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clearing cobwebs

It’s been almost six months since I last wrote in this space. It might be the longest I’ve gone. Girl Genius is taking up a lot of my brainpower, and I just don’t seem to be getting myself to stop to write like I once did. I miss it.

I miss blogging for blogging’s sake. On my other blog, I’ve put it upon myself to have a pretty well-developed idea before putting fingers to keyboard, and my purpose there is pretty specific. I write about grief, about BG, about life after BG. And for the most part, that’s what I want to write when I write, but then I’ve got these new ideas, and maybe I ought to be creating some space for those now and then too. Maybe it’s time to dust off this old space and use it. Maybe it’s time to start a whole new one. I don’t know. I just know I miss kicking off my shoes and playing with ideas.

Suffice it to say, I’ve got a nearly six-month-old. She’s wonderful. She reminds me of her brother, and then she doesn’t at all. She looks like me. Oh what an interesting thing that is. You see, BG didn’t look much like me. People would look at him, then me, and ask me, “Who does he look like?” I would tell them he looked like my grandfather (he really did). But mostly when I looked at him, I saw this completely unique individual. He just got to be BG, a gorgeous, ethereal boy.

But there’s a whole interesting phenomenon happening with a daughter who looks like me. I gaze at her and see my features, and because I think she’s so stunning, I’m forced to reexamine how I see myself, forced to love myself a little more. I can see how women become very critical of their daughters. I can see, too, how women’s self-loathing can harm their daughters, and I’m so mindful of this. I’m working to push away decades-old habits of demeaning myself. It’s no small feat. But I don’t want her to grow up picking herself apart like I did. I want her to be whole. I want her to understand that she is beautiful for who she is. She’ll have plenty of external influences trying to convince her otherwise.

I remember when we found out that BG was to be a boy, and J and I panicked and started reading all sorts of books on raising boys so that we wouldn’t screw him up. We’ve not done that with our girl yet. But now I’m thinking there’s so much I need to know, so much I need to be reminded not to do. I certainly don’t want to screw her up either. I don’t want to do what so many mothers do. I just want to teach her to lover herself. Well, and not to be a Republican.

I have so many ideas bubbling at the surface. I start back to work in a week–just two days of teaching out of the house, but it’s still a lot to think about. But the sunny side is that it will provide me time when I’m sitting in my office during office hours waiting for students who won’t show, time I’ll have to write. So maybe this dusty old space will get a little more use. Maybe I’ll even finally publish that birth story (oh, was it epic!). Maybe.

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40 weeks 2 days

Last Friday marked 40 weeks of this pregnancy, a day I was surprised to see, even this far in. I’ve been uncomfortable, feeling huge and tired, but so very grateful to be pregnant with a healthy baby. I chronicled Week 40 with some belly shots.

The Wednesday night prior I was awake much of the night with contractions, which ended up going away in the morning, so the end of last week was fairly frustrating. I tried everything to get labor going on my own, but ultimately, I was feeling pretty stuck. I had finally gotten myself emotionally ready for the pregnancy to be over, for this baby to arrive, and now this.

J and I spent the next few days walking and belly dancing and cooking and waiting, waiting, waiting feeling less and less patient.

And then Sunday arrived.

And then, Sunday evening, at 40 weeks and 2 days after a very intense 4-hour labor, Girl Genius made her debut. We are so very in love with this little girl who resembles her brother in so many ways and in every way is her own little person. I’ll write the full birth story very soon, as it was epic (and did I mention short?), but for now, I wanted to share with you our daughter.

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so much for good intentions

As of today, I’m 37 weeks and five days pregnant, and I have written here only a handful of times, much to my dismay. I haven’t written much anywhere. It seems the weeks and months have slipped by, and suddenly, here I am, nearing the finish line. For much of this pregnancy there have been nearly whole days when I have practically forgotten that I’m pregnant–save for the discomforts–and even now I sometimes lose myself in my thoughts so much that I forget to fully appreciate these moments of being so very full and ripe with this baby.

Tiny Dancer is doing brilliantly so far. Unlike her older brother, she is measuring right on track every week, which makes me wonder if she might be a normal-sized baby (BG was a hefty 9 lb 15 oz and consistently measured a couple of weeks ahead). We took a quick peak at her at our 35 week appointment and learned (as I had suspected) that she is decidedly head down and beginning to push her way into my pelvis. Our doctor even pointed out that she’s got a bit of hair.

And me? Well, I’m in pain. A lot of pain. My hips and lower back have been a wreck this whole pregnancy. I’ve been plagued with sciatica, and now that old familiar pubic bone separation pain has kicked in. It makes life challenging; it makes me whiny and grumpy. I can’t turn over in bed without strategizing for ten minutes (and wondering how I can get my hands on a small crane). Also, I waddle. I look like a penguin. It’s unsettling. But I’m wonderfully full of a wiggly, hiccpuing, kicking baby, and somehow that knowledge makes even my terrible awkwardness okay.

I’m trying to soak this up. It’s most likely the last time I’ll be pregnant, and I am trying to make certain I don’t look back on this time and wonder where it went. I want to remember what it’s like to grow this child.

We’ve done lovely things to celebrate this pregnancy like creating a belly cast bowl, having a magical photo shoot, attending and hosting baby showers and brunches. My wife draws on my belly regularly, snuggles up to it, kisses it. We gaze together at its changing shape, at the knees and feet that move their way across its giant expanse. I try to appreciate the singular feeling of my baby growing and moving and changing inside me where she is safe, and I work to connect with this little person who will soon be responsible for sleepless nights and big, big love.

I’m excited, yes, but I’m still hoping for a couple of weeks to savor these last few moments of anticipation before life changes completely. I hate that I’m used to life without a child again, but I am in some ways, and in some ways, I very much welcome the rhythm she will bring back to our lives, even if that does mean fatigue. J and I regularly put in requests that she be a good sleeper, that she give me an easy labor. More than anything, we want her to be herself. And healthy. Really, really healthy.

37 weeks and five days. We’re nearly there. We’re nearly moms again.

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Protected: a long-awaited sigh

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Protected: contemporary? ballroom? only the dancer knows

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Protected: wandering in the woods

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Protected: shades of gray

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