Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Happy (or Unhappy?) Equal Pay Day

Another day, another dollar.

Well, if you're a woman, that's not quite true.  It's more like another day, another 77 cents.  Doesn't quite have the same ring to it, does it?

This is the day we celebrate (?) the fact that today, in America, land of gender equality and opportunities for all, women continue to make 77 to a man's dollar.  Today isn't an arbitrary day though, we choose this day because it takes until this day for a woman to earn what a man earned by the end of the prior year.  How clever, eh?

So today I try to think about all the things that I could have accomplished between January 1 and today.  What all the women in this country could have collectively accomplished if we hadn't been so busy working just to break even.  Sometimes it makes me furious.  Most times, it just makes me sad.

I spent some time today feeling my baby boy do somersalts in my belly.  I thought of how when I found out he was a he, I spent some time mourning the loss of pink hairbows and purple ruffles.  But I also admit that I felt a sense of relief for all the obstacles he wouldn't have to face, just on account of being a he.  And then I felt guilty for even thinking that way. 

Today, on Equal Pay Day 2011, I felt my baby boy wiggle and poke, and I hoped that he wouldn't have those advantages.  I wished that he would be challenged by his female peers, compensated equally for work well done.  That he would grow up with values of equality and fairness, that he would be a proud part of change that was a long time coming.

That someday I will tell him about all the long days I worked while I carried him, making 77 cents to his father's dollar, and that it will seem so long ago, and so silly, that we'll laugh at how far we've all come since then.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

First Trimester Recap

Whoa is that the most boring name for a post EVER!  But the dealio is that if I don't get this out of the way, I'm not going to do it, and with only my notoriously unreliable memory to count on I won't have a shot at remembering what happened during these lovely nine months of pregnancy.

Finding Out.  I took the first pregnancy test right on schedule, one day after my first missed period.  This was at least partly on accident - I knew that I was going to have a "fun" (read: intoxicated) weekend, and wanted to make sure I wouldn't be drinking for two.  Well, we all know how that went.  I ended up taking another the next day, and one more after Art got home.  I actually suggested that he might like to take one as well, as a "control," but he assured the crazy pregnant lady that everything was in working order.

"Morning Sickness."  I must say that I feel very lucky that I did not experience the voilent vomiting episodes that I witnessed as a young child while my mother grew my siblings.  In fact, I generally felt great in the morning, but gradually became nauseated and exhausted as the day went on, usually starting around 2pm and getting worse through the day.  The best way to describe it is that I felt constantly hungover.  Achy and dehydrated, with that kind of headache that just makes you want to put your head down on the nearest surface.  You don't feel so sick that you need to stay in bed, but you never really feel "well" and nothing that you can think of makes you feel any better.  Everything you do is an effort, and you can't stop thinking "Wow, I really shouldn't have done that last night" (which is, Ahem, an oddly applicable sentiment!)  This started around Week 7 got gradually worse and then gradually better until about Week 13 or 14.  The best way for me to stay on top of this was to eat every 2-3 hours.  I suppose I did have to undergo the "Rite of Passage" though, and had an awesome vomiting incident after going too long without eating.  I figured we'd do it right, so after frantically yelling for A to come to the bathroom I proceeded to stand in front of the toliet and throw up all over my feet, the floor, the rug, the trash can and the shower curtain with about 15% actually making it into the toliet.  A bravely cleaned up quite the mess after pushing my silently sobbing self into the shower.  I guess that counts as a Rite of Passage for him too, so way for us to kill two birds with one stone.

Exhaustion.  I think that for me, this was tied pretty closely to "morning sickness" in that every small thing that I did required what felt like a Herculean effort on my part.  This started pretty much right away, and lasted until around Week 14, although even at Week 17, I still feel very tired and easily exhausted.  Everyone said that one day I would magically wake up with so much more energy, and while I can tell a slight increase in energy from those first weeks, I'm still pretty tired most of the time.

Eating.  Starting around Week 6 or so, I began to have very strong feelings about food I wanted to eat and food I DID NOT want to eat.  I ate a lot of carbs - pasta, crackers, bread products, etc.  I also for some reason could almost always eat breakfast food, even if it was eggs, bacon, cheese, etc.  Also on the good list was any processed meat - chicken tenders (not like the real chicken, like McNuggets), meatballs, hot dogs, etc.  Meat that was not like meat.  On the bad list was any food that wasn't bland - basically anything that had any flavor, as well as pretty much any meat and chicken.  Chicken was the big surprise since I had pretty much lived on it for the first 28 years of my life.  Couldn't even bear the thought of putting it in my mouth.  This also lasted til about 14 weeks or so.

Weight Gain.  I lost about 4 pounds or so pretty quickly after becoming pregnant and am still working on getting those back on.  By Week 10, I was still -4 lbs, by Week 14, I was -2 lbs.  At Week 17, I am still mostly -1 lb.  I had the weight to spare, so it's an okay situation, although I was warned at my last midwife visit that it's about time that I start to gain a little.  On a similar note, I'm still wearing regular clothes even at Week 17, with the exception of jeans, which are just generally uncomfortable anyway.

Letting the Cat of the the Bag.  As I've written in seperate posts, I told A a few days after I found out, and we told our parents and immediate family over Christmas, when I was almost 7 weeks (although at the time I still thought I was 5 weeks).  I told my boss around 8 weeks, and we waited until our appointment and ultrasound at 10 weeks to tell close friends and other family.  It wasn't until around 14 weeks that we started telling the more general public, and by 16 weeks we were offically "out."

Emotions.  This probably deserves a post of its own and I'll likely write it at some point, but to be brief for the sake of this recap post, I initally felt pretty shocked and panicked.  I mean, we had PLANNED for this, and were TRYING for this, but that is all well and good until you see those two pink lines!  I was a lot more nervous than I had expected, while I was excited and thrilled, I still struggled a little bit.  I also had a very hard time believing that everything would "work out."  I was nearly convinced that I would have a miscarriage, and this was a little bit hard to balance with everyone else's excitement, especialy at first.  We also had a little bleeding episode around Week 9, and while I won't share the gritty details on the old blog here, suffice to say it was a little tramatic and didn't really help matters any.  It was probably around Week 8 that this started to fade and around Week 12 that I started to really believe that we were going to have a little person at the end of all this.  For me, the first trimester was a tricky time - I was both excited and terrified - going through all these emotions PLUS the physical rollercoaster, but nobody (well, pretty much nobody) even knew about it.  There was no physical evidence that I wasn't making all this up, that there was really a small being growing in there - and that was tough for me. 

What I Miss.  I did want to address this, at least briefly, because it's something that I wondered a lot about before becoming pregnant.  I obviously stopped drinking immediately after I found out I was expecting.  While I thought this would be really difficult, it has not been nearly as hard as I thought.  I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that when I was sick that I didn't feel like drinking any way, and I couldn't even really tolerate the smell of wine.  What I have found is that I miss isn't really drinking as in feeling drunk, but I miss the social aspect of it.  I mean, A and I still go out the same way, but when everyone is drinking and I'm not - it's not really that I feel left out, but kind of.  That has been the most difficult part, but even that, honestly, has been pretty minor.  I can't tell you that I don't ever want to come home and crack open a bottle of wine, but it hasn't been as much of a sacrifice as I was expecting.   Quite honestly, I find myself missing my morning coffee much more than wine.  And that's something - coming from me!

Planning Ahead.  We didn't do a whole lot of planning in the first trimester other than start to think about the nursery - colors and fabrics and designs.  I did find the crib that I wanted pretty quickly, but are waiting to order it until after my scan at 20 weeks.  We started buying the baby a couple of small things - a few cute little outfits, and actually more than a few books, but it is never too early to start good reading habits!  Now we're only about two weeks til we find out Baby's gender, and I just can't wait!  I hope that A is prepared for the shopping spree we'll be going on!!!

So that's my first trimester review.  I can't say that I'm one of those women who love love love being pregnant, but I don't hate it either.  In the first trimester it went from being very abstract to much more real, and my level of enjoyment has definately increased as that has changed, so I'm very interested to see how my thoughts and feelings change through the next few weeks.  Oh Baby!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dear Baby

Last night you and I went to our first prenatal yoga class.  I wonder if you will laugh about this when you're older - the thought of your Mama stretching and bending into a pretzel while trying to be zen about it.  I'm laughing myself even as I write this.

Honestly, I wasn't really looking forward to going.  I knew that it would be healthy for me and good for you, but your generally sociable Mama absolutely hates going to new places to do things with strangers by herself.  Especially things that involve stretching and bending into a pretzel.  I sent a desperate email at the last minute to a friend who isn't even pregnant begging her to go with me.  I told her it would be a great "try before you buy" experience for her - pretend to be pregnant for an hour while getting a front row seat to my attempt at flexibility and balance.  I actually think I almost convinced her and if she didn't live so far away we might have had a partner.  But she did convince me to go, so I went to Target and bought a pink yoga mat, put on my pink sweatpants and was on my way.

I arrived at a lovely strip mall in Delaware County and found the studio quickly thanks to a neon YOGA sign blinking in the window.  I went in and was a bit shocked to find two grown man in full Japanese garb yelling loudly in another language and beating each other with bamboo sticks.  Seriously.  You just can't make this stuff up.  I thought about just turning around and leaving, but clearly with my bright pink yoga mat in tow I couldn't act like I wandered into the wrong place.  About ten minutes passed, and finally the men did some elaborate hand shaking ritual that involved fancy bowing and what may have been kissing, removed their headpieces and one walked towards me, asking with a smile, "Here for prenatal yoga?"  Um, yeah.

It didn't get better from there very quickly, I did my paperwork and met the instructor and worried that I would be the only one in class.  I laid out my mat and tried to stave off an anxiety attack as two other women finally arrived, both hugely pregnant and not particularly friendly.  Here was my worst fear - I was all alone!  In a room full of strangers!  Preparing to bend into a pretzel!  It was clearly too late to run away, so I listened as the instructor directed us into the child's pose.

I bent over my knees and breathed deeply.  I tried to relax, and thought about what you were feeling at that moment.  And then I realized.  I wasn't alone at all!  You were with me!  You had been here the whole time!  I smiled as I thought about us in this adventure together, just the two of us.  I began to breath through the exercises and enjoy this time with you.  I thought about how lucky we were to have so many people supporting us.  Your Daddy takes such good care of us.  He keeps our house so neat and clean.  He cooks us delicious food.  He rubs our (well, mine, I guess) feet at night before bed.  Your grandparents are already so in love with you, they are always checking in on us, getting us anything that we could possibly need.  Even your aunts and your uncle think about you all the time and are so excited to meet you.  We have so many friends helping us and encouraging us.  We are so loved, so blessed, so very very lucky.

But you know what I was thinking about yesterday, Baby.  For some of this journey, it is just going to be me and you.  There are some parts that nobody can help us with.  I'm going to have to depend on you, and you're going to have to count on me.  And I'm not going to lie to you.  Some of those bits are going to be a little scary, for both of us.  The most trying parts of this experience, the most physical - well, I'll just say it - the most painful parts of this journey are just going to be between me and you.  But as we stretched and reached to the sky together, I felt a confident knowledge that we'll both get through it, that we'll figure it out together.
At the end of the class, we spent some time meditating, and our teacher shared that yogis believe that at the moment of conception, a baby chooses its parents.  That you, sweet Baby, picked me, of all the millions of people in the world, to be your Mama.  From what I know of you already, I have great faith that you made the right decision.  This crazy yoga class is just one of the many great adventures we will have - you and me, together.

Your Mama

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Natural Childbirth or OMGWTFRUCRAZY?

So now that we got the baby IN there, we've got 9 months to figure out how to get it OUT.  Buckle your seat belt, guys, cause I'm about to blow your minds.  I'm planning to have a natural childbirth.

Go ahead, freak out.  I'm used to it.

Seriously though, when I tell people that I'm planning a natural childbirth, you would think I am telling them that I'm going to give myself a c-section in my kitchen with my Wustof poultry shears, but don't worry, A will be on hand with plenty of neosporin and bandaids.  To be totally honest, I find their horror to be a bit amusing and I've started saying "natural childbirth" in a high spooky voice just for the thrill it gives me to watch people lose their shit right in front of me.

In all fairness, though, this is just a symptom of the world we live in.  Our entire lives have been medicalized, we are conditioned that our bodies are generally broken and that medicine has the answer to all our problems, whether they are physical, mental or emotional.  Here's the thing, though.  I just don't buy it.  Especially when it comes to childbirth.

I first became interested in natural childbirth years ago, when as a women's studies student I first learned about the medicalization of childbirth.  How was it that we went from dropping babies on the side of a road and going back to work to a world of cesareans and epidurals?  That's not even digressing to the days where women were literally tied down and knocked out as their babies were pulled out of their bodies.  It's a long, long story with many twists and turns, and too much to go into in this blog post, but perhaps one day when I'm feeling particularly feisty and enraged I'll outline it for you, my avid readers.  At any rate, I began studying midwifery back in my college days, going so far as to consider pursuing it as a career path for awhile.  I began seeing a midwife for all of my well woman care years ago, so it was most logical that when the time came I would pursue natural childbirth.

Now, I'm not going to say that when I realized that the rubber was gonna hit the road I didn't pause and really think about what I was going to do.  I mean, it was one thing for 18 year old NOT PREGNANT self to poo poo the modern conveniences of hospital labor, but here I was 10 years older and wiser, and, most importantly PREGNANT.  So I gave myself an out.  Really considered what I wanted to do.  Pulled out some of my old books.  Bought some new books.  Talked to my husband.  Imagined how I would feel in different scenarios.  At my first offical prenatal appointment at the Birth Center, I recognized how relaxed I felt, how I shared my feelings like I was talking to an old friend.  I knew I was in the right place.

I'm not going to tell you that I'm not afraid of childbirth or that I'm not nervous about it.  I mean come on, even YOU would see that is a load of poopy.  But what I can tell you is that I believe 100% that I can do it.  More importantly, I believe that my body was MADE to do it, carefully designed with just this purpose in mind.  So much of modern birth involves things that "could go wrong," but the truth is that without needless intervention, things rarely do.  The female body is equipped for this task, from conceiving a child to growing that child, all the way though birthing that child and nourishing that child.  I always loved that the literal definition of midwife is to be "with woman" - that the role of  a midwife is to support a woman as she progresses through the natural process of pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period.  I don't expect it to be easy, but then again, what part of parenting is. One of my favorite quotes is from a midwife who told a laboring mother "This is not the hardest thing you will do for this child."  Isn't that the truth?

The only post script I'll give to any of this is that the ultimate goal of this whole deal is a live baby and a healthy Mama.  So if things happen that change the natural process or endanger the baby in any way, all bets are off.  I'm not so tied to the idea of a happy earth mother birth that I would ever risk the health of the baby.  But I'm comfortable and confident that the women caring for me wouldn't ever put either of us in danger.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

A whole day all about love! What a treat!  I know that we should always the people we love that we love them EVERY day, but the truth of the matter is that life gets awfully busy, and whether you mean it or not it's not always easy to stay focused on the important things.  BUT -  to have a whole day devoted to LOVE, well I don't care if it's a made up Hallmark holiday or I get screwed by the florist AND the chocolate manufacturers, I LOVE IT!

In fact, this is going to be a very short post because I am off to celebrate with my loves - all FIVE of them!  I am a lucky, lucky, and very loved girl indeed.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Healthy Baby

Since finding out that I'm expecting, I've discovered a popular buzz phrase that comes out in almost any discussion surrounding the baby.  It generally appears when people ask if we're finding out the baby's gender, when people who know my super-ultra-girliness assume that I have all my appendages crossed that I'm growing a little one of the female variety.  The universal response to all of this is a quick dismissal - "It doesn't matter, as long as its healthy," which people toss out confidently as if the mere act of uttering it will make it true.

Last week we went in for our first trimester scan.  Honestly, I didn't understand a lot of the medical stuff surrounding the test, I just knew that it involved an ultrasound and anything that included a peek a boo session with baby seemed like fun to me.  It wasn't until we were sitting in the waiting room with a packet describing the various test results that it really dawned on me what we would be finding out today.  Down syndrome, Trisomy 18, Trisomy 21 and other congenital heart defects would likely show up in this screening.  I started to get nervous, and then I thought of Eliot.

Eliot is a very a special boy who had Trisomy 18.  But that was not what defined him.  I found his blog years ago, through the wonder of google while looking for different spellings of the name Eliot (Elliott, Elliot, Eliott) as we were in the process of naming our cat.  I did not know that google search would lead me down a rabbit hole that would fundamentally change the way I viewed people who were "different."  I checked Eliot's blog faithfully, rejoicing as he overcame challenges and his parents celebrated each and every one of his accomplishments.  I am not ashamed to say that I wept when I logged on to learn that after 99 amazing days of life, Eliot had left this world for the next one.  A few weeks later I wrote to his parents.  I was honest.  I told them that I was 24 years old, that I believed in God but didn't go to church.  Didn't have any scripture to quote.   That I was pro-choice.  That until I met Eliot, I likely wouldn't have thought much about terminating a pregnancy that I knew would end with a child who would not survive.  But I told that Eliot had changed the way that I thought about the world.  That he had redefined the way that I thought about ability and disability, about achievement, about the value of an individual life.  Eliot and his parents made me reconsider what it really meant to live life to it's fullest and to find joy in everyday life and to understand that every situation, even the darkest cloud, has a silver lining.  Years later, I still have a photo of Eliot hanging on my bulletin board as a reminder of how he changed me.

As I sat in the exam room last Wednesday, I thought back to Eliot and I found another gift he had given me that I hadn't even unwrapped yet.  What if we found out that I was carrying a baby like Eliot, with Trisomy 18?  What then?  Well, I'm not going to be naive and say that we wouldn't be worried and upset and scared.  Of course, we would be all those things and more.  But I can also say that I understand that parenting any child is full of challenges.  And from Eliot I learned that parenting any child is also full of joy, expected and unexpected.

It ended up that after all that, we had a clean scan.  We were happily given the news that everything looked "normal" and that it looks, at least for now, that we are on track for a "a healthy baby."  But I didn't quite feel the relief I expected.

A healthy baby.  What does that mean, anyway?  Healthy as in physically able?  I mean, I suppose that we obviously hope our child is able to breathe, to eat, to have a body that functions normally, to have those ten little fingers and toes.  But that doesn't mean that we get a free pass.  Every child brings challenges.  Maybe they are physical challenges.  Maybe they are emotional challenges.  Maybe they are just babies who don't sleep or teenagers who drive too fast and fall in with a bad crowd.  I'm not going to say that some of these aren't worse than others - to have a child unable to live off a ventalator is quite different than a child who struggles to learn to read, for example.  But parenting isn't a contest, and every challenge is relevant.   I don't expect that any of it will be easy.

But the more I thought about it, the more I began to understand that to become a parent means to look at all those possibilities, known and unknown, straight on and say:  "I will love you anyway.  I will love you if you are a girl or a boy.  I will love you if your body is perfect or if you have physical limitations.  I will love you if you have emotional problems.  I will love you when you are seven years old and won't eat your green beans and I will love you when you are nineteen years old and fail your freshman year of college.  I will love you when you are successful and I will love you when you fail.  I will love you every day of your life no matter how long your life is, and we will be happy, together, if for no other reason than we will make it so."

This is what I believe it means to be a parent, having no practical experience of my own yet.  At times, I feel woefully unprepared, but I also know that perhaps this is the best thing.  One day we'll leave home as two, and come home as three, and then we'll start learning the rest of it together.  What I do know is this - "healthy" or not, every baby is a blessing, and every baby offers the opportunity for joy.  Thanks, Eliot.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Your Bad Day Just Got Worse

Today I woke up to the awesomest sound in the world. 

The sound of a cat throwing up.

I quickly jumped out of bed yelling, "A, ONE OF THE CATS IS THROWING UP!" as I scrambled to grab a towel and frantically searched for the culprit.

While it is usually our little Simon who is the puker in the family, I found Elliott engaged in a cycle of vicious heaving.  But Simon, being the compassionate, kind, caring soul that he is, was stationed right beside his brother for moral support and you could almost hear him encouraging, "It's okay, brother, let it out!  It will be okay" the same way we do for him when he's not feeling well.

Elliott looked at Simon, heaved a few more times and let lose a stream of vomit. 

Right across Simon's face!  In his eye!  Simon bolted upright and began blinking furiously - that shit had to burn!  I yelled for A -- "ELLIOTT JUST PUKED ON SIMON'S FACE!  IN HIS EYE!"  I scooped poor Simon up and took him to the bathroom where A and I wiped his face with a warm washcloth and tried hard not to laugh.  We cleaned the carpet and gave Elliott some snuggles too.

And when everything was all cleaned up we looked at each other and laughed so hard I began to cry.  Only in our house. 

Seriously dudes.  You just can't make this shit up.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dear Baby

Yesterday I saw your face for the first time. 

I watched you wiggle on the camera, and even the technican said, "Oh wow - look at that baby moving!"  I explained to her that you were dancing.  I think she rolled her eyes.

What she didn't know is that you were just doing what your Mama asked.  The night before we had our first midwife appointment, and while everything had looked good, they weren't able to find your heartbeat.  No one was particularly concerned, after all, you are only ten weeks old, early to be able to hear it at all.  But for your Mama, who had been waiting and waiting for something, anything, to tell her that you're real, it was a little bit much to bear.  And so before bed, I put my hand over my belly and told you that tomorrow we would see you for the first time.  And I told you that I hoped that you were dancing.

And so you did, moving your little head and your tiny arms.  I saw what will someday be your little nose, and I watched your heart flicker on the screen - 171 beats a minute!  I could have sat and looked at you all day.

When finally we were finished, I got dressed and went out to find your Daddy in the waiting room.  He looked so worried, and I realized that he didn't even know that you were just fine!  I quickly pulled out the photos and showed him the first pictures of his new baby.  Someday when you're older you'll probably be embarrassed to know that we cried a little looking at your sweet face. 

Oh baby.  What a life we have ahead of us, if already at 10 weeks you are dancing.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Dear Baby

When you were 8 and a half weeks old, we took you to Disney World for the first time.  We hadn't quite planned it that way - the trip was scheduled and I guess you just decided that you wanted to come too.   We were, of course, so happy to have you with us.

Now, being 8.5 weeks old, you did cause some trouble for your Mama, but we made it through.  We paid special attention to the "EXPECTANT MOTHERS MAY NOT RIDE" signs, which meant avoiding Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain and, well, we didn't even go to Animal Kingdom since they pretty much hate babies there.  Mostly we ate a lot of popcorn and pasta and crackers, me and you.  It was totally worth it to have you there.

We were thrilled to buy you your first set of mouse ears - embroidered with your name and everything!  Your Mama stood right on Main Street in front of the castle and we took the first "offical" picture of you "wearing" them.  We shared the good news with Mickey and Minnie and you got rubs and kisses from them both. On our last night at the Magic Kingdom, we bought you your first Mickey Mouse right on Main Street.  The most magical Mickey there is for our baby.

I couldn't stop thinking throughout the trip how blessed you are already - how many people love you and can't wait to meet you.  Your whole family talked about you the entire trip - imagining what you would do the next time we visit, wanting to buy you funny things, thinking about how much joy you will bring our lives. 

Every night as we watched fireworks light up the sky, I put my hand on you and wondered if you could feel how happy I was.  You see, your old mama can be a bit of a pessimist.  She worries about things that are beyond her control, and is always afraid of the worst happening, especially when it involves things she wants desperately.  You are, of course, one of those things, and it was hard for your Mama at first to trust that you were real, that you were truly on your way.  But as I tilted my head to the sky, I listened closely as an old friend, Jiminy Cricket, promised: 

When stars are born, they possess a gift or two.
One of those is, they have the power to make a wish come true.

Star light, star bright,
first star I see tonight.
I wish I may, I wish I might,
have the wish, I wish tonight.
We'll make a wish, and do as dreamers do,
and all our wishes,
will come true.

And I pushed aside all of my crankiness and pessimism and began to believe that maybe he was right after all.  Maybe it was as simple as wishing, as easy as picturing you, two years from now, in the same spot wearing your mouse ears and sharing popcorn with your Daddy as you watched Tinkerbell soar across the sky.  And I finally quieted my doubts and my fears, and closed my eyes and wished as hard as I could.

I can tell you this for sure, Baby.  If old Jiminy is right, if in the end it all comes down to a wish, then you will join our lives, and you will be the most blessed, the happiest baby that ever lived.  All our wishes will come true.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Countdown to Christmas with the Yings: December 23

December 23 will always be a day dedicated to remembering our Stitchy.  I don't know that I can say that he got his fashion sense from the Ying side of the family, because I can tell you this cat knew what was UP when it came to dressing to the nines.  He was, he still is, one of the best friends I could have asked for.  It was unbearably hard to lose him at Christmas, but I know that he would always want us to remember him with a smile, and so today we'll toast his amazing life and give thanks for the time he spent with us and the lessons he taught us.  We miss you, Stitch, and we love you - so so much.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Countdown to Christmas with the Yings: December 22

And now comes the day you've all been waiting for.  Introducing A!  Check out that hair, man.  Totally sweet dude.  Luckily he has stuck around much longer than his hair has.  Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Countdown to Christmas with the Yings: December 21

Oh, the two lovebirds that started it all.  Check out Santa and his Mrs. Claus.  What a lovely faux fur neckband on that outfit, Mrs. Claus must really hve some fashion sense.  We also must pause to appreciate Santa's strange black leather gloves.

Dear Baby

Last night there was a kind of Christmas miracle.  You have to forgive your old Mom here, because we both know that science is not my strong suit, but it was the first time in 450 plus years that the Winter Solstice has been on the same day as a Lunar eclipse.  I, of course, found out about it on facebook and some quick googling proved how rare this phenomenon was.  I immediately told your Dad - we have to see it!  We have to set our alarms, wake up and see it!  Crazy pregnancy hormones aside, he is used to these kinds of bizarre requests so he nodded that sure, we could get up and see it.

There was some rhetoric on the interwebs not only about the rarity of this event, but about the sacred meaning of the solstice combining with the energy of a lunar eclipse.  You know that I am even less of a religious scholar than a scientist, so I didn't understand a lot of what was said except that the combination of these two events would be a time of reflection and personal transformation.  As my body even now starts to swell in preparation for your growth, this seemed to me to be appropriate, and I suddenly couldn't wait to stand with you in the moonlight.

When the alarm rang at 2:30am, it was not quite as romantic as I'd hoped.  We stumbled out of bed and tried to find some sweatshirts in the dark.  We woke up our entire zoo of furry animals and they began to stretch and weave under our feet.  We tripped and swore.  We made it down the stairs and out the back door.  At first, I couldn't even find the moon.  And, man, it was COLD!  We stood on the deck and gazed at the moon.  It really was beautiful - all red and spooky-looking.  I waited to feel something magical.  I hugged your Dad and asked him if he was saying a little prayer.  He nodded, either because he was, or because he was already falling back to sleep.  I tried to think of the perfect thing to say.  I mumbled something about you being healthy, about us being happy.  I tried to feel blessed but all I felt was cold.  It was time to go back to bed.

We got back upstairs and Compass had found our abandoned bed.  We couldn't bear to kick him out so we curled up around him, snug and warm.  I laid on my back and put my hand on my belly and wondered if we had been blessed by the light, if it would bring us luck.  I thought of what I wanted for you, if we would miss it because I hadn't been able to articulate my hopes and dreams in those few moments under the moon.  It came to me then, simply: I hope you are extraordinary.  That was it.  That was all.  I thought for a moment about trudging back downstairs, back outside, back under the light to clarify what I was asking, what I was hoping for.  But I knew the moon was still shining on us, and that we would always be like this - we will show you amazing things.  We will stand with  you under the moonlight.  We will do our best to make sure you are blessed.  We won't always know what to say, but we will always, always love you.  And as long as we are there, together, that will be enough.