Archives for the month of: December, 2011

We’re engaged!

Of course, we knew we would get engaged and married.  We wouldn’t be having a baby together if we didn’t plan to be together and have a family.  But you see, my baby sister is getting married in June – 3 weeks before Baby C (oh how I love to say that!) is due.  So we won’t get married for a while.  And I just thought, we wouldn’t get engaged for a while, either.

I was wrong!  I LOVE surprises!  Chris really got me good with this one, turning his birthday weekend in Asheville NC, which I thought I’d planned, into something even more special and memorable than I’d imagined.

I was so surprised when he got down on his knee that I tried to run away thinking he was joking, and then, could not speak from shock, but could only nod my head.

And I really hope that even when I am old and grey I never, ever forget the look on his face when he held up my ring and looking up at me said “will you marry me?”  Let me tell you people, there is a reason men get down on one knee.

There are so many happy, exciting things happening between Chris’s family and my family and now, OUR family.  Life is really good and I’m savoring it all.

I have so much to update you on (who are you? family? friends? my baby one day all grown up? who is actually reading this?).  But right now, I only have a couple of seconds and I wanted to say…

Every once in a while – usually, in the middle of the night when I wake up and my anxieties tend to be a little exaggerated – I have a moment in which I think “Oh. My. Gosh. WHAT am I thinking bringing a baby into my crazy, imperfect world?????”

Then, I look over at Chris and I realize I’m not doing it alone.  I’m doing it with the most reliable, responsible, prepared person in the world.  I mean, this guy will have our baby stroller looking like Fort Knox.  We will be prepared for the End of the World, Zombie Attacks, Alien Invasions, you name it.  It’s a comforting thought.

Well, here it is.  The first sign of a bump that is more than just food.  Oh, sure, there’s probably some ice cream and some organs somewhere in there, but there is definitely some baby too.

 

My period is always on time.  It always falls somewhere between the ninth and fourteenth of each month.  But Chris and I always knew it was coming because I got severe PMS for, honestly, almost two weeks before it came.  We braced ourselves for emotional outbreaks and irrational fears, and were relieved when I started my period because we knew for the next two weeks things would be much more even keel.

I know, pretty bad, right?  But I know I’m not the only one reading this who has experienced the power of hormones.

I was not on birth control at the time.  I kept hearing terrible stories of women who tried and tried but couldn’t get pregnant.  I was almost thirty (not that that’s old, but it isn’t 20).  I felt like at this point in my life, I just didn’t want to take a pill that did something to my body so I couldn’t get pregnant.  Probably uninformed of me but that was just the feeling I had.

Anyway, that weekend – the one where my period should have come… any day now… Chris and I drove down to Macon to visit Zach, Mary, and Abby.  It was their last weekend as a three-person family before Nolan would be born by scheduled c-section.  (time out for Nolan pic – we love our sweet Nolan already -)

(okay back to our visit in Macon -) We had Mexican food for lunch.  I drank a big margarita.  I mentioned my awaited period and asked Abby if she wanted a cousin (just to tease Chris).  She nodded vigorously, yes.

That night, we all sat around the chimnea eating hotdogs and drinking beer (yes, wonderful for a pregnant lady I know).  We drove back to Atlanta that night.

The next morning, I woke up before Chris.  I still hadn’t started my period.  I walked next door to Target and bought a pregnancy test, the cheapest one they had.  I came home, went into the downstairs bathroom, peed on the stick, and placed the stick carefully on the shelf.  I worried that if I shook it or did anything wrong the results might not be accurate.  I fully expected a negative result.

I watched as two tiny blue lines appeared on the stick – one much fainter than the other.  I thought, both lines have to be dark to equal a positive result.  The faint line must show up regardless, it is only when that line is dark that you are pregnant.

I still had some pee, so I peed on the second stick.  Again, two blue lines.  This time, the faint blue line was a little bit darker.

I left the box and the two sticks right there on the shelf and went into the kitchen.  Very calmly, I began to wash and chop turnip greens.  I decided that on a lazy Sunday, turnip greens, black-eyed peas, and cornbread would be good.

What I felt when I saw the stick:  Something between excitement and numbness.  Excitement from The Biological Affect and numbness from fear.

How I felt while I was chopping turnips:  Like I had the biggest, most magical secret in the world that was also terrifying and probably not true or real.  So as long as I was the only one who knew, I could hang on to that terrifying, wonderful possibility for just a little while.  I could exist suspended in dreamland where I both could be pregnant and also wasn’t pregnant before I told Chris, and then I was either “oh shit, we’re pregnant” or “oh… we’re not.”

Then Chris came downstairs, and it was only a matter of time before he went into that bathroom – yep, omg, there he goes! – and said “What… is this?” and came out of the bathroom slowly saying, without a hint of dread, but with something more like laughter, but yet definitely not quite laughter because he should be terrified, right?… “Helen… so… are you pregnant or not pregnant?”

We then proceed to examine the sticks and I started freaking out because then, you see, it is real and I said “Look how faint that one line is” and Chris said “Helen, but the line is there” and I said “I need to take another test, that was a cheap one” and Chris started googling the brand and found lots of people saying the test gives false positives.

So you see?  we both said, we’re not pregnant.  Better take another test, just in case.  But we knew we weren’t.  We both trust what we read from strangers on the Internet one hundred percent.

Turnip greens and black eyed peas simmering, I headed back to Target.  This time, I didn’t skimp.  I went for the expensive, name brand 3-pack.  I came home, peed on my first stick, and got two, indisputable dark pink lines immediately.  I sat silently, not wanting to come out and face the music just yet, but naturally Chris is waiting and calls from outside the door “Well???”

I came out with my stick and set it on the kitchen counter.  He looked at it and that was it, we were pregnant!

“Lots of people miscarry.  It is very common in the first trimester,” I said.  “I’m going to pee on the other sticks,” and I did and they were all positive, of course.

We laid the five sticks on the counter in a neat row and stared at them.  The implications were flashing through my mind, one of which was my sister’s wedding.  Doing the math, I’d be due very close to it.  I’d be a fat pregnant bridesmaid at my baby sister’s wedding.

There were many other thoughts, and many fears, but also excitement and happiness.  There was disbelief.  I kept apologizing to Chris and thankfully he kept saying “Why are you sorry babe?”

I went for a twelve-mile run.  Hang on, baby, I thought.  You’re the size of a poppy seed.  The weather was autumn-ish, and the leaves had started to fall.  I felt really, really happy.

Later that day, Chris and I went to the Candler Park Festival.  We walked around and he kept his arm around me and called me a momma.  We bought some hand-woven baskets from some Somalians.

During the next few days and weeks, we would panic over many details that needed to be hashed out, and I would start to experience some awful pregnancy symptoms that felt like they’d never end.  But that sunny Sunday, the day we found out we’d be parents together, held us mercifully, in a happy state of disbelief.

I realized I hadn’t told our story, of how we learned we were pregnant. Everyone loves a good “how I found out we were pregnant” story, right?  Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway.  To really tell the story, I have to first go over what I call The Biological AffectThe Biological Affect is what happens when your body, your subconscious, speaks to you.  It does not listen to logic or circumstances.  It does not care what you think you want.  It has its own mission and you are barely aware and certainly have zero control over it.

It’s like this.

Used to… say, back when I was in college, for example… I LOVED getting my period.  Sounds weird, but it wasn’t that I loved dealing with it.  It was because every time I saw that streak of red (sorry if that’s TMI but this IS a pregnancy blog) I sang Hallelujah and did a little dance because it meant I was not pregnant.

Never mind that I was on birth control, that I practiced safe sex, or that I might not even be having sex at the time.  You just never knew!  And oh how I did not want to get pregnant.

One day, that all changed.

Maybe it started a couple of years ago, I don’t know.  In fact, it could have started around the time my precious, beloved niece Abby was born.  But regardless of the fact that getting pregnant was the last thing on my mind or agenda, each time I started my period I no longer rejoiced.  Instead, I felt an unexplainable tinge of disappointment.

Now – I did NOT want to have a child!  I was in no position to have one.  I definitely didn’t want the responsibility.  I found plenty of joy just in getting to know my new niece.  And, I’m a romantic.  I was much more focused on finding my life partner, getting engaged and married one day (I was in no hurry for that either though).

So why the disappointment each month?  Because of my little friend, that other part of my split personality… The Biological Affect.

Anyway, so I meet my man (the one who, the night I went out and met, I’d stood in front of my mirror applying my mascara and I said out loud to myself, quite calmly and confidently, “I am going to meet my husband tonight” and I’ve never said that as far as I remember before going out, except maybe when I was in high school or college and really stupid.  In fact, I was going out on a whim to meet friends briefly with no intentions of even scanning the room for potential dates – see, more subconscious in effect).  Anyway, so I met him, and low and behold I guess I’m a psychic.  I was immediately smitten.

But I – we – still weren’t ready.  We weren’t in a rush.  What was the hurry?  We were slowly getting to know each other.  We were both transitioning through our own, different, life circumstances.  We both came from other relationships with different, stubborn expectations.  I was fully intrigued and I’d never been with anyone so beautiful and funny.  Or, who could make me so mad.  Who pushed me and challenged me so much.

Slowly, eventually, I realized that we really would, one day, get married and have a family together.  But again, there were things that ought to happen before we did.  I mean, everything had to be perfect.  We should each be rich.  We should have no issues or problems at all.  I should be at my ideal weight and have rock hard abs.  I should probably publish my first novel first and Chris would need to reach the tip top of the corporate ladder so that he could use his bonus to afford my Tiffany’s engagement ring… and so on.

Meanwhile, we watched Teen Mom every Tuesday night at 10pm.

We stole my now 2-year-old niece away for a weekend, and when she had to go home, there was an empty hole in my heart.  I missed her so much.  I still don’t think my sister even realizes the extent to which I missed her baby.  Chris kidded me, “We need to get you one of those.”

Then one day… two months ago, actually… I waited for my period and it didn’t come.

Stay tuned for Part II.

 We have our baby’s rocking chair!  Actually, right now it’s at my parents’ house.

The chair belonged to my grandmother’s mother.  Her name was Mary Wellons Leverett.

I know the chair because from the time I was born until my grandmother died, it was in the corner of the guest bedroom, often draped in clothes (when we came to visit anyway).

I love it because:

1. My sister’s middle name is Wellons, after my great-grandmother’s family, and I’ve always loved the name, and hearing about the Wellonses.

2. The chair is an heirloom.

3. The chair is beautiful.

How special that our baby will be rocking in a chair that was passed on from mother (Mary Wellons Leverett) to mother (Mary Levertt Newberry) to mother (Lynn Newberry Kopp) to mother (Helen Katherine Kopp) to baby (yet to be named)?

I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and it is beautiful.  During the last 2 months, I have felt so awful.  I hope I don’t jinx myself, but just as people promised, with the end of the first trimester, I am starting to feel SO much better!  Today, I went to the grocery store and got teary eyed in the prepared foods section, because… the food smelled good!  Warm, cozy, comforting, promising… Do you know how long it has been since I’ve genuinely thought food smelled good?  I have even lied and said “mmm, that smells good” because I know it must and I want to be encouraging and polite to the cooks… but really, the smell meant nothing to me.

We are still on shaky ground, nausea-wise.  Most mornings, I have a moment when I walk downstairs where I want to turn to the kitchen sink and BLAHHHH!  And today, in the pickle isle, I almost threw up.  But it passes!

THAT, people, is the MIRACLE.  It PASSES.  Because you see, first trimester the nausea never, ever, ever passed.  It was with me morning, afternoon, and night.  It was with me with I woke up at 2am.  It was with me when I woke up at 7am.  It was with me nonstop.  Every smell was enough to send me over the edge.  I didn’t actually throw up more than about 10 times, luckily.  I just always FELT like I could.

And my diet.  Oh, it has been the saddest thing.  Pringles. Ice cream. Sherbet. Frozen yogurt. Macaroni and cheese. Pickles. You get the picture.  These were things I thought I could eat.  I did also eat cereal with fruit every morning, and at times I could eat yogurt.  I ate boiled eggs just because I heard the protein helped with nausea.  And fruit.  Fruit did not let me down.  I have eaten a grapefruit almost every day since finding out I was pregnant.  So it wasn’t ALL bad.  It’s just that I have always been such an advocate of healthy food.  And to have that taken away from me when I thought it would come into handy most – just cruel!

But I’m coming back.  Not like I was. I don’t know when I’ll be able to eat curry or tofu or lentils again – ick!  But right now, things are great because…

I’m craving raw vegetables and fruits!!  Oh happy day!  Still don’t want cooked vegetables.  Just refreshing, watery cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, lettuce, parsley and so on.  I celebrated by making the most delicious caesar salad with homemade dressing and whole grain croutons, and adding lots of chopped veggies to the usual mix.  I’m on my second bowl.  I hope I can continue this.

Imagine you can’t eat anything – it all just makes you sooooo sick at the thought. And you find one thing – just one – that you can not only eat without puking… but ACTUALLY enjoy. You would be eating the hell out of it right?

That was me and softserve.

I had my second ultrasound today!  Sadly – very sadly – Chris was has been in California since Sunday for work.  He really needed to go, and I understood.  I have missed him from the moment he left though, and I was very sad to go to my doctor’s appointment alone.  I’ll be so glad when he’s home next Friday.  We’ve never been apart for 2 weeks before, and I don’t want to make a habit of it – AT ALL.  I also don’t want him to miss another appointment.  I don’t care if I have to reschedule, I don’t want him to miss out on this experience with me.  That said, I’m so glad he isn’t in the military, because I know of many people who have dealt with much more difficult and longer separations.  It has to be so tough.

But on to our baby. 🙂  On the way to my appointment, I got in a car accident.  Well, a fender bender.  It was my fault – the first time I’ve caused a fender bender since high school, thank you very much.  But it was enough to knock the wind out of me, and I hit my head on the steering wheel and had a bruise and swollen lip.  I immediately started crying uncontrollably.  I went in to my appointment in somewhat of a traumatized state, worried about the impact to my stomach and wishing more than ever that Chris were there.

It was kind of awful.

Then, I saw my baby on the monitor.  And burst into more tears.  But these were tears of happiness.

 I know to most of you, this picture looks like any other ultrasound pic. 🙂  But to me, I see the sweet little curve of my baby’s neck, it’s baby ears (do they look kinda big to you? Maybe it has Chris’s ears?), its long spine, its cute little butt…

Whereas with the 8-week ultrasound, I felt curious and unsure, today I felt something closer to love.

I have been falling asleep to the most wonderful pregnancy app ever!  It’s called Positive Pregnancy with Andrew Johnson.  It talks me (almost hypnotizes me) into the most peaceful sleep each night.  I fall asleep thinking of my baby.  I recommend!

Baby’s Sex: Using the nub theory, my doctor says he is 75% sure I am having a… GIRL!  We will see though.  We’re not buying a thing for the baby until we find out for sure at 20 weeks.

Baby’s Size: He or she is the size of a plum.

Total Weight Gain: None

What I Miss: Right now – Chris! 😦  Pre-pregnancy: Energy.

What I’m Looking Forward to: Second trimester, starting to tell people the good news, and finding out the sex of the baby for sure.

Best Moment of the Week: Getting the pictures of the baby, and sending them to Chris and hearing his reaction was so special.  He said “More!” and “That’s amazing. It’s shy” (referring to the fact it wouldn’t show its face) and “Awesome.” Now, if you know Chris you know that emotions and enthusiasm over text or chat are rare.

Also, hearing his voice when I first told him about the “75% girl” thing… it sounded so sweet and happy.  Then he immediately went into “We need to pretend he never even said that!” mode.  You know, because it could change.

(Actually, I’m so glad it didn’t show its face. That way, the first time I see its face, Chris and I will see it together.)

Another highlight of the week was Sunday when my sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew came to visit around the time Chris left for the airport.  They helped make it easier to say goodbye to him, and I love spending time with them.