Musings of a Mum: 34 Weeks

June 21, 2012 Candace Morris 4 Comments

Hey there, my little cantaloupe:
Today, as I was listening to very old Cocteau Twins and resting my hands on my belly, I swore I was touching what felt like your knuckles.  I had a vision of you reaching out to my hand with your little hand, and suddenly my being flooded with happiness.  

I keep thinking I am still in the adjustment phase to the 3rd trimester.  But I don't seem to be adjusting well at all.  I never feel like I am finally at a plateau and may rest, but I am instead hiking up a steep and steady incline, with no rest in sight.  Everything hurts, including my heart and brain.  I laugh now, but I had a breakdown this week of such a pathetic nature.  Clothes make me cranky anyway, and now I have very little that doesn't cut into my growing underbelly and it's VERY uncomfortable to wear anything but yoga pants.  I tried to change into a pair and those also didn't work so I had to fall into a crying spell on the bed.  The logic of trying to find something else more comfortable evaded me and instead, the world basically ended.  

In between the aching feet, uncontrollable emotion, bouts of anxiety, heart-palpitations followed by eerily shallow breathing, stabbing SI joint pain, neck immobility, unrecognizable body, bloody noses, little feet jabbing my rib-cage, and inability to get comfortable in just about any position, I do find moments of excitement.  This week, we had dinner with our neighbors who have a 1-year old.  As he and I locked eyes, I remembered how much I love babies and how now I would have my very own, how I would now smile so much more each day, how our house will be filled with the sweet smell of baby, and how this pregnancy will most assuredly end.  Indeed, I will be considered full-term in 3 short weeks!

We have finally made some progress on your accommodations.  You will not be sleeping in a themed nursery, sorry about that.  You will instead be sleeping with my old books; you'll have to learn to share the space with them.  We put your curtains up, have your crib to assemble, organized the closet so I can place your boxes of hand-me-downs away, and will be on the lookout for a vintage dresser. 

I have no fine advise or wisdom this week other than being thrilled by a brilliant speech from Captain Picard regarding the afterlife.  My brain seems to be on autopilot, just surviving the days - which seem insurmountable in the morning but always surprisingly transient by bedtime.  I ponder how your entering the world will come about, and I long deeply for wisdom and peace surrounding it, and so I read, but keeping in mind to prepare for the unknown, to plan to not plan.  For some, it seems reading a lot of books made their preparations more worrisome...but for me, information (the more, the better) has always been a way to ease the unknown.

Enjoy your last weeks of sweet amniotic oblivion,
The Voice


Musings of a Mum: 33 Weeks

June 15, 2012 Candace Morris 2 Comments

The future: time's excuse
to frighten us; too vast
a project, too large a morsel
for the heart's mouth.

Little Lady Scout:
It seems I have lost my feet, but MY GOODNESS you have found yours!  Perhaps you will be a dancer, a swimmer, or a spasmodic tree-climber.  You are kicking and squirming and wiggling all day, so it seems.  I feel a vicariousness in your movement, for the future has me kicking as well.  All things seem to be getting harder and harder, right down to the most simple tasks of getting out of bed or making dinner.  We've done very little to get your room ready, though we do hope to remedy that soon.

In addition to relating to your movement, I can relate to the pressure you no doubt feel around your body as you grow.  I have to remind myself to take deep breaths and to say positive things to myself.  
My favorites:
  • Nothing is permanent.
  • You cannot be pregnant forever.
  • Birth will be beautiful.
  • There is no right way to do any of this.
I journaled the other day that I have this nagging voice telling me I am not doing pregnancy right.  The bigger I get, the more confidence seems to leak from my eyeballs in the form of tears.  I am not feeling awesome, I am not refraining from complaining, I am not eating as well as I should, I cannot seem to tap into the positive energy everyone else seems to feel about pregnancy, etc. etc.  Then, quite cosmically, I stumbled onto a chapter in "Birthing From Within" called Losing It that specifically addressed that there is no one or ideal way to get a baby out.  For some, actually LOSING it will produce exactly the environment and energy they need to birth.  It's so strange to me that you won't even remember it.

I am not sure why I am telling you all this other than it's relevant to our body and I do believe you will be curious about it one day.  It is also an important life-lesson - this being gentle with yourself.  Neko Case satirically sang to me yesterday, "Don't make mistakes or be human." I suppose what's difficult here is knowing what is or isn't a mistake for us.  The next lesson in parenting, no doubt.  Your father wisely said to me that just because I had learned to cope with anxiety in other areas didn't necessarily mean I would be a pro at it in all areas. 

I am so future-oriented.  When I pull up at the grocery store, I am memorizing my list and remembering my totes.  When I check out, I am plotting the route back to the car.  When I start the engine, I already know which way I'll be leaving out of the parking lot.  I am so incredibly anticipatory that I live almost never exactly in the moment.  I read a journal entry last night that began with, "I know I am disappointing my future self by not writing more about pregnancy."  I may have learned to live with the tendency to be disappointed in my daily self, but the notion of taking cautionary pains to keep a future self from being disappointed is so revealing to me.   Who can we be but exactly who we are?  If there were a wish granted me today, it would be that all notions of future planning and expectations be blinded and that for even one day, I could be in the now.  Alas, as it stands, I am writing this, but anticipating tonight's plans.  What I think must be the lesson here is that I must learn to accept myself in the now - the self that can never fully grasp the moment - and that in that acceptance and kindness for who I naturally am is where I might find the stillness I crave. 

You've started hiccuping this week.  I notice it in the mornings when I slowly rouse and remember you are there.  I subconsciously rub my belly and feel these consistent flutters.  You are head-down, which is great news.  Before I used to feel only one movement, and now when I feel a kick to the ribs, I also feel a great pressure on my pelvis - you must be stretching out.  You are roughly the weight of a pineapple and your taste buds are developed.  The Midwife says either you are big for your age or I have a lot of extra amniotic fluid. I've had heart-palpitations and shortness of breath come on quite suddenly this week, which knocked me out for a good day.  This was also, no doubt, an onset for the anxiety.  

We received your first books this week from Aunt Erin and Uncle Adam - and GOOD ONE's too!  I set them carefully on the bookshelf and imagined you making a huge mess of them.  It's your right.  Your dad, a few glasses of wine into the night, stopped me this week and said that he suddenly was very excited to have a baby, and that it felt very good to feel.  Indeed, my child.  Very good to feel indeed.

Now our lives are changing fast.
I hope that something pure can last.
(Arcade Fire)


Travels: The L.A. Edition

June 11, 2012 Candace Morris 6 Comments

I returned late last night from the last of my escapades before the August arrival of our offspring.  All of these trips were booked some time in March when I had been plagued by a serious case of wanderlust and was also gifted with the second trimester glory, both of which factored into my ill-advised travel plans for May and June. Each trip was wonderful and I don't regret them, but I am so tired.  The kind of tired where the slightest tenderness from your husband makes you cry pathetically as you fall into his arms.  I find it so interesting that fatigue can bring us to the pockets of ourselves we thought sewn up.  The ugly ways we behave to others, the irrational thoughts, the incapacities of being.  Lesson for today, dear souls: SLEEP.  The end.

My nieces Clara and Victoria, and my oldest sister Monica


 Isaac waxing serious with GG Don and GG June

My mom and her yummy ice cream cake

 Sis wanted a side profile of the belly and my Mom's awesome 70s glasses

Me with my twin nephews, Vincent and Isaac

My Gma Ruth

My gorgeous niece, Victoria

Ze Belly.

The trip to LA was lovely. I almost never see my family, and for some reason, pregnancy has made me miss them more than usual.  There is something about being near your own blood while growing a life inside of you that makes sense.  Perhaps it's the ancient craving for the village's support, perhaps it's an answer to the loneliness of pregnancy, perhaps it's the answers to the need to know how other women of your DNA carried their children.  For whatever reason, it was nice.

For the rest of the weekend, post-shower, sis and I just hung out watching Clara be the cutest.

Come on! Really? 
Ouch, my hearts!

Monday feels a bit bitter in my mouth. More water please,


Musings of a Mum: 32 Weeks

June 07, 2012 Candace Morris 8 Comments

Heya Scout,
Time has become stranger and stranger.  I feel as though I woke up and was suddenly 7 months pregnant.  However, those first 7 months felt like an eternity.  Similarly, the remaining 9 weeks feel like forever while simultaneously not containing enough days to get all the preparations ready for your arrival.  

You know, I always thought I would be an anxious pregnant person.  While I cannot confess to euphoric peace or a general feeling of deep calm, I have really not been too anxious about you and your development.  It's been an interesting exercise (and no doubt good preparation for birth) to trust my body to do its natural thing.  Speaking of birth, we finished up those birthing classes and just last night took a breastfeeding course at the hospital.  This means I am 100% prepared for your arrival and will now know what to do at all times. Of course it does.

The last few weeks have been rough.  We lost Denise, we've traveled an insane amount (tomorrow we leave for LA - which will be our fourth trip to CA in 6 weeks), and we've entered the 3rd trimester almost unaware.  A new fatigue surrounds my body and slowly drips into my soul.  I find myself, like the first trimester, wanting to hide from social obligations and failing in my attempt to conjuring up energy from empty wells.  Within this fatigue, I've found more voices of self-judgement and am endlessly confronted with the opportunities to forgive myself and be gentle with these days.  I've cried more in the last two weeks than the entire pregnancy.  I have felt so lonely and miss my sister, my Red, my inner sanctum of women, yet rarely have the energy to pursue or endure social things.  I've had the motivation to work on projects, but my body stubbornly refuses to move.  A human being is interesting to encounter when she confronts her own incapacities.  

You are moving like a banchie! I can see your limbs kicking and feel you stretching out into my ribs.  I am still shocked by it, but also making myself take comfort in its assurances of your well being.  I am still taking warm baths nightly, but have also found that swimming at our local pool is nearly the only time I find I am completely comfortable.  Your dad has been a saint to me, even if he's not given up whiskey...and I've had to confront my dependence upon him head-on.  He's begun to hand me my seat-belt when I get into the car (he's held the door open for me for years now), and I found it so considerate and kind, as it is extremely hard to twist at the waist for such activities.  It's not been pleasant to be so dependent, as your mother is a very independent lady.  You've been content with my diet so far, as I've not had any huge cravings.  Still, fruit of all kinds has been on my radar, as well as soft-serve ice cream, which is uncommonly hard to find in this city.  

There is a lot to ponder...a confusing sea of dread, fear, excitement, and curiosity awaits.  In atypical fashion, I've found I'm more comfortable skimming the surface of all that is to come.  I suppose something wise inside of me knows that there is no way to dive in yet, my fins aren't ready.  I've learned that people speak more negatively of newborn-life than positively, and I've learned to not judge them for it.  Parents, no humans...are simply not careful enough about what they say to others - as if their experience is the ultimate truth for everyone. "Forget about trying to get her on a feeding schedule..." or "My baby sleeps through the night at 6 weeks!" or my recent favorite analogy, completely unsolicited from a near stranger, "Being pregnant is like waiting in line for a scary roller-coaster.  You are anxious as you watch others scream and think about how intense it must be as they all flail about.  But then you get on, and it's even more intense then you could have imagined."  How is that, IN ANY WAY, supposed to comfort a new mother?   It makes me want to steal us all away to figure it out on our own, which we will.  

Enclosed above is a California Poppy.  While in the state of CA, they are illegal to pick.  As a child, I would go with my family to the Poppy reserve close to our house, and we would stare at the fields of orange blowing in the Antelope Valley wind.  We will be going there Friday, and I hope you'll sense the magic.  Here in WA, poppies grow like weeds.  Joel doesn't even care about them!  I see them all the time and have never allowed myself to pick one.  Today, in our very own yard, I saw one and immediately picked it.  It was a sacred moment.  It sits here with us as I write to you.

The Voice