Friday, July 23, 2010

Almost Time to Meet Eric

If Eric follows his big sister's timing, then he will be born fairly soon---possibly within the first few days of August. I am all a-flutter and hubbubbing about in anticipation of this and with the nesting instinct. People say that women's nesting tendencies seem to increase right before labor, but I've been in a nesting mood for about a who knows? I don't think I have had that final burst of energy yet. With Katie, though I didn't know it at the time, that energy was poured into writing 40 recommendation letters for my seniors, into fashioning my Halloween costume, and into playing Guitar Hero for several hours. Ha...if only some of that had been poured into packing for the hospital, cleaning, and feathering my actual nest. I have learned the second time around. ;-)

Still, I knew when Katie dropped before Dr. Elfelt told me she had, and I don't think Eric has dropped even though he is head down and oriented. I knew right at the miraculous moment when he implanted originally and felt him start life, so I think I will/should know when he actually engages. Katie dropped, and then she was born a week later. I really am excited to meet Eric and another few weeks seems so long to wait; on the other hand, I very much want him to stay in my womb longer than Katie did and really finish all the growing he is meant to do.

Even so, this weekend's tasks are to clean and straighten the house, to pack my bag, and to speak with Katie more about our specific plans for her care during my stay with Eric. On Monday I am going on one last Babies R Us foray to pick up some last items: Dreft, a double stroller, pacifiers, Lansinoh, etc. I want to finish the intense nesting at the start of this week.

I am also relieved that I have finally, finally settled upon the first song that I will sing to him once he is born. Serendipity was on my side when I first received Katie back from the nursery that first night, and my heart inuitively landed upon "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music. I have always been so thankful that that was our first special song together. It became the theme for her first birthday party, and it so much encapsulates my philosophy about life: looking for goodness even when life seems darker.

The question with Eric, of course, became: Do I use the same first song, or do I have a unique special song with each child? Fairly early on I decided to give them different songs (though I have questioned that a couple of times since) so that I have something uniquely special with each of them. Yet I also wanted the songs to connect in some way, whether thematically, via genre, or by virtue of being from the same score. I have been thinking about it for months and have entertained all kinds of ideas, from old standard lullabies, to The Beatles, to songs from other musicals, etc .

A few days ago, however, my heart just finally knew. His song is going to be "Sound of Music" from The Sound of Music:

The hills are alive with the sound of music
With songs they have sung for a thousand years
The hills fill my heart with the sound of music
My heart wants to sing every song it hears

My heart wants to beat like the wings of a bird
That rise from the lake to the trees
My heart wants to sigh like a chime that flies
From a church on a breeze
To laugh like a brook when it trips and falls
Over stones on its way
To sing through the night
Like a lark who is learning to pray

I go to the hills when my heart is lonely
I know I will hear what I've heard before
My heart will be blessed
With the sound of music
And I'll sing once more

There are many reasons why this is the right song for my son Eric and me to share. It is inherently connected to Katie's song, for starters; its themes are a part of who I am as his mother and are the same themes I hope to surround him with during his life; and his namesake loved The Sound of Music and shared time in Austria with my mom and extended family. I know it is the one that is meant to be...

In all other respects, I am feeling really good. Since women are designed to be pregnant, we are capable of handling it well---and I am thankful that my side effects have been transitory for the most part and not something on which to dwell. I am so grateful that the rather incessant pelvic pressure that was a factor in my life for a couple of months has now subsided. I tried not to mention it much to Bill or to my mom (primarily because I don't believe in making any aspect of pregnancy negative), but toward the last couple of weeks of it I actually had had enough of it and let a few comments slip out about it. Right at the moment when I was really, really hoping to feel alleviation from that constant achiness, the pressure was lifted. We are not given more than we can bear. My feet are tender at times, mainly because I have a real personality issue (affectionately called in our family "The Matics Way") with sitting down for very long---there's just so much else to do!!! Bill always rubs them for me, though. As I enter the last stretch, I am feeling some tiredness return, but I fight it as much as I can. Yet I have been trying to remind myself that resting might actually be more responsible in the long run, especially this month. I just have to clean my house first and pack and do a couple more things and projects with Katie and then I will rest on the couch more... maybe.

Yesterday I was fortunate indeed to have a beautiful and thoughtful family shower hosted by my cousin Hannah Lambert. She thought of every detail, from red velvet cupcakes (my favorite) with Eric's name iced on them, to baby boy linens and onesies decorating the patio, to a baby shower keepsake booklet, to a million other details. Mostly, though, I just loved being with my family and to feel the love and celebration for my Eric. We also poured joy onto Katie for ascending to the Big Sister role. I could not ask for more than an extended loving family who is excited to see itself grow and realizes that each child who becomes ours is part of its whole legacy and continuance. I never expected a second shower in a million years, not having been raised on them, and so I didn't register or anything like that. Yet still my family blessed me with several items I needed---and thought of Katie, too. Just a luncheon truly would have been more than enough. I am so grateful that I have this memory to share with Eric now.

Katie greets Skya at the shower. Her t-shirt says, "I'm the Big Sister."

We used my Great-Grandmother Sarah Matics' (the original!) china with some china supplemented from my Grandma Joan McGee's collection. That was a special touch. Hannah even thought of herbal teas so that I could enjoy without over-caffeinating Eric.

Some of the ladies at the party. Katie loved Rosie, the new little puppy sitting on KD's lap.

Sitting together! I wore the same skirt I wore to Katie's shower a few years ago. The only difference is really my blouse: I wore pink in this style for Katie and blue for Eric.

The pretty cupcakes!
I had so much fun organizing his linens and clothing and bathing materials last night. He officially has a "side" in the children's bathroom. My mom finished a lush and beautiful quilt and I draped it over the glider. I need to pack some blankies for Eric and of course his coming-home outfit. I bought some newborn diapers, ointment, lotion, and powder the other day and arranged them in the basket on the edge of his changing table/dresser. I am ready for him to be here, and I am also continually working on reminding myself to enjoy even the tiredest of moments that will happen when he is a newborn. With Katie my mood really was all over the place right after her birth, and I have been quite worried about that happening again---to the extent that I am actively working through meditation and other behavioral means to establish some mental processes now that will help me navigate through that postpartum time more easily. I was so completely shocked and awed by how much a newborn completely changes one's life when I had Katie (people told me but you don't really know until you are totally responsible for one). Even though those changes were all good, I was not truly prepared on the deepest levels and it took me a long time to catch up to my new life patterns and rhythms of being. Basically, I had to understand how little room there is in motherhood for my previous selfishness and all my other flaws. I think and hope I will naturally be more adaptable with my second child.
Eric is still quite active and loves to move, though some of his movements register a little more subtle now---probably since he is bigger and has less room to really move. I still get some big kicks now and then, though. I have my next OB appointment this week!