Thursday, November 22, 2007

Home for the holiday

We spent Thanksgiving this year not with our family but with our very good friends, Connie and Gary, and our new friends, Padma and Alex. It ranked right up there with all of our really nice and very fun Thanksgivings at home, at my sister's house. Every year since we have lived in this city, we have traveled the 500 or so miles "home" for Thanksgiving. This year, we stayed put. You could say we stayed "home." And, we had to admit, it was really nice. Don't get me wrong. We missed seeing our family and our old friends. But, we were so happy that we didn't have to travel with, like, everyone else in the country during the busiest travel weekend of the year. We got to do things we never do on Thanksgiving. After sleeping in a little late, reading the newspapers, listening to a great NPR interview with Calvin Trillin and having some pre-Thanksgiving pumpkin pie for breakfast, we decided to go for a walk. We explored our neighborhood and saw it in a whole new light. The whole vibe of the city was different today. Everything was quiet and peaceful. Chilled out. It was a beautiful, sunny, breezy and colorful fall day. I noticed how pretty the trees are in the park near our house. We walked through the park and saw ducks in a stream. We walked along a path and learned about some of the history of our area by reading the historic markers along the way. We went to the zoo and saw sea lions and watched two otters chasing some bugs in their den. At one point, yellow leaves came showering down from the trees above, like snow. It was beautiful. It made us happy. Later, in the middle of the afternoon, we made our way to Connie and Gary's house for Thanksgiving dinner. They made their first turkey this year and it was just delicious. We had a feast that also included green beans, salad, butternut squash, sweet potatoes complete with marshmallows on top, corn bread stuffing, and two kinds of pie! We made new friends, Padma and Alex. It was the first Thanksgiving away from family for all of us. We all remarked how we felt a little guilty enjoying ourselves so much but also realized how much more relaxed we all were not having to travel. Alex put it best, "Isn't it weird how we feel guilty for listening to our bodies?" When you put it that way, I don't feel quite so guilty at all! And, it wasn't like we were totally out of touch. We spoke on the phone with our family today, and we even made an emergency call to my sister, who has Thanksgiving dinner down to a science, when we were unsure if Connie's turkey was finished cooking. Now, we're back home. The leftovers are in the fridge. The kitties are snuggled up with us. We are happy in our cozy apartment. Maybe we'll have some more pie. The baby is kicking and moving like crazy. In only about six weeks, he or she will be born into our snug little home. I am thankful for the beautiful day we had today, for the delicious food we enjoyed, for the peacefulness and relaxation we experienced, for the laughter we shared with friends, for our cozy home in this wonderful neighborhood in a great city that we love, for being able to spend a holiday with our kitties (really!), for feeling the love of our family even from afar, for all the great Thanksgivings we've had before and the many, many more to come. We certainly have a lot to be thankful for. ~ Nicole

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Spin baby, spin!

I have something new to obsess about. The baby is head down, but lying with his or her back along my right side. Ideally, the baby's back should be along my left side. My midwife told me to sit forward with my legs apart so my belly has space to hang a little and to keep doing my pelvic rocks. She also said it's not a big deal if the baby doesn't switch sides but I easily forget that part. I don't want the baby to end up posterior, with the baby's back along my back, because that can often mean back labor. I don't want that. I'm hoping the baby spins into the right spot soon because he or she is getting big! My midwife guessed the baby is about 5 pounds now and could be around 8 pounds (or more) by the time he or she is born! The bigger the baby gets, the less room there is for shifting positions. But, I'm so happy that the baby is that big and healthy already. I guess I'm doing something right. Now, spin little baby, spin! ~ Nicole

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Norman Mailer died this week. I know it’s kind of random to talk about the death of an author on a blog about our baby, but I had to acknowledge it. As someone who always wanted to be a writer, Mailer is way up there as a rock star among writers. Earlier this year, I had a chance to see Mailer read from his latest book, The Castle in the Forest, at a local bookstore in my city. But, sadly, I missed it. Had I known it was to be my last chance, I might have made more of an effort. A couple years ago at the same bookstore, I got to hear Joan Didion read from her book, The Year of Magical Thinking. It was truly amazing to hear such a literary legend read her writing, sitting in a folding chair in a small space between stacks of books. She was much older than I imagined and very small. But, in her books, she has this huge voice. I even got up the nerve to ask her a question. It was a very cool experience. Imagine having that chance with Norman Mailer! The guy who actually got into brawls, fistfights with other writers! Not that I’m condoning that sort of thing, but he had quite a life. Plus, Mailer lived in Provincetown, a place Matthew and I visit on vacation almost every year. I love going past the Mailer house on the East End of Commercial Street. Each time, I get to hear about how cool it was for Matthew to meet Mailer and his wife when Matthew lived on Cape Cod many years ago. Now, I can't remember exactly why I missed the Mailer reading. It was just about eight months ago. Maybe I had a conflict or maybe it's because I was just a few weeks pregnant and totally exhausted all the time. Early on in my pregnancy, I barely made it home before I had to hit the hay. Lately, now in my last trimester, I'm feeling a similar sort of exhaustion. I want to do all sorts of cool and fun things, but it's so hard to do anything but drag myself to work and back, eat dinner and go to bed, even though I hardly sleep through the night anymore because I'm so very, very pregnant. But, I still kind of regret that I didn't go to the book reading. I've had to miss a few outings and social plans over the last eight months. I suppose it's good practice for later when the baby is born and I'll be missing all sorts of things. But, I probably won't mind since our baby will provide plenty of entertainment. Ah, baby gazing. Way better than a big screen TV. For now, I’m still pregnant, with mildly exhausted and carrying around a giant belly, preventing me from doing some things I’d like to do. I know, though, that later, when we take our baby to the Cape in the summers, as the baby grows, he or she will hear about Norman Mailer, how he lived in Provincetown, which house was his, how his dad met him and photographed him once and waited on Mailer's wife in a camera store. Our baby will hear about how much his or her mom admired Mailer and other writers of his time and how she was pregnant when he came to our city to read the last book he wrote and when he died. ~ Nicole

Monday, November 12, 2007

Are you ready?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about becoming a parent. Like all the time. Not a day goes by without someone asking me “How’s Nicole feeling? Is her belly getting big?” or “When are you guys due?” I love the way that people get excited about our baby. It seems like pregnancy is one of the things in life that pretty much makes everybody happy. Especially when they hear it’s our first. Their faces light up. True, most of these people already have kids of their own. They have these knowing smiles.

A friend told me recently “the first time they look at you and smile – you’re finished.” People say funny things about becoming a parent – and not all positive. I know they don’t mean to be negative, so I try to take it with a grain of salt. It seems like after they’ve made it through the trying early weeks of first time parenthood; they sort of chuckle at those who have yet to go through that. Some people, guys mostly, warn me about losing all my freedom and spending money. “Your life will never be the same man.” That’s ok by me. I feel like having a child is the logical next step in life and once I realized that, I wanted it more than anything. I’ve had my wild years like everybody else. When you don’t have a care in the world and all you want to do is hang out with your friends. Nicole and I have had so much fun as childless parents too – going out all the time, having drinks, sleeping in, laying around the house all day on Sunday. It’s not that we wouldn’t continue to enjoy life as just two, but the thought of a little baby sleeping between us on the bed makes me so happy. True, the young parents that we know seem really busy and tired, but they also look incredibly happy. When I see other parents holding their babies, I just can’t wait to have that in my own life.

I try to explain this to people who ask if I feel ready to be a parent. I want to say I’ve had my fun, but that doesn’t quite fit. I’m ready for more fun! Maybe we’ll be overwhelmed at times by all the craziness that comes with having a baby, but I know we’ll be alright. I am so happy and so lucky. Soon we’ll meet this little person we made. Maybe I’ll see Nicole in its little brown eyes or cute little dimples. Maybe I’ll see my own face.

I can’t say for certain that I’m ready. This feels like the sort of thing you can’t truly prepare for. It just happens to you, like falling in love or having your heart broken. But no matter what, I know that this baby will be born from love. And that seems like a pretty good start.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


Matthew is away. On his way to Texas to photograph the president's visit with the German chancellor. I should be sleeping right now. But, I can't sleep until he calls to say he's landed safely. I've become even more of a baby now that I'm pregnant about him traveling. (And, it doesn't help that the reason he's not here has to do with George Bush! I think it's safe to say that without offending any of our dedicated readers!) Matthew and I are so connected right now that it feels weird to not have him home with me. We have our little routines even though we're both really busy. But, it's nice when we have some time together at home most nights, even if it's just an hour or a few minutes before I turn in (often before he does). He puts his hands on my belly and kisses it and says, "Hi, little baby. What are you doing, little baby?" or "Good night, little baby. Keep growing." I think it's also hard to be home alone because we're getting closer and closer to the birth. I hit eight months this week. For those of you counting weeks, it's now week 32. Still a ways to go but it's the home stretch now. It's not like I really think I'm going to suddenly go into early labor in the three or four days Matthew's going to be away, but I guess in the back of my mind I realize that anything's possible. On the other hand, I've got this amazing network of people to help me now or eight weeks from now or anywhere in between. I feel really lucky to have our midwives on call and our birthing assistant just a phone call away and several close friends nearby who have all gone through this before. Plus, tomorrow my sister will be here! Yay! I'm so tired and I should be sleeping. I really should. Tomorrow, I will wish I had gone to sleep earlier, I'm sure. I'll be cursing the alarm clock in the morning. I'll hit the snooze button over and over. The cats will be angry that I oversleep and I'm sure they will be little bastards, poking me and yelling at me to get the hell up already. But, I'm pretty sure Matthew lands in a few minutes so I'll wait for his call so we can say goodnight properly, to each other and our little baby. And, tomorrow, maybe I'll just finally give in to the exhaustion and take a nap on my office floor. Good night. ~ Nicole

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Awareness Knowing Itself

My prenatal yoga teacher read this at the end of our class last week. It has really stuck with me and I just wanted to share it. ~ Nicole

Awareness Knowing Itself
By Danna Faulds

Settle in the here and now.
Reach down into the center
where the world is not spinning
and drink this holy peace.

Feel relief flood into every
cell. Nothing to do. Nothing
to be but what you are already.
Nothing to receive but what
flows effortlessly from the
mystery into form.

Nothing to run from or run
toward. Just this breath,
awareness knowing itself as
embodiment. Just this breath,
awareness waking up to truth.