Saturday, June 30, 2012

Naming Ceremony

In Cherokee tradition, a baby isn't named until they have a naming ceremony. The tribe elder provides a name to the new member of the family through divine inspiration and the assistance of the ancestors. Being part Cherokee, I may want to subscribe to this tradition. Why? Discussing the name we want to give to our still-loading child has become a daily conversation.

I never thought when I became pregnant, one of the most difficult things we would have to do would be thinking about a name for our child. I was nervous about breastfeeding, getting the house ready, understanding what all of those gadgets were at Babies R Us, and ensuring we got the safest everything for the baby. But, this naming thing is hard. And, it is even harder when you give in to the temptation and look through baby name books or read through the popular names for the year in a magazine. (As a side note, I have discovered the fad this year is down with the letter "i." If a name once had an "i" in it, it has now been replaced with a "y." Apparently my mum was 36 years ahead of her time with my name.)

I have learned - the hard way - not to discuss our top choices for names with others. Everyone wants to ask you, "What names have you come up with?" They are expecially curious when they find out that we don't want to know the gender of our little one so we have to brainstorm two sets of names. It is bad to answer this question with any of the names we are in love with at the moment. Let me repeat - bad. You feel good if the questioning individual loves them too, but if they are less than pleased...the smirk, wrinkled nose or thin line of lip can be heartbreaking.

Note to others: don't ask an expecting couple what names they are considering unless you can put on a genuine smile, no matter the answer. The mother's hormones are zooming around the edge of lunatic and the father is probably barely holding on to sanity himself. Be kind.

So, you might be thinking..."find out the gender and make this process easier on you." You would think that would be a solution. But, we went to a class at the hospital earlier this week filled with couples who were all having girls and already had a name picked out. My go-against-the-norm self was proud I was having my own little revolution in this age of planning gone way too far. (yes, I said it. me. the planning freak)

The day we head to the hospital to deliver our Baby Dragon into the world, we will have a list of names with us - yes. But, I don't want to be attached to one name. I am hoping we can engage in a modified naming ceremony. I want to look at the baby in my arms and find an intuition or inspiration that will deliver the name to us.

Perhaps this is too idealistic, but I am going with it. I feel like settling on a name right now, would be like looking at a blank canvas and providing the soon-to-be-created painting a name. It just wouldn't work.

I know we will continue to make our list of scientists, engineers, composers and artists to provide some enlightenment and ideas for our darling baby. But, I look forward to the actual ceremony of finding just the right name when he or she is finally blinking up at us with a whole world of discovery ahead.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Nesting: An Illness or Just Hormones?

Nesting. This is something I haven't always fully comprehended or understood. Deep down, I am a gypsy at heart. I crave traveling, moving around, fitting everything into one bag. Of course, after living in one house for about ten years, I have accumulated more than my gypsy heart tends to feel comfortable with. And, most of the stuff -- books and my own art (along with the materials it takes to create it); I guess it isn't all so bad. But, when you read books on pregnancy, they tell you that you will begin to have the tendency to nest. Please! That won't be me; I won't give into hormones. I was so wrong.

My Type A, organized side, has taken over the house. And, it is taking no prisoners.

When we moved into our home, I was beginning three years of graduate school and we were working through the death of my husband's mother, all while we both worked full time. Unloading boxes and putting things away in an ideal way was not a priority. It killed a bit of my anal retentive spirit, but I dealt with it because there just wasn't the time. But, now that our baby is on the way...the priorities have changed. Any given morning, I am up early and organizing, throwing things away, putting items into a box for Goodwill and cleaning.

The house is a bit topsy turvy right now because we are moving things out and reorganizing most of the rooms to not only make way for baby, but to also give him or her the environment my nesting self is craving. I not only want to have space for the baby items we anticipate, but I also want the house neat and clean for impending baby visitors.

Perfect example - this morning. While my husband got ready for work, I decided to get up as well. What kind of crazy person is up at 4:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning? Um, me. I decided I would get some laundry started. My laundry adventure led to an expedition deep in my closet in search of clothes, shoes and other items I no longer needed and could be donated. By 5 a.m., most of the closet was pulled into the bedroom and I was sorting through my discoveries. My husband could only shrug, smile and give me a kiss goodbye. This has been his reality for the last four or five weeks.

I'm glad he is taking it in stride. Being together as long as we have, he understands me. It may be bewildering at times, but he knows this is what I need to do.

I have to say that although this process is considered nesting (yes, I feel like a momma bird, preparing for the impending chick), it is also freeing my gypsy heart a bit. I feel lighter. It feels good. I am getting closer to feeling ready for the baby to arrive...almost.

Note: This nesting process is feeling a bit more urgent this week. Why? I will be beginning my third trimester next week and the clock is ticking on my preparation time. Nothing gives me a warm fuzzy feeling right now like a schedule, a checked-off to do list and an item that is created solely for organizing. I know others share my illness - embrace it.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Three-Hour Tour: A Story of Registration and Survival

Is it coincidence that it took us the same amount of time to register at Babies R Us as it did for the castaways to end up on a deserted island? I don't think so. However, the castaways on Gilligan's Island may have packed quite a bit more than we did for our tour.

It was a warm Monday evening and we arrived at the behemoth baby mega store, Babies R Us, with one water bottle, one granola bar, clipboard, Consumer Reports app on one phone, bookmarked website for the Department of Highway Safety on another phone and a list of essentials for the soon-to-arrive little bundle. We were going to set up our baby registry.

To prepare for the day, we did research on items, narrowed the list to the things we wanted, and did a couple of recon missions in order to have a better lay of the land. If you have never been to Babies R Us - it is the equivalent of a Wal Mart Mega Store, but filled wall-to-wall with every item in creation designed with a baby or toddler in mind. In a word - overwhelming! But, we were determined to do this. This is the ultimate place for your baby registry, right?

The tour started innocuous enough. We sat at a desk with a pleasant woman who entered our information into a computer, provided us with materials to help guide us on our mission, handed us a scanner gun and then let us loose into the wilds of the baby jungle.

I won't lie. The scanner gun was a treat. It has become one of my favorite toys at Costco. I hope your Costco has one too - it makes shopping there so much more entertaining. Sorry, I digress. It happens when I talk about gadgets. Back to our story of survival.

With the scanner gun in hand, as well as our other registry tools, we set out on our trek. We had one and a half hours in mind for this tour of duty. But, apparently the registry gods had other ideas for us. We started at the back corner of the store and decided to make our way around so we ended at the front of the store. Swaddling, receiving blankets -- all a cinch. We even had fitted sheets scanned in a few minutes. As bears, ducks, dinosaurs, butterflies and giraffes flew by, we were stopped in our tracks by the decision to choose a mattress.

Which option was best for the baby? Which one was green and enabled us to transition it to a toddler mattress? Checking apps, lists, and getting sips of water...we made our choice. And, we moved on. But, our tour slowed at cribs (the one we had chosen a couple of months ago was no longer there), high chairs and pack n play/bassinet combos. Then, it was time for a bathroom break (I am six months pregnant; this baby likes to sit on my bladder and I've been instructed to drink at least 80 ounces of water each day).

We bypassed the jumper aisle - I am leery about having my child placed in an item that looks like a Mardi Gras float. Seriously, if you haven't seen these things - they are scary! Add lights and your child could easily enter the APS light parade.

Car seats were no problem because the research on this item had been taking place for a couple of weeks. We went through this area like trained ninjas.

By the time we made our way to bottles, bibs, pacifiers, we were beat, but we needed to continue on. I even considered handing off the scanner to Ry and telling him to go on to toys and clothing without me. But, we soldiered on together.

At the end of the night, we looked at our scanner and we were pleased and astounding that there was more than 100 items logged. When we went to close our registry, we were told, "Not bad. You guys are pretty realistic. Usually people register for about 200 items."

I was aghast. How long does that take? And, how do people train for such a tour? I don't think I would have had the stamina. We walked out the doors - accomplished and a bit wary.

The next day, I was rehydrated and preparing my clipboard with a question sheet for a daycare tour. This was going to be nothing compared to the three-hour tour.

Note: Ryan and I have felt so blessed by all of the support we have been receiving these last six months. And, the fact that we have close friends and family planning baby showers as we speak, giving reason for a registry...well, this too overwhelms us. We are two pretty lucky individuals...make that three lucky individuals.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

I'm Sensing a Disturbance in the Force

Pregnancy has been a new adventure. When I saw the plus sign, pregnancy was an alien state to me. My closest friends don't have children. If they do have children, they already had them when I met them...or, they had them in another state or country. A little perspective: my sister's baby shower is the only baby shower I have been to in 20 years. Babies were not a discussion topic around the table when I met with friends, except perhaps the occasional, "How is the baby-making going?"

With this all being said, being the knowledge-seeking person I am, I began doing research by reading books about pregnancy. The most helpful (and, don't laugh) has been What to Expect When Expecting. The book breaks everything down, month by month. And, the information is fascinating. The fact that we all walk, talk, breathe, dance, sing, basically do the things we do has become so amazing to me when you consider that we all started out as a fertilized egg. And, the way we develop so quickly...again, amazing!

Well, while reading the book, it tells me that in my fourth month, I may begin to feel the baby moving. Um, excuse me? Move? Okay, this is the stuff of sci fi movies, right? And, why don't other women who have been pregnant tell you about this?

It was about week 17 when I felt the first flutter in my abdomen. It wasn't gas. No, definitely not. It was different. Kind of like a butterfly or feather inside my tummy. The next week, it felt more like a gentle nudge from inside; someone very lightly poking me. My reaction? "Luke, I'm sensing a disturbance in the force." (yes, more talking to my tummy...I think this may have been when I started talking to my tummy more frequently in fact)

By week 20, the nudges were more frequent and more prominent. And, they seemed to occur on a schedule - 3:30 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 11:30 p.m. When I talked to the doctor about this, she told me very nonchalantly, and with all seriousness, that the baby was already training me. me: "Training me for what?" doc: "Feeding and taking care of it." me: "Oh? (pause) Oh!"

The movement hasn't always been a nudge, there were also somersaults or a rolling motion from week 18 through week 24. Imagine how your stomach feels when you are on a roller coaster plummeting toward the ground. Yeah, that feeling. It almost knocked me on my butt one day when I went running.

Right now, that little water dragon of ours is beginning to lose the space to do somersaults and move around with ease. At 25 weeks and 4 days, he or she is a little more than 1.5 pounds and nine inches long. And, with it losing space to move around, that also means that over the last three weeks, the movement is definitely more noticeable, more frequent and stronger. This little one is active! We think that perhaps he or she will take up karate or soccer. These little kicks can now be felt when I put my hand on my abdomen and they must be something akin to a roundhouse kick.

Having physicians and nurses in the building where I work has been helpful. They assure me that all of this crazy movement is a good thing. One of them told me that it shouldn't surprise me - active mom, active baby.

So, it isn't just a disturbance in the force, but it still is taking me some time to get used to. Those little kicks are reassuring that my little dragon is growing and healthy..and, for me, that is what is most important.

P.S. We'll keep you posted if our little one becomes a karate champion or World Cup Footballer.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Adventures in Searching for Daycare

Although our child is still "loading," there is so much to do to prepare for its arrival in this world. And, the preparation goes beyond having the essentials, like a bed to sleep in, diapers, clothing. One of these essentials is infant daycare. And, boy, we are finding it is a doozy of an effort.

As a full-time working woman, I am taking maternity leave, but then will be heading back to work full-time. I commute more than 20 miles to work so we are searching for a daycare nearby the office so I can check on the baby and breastfeed during day. The first obstacle and narrowing of the search - proxmity to the office.

We will not be using daycare every day of the week because my husband is home part of the week. Wonderful savings, right? Perhaps. As long as the daycare will even consider taking a child part-time, aka not a full five days. I have discovered that daycares don't really like to take children less than 5 days a week. Infants especially. Obstacle number two - willingness to take a child part-time.

Of course, we want the best for a our child. A licensed, up-to-date, clean, safe environment. Shouldn't be too much to ask. Luckily our state has a department that monitors child care facilities to ensure they are staying current with safety and health requirements - and they post each site's report online. But, when viewing the latest visits to some of the sites, my throat seized up and anxiety snuck up on me. Some locations had 17 to as many as 30 violations. EEk! Obstacle number three - safe and licensed provider.

When you put just these three obstacles together, the choices are significantly limited. How do parents do this? I am afraid to add my other wish list items -- national certification, leans toward the organic in cleaning supplies, caregivers have degrees in child development. Is my wish list unrealistic? I emailed a fellow executive mom and she is also in the process of searching for a daycare. We shared tips and findings. Knowing I have a comrade in this search has helped, but my anxiety hasn't lessened. Thank goodness, I am 25 weeks right now. We still have some time.

We are touring a daycare next week and then plan to tour two or three more for comparison. I am sure everything will work out -- these things usually do. But, in the meantime, I am attempting to tackle this little adventure one step at a time without the use of relaxation techniques learned in yoga.

I didn't even think about the search for a pediatrician today (this might have sent me over the edge).