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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Emptying my brain before falling asleep

It's 2am, and my brain has officially slowed to a crawl. I'm listening to the rustle of my little one moving around in his crib. I say "rustle," but I really mean "the slightest noise amplified unnaturally by a baby monitor made for worriers like me." Shhhhh....he's still now. Oh blessed sleep.

I should be asleep too, because if history has taught me anything it's that I'll be listening to a crying baby in about three hours. Then we'll have our first cuddle of the day as I consider that I'm such a privileged mommy to have such a wonderful baby boy.

So I should be in la-la land right now, dreaming about poopy diapers or that annoying little song that the Jumperoo plays over and over and over again, punctuated by elephant and monkey sounds. But a tornado watch flashed up on the TV screen a few hours ago, and I immediately went to red alert.

Actually, I first tried to figure out which is worse, a tornado warning or a tornado watch? I always get those confused. Because a warning could mean, "Hey, I'm warning you that a tornado, it's a-coming!" But a watch could mean, "I'm watching a tornado right now! Run for your lives!" And then I thought, "Whatever! I see the word 'tornado' and that can't be good!"

So once my internal red alert was established, I pictured myself hearing the wind pick up and running to Michael's room to swoop him up in a motherly football hold in preparation to fly down to the closet under the stairs, kicking the dog and cats out of my way, and screaming for Garrett to follow me. Because I'm thoughtful like that.

Understandably, that mental state was not conducive to sleep. A panic attack...yes. Slumber...not so much.

I decided to stay awake for a while longer and see how this whole tornado situation panned out. It reminded me of the first few nights that we had Michael home. He was so teeny tiny in the bassinet. More often that not, I slept at the foot of the bed so that I could rest my hand on his chest and make sure he was still breathing.

I remember thinking that I wanted to just stay awake and watch over him, knowing that it was impossible to sustain that level of watchfulness for long. I was so frustrated with the limitations of my humanity. But almost immediately I remembered that God "will neither slumber nor sleep." And it hit home like never before that nothing catches Him by surprise.

Oh boy, was I relieved. I still watch over Michael, and have even sat in the rocking chair in his room a time or two while he slept. But rather than watching and fretting, I watch and ponder. I ponder the turn my life has taken the last few years, the fulfilled dreams of a loving husband and beautiful child, and the knowledge that I can go to my own room to sleep and leave Michael in better hands.

Speaking of sleep, it's now 2:45am and I need to sleep while I can! Here's to hoping that my dreams involve something other than diapers and baby toys.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

10 Baby Gear Products That Helped Me Maintain My Sanity

The combined responsibilities of working at a demanding full-time job, taking care of an adorable 5-month-old baby boy, and maintaining some sort of relationship with my cutie-pie husband has kicked me in the butt. Those first couple of months especially were just a blur of emotions, feedings, diapers, and tears (both the baby’s and mine).

But I did manage to learn a few things along the way. Mostly I learned that I had a lot to learn. I also learned that the right product at the right time could be a lifeline to a new mommy.  So in an effort to help other new moms maintain a semblance of sanity, here’s a handy-dandy list of some of my favorite products.

Just keep in mind that you and I may have different definitions of sanity. If your version of sanity doesn’t include anti-depressants and large amounts of sushi, you may want to take the following advice with a grain of salt.

Also - I’m not giving any brand names (for the most part) because nobody is paying me for the tens of seconds it takes to do a Google search and copy a link.

1.  Swaddle Blanket

P1010006My little one loved to be swaddled. Babies have a startle reflex that causes them to throw out their little arms and legs, and swaddling keeps them from waking up from it (says Pseudo-Dr. Leslie). My baby book had diagrams and instructions for the proper swaddling of a newborn, but there isn’t a book in the world that could teach the intricacies of swaddling to this engineer. The nurses in the hospital were all “look how good I am at swaddling with a plain old blanket,” but I was all “don’t make me do anything complicated when I’m functioning on only ten minutes of sleep and a diet coke.” So this swaddle blanket with Velcro closures was just what I needed.

2. Travel Swaddle Blanket

I never even knew these things existed until my baby shower, but I ended up loving it. We were able to keep baby Michael swaddled in his car seat, and even when we stopped swaddling him we kept using it to keep him warm when we were out and about. Because those trips to and from the pediatrician in August in Houston in an SUV with a broken rear air conditioner get mighty chilly.

3. Swing(s)


If you’re a research maven and bookworm like I am, you’ll come across the line of thinking that you shouldn’t put your baby to sleep in a swing because then it will be difficult to get them to fall asleep in their cribs. I’m sure some very Smart People came up with that thought, and it made a lot of sense when I first read it, but then I realized that those Smart People are able to write books because they’re not sleep-deprived from dealing with a screaming baby. So until those Smart People come to my house to babysit for me, any baby that lives in this house will have 24x7 access to a swing.

We kept the first swing upstairs in our bedroom, making it possible for me to shower and even answer Nature’s call every now and then. Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to answer Nature’s call very often because I didn’t usually see a meal until sometime in the afternoon. It was just too difficult to eat a bowl of cereal or even make toast while holding a newborn.

It was a full six weeks (maybe more), before it occurred to us to get a swing to keep downstairs in the kitchen. Because Smart People don’t live in this house, no matter what those college diplomas say. They don’t teach common sense at the university. But we did eventually figure out that another swing might be a good idea. And it CHANGED OUR LIVES. The air smelled sweeter. The birds sang more sweetly. And Nature put me on speed dial.

4. Formula


Formula isn’t typically listed as baby gear, but I felt that I should include this for all those nursing mothers out there that live by the mantra, “The br**st is best.” I, too, spent the first month of Michael’s life as a Nursing Nazi (“No formula for you!”), until I realized that maybe his constant crying was because he was a wee bit hungry. So we began supplementing with formula and ended up with a very happy baby. I thought that I would feel guilty giving Michael formula, but, honestly, I was so exhausted from the constant feedings that I couldn’t make the formula fast enough. Got milk? That’s great. But a bottle or two (or three or four) of formula a day won’t cause irreparable harm.

5. Boppy


I’m considering writing the Boppy company and suggesting that they create some sort of backpack/harness thingy to use to carry the Boppy because I didn’t go anywhere without it the first couple of months. I used it for nursing, cuddling, bottle feeding, and baby naps. I now occasionally use it to help Michael sit up. Oh, it is a wondrous thing.

6. iPhone

I’m going to go on record as saying that an iPhone is the new must-have item for mommies. Need to know when you last changed/fed the baby? There’s an app for that! Looking for a way to stay awake during midnight feedings? There’s an app for that! Wondering if your husband is on his way home to relieve you from baby duty for a few minutes? There’s an app for that! (I have plans to write a post about my favorite apps, but I’m not making any promises because I’m keeping my distance from things like Obligations and Commitments.)

7. Zippered Footy PJ’s

One of the scariest things that I’ve ever done is pull a tiny T-shirt over my son’s soft-spot-ridden head and around his baby bird neck. Who needs that kind of stress after pushing a watermelon through a pin-hole? We waited until Michael’s umbilical cord stump fell off before putting him in zippered PJ’s, but considering it was almost a month before that happened, the next baby will probably end up being zipped up long before then.

8. Pack & Play Bassinet

It’s a bassinet! No, it’s a changing table! No, it’s a play pen! But wait, it’s all of the above! That’s some serious bang for your buck. Or, in my case, for my brother’s buck since he’s the one that bought it. But you get my drift. (Does anybody say that anymore? Besides thirty-something women that are seriously out of touch with what the young people say these days?) It won’t work for a small bedroom because it’s actually pretty large (large as in “look how big it is”, not large as in “large and in charge” or “livin’ large” or any other out-dated phrase). But if you have the room for it, it may be a better choice than a bassinet that you’ll use for only a couple of months before wrestling it into the attic.

9. Paci Wipes


I love my boy. I really do. But cleaning his paci fifty times a day after he has spit it out (with some force, I might add) is one of the more tedious chores of motherhood. It’s even more frustrating when out and about. I do have those little clip thingies to attach a paci to his clothes or car seat or whatever, but I have a fear that the ribbon keeping the paci from touching the floor will wrap around his sweet wrist and cut off the circulation (because looking for reasons to be anxious has become quite the hobby). The Paci wipes are great because I can just whip them out of the diaper bag and clean off the mute button paci without having to find a faucet.

10. Receiving Blankets

Or, as we like to call them, drop cloths. I just love cuddling with my little one, looking into his big blue eyes while he gives me that gorgeous gummy grin, thinking about what a privileged mommy I am to have such a beautiful/sweet/darling/smart baby boy. But, just as often as not, my beautiful baby boy’s gummy grin becomes the Fount of Many Feedings. So we’ve learned to lay him on a blanket whenever we can. It’s much easier and cheaper to throw a blanket into the wash than to take a comforter to the cleaner’s.


Well, there you have it. You’re probably impressed, irritated, or confused by my many words. If you’re impressed, I can safely say that you’re sleep-deprived. If you’re irritated, you must be one of those Smart People. But if you’re confused…Congratulations, you’re a mommy.

Links Worth Following 12/22/09

  • My husband is in the running to sing the National Anthem at a Houston Texans game! Garrett is Finalist #12. I was so proud of him that he was able to pull this off after being sick. His voice got pretty messed up (a lot of hacking involved) and I was afraid for a while that he wouldn’t be able to go to the audition, but he did it and sounded great!
  • Antique Mommy shares 10.2 Ways To Be A Gracious Guest. I thought this was brilliant. I thought numbers 2 and 9 were especially helpful.
  • Caring for Your Introvert. I LOVED THIS. It’s tongue-in-cheek but hits on a lot of truth. I can’t tell you how many times strangers have said to me, “Smile, it can’t be that bad!” I always want to say, “Nothing is wrong, I was just thinking.” But I’m an introvert and don’t want my response to be misconstrued as an interest in getting into conversation.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

He's going to hate us for this one day

Children are born to endure torture and embarrassment from their parents. Garrett and I are prepared to take this responsibility as far as it will go, and we haven’t wasted time getting started.

I’ve included here for your viewing pleasure a little video Garrett took of Michael at six days old. A little background: this video was taken in the morning right after I’d nursed Michael. I left him in his daddy’s care while I got ready for the day. Garrett, ever the proud father, believes that it’s always a good time to take a picture or a recording of the little one. So he grabbed his Blackberry and recorded these moments for posterity.

You’ll hear Garrett’s voice in the background, but I firmly stand by the conviction that there are two sides to every situation and both sides should be heard. As mommy, I am all powerful and can read my son like no one else. So I’ve also provided a transcript of Michael’s thoughts while this video is being taken.

Wow, I passed out. I wonder if anyone noticed. Where am I? Eh, who cares. I’ll just enjoy the moment.

Aaah, clean diaper, soft sheets, full belly…life doesn’t get better than this. If only I could tune out that guy I could pass out again. Maybe if I close my eyes he’ll stop.

It’s working!

Wait, spoke too soon. What the heck, he means well. The forehead massage is kind of nice. I was worried for a second there that he’d get my soft spot, but it’s all good. Hey you, do it again, just stop talking.

He’s not going to stop. That’s ok. I’ll pay him back tonight when he’s the one sleeping. Heh heh heh. Yeah, that’s right, chucklehead. Laugh it up. I’ve got plans.

Oh no, slipping back into the milk coma. What does that woman eat? Someone should really talk to her about her diet….

Ok, I’m back. There he is again. Still talking. Yaaaaawn. The things I have to put up with. Wait…what? What is that thing?! Get that thing out of my face! You don’t know who you’re dealing with! I’m telling you, I will cut you!

Ok, you called my bluff. I don’t have enough muscle control to cut anybody, but what I do have is a full belly. So I’ll show you! This diaper isn’t staying clean for much longer! WATCH THIS, FUNNY GUY!!!

That’s my boy.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Baby Michael may wish he was deaf


My husband totally stole my thunder as a lullaby singer.

I used to daydream about singing to my baby, knowing that my child would be too young to judge my voice. But, proving that “the best laid schemes of mice and men go often askew”, I married a professional singer (AKA The Singing Financial Advisor). I promise you, even a two-month-old can tell the difference between Garrett’s trained voice and my out-of-tune croaks.

But I got over it. In part because the dream wouldn’t die, but mostly because the older I get, the less I care about looking ridiculous (and it’s a good thing, let me tell you, or I’d never leave the house). Please allow me to share with you my repertoire.

  1. “Jesus Loves You”
    This would be the ever popular “Jesus loves me, this I know…”, but I replace the “me” with “you”. I was inspired by that great piece of television history, “Touched By an Angel”. I always get shivers at the end when Monica lights up like a Christmas tree and tells some wayward soul “God loves you!” I watched a lot of “Touched By an Angel” on my maternity leave and realized that Michael needed to hear that God loves him, and often. Adapting “Jesus Loves Me” seemed like the most child-friendly way to do that.
  2. “Baby Mine”
    I cried the first time I sang this to Michael. I dare you to watch this video without tearing up. 
  3. “I’ll Love You Forever”
    One of my best friends gave me the book I’ll Love You Forever as a baby shower gift. I cried the first time I read it to Michael. (Yes, again. I’m such a mess.) In the book, the mother sings the following to her son: “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.” I made up a little melody to go with the words and sing it to Michael when I’m feeling sweet. It makes for a tender moment between mother and son, even though Michael doesn’t know what the heck I’m saying.
  4. “Swinging on a Star”
    Garrett used to sing this song to my belly when I was pregnant. He had some of his choirs sing it when he was a choir director, and it remains one of his faves. Garrett sang it to Michael right after he was born while he was getting checked out by the nurses, and I promise you that Michael recognized it! He quieted down right away. Since it worked such wonders right after birth, I’ve insisted that Garrett sing it to the baby many times since then. So maybe it isn’t so much one of his favorites anymore, after all. Anyway, I don’t sing this one because Garrett does it soooo much better than me. And I can’t be bothered to learn the words. I get so confused and mix up the mule and fish and whatever other critters are in the song. It’s just too much for my brain to handle.


So there you have it. Three songs sung by Mommy and one by Daddy. Go to Missy’s blog for more lullaby ideas!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

And baby makes 3 (hours of sleep, that is)

BirthDay This blog officially transformed from Newlywed Blog to Mommy Blog on the coolest birth date ever – 07/08/09. Michael Thomas entered the world at 5:27 pm, weighing 7.5 pounds and measuring 20.75 inches. I’m a mommy! Can you believe it?

All mothers think that they have the most beautiful and special child to have ever graced this planet with their presence. They brag about every accomplishment, both real and imagined. After boring you with every minor detail of their child’s life, they confide in you that they are certain that their spawn is destined for greatness.

And I’m no different.

So let’s just get that out of the way, shall we?

My son is the most beautiful child to ever be born of woman. I know just from looking into his eyes that he is also the smartest. I feel certain that he’ll be walking by 3 months and speaking by 5 months. He will spend his first birthday putting the finishing touches on The Great American Novel, allowing him to focus on Broadway adaptations of various John Hughes movies. Sixteen Candles – The Musical will be his breakthrough endeavor. At 5 he will be the youngest member of the US Olympic team, competing in a minimum of three sports. By ten he will have been on the covers of every major magazine, but he won’t care because it would be too much of a distraction from his research into finding a cure for the common cold.

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning…

Like most birth stories, Michael’s birth day was nothing like I imagined it would be. I thought for sure that Michael would come a month early and weigh 20 pounds. But his due date came and went without a peep from him. My body did not take well to pregnancy (major understatement), so we decided to induce labor as soon as possible, which was two days after the due date.

By 7 am, I’d been strapped in, induced, and had my water broken. The whole breaking of the water thing scared me, but I totally didn’t feel a thing other than the trickle of fluid. As a matter of fact, the most painful part of the first couple of hours was the blood pressure cuff on my arm that was intent on breaking a bone, or at the very least driving me to have words with the medical staff about their faulty equipment (mission accomplished). I am now convinced that it was part of a vast right (hospital) wing conspiracy to take the focus off of my labor pain for as long as possible.

Speaking of pain, the word of the day was Epidural. The doctor informed me that the magic number for the magic juice was 4 cm. I came into the hospital at 2 cm, so I thought, “No problem!” Well, after a couple of hours of ever-increasing pain, the nurse suggested that I take something for the pain because I was nowhere near getting the epidural.

After that dire statement you better believe that I said yes to her offer. And I regretted it. Whatever she gave me made me hazy and loopy well into the next day. It knocked me out for a little bit, but once I woke up I felt every contraction with the added problem of having trouble communicating. So for the next couple of hours I lay in bed moaning, “Oh God, no no no NO NOOOO…” without much awareness of anything going on around me. I was in my own little world of Pain.

(Side note: Contractions felt totally different than what I thought they would feel like. I expected sharp stabbing pains, but instead contractions felt like a dull-yet-extremely-intense ache. Kind of like food poisoning with rhythm.)

Once I did reach the goal of 4 cm, the anesthesiologists were too busy to get to me right away. Of course. I expected no less. Ninety minutes passed before one of them got to me. The good thing about the delay was that I continued to dilate, so most of my dilation occurred without an epidural.

Having the epidural administered was one of the most difficult parts of the day. I was desperate for an end to the pain, but I had to be completely still or the doctor wouldn’t continue. I had at least two contractions during the administration of the epidural. Keeping my body still during those contractions took every bit of my will power.

It should have been smooth sailing after the epidural, right? Well, not so much. Before I go into that, let me first say that my husband and I did not romanticize labor. We didn’t care one bit about it being a “beautiful” experience. Labor is called “labor” for a reason: it hurts, it takes a lot of work, it hurts, it’s physically and emotionally draining, and oh yeah, IT HURTS! All we cared about was seeing our beautiful baby.

We were prepared for the unexpected, and we got it – THE EPIDURAL WAS TOO INTENSE! My lower body became completely numb. I felt absolutely nothing. As a matter of fact, my legs were so numb that it actually hurt. I know that doesn’t make any sense, but that’s the only way I know to describe it. I became completely paranoid that my legs would get into some sort of weird position and cut off the circulation, and I wouldn’t be able to feel it to do something about it. So instead of dealing with contractions, I was dealing with the beginnings of a panic attack.

Once it was time to push, my body started shaking like crazy. But I was completely useless. Since I couldn’t feel anything, I was not able to pinpoint how to push. From the reading I’d done about labor and epidurals, I knew this wasn’t right. Forty-five minutes of blood-vessel-popping pushing achieved nothing. They moved me into four different positions, but nothing worked. While the nurses whispered about a C-section, I somehow communicated to my family that THE EPIDURAL, IT NEEDED TO GO AWAY.

The anesthesiologist was called in to turn off the epidural. After about fifteen minutes, I was able to feel enough to properly push. My doctor arrived at around this time and determined that a C-section would not be necessary. So I started pushing.

One of the nurses offered to bring over a mirror so I could see the baby’s head. The mirror hadn’t interested me before, but I said sure, why not. It ended up being the turning point. Besides the awe of seeing my little boy’s head for the first time, I was able to see what pushes were productive. So twenty minutes after resuming pushing, my son was born!

My first thoughts after seeing Michael consisted of the following:

  • “Oh my goodness, that’s a real little person!”
  • “He’s so beautiful! I DIDN’T REALIZE HE’D BE SO BEAUTIFUL!!!”

Michael’s arrival was met with much yelling, laughing, crying, and rejoicing. Seeing the joy and pride on Garrett’s face was one of the best things about the day. Seeing my baby boy’s face for the first time was the other best thing. I’ve always thought that babies look so much alike, but I could have picked Michael out of a baby line-up after looking at him for ten seconds. It seemed like I’d known his face forever. Maybe that’s because he looks so much like his daddy!

I just love this kid.

P1010003His Abuelita is pretty crazy about him, too.

MomWithNewbornMichaelWhat mother wouldn’t love this face?

3776806410_5d5f86c195 Or this face?

3776352531_fdd8f460d4 Or especially this face?

3776356393_be99e3d425 Whether he’s sleeping…

ComingHome …or wide awake…

P1010080 …he’s my son, and I adore him.

I am truly blessed.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What does one do while waiting for a dream to come true?

The waiting is almost over. We’re scheduled to be induced tomorrow morning at 6am, otherwise known as the butt crack of dawn. Praying that they still have a bed available for us at that time.

That leaves us about 18 hours of anxiousness to occupy with the mundane. Our chosen brand of mundane is sleep. Which shouldn’t be difficult considering the lack of sleep that we’ve been dealing with lately, but here I am on my computer so you can see that already things aren’t going according to plan.

Garrett, on the other hand, is napping on the couch. I can’t tell you how much I love to watch that man sleep. He’s just the cutest thing. And he certainly deserves to catch a few z’s. I knew when I married him that I was a lucky woman, but after the way he’s taken care of me the last nine months I can assure you that I am married to the best husband ever. There was no way for us to predict how sick I’d be during this pregnancy, but he just went with it, taking care of me, our pets, the house, and working at building up his new business all at the same time.

Garrett is the kind of man that any mother would want for her daughter. He’s the kind of man that I want for my sisters and friends. And he’s the kind of man that I would love to see Michael grow into. Just to be clear, please allow me to list some traits that describe exactly the kind of man I mean, in no particular order:

  • Hard-working
  • Intelligent
  • Funny
  • Kind to friends and strangers
  • Smiling eyes
  • Takes whatever God teaches him to heart
  • And he’s just darling

He also sings like an angel, but there aren’t many guys that can sing like him. So good luck finding that in someone else.

I waited a long time for Garrett. I never thought I’d enter my thirties without a husband or children, and there were definitely some lonely times. But God used that time well. I grew so much closer to Him, had opportunities for ministry and travel, developed great friendships, and was able to devote some quality time to my family.

Now I have a wonderful husband and am about to deliver my firstborn. The purr of joy and contentment in my heart is loud and strong. I feel ready for the future, excited, alert. The way I felt the weeks before I met my future husband.

So I think I’ll spend some of the next 17 1/2 hours treasuring these things and pondering them in my heart. It’s not every day that I get the chance to prepare for seeing a dream come true.

Monday, July 6, 2009

“Pregnancy – 40 Weeks” or “I’m trying to distract myself from the pain and discomfort by writing this post”

Picture it: Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, 1974. A young peasant girl administrative assistant, cheeks still pale from the trauma of natural childbirth, leaves the sterility of a hospital and walks into the warm tropical air holding her firstborn…

Then again, there’s no need to “picture it” when there’s an actual picture available:


That young administrative assistant was my mother, and that firstborn was me!

A few things to note about this picture:

  • My mother looks like she’s about 14. But she was actually 21. Really. Almost 35 years later, she looks like she’s about 30. Here’s proof:


  • Notice my mother’s smooth straight hair.
  • Notice my head full of hair – at birth.
  • Notice I do not have my mother’s hair.
  • Notice my cheeks.
  • I still have those cheeks. Here’s proof:

Leslie Maddox Small Edited

  • My appearance as a newborn saddled me with a nickname. I’ll let you guess the nickname, and why, with even more proof:


And look who else has chubby cheeks!

38Weeks 38Weeks-Edited

He comes by them honestly:


Back to the original picture – moments after my parents brought me home for the first time, my mother placed me in a bassinet, stared down into my face, and then listened as I exploded in my diaper. Then she cried.

I should meet my firstborn within the next 72 hours.

According to the ultrasound, Baby Michael has lots of hair and chubby cheeks. Just like his mama.

I’ll eventually leave the sterility of the hospital and walk into the warm air with my firstborn. Just like my mama.

Unlike my mama, I will be 34 and not 21.

Unlike my mama, I will do all I can to avoid a natural childbirth.

And unlike my mama, my hair will not be smooth and straight but curly and frizzy.

(It will explode in volume once I step out of the hospital and into the water-saturated Houston air.)

(I will attempt to combat the extreme volumizing by weighing it down with mousse and gel.)

(I will lose the battle with the humidity, but not for lack of trying.)

Picture it: Houston, 2009. A (not-so-)young peasant girl engineer, legs still weak from the effects of an epidural, leaves the sterility of a hospital and walks into the humid south Texas air holding her firstborn…

(…sob…darn pregnancy hormones…sob…)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"Pregnancy - 37 Weeks" or "Documenting Some Pregnancy Random"

It's been almost two months since I've posted so I'm almost too ashamed to show my face on this here blog. But the need to document some Very Important Pregnancy Facts before Baby Michael is born trumps my shame. So here goes...

- Pregnancy Fact #1 -
I will miss having Garrett call me his "baby squared." I will also miss hearing him say, "Leggo my preggo!" My husband, the poet.

- Pregnancy Fact #2 -
Back in February I shared with the world our concerns about the extra fluid in Baby Michael's kidneys. We spent the next couple of months praying for our baby's kidneys and overall development. We were finally able to go to a follow-up ultrasound and received the fantastic news that Baby Michael's kidney condition totally cleared up! Garrett and I kept it together during the ultrasound, but once we got to the car we prayed a thanksgiving prayer and cried like little girls. Because that's how we roll.

- Pregnancy Fact #3 -
The nausea and vomiting have continued, but have greatly lessened over the last month. If I behave, anyway. During the last couple of weeks I have become quite the hungry girl and inhale whatever food I come across, which is probably my body's way of preparing for labor since I understand that, once I check in, the hospital intends to starve me until the baby is delivered. Like I need something other than the promise of meeting my firstborn to induce me to push. Unfortunately, my body hasn't sent the memo to my tummy because overeating inevitably results in undesired purging. Just last night I sacrificed a Sonic Reese's Blast to the Porcelain Prince.

- Pregnancy Fact #4 -
I have packed my hospital bag and included some contraband cheese cracker sandwiches for personal use in case of emergency. I have also informed Garrett that if I ask for something to eat during labor, HE SHALL COMPLY.

- Pregnancy Fact #5 -
Less than two years ago I looked like this:
(Photo by Joe Heiliger)

The wonder of pregnancy morphed my body into this:

Now I look like...

...wait for it...



Or maybe this:

- Pregnancy Fact #6 -
Excerpt from my birth plan -

We prefer to have only our doctor, nurses, anesthesiologist, and guests present (no residents, medical students, or other hospital personnel).
The mother would like to wear contact lenses as long as a C-section is not needed.
The mother would like an epidural as soon as possible.
The mother would like to be coached on when to push and for how long.
- Pregnancy Fact #7 -
We took a tour of the birth center at the hospital we'll be delivering in. The tour consisted of a nurse and about ten penguins and their significant others. I'll go out on a limb and say that every one of the penguins is ready to deliver their babies and walk like normal people again.

- Pregnancy Fact #8 -
I dedicated several hours to researching diaper bags. My initial plan was to buy something cheapy cheap, but then I considered that I would be carrying said diaper bag in place of a purse for long enough to justify spending a little bit more on it. But I wasn't willing to spend too much on something that will one day carry a bag of poopoo. Here's what I settled on, and am quite pleased:
Garrett gets his very own black Eddie Bauer diaper bag that looks like a laptop bag - a diaper bag incognito.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Flawed Theology of a Teenage Girl

One night I was channel-surfing and came across what I called "The Catholic Channel." I mean no offense to those that are part of the Catholic Church, but the Catholic Channel was pretty scary stuff for a teenage girl that attended a Southern Baptist church. There were rituals and strange pictures and people standing on a hill chanting for hours. I didn't get, and didn't care to get it. (If you're Catholic, please don't stop reading. I promise you I'm not a hater.)

This particular night must have been an isn't-there-anything-on-TV night because I actually paused my channel-surfing and spent a few minutes on the Catholic Channel. I watched image after image of Jesus on the cross, broken and bleeding.

At first I was offended. My internal dialogue went something like this, "Why do they have to focus on His death? He's alive! His time on the cross is not the end of the story." Having accepted Jesus as my Savior as a child, I couldn't think of Him as dead because He had always been alive to me.

But I couldn't look away. With each image, His pain and suffering confronted me and demanded a response. I remembered hearing that if I was the only person on earth, Jesus still would have died for me. And all I could think was, "What a waste."'

I loved Him so much, and I knew in my heart of hearts that I didn't deserve His sacrifice. I was overwhelmed with remorse and decided that an apology was in order. He had to know I was serious about it, so I knelt in front of the couch on the tile floor, bowed my head in the appropriate position of piety, and asked Jesus to forgive me for needing such a sacrifice. For accepting the sacrifice and not being any different. For not being the prettiest, or smartest, or most talented, or nicest, or anything close to those things that would make people think that at least something good would come out of it and I would impact the world positively for Him.

I didn't know that there was absolutely nothing that I, or anyone, could do to deserve His sacrifice. That His strength is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). That the lack of anything admirable in me would allow Him to receive every bit of glory for anything He did in my life. It would be years before I would understand those concepts.

But that night He began the process of setting me free from any unacknowledged thoughts of deserving or earning salvation and began teaching me the truth of mercy and grace.

After my apology, I thought I might as well be completely honest and begged, "Help me," over and over again. I'll risk sounding like a crazy person by telling you that he dropped His Presence on me so suddenly and forcefully that I actually looked around to see who else was in the room with me. And I specifically looked to my right to see who was next to me.

I didn't see anyone, so no need to call the mental police on me.

At first I was terrified to feel the room so full with a presence and not seeing anyone. But I also knew that there was nothing to be scared of. I realized that it must be God comforting me. Even though I didn't deserve it. Even though I wasn't the prettiest, or smartest, or most talented, or nicest, or anything close to those things that I thought would make one deserving of the attentions of the Creator of the universe.

I've thought of that night so many times over the years. It was the beginning of my understanding, in my heart and not just in my head, that we love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). That I could do nothing to deserve salvation because He saved me by His grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). That He loves me with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3) and will lift up my head (Psalm 3:3). That my soul could thirst for Him and cling to Him, moving my lips to glorify Him and my hands to lift in His name (Psalm 63).

I've also learned that I cannot separate the fact that "He has risen" from "He was crucified." And that I would be doing good to agree with Paul and resolve to know nothing "except Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2).

How like God to interrupt mindless channel-surfing with meditation on the cross. To use something foreign to me in order to reveal the flaws in my theology.

I pray that He interrupts your routine this Good Friday, too.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

"Pregnancy - 27 Weeks" or "Houston Restaurants Will Never Be the Same"

Yesterday I added Panera to the list of fine eating establishments whose bathroom I have violated.

And after eating the creamy tomato soup in a bread bowl. What a waste.

So my morning sickness continues all the live-long day. But I've decided to see it as a blessing rather than a curse. If nothing else, it has helped me to not gain 50 pounds of extra weight. I haven't weighed myself in the last few days, but I have reached the 20-pound mark. There's no telling what I would look like if not for the morning sickness.

My husband and I talked about this very fact last night. He says that from behind I don't look pregnant, but once I turn around it's like, "Whoa, Nellie!"

What a sweet and delusional man. He seems to have forgotten that he had to make a run to the maternity clothing store for me to buy new underwear because MY NORMAL UNDERWEAR, THEY DO NOT FIT. And they have not fit for many a moon. Proof positive that the nether regions are not what they once were.

And they weren't all that to begin with.

But enough about my derriere. Let's get back to the belly and its many looks.

My belly has taken on its own identity. I feel like I have the belly version of Sybil strapped to me, with a different personality for every day. All it needs is a pair of glasses and for my belly button to start saying, "You like me! You really like me!" and it would be Sally Field.

But if my belly button doesn't start talking soon, it won't get a chance. It has begun to flatten at an alarming rate, bringing to the light of day regions of my belly button that have never before been seen.

One of the personalities that my belly is taking on is that of the heat-seeking missle. I say that because it is now growing straight out. With a bit of a point. If we had some time-lapse video of my belly growth I feel sure that you would duck for cover.

Although it's nowhere near as dramatic as the "Jon & Kate Plus 8" belly. Bless her heart.

Despite the shape that my belly is taking on, I can say with certainty that I am not going to birth a missile, but an acrobat. While Baby Michael's movements the last couple of months have consisted mostly of jabs and kicks, the last few days he has moved into rolls and turns, with a little bit of the Marine belly crawl thrown in for good measure.

As a matter of fact, sometimes his movements cover so much area so quickly, I imagine him gripping the umbilical cord and swinging from one side of my belly to the other.

But you won't hear complaints from me. I rejoice over every movement because they tell me that my baby boy is alive and kicking. And that's not something that I'm willing to take for granted.

Swing away, Baby Michael. Swing away.

Just take it easy while I'm in Panera. Mama likes her soup.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pregnancy - "Facing Reality" or "Pictures That I Will Later Regret Sharing"

Everybody knows that you're not really pregnant until you've got a picture of the baby bump.

This was me at almost 23 weeks. I didn't plan to have a picture taken because this is what I see:

Some thoughts about my new body:

  • Swollen feet should be hidden at all times. Nobody wants to see that. Even though they haven't looked this good in a long time, thanks to my sister and a trip to the spa.
  • The hemline on this NON-MATERNITY dress is almost even, which means that my butt has grown at the same rate as my belly.
  • I honestly didn't know my belly was this big until I saw this picture. Ignorance is bliss. What would I look like if not for all the vomiting? Like I did soon after this picture was taken? (You had to know that I couldn't let a week go by without a vomit reference.)
  • I have more hair than ever and clearly don't know what to do with it.
  • At the time my bridal pic was taken, I felt fat. Now I would give just about anything to look like that again.
The good news is that my obstetrician informed me at my 24-week appointment that my belly measures perfectly for how far along I am. Shocking, I know. The bad news is that I have 16 weeks of growth to go.

Giving me time to adopt the motto, "Go big or go home."

Garrett got in the game and poofed out a sympathy belly. How do men do this with their bodies? My belly, on the other hand, is all me, all the time.

Notice that he spread out his legs in an attempt to get down to my height. I am clearly a Woman of Short Stature.

In other baby-related news, my hard-working husband cleaned out the garage last week to make room for storing some of the furniture that's in the baby's room right now. I wish I'd taken a "before" picture so that you could fully understand what a major undertaking this was. Now we sometimes walk into the garage just to look at it. We're so proud that we may host tours highlighting the "Wall of Yard Tools" and "Tank That Used to Hold Our Dearly Departed Lizards." Lizards never had it so good, dead or alive.

While Garrett was slaving away in the garage, I busied myself with chatting on the phone and reading a forgotten book. Until I felt guilty and made him a nice dinner that did not involve microwave steamer bags or take-out menus. It did involve the oven and many, many dirty dishes.

By the time the day was over, Garrett could barely move from all the lifting and nailing, and I could barely move from all the standing while cooking. It was debatable whether or not we'd have enough energy to climb the stairs to the TV room just to throw ourselves on the couches for some mindless channel-surfing.

So we attempted to check ourselves into a retirement community, but were turned away for acting too old.

Because everybody knows that you're not really retirement-ready until you can at least have as much fun as some dead lizards.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I know you didn't ask, but still...

Who knew that the never-ending TMI on this blog would result in an award?

My blog friend Tara was kind enough to offer The Late Bloomers the Honest Scrap Award! I knew Tara was a kindred spirit when she wrote this post about watching my favorite movie. I was so moved that I spent entirely too much time writing my own post about it. But oh, it was fun.

To accept this award, I need to:

  • list ten honest things about myself
  • nominate five other bloggers
10 Honest Things About Myself

Let me start off by saying that I already feel sorry for you that you're reading this list. When you're done, you may curse yourself for giving up 90 seconds of your life that you'll never get back. Consider yourself warned.
  1. I could drink Coke by the gallon. While sucking on a lemon. This can be an expensive habit. I was almost shamed into giving it up when I discovered in college that my parents hid Coke from me when I came home to visit. Keyword: almost.
  2. I kinda sorta want a Snuggie. When I first saw the commercials, I thought it was the stupidest thing I ever saw. But, somewhere along the way, my heart changed and I began to feel a sense of longing. Shame caused me to keep this longing hidden, especially as Internet ridicule of the Snuggie and its cousin, the Slanket, increased (like here, which made me laugh so much). And I can understand the ridicule. I once counted myself among the hecklers. But then I saw that someone I highly respect gave in to her desire. So I finally got up the nerve to tell my husband. More ridicule ensued, which has so far kept me from running out and making the purchase, but, as in the Coke situation above, I have a feeling that shame will not keep me from fulfilling my desires.
  3. I honestly and truly dislike the taste of water. And don't tell me that water doesn't have a taste. With all the chemicals they put in bottled water, there's some kind of after-taste going on. I find Ozarka to be the most offensive. If you can bring me a glass of water straight from a mountain stream, I'll be willing to re-evaluate.
  4. I love to watch my husband nap. He just looks so peaceful and relaxed and his mouth does this cute little pucker thing. I would take a picture and post it but suspect that would be crossing some sort of line. So you'll just have to trust me on this.
  5. My clumsiness knows no limits. Just this morning as I was making breakfast I dropped a freshly-cooked slice of French toast and a slice of banana on the floor. I've been known to fall down the stairs (three times), walk into a glass door (once), and walk into walls and doorways (countless times). I don't know what's wrong with me.
  6. I love sushi. Wait, you don't understand. I reallllly loooove sushi! Seriously. As a matter of fact, I prefer to eat raw salmon over cooked salmon. Spicy tuna rolls, shrimp tempura rolls, and anything with cream cheese and avocado. Oh, be still my heart.
  7. I like the smell of gasoline. Hold on a minute - don't picture me sniffing gasoline in a closet somewhere. I'm just saying that when I have to pump gas, I don't hate it. That's all.
  8. When I first met my husband, I asked myself, "Could I kiss those lips?" The answer is yes, yes I can. And I have. Many, many, many times.
  9. There is no end to my hair. I was born with a head full of hair. Growing up I called it the "mane" (as in lion). Many women look forward to having thick luxuriant hair during pregnancy (because not as much hair falls out), but not me. I neeeeeed for hair to fall out. It is OUT OF CONTROL.
  10. I am the anti-athlete. I've tried to be athletic and sporty. I really have. I've thrown myself into Ultimate Frisbee, physical training lessons, and an ill-fated two weeks of Boot Camp at my church. All to no avail. The only things I got out of it was a sprained ankle, a growing awareness of my asthma, and a T-shirt.

I don't know that many bloggers, so I'll have to limit this list to four.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Links Worth Following 3/14/09

Friday, February 27, 2009

Pregnancy: I wonder if my child is channeling Seinfeld

Welcome to the latest installment of the Vomit Chronicles.

I know y'all have been waiting with bated breath to get an update on my nausea issues, so let's just get that out of the way: I'm in my 22nd week and still throwing up pretty much every day.

Honestly, I don't even care anymore. It's become a way of life. I just always hope to get it over with before leaving the house. I'd hate to have to pull over on some freeway and lean out my car door, only to cause a ten car pile-up due to all the rubbernecking.

On to more pleasant news...

On February 17th we had our long-awaited 20-week ultrasound. This ultrasound was the gating factor for such decisions as nursery decor, onesies color, and the colors of the stripes on the blanket I'm crocheting.

That's right, you read correctly - CROCHETING. Engineer by day, homemaker by night. How "every woman" of me.

So anyway, Garrett and I were sure we were having a girl. Besides always imagining that I would have a girl-child first, time-tested old wives tales also indicated that our first-born would be a daughter.

So you can imagine our surprise, nay, SHOCK, when the ultrasound tech announced that it's a BOY! Little Michael Thomas Maddox is on his way!

Those old wives clearly don't know what they're talking about.

It really didn't matter to me if it was a boy or girl. I just want a chubby baby in my arms. But I was absolutely thrilled for Garrett that he was getting his boy.

While waiting for the doctor to see us, we busied ourselves with phone calls and text messages sharing our news. Now all we had to do was get the ol' "Everything looks great" speech from the doctor, and we could be on our merry way, imagining life with our son.

So the doctor finally comes in, sits down, and starts talking about kidneys, ureters, and bladders. It took me a few seconds to realize that she wasn't saying, "Everything looks great." She said that my baby boy has more fluid in his right kidney than they like to see, so we would have to go for a higher level ultrasound.

I started to panic.

The doctor saw my eyes glaze over with shock, so she scooted a little closer and stressed that this didn't have to be a problem, her son was born with the same issue and he grew out of it by the time he was three. Apparently it's pretty common in little boys due to the nature of their plumbing. And everything else did look great, picture-perfect. This made me feel better, but I'm sorry to say that the damage to my emotions was already done. Garrett was a champ and took up the question-asking after that so that I could just take it in.

I was numb for the rest of the day. I did talk to various family members on the phone, excited that now we could really plan in earnest. But I was glad that I'd decided to work from home that day because I really needed the time to myself. The cubicle farm environment just doesn't afford the privacy necessary to a worried mother.

I held it together for most of the day, but finally had a meltdown that night. Full-fledged worry and panic ensued about everything from the serious to the mundane:

  • Worry that my baby's kidneys would get worse.
  • Worry that I didn't know how to mother a boy. I didn't realize until that day that I was scared to death to be a mommy to a little boy. Preparing a son to be a man, to be both strong and gentle, seems like such a huge undertaking to me.
  • Worry about the nursery. I didn't have anything picked out for a boy!
Garrett spent some time talking me down from the ledge, so to speak. I felt better the rest of the week, but I'm still praying like crazy for my boy's kidneys.

We went to another facility for the higher-level ultrasound a week later. Before looking at the kidneys, she checked out the rest of Michael's body and saw that it all looks good. We then asked her to confirm that Michael is indeed a boy, just to make sure.

The tech in our previous ultrasound didn't have any problems checking out his boy part. But this time around Michael got a little shy and kept his legs closed.

And, really, can you blame him for being shy? I don't care what kind of viscous goop he has covering his body right now, being in fluid for months has got to do something to your skin, including the boy part. Sometimes I wonder if little boys in utero want to hold up a sign saying, "I was in the pool! I WAS IN THE POOL!" (Everybody remember George Costanza?)

(Michael just kicked me as if to say, "That's right!")

Just when I was thinking that the doctor would have to give up and move on, she started to pound on my stomach with the ultrasound wand in an effort to get him to move.

I found that particular maneuver to be quite ironic considering how vigilant Garrett and I have been about keeping our pets from jumping on my stomach. And here the doctor is, pounding my stomach like it was a ball of bread dough.

If she had just asked, I would have been more than happy to jiggle my belly for her. And it probably would have achieved the same result. But I'm not the one with the medical degree.

Michael finally did move and reveal the family jewels. So we can proceed with decorating a little boy's nursery with confidence.

The doctor then looked at his kidneys. She found fluid in both kidneys, but said that it wasn't anything that she was too worried about, it was probably just reflux. But she also cautioned that things could progress, so we're going back in two months for a follow-up ultrasound.

Most of my worries have been calmed, but I have to work at it sometimes. I'm comforted by the fact that my son isn't developing randomly, but being formed in my womb by a loving God.

Now the big question is: what's he gonna look like? We're predicting that this short, dark-skinned Puerto Rican girl is going to birth a big white baby boy. Which means that I will forever be mistaken as his nanny.

But I'm cool with that. I'm just looking forward to having him in my arms and looking down at his chubby-cheeked face, knowing that all the vomiting was worth it. I can't wait to meet my son.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Pregnancy: From Gas Bubbles to Little Hands and Feet

Back when Garrett and I decided to try for a baby, I had visions of chronicling our pregnancy journey on this blog with posts discussing the "deep things," like how there needs to be a level of trust with your spouse to conceive a baby, or how physical pregnancy can teach us lessons about a sort of "spiritual pregnancy" where we see the purposes God has placed in us come to fruition over time.

But all the vomiting and nausea pretty much drove the "deep" right out of me.

And I was left with thoughts like, "How many restrooms does this store have?" and, "Larger underwear, I NEED LARGER UNDERWEAR!"

So I'm not having many deep thoughts these days. But every once in a while a tender thought will trickle through the nausea- and pain-related thoughts cluttering my mind and fight its way into my consciousness.

This has been a week of tender thoughts. I am currently in my 19th week of pregnancy and felt my little one move for the first time this past Monday.

I'll be perfectly honest with you and admit that I thought it was gas, but a moment later realized that was probably a funny place to feel a gas bubble.

(There's a tender thought in here somewhere, I promise.)

So then I started paying closer attention. And lo, the little child did move and kick. Wonderment and awe did fill the mother, as no gas bubble could.

My little sweet pea has been moving more and more as each day goes by. And that has helped me so much in really believing that my child is growing inside me. At a Christmas event last December, Beth Moore talked about Elizabeth's pregnancy with the child that would become John the Baptist. Scripture tells us that Elizabeth became pregnant and remained in seclusion for five months. Beth pondered why the five months and came to the conclusion that Elizabeth may have waited until she could feel her child move inside her, in that way knowing for sure that she was indeed pregnant in her advanced years.

(My own pondering would have led to the conclusion that Elizabeth just thought it was best to stay at home when dealing with morning sickness accompanied by sudden projectile vomiting, but hey, that's just me. Ok, back to tender thoughts. Focus, Leslie, focus!)

Now that I've felt my baby move, I can go with Beth's theory and believe that Elizabeth wanted that proof. So much of the earlier part of pregnancy is cerebral. Sure, there's some physical evidence of the pregnancy, but much of that could be explained away with other reasons. We ultimately have to believe in our minds that yes, there's a baby in there somewhere. But when your child moves inside you, stretching those little arms and legs, all of a sudden it's not about the back pain, weight gain, or nausea. It's about cradling a child in your body, allowing your body to expand and change to make room for a new life.

I've been thinking about those little arms and legs. About the first time we'll count tiny fingers and toes. About the first time that we'll grasp the little hand and feel a grasping in return. Little arms wrapped around my neck in a hug, chubby little legs crawling, then walking. I wonder where those little legs will take my child, who those little hands will soothe. When those little knees will hit the ground in prayer for the first time with little elbows resting on a bed.

And then I think about Who those little hands will serve, Who those little feet will follow...

The Same Little Hands
By: Dorothy Brock Holtslander

His mother held Him close
As she gazed at His perfect face
She wondered if He knew even then
That He was the One, the Savior, the Lamb

She counted His toes, as new mothers do
and then tiny fingers
on tiny hands

How could she have know what was to be
That He would change the world for eternity
The same little hands
The same little feet feet
That would one day be nailed to a tree

She watched with a mother's joy
as His little feet took their first steps
She took pride when He was a little boy
and with His little hands built His first toy

How could she have known, how was she to see
the same little hands
the same little feet
would one day be nailed to a tree

His Father knew what had to be
those same little hands
those same little feet
nailed to a tree
for you and me

Monday, January 26, 2009

"Pregnancy - 17 weeks" or "A phrase I never want to hear again"

So it's officially been over a month and a half since our last post. Whatever happened to my intentions of keeping family and friends updated on our happenings through this little blog? Especially now, when we're expecting our first little one?

Well, you know what they say about the best of intentions.

But I'll excuse myself by saying that I have been dealing with morning sickness from hell. You know how I said in the last post that my morning sickness was lessening at 11 weeks? Well, it was like I triple-dared the gods of all that is unholy to prove me wrong. Soon after writing those daring words, my morning sickness came back with a vengeance.

And when I say it came back with a vengeance, I mean food became my enemy. I had little appetite for most of the day, and when I did eat, I ate knowing that it would only be a matter of time before I would have to run my pregnant body to the bathroom (praying that I wouldn't trip over a cat or dog) to vomit at least half of my stomach contents.

(Here's where my mother will stop her reading to call me and demand that I do something about the cats and dog. Mom, I eagerly await your call.)

I normally love going out to eat, but after a couple of unfortunate incidents at a Denny's and a Red Robin, I realized that I would have to give up my love of being waited on hand and foot at restaurants for the next few weeks and instead have to be happy with being waited on hand and foot at home by husband.

(And here's where my sweet husband silently curses Eve and that dastardly snake in the Garden of Eden for the pain and suffering we're both dealing with in this pregnancy. Sweetie, I really do appreciate all you do for me. So much so that there's tortilla soup in the crock pot for your enjoyment tonight. Nothing but the best crock pot meals for you, baby. The sour cream and cheese are in the fridge.)

At least once a week someone would tell me, "Oh, it'll get better soon."

  • The midwife at my OB's office told me, "It'll get better soon," while prescribing anti-nausea medication that ended up not working for me because even a fourth of the tiny tablet knocked me out. And, like most people, I find it difficult to hold down a full-time job while in a medication-induced coma.
  • The doctor at the ER told me, "It'll get better soon," when I ended up there one night after extreme dizziness, causing me to crawl to the bathroom to throw up into the bathroom rug. Turns out I was pretty dehydrated, most likely caused by all the vomiting. I left the ER five pounds heavier thanks to two bags of IV fluids, clutching a prescription for a different anti-nausea medication. It ended up being completely ineffective. Anti-nausea meds, you are dead to me.
  • My OB told me, "It'll get better soon," after diagnosing me with bronchitis and prescribing me a heavy-duty antibiotic. Unfortunately, antibiotics do not help the anti-nausea cause.
  • After the antibiotic didn't heal me, the internal medicine doctor that my OB referred me to told me, "It'll get better soon," after diagnosing me with the flu. Again, catching the flu was counter-productive to my anti-nausea goals.
  • A very sweet girl in our Sunday School class told me, "It'll get better soon," after she heard me whimpering and vomiting in the church bathroom. If only.
Dear readers, if you want me to hang onto my sanity, please do not tell me, "It'll get better soon."

So tomorrow I'll be fully at 17 weeks. I won't tell you that the nausea and vomiting seems to have improved over the last few days because I now know better than to tempt fate.

Here's where a picture of my 17 week belly would be appropriate, but I haven't gotten up the nerve to take a picture yet.

"Why?" you ask. "A pregnant body is a beautiful thing."

I'll tell you why. Because my 17 week belly looks more like a 25 week belly. Y'all, it's embarrassing. You see, I wasn't skinny when I got pregnant. So by the time I took the pregnancy test, I already looked like I was a couple of months along. Add to that fact my short stature and even shorter torso, and you have a recipe for a big ol' belly. No one has said anything overtly rude, at least not that I can prove. (As I was getting a pedicure this weekend, my nail technician was talking in Vietnamese to another nail tech. They stopped to ask me how far along I was, then continued their conversation in Vietnamese. I can't prove it, but I just know that they were saying, "She so big fo' 4 months.") But I'm still paranoid.

I will eventually take pictures since my mother already bought me a Belly Book and has convinced me that I will want those pictures one day. But I can't promise that they will ever appear on this blog since I can't bear the thought that readers of the World Wide Web will also be saying, "She so big." Vanity, thy name is Leslie.

So instead of a picture of my preggo belly, here's a picture of our precious and much-loved little one at 11 weeks. We have our next ultrasound on Feb 17, when I'll be 20 weeks. We can't wait to find out if I'm carrying Isabella Anne or Michael Thomas!