one out of ten times. The other nine times I pry her off my breast while trying to not inadvertently teach her to curse like a sailor. I’ve set a goal to get the latch down by her two month birthday, at which point we’ll reassess. I’ve been sending up prayers that we can make it work. It’s what’s best for her – and me...the cow, who would prefer to go "moo" and not "mother#$%^&*".

Bottom's up,
Lauren McMurrey with an E-Y

PS - Here's a 3 week picture of my lil calf. Complimentary comments welcome...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Déjà vu

Disclaimer - This frat-tastic entry won’t make much sense to my non-Greek friends; and by non-Greek I mean those without a fraternity / sorority experience. Hellenes, I mean no offense.

I am a Tri Delta and Ben is an ATO. We had a large time in our respective Greek houses during college, and I spent a lot of time as an officer on a disciplinary committee, Standards. These first few weeks of motherhood have me reliving my sorority president experience. I feel like I’m in one long Standards meeting.

Me: Marryn, do you know why you were called into Standards?

Marryn: Was it because I threw up all over myself last night? I wasn’t feeling well and had a large dinner.

Me: Well, partly…

Marryn: Was it because I was caught in a pool of my own urine this morning? I had a really long night. You don’t understand.

Me: That’s some of it, yes…

Marryn: Was it because I shacked at the ATO house? I just took a nap, I swear!

Me: Well, we actually didn’t know about that…

Marryn: Was it because I kept the house up last night with wild crying? I’m only three weeks old and I’ve been having difficulty expressing myself lately.

Me: OK, that’s enough. As punishment for the above offenses, you must do five hours of study hall and pay a $50 fine.

Marryn: Ummmm, no. I don’t want to.

Me: Fine. I’m calling your mother. Wait…Damnit.

Speaking of college, here’s a picture of Marryn in her first OU onesie. Unfortunately, we had to ritualistically burn it after losing to Missouri last Saturday. Sorry baby girl.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October Odyssey

Where to begin? On October 1 Ben and I were having dinner out with friends on a local patio. We stood up to leave, and *gush* my water broke. At the time, we were both so shocked and in denial, that I didn’t think we should immediately go to the hospital. After all, this was five weeks early. I wasn’t contracting, I hadn’t assembled the stroller. I hadn’t put on my out-of-office assistant. I hadn’t properly acclimated the dogs to baby cries. I hadn’t installed the car seat. I hadn’t packed a bag or finished my birth plan. I wasn’t ready to be a mother yet! What. The. Hell?

I had to hear it from our two friends, my physician’s answering service, and Dad before we decided to go on to the hospital. After a quick trip by the house for a bag, we checked in at Baylor. Sure enough, the hospital confirmed that I had gone into labor, and the baby was going to have to be born within 24 hours. Five weeks early or not – it was go time.

I got a dose of Pitocin and an epidural after a few hours to speed things along. Because of my high blood pressure, I was put on magnesium sulfate, which can best be described as Insta-Flu. I’ve never actually swam through Drano while smoking pot, but that’s what being on “mag” is like. The worst part was knowing that my baby was also on “mag” at this point too.

Several family visitors, many texts from friends, countless blood pressure checks, and a restless 11 hours later, it was time to push. After two contractions and a couple of pushes, Marryn Elizabeth McMurrey was born into the world weighing in at 6 lbs. 4.5 oz and measuring 20.5 in long. Not too shabby for five weeks early! I was heavily medicated, but I do recall seeing her sweet pink face, hearing her shrill and glorious crying at the foot of the bed, and Ben telling me she was beautiful.

We could barely celebrate her arrival before she was whisked off to NICU. Bless her sweet heart, we faced some challenges from the very start. As I mentioned above, she had magnesium sulfate in her system, which slowed her breathing. This resulted in her getting a bubble CPAP down her nose to keep her lungs open. She also received an IV in her hand and a feeding tube down her nose. Truthfully, this sounds and definitely looked worse than it was. Nothing is more jarring than seeing your newborn with tubes coming out of them, but she was very well taken care of. I couldn’t be more thankful we were in a hospital with a top tier NICU upstairs. They were an angelic machine.

We got to visit her and hold her right away. We stayed in the hospital for 72 hours, and were discharged Monday, October 4. Driving home without our baby was the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced. I’d rather have been in labor for 100 hours than leave Marryn in the NICU. I must’ve cried for 8 hours straight, and I’m crying now as I remember it. This is where God and I began talking more than we have in years.
Thus began our nine day experience in the NICU. Marryn made huge strides in her first few days. She had the IV and Bubble CPAP removed after 48 hours and was moved to an open crib without an incubator. She was the big fish in the NICU surrounded by 3 and 4 lb. babies who faced much more dire circumstances than her. It was easy to be grateful as we walked into the NICU. We knew we would eventually take our baby home. Some parents we saw would never be so lucky. Be that as it may, it was difficult to stay constantly positive.

Marryn’s last and biggest challenge was learning to eat. “Excuse me?” you say. “A child of yours didn’t know how to eat? What a cruel and ironic twist!” In order for babies to be discharged from the NICU they must be able to consistently eat at the breast or bottle for 15 minutes at a time. Late pre term babies (35 week-ers like Marryn) have difficulty with this task as they should be learning to suck and eat in utero without any stress. They generally lack the coordination, jaw muscles, and stamina to suck as much as they need to in order to put on weight.

So Ben and I put on our coaches hats and would cajole Marryn into eating as much as she could every three hours. Our days were spent at her bedside, waking her up, changing her diaper, and feeding her, and feeding her again, and feeding her some more. It was easy to get discouraged. I quit wearing makeup because I’d just cry it off. I quit putting in my contacts because they’d just get red and dried out from tears. I got a bladder infection from sitting upright for 12 hours a day. I realized I needed to pull it together when one of the nurses gave me a brochure about post partum depression. (I was there A LOT relative to some other parents.) The NICU can be a very trying place, but Ben, Marryn, and I had a lot of support, advice, and prayers helping us along.

After nine days, it was as if a light bulb had been switched on. Marryn had figured out how to eat, and she loved it! She would finally keep her eyes open while she ate and would look around to see where she could get more grub. We were discharged on Monday, October 11 and practically ran out the doors. We couldn’t wait to be home with our baby girl and have her all to ourselves. Our first family challenge was over. The rest of our life was beginning.
Since that day, our time has been spent getting to know each other. Marryn is a champion eater, sleeper, and pooper, and we just try and keep up. We didn’t know our life was incomplete without her, but it was. Being a parent is the best thing I’ve ever done. I am tired most of the time, but I also can’t wait to see what she’ll do next. I couldn’t love anything more than my little daughter, Marryn Elizabeth.

More to come…
Lauren McMurrey with an E-Y

P.S. - Some surprises throughout the labor & delivery experience:

1. OB Gyn’s don’t do much for run of the mill deliveries. I never saw the doctor until the last ten minutes of labor. Serious props to the nurses who kept literally everything running. The physician came in to tell me to push and to “catch” Marryn, but that was about it. I think I could’ve been an OB Gyn, and that's not saying much.

2. Throughout the NICU experience, I felt like someone was watching us from above and giving us signs that everything would be alright. Whenever I’d start to feel down, something cosmic would happen to brighten my day…

Example one - My favorite nurse was named Fancy. Since we kept Marryn’s name a secret until her birth, I referred to her as “Fancy Jezebel” when people would ask her name. Fancy, the nurse, was a big help to us in getting a good NICU pod assignment and repeatedly asked to be assigned to Marryn. She had also experienced the NICU as a new parent and had good advice for me.

Example two - Norm was another nurse I liked a lot. If you’ve read this blog from the beginning, you know this is how we referred to Marryn before we knew her gender. The male nurse is uncommon as is, but even more so in labor, delivery, and NICU. Norm was a giant man with warm hands who brought a very calming influence near the end of Marryn’s stay in the unit.

Example three - I mentioned above how many tubes Marryn had running out of her at the beginning of her stay. All the tubes fed into a monitor that would keep tabs on her heartbeat, breathing, and body temperature. One day I noticed the monitor had a familiar name displayed on the screen - Brady. My brother’s name is Brady, and as it turns out, that is an abbreviation for an irregular heartbeat. So while we never wanted to see “Brady” flashing on her monitor, I felt comforted by seeing Marryn’s uncle’s name above her crib.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Halloweiner anyone?

Due to the unexpected nature of labor and our given due date of November 4, we can’t really make Halloween plans. This is somewhat disappointing because I love Halloween – always have. It’s the drama nerd in me – I love dressing up. Well, let me clarify. I love dressing up…as something “pretty”.

As a child I was a pink pony, Miss America, a kitty, a genie, a gypsy, an angel, a ballerina, a cheerleader. Rinse and repeat.

In your late teens and early twenties, costumes take on another function, and I was no exception. I think the movie, Mean Girls, hits the nail on the head when the protagonist states, “Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like total sluts and no other girls can say anything about it.” During those years I was a feathered tightrope walker, a sequined devil, a leather clad biker chick, a Grecian goddess, and you get the idea.

Notice a theme? I don’t like scary or ugly costumes. Seeing as how I’m currently lugging around all this pregnancy weight, my “pretty” costume ideas are somewhat limited. This is what I’ve thought of so far.

Elsie the Cow

Edna Turnblad from Hairspray

Mark Mangino – Could double as Edna Turnblad with the right wig

Shamu – Could incorporate Ben as a Sea Shepherd from Whale Wars

However, if the baby has arrived by Halloween and if I can pull it together, I have some ideas for her too.

Turkey – Perhaps I could dress as Martha Stewart?

Lobster - And I could swaddle her a net-colored blanket

Tootsie Roll – And we could hand out only Tootsie rolls to trick or Treaters

Halloweiner anyone?

If my theme is “pretty” costumes, the theme for the baby is certainly “hungry” costumes. Which reminds me, it’s time for my afternoon snack.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I am Lauren’s awkward orange bottle

Have you seen Fight Club?

It’s a late nineties movie starring Edward Norton and Brad Pitt. The narrator, Norton, frequently speaks in voiceover. “I am Jack’s smirking revenge. I am Jack’s cold sweat. I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise.” The viewer doesn’t know it until the end of the movie, but the narrator is actually Jack and is speaking in third person. He literally is his own revenge, sweat, surprise, etc. His idiosyncrasies have come to define him without him even realizing it.

It’s a complicated concept, but one that I’ve recently come to identify with. For example:

*I am Lauren’s swollen ankles.

*I am Lauren’s nagging voice.

*I am Lauren’s elevated blood pressure.

*I am Lauren’s achy knees.

*I am Lauren’s urine collection receptacle.

Seriously. Could this thing be more obtuse?

My pregnancy has come to define me, and frankly, it’s becoming a struggle to stay positive all the time. Thankfully I’ve got a loving husband, understanding friends, and empathetic family members who remind me that the reward is closer than ever.

The best news is that Lil’ Miss is healthy, growing strong, and may join us sooner than anticipated. She’s measuring about three weeks larger than average. Who is shocked by this? No one really. Have we met?

I am Lauren’s complete lack of surprise.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

We made them an offer they couldn’t refuse.

Nothing gives you a sense of mortality more than expecting a child. Both your physician and the hospital are required to give you literature on the worst case scenarios – including maternal and infant death. In their well-meaning efforts to cover their you-know-what’s, they excel in freaking me out.

It’s not like I don’t appreciate being prepared. I am a Type-A Virgo in the truest since of the word. I get a high from a well appointed schedule – truly. Agendas and lists are euphoric. It’s just that preparing for the “worst” is a different beast altogether. Imagining your life without your spouse, or leaving your child orphaned is upsetting to say the very least.

To help us navigate this heavy preparation, Ben and I had our law firm send us a template for a last will and testament. Most of it is pretty straight-forward.

Q: Do you have a prenuptial agreement?
A: Ummm, no – considering each of us had about $200 in our checking accounts when we got married.

Q: Do either of you have children from a previous marriage?
A: Dang. Did I not mention that wild night in Juarez, Babe?

Q: Do you have children as a result of your current marriage?
Me: *jumping at a chance to gush about our baby girl* “Do you think they’d appreciate a sonogram picture? She looks so cute in it!”

Ben: *rolling eyes* “I think we should just send in a copy of her birth certificate.”

Q: Who will serve as guardians of your children in the event both of you are deceased before said children reach the age of 18?
A: Easy.

To us, the answer was obvious.

This is my brother, Brady, and his fiancée, Abigail. They are to be married on August 6, 2011 in San Diego, where they live. They agreed to be Lil Miss’ godparents, and Ben and I couldn’t be happier.

Brady is my first & oldest friend, only brother, and best confidant. Abigail is a new friend, amazing person, and someone I look forward to calling family. Brady and Abigail made the choice to share their lives together, and will serve as excellent examples of love and compassion for our daughter.

Thank you Brady & Abigail. We can’t wait to introduce you to your goddaughter.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Boz, the Diaper Genie

This is Boz, our 4 year old Ridgeback.

Boz has many talents. Among them...

squirrel hunting,

greeting visitors,

swimwear modeling,

patrolling the fence perimeter,

and his Obi Wan Kenobi impression.

In the last few days, Boz has added another talent to his repertoire – diaper disappearing.

Friday night, I got a text from Ben saying, “I think Boz has been eating the diaper cake. There are like 6 missing. Do we have any Vaseline?”

You need to know that Boz has eaten a number of naturally occurring and grotesque things (see squirrel image above). I didn’t get a chance to snap pictures of the other squirrels, cat, rabbit, countless birds, several possums, a few rodents, hundreds of bugs, horse poop, pounds of pecans, and small trees he’s also consumed throughout his lifetime. Eating members of the plant and animal kingdoms are nothing new. He has the GI tract of a mountain goat.

Even so, Ben’s text still made my stomach harden. Egads, diapers?! Diapers are made of non-biodegradable material! Diapers are evil land-fillers! Diapers swell with liquid! And he ate 6 of them? Holy underwear! (Yes, he eats those too.)

After securely shutting him out of the nursery, a few Vaseline sandwiches, and putting ourselves on barf watch all weekend, we decided to take Boz to the vet yesterday.

Over one hundred dollars later, things appear to be back to normal. They “made sure” there were no diapers in his stomach. I didn’t ask for details on how that discovery was made. Plus he’s on a super high fiber diet for a week to help him flush the plastic out of his system. He's effectively back to normal, playing with sister AD, guzzling up his stinky fibrous food, and diligently patrolling the fence perimeter once again.

Even after everything he went through, last night when we got back from the vet I was putting baby accessories into a drawer organizer in the nursery. I turned around to see him sneaking off with something in his mouth. I followed him to his bed and saw that he had a tiny sock and shoe neatly placed on his bed and was contemplating them. Not eating, just contemplating with a furrowed brow. It then occurred to me that maybe he thinks that if he gets rid of the baby’s stuff then she won’t show up, and I began to tear up.

I bent down, kissed his head, and assured him that he was our first baby, and we would still love him when the human baby was born. I hope he understands now. Bless the Boz, our Diaper Genie.

Monday, August 23, 2010

If it ain’t broke…

You’ve heard of Dr. Zhivago.

Dr. No.

Dr. Evil.

And how about everyone’s favorites McSteamy & McDreamy?

Well, meet McFamiliar.

This is Jim Friedman, my former pediatrician, who will also be Lil Miss’ doctor.

I “interviewed” him Friday morning. I’m using quotes, because I pretty much knew I wanted him to be her physician. The déjà vu came on strong as I walked through the primary colored lobby, past the animal themed exam rooms and into Dr. Friedman’s wood paneled office decked out with pictures of his granddaughter.

We talked about what will happen on her birthday and the immediate weeks thereafter. We discussed breast versus bottle feeding, and he gave me some good advice about being positive and flexible. Overall, he confirmed that yes; I did indeed want him to be her pediatrician. I know she will be as comfortable with him as I am.

Hey, if it ain’t broke?

Monday, August 16, 2010

In the Heat of the Night…& the Day

Riddle me this...Is this a joke? Is someone playing a large scale weather-related prank on me? If so, it’s not amusing, and you may cease.

If you have stepped out of your home in the last three weeks, you will have noticed the climate closely resembling the surface of the sun. If you have had the misfortune of encountering me in the last three weeks, I am very sorry. Suffice it to say that it’s the heat. I’m unpleasant, and I’m aware. August in Texas is always miserable, but this year is a sweltering standout due to the extra pregnancy pounds I’m lugging around.

To quote Jane Austen, “What dreadful weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.” I can think of some more appropriate non-Victorian adjectives to describe my current situation. This 21st century gal is in a constant state of sliminess, awkwardness, mugginess, and unseemliness.

Perhaps it’s not a joke, but rather karma coming into play. Mom was pregnant with me during the heat wave of 1980. They make t-shirts about this, people.

The summer of 1980 saw temperatures reach above 100 degrees 69 times; including a record 42 consecutive days from June to August. Did I mention she was pregnant in Galveston with 99% humidity and due in mid-September?

I think I’ve talked myself into believing the karma argument. Apparently I deserve this.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Time Saving T-Shirt

Dear Fellow Citizens of Earth,

To save us all some time and many of you some embarrassment, I will start wearing this t-shirt on a daily basis.

You're welcome,

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Showered with Love

Saturday was my first shower, and what a wonderfully memorable experience it was! I think I’m still on a high from all the warm wishes, support, and love shown to us by the guests. My girlfriends, Becky, Lauren, Kalee, and Heather hosted the shower at Becky’s parents’ home, which was the perfect setting. I’m biased, but I think it was the nicest shower I’ve ever been to!
Lil Miss' proud Grammy, Lana

One of the adorable outfits. I love smocking!

What a haul?! Thank you friends!

The lovely hostesses, Lauren, Kalee, Becky, & Heather. Thank you and love you girls!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ain’t that a kick in the head?

If you haven’t seen the movie, Away We Go, I highly recommend it. It stars Maya Rudolph and John Krasinki as Verona and Burt - an expectant couple, searching for the perfect city in which to raise their baby. It’s filled with memorable, funny, and sweet moments, some of which revolve around Burt trying to get the baby’s heart rate up. Verona is concerned that the baby is too calm, and she wants it to be more lively. To accomplish this, Verona suggests that she and Burt fight more, and then listen to the baby’s heartbeat with a Doppler. So, at inopportune moments, the viewer witnesses Burt jumping out, screaming obscenities at a surprised Verona, and then giddily placing the Doppler on her belly to listen to the heart-racing result.

Which gave me an idea...

I recently read that the baby’s heartbeat is now strong enough to be heard without a Doppler. We decided to try it last night. We turned off the fan, muted the TV, and Ben put his ear to my belly. About three seconds later – BAM! Lil Miss kicked him right in the temple. In her defense, she has a limited means of communication right now. How do we know it wasn’t a friendly fetus fist pump and not a karate kick? I’m thinking it was more a gesture of “Hello Daddy”, not “Back off dude”. Ben wasn’t sure if he heard her heartbeat, but he definitely heard the beginning of her individuality.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Final Countdown

As of today, there are 100 days left until the due date. (Insert primal scream here.) To combat my anxiety, I've turned to poetry. Ah-Hem.

100 winks left to catch
100 days left of dogs being our only kids
100 mornings left in the bathroom by myself
100 outfits left of wearing a bra without snap off lids

100 more fluttering kicks to feel
100 more walks to take stroller-free
100 more guesses who she looks like
100 more nights to be in our home, just Ben and me

100 days left to prepare
100 days until we get her
100 days until we are parents
100 days until our lives forever change…for the better

We’ll meet you in 100 days - give or take a few - Lil’ Miss.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Parting with Prone, or Farewell Face Down

Everyone has their favorite sleeping position. My great-grandmother used to sleep on her back with her head at the foot of the bed. Ben puts one arm on the top of my pillow and that hand on top of my head. Boz prefers to fold his legs underneath him in a deer-like yoga pose.

To me, nothing is more comfortable than lying on my stomach with my arms out to the side. I know I look like someone who has washed up on a beach. I know it, and I don’t care. It’s comfortable, and since I’m not a busty gal, nothing has prevented me from this relaxing supine pose…until now.

Lil Miss growing in here doesn’t like it much when I lay on my stomach, and frankly, I feel really bad doing so. Don’t judge - I don’t consciously turn on my stomach, but I have woken up that way a few times due to her kicking me to TURN OVER!

“Geez Ma”, I can picture her saying. “Are you trying to squish me?” Sorry Lil Miss! Momma’s new at this. You’ve got 29 years of muscle memory working against you.

To help me out, I registered for one of these puppies.

Don’t laugh – it’s supposed to really work. I only have 16 more weeks to sleep, and then I won’t get any rest ‘til 2029 when she goes to college. This is what Mom tells me, at least. I'm stockpiling while I can.

Thank Lil Miss you for awakening me to this new world of not sleeping through the night. I know it’s only the beginning.

Friday, July 9, 2010

My Baby's Got a Secret

Now that we know we are having a daughter, I have another question that should be added to the FAQ list. “What’s her name going to be?”

Well, the short answer is that I can’t really tell you. It’s not because I don’t know. She has a first and last name (obviously), and they sound perfectly mellifluous. Once we decide on her middle name, it will be a complete and pretty little picture.

I can’t tell you because it’s a secret.

A be vewy vewy quiet type of secret.

A statute that exists for several reasons:

First off, it’s what her Daddy wants. After our baby reveal party a few weeks ago Ben and I had a very brief talk about what her name would be. We pretty much immediately agreed on her first name because I had had a list going since we found out we were pregnant back in March. (Clandestinely, this list has existed since the 8th grade. Most girls pick out children’s names before we pick out husbands. It’s true, guys.) Ben then asked to keep the name quiet until her arrival because he wanted to keep something just between us three. At this point, my heart melted and I immediately jumped on board the secret name train. Ben will be able to walk out of the delivery room in November and tell our families something they don’t already know – something rare in our family circles.

Secondly, it’s now what I want – see above…and below.

Lastly, we get to avoid all the judgment that comes from announcing your baby’s name prior to its birth. Mom and Dad tossed the names Brandy and Wendy out to their families prior to my arrival, and both were met with harsh criticism. I’ve been told the potential monikers reminded my grandmothers of strippers, liquor, and Civil War-era butter churning. Since I refuse to admit my grandmothers know anything about strippers or liquor, I’m calling erroneous! Erroneous on all counts. Still, I like knowing that no one will know her name until they meet her – at which point, they’ll think it’s a perfect match. Hopefully.

I don’t like being secretive, so how about I tell you what her name isn’t?

  • Delta, Sarah Ida, or anything related to Tri Delt. It was a short but contentious battle that Ben decisively won.

  • Lauren Jr. – I think the practice of naming your female child after you is a little odd.

  • Benjamina – See above.

  • Norma, or anything related to the University of Oklahoma. The dogs, Bosworth and Adrian, are enough Sooners in one house.

  • Ava, Ella, Emily, Sophie, Bella, or any names you might see on the most popular baby names list. These are beautiful names; we just wanted less people to share hers.

  • Darby – Don’t worry Brady – it’s still available for you.

I love a preppy monogram as much as the next former sorority girl. My little legacy, however, will have to stand in line at the seamstress with her Momma to get hers done.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

In space no one can hear you scream

I’m not sure how I feel about the supersonic mega hi-def ultrasounds available nowadays. For about $100 a session you can see your baby in the womb looking…well…pretty uncomfortable… weird…and alien like.

I’m sorry; you’re probably not supposed to say that. It’s just my opinion, and maybe it’s because I’m a claustrophobe, but it looks hella cramped in there. The baby’s little hands are all crammed up by their faces, their feet are up over their heads, their eyelids are fused shut like kittens, and any time I get a glimpse of the umbilical cord I throw up a little in my mouth.

Then I hear about sonographers having to ram mothers in the stomach to get the baby to move around, and I can’t help but think - There will be multiple times in my daughter’s life when I ask her to “perform” something cute in front of a crowd, so I don’t need to start bugging her about it now, do I?

I get the appeal. I want to know what my daughter will look like, and I’d like to know it now. Will she have my eyes, Ben’s smile, and her grandmother’s height? That’s what I’m hoping for – if you can’t tell.

I just don’t think I’ll be able to extrapolate what she’ll look like from an image of her more resembling a kangaroo fetus than what I know will become my beautiful, huggable baby girl.

Despite my commentary above, I haven’t completely made up my mind about getting a supersonic mega hi-def ultrasound. So until then, I have this…

This is our baby at 20 weeks.

And this is me as a 3 month old.

This is something I can get behind.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Baby Reveal Party

We had the ultrasound of our baby on June 17. We told the sonographer that we didn’t want to know that day, but to write down the sex and seal it up an envelope. The sonographer did as requested and Ben took the envelope to Sublime Bakery where their pastry experts would create our pink or blue cake. This was all because we were planning a Baby Reveal dinner for Sunday, June 20 at Joe T. Garcia’s where we would find out the gender of our baby along with our family and friends.

This is how the cake turned out. It was almost too cute to cut. Yes, those are fondant likenesses of AD & Boz. I had to include them somehow. Are you really all that surprised?

On Sunday we gathered together – all sporting pink or blue based on our guess to the baby’s identity.

My brother, Brady, flew in from San Diego. Here he is with my maternal grandparents, Glenda & Wendal.

Ben and I with our mothers...ahem..the incredibly excited Grandmothers - Susan & Lana!

My Dad, Terri, & Bobbie (My Granny) - more proud grandparents!
Some of our sweet friends, the Martins, Lauren, Kalee, and the Escotts. Thanks for coming, guys!

The Wrights brought their sweet daughter, Finley, to join the fun. She even brought a gift for our baby. What a thoughtful 6 week old young lady!
The Hoover family was very ready for us to cut the cake!
It was so fun to see everyone, and Ben and I were overwhelmed by the love and support surrounding us. After a quick meal – truthfully Ben and I didn’t eat much because we were so nervous – we were ready to cut the cake.

Here we go!

I immediately dissolved into tears of joy and hugged everyone in sight. My favorite part of this picture is how Ben is looking at the cake, just to make sure.
Dad cleaned up my eye make up before this was taken - thanks Dad! Why are you wearing green?

Yay for another girl!

Thankfully, my girl friends picked up the slack and served the cake that I had forgotten to keep cutting. After I calmed down, we opened the presents our dear family was not supposed to bring, but were much appreciated nonetheless.

All in all, a great and momentous occasion. Thank you to everyone who made it and celebrated along with us. We can’t wait to meet our daughter and introduce her to the world.

PS - Thank you to Adrienne and Taylor for taking all the great pictures! Love you girls!