Posted by AVM

Well, here I am.  The eve of the big event.  Too many emotions to put into words.  And I hope none of you readers were expecting anything profound.  I can only say that I hope and pray that life as a family of four is as wonderful as it was as a family of three.  Tonight, when I put my Lovey to bed, I squeezed her extra-tight and a huge tear rolled down my face.  Lovey said, “Mommy?  Are you sad?  Don’t be sad.  I love you.”  She’s right, nothing to be sad about.  I’m the luckiest girl in the world.  As of Monday around noon, I will have two little ones who love me.  And, I can barely wait.

See you on the flip side.


Posted by AVM

My amazing parents took our Lovey to the beach house for the weekend and, in turn, gave my husband and me a weekend to ourselves.  They wanted to spend some alone time with Lovey and give us a break before the new baby comes (2 weeks from tomorrow, but who’s counting?).  We were thrilled with the idea, and could hardly remember the last time we had three uninterrupted days to ourselves.

Our weekend consisted of dinners out, holding hands, a movie (in the THEATER!), naps, even a girls’ spa day for me, a boys’ day of golfing for him, and one full day of nesting (I’m happy to report that nursery-wise, we are READY for the new baby).  It was a great few days, and most importantly, Lovey had a wonderful time with her grandparents.  However, by Saturday around 10AM, we both really, really missed her.  I was walking into her room just to make sure she wasn’t in there.  Here I sit, as I write this, waiting for my parents to bring her back, and I can think of nothing else but squeezing her tight and kissing her cheeks until she complains about it.

This weekend has me realizing a couple of things.  First, it was great to reconnect with my husband, but we both realize that we’re better as a family than we are on our own.  We had such fun spending time as a couple, but without Lovey, life isn’t in technicolor.  She makes everything better, and while there are times she – like any child – is unbelievably challenging, we’ll take it. . .every day and twice on Sunday.  I am also coming to terms with how different life is going to be in a couple of weeks.  If I missed Lovey for just two nights, how’s it going to be when I’m in the hospital for four nights and coming home with a new baby?  Where as in the beginning, I was worried that the new baby wasn’t getting any attention, now I worry that my sweet Lovey is going to feel left out.  Everyone told me it was going to happen, that I would feel this way, and they were right.  While I can’t wait to be a family of four, I am scared to think of what it’s going to do to the fantastic current dynamic we have right now.  Dethronement is imminent, and I know Lovey is going to feel the shift full force. I don’t want her spirit to change, or for her to feel for a moment as though we don’t love her more and more each day.  I’m comforted by the fact that families the world over deal with this daily and survive, thrive, even.  And we will too.  I know this.  We’ll just do our best and hope that it’s good enough.

For now, I must get back to the front window to look for my parents’ car pulling into our driveway and the arrival of my Lovey.  Where is she!??!

Posted by AVM

I know the sex of my unborn baby and nobody (well, almost nobody) knows but me.  It started out simply enough.  My husband and I decided that we wanted the sex of our first child to be a surprise.  And so it was.  Our preparation included creating a neutral nursery, stocking the drawers with green and yellow clothes, and being sure to register for carseats, swings, high chairs, bouncy seats, etc that were not gender specific.  In the delivery room (or in my case, the operating room), the joy and emotion of hearing, “It’s a girl!” tops nearly every other experience I’ve ever had in my life.

This time around, I wanted to know the sex of the baby, but my husband wanted that delicious delivery room moment again.  I argued my points (“With a toddler, we have less prep time!  Let’s just find out so we’re READY one way or the other.”), and he argued his (“There are so few great surprises in life – let’s enjoy this last one!”), and it seemed we were at a crossroads.  So in the end and after much grief from both parties, I found out the sex of our baby, and he is still in the dark.  At first it was difficult to keep the secret – I was afraid of slipping a “he” or “she” into the conversation – but it never happened.  And I decided that since my husband didn’t want to know, that no one else should know.  So the secret is mine.  Aside from the random grocery store cashier who I’m sure doesn’t really care, and whose anonymity guarantees that it won’t get back to anyone I know, the secret resides with me.

It’s kind of nice, actually.  I share this one secret with my baby.  It’s me and the little one against the world!  But in reality, I am jealous that my husband is going to have that moment again, and I won’t be able to share it with him.  The thing is, I can’t UNknow.   Once the fact is part of your consciousness, that’s it.  It’s there for good.  If I had it to do over again, and if my patience was better in tact, I would go with the surprise. Having done it both ways, I can tell you the surprise in the delivery room rivals a marriage proposal, your “I do’s”, a death row pardon, winning the lottery – yes, it’s THAT big.  However, for me,  in 5 weeks, the secret will be out.  And, I can’t wait.

Posted by Duff

The other night, my husband I were both drained. He has pneumonia, I was crashing from sleep strikes – both The Dervish’s and my own.

As The Dervish ring-around-the-rosied herself silly from no lack of energy and we counted the minutes until bath time (the first step to bed time), I mentioned to my husband that we have about (gulp) nine weeks of Just The Three of Us before things change permanently. It hadn’t occured to him yet, and in a slight bit of shock, he managed to prop himself up on an arm long enough to watch his firstborn all fall down.

When I’m rational, I know it will be a good change, ultimately, but I’m not naive enough to think it will be seamless. The Dervish has no idea what she’s in for. She is resistant to direct discussion. Even if she likes books about big sisters and enjoys taking good care of her dolly, the whole premise of ‘baby’ can be cast aside, for now,  in search of another diversion or our undivided attention.

I’m reading lots of articles like this one to educate myself and help her adjust. And I am reminded of this poem, which, if you’re pregnant and about to dethrone your first child, I recommend reading after you’ve removed your mascara or invested in a waterproof variety. I’m wading through emotional molasses over here.

It’s no secret that I find The Dervish and her emotional maelstrom to be challenging. She was born trying to claw her way back to the safety of Just The Two of Us and has spent the better part of her life trying to rebuild that world on the outside.

But something has shifted in recent weeks.  She is just now coming to terms with the fact that she is on the outside to stay and can see her father and her grandparents as people she looks forward to spending time with – and sometimes prefers over me.

While I hoped for this, specifically in time for her sibling’s arrival, I will admit it makes me sad. It’s an important step in her growing up and especially key to happiness with a personality like hers that she become more independent, but it still stings. I understand now, more than ever, what she has been trying to preserve.

This morning, her father went outside for a moment, and she climbed into the picture window to watch him. As I stood behind, spotting her, my only purpose, in her eyes, was to explain where Daddy was going. Not much of a morning person, she was in an especially good mood, and had let me wash her hands and face and brush her hair and teeth with giggles.

This is rare, and mornings when I can focus on only her are about to be a thing of the past. As she followed her father’s every step down the driveway, I kissed her cheek. She couldn’t have been more precious.

Until she turned to me and said, “Thank you, Mommy.”

Posted by Duff

Since we opted not to find out MC’s sex, my mind has been left to wander. 

 I expected The Dervish to be a boy. I grew up in a neighborhood of firstborn boys, I have an older brother, it was just what I pictured. But as my pregnancy progressed, I took into account that my husband’s family had produced 17 consecutive boys over a 33-year period, and became more convinced it was time for a girl.

I was still shocked to meet her, but now I can’t imagine a firstborn son. I love having a daughter (though I wish she’d let me brush her hair rather than brushing me away with a direct Get out of here before pulling on one of three fleece hats).  You have to love her for it.

I feel incredibly lucky to be trusted with the fragile task  of raising a headstrong girl to be a confident woman.  Overwhelmed, but lucky.

It won’t be long before I meet MC. I try to imagine that moment, and how a random, sub-microscopic reaction will shape our family. My husband and I both feel very strongly that he is a boy.  I’m a little frightened of that feeling, because I don’t know how to be a mother to a boy. (Not that I knew how to be a mother to anyone before I was one). I feel more sure of the girl name I fought for than the boy name we’re still debating. I never had a sister and know lots who have recommend it.

Conversely, I wonder if I hear “It’s a girl.” if feelings of “I will never have a son.” will creep in amid “I’ll never be pregnant again.”  I already worry that sisters = competition.  If The Dervish will be sad to share her Daddy and her Papa with another girl.

These thoughts are a waste of time, though. MC already is who s/he is. Already has a tendency to be left- or right-handed, like certain foods, grow to a certain height.

I’m glad I don’t get to decide any of it, because I know I would choose wrong. I know I can’t imagine this person to be half as exactly-as-MC-should-be as MC will be. 

MC, you can thank The Dervish for that. She painstakingly paved the road to her parents’ humility, brick by frustrated brick.

Please be exactly who you are.

Posted by Duff

Tonight I sat enjoying the ease that is late second trimester: absence of morning sickness (knock wood), a pleasant bump that is apparent to strangers but still allows a good range of movement, regular nudges from the inside that don’t yet take my breath away and remind me all is well.  My food aversions have taken a sabbatical. I’m usually pretty comfortable, even if  still  a mouth breather.

This is the honeymoon of pregnancy.

It’s the perfect time to daydream of what a new person will look and be like, to romanticize.  I’m doing that. Even having a child already, I don’t ascribe tantrums or sleep issues or whining to this child.  I think it’s nature’s way of protecting me, and assuring that I’ll give birth and then take good care.

I watch my belly ripple softly under the influence of MC, who has not yet had a chance to test my patience. I dream sweet dreams of soft curls and cooing, as if I’ve never cleaned vaporizing cheese out of  a secret hiding place, carried a kicking screamer to or from anywhere, or kept a wide-eyed vigil over a sleeping but feverish child with questionable breathing.

And this is when The Dervish hands me a freshly picked booger.