Monday, October 15, 2012

Skippy Says: 2 Months (Parenthood)

Dear Sophia,

Today you turn two months old. To celebrate, I took you to the pediatrician to get your first vaccines. I dreaded it for the days weeks leading up to it, insisting that daddy take a few hours off work to come with me. Because I knew I didn't have it in me to hold you while you got pricked.

When I was younger, I would accompany my grandparents to many a doctors visits to act as their translator since they didn't speak English. And I remember vividly one appointment when my grandpa needed a shot. I couldn't watch because I hurt so bad for him. I didn't think it was possible to hurt more for anyone than I did for him that afternoon. I was wrong. And I kept thinking back to when I had to get an infected tooth removed, shortly after we arrived in America. I was six years old, and the doctor told me that I would need a shot. I pleaded with my dad to take it for me. He told me how badly he wished he could, how he wished he could take all the pain in my lifetime onto himself. And for the first time at your appointment today, I truly understood.

Like last month, this one has not been without its challenges. We are continuing to struggle with breastfeeding, both because of my infection and my low milk supply. Holding you is often agonizing because of the pain in my breasts. Furthermore, you've developed several charming new habits such as: 1) needing to be held in someone's arms and having them simultaneously rock you, shush you, and do deep squats with you in order for you to fall asleep and, despite all that hard work, refusing to sleep for more than a half hour stretch at a time during the day; 2) crying anytime you are in your carseat, stroller, or any type of carrier thereby making it impossible to leave the house with you; and 3) screaming bloody murder to the point that your entire body is shaking, you're snorting, and your face gets beet red every time you finish a bottle and realize there is no more food to be had. I guess you take after your mama in the liking to eat department. Daddy has fondly taken to calling you his little goldfish because it seems you would eat until you literally explode if we allowed you to.

But then you reach your arms out for me and you smile. And for a few brief moments, my heart feels light.

Slowly but surely we are getting to know one another. I'm learning how to interpret your cries; you're learning that I don't appreciate being pooped on when I get in the tub with you (you haven't done it for two times in a row now!). Though bathtime is still generally daddy's domain and I only take over if he's stuck at work late. Which thankfully hasn't been all that often because, girl, you are e.x.h.a.u.s.t.i.n.g. The minute he walks in the door from work I hand you over. And the huge smile on his face at the sheer joy of seeing you makes my heart feel light for a few moments more.

One of the greatest and most unexpected gifts you've given me is a new level of closeness with daddy that I didn't know was possible, and the continual reaffirmation of how lucky I am to have such a wonderful teammate. Despite the (many) trying days, and (thank goodness only a few) difficult nights, daddy has been nothing but kind and patient. Lord knows I've done my best to pick fights with him, but I am only one woman and the man makes it impossible. It's infuriating.

This is the last month you're officially a "newborn." From what I understand, starting at three months, you graduate to "infant." And while I'd be lying if I said I didn't look forward to that (everyone has assured me things get easier after three months), I'm going to try to soak up and enjoy every last newborn minute with you I get, challenges and all.



Saturday, September 15, 2012

Skippy Says: 1 month (Parenthood)

Dear Sophia,

Today, you turn one month old.

It has been, by far, the most challenging month of my life.

I tell you this so bluntly because should you choose to make me a grandma someday, I want you to know that it's ok to feel that, to say that.

From the way you chose to enter this world on, you have made two things very clear: 1) You will do things your way, no matter what my hopes and plans for you are, and 2) you inherited your mama's stubbornness, plus some. In fact, unbeknownst to me, daddy video recorded the first moment we met, and upon watching it I learned that the first thing I said to you as I held you in my arms was "hey little girl, why you gotta be so stubborn?"

If, in addition to my stubbornness, you've also inherited my need to be in control, you'll find, like me, that the hardest part of parenthood is being so totally out of control of pretty much everything. And you'll have to learn to let go. I'm working on it.

I had grand plans for you, for us. I was going to bring you into this world naturally, no medication whatsoever. I was going to hold you skin to skin and breastfeed immediately. Daddy was going to cut your cord. But after being in hard labor for 10 hours, reaching 10 centimeters, and pushing for 7.5 hours with not a drop of pain medication, the doctors discovered that your head was turned sideways and therefore could not, would not, come out. They tried to fix the problem and turn it to face the right direction, but do you know what your stubborn self did? Turned it right back. So a cesarean it was. After a failed epidural, another hour of contractions, and then a failed spinal, I was put under general anesthesia. You were cut out of me. I met you ten hours later, in the NICU, as you had swallowed meconium and were born not breathing.

We went home four days later.

Since we've been home I've been trying to recover from the c section, battling a terrible case of thrush, and doing everything I can to try to increase my very low milk supply. Our days are spent feeding and pumping, with an average of a half hour break in between before we rinse and repeat.  It is exhausting. It is draining, And hardest of all, it is totally and completely defeating.

When I sat down to write you this letter, I did not think that these are the words I would leave you with. But to write anything else would be dishonest, and I refuse to begin our relationship on a deceitful note.

Here's hoping next month will treat us a little more kindly.

All my love,


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Skippy Says: 40 Weeks (Pregnancy Journal)

40 Weeks

Dear baby girl,

I am very short on words this week, mainly because I'm very short on sleep. You have me up 7+ times a night to pee. The limited time I'm not peeing doesn't do me much good either since I'm so jittery with the anticipation of your arrival. I don't think I've slept more than two non-consecutive hours in the last week. And it feels like such a waste-- since I'm not sleeping anyway I might as well be up because I'm caring for and cuddling you. So please, be ready to come out soon. Daddy and I could not be more ready or excited to meet you.



Thursday, August 2, 2012

Skippy Says: 39 Weeks (Pregnancy Journal)

39 Weeks

Dear baby girl,

I never thought we'd make it this far. Yeah, I definitely, definitely, DEFINITELY expected to have popped by now. I guess I'll consider this good training for the first of many surprises you're sure to throw my way.

This last week was a big one for our family. On Monday, daddy and I celebrated nine years of being together. And by celebrated I mean stayed at home until I whined long enough that daddy took me out for an ice cream cone. It's really not his fault though, since I made him take Wednesday off work to celebrate our two year wedding anniversary. And making him plan two anniversary dates (because you better believe that's his job) two days apart isn't really all that fair. I guess.

In other news, I had one of those weird pregnancy moments where I realize you're real. Like, you know, a person. And coming. Sometime soon. Here's what went down: at our prenatal appointment, my midwife felt around and declared that you had dropped and were now sitting lower than the week before. "I could feel her head in your pelvis" she told me. Totally innocuous statement, right? Except then for some reason I become giddy because, wait for it, you HAVE A HEAD. That's right. I grew something someone that has a head. You'd think I'd get that before because, you know, babies generally have heads. And for weeks I've been obsessively asking my midwife if you're head down so I can have the vaginal birth I want. And I've been imagining your head. And I've bought you hats to cover your head. Yet somehow, I never processed that you're actually going to have one. Until now. I get it now. I get it now--you're going to have a head. And that makes me really happy.

Soon, maybe (hopefully!) even before I get to write you your next letter, it will be your birthday. Your actual birth day. The real deal. I told daddy I read about some couples baking a birthday cake to bring to the hospital to celebrate with after the baby is born. Being as hormonal as I am I thought that was  the cutest idea ever. Plus, you know I'm going to want some birthday cake after all that hard work. When I asked daddy his thoughts on the subject, he looked like he was trying really hard to say something that wouldn't get him a night on the couch before settling on saying that the idea was "" Little did he know--cutesy is definitely couch worthy. At least it is when I know how he feels about cutesy things in general. Still doesn't change my mind. Birthday cake for the hospital is now on the list. That, and champagne. And you better believe I made sure it was cutesy champagne--for our anniversary, I surprised daddy by ordering the champagne we had at our wedding to bring to the hospital with us.

Tonight there will be a full moon.  Hopefully that means we'll get to put that cutesy birthday cake and bottle of champagne to use very, very soon.



Thursday, July 26, 2012

Skippy Says: 38 Weeks (Pregnancy Journal)

38 Weeks

Dear baby girl,

We are all moved into our new place. Your nursery is set up, my spices are alphabetized and put away, and your clothes are washed and organized. I am officially ready for you to come.

A lot of people talk about how they feel exhausted during pregnancy, especially towards the end, and I consider myself very lucky to have been spared from this fate. I'm not sure whether I actually have the same amount of energy that I used to, or whether it's my utter inability to sit still and not be doing something productive at all times, but overall I've continued with my days per usual-- going to the gym, walking Ryder, grocery shopping, cooking, etc. The first time I truly felt totally wiped out was the first four loooong days of moving and unpacking. And by looooong  I mean working from 6:00 am- 1:00 am and sleeping for just five hours, only to get up and do it all over again. And again. And then for a fourth time. But I wanted to badly to get it all done. You know, because of all the crazy in my head. I'm sure despite my best efforts you'll inherit some of it and understand exactly what it is I'm talking about. Just like you'll understand why it took every ounce of strength I had not to chop your uncle's hand off when he lifted a book I had oh-so-carefully arranged on your bookshelf at precisely the right angle and proceeded to put it back wrong. But I digress.

We are moved in. We have hot water. I have finally been able to nest, and it's been glorious. Aside from getting all of your things set up and ready, I've been cooking my little heart off in our amazing new kitchen. I made two different soups which I froze to defrost and eat after your arrival. And marinated tofu. And chow mein. And cookies. Plus some salads. Oh, and mini frittatas baked in a cupcake pan for a portable breakfast for daddy to take to work. Yeah. They're as cute as they sound. I thought they were kinda too cute to even eat, but daddy didn't agree.

This whole pregnancy, people have been asking whether I'm excited to meet you. And as the date gets closer and closer, I've been getting that question more and more. I've always answered, honestly, that yes, of course, I'm excited. But that yes was always accompanied by a reservation, a nervousness, a sense of not being ready. Because, you know, we were still living in your uncle's tiny apartment that he graciously offered to let us stay in while our house was being constructed. For the first time since getting pregnant, I now feel nothing but pure joy and excitement at the thought of you coming. And it feels so good. Daddy's been ready this whole time, but now I finally am too. As is Ryder-- your furry big bro spend the morning licking my belly as I sat on the couch reading childbirth stories, trying to will you to come out. Here's hoping you'll soon feel ready to meet all of us too.



Thursday, July 19, 2012

Skippy Says: 37 Weeks (Pregnancy Journal)

37 Weeks

Dear baby girl,

This is a big day for us. Today, I'm officially full term. And today, we are officially moving into our new house which we've been remodelling constructing for the last six months. We'll just ignore the fact that full term doesn't mean all that much since I technically have three more weeks to go. And while we're in the groove of ignoring things, we'll also ignore that the house we're moving into isn't quite done. And by that I mean, there's not exactly hot water in it quite yet. The next few days should be interesting as we wait with bated breath to discover what I hate more-- cold waters or being smelly. I have a feeling I may prefer the latter, but daddy might weigh in favor of me going with the former.

The last week has been absolute madness as we prep for the big move. Your grandma and grandpa have been helping a ton-- they're at the house every single day helping with one thing or another. I'm quite honestly constantly in awe of their unceasing support, and I so hope that I'll be able to give you the same thing one day. I've been helping when and where I can as well (in between prenatal appointments, various last minute prenatal tests, la leche league meetings, sessions with our doula, etc) but am pretty limited with what I am allowed to do given my big belly these days.

Speaking of that belly of mine, two people in the last week have asked me whether I'm having twins. Baby girl, here's your first piece of the heaps of unsolicited advice you're sure to get in your lifetime: don't ever, ever, ever ask a pregnant woman if she's having twins. No good can come of it. The stunned look on their faces when I told them there was only one of you in there didn't help matters too much either. Followed by "oh, she's going to be biiig." Thank you, kind strangers. Thank you very much.

On a brighter note, you and I have found a fun new game to play. You poke a limb out, I push back on it, and then you quickly retreat and poke another one out elsewhere. Rinse and repeat until one of us gets tired. Usually you. Gonna have to learn to buck up, girl- l'm not going to be going easy on you just because you're little. When I told daddy about our game, he commented that it sounded suspiciously close to a childhood favorite-- whac a mole. From none other than Wikipedia: "Whac-A-Mole is an arcade redemption game. A typical Whac-A-Mole machine consists of a large, waist-level cabinet with five holes in its top and a large, soft, black mallet. Each hole contains a single plastic mole and the machinery necessary to move it up and down. Once the game starts, the moles will begin to pop up from their holes at random. The object of the game is to force the individual moles back into their holes by hitting them directly on the head with the mallet, thereby adding to the player's score." That's a whole lotta words, so perhaps a visual aid is in order:

Except hopefully I'm not poking you hard enough to give you that woozy, though undeniably adorable, look on your face.



Thursday, July 12, 2012

Skippy Says: 36 Weeks (Pregnancy Journal)

36 Weeks

Dear baby girl,

I apologize for last week's letter to you being a bit of a downer. I happen to be one of those people that's terrible at hiding my true emotions, and when I sat down to try to write you a happy note despite being miserable it just felt...unsettling. I don't want to start our relationship off by lying to you before you're even born, so brutal honesty it was. Unfortunately, often times brutal honesty means letting you know that sometimes everything in the world seems like it's conspiring to ruin your life. As your mama, there is nothing I want more than to protect you from ever feeling that way, though I know that often times it will be out of my control. But thankfully there are days like today to balance it all out, days when brutal honesty means telling you that I can't stop smiling.

I woke up this morning to the kindest email I have ever received from a reader:

Dear Inna,
I was saddened to hear that baby's library has been damaged by the water and mold. Would it be OK if I send you a few replacements? You could let me know a few of the titles you lost, or I could send you a little B&N giftcard.      
It would really make me happy to help build up baby's library again -- I believe you're never too young (or old) to become a reader!

And then I melted into pure happiness. I'm not sure if this reader realizes quite what a powerful impact she had on me by sending this email. Sure, there is the obvious appreciation for her generosity to me and you, total strangers; appreciation for her thoughtfulness and compassion. But more than anything, I'm grateful to her for reminding me that I'm bringing you into a world where people like her exist. And when things are rough and I'm questioning how I'll ever deal with seeing you in pain from having to face your challenges yet unknown, it comforts me so much to know that the difficulties in your life will be balanced out by acts from kind people like her.

Speaking of bringing you into this world, I can't believe how soon it's going to happen. I know I say that every week, and it must be getting annoying to read over and over again, but it boggles my mind that you're due to join our family in less than 30 days. Three out of the ten couples from our centering group have already welcomed their little ones who chose to make an early appearance, and getting their emails one after the other was a not so gentle reminder that you really could come any day now. While this totally freaks me out because we're still not moved into our new house, daddy is much more carefree about the whole thing. It's pretty much daily now that he grabs my belly, gives it and you a little shake, looks me in the eye and demands: "give me my baby... I want my baby now." Endearing as it may be, I hope you continue to listen to me and not him, at least until we're moved in, unpacked, and, most importantly, all of my 100+ spices are alphabetically put away. Mmmmkay?

That being said, there is no way I can describe how excited I am to finally meet you, to snuggle and squeeze you as tightly as the anticipation of the last nine months wants me to. When I try to conjure up the words, my eyes automatically close, an involuntarily huge smile spreads across my face, and my heart literally feels as though it's about to swell out of my chest. But no words come.



Thursday, July 5, 2012

Skippy Says: 35 Weeks (Pregnancy Journal)

35 Weeks

Dear baby girl,

I can't believe we've made it this far-- 5 more weeks, or, if you really want to make me freak out, 35 more days, until your due date. Combine that ridiculously short period of time with my unrelenting feeling that you're making your arrival even earlier and all I can say is holy Crap. Notice the capital "C". Also, it's bolded and underlined for extra emphasis. That's how you know I mean business.

As always, I'm not going to sugarcoat things for you. This past week has been Rough. Notice how the "R" is not only capitalized, bolded, and underlined, but it's also italicized. That's how you know I mean serious business.

It all started Saturday when I discovered that suitcases I had been keeping in storage with all of my pre-pregnancy clothes and tons of shoes were soaking wet and covered in a thick layer of mold thanks to a leak in the storage unit. Oh, and a ton of books too. About 40 books we had bought for you to start your library collection, and a ton of mine as well including some of my favorites as well as cookbooks daddy and I got as wedding presents. I know this is just stuff, I do. But, superficial or not, I love my stuff. Knowing this, daddy kept commenting on how proud he was of me for not having a nervous breakdown. Truthfully, it's all due to my mama who was an absolute angel. She dropped everything she had to do and spent the whole day sorting through the piles of moldy things with me, laundering and hand-washing those things that had hope of being saved. I hope I can be a mama like that to you.

I woke up Sunday convinced it would have to be a better day. And it was. Slightly. All that happened was that Ryder pulled me really hard as I was walking him. Seeing as I'm a bit off balance these days, I fell over and sprained my ankle pretty bad. And then I limped home. Good times.

Monday I woke up with it feeling worse, so I called my doctor who suggested heading in to urgent care. I limped to my car only to discover it had been broken into overnight. Then I spent from 10:00 am- 5:00 pm in the waiting room in urgent care. Right in between that one dude who was loudly smacking his gum and the other dude that smelled like ass. There, I said it.

Tuesday I found two more moldy suitcases full of stuff I had somehow missed on Saturday.

That, my sweet girl, was my week. I told you I meant serious business.

But every time I felt down on my luck, lamenting how unfortunate I was (and, I won't lie, those times were many), I thought of you growing in my belly, of how lucky I am to get to hold you in my arms so soon. Holy Crap so soon. And while that didn't take away my Rough week, it certainly made it easier to bear. And for that I thank you.



Thursday, June 28, 2012

Skippy Says: 34 Weeks (Pregnancy Journal)

34 Weeks

Dear baby girl,

Well, we're back home in San Francisco. As much as I love this city (and you'll quickly realize it's a lot-- you already have a few infant San Francisco books in your library collection) I would not have said no to another week in Maui. Or two. My only concern was the (unsolicited) heaps of people telling me I was bound to have a "Maui baby" if we didn't get back soon. Um, I'm supposedly still six weeks away from your arrival. But thanks for not so subtly telling me I look way bigger, kind strangers. That combined with someone repeatedly telling me they love to be in photos with me because it makes them feel less fat have been huge ego boosters this past week. Mama's riding high!

But, you know, there's really not much I can do. I work out at the gym (hard- shhhh don't tell daddy because I promised his paranoid ass I take it super easy) at least 3-4 times a week. On days I don't go to the gym I stay active by hiking or at least walking with Ryder. I eat lots of delicious salads, veggies, and fruits. Lots of whole grains, beans, and legumes. Occasional fish. I'll admit a weakened resolution to saying no to pizza, but not all that often. So if my belly (and hopefully you!) are growing despite that, well, so it is. And if that makes people feel better about being "fat" themselves, I guess I'll consider that my good deed of the day.

Sidenote: Daddy ate an entire huge Costco box of sour belts and a whole package of oreos on our trip, as well as lots of pizza and burritos. I ate lots of salad, watermelon, and pineapple. He did not gain any weight. I did. He sucks.

My big belly is attracting lots of attention though. Just today, a little boy on the bus pointed at me and yelled really loudly: "Look, mom, she's having a baby!" His poor mom looked really sheepish, and refused to make eye contact with me. Her son blatantly stared at me, wide-eyed and mouthed, until they got off.  Lots of random strangers are sparking up conversations, and daddy says my random-smiles-from-strangers ratio is super high. Score.

I still feel, more strongly than ever, that you're coming early,  Like, real early. Scary I'm not ready for you yet early. Grandma said my belly dropped in the week we were in Maui, and I also feel like you descended. And landed right atop my bladder. Thanks buddy. Hang in there- mama needs some more time to get her shit together. But words cannot describe how excited she is to meet you. Now she'll stop talking in third person so you don't punch her in the face for this when you're older and reading this letter.



Thursday, June 21, 2012

Skippy Says: 33 Weeks (Pregnancy Journal)

33 Weeks

Dear baby girl,

Hello from Maui! Between battling the ridiculously slow (and often non-existent) internet at the condo we're renting here and being dead tired from our (glorious) day, you almost didn't get a letter this week. But when I get my mind set on something it's hard to stop me. Plus, can you imagine how infuriating it would be for my OCD to have a letter for you every week except for one? That gap would drive me absolutely insane. So I willed the internet to get going with all my might (and refreshed the page about 100 times as I impatiently waited for it to load) and here we are.

When daddy and I were on the plane coming here, he looked at me, smiled, gave me a kiss on the cheek, and said "happy fake moon." You see, daddy thinks I made the concept of a babymoon up to get him to take time off work and go on vacation. If only I were so clever. No, we have someone else (probably the hospitality industry?) to thank for inventing the concept for our getaway. To them I send my sincerest mahalo.

We spent our first few days here split between swimming on stunning beaches and walking along them. Well, that, and making sure we're back in time for daddy to catch some really important basketball game he wanted to watch. I don't know much about it but daddy impressed the gravity of the situation on me by explaining that this is "like the world series of basketball." Which I don't really understand either except for that it means it's serious stuff.  Plus, me agreeing to come back meant I got a foot rub for being a good sport, and you know I'm not turning down an opportunity for one of those.

Today was spent doing the road to Hana drive, stopping at the "Garden of Eden" botnaical gardens and the Seven Pools along the way. We did a bit of a hike at the Seven Pools, going all the way up to one of the greatest and most stunning waterfalls I've ever seen. It was hot and we stupidly did not bring any water on the hike, so daddy kept urging me to have us turn back early, but thankfully I resisted and persevered. It was totally worth it. I think you felt my excitement and wanted to see what we were looking at as well, because at one point you were pushing up against my stomach so hard I thought you were going to break out. Don't you worry- you'll have your chance. I can't wait to take you here one day and see your face light up at the beauty of it all.



Thursday, June 14, 2012

Skippy Says: 32 Weeks (Pregnancy Journal)

32 Weeks

Dear baby girl,

I should warn you that I've been up since 4:00 am, so this letter may be a bit incoherent. Why have I been up since 4:00 am? Well, let's just say I won't be eating watermelon right before bed anymore. Because after getting up several times to, um, use the facilities, my body was like no way am I going back to sleep tonight lady- you're just going to wake me up again in half an hour to go again. After fruitlessly struggling for a while, I gave in and accepted my fate. On the bright side, daddy got a warm, freshly cooked breakfast on a weekday. Which I think means I can weasel a massage out of him tonight.

Adding to my incoherence is the incredible excitement I'm feeling right now. Daddy just learned that he is able to get some time off from work, so we decided on a super last minute babymoon to Maui. As in, we just booked our tickets less than an hour ago, and we leave in four days. F-o-u-r. Foooooooooouuuuuuur. 4. And we go for a whole week. And maybe, just maybe, he doesn't check his work email for that whole week. I know, I know, I'm a crazy dreamer. But the wiring in my brain is all criss-crossed from excitement so I'm shooting for the stars. Oh, also, I'm hoping I can coerce daddy into going swimming with dolphins again. We did that last time we were in Hawaii and it was pretty much the best thing ever. I'm thinking I can get him on board with the never-failing "but I'm carrying our child for us." Thank you, baby girl. In return, I promise to take you to play with dolphins in Hawaii after you're born. And I promise to try not to shove you out of my way too hard as I make my way over to nuzzle them. It's the least I can do.

Oh, and per last week, I made good on my promise. My hospital bag is nearly packed, with just a few little things left that I am still waiting to get from my online order. Which means you better make good on your end of the deal and hang out inside me for another eight weeks. Because while Hawaii is no doubt lovely, I'd rather not have to fly back to the mainland with a newborn.



Thursday, June 7, 2012

Skippy Says: 31 Weeks (Pregnancy Journal)

31 Weeks

Dear baby girl,

There was something in the air this past weekend. First, my cousin's wife, who is was pregnant only about 4 weeks ahead of me, gave birth to a baby boy. Since you're probably not very good at math yet, I'll spare you the headache and tell you that's 6 weeks early. I'm not very good at math either, but counting on my fingers rarely fails me and my fingers tell me she was 34 weeks. Then, one of my good friends, who is pregnant about 5 weeks behind me, went to the hospital because she was having contractions. My trusty fingers tell me that she was only 25 weeks when this happened. And I learned both sets of news with, oh, 2 minutes of each other. And then I freaked out and started yelling at daddy about how I'm really not kidding about needing to get our hospital bags packed.

Thankfully, you stayed put. I gave you a firm talking to about needing more time to cook you, and I think we have an understanding. I mean, after I told you you couldn't come out yet, you poked me, and I poked you back. If that doesn't constitute a contract, I don't know what does. Just kidding Professor Gergen, I totally do! It's: 1. Apparent assent to undertake an obligation; 2. A legal basis for enforcing that promise; and 3. Sometimes an adequate writing as evidence under the Statute of Frauds. And NO, I did not have to go back to my contracts outline to look that up (I totally did). Sigh. Not only is your mama a total nerd, she apparently also has really bad long term memory. Or is this short term memory? Uh, I'm pretty sure it's long term. Sigh again. Your mama apparently doesn't really know the difference between long and short term memory.

Even though I'm confident you're not the type of girl to break our contract, I've began getting some things together for the hospital bag. I already have some stuff, and I ordered a few things I still need online. Once those arrive I'll pack everything up all nice and neat. In the meantime, I'm controlling my OCD need to get this does ASAP in the only way I know how-- I made a long list of things I need to bring, and highlighted everything on it. As I put together the things I have, I'm crossing off and un-highlighting. The things I still don't have are therefore boldly and tortuously flaunting their un-crossed yellow highlighted selves at me, making sure I get them done sooner rather than later.  Because what's worse than to do list items that are both un-crossed AND highlighted? That's a double whammy right there.

In all seriousness though, the time to your arrival really is ticking down so quickly that I'm getting anxious about getting everything done. I KNOW, that is SO uncharacteristic of me, right? I think the fact that we still have about a month and a half of construction left before we can move into our new house (and that's a pretty generous estimate) is really starting to weigh on me. In theory, I know that if you come before it's ready and we're still living at your uncle's house it's not a big deal. But that's only in theory. In my gut the thought makes me so anxious that I feel my insides being all twisted up. And then I think about how that stress can't be good for you, and stress out about that, and then I twist up some more. So I propose a deal: I'll get everything I possibly can ready for you ASAP (note that the house is out of my control), but you still hold on to your end of the bargain and stay inside my belly for at least nine more weeks. Mmmm-kay?



Thursday, May 31, 2012

Skippy Says: 30 Weeks (Pregnancy Journal)

30 weeks

Dear baby girl,

Today you turn 30 weeks old, and I get to start the much anticipated 10 week countdown until your arrival. I've been waiting for this day for a long time. Even though it's only a week difference, for some reason 30 weeks just sounds so much further along than 29 weeks. You know, just like 25 sounds so much older than 24-- going from "early 20's" to "mid 20's" in one fell swoop like that is bullshit if you ask me.

This last week you somehow managed to reposition yourself to sit directly atop my bladder. In practical terms, this means that I've now gone from feeling like I have to pee every 20 minutes, to feeling like I have to go every second. No, seriously. I'll go pee, stand up to pull my pants up, and then promptly pull them back down because standing up shifted your weight onto my bladder again. Except, whoops, I have nothing left to pee out because, you know, I just gave it everything I had. But the feeling of needing to go is still perpetually there. So if you wouldn't mind shifting just a bit now I'd appreciate it. As would daddy and everyone else who has to hear me whining about needing to pee all the time.

You think I'm kidding, but much of our time during out little getaway in Santa Cruz this past weekend was spent searching for bathrooms. Not exactly how I imagined our first "vacation" since our honeymoon, and probably our last for quite some time. In between the bathroom trips, though, we managed to relax and enjoy each other's company for the first time in a while since daddy has been so busy with work lately. We ate, went to the boardwalk, lay by the pool, hiked, saw a movie, rented a little motor boat to go out on the ocean for a few hours, and played mini golf (I got a hole in one! Daddy didn't! BAM! Don't ask about the other holes though....). If your activity level is any indication, you had a pretty good time yourself-- you wouldn't quit twisting and turning in my belly all weekend. And although he's been feeling you for months now, daddy's face still lights up every single time he feels you. And although I've been seeing his reaction for months now, it still melts my heart every single time to see him to happy and excited over being able to connect with you.



Thursday, May 24, 2012

Skippy Says: 29 Weeks (Pregnancy Journal)

29 Weeks

Dear baby girl,

Although you're not here yet, I can already tell you're going to be quite a handful. At our ultrasound yesterday, you spent the entire time kicking me and moving around so much that the tech could barely get a read on the level of my amniotic fluid. And then when we tried to get a good shot of your face, you decided that would be a good time to put your hand up in front of it so we could barely see you. Although, to be fair, you did lower it for about 5 seconds to stick your tongue out at us. Touché baby girl, touché.

This weekend daddy and I are taking you to Santa Cruz for a little getaway. We never got to go on a babymoon since daddy has been really busy at work for a few months now, so this is kinda it. Unfortunately, work hasn't gotten much less hectic for him, so I've been warned that he may be holed up in the hotel room working while you and I go explore Santa Cruz on our own. Conversely, he's been warned that if that happens I'll be sulking and he'll probably be sleeping on the couch.

Only one more week left now until the 10 week countdown, and only eleven until you're due to arrive. Just tonight, daddy was talking about how he wants to hold you, and I replied that it would only be another eleven weeks or so. Then we both stared at each other in awe. Eleven! E-l-e-v-e-n. Eleven. That is not a lot. You'd think I'd be used to the idea since everything in my mind nowadays is tied to how soon I'll get to meet, but I still haven't totally processed it. Case in point: Yesterday, I was listening to NPR in the car when they casually mentioned that it's the last day of their fundraising drive, and that they wouldn't be doing another one for another 4 months. And the first thing I thought of was how by their next fundraising drive, you'll be over a month old. And then I had to pull the car over to breathe so I didn't crash into the nice old lady in front of me.



Thursday, May 17, 2012

Skippy Says: 28 Weeks (Pregnancy Journal)

28 Weeks

Dear baby girl,

As I write this, I've just finished rocking the little girl I nanny for to sleep, and was finally able to put her down. I have to say you didn't make my job any easier. For some reason, you decided that as I sat rocking her would be the perfect time for you to start kicking ferociously. So ferociously, in fact, that your kicks kept bumping my stomach out into her and jolting her awake right as she was starting to drift off, and then I'd have to start the process all over again. What's up with that? Perhaps you weren't happy with all that attention I was giving her because you've already inherited my jealous streak. You know, the one I inherited from your grandpa that he inherited from your great-grandma. It's only fair I continue to pass it on-- we wouldn't want to break a proud family tradition like that now would we?

I still can't believe that every time I write you one of these letters, I'm a week closer to meeting you. Some days it seems so far off- almost three whole months left to go. But then other days I internalize that means you're only 12 weeks away, and realize how short of a time that really is. It's probably even less time than that because I've been told that shorter women tend to go into labor earlier, and I'm less inches away than I'd like to admit from being able to qualify for a handicap pass due to my, um, "petite" statute. Plus, while I don't get a whole lot of premonitions with this pregnancy, something deep inside me tells me you'll make your appearance a bit early. All this to say I better sign you up for a pediatrician and pack my hospital bag. Oh, and apparently I also have to enroll you in preschool. Before you're born. Which is whack. Feel free to quote me on that.

I really hope you're not too early though, because we're planning on moving to our new house mid July. Yeah, you know, when I'm right about 37.5 weeks pregnant with you. No biggie. We'd move in earlier except, OOOPS, our house still doesn't have any walls. Or floors. Not to mention toilets. I think if you came before we moved I might have a heart attack. I know technically all would be fine-- everyone has assured me that as a newborn you won't need anything more than my boob and a tiny space to sleep in. But it's not all about you, you know. I need to satisfy my nesting urges by creating a beautiful nursery for you, and so far I haven't had the chance to even get started. And you know what that means? That's right, too much time on mommy blogs, pinterest, and etsy looking at design inspiration and finding things I NEED that I didn't know existed 5 minutes ago.



Thursday, May 10, 2012

Skippy Says: 27 Weeks (Pregnancy Journal)

27 Weeks

Dear baby girl,

Today marks the beginning of us moving into the third trimester. In truth, there are loads of different opinions about when the third trimester starts, ranging anywhere from 26 to 29 weeks, but I've heard 27 weeks the most so I'm going with it. Especially because it means it starts now. And patience is not my virtue. Hopefully you'll get daddy's end of the stick with that one.

You welcomed the third trimester with your very first case of the hiccups. Daddy's eyes bugged out as he stared at my belly, jiggling at regular intervals for a few moments as you hiccuped away. I have to say, picturing you hiccuping is pretty much the cutest image ever. In my head, you look much like our puppy, Ryder, when he gets the hiccups: wide-eyed, confused, and eyebrows furrowed as if to ask what the hell is going on. Except, you know, you're not all furry. I don't think. Though I promise I'll love you either way. Maybe even more if you are furry. I love furry beings. Especially furry beings with smushy faces. But I digress.

To start the third trimester off on the right foot, I did something I've never done before- prenatal yoga! My doula is a yoga instructor, and as part of our package she offers a private prenatal yoga class. Good thing I still went to the gym earlier in the day, because a good workout it was not. But a wonderfully relaxing and bonding experience? Yes. Much more so than I anticipated. I'm not a yoga person generally. I tend to (perhaps unfairly) write it off because it just doesn't do for me what I want exercise to do. A.k.a I don't leave with a bright red face, wild hair jutting out of my used-to-be-neat-when-I-started-the-workout bun, and sweat pouring out of every orifice of my body including my nostrils. What can I say? I like to look sexy after my workouts. But none of that mattered. Because the second I closed my eyes and started breathing deeply, you started kicking to let me know we were doing this together. Because as I lay in child's pose, I felt you move inside me more deeply than I've ever felt before. Because my doula reminded me that with each breath I took, I was giving that breath to you and nourishing you with it. And because for that hour, I felt more excited about becoming your mama than I've felt anytime in the last six months.



Thursday, May 3, 2012

Skippy Says: 26 Weeks (Pregnancy Journal)

26 Weeks

Dear baby girl,

I think it's safe to say I've officially "popped." Although I feel like I have looked very obviously pregnant for months now, people still refused to believe it. Like that Safeway clerk that asked me about the meaning of the baby shoe charm I wear around my neck. I told him my aunt gave it to me when I got pregnant, and he asked me how old you were. Infuriated, I pointed him in the direction of my big belly. But this week, these last few days, something changed. People are asking me how far along I am, passengers are insisting that I take their seat on crowded bus rides, and random strangers have started touching my belly. I'm down with the first two, but not so much with the last one.

My midwife told me that my belly is growing out more than most women's because I (and my torso) are so short. While the uterus and baby have room to keeping growing up in taller women, that's not so much the case for us shorties, so out it goes instead. My uterus is already pretty much right below my chest, and it doesn't get up that high for "normal" sized people until they're significantly further along. Which I'm pretty sure means mine will be coming out of my throat in a few weeks time. Where else is it to go? All this belly growing has led to some growing lower back pain, which led me to order a maternity back support belt, which led me to feel about 60 years old. And let me tell you, the strict 9:00 pm bedtime or I'm dead tired the next day isn't helping so much with that either.

As of today though, I've got a big milestone to keep me going. We're officially down to double digits until you get here. Or at least until your estimated due date. Only 99 days to go until I get to meet you! And in case you had any doubt, I foresee myself being pretty annoying about this fact. And by that I mean I foresee myself waking daddy up e.v.e.r.y.m.o.r.n.i.n.g. from now on with a countdown of how many days are left. 98! 97! 96! It'll so be worth the noogie I'm sure he'll give me in return. Plus, I figure it's good prep for the rendition of 99 bottles of beer on the wall that I'm sure you'll grace our ears with one fateful day.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Skippy Says: 25 Weeks (Pregnancy Journal)

25 Weeks

Dear baby girl,

As my bump continues to grow, I'm finding everyday life a bit more challenging. I have a hard time shaving my legs because my stomach is in the way. I have a hard time doing mountain climbers at the gym because my stomach is in the way. I have a hard time bending down to put on my shoes because my stomach is in the way. Are you sensing a theme here?

I hate to say it, but the thing that's suffered most is my sleep. And I take that personally. You see, I'm really good at sleeping. Or at least I used to be. I was known as the #1 sleeper on the block. One of my proudest stories is of how I impressed the bejeezus out of a doctor with my sleeping abilities. I had to stay up all night for some electrode test thingy they were running on me to see why I faint (side note: I hope you don't inherit that from me). The reason they ask you to stay up all night is because they need you to fall into at least a stage 1 or 2 sleep in a brightly lit hospital room while they test your brain activity, and most people are too uncomfortable to do that unless they're severely sleep deprived. But not your mama. I fell into REM sleep within 2 minutes of laying down on that hospital bed, and continued to sleep through all the pricks and pokes and prods. In fact, I'm told I continued to sleep as the doctor lifted my eyelids and shone bright flashlights in them. How's that for impressive? But I'm largely too uncomfortable to sleep much of the night nowadays, allotting myself 10 hours of sleep in hopes of actually getting 6-7. You see? Not only have you taken away my ability to wear cute clothes and have non-furry legs, but now you've also taken away the number one thing I used to be good at. You best be cute is all I'm sayin'.

Despite the discomforts, all of the sudden I'm not as eager to get pregnancy over with as soon as possible. I realized today I only have 15 weeks left of you being in my belly before you make your grand entrance. Only 15 weeks left of being able to take you absolutely everywhere I go, of being able to fully protect you from everything in the outside world until certain things will be out of my hands. And you will learn quickly how I do not like or deal too well with things being out of my hands. Especially when it comes to you.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Skippy Says: 24 Weeks (Pregnancy Journal)

24 weeks

Dear baby girl,

I have been waiting for this day since the moment I found out I was pregnant with you. You see, starting at 24 weeks your chances of survival should you be born early are pretty darn good. As in, I could tell that rather unsympathetic doctor I spoke with a few weeks ago to shove it. Although I'm pretty sure you still weigh just over a pound so if you could hang out inside me for just a bit longer and grow to a reasonable size so I'm not scared of breaking you I'd appreciate it.

My book tells me that at 24 weeks your face is fully formed, complete with eyelashes, eyebrows, and a good amount of hair on your head. Except apparently that hair is currently "snow white" since you haven't gotten the whole developing pigment stuff down quite yet. That's still a comin'.

You're moving a ton these days, and so strongly that you could see my stomach jiggle with your kicks and punches. It's pretty entertaining, though it makes for a sadly unproductive morning. I had grand plans to read a chapter in one of my child-birthing books while the baby I nanny for slept this morning, but you decided it was a good time to kick so instead I rolled up my shirt and stared at my involuntarily vibrating belly for about 45 minutes straight. I'm pretty sure this means that once you are born I'll just stare at you all day and get absolutely no work done. It's not creepy if it's your mama doing it, right?

I gotta admit it's not just your movements that make my belly entertaining to look at. I'm a major innie, so I don't think I'll be one of those mamas whose belly button sticks out normally, but mine has started to poke out if I apply pressure around it in just the right way. The first time I showed daddy he said "ewwwww" but now he's come around and is as amused by it as I am. Last night at our prenatal appointment, our midwife was complimenting how nice my belly looked and how I hadn't developed any stretch marks. I promptly responded by showing her my belly button trick. What? I was proud. She tried to be polite, but her face couldn't hold it together.  Oh well, maybe if I show her again next time she'll get used to it like daddy did.



Thursday, April 12, 2012

Skippy Says: 23 Weeks (Pregnancy Journal)

23 Weeks

Dear baby girl,

I can't believe how strong you have gotten in such a short amount of time. I had kind of a late start on feeling you move, but since then you have more than made up for it with your kicks getting stronger daily. When you're feeling particularly excitable, you kick so hard that daddy can see your squirms just by looking at my belly! No luck so far with determining whether it's your hand, foot, head, or some other body part that's the culprit, but daddy can tell exactly where inside my belly you're moving since that part will raise slightly up from the rest of my belly and jiggle a bit. Daddy gets super excited pointing to the part of my belly where he sees you and going "there," "there," and then looking over to me for confirmation. You can bet we have a new nightly ritual. And you can bet I have no say in whether or not I want to do it. Lastly, you can bet I'm going to start messing with his head by pretending you're kicking in a totally different spot than he sees. Hey, if he can have his fun, I can have mine.

You definitely have your favorite times to move around-- in the morning, at night, anytime after I eat, and, strangely enough, whenever I'm riding on the bus. All the other times are supposedly common, but that last one is a doozy. I'm not sure what it is about the bus that gets you so riled up. Is it the stop and go jerky motion? The people standing next to me invading my personal space? I certainly hope it's not that one man who smells like he hasn't showered in, oh, about a decade who I always have to try to discreetly move away from so that I don't gag. My books tell me all your senses have developed now, so I know you know who I'm talking about. Plus, I swear I can feel you scrunching up your nose in disgust whenever we're less than 10 feet away from him.

Speaking of your developed senses, you apparently can hear everything I hear now too. I mean, in a muffled, protected by layers of tissue and amniotic fluid sort of way, but still. Perhaps that means I should stop swearing so much. At this rate, you'll fly down my birth canal yelling "craaaaap," which I think would leave your grandmas and grandpas pretty disappointed, although undoubtedly impressed.

I've told daddy he should start talking to you now that you can hear him, since I've read that if he talks to you enough you'll come to recognize his voice and kick in response to hearing it. Pretty neat, huh? Daddy's interpretation of my order request is to put his mouth right up on my belly and say "moooooove, come on, moooooooooove." And then he sticks is tongue in my belly button because he's gross like that and knows it will make me squeal in horror. I'm generally unable to fight back on my own, though I put up a damn darn good fight. I can't wait until you're around, and we can plot ways to get back at him together. You know you wanna be on my side.



Thursday, April 5, 2012

Skippy Says: 22 Weeks (Pregnancy Journal)

22 Weeks

Dear baby girl,

Well, this week has been infinitely better than the last one. Thank goodness. Maybe I'll take back that spanking I was going to give you after all. You haven't pulled any crazy shenanigans. Aside from kicking me all the time that is, but that's a shenanigan that makes me smile so I'll let it slide. You're welcome. Your kicks have been getting stronger and stronger, and daddy is able to feel them now as well. Every night when he gets home from work he makes me lie down, puts his hands on my belly, and tells you to move. Often you comply, but not always. If you decide to be rebellious, he squishes my belly around trying to wake you up, and if that makes you give him a kick he gets a really goofy grin on his face. I hope you inherit that goofy grin of his.

This past weekend the San Francisco public library was having a fundraiser selling old books, so daddy and I went and got you 28 books. I thought I'd maybe find one or two, but two minutes in I instructed daddy to go grab a big cart as I attempted to balance 8 books in one hand while using the other hand to browse through more. I couldn't help myself. So many good books! To read to you, and, eventually, for you to read to me. Plus, they were only $1 a piece, and you know how mama loves a good bargain. I hope you inherit that love of mine. But maybe not quite to the crazy extent I have it. Case in point, I hope you don't buy really bad tasting B12 vitamins that you have to let dissolve under your tongue instead of the more expensive kind you simply swallow just because they're buy one bottle, get the second one for 1 cent. I know that sounds like an amazing deal, but there's a reason it exists. You'll never take them except when daddy physically holds your kicking and screaming body down and shoves them in your mouth makes you.

I'm just about 5 months pregnant now, and I can't believe how many people still can't tell I'm pregnant. I feel huge. H.U.G.E. It just boggles my mind people aren't making the connection yet. In fact, it's like people purposefully refuse to believe it. Just a few days ago, I was reading a book on childbirth when a woman came up to me and asked me if I was a midwife. Really? A midwife? That's your question for me when you see me reading Birthing From Within? Not "when are you due?" or even a more modest "are you expecting?" but "are you a midwife?" It took every ounce of strength I had not to punch her in the face. I think I now understand why pregnant women rub their belly so much- they do it when they want to let others know they're pregnant. That's when I rub mine anyway. On the bus wanting to sit down? Rub my belly. Someone looking at me like I'm really fat? Rub my belly. In a bar for a friend's birthday party? Definitely don't rub my belly.



Thursday, March 29, 2012

Skippy Says: 21 Weeks (Pregnancy Journal)

21 Weeks

Dear baby girl,

You may still be little, but I'm not going to sugarcoat things for you-- this has been a rough week, with an especially rough day today to top it off. Some might even say a horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day.

First of all, I should tell you that you've officially earned your very first spanking. What's that you say? You thought I didn't believe in spankings as a form of discipline? Well, you just may have changed my mind. You see, earlier this week my stomach felt really hard at night. I mean, it always feels hard, but it felt rock solid hard. And I felt some tightening, as well as some pain that went along with it. So naturally I turned to the internet for comfort. And this is probably a good point to remind you it's not nice to laugh at your mama. Google told me this could be a sign I was going into pre-term labor. Um, that's not comforting. What up with that google? I thought we had an agreement. It was about 11:30 at night at this point, so I frantically called the hospital. The doctor on call I spoke with was just about as comforting as google. She said it could be pre-term labor, and if it was there was nothing they can do because I wasn't far enough along yet for you to be viable, so, you know, just try to get some sleep. Um, right, sleep.

At this point, the only thing that could even mildly comfort me was the thought of feeling you move so I would know you're ok. Except you refused to. All. Night. Every single other night you have moved multiple times. But that night, the night I really needed you to, you refused to budge. I tried eating, drinking, and laying super still in a ton of different positions. And still nothing. I called the hospital the next morning and spoke with a much more helpful doctor who explained that this was normal, and could be caused in large part because I had a cold. And then, only then, did you begin wiggling around again. Like, JUST KIDDING MOM, I really pulled your leg there, huh? I think we could all agree you deserve a serious spanking for that little stunt.

And then there was today. The horrible, terrible, no good, very bad today. How about you let me complain about it, I'll carry you around in my tummy for 9 months and go through labor and delivery with you, and then we'll call it even. Deal?

The baby girl I nanny for was sick and fussy. My computer crashed and the people at the store told me I had to get my entire hard-drive replaced. Oh, and the fact that I haven't backed up my computer for the last 7 months means that all the photos, music, documents, and new data accumulated in that time was lost. Unless of course I want to pay anywhere between $600-$3000 to maybe get it restored. And then when I got home I realized I had lost the key to the house so I sat on a stoop in the rain waiting for my dad to come with a spare one to save the day. I have to warn you, if you grow up to be the kind of person that responds to my first world whining with "don't you know there are people starving in Africa?" I'm going to have to kick you in the balls.

Here's hoping for a better week next time.



Thursday, March 22, 2012

Skippy Says: 20 Weeks (Pregnancy Journal)

20 Weeks

Dear baby girl,

We're halfway there- I can't believe it! 20 weeks. There is only 20 weeks left until I get to meet you. I know that seems like a lot of weeks, but these days each one goes by so fast, I'm sure it'll feel like you're in my arms in no time. All the books tell me you're the size of a cantaloupe now. So big! That got me really excited, until I looked one week ahead and read that you'll be the size of a banana next week. Call me crazy, but I'm pretty sure a cantaloupe is bigger than a banana. It's not nice to mess with pregnant women like that.

I've caught a bit of a cold, so I spent all day in bed with you. When I lie still I can feel you move all the time now, especially when I'm on my back. I know it's not good to lay on your back when you're pregnant, but I was a bad mama and did it for like ten whole minutes since I didn't want to stop feeling you inside of me. At one point I put my hands on my belly and I could even feel you slightly from the outside-- kind of like when you put your hand on your chest after exercise and can feel your heart beating. Unfortunately daddy wasn't home to feel it, but hopefully you'll move some more tonight for him.

Our puppy, Ryder, seems to finally have caught on to the changes in my body too. I've read about dogs being really intuitive about this type of thing and sensing pregnancy early on, but Ryder isn't the sharpest dog in the toolshed. Or something like that. Though he is the sweetest. Anyway, I think he finally gets that something is up. He spent a good portion of the day trying to sniff and lick at my belly. I can't wait to see you two interact. Ain't nothin' cuter than a dog and a baby together. I'm predicting the biggest challenge will be keeping him from licking your face all the time. He likes to do that. And you might have other feelings about it. Or not. But I definitely do.



Thursday, March 15, 2012

Skippy Says: 19 Weeks (Pregnancy Journal)

19 weeks

Dear baby girl,

This week this whole pregnancy thing suddenly got real. A big part of that was knowing that I can now confidently refer to you as "she" rather than "it." That's a win right there. But I think an even bigger part of it was truly beginning to feel you move inside me. I thought I might have felt you a tiny bit before, but I really wasn't positive. And then, just a few hours after our ultrasound where the doctor showed us something that is apparently your labia, you made your presence very well known. And then again, and again, at least 5 different times throughout the day. And each time I couldn't stop smiling like a fool. I'm sure all the people in the coffee shop I was at thought I was crazy, giggling at seemingly random points throughout the day. I immediately called daddy, and although he was incredibly excited, I could tell he was pretty jealous too. I hope your kicks get stronger soon because I know he's dying to feel you.

Up until I felt you move, part of me felt disconnected from the pregnancy, from you. I guess I didn't truly feel it was real. And then I'd go on those awful baby forums where everyone talked about how much they're bonding with their little ones, and convince myself that I'm going to be a horrible mother because I wasn't experiencing those same feelings. When people asked if I was excited, I answered, honestly, that I was thrilled, that I had been waiting for you for more years than I can count on my fingers and toes. The part I did not verbalize, at least not to most people, was that this excitement was theoretical. It's like when you're about to go on a vacation, and everyone keeps telling you how excited you must be. And you fervently nod along and smile, echoing their words, but the truth is the excitement has not truly set in, and it won't until you're lying on that beach or exploring that city or climbing that mountain. Finally feeling you moving inside my belly materialized that excitement for me. That is, as they say, when shit got real.

I love knowing that everywhere I go for the next few months, I'm toting you around with me. I love knowing that I can keep you safe and warm. It almost makes me wish you didn't ever have to come out. Almost. But then I try to bend over to pick up a water bottle, and fail because my huge stomach gets in the way. And then, well, then I think I'll be a-ok when the time comes for you be born.



Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Skippy Says: Best. Monday. Ever. (Pregnancy Journal)

Dear baby girl,

That's right, girl!! I can't wait to dress you up. It's probably a good thing you're not a boy, because I would have forced you to wear all those cute dresses I bought either way.



Thursday, March 8, 2012

Skippy Says: 18 Weeks (Pregnancy Journal)

18 weeks

Dear baby,

You know how people tell you you'll look wonderful during pregnancy? You'll have that special "glow?" Well, I'm calling bullshit. Either that, or I'm still waiting on mine. No part of me feels glowy when I reach inside my closet and find I have nothing I can comfortably fit into to wear for the day. Nor is there anything glowy about getting out of breath and winded doing a "hike" (let's be honest, it's a walk) that didn't even used to get my heart rate up. And you know what? I definitely don't feel glow-y when I go bathing suit shopping to find a suit I can fit into so I can swim at my gym. Ain't nothing glowy about what I'm seeing in the mirror. Not. a. thing.

I always thought I'd be one of those pregnant women who loved being pregnant. After all, I've wanted to be pregnant and have you for as long as I can remember, so it only made sense. I yearned to feel my belly grow, to rub my hands over it in a circular motion like I'd seen other pregnant ladies do. You can't tell me that doesn't sound like fun. But you know what? The truth is I don't feel that way. I'm no less ecstatic about having you-- I can't wait for five (looooooong) months from now when I'll finally get to cradle your little body in my arms and make annoying cooing noises that will make all my friends hate me. But for now at least, the joy for me comes when I hear your heart beat thumping away, sounding cute and little just like you; from when I think I might feel your little body moving inside mine. It definitely does not come from my tights clothes and expanding belly. Not yet anyway.

My 18th week of pregnancy coincides with Purim this year. It's unbelievable to think that around this time next year I'll be celebrating Purim with a 6 month old you in my arms. This year, I celebrated with you in my belly by taking you to your first Megillah reading at the synagogue. Purim is the most joyous of the Jewish holidays, a day where it is literally considered a mitzvah (a good deed) to be happy and share that happiness with others. Noisemakers, costumes, and cookies are all a part of the festivities. Oh, and alcohol (for those who can indulge, of course). It is literally a mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. Does that make you excited to be Jewish or what? Since I wasn't able to partake, I ate extra cookies to make up for it. I had to, you know, because it's a mitzvah.

Purim time is always full of happiness for me, as I hope it will be for you. I remember exchanging mishloach manot (baskets filled with gifts of food or drink exchanged on Purim between family and friends as a sign of love and friendship) with friends at school-- how much fun I had picking out what to give and then opening up what I got in return. I remember music in the hallway between classes with rabbis carrying students on their shoulders and dancing around. I remember color war-- the week leading up to Purim when the school got divided up into 5 teams of different colors, with competitions and games for the first 3 hours of every day. I remember the Purim carnival ending all the festivities, when the school gym magically transformed into my idea of heaven and I would die trying to win tickets for prizes I'd forget about a few minutes after I got them. Your grandma and grandpa gave me all that joy because of the school they sent me to, the community they surrounded me with. I hope I can give the same to you.



Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Skippy Says: On Guilt (OOTD)

My BFF has a theory on why so many Jews and Catholics end up in romantic relationships-- both cultures share a love of guilt. Whether it's guilting people or being guilted by them, my parents taught me well. And if you think the guilting stops after you've grown up, you'd be wrong. Why just today, my papa told me how the amount of stress he's under due to my vegetarianism and choosing to work with a midwife rather than an OBGYN for my pregnancy is going to send him to an early grave. And as a good Jewish girl, I let the guilt of the stress I'm causing him eat away at me all day. I mean, since I don't plan on changing either of those decisions, feeling guilty about it is the least I could, right? Love you papa.

- Anthropologie dress
- Thrifted (from Crossroads) jacket
- Huge tights
- DSW shoes

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Skippy Says: 17 Weeks (Pregnancy Journal)

17 weeks

Dear baby,

I thought by now I'd be able to say "dear baby girl" or "dear baby boy" but unfortunately no such luck. On Monday morning, we had an ultrasound to try to determine your sex but unfortunately you're still a little too little. You tried your best to help us out though and I appreciate that. You were laying in my belly sleeping with your legs wide open as if you knew we were going to try to get a peek at your goods. Atta girl. Or boy. To be determined.

Despite not getting to know what we came for, seeing your little heart beating on that ultrasound made my day. I've read so many horror stories about how women have miscarriages later on in their pregnancies because their baby's heart suddenly stops beating for no apparent reason, so naturally I became terrified that was going to happen to you. Especially since I haven't felt you kick or move yet. What's that you say? It's a bad idea for me to read these horror stories? Yes, I know, but mama's a sick sick woman and she can't help herself. Daddy has told me time and time again to delete those baby apps from my phone and to stop doing this to myself, but I don't listen to him. I'm sure you won't either.

Unlike with our last ultrasound when we could see your whole body on the screen at once, you were way too big for us to do that this time. We had to go piece by piece, first looking at your head, then your torso and spine, then arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, and finally toes. It's incredible to see how much you've grown in just a few short weeks! I'm going to go ahead and attribute my ever expanding belly to that rather than copious amounts of cheese I've been consuming. Mmmmm cheese. As we were examining you head to toe, the doctor kept pointing out how good everything looked, and mentioning that this was a good sign that you didn't have some obscure diseases I've never even heard of. I'm sure she meant to comfort me, but remember now, I'm sick. So instead of being comforted, I became acutely aware of how many more things there are to worry about, things I didn't even know existed. And so back to reading horror stories I went.



Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Skippy Says: Israel Recap, Part III (Vacation Recap)

Our first few days in Israel were spent in the Negev, or the desert, which makes up about 70% of Israel's land. 70% of the land in a country the size of New Jersey. Good thing it's so freaking beautiful.

Towards the end of one of our desert hikes, we came across a pretty steep sandhill. Like, almost 90 degrees steep. And then our tour guide told anyone with a bit of extra energy they could run up it. Ryan, for your own good, I suggest you stop reading now.
I ran my pregnant butt up that sandhill as fast as my little legs would carry me. Which was not very fast. Especially since it quickly got so steep that you couldn't run or walk--you literally had to bear crawl up with your hands digging into the hill as if you were rock climbing. Except, you know, with sand instead of rocks. And then I slid down on my butt. And ended up with pants full of sand. Because I'm sexy like that.

A few days later we got all dolled up for a night out on the town in Jerusalem. And by dolled up I mean I searched desperately through my suitcase for something I could fit into. What? That's not a good idea of your time? What about if I tell you that I got myself a nice hot cup of decaf tea while the rest of the group had themselves some delicious Israeli beer? Oh, that's not so fun either?

It's ok, a little bit later I got myself some delicious pitas to make myself feel better. One filled with goat cheese and honey, and another filled with a creamy chocolatey spread. I'd pick that over beer any day.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Skippy Says: Valentine's Day (OOTD)

This past Saturday Ryan and I celebrated a late Valentine's day together. Since I was in Israel on the actual day, and since this was our last Valentine's day with just the two of us before baby comes, I didn't want to just skip it altogether. I mean, do you see me as the kind of gal to give up any opportunity for flowers and chocolate? Speaking of which, Ryan, I'm still waiting for my flowers and chocolate.

The weather was beautiful, and we woke up bright and early to head to the Calistoga mineral pools and hot springs spa. There were 4 pools: a big one heated up to 80 degrees, a slightly smaller one at around 100 degrees, a hot tub at 104 degrees, and a kiddie pool. I stuck with the first two, since I've read that pregnant women should avoid hot tubs and I got kicked out of the kiddie pool. Pshhhh. Of course, Ryan punished me for abandoning him on Valentin's day by going into the hot tub while I stared longingly. Again, Ryan, I'm still waiting for my flowers and chocolate.

Anthropologie dress
Hue tights
Anthropologie boots

Monday, February 27, 2012

Skippy Says: Israel Recap, Part II (Vacation Recap)

One of the most talked up parts of our Birthright trip was getting to spend one night in a Bedouin tent. With the promise of a tasty homecooked Bedouin meal, a toasty campfire, and a night under the stars I couldn't be more excited. Until I got there. And put on 2 layers of pants, 5 layers of sweaters/jackets, 2 scarves, and 2 paris of socks and was still freezing my tushy off. In case you haven't heard, the desert is COLD at night. Good thing I had my BFF to spoon with for body warmth. Bad thing we didn't take advantage of each other until it was almost time to get up. 

Don't let our smiles fool you, we're kind of miserable. A happy kind of miserable, but miserable nonetheless. Behind us is the tent we slept in. Insulation was not its strength.

Bright and early the next morning we got to go on a camel ride. It was, um, bumpy. Our camel had a pink harness so I decided she was a girl and named her Camilla. Camilla the camel. Camilla the camel was quite the rebel-- we were last in our caravan but she didn't like that so much so she kept going ahead out of place. As you guys know, I'm quite the rebel myself, so Camilla and I bonded.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Skippy Says: Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes (OOTD)

Seeing as my wardrobe choices are pretty limited these days (read: I only fit into stretchy items) you'll probably be seeing this dress a lot. It's one of, oh I don't know, 5 things left that I can squeeze myself into. You'd think there's an easy fix to this, but for once in my life I'm having a hard time motivating myself to go shopping. This is partly because I'm still getting used to the changes I'm seeing in the mirror, and partly because I know I'll only be getting bigger so it seems like a waste of money. But you know what knows no size? Jewelry. And scarves. And hats. What's that I was saying about having no motivation to shop?

- Anthropologie blazer (Bought on sale, no longer available)
- BCBG wrap dress (Bought on sale circa 2009, no longer available. Buy similar here or here
- Wendy Glez cami underneath dress (I think it's actually meant to be lingerie? Bought on sale circa 2008, no longer available)
- Hue textured diamond tights (Buy here)
- Anthropologie boots (Bought on sale, no longer available)
- Necklace gift from my aunt

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Skippy Says: 16 Weeks (Pregnancy Journal)

16 Weeks

Dear baby,

Today you've been in my belly for 16 weeks. Well, in truth it's actually 14 weeks since the doctors count these things all weird, but regardless I'm 16 weeks pregnant and you're officially the size of an avocado. And you're a California avocado, which makes you the most delicious of all the avocados. I can't wait to gobble you up, but unfortunately I have to wait 24 more weeks. 40 minus 16 is 24, right? Remember that I asked that question before you think of coming to me to help with your math homework. That will be daddy's domain.

You and I spent the last few weeks traveling in Israel without daddy because he has to work. When I got back a few nights ago, he looked a little disappointed when he saw me. I asked him what was wrong, and he pouted before answering that he though my belly would be bigger by now. Um, I think it's plenty big, thank you very much. And I'm pretty sure all the clothes that no longer come anywhere close to fitting me would agree. As soon as we got home from the airport, daddy turned me sideways and proceeded to examine me from all angles. When we went to bed, he slept with his hand cradling you all night.

I was hoping today would be the day we would go and find out your gender, but daddy ended up having a deposition at work that won't be out until well after the doctor's office is closed. I suggested going by myself and then calling him with the news, but, well, that didn't fly.

Last night I dreamt I was driving in the snow, and drove over some black ice, spinning out of control. My first instinct was fear for my life, and then I remembered I was pregnant and was terrified for you. I felt like a horrible mother, that my first thought was about me and not you, and the guilt woke me right up. You'll quickly learn that this guilt thing is a pretty big part of me. But I can't help it, I'm Jewish, it's in my blood. As it will be in yours. I had a hard time going back to sleep, and couldn't shake the horrible feeling that I selfishly thought of myself before I thought of you. I suppose it's the role I'm used to playing. For the last 26 years, your grandma and grandpa have always put me before themselves in everything that they do; in every choice that they make. I have been the selfish child, and they have been the selfless parents. I always thought that when the time came for me to have you, I would effortlessly morph into the selfless parent role that the selfish part of me would magically disappear, and that I would automatically think of you before me by pure instinct. But that dream left me terrified that I might not. What if this selfless impulse, this inclination that I consider to be the crux of good parenting, isn't as natural for me as it was for them?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Skippy Says: Israel Recap, Part 1 (Vacation Recap)

Aaaaand just like that, I'm back. I know the guest posts were awesome, so I hope you aren't too disappointed.

As much as I love traveling, it's so nice to come home. My parents and Ryan always pick me up at the airport with a bag of food so big you'd think I hadn't eaten in the 3 weeks I was away. You know, because despite the extra few pounds I came back with, I must have been starved. I get the tightest of hugs all around, extra kisses from my puppy, and a bed that feels especially luxurious after a 12 hour plane ride. Some people have all the luck. Oh wait, that's me.

Israel was a complete whirlwind, and I didn't get more than 4-5 hours of sleep any of the nights I was there. I feel like I need a vacation from this vacation. Despite the lack of rest, or actually probably because of it, the trip was packed full of fun activities. I'm not going to go through every single thing we did, but I thought I'd spend the next few days recapping some of my favorite ones.

On our first day in Israel, we visited a farm in the dessert and learned about how they managed to irrigate and work the land despite the extremely unfavorable weather and soil conditions. While that was all well and good, you know my favorite part was the taste-testing. Honestly, how else am I to tell how good of a job their allegedly incredible system is doing?

We were given a perfectly sweet orange to start, but never satisfied I insatiably stared at the kumkwat tree. Thankfully, it wasn't long before we met and I was able to taste the delicious fruits. I know I look civilized, but it was all an act for the camera. As soon as this photo was snapped, I stuffed as many as I could into my mouth. Bonus points for anyone who can guess how many I managed to get in at once.

With the tomatoes I wasn't quite as lucky. My BFF managed to snap this photo while I wasn't on guard. Don't you look at me like that. There were at least a dozen different types of tomatoes to try, so I had to act quickly.

We also had a chance to dig up our own carrots from the earth. I managed to find white, orange, and purple ones. So pretty!

And that's not even half of it. We also ate cucumbers, peppers, lots of different herbs, strawberries, and some other stuff I'm sure I'm forgetting. I would have taken photos but, you know, I was too busy eating.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Skippy Says: The Closet Intervention (Guest Post)

Hello, lovely people! I am Kassi , the blogger behind the fashion blog “The Closet Intervention.” I am  super excited to be guest blogging for Inna today while she is away. I love Inna’s style and personality and I am sure you do too if you’re reading this. What can I say? You all have great taste.
Today I am going to share with you some random thoughts on fashion, food and life in general. Oh and there is some pictures of some of the outfits that I’ve wore on my blog so you can get a sense of my personal style.

On What Fashion Is:
Fashion to me is a reflection of my personality and creativity. I think it is so amazing that I can wake up every day and put something different on. I can be whoever I want to be or dress how I’m feeling. Somedays that is a tough girl in combat boots and other days that is a girly girl in florals. Fashion is limitless. I discover something new about my style everyday. It could be a color I didn’t think I could wear or the fact that I’ve decided I actually like wearing flats.

On My Least Favorite “Fashion”:
Fashion is in quotation marks above because it’s hard for me to think of these things as fashionable. Here is a list of my absolute least favorite things:  Ed Hardy (really tattoos and shame splattered all over a t-shirt is not something I aspire to), Uggs (oh yes, I am sorry but they just don’t do anything for me), too much skin (save something for the bedroom ladies), and Crocs (I am 100% convinced that Satan created them).
On Food:
I love food. That’s all. Just kidding. I’ve recently become a vegetarian which is something I never thought I would do in a million years. I am just doing it to live a healthier lifestyle – so far, so good.  I could eat rice every single day of my life I am pretty sure, and bread AND pizza. Didn’t I tell you I love food?

On Life:
Life is way too short to not get out there and go for your dreams. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. I want to open a boutique in 5 years. Some people think that is silly and unattainable.  Screw them! If you aren’t standing behind me then get out of my way! Haha.   I am a hopeless optimist and I run away screaming from people who have nothing but negative things to say.  Love more, hug tighter, say what you’re thinking and most importantly always be you, because you are beautiful.

Thank you for reading my ramblings. Stop by my blog and say hello sometime. I would love that!
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