Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Joys

What should you give a cat for Christmas?  A box to sit in.

Sam and I had a surprisingly great Christmas this year.  I say surprisingly because we were both sad that we couldn't be with our families, so we were expecting to have a more subdued, melancholy day.  (Well, at least that's what I was expecting.)  We're not the type of people who dread holidays spent with family; we actually really like the people we're related to.  And since we don't get to spend enough time with them in general, holidays are usually the guaranteed hang-out times, so missing out was a bummer for both of us.

Thankfully, we got to video chat with both of our families after having a breakfast of yummy apple crisp (with lots of whipped cream).  After that, to avoid sitting home all day with the holiday blues, we headed to the movie theater to see Les Mis, the movie I'd been anxiously awaiting for about a year.  I was not disappointed; it was incredible.  I've basically obsessed over this play since I was eight or nine.  I remember playing the CD over and over, throwing bits of red and black construction paper into the air while singing "Red and Black", switching between playing Javert and Jean Valjean during "The Confrontation", and singing all the parts to "One Day More".  To finally have a musical version made into a movie was something of a dream come true, although in my dream I'm cast as Eponine or Fantine, of course.  Still, the cast did an amazing job, and the movie, though based on the play, actually had bits from the book that aren't included in the play, which made it even better.  I highly recommend seeing it!

We had planned on seeing The Hobbit immediately after Les Mis, but as we exited the theater, we were greeted by crowds and crowds of people who had apparently finished opening their presents.  So we decided to head home instead, because Sam doesn't like crowds and I was starving.  On our way home we drove past another, smaller movie theater, one that didn't have any lines and happened to be showing The Hobbit about twenty minutes from that time.  We also happily realized that it was $5 Tuesday, so we got some pretty cheap tickets.  The best part, according to this pregnant pig, is that this movie theater is also sort of a restaurant, so you can order food throughout the movie and eat it while enjoying the show.  And it's not just typical movie theater food, it's yummy stuff.  So Sam quickly ordered a Blue Velvet burger with fries and a beer, and I enjoyed a basket of fries and a vanilla milkshake - delish!

A few minutes before the movie was scheduled to start, I was happily shoveling fries into my mouth when an attendant announced that due to technical issues, they'd be showing us the 3D version of the movie instead of the normal, cheaper one we'd paid for.  They passed out our 3D glasses, and Sam smiled like a litttle boy on Christmas, as he'd been wanting to see it in 3D and it was a very pleasant surprise.  We agreed that the day just kept getting better and better!  To top it off, a fellow movie-goer made quite a scene about the switch, because she hated 3D movies, and her utter ridiculousness was quite entertaining for us.  As she was leaving, some other patrons filed into her vacated seats, and she instructed them that the food she was leaving behind was "not for touching, it's for them to pick up because I'm leaving."  Sam and I are rather entertained by nonsensical, absurd people, so we found this little outburst rather comical.  Who complains about a free upgrade, and on Christmas?  Oh, people.

So a day that I anticipated being somewhat sad turned out to be a great day.  Both movies were fantastic, and Sam and I had a fun day together, minus families and presents.  It was a great reminder that the materialism isn't necessary for a great Christmas, and that Sam and I could enjoy the day even though we really wished we could be with family.  As much as everyone wants to believe Christmas is about presents and family, the real reason we celebrate is because of a little baby that was born a very long time ago.  (And yes, I know Jesus wasn't actually born December 25th, but since that's the day we've chosen to celebrate, that's when we do it.)  Speaking of babies, it seems like it was an appropriate way to spend our last Christmas as a family of two, just enjoying each other and some movies.  (I highly doubt we'll be seeing many movies once baby comes.)

Plus, it helped that we got to be with my family for Thanksgiving, and that we knew we'd be spending time with Sam's family a few days after Christmas.

Here's a picture of a rapidly-growing me, at (I think) about 17.5 weeks:

And my two favorite cute guys.

I hope that everyone who's reading this had a wonderful Christmas, wherever you were and whatever you were doing!

Friday, December 14, 2012

realizations and trust

I mentioned in my last post that I struggled a lot with fear and worry in my first trimester.  I still have moments of anxiety, simply because my baby isn't big enough for me to feel it moving yet, and I'm just hoping and assuming he or she is still growing and developing properly.  It is the ultimate lesson in trust!  I started writing the following blog back in my first trimester, when I was still overwhelmed with worry, and I've continued to add to it.  I thought I'd share it now.

It just hit me that my baby is never "safe".  We'll never be out of the "danger zone".  Yes, I'm anxiously awaiting hitting 14 weeks so I can be past the miscarriage stage, but I've also known others who have lost their baby past that stage.  There's always the chance of a still-birth.  And once I have the baby, once I've met him or her, there's never a guarantee that something won't happen and take the baby away.

The day we found out we were pregnant we also found out my cousin had leukemia.  It was an odd mix of emotions, being excited about being a mom, and being devastated for my aunt, uncle, and cousin.  Being worried about my baby and worried about Trevor, and feeling sorrow for my aunt and uncle and the anguish they were experiencing.  It also brought on a very unwelcome, familiar feeling of when we found out about Sara.  Noreen and Woody lost their baby when she was twenty-two, and now my aunt and uncle were told their child, their thirteen year-old son, had a very serious disease.  The more I thought about it, I realized we're never safe from harm.  We're never safe from pain, and even if I have a perfect pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby, there's no guarantee I won't one day lose the baby.  We were promised that in this world we would have trouble; this was simply a reminder.

I don't know why, but this realization brought relief.  Maybe it was because I finally accepted that I truly have no control over any of it.  I still take the best care of my body as possible, and try to do everything "right" with my pregnancy.  But there are plenty of women who do everything right, and still their baby doesn't develop or something uncontrollable goes wrong.  There's nothing a mother can do.  It's frustrating, knowing that I cannot do anything to guarantee my baby's safety or health.  There's no pill I can take, no one I can pay off to be sure I get to meet my baby.  But at the same time, it takes away the burden of worrying, because worrying certainly won't prevent me from losing this baby.  Ultimately, it's God's child anyway.  He's the one creating and forming this little one.  I'm just the vessel he chose to develop this little bean in.  And even when I'm a mom, all my children won't be "mine", they'll belong to God.  This baby's life is being prepared by God.  He already knows if this baby will live to be 1 year old or 100 years old.  He's the one planning it out, and so who am I to try to take control over this child's life?

It seems like good training for when I do become a mother.  I'll do everything I can to protect my child from harm, but I can only do so much.  Today's shooting in the Connecticut classroom was a harsh reminder that this world is often ugly and evil, and unfair, horrific things happen, things that can't always be prevented or controlled.  I'm learning that becoming a parent is a very brave decision, that it takes strength and courage to let go of that control and even be okay with not being able to always protect them.  I hope I can keep remembering to surrender control to God and let go of the worry and anxiety that will continue to present itself throughout my life.  I'm sure it will be a constant battle for me, but I'm counting on God to give me that strength.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Things I Wish I Knew

These are the things I wish I knew before being pregnant.  Now, to be fair, even though I have lots of friends and family with babies, I never really asked much about pregnancy because it terrified me.  I didn't want to know what happened.  So I really knew very little about pregnancy before actually getting pregnant myself.  This is what I've learned...

I wish I knew that once you find out you're pregnant, God seems to pour molasses into the giant clock of life that immediately slows time wayyy down.  Seriously, from the moment I found out I was pregnant at about 5 weeks, until my first doctor appointment a month later, time seemed to move at a snail's pace.  And not to mention how long it takes to get through the first trimester - those weeks were the longest of my life!  I thought time went by slowly when I was engaged, but I had no idea how slowly time could move.  And from what I hear, time will move even slower if I'm overdue.

I also wish I knew that upon discovering a pregnancy, there is a huge blob of worry and fear that suddenly settles over your head.  So far I haven't been scared at all of actually being a mom, but in the beginning, I constantly worried about the health and safety of the baby, and feared that something might happen to this little one before I got to meet him/her.  I've finally found a peace about it all, but it took lots and lots of prayer and reassurance, and constant reminders that I have absolutely no control over it.  It didn't help that I'm one of those people that assumes bad things will happen to me if I hear stories from someone else.  (When I was little, if I heard about a little girl being kidnapped, I automatically assumed I'd be kidnapped as well.)  So if you have any stories of miscarriage, still births, preterm births, or any very tragic, sad stories about babies, do me a favor and don't share them with me right now.  (You'll also be doing yourself a favor, because I might punch you.  Don't blame me, it's the hormones.)

And I wish I knew that the pregnancy "glow" is just code for a speckled face of red spots.  My face hasn't looked like this since I was a teenager.  Thanks, hormones.

Another thing I didn't know is how great Sam would be as a partner through it all.  He's very caring and helpful and is always asking what I need from him.  Unfortunately, he doesn't think pregnancy equals my being right all the time, or that hormones give me the right to be a brat.  Whenever we get into a disagreement, I just want him to say, "You're right honey, can I get you some ice cream?"  Instead he reminds me that I need to eat broccoli and stuff.  Still, he's been pretty amazing.

And here's a random story for you, to make this post even longer.  Well over a year ago, I had asked Sam if we could name any future daughter Cosette or Eponine.  He said he didn't like Eponine and Cosette sounded like a French whore's name.  (That was before I took him to see Les Mis and he learned that it's actually Fantine who is the working girl.)  Anyway, now that we're having a baby, I brought up the name idea again, and Sam again denied me.  (Who says no to a pregnant lady?)  He said, "Plus, since the movie is coming out, there will probably be a ton of people that name their kid Cosette now, and that's exactly what you don't want."  And it's true - I don't want my kid to have a very popular or trendy name.  When I realized he was right and the dream I'd had since third grade was dead, I was mad at all the people who will name their daughters Cosette because of the movie, and I said, "I will hate all those baby Cosettes." temper and irrational thinking isn't helped by pregnancy hormones, either.

And, for funsies, here's me at 16 weeks and at 16.5 weeks. 

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