Our Favorite Christmas Gift...

Baby is 12 weeks. Mama is happy but tired. The chief is as pleased and steady and supportive (and funny and handsome) as ever.  The kids are absolutely thrilled.

The following was written on January 2, 2013 following our first ultrasound appointment...

The truth about being a pregnant mother of 6 born children is that there are those moments when the day seems a little too long and I hug my belly and sigh a big deep sigh. I think there's a little part of me that feels guilty when I don't feel exuberantly happy at every moment of a pregnancy. The miracle is so big and I know the joy so very well. But life is life. We laugh and cry and love and suffer. Big families are indeed a blessing... nobody said it was easy though.

I went today for my first ob appointment and was feeling a little reluctant. Ah yes, I know this place so well. Fill out the forms. Step on the scale. Blood pressure. History. Blah. Blah. Blah. I felt like I was in a time warp when I saw my midwife. We've been together for 11 years and she's delivered 4 of my babies. The only time I left her was when she transferred briefly to a non-Catholic hospital and I switched midwives to stay (I think she's forgiven me by now). She let out a whoop when she saw my husband and gave him a big hug. The three of us have been through quite a bit together! I wanted to say, "I don't really want to see you right now in this place." but that feeling was wearing off and being replaced by a "Show me the doppler." I just wanted to hear that heartbeat.

I know I've gained a few pounds but not enough to move the notch on my belt yet. I don't feel the baby. I can't even feel the placenta. Just let me hear that heartbeat!

It took only about 4 seconds for the doppler to pick up the baby's strong heartbeat and my own heart just leapt. I am never prepared for the emotions of that moment. That marvelous evidence of something so miraculous happening within my own body of which I am barely even aware. She had the volume up so loud on that doppler that someone in the hallway could have heard the heartbeat of my tiny little child.

Then we had a quick ultrasound to date the pregnancy. We have no idea of my lmp because I've only had one in the last 26 months... and I didn't mark it down. She found the baby quickly and we saw teeny tiny fists pumping away. Dancing with the angels. Breathtaking. There's a little person bouncing around in my womb. Just over 11 weeks she says. I knew it. Who needs a lmp? I have a nausea calculator!

This was the happiest day of my pregnancy so far. I always underestimate the emotional impact of neonatal technology. Balm for the weary mother. Did you hear that? Did you see? That was my baby.

We talked about my dietary changes and what a dramatic difference I have seen in my health this pregnancy. She was not surprised at that and asked a bunch of questions. We talked about the glucose test, which I am refusing and she is happy to allow me to refuse. She mentioned that a woman passed out in the waiting room earlier today after drinking the glucose. It's not a nice test and not even necessary or helpful for the majority of women.  I consented to the normal blood work and refused the screenings (downs syndrome, etc.). She is fine with that and respects our preferences to take things as they come. Then we talked about labor.

We both clearly remembered my last delivery which barely got us to the hospital. Our son arrived exactly 8 minutes from the moment our car pulled up to the ER doors. When I arrived in delivery, I measured at 6cm. About 3 minutes later, our little boy was in our arms. I think I'm going to refuse the cervical checks this time. They really are pointless and not a little uncomfortable, especially during transition. It's like torture. I always have a DON'T TOUCH ME ready on the tip of my tongue. Perhaps I'll just let it loose this time. The babies come when they come.

At any rate, this led to a discussion on our collective anxiety about getting me to the hospital on time. Since home birth is not an option we are considering, I would also like to make sure that CAR birth is not an option. I would also like to avoid parking lot birth, ER birth, elevator birth, and hallway birth. Since my labors don't seem to be getting any slower, we are keeping this conversation open.

The kids (especially the girls) are quite happy and very anxious to know the sex of this baby. We will find out at 16 weeks when we visit the 3D/4D ultrasound studio in our area owned by friends of ours. We started having this non-medical ultrasound done with our 4th child and have still photos and video of all of our children in utero since then. It was free for us at the time or else we might not have done it but I think it is worth every penny of the price and never, never, never gets old.

The girls want a girl. ("Mommy, can you please make it a girl this time??") The boys want a boy. Not surprising! I would love to dress a little girl in pinks again. But boys are soooo charming and I would also love a little boy playmate for our youngest who is surrounding by girls. Good thing God's in charge since I'm sure I couldn't decide.

I do hope to write more soon about the affect that my dietary changes have had on my pregnancy sickness. Let me say briefly that the positive change has been dramatic. Thanks be to God! I was on medication for almost 5 months with my last baby and it barely took the edge off. I felt like I had the flu everyday and could hardly walk across my house without laying down or sitting. I have struggled somewhat this time but it has been manageable.... and the value of that word is quite significant to me and to my family.

It was a challenging Advent and Christmas season and also a perfectly blessed and beautiful season. I planned it out a bit differently than it happened but God's plans, as always, are so much more magnificent than mine. I just wanted a Pinterest perfect Christmas (all you Pinterest dwellers know what I mean). Instead, the good Lord blessed us with a child. Thanks be to God!

Posted on January 6, 2013 and filed under "motherhood", "pregnancy".