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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