Friday, November 22, 2013

Hazel Mae is here!

Our daughter Hazel Mae came into the world Monday evening, hungry and full of things to say. She's pretty perfect, and we've never been more in love.

We brought her home in the dress I was brought home from the hospital wearing... how perfect is that? My mom took care of it all these years. My sister and niece wore it, too, so Hazel's carrying forward an important tradition.

I'll be back with more details soon, but for now, we're going to keep getting to know each other. Yawning, stretching, snoozing... all that good stuff.

In the meantime, here's the last photo taken of us as a couple, before parenthood. It's from our DC "UnShower," which my friend Nole highlighted online here and here. She and Sara knocked out some amazing details for the party, and we had such a good time celebrating Baby H with friends before she came into the world.

Now that our girl is here, life feels so, so good. Be back soon... I'm off to soak in more of this goodness.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Almost there

This thing is almost over, kids! CRAZY.

I forgot the 37 week photo. Slacker. But here we go anyway:

Pregnancy still feels like a pretty miraculous thing. I went into it refusing to complain very much, since this is literally a privilege that we paid handsomely for, but I've found that I don't really have much to complain about anyway. Do I miss my old feet and ankles, being able to pee like a normal person, and bend over without grunting? Yes! But are these things pretty damn small in the scheme of what we're doing? Absolutely. I'm 25 pounds heavier with happiness, and it feels great.
Here's our singular pregnancy drama so far: Baby H hung out for at least a few weeks in the breech position. She was head-down for our 33-week appointment, but that Saturday we were in North Carolina for a family party and my mom surprised me with a "4D" ultrasound tech coming over to the house, who promptly showed us that H was hanging out upright. Eeeek. We spent the next few weeks trying to get her to turn with everything we could throw at her: acupuncture, moxibustion, temperature extremes, light treatment, and a chiropractor. Who knows what worked, but something did... she flipped about a month later at 37 weeks, a few days before we'd scheduled an "external version," or manual manipulation to try and flip her by hand.
I'm so relieved that she's head-down now (confirmed again this morning at our 38-week appointment!), but I'm also happy that I have the kind of birthing team by my side that would have let me try to have her vaginally even if she was breech. Natural delivery of breech babies is becoming a lost art, but our midwifery practice is extremely proud of their breech births. As long as I was progressing normally during labor, they were committed to helping me have a vaginal birth if that's what I wanted. Our practice delivers on the L&D floor right alongside OBs, so the risks are small and we're in great hands should anything more than their own expertise be needed. We're back in the camp of normal low-risk births now, and I'm thrilled, but knowing that the other side didn't necessarily have to involve surgery was comfort when I needed it.
So here we are... 38 weeks, belly full of an extremely active baby that wriggles a lot but seems cool hanging upside down for a while, and so much excitement about what's ahead. She is ALMOST HERE!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Maternity Photos

Also on the vacation agenda, besides the swimming and sunning and reading: maternity photos. As long as it took us to get there, there we are... pregnant. For real. It still hits me in waves sometimes, that this is actually happening.

Photos by Brooke Mayo Photography, at the Sanderling in the Outer Banks.


Breathing deep, pelican-style

I know. I know. It's bad.

I remember last year when my dear friend Mikaela was visiting and we were sitting at the table talking about the grand balancing act of life. "What do you let slide?," she asked. "What's the thing you let go to make the rest of it work?" At the time, I was still valiantly doing (or trying) 100% of everything at a little less than 100% - a juggler extraordinaire. Fast-forward a year later to third trimester me, working her butt off more than ever before, and I know in a second what my answer is: what I let slide is this. The blog, the creative release, the connections outside of my daily world. And I hate it, but sometimes, something's gotta give. Sometimes getting through the day takes every single ounce of what you have. Those aren't bad days, don't misunderstand me. Just very full ones, squeezed into very full weeks, squeezed into very full months.

So let's backtrack a bit, to that vacation we took that one time.

It was grand.

Some time ago I decided that the pelican is my spirit animal. Keep in mind that back in college I remember a discussion with my best gals where we voted me the lioness. So how does a lioness become a pelican? For one, she gets really tired. But what she really does is prioritize peace and quiet and relaxation above all else - above the hunt, above the kill, above the self-satisfied licking of chops. Pelicans have it going on.

The day is this: soaring above the water, sometimes alone, sometimes in a pack, sometimes with a partner. Diving in for food. Floating around. Soaring again. Water, wind, sun, air. Soaring. Diving. Floating. Repeat.

Doesn't that sound pretty magical? I'm pretty sure it's my life goal.

So on our return to our wedding locale, I spent a lot of time sitting and watching pelicans. And it made me so, so happy.

Beach. Pool. Read. Swim. Relax. Sun. Just what I needed at 28 weeks pregnant.

We were out swimming one day and the most miraculous thing happened. We were in the ocean fairly deep, and the water was just glittering with sunshine all around us. Suddenly, maybe 20 yards away, an enormous ray leapt out of the water, flapped its wings, and dove back in. I'd never seen one before. The wingspan was at least six feet wide, and it was miraculous. And right there.

I'm such an ocean girl, and I think Baby H might be, too. I hope she is, anyway. I love the thought of teaching her the fine art of beach lounging, the fun of wave-bopping, and the magic of breathing in that air. I hope she feels the same way about the Outer Banks that I do.

We took that vacation too late, and I swear we needed another one immediately after, but the important thing is that we got it in at all. No small feat these days.
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