July through October
Sunday, July 3—17 weeks, 5 days
I realized I hadn’t written up here the story of how we came to be having New Baby, so I thought I’d do that now.
With Marcus, we were pretty much an openly “one-and-done” family, though Robert—having grown up with a sibling—had initially wanted to have two children. After Marcus was born, though, he started spewing all this pseudo-economist stuff about how we couldn’t have another child because it would “commodify” Marcus, etc. etc., and I was not unhappy that we now agreed, for whatever kooky reasons, that our family was complete.
It was last summer when we had a few friends over for a low-key birthday party for me, though, that my feelings suddenly changed. Marcus was playing with Amalia, the daughter of our good friends Ren and Matt, and he was calling her “baby,” even “my baby”; he kept trying to pick her up and hold her, hug her, kiss her, and though she didn’t seem to mind terribly, she was also interested in exploring our apartment and Marcus’s toys. At one point I intervened, scooping up both of them as Marcus was hugging her and she was trying to not be hugged, and I had both of them in my arms. Molly looks a bit like Marcus, though since she’s not looking at the camera here it’s hard to tell, but I suddenly had a flash of life with two children, Marcus and another baby, and I suddenly knew that this—my arms full, holding them both—was absolutely right. It sounds crazy to write it out, I know, and all the more so because I am not by nature a particularly impulsive person, but I really just knew at that moment.
I didn’t say anything then, or that night, to Robert, though, because I knew he wouldn’t quite understand my immediate and sudden realization. I felt a deep peace inside, though, over the next few weeks as I walked around and knew I had a secret knowledge.
Almost a month later, at the end of August, I told him, when we were sitting on the couch one night together after Marcus was in bed. Robert was predictably freaked out, and said no, it’s too sudden, and raised a hundred and one practical, but ultimately trivial, objections.
We left it that we’d think about it, sleep on it, and talk again at the beginning of October. Of course, I put that on my calendar—“October 1, talk to R about baby”—and brought it up that night again while sitting on the couch.
This time Robert was again startled and hesitant and practical, but—maybe thinking about the last weekend in September when we saw Molly again and she and Marcus hugged and played and petted each other—he finally said yes, we could start trying for another baby after the holidays and all the stress of visiting family, etc., were over with. Of course, I again put that on my calendar—“January 1, talk to R about baby”—and somehow managed to live through the next three months with Robert and Marcus while thinking and planning for New Baby, who I didn’t yet know but felt I did in my heart. Meanwhile, Marcus would come home from school saying, “Mommy, Ellery has a baby brother. Declan has a baby brother. Where my baby brother?” and I’d just look at Robert over his head.
On January 1, out on a date at all-you-can-eat sushi in New York while Marcus stayed home with my parents, I brought the subject up again, and Robert again said he was worried about the economy and didn’t quite feel ready. It’s all so sudden, he said, and I pointed out that, really, August 4 to January 1 was not all that sudden.
In January and February and early March we talked about babies a lot, and I felt like Robert was moving closer and closer to the same vision that I’d had, yes, so suddenly, last summer. Each month, though, he said he wasn’t quite ready yet—he loved me and Marcus and our life so much he wasn’t sure how it could all expand again. Each month, I waited.
In the middle of March, we had a birthday party for Sarah at our house, and Miriam announced (with perhaps a tiny bit of prodding from me, asking her point-blank and not taking her demurrals at face value) that she was pregnant again with their second child. Never underestimate the competitive streak of a Hunterite! In bed that night, Robert said, “Well, if Miriam and Davis can have a second child, then we sure can!” (Note that this is no reflection at all on Miriam and Davis or our very fond view of them—this is just an example of Robert’s hugely competitive drive, which, who knows, perhaps also has an evolutionary basis in this case!) That same weekend, we drove out to see Tim and Christine and their beautiful two-week-old baby girl, and Marcus was fascinated with the baby, patting her gently on the head, and watching while I helped Christine with various slings and even at one point popped the baby into my own sling. Tim and Christine were so obviously thrilled with each other and with the lovely M., and their very visible love was somehow the final thing that played a role in shaping Robert’s heart and mind, and two weeks after that weekend, we found out I was pregnant.
Now, here we are, with New Baby growing bigger every day. Marcus has recently declared that the baby in my belly is “his” baby, and I’m just holding it for him. “And then the tiny tiny baby going come out your belly and come in my house!” he said. Yes, pretty much.
Tuesday, July 12—19 weeks
Kelley came on Friday with her apprentice Jenna—they quickly found the baby’s heartbeat, even with just the fetoscope—and we had a nice appointment.
Marcus has been talking non-stop about this baby—he is very excited.
Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking about all the places that this baby—and Marcus before him/her—has gone while still inside me. Marcus went to the grand opening of the Back Bay Apple Store, and then went back to stand on line for iPhones a few weeks later. This baby will have gone dancing at a Pakistani wedding and watching the Gay Pride Parade. Marcus went to the Tower of England, the Chowderfest, Hampton Court. This baby will have gone to the pink sand beaches of Bermuda. Maybe it’s not that different, really, from traveling with an infant or toddler—they’re not going to remember it either way, but you get the fun of it just the same.
Tuesday, July 19—20 weeks
I’m writing this very early, before we head out to Colorado for Asma’s wedding and a little bit of vacation. Halfway there! Halfway to holding this baby in my arms, not just in my belly! I’m feeling huge kicks, rolls, and non-stop movement, even during the day. I’m also just feeling really great, physically—the nasal congestion I had peaked around sixteen weeks, I think, and is now almost totally gone. The breast tenderness still comes and goes—three days not there at all, a day or two excruciating, then five days moderate—but I just have a lot of energy and am really happy about this baby.
How happy am I? I went to visit a friend in the hospital this weekend, and another of his friends, who I know only very slightly and have met maybe half a dozen times total, was there already visiting him when I walked in. She said, “Wow, I didn’t realize it was you at all! I knew you were coming, and I heard someone down the hall and looked up and thought, ‘Oh, that’s not Christina, that’s just some random happy pregnant lady,’ and it took me a minute to realize it was you!” I thought this was the possibly the nicest thing I could hear at this point—a) I look pregnant! not just plump! and b) I look “happy,” just like Helena keeps saying I’m “glowing.” Whatever—I am happy, enjoying the summer walking around with my baby and New Baby, and life is good.
Sunday, July 31—21 weeks, 5 days
Belly’s bigger, baby’s kicking away—I think s/he’s really low for now, since all the movements I feel are way below my belly button and I do feel a little pressure on my bladder. Basically I’m feeling great, though—we had a lot of fun in Colorado, and now I’m enjoying a few weeks of the summer here in Boston with Marcus, knowing that new baby is along for the ride. While I keep wearing Marcus, I’ve switched almost entirely to back carries—front carries put pressure on my breasts and also just tire me out significantly faster—and usually tie the wrap up high above the bump or the mei tai low underneath it. Kelley’s coming on Saturday for another check-up, and we are more than halfway to meeting this baby!
Friday, August 12—23 weeks, 3 days
Kelley came last weekend—we had a nice visit, I have good low blood pressure, and just the tiniest amount of swelling on one ankle. I’m going to work on staying better hydrated and keeping up the watermelon, cucumbers, etc. type of foods. I’m up to 158 lbs, too—Kelley didn’t ask me to weigh myself, but Robert was curious.
I think I felt the baby have hiccups this week—I remember that from Marcus! Generally, though, the sensations are so much different than for Marcus, I think because my placenta is not right in the front muffling everything this time.
Marcus blows raspberries at the baby, kisses him/her, licks him/her (not my favorite, but he insists that “the baby like that!” and it is pretty cute anyway), and gently pats him/her. He vacillates day to day about whether he wants a brother or sister, which is good, I guess, and one day last week announced that the baby is my belly is in fact a sister—a boy sister!
In short, life is good, and I feel great.
Wednesday, August 24—25 weeks, 1 day
I’m having occasional heartburn from this baby, but mostly only if I drink orange juice (ah, the fresh-squeezed we had over the weekend was so delicious, though!) or eat a meal and then lay down with Marcus for bed or a nap right after eating. I’m starting to work on my posture to pre-emptively prevent back pain and bad positioning for the baby, too.
Lots of huge kicks and movement, although Robert still hasn’t felt any from the outside. I think he’s just not trying hard enough! Basically, I feel great and also feel like I actually “look” pregnant, which makes me really happy.
We just got back from celebrating Marcus’s third birthday in New York last weekend, and now this baby is off to Bermuda with us tomorrow, for a little end-of-summer vacation. Marcus’s babymoon was in London; this one is a bit different, and, er, a bit louder, in a loveable way only a three-year-old can make it.
Wednesday, August 31—26 weeks, 1 day
Robert informed me that I’m starting to waddle, and I think that may be true. I weigh 163 and am filling out my maternity pants, so they no longer sag down quite so badly. But I still feel really good, very energetic, and I’m still carrying Marcus all around and walking—er, waddling—everywhere I need to go. The big problem that I’m having right now is an odd one: whenever someone I’ve just met (on vacation, at a wedding, etc.) asks me, “When are you due?” I hear it as, “What do you do?” which is not at all the same question. I think I don’t really have a pregnant identity this time around, if that makes sense—everything pregnancy-related for me now is so typical, so expected, and everything non-pregnancy-related is just so busy that it’s edging out the baby from my mind. Marcus reminds me, though, and I love that about him. Here's a short video from a week or so ago, of Marcus talking to the baby and patting the baby one morning.
Thursday, September 15—28 weeks, 2 days
Wow, the third trimester—I can’t quite believe it! The semester has started for me here, and while the actual teaching work is going smoothly, just the whole schlepping around the city thing is starting to get a bit old, and we’re only in the second week of classes, unfortunately. I’ve tried to pare my work bag down to a minimum, but I still have to carry my (thankfully super light) laptop, my papers/handouts for three classes, the papers I’m grading or returning to students, and a couple books each day, plus a bottle of water, etc., back and forth to school and up and down Comm Ave. I’m still feeling really good, but by the time I get home in the late afternoon (or evening, since there have been lots of beginning-of-semester extra things to do and various committee meetings), I’m pretty tired physically, and I just really want to sit down and put my feet up for a little while.
Kelley came last Saturday for a nice check-up—no swelling, super low blood pressure, and good baby heart tones. She thinks the baby is head down already, but said by the next visit she’d really be able to be more certain. Meanwhile this little one keeps thumping and bumping around inside of me, and my belly button is starting to flatten out. It’s still a depression, but not by much.
I’m glad that I have pretty much everything “extra” done already—no more trips or travel, no more big shopping or nesting or preparations—and just the regular parts of life to enjoy for the next (slightly less than) three months.
Here's part of my appointment with Kelley from this month--Marcus and Kelley's son, Kareem, are of course right in the middle of things.
Here also is the conversation of the week, just for fun:
Marcus (squinting and furrowing his brow in deep thought): Mommy, can the baby sit in my carseat?
Me: Uh, yes. [I don’t say it, but in fact, the baby will have to—we’re getting Marcus a Ride-Safe Travel Vest and just reusing his carseat, rear-facing, for New Baby.]
Marcus: Mommy, can I sit next to the baby?
Me: Uh, yes. [Probably Marcus will go behind Robert, then New Baby in the middle, then me on the passenger side.]
Marcus: Mommy, and then can you take the baby out of the carseat and put the baby in your sling?
Me: Yes. . .
Marcus: And then can I walk next to you and the baby in the sling?
Me: Yes. . .
Marcus: And then can we go into our house?
Tuesday, September 27—30 weeks
All is well here—no heartburn, no aches and pains, just some tiredness at the end of a long day, which makes sense. I had a nice appointment with Kelley yesterday. I told her where I think the baby is—back down the left-hand front side of my belly, hands making fluttering motions in the lower part of my belly over my right leg, legs making kicks on the upper right part of my belly, like 4" over my belly button but directly under my right breast—and she said, “Okay, if that's where he is, then I should be able to get the heartbeat through his shoulder right here,” and put her fetoscope to my belly on the lower left and it was right there under it. That was super cool. She said the head is pretty well down there in my pelvis, so likely the baby's not going anywhere in the next 10 weeks. Robert has even seen my belly undulate with the movement!
My blood pressure was 110/70, pretty good considering I'd just worked all day and then raced home, virtually running from the bus stop with Marcus on my back, and then climbed four flights of stairs to make the appointment. . . I’ve got a bit of swelling in my ankles, but again, after a whole day out and about and in the humidity (we’re having a crazy humid second-summer here since Friday), it seems like nothing to really be concerned about.
Anyway, then after Kelley left, I had to run out food shopping with Marcus, and meanwhile some plumbers were working in the building. They were friendly middle-aged Haitian men, not really in a rush to fix a plumbing problem for the, ahem, less-than-collegial college students who live below me and who caused the problem, but when they realized that a pregnant lady with a baby lived over the students, and that they were putting my toilet out of commission too while they worked, they suddenly became super fast. I was on my way back up the stairs after food shopping, with Marcus on my back again, when one plumber saw me and ducked out of Unit 4 to tell me it was all fixed and they were just cleaning up. When I thanked him for his hard work, he said something like, “No, YOU the one working hard—you got two kids, one on your front and one on your back! You one STRONG mama!” which was really nice to hear. I love carrying Marcus, of course, and I really relish the closeness with him and the chance to have so many great conversations with our heads so close together, but frankly, there are definitely times I wish I wasn’t carrying an extra 30 pounds around. . . but at times it’s not like we have many other options, you know? When it's 5:00 after a full day of school and some errands and he's tired, forcing him to walk home from the store would just have resulted in a super unhappy kid who I'd probably have to half-carry home anyway. Anyway, it was cool that the friendly plumber recognized this.
Wednesday, October 5—31 weeks, 1 day
Baby’s movements have changed a bit recently—not quite so many flips and thumps as a few weeks ago, but a lot of pressure, both with head grinding down into my pelvis (an odd sensation, accompanied, after about 2-3 seconds, by extra pressure on my bladder) and with a foot pushing hard, hard, under my right breast. I’m 167 pounds and still feeling very good, though these cooler days we’re having have been really nice—I was ready for the heat of summer to dissipate!
I have so many things ready for this baby—the moses basket is set aside, the birth kit and Rhogam are here, the extra towels and washcloths are neatly stacked, the Viva paper towels and olive oil for early diaper changes are in a box on the changing table, and the top drawer contains small-sized clothing (Marcus’s plus some new) and one super soft sling that will be this baby’s all alone.
Work is going well, and I have exceptionally nice students this fall. I did “play the pregnancy card” at work one day when, in our fifth—or so it felt—mini-heat-wave of September my windowless, unairconditioned classroom became so unbearable that I tracked down a maintanence man, practically assaulted him and blurted out, “I’m in Fuller room 133, I’m six months pregnant and I really need a fan!” He said that his daughter-in-law just gave birth last week, and five minutes later, he returned with a fan. My students were impressed to say that least, as we’d all been dying in that room since the beginning. “Ms. Michaud, you totally should have told him that three weeks ago!” one student said.
I’m assuming my milk is virtually gone—Marcus is still nursing, but only very, very, very briefly, usually once at bedtime. Occasionally during the day he’ll ask to nurse, and then put his lips to the breast and say “I don’t want to,” or “I’m all done” and pop off immediately. Robert says I’m taking the whole “My mama’s not a weaner” slogan (from a tee-shirt I bought Marcus a year or so ago) a bit too far, but I actually think this is really perfect and gentle—I’ve never told Marcus he couldn’t nurse, at any point, and I don’t know what will happen when my colostrum and then real milk comes back in with the new baby, but I think I’m okay with whichever way things end up.
Tuesday, October 25—34 weeks
When Kelley was last here, she noted that the baby had flipped around and was now head-up (breech) instead of vertex. I think I felt it happen, and I definitely have been having different positions of the kicks, etc., and way less pelvic pressure (no head grinding down there). She’s attended a number of breech births and said she wouldn’t hesitate to still have me birth at home if baby were still breech at term, but of course it would be easier all around if baby flipped before then. There’s lots of time, though, so she was not concerned. I did start looking at head-down pictures/drawings, listening to a Hypnobabies “Turn, Baby, Turn!” script, talking to the baby and asking him/her to turn around for Mommy, and trying some easy, low-intervention positioning things (forward-leaning inversions, hands-and-knees crawling, and the breech tilt on an ironing board against the couch) from Spinning Babies.
I also went to Dr. Lisa Geiger for chiropractic work (the Webster maneuver), and that was eye-opening; I’d never done anything like it before, and though I wasn’t in pain before the appointment, I left the first appointment walking more smoothly and easily and comfortably than I had in months. Wonderful!
Along similar lines, in the it-can’t-hurt-and-might-help camp, I tried acupuncture from Bob’s friend Tracy (who very kindly made a house call for me and did an application of moxa, also leaving me with more moxa sticks). She also did some needles for a cold I was having (Robert, Marcus, and I, along with half of Boston, it seemed, all got the cold at once and we were coughing pretty miserably there for awhile) and I do think I got well quicker as a result.
I’m still wearing Marcus and still walking all around town, and that’s going well, especially given the acupuncture and chiro work. I’m trying to talk to this baby more in general, to make him/her realize how very wanted he/she is, even in the midst of a busy life. It’s amazing how big a difference it is from when I was pregnant with Marcus, done with work at this point, and just under a lot less pressure from various sources.
Meanwhile, Marcus is still nursing, about every 2-3 days for a few seconds at this point, and who knows, tandem nursing may never actually happen.
I had professional maternity portraits taken over the weekend, by Sarah’s friend Emily, who did Sarah’s wedding and Marcus’s first birthday. She was wonderful—came over, and we walked out to the Southwest Corridor, then walked down to Titus Sparrow and then back along Columbus Ave., and finally up on our roof. Along the way, she got shots of Marcus wrapped on my back, cuddling on my lap, playing on his own in the playground, kissing my belly, etc., and she had me pose in front of various ivy-covered fences, old church doors, random brownstone entryways, fun urban murals, and Columbus Ave. itself, with buildings and a sunset behind me. They turned out great, overall (a few are here--one at right, in my wrap on our roof, and one below, my favorite, with Marcus), and I think the style really reflects me, if that makes any sense.
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Created: 6/5/11. Last Modified: 11/5/11.