Wednesday, April 18, 2012

37 weeks...

On August 31, the morning I took my first pregnancy test, it seemed impossible that we would ever be here. There were so many doubts and concerns surrounding pregnancy. Now, I've never had any true issues that would constitute concern about successfully caring a child, but I didn't want to take this miracle of life for granted. I didn't want to arrogantly presume that my body would do what it would was supposed to do. So, on that late summer morning, the reality that I would ever be ready to deliver a full term baby was unbelievable.

Yet, here we are, one day past 37 weeks (full term), twenty days away from our due date. Our baby could be born today and be healthy (that's not an invitation, Clark--there's a lot of brain developing for you to do in the next twenty days)! It's surreal that the child I'm carrying is a honest to goodness baby. He looks like him (minus a pound or so). He has hair and nails and good Lord willing, perfect little limbs and fingers and toes. I just can't believe that I get to be a part of the miracle that he is. 

The past nine months have been such a whirlwind and a blessing. I'm not sure that any length of time is enough to feel prepared to be a parent, but the last 37 weeks have gotten us closer to being ready. I know that when our little guy gets here there will be some scary moments of questioning what we got ourselves into, but I also know that we couldn't be more excited to officially start our family. Ready or not though, Clark is coming!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Selfish Moment

If you've read this blog from the beginning of my pregnancy, you know that I've worked very hard to maintain perspective. It's important to me that above all else (my comfort, appearance, or preferences) Clark is healthy. Regardless, I think all women struggle with the how pregnancy wrecks havoc on their bodies. I knew that I would be no exception; I've struggled with my weight and body image for at least the last twenty or so years. When I got pregnant I weighed more than I wanted to, the comfort of marriage caught up to me, and I was already carrying 15 more pounds than I wanted. By medical standards I was considered overweight. According to my books, I was to gain 15-20 pounds during pregnancy. 

I did alright during my first trimester. I gained around 6 pounds. Shortly after, however, the holidays took their toll. At my appointment in January my midwife commented that I seemed to be a little high and that I should watch the sweets; I was just shy of my 20 pound mark. I followed her direction and although I still let myself have the Junior Mints and Tootsie Roll Pops that I craved, I did cut back. At my February appointment, I decided not to look at the scale. (The OBGYN's scale was always higher than mine anyway--no surprise, I usually had appointments at the end of the day.) So, for the past three months I haven't really had a clue about how much I weigh. My midwife referred to herself in one of our early appointments as a "weight Nazi", so I knew that if there was a problem she'd let me know. 

I've felt huge recently and it didn't seem wise to have my first reality check at the hospital while in labor, so this morning, I had to look. I needed to know what I was up against. Would I need to lose 60 pounds, 70 pounds, or oh, my goodness...80 pounds (remember I'm still counting that extra 15-20 that I was carrying when I got pregnant)? With trepidation, I pulled out my trusty scale, blew of the dust, and allowed it to go to zero before stepping on. While I won't tell you the number, I will tell you that I was pleasantly surprised when I realized I've "only" gained 30 pounds! If I gain the 1/2 pound a week that I'm supposed to for the next three weeks, I'll be up about 32 pounds. This, my friends, I can live with. This is doable, and this, makes me feel much less like a failure. I know is a selfish and vain moment--being concerned about losing weight before my son is born, but one of my biggest fears about life postpartum has been not feeling like me. It's nice to see a light at the end of the tunnel and know that I can once again feel comfortable in my own skin--even if it will take a lot of hard work to get there!

Shower "Back Home"

To say that I'm blessed to have been born into the Brennan/Leonard family is a gross understatement. As a child, I loved my mother's extended family, but it wasn't until I was an adult that I truly appreciated how rare the relationships I have with those amazing people are. I grew up with family holidays that included sometimes sixty people. I knew I was loved by not only my aunts, uncles and cousins, but also by great-aunts and uncles, second cousins and sometimes even more distant relatives. So, while I didn't grow up on or even near the family farm, whenever we made the journey back, I still said we were going "back home" because that's what it felt like. 

It was no surprise then that going "back home" for a baby shower will remain one of my greatest memories of pregnancy. My dear Great-Aunt Mary Ann (who is also my godmother) and my Great-Aunt Ruth hosted the most perfect shower for little Clark. While our numbers have dwindled over the years, I was still surrounded by the love and excitement of some of my favorite first, second, and third cousins as well as my aunts and great-aunts. It was a perfect day. Here are a few of the highlights.

Aunt Mary Ann, me & Aunt Ruth
Allison & Samantha were amazing present helpers
Even though Charlie & Jon couldn't be there, they made sure to send Clark (& Michael) some Dolphins love!
Kaitlyn, Aunt Mary & Janet 

How cute is she?!
Linda & Laura
The aunts with Patty
Clark got a TON of great books! Laura went through her collection and pulled out her favorites for him--how special and sweet!