A Very Un-Baby Shower

I have been meaning to post about the shower and just hadn’t gotten around to it. I knew February was going to be a busy month but in my wildest dreams I never expected for it to end up like it has. So I will take a break in the NICU posts and tell you about the weeks leading up to Baby G coming.

My family started coming in the week of the shower. My mom flew in Tuesday, my Tampa SIL and nephew drove in Thursday afternoon, and my little sister and Grandmother flew in late Thursday night. My mom and SIL had planned to stay for two weeks but my little sister and Grandmother could only stay through the weekend. It was fantastic to have everyone here though and I was blessed to have so much family here for the shower.

I had my baby shower theme picked out since almost the beginning of my pregnancy. I had decided on an “Alice in Wonderland” theme before we knew what we were having and narrowed it down to “Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” when we found out it was a boy. The planning of it wasn’t totally traditional as I was involved in a lot of it and my local SIL and two good friends were all planning it together. I had some specific ideas of what I wanted and didn’t want after looking through a lot of things online but the shower came together really well.

We started out with the invitation which the color scheme of black, teal blue, and red was set from. I wanted it to look haphazard and a little eclectic like the tea party Alice attended with the Mad Hatter and his friends. The main food table had different sizes and color platters and containers of little tea party foods such as mini quiches, little fruit kabobs, small tea sandwiches (egg salad and pimiento), pinwheels, etc.  The color scheme on this table (which was all set on a large lacy-looking tablecloth) was teal and white. There were bunnies, teapots, teacups, flowers and other odds and ends on the table and large blue and white tissue paper pom poms hanging above.

   

   

The dessert table was themed red and black and had a cupcake stand with beautiful white icing-topped cupcakes with red sprinkles wrapped in fancy heart-edged red wrappers. There were a few other dainty desserts on various platters and the open pass through behind was decorated with tiny tea sets.

There was a “Queen’s Corner” where I sat; decorated in black and red with roses. A mirror replaced our TV on the mantel and more bunnies decorated the small hearth below. I had found a nice black dress online and had diamond patterned stockings to go with it. My “Mom-to-be” badge and my wonderful mini top hat completed my ensemble.

I had seen the mini top hats online and had recruited my younger sister to make them for us for the shower. My hat was a black and white diamond pattern and was embellished with teal, white, and black. One of my friends had my “Mom-to-be” badge made to match and it turned out beautifully. Everyone else’s hats were black or white and were decorated to match their outfits. Each hat turned out fantastic.

We played a few games like guessing my belly circumference (the winner cut her piece of ribbon dead on), guessing baby food flavors, and the guests trying to decide whose features I’d rather the baby have; me or his daddy.

    

There were little accents all over the room that played into the theme. There was a wonderful mushroom lamp on a small table by the door with a framed excerpt from the book and some cards for guests to write their best wishes for us, a little basket of take-aways that was labeled “Take Me” by a tiny topiary with small red roses on it, another topiary on the drink table stating “Drink Me,” while another one on the food table stated the obvious “Eat Me.” There was a tiny field mouse on the food table and several keys scattered throughout. There was also a lovely frame hanging on the front door with a message to “Read the Directions, and directly you’ll be directed in the right direction.”‘

   

We had a wonderful time and the weeks of prep and effort were worth the result. It was elaborate and over-the-top and exactly what I wanted it to be. In fact, there were things we had intended to do that just didn’t get accomplished that would have made it even more elaborate. It was ok that we didn’t get to them, but it would have been even more amazing had we been able to.

I’m really glad we planned the shower for when we did, by the way, as my sweet little boy ended up coming the next weekend. Originally I had wanted my shower to be nearer to the end of February but with all the other events planned in February (other birthdays, friends going out of town, etc) the weekend we chose was literally the only one open. Guess God was already setting us up for an early birth day even then.

This is a Public Service Announcement

For many years I’ve been on anti-depressants. I’ve gone off them a few times and find that I just do better on them. I’ve never been suicidal – my symptoms generally manifest themselves into lethargy, low energy, and an unwillingness to go anywhere or do anything. I cry easy, am more easily affected by things that happen to me and have increased anxiety. It’s something my friends and family are all aware of and love me just the same even if they don’t totally understand it.

I stopped my meds about a month before trying to get pregnant. I knew that anti-depressants weren’t recommended or considered safe while pregnant so we knew that it might be a struggle but it was something necessary in order to try and have children. I did ok for the most part except for the first two months that I ended up not pregnant. The first month was the hardest and I cried bitterly off and on for a few days. The second month I fared a little better but still spent several hours crying in bed. I don’t tell this to many people because I’ve found people judge you very harshly when it comes to your emotional reactions to situations in general but trying to conceive and pregnancy specifically. Someone always has it worse and you should never complain or be upset. This is what I’ve found being on pregnancy blogs and boards. We got pregnant the third month but I still had a high anxiety level and worried a lot those first 12 weeks. But I fared emotionally very well until the situation happened at work and I fell into a deep dark hole that I couldn’t climb out of. That, coupled with the fact that I was disappointed about not seeing my family for the holidays, caused my husband and I to wonder if I needed some help.

The final event that sealed the debate was the ultrasound that showed us we were having a boy. I tried not to, but I had my heart set on a girl first. I knew from the beginning of the ultrasound that it was a boy – I had “seen” and spent the rest of the time trying to keep myself together. When she confirmed it was a boy, I teared up. After that I just couldn’t stay composed. When the doctor asked me a little bit later how I was doing, I broke down. That’s when she suggested I try going back on the anti-depressants. I had held off and debated and told myself I could be ok; that things would get better and I’d find my way out of the hole. But the rest of my evening was spent mostly in tears. The floodgates had opened and I couldn’t shut them. Please don’t get me wrong – I love my little man already and I will never love him less than I would have a girl – I had my hopes set on a girl and my emotionally worn out brain just couldn’t let go. That combined with everything else I had been feeling the previous weeks was more than I could manage. It was literally the straw that broke the camel’s back. If I thought of myself as a camel.

I made the grave mistake that night of writing a post on a pregnancy/baby-based board about my disappointment and how I was feeling. I suppose in my less than stellar state I forgot how hateful, judgmental, and downright nasty people are. I know, really? How could I have forgotten that? The responses I got back were just short of verbal stonings. I was called every name in the book and basically made out to be a disgusting person who shouldn’t be allowed to procreate.  I also took for granted that my depression would be understood and my already damaged emotional state taken into consideration. But often, those who don’t understand, judge. This, dear friends, did not help me feel any better. I thought that these women, who were all in the same position I was in, would understand another woman’s fears and feelings. I was, unfortunately, very wrong. It took me a lot longer than I like to admit to get over their hateful responses.

What’s interesting is people ask all the time “what do you want?” in reference to the baby’s gender. This is disguised as a real question, as though the asker truly wants to hear what you have to say. What’s even better is when you tell them what you ARE having and they ask you if that’s what you wanted. Then you’re REALLY in trouble. But apparently though the politically correct mommy response is “Oh, we just want(ed) a healthy baby!”  Then you win the good mommy-to-be award and you get a cookie and a pony. Ok, not really – you just don’t get publicly flogged. Now, I’m pretty sure no one has ever answered that they want an unhealthy baby. People just don’t do that. And I understand not having a preference. But why is it so bad if you do have one? You can prefer dark chocolate over white, paper over plastic, trucks over cars, but you most definitely cannot prefer to have a girl child over a boy child (or vice versa). Shame on you for thinking of it.

So back to my mental state. I started a very low dose of Zoloft that night and have been on it since. The first few days were rough as I was dealing with the fallout from my online verbal diarrhea, continuing hatred for my job, and the typical anxiety that comes from starting new anti-depressants. I also had some internal struggles as, like I mentioned earlier, anti-depressants during pregnancy aren’t proven to be 100% safe. My family was also concerned and I struggled with that as well, feeling like I was disappointing everyone and risking hurting my baby. But the medicine helped – is helping. There are risks either way as stress hormones can cross the placenta and also harm the baby. I’m entering my third trimester now and I am weaning off as everything I have read shows that the main risk is during the third trimester and near birth. I am now on half a dose and am doing ok. I’m praying I will continue to do well after I am completely go off of them.

Depression isn’t something a lot of people talk about or understand. You hear about postpartum depression a lot but you don’t hear about the depression that happens during pregnancy very often. It’s like one of those things about pregnancy no one ever tells you until you are in the middle of it, but worse. You must be happy you are pregnant and happy you’re having a healthy baby and you cannot have bad thoughts or wish things were different, because, dang it, YOU ARE BLESSED. Ok, so that might be a slight exaggeration, but it’s close. Pregnancy makes you extra emotional to begin with, so determining what is “normal” and what is “too much” is not an easy thing to do. It’s also not an easy decision on how to deal with it. I think I’ve done the best I can do for my little boy and me. So now I will foray into the third (and thankfully, final) trimester med-free. I have an appointment tomorrow and plan to find out the final weaning steps. Keep us in your thoughts, and more importantly, your prayers. I’m sure we’ll need them.

Thursday Update

I am now several weeks into my 2nd trimester and I can’t say things are easier. Different, just not easier. The nausea is gone and so is most of the extreme tiredness. Is that a word? Tiredness? Oh well, it’s mostly gone anyway. I still get tired easier than I did before I was pregnant, but the brain-numbing exhaustion has mostly passed. The excessive peeing was supposed to have slowed this trimester too but I haven’t seen much of a change. Except now I go from not needing to pee to needing to pee immediately.

I’m still drinking a ton of water and some days it never seems like enough. I haven’t regained my love of delicious tasty things (chocolate, cakes, cookies, etc) but I’m still managing to put on more weight than I should be. I’m guessing a few too many McRibs will do that to a person. Don’t judge. And don’t try to tell me what’s in them. I love them and you will not take that from me.

Another new symptom is weird pains. Most times when I sit down I get this strange uncomfortable feeling like my bladder is being compressed and everything is being squished. Probably because it is. It doesn’t last long, but it still doesn’t feel good. Then I get sharp pains, pressure pains, shooting pains, and other pains at random and various times throughout the day. Then there is my nose. It’s always stuffy. Or runny. Or stuffy but running. Very very annoying.  Apparently this is also a common pregnancy symptom. WHY DON’T THEY TELL US THIS STUFF??

In other news, we are moved into our new house. The unpacking is slow and tortuous. Tons more space, but still not enough places to put things. Probably because we have too much stuff. I have done some throwing away and some garage-sale-boxing, but not nearly enough. Today I unpacked a clothes box and semi-organized the bathroom. And cleaned the stove and the table and set up my fall table decorations. Which seems a little silly as the rest of my house is still in chaos but I missed decorating for Halloween. I’m still looking for an unpacking fairy but haven’t seen one yet.

I’ll cry to that!

The pregnancy weepies have found me. We are on our way back from Tennessee and stopped at Arby’s to eat lunch. As I currently intensely dislike fried foods I went with a French Dip and a salad. I’ve always loved Arby’s French Dips… Not so much with the new bread they use. Now they’re gross. Add this disappointment to the fact that I hate the way I look, there’s something wrong with my car (and of course it started as we were getting ready to start a 6-hr trip home), and I’m terrified we might have picked up bed bugs in the cabin, and I barely made it to the car before busting into tears. I feel violently unhappy and seriously overwhelmed. On top of all that I miss my family desperately. I talked to my dad for a few minutes this morning and hearing his voice made me realize just how much I miss him and everyone else. So now I’m a blubbering mess and I worry that now that the dam has broken it will never stop. Just when I’m not feeling so heinous all the time, something else starts.

On a more positive note, we close on our new house Friday and hope to get everything moved in this weekend. I say “we” even though I’ll be working all weekend. Then we have a week to finish up moving and cleaning the old house to get it ready for the renters. We have some new furniture picked out and hope to order it this week. Then it will just be the joys of unpacking. And painting. And figuring out where to put stuff.

As I mentioned earlier, I currently have a distaste for fried foods. This started last week when I ate some fried chicken. The chicken was delicious as I ate it, even if I was a little sensitive to the grease taste. But after I ate, holy cow, I felt horrible. It felt like my throat was coated in grease and that’s all I could taste. I apparently did not learn my lesson as the next day I had French fries (fast food version) and ended up feeling the same horrible way. It was then I decided (and announced) that I was not allowed to eat fried stuff anymore and no one was to let me do it. I have stuck by my guns but I should add raw onions to that list as I can’t get the taste out of my mouth since I ate a few on my salad for lunch.

That’s all that’s new for right now. I have my first trimester screening tests tomorrow which include an ultrasound so I hope I’ll have some actual “baby” pictures instead of my 6 week ones that look like a blob. Pray for a healthy normal baby and a healthy happy mama!

Things that need doing…

So it’s 10:50pm and I have to be up at 6:30am for work. So I really should be going to bed. Instead of sitting up watching TV and playing on the computer. Or, I could be packing. Or cleaning. Or ordering my tripod before it’s too late to take it to Tennessee next week. But I’m doing none of these things. Instead, I’m sitting here watching Charmed on Netflix and playing on the computer.

So, packing. I’ve packed 3 1/2 boxes. And one tote of summer clothes. This, my friends, is not enough things packed. The husband has managed to get some linens and kitchen things packed, plus a box of DVDs… so I think that brings our grand total of boxes packed to 8 1/2 boxes. Out of maybe a billion boxes that need to be packed. Where is the packing fairy when I need one?

I think as far as the cleaning part goes I’m just going to let that go until after all our stuff is moved out. I mean, honestly, what’s the point of cleaning stuff if I just have to clean it again when we move out. It’s only a few weeks. Yeah, I know. I’m super lazy.

Really, I should be sleeping. I’ll go to bed in a few minutes, I swear. It just takes me a bit to wind down after work. So as I’m getting sleepier, I’ll tell you how I’ve been doing.

I’ve been starting to feel better and better every day. I’m less tired and less sleepy than before and I’ve been feeling less nauseous. I haven’t had cramps in a few weeks but the excessive peeing hasn’t lessened at all. But, even though I’m less tired I still seem to need extra sleep. Hence why I should be sleeping now instead of playing on the computer.

I’ve gotten fatter. It’s not a baby bump, exactly… It’s really just a fat blimpy belly. Complete with love handles. Not pretty. I don’t have many food aversions, with the exception of most sweets. I am more interested in them now than I have been but still I’m not craving sweets. Peanut butter and jelly, yes. Sweets, no. But I’m sure my love of peanut butter and jelly will be short lived and I’ll move on to something else.

So next week we go to Tennessee for a long weekend with some friends of ours. I’m really looking forward to the break from work. Some days I just don’t know how I’ll make it through there without stabbing someone or running screaming from the building. The Friday we come back we will hopefully close on the house and then we’ll have a week to move and get this place cleaned out. Maybe we’ll have more than 8 1/2 boxes packed by then.

So if anyone would like to come cook, clean, pack, or rub my feet, just let me know. I might still be right here on the couch not sleeping, packing, or cleaning.

A Desperate Plea to My Unborn Child

Dear Child,
If you would be so accommodating as to develop a preference for salads again I (and my arteries, cholesterol, and blood pressure) would greatly appreciate it. Before you moved in I had a nice diet of salads and turkey sandwiches. Now, it’s pizza, Chinese food, and other restaurant items. This cannot continue. You will be born obese and I will resemble the Goodyear blimp. I do appreciate your dislike of sweets, dear child, but I cannot approve of your hatred for vegetables and anything remotely healthy. If you do not behave at once I will… Well… I’ll be very unhappy.
Love,
Your Mom

Bringing Home Baby… Or Bringing Baby Home… Or Buying a House for the Baby

We think we’ve found a house! We’ve actually put an offer on the house and are working on the financing and logistics at the moment. We’ve been looking forever and when we walked in we both really liked it. There are a few drawbacks, but the price is good and the layout is nice.

It’s a 5 bedroom, 3 1/2 bath. The master is downstairs and has a nice large bathroom with a good sized walk-in closet. All the bedrooms are carpeted, but the rest of the downstairs is hardwood. One drawback is there is not a formal dining room which I’ve wanted after not being able to fit more than 4 people at our current table. But the space, considered a breakfast area, is large enough for a 6 person table. If we get one with a leaf then we can always expand it when company comes over. There are 4 bedrooms upstairs, 3 of which have walk-in closets. The 4th bedroom has a standard closet but has it’s own bath. Makes for a great guest room. And if my brother and sister-in-law ever decide to move up here they can have their own room while they look for a place to live. =) There is a linen closet in the master bathroom and another one upstairs. This is particularly thrilling to me because our current house has no closets to speak of. There is also a 19×8 room at the top of the stairs which will be perfect for storage. There is also attic space but I like the idea of having my decorations and other items more readily accessible.

The biggest drawback is the size of the lot. It’s only .18 acres and my husband really wanted at least 1/2 an acre. We really didn’t want to be so close to our neighbors after living in this neighborhood. But where the house is is mostly undeveloped. The builder got foreclosed on so only three houses are in the “subdivision.” The house we like is surrounded by empty lots. We are hoping it will stay this way for a few years. And, if someone DOES come in and purchase a lot, they will more than likely not purchase a lot directly next to an existing house with so many lots available.

So now we wait. We pray the financing goes through and this is the right house for us. Everything has worked out so well so far I can only believe that God is steering us this direction.

Good thing is, if we do get this house and my family does come for Christmas, my little sister won’t have to sleep on the stairs.