Patience is a Virtue (Seriously Lacking…)

My baby is big.  8 pounds and some ounces already.

Today I went to the doctor, and she said the baby is in the perfect position.  I’ve been hearing this for a while, but it is still a huge comfort to hear it again.  She told us how hard it was to measure the heartbeat because the baby is moving everywhere (I could have clued her in on that one…).  Annnd, she told us that the baby’s head still isn’t as far down as I would like to believe it is.  Sigh.

Victor says, “March 12th, Jania.  The baby isn’t ready yet.  She’ll come when she’s ready!”  Oh, honey, Mama is ready.

I’m not going to complain TOO much, after all, there are some things I’d like to have ready first.  I’ve been diligently working on a little blankie for the chamaco made out of the left-over material from my Moby Wrap.  My husband picked out the color–it’s bright yellow.  It’s really taken a long time to make this–which is good, considering time is the one thing I have a lot of.

I’d like for our house to be spic-n-span.  In fact, yesterday, my husband witnessed my first fit-pitching directed towards him. I wanted to clean the room and bathroom we’ll be using for the birth (we hope).  Unfortunately, Victor used some strong cleaner in the little bathroom, and I knew it wasn’t something I should inhale for 30 minutes.  He didn’t expect me to clean it, so he kept saying, “Leave it–I’ll do it.”  Well, I even broke out stomping feet and flailing arms for this doozy.  He wasn’t impressed.

We also ordered some goodies from the United States to use.  A friend boxed them up and sent them my way.  At the time, I thought, “Oh, no biggie.  They’ll be here with time to spare.” It seems that when you have time to spare, you worry about all the time that you might not have to spare.  This box included some postpartum care items I’d really like to have.

I battled my doola (I’ve decided that’s really what she is rather than a midwife) over wearing diapers when the baby is born.  (Not the baby–he’ll be in diapers.)  Apparently, this is really common/expected here.  Women use Depends rather than pads.  I’m not judging them, I just don’t want to join that party wagon.  She was disappointed.  She also was disappointed when I informed her that I wouldn’t be purchasing a 400 peso ice pack for my nether region.  “Well, if you want inflammation and pain, that’s your choice,” she said in Spanish.  No offense, lady, but you just lost major support-the-mama points.  If I had more choices, I would choose someone else in a moment’s notice.

So, you can see what sitting around waiting around for this baby does to me:  It brings out the beast.  We’ll be lucky if the daddy, the doctor, and the doula are still here when this little Mexican finally shows up.

Anticipating a Full Moon

At my appointment 6 weeks ago, my doctor matter-of-factly informed me that I needed to be ready to birth this week.  Not only am I 38 weeks, but the full moon is tomorrow.

The full moon is credited with all kinds of craziness.  Ask any teacher, and they can tell you that there has to be SOME truth to the theories.  Classrooms of generally well-behaved children go a little wild–and all over the halls you hear, “Oh, it’s because of the full moon…”

I read a book one time by Barbara Kingsolver that claimed that a woman’s cycle used to be with the moon.  As women became more exposed to artificial lighting, it  threw off the natural order of things.  So the tales of wild behavior on a full moon were attributed to the charge of pheromones flying around out there.  I don’t know if that’s true or not–but I know that a lot of people claim that the moon does funny things to us.

In fact, it’s interesting that it isn’t even one culture.  Pretty much all over the world different beliefs about the power of the moon are passed down in “old wives tales.” Some claim that the moon’s power over water and the tide would naturally affect us due to the abundance of water in our bodies.

I don’t know how much I believe the mooners, but I’ve felt a need to be prepared today.  Just in case.

At least I can rest happy knowing that should he decide to grace us with his presence sometime in the next week, he’d be right on time.  They say that two weeks before isn’t out of the ordinary.  I also read online that she’s probably shed that cheesy baby stuff–which makes me pretty happy.  Cheesy babies look a little gross to me.

I check in vain for signs of my body preparing to go.  I did feel stirring today down low–so that was encouraging.  My hips and inner thighs burn when I stand up and try to move.  The baby’s stretching out the skin in the middle of my belly as he moves the majority of his body down.  That’s it though.

The countdown is on.


A Letter to My Unborn Child

Dear Baby-of-Mine,

This is your mama writing to you.  You know: the one who talks and sings all the time?  I feel like we will be best buddies, you and I.  After all, I’ve been waiting for you half of my lifetime.  Maybe I’ve been waiting longer than that…

Don’t worry about a thing.  I learned how to swaddle a baby when I was a little girl.  My mama showed me on my baby dolls.  And one day, I will show you.  Even if you’re a boy there are some things you should learn.  My mama also showed me how to change a diaper.  Your diapers are ready!  I washed them, folded them, and tucked them away in nice neat stacks.

Daddy is really excited to see you too.  He is the other one who talks to you all the time.  He calls you an itty-bitty baby–but I don’t call you that.  You’ve been kicking and punching too strong to be my itty-bitty baby.  Daddy has been waiting on you a long time too.  You’re going to have so much fun with him.  He can’t wait to take you to the park and teach you Spanish.  Until then, he’ll be happy to hold you, and rock you, and love you.  (If you’re planning on throwing up or having explosive diapers, Daddy’s your man for that too…)

Baby, I know that things will be a little scary for you in this great big world.  But you can count on Mama and Daddy to love you up so.  (Mama just quoted a wonderful book–and she can’t wait to read you all the greatest!)  Your BIG family will also be a little scary.  We’re so happy that you have lots of cousins to love–26 to be exact!  You may not get to play with them too often, but they will Skype with you soon.

Most importantly, baby, you should know that you are a precious gift from God.  Your heavenly father loves you dearly, and will soon breath of life into your little lungs!  Until then, keep doing what you’re doing.  Even though your hiccups and rolling make Mama moan and groan, every little movement brings you closer to the day when you will be smothered with love and kisses.

Love always,

Your Mama

It Had To Be You

20120324-204953.jpgIt’s hard to believe it’s only been a year.  I feel like Victor and I have been together for ages.  Alas, it was one year ago that we met…

As we were sitting beside each other this morning in meeting, I couldn’t help but think of how blessed this year has been.  Never would I think that God would give me such an amazing husband–or that it would happen in such an unseemly place with such inopportune timing.  I guess that’s what happens when you let God lead…

I’ve been thinking back to those first few moments when we met.  I’ve tried to remember our conversation and what I was thinking.  This is what I do remember:  I remember thinking, “Why not?” when he asked me to dance.  I remember thinking how strange it was that we lived in the same state–no, in the same city!  I remember sharing pictures and stories of my family.  I remember mostly him saying to me, “God gives us everything.  Sometimes good.  Sometimes bad.  But the bad things happen because he has something good planned for us next.”  Oh, how right you are, sweet husband!

It wasn’t “love at first sight” (What is that anyway?), but I was sure that he was there for a reason.  So even a few weeks later, when he said to me, “Do you love me? I can’t say that I love you–that would be a lie.”  I felt my first stirring of something special.  After all, once a girl has been lied to about love, she’d rather have brutal honesty.

Someone here asked me when I knew that I loved Victor–and I’ve tried to pinpoint the exact moment.  Maybe it was around my Spring Break.  When he encouraged me to see my ex-boyfriend–just in case he was waiting for me.  And I saw his heart-break in two as I shared my confusion.  For sure, the two weeks away from him were harder than I expected, and when I returned I knew even more that we had something special.  The following weeks were tough on both of us, as I had to rely fully in him to take care of me through a horrible kidney infection.  He demanded that I be attended to at the hospital that night–and even held the cup for my urine sample.  If that isn’t love…

The thought of leaving him again last summer was hard, and somehow the knowledge that we were going to be a family made it both easier and harder.  I knew we would be together again, and yet, I wanted us to share the following months.  God knew what he was doing as he directed me south of the border once more.  And willingly, I went.  Willingly, but also praying that he would be able to use us in this desert place.

The moment that Victor arrived to our new house–about a week or so after I arrived myself– he first kissed me, then our precious baby.  Mamaw says that you haven’t lived until you have children, and Mama says you can’t understand a mother’s love until you have children of your own.  I know this: the fact that my husband’s love for his unborn child rivals my own just makes me love him more.  His belly kisses have turned to full conversations and light spankings for staying up too late, “Jania Irene and baby!  What are you still doing awake!?”  And while I get embarrassed by his comments to his mama about how I am sore all the time.  Or when he announces to the meeting that I can’t sleep anymore.  Or when he tells the doctor that I need more time off so that I can give our child breast-milk   I know that it is all said with his great love and concern for his family.

My husband’s heart is bigger than I ever imagined–and I am reminded every day of what a gift he has been to me.  If one year with him brings this much joy, I can’t imagine what fifty years will bring.  I know that we’ll face challenges and that bumps in the road are unavoidable–but it will be just like wild Mexican taxi rides:  We’ll swerve when we can to avoid the worst, we’ll slow down if we see a bump heading our way, and if we can’t do either–we’ll just hold on tight to each other to keep from being bruised, bashed, and broken.

“That’s What You Get”

My mom said this to me the other day, “That’s what you get, Jania, for giving your Daddy such a hard time.” She, of course, was referring to more evidence of me choosing a man just like my dad.

I can’t say anything to Victor–after all, I am the one who chose him.  So when he comes into the room with his jeans pulled up, his shirt tucked in, and his belt on, I can only sigh.  Or when he orders Broccoli and Cheese soup at lunch, then proceeds to exclaim over how delicious it is.  “That’s what I want you to make.  Can you do that?”  he asks.  Apparently, my rendition of broccoli and cheese soup didn’t quite cut it.  Granted, it was much healthier…

Yesterday, on our walk, he tells me all about how when he builds a house–his room will be as far as possible from the street.  The noise is just too much.  I just continued on silently, but I was shaking my head and exclaiming on the inside.

  • At night, my husband likes to enjoy a nice cup of hot tea.
  • He can’t stand being late for anything–and will even head to class an hour early to wait for it to begin.
  • Today, his frustration over us missing previews almost did him in.  I thought we would have to pass on the movie altogether.
  • And no, we can’t buy canned vegetables, because he just told me that he doesn’t like the way they taste.  He prefers them fresh–and slightly crunchy when cooked.
  • You should see the things he mixes together when he cooks.  I am sorry, honey (and Daddy), but green beans, broccoli, and corn really don’t taste that great cooked in the same pot.

My mom said it best, that’s what I get…  big sigh…


A Funk

That’s what I’ve been in today: a funk.  It’s weird because I am so used to having high spirits here in Mexico–when I feel all moody it doesn’t belong.

I would like to find the source of this funk.  Perhaps it has to do with my constant worrying for the last five days.  The baby is all head down and ready to go–but is turned sideways (as if she’s looking at my hip bone, if you will).  So, I go to sleep worrying about my position, and I watch my shows bent at a 90 degree angle over my yoga ball.  I haven’t been desperate enough to mop the floor on my hands and knees, but stay tuned…

I’ve been more than a little irritated about receiving my paycheck from the Social Security system who pays for my maternity leave.  We’ve visited the bank three times, and have been told that I am not in the system.  So, the next step is to talk to the people at the hospital.  We’ve tried.  The line is outrageous.  I am determined that tomorrow morning is the day that we will put this all to rest.  So, Victor doesn’t know–but we’re getting up early and heading down there.

And then there’s the normal aches, pains, swollen ankles, and numb fingers (from carpal tunnel).  That doesn’t help.

Finally, we can blame this on the fact that I am not working.  But I’ve tried to keep busy.  Baby clothes are washed and hung or folded.  Moby Wrap is made.  And baby blanket is mostly finished.  What more should I do?  Twiddle my thumbs?  (This is a real thing.  You should ask my mom).

My sweet husband has let me be a bum today–and is most sympathetic.  But I am afraid I may have scared the handy man from school.  Normally I offer drinks and food–but today I just complained.

Let’s blame it on being 36 weeks pregnant.  Shall we?

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Baby

Well, there’s  one thing this incapasidad has given me:  time.

A lot of it.

We have had a room piling up with gift bags, and a suitcase crammed full of diapers and onesies.  I finally decided it was time to get ready for this chubby kid I am cooking.  I walked through the house the other night, and it made me smile to see our swing in the living room.  No baby–but evidence that one is on the way!

As if the baby clothes, diapers, blankets, etc. aren’t enough, my body is constantly reminding me.  No longer do I feel the quickening flutters that make me smile in delight.  Nope:  sharp knees, elbows, and a round bottom and back keep me alert.  I can’t help but just stare when he starts moving.  It’s like an alien is in there rolling around and settling down to where my pansita is lopsided.

Victor and I went to a hotel for my birthday–just because the two things I wanted most were a bath and a swim.  It was the most expensive swim I’ve ever had (but worth every penny).  Being in the water was amazing–I felt like I didn’t weigh an ounce!  Victor just drug me around like a rag doll–and even when I swam laps, I couldn’t really tell any difference between now and when I was babyless.  We’re on the search now for a local pool to swim at more often.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Normally, I wouldn’t be all about a picture of me in my bathing suit–but proud papi is too cute here.  He said, “It’s a picture of me and my baby.” 

We also are trying to walk more.  I get so stiff and achy after sitting around.  This is another reason why I wanted to work longer: I feel like now, we’re just waiting around for the baby.  Victor walked in the living room a few minutes ago, and said, “Los pañales son listos.  Los zapatitos son listos.” (The diapers are ready.  The little shoes are ready.)  He was commenting on the pile of folded diapers sitting on our coffee table.  That’s how it is right now:  Clean baby goodies all ready to go–and the parents wandering around waiting for a baby to use them.

Surprisingly, I still feel great overall!  I move from the couch to my yoga ball when my hips start hurting.  I groan as I get up and start walking, feeling like I’ve been working out my inner thighs, and I grunt as I roll off the bed to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  I have finally accepted help getting my shoes on each day too, but I feel good!  Even the things I complain about are worth it.

Oh, yes.  We are in baby mode and counting down:  
Watch me go two weeks late as this baby begins to teach me patience…


Baby y Yo–35 weeks!

29 Years Stronger

My first thought was, “I should blog about 29 things on my bucket list for this year.” Something about that seemed all too familiar, so I decided instead to revisit my post from last year.  Yep.  Twenty-eight things.

Twenty-Eight Things I Want To Do This Year
1). Go to the Mayan Ruins.
2). See the Canyon.
3). Learn to speak Spanish.
4). Swim in the Gulf.
5). Visit Central America.
6). Visit the Zapatista communities.
7). See the old people dance in Marimba Park.
8). Learn to make tamales.
9). Learn to salsa.
10). See some monkeys (apparently this can be accomplished with 1 or 2).
11). Understand the songs I listen to.
12). Figure out how to make more money teaching English.
13). Raise my GRE scores.
14). Learn to make more than black beans and rice in Mexico.
15). Figure out how to get water (you’d think I would know this by now…)
16). Give a testimony in meeting that doesn’t require me asking how to say something.
17). See an active volcano.
18). Learn to knit on a knitting machine the indigenous women use.
19). Run again!
20). See the coffee farms.
21). Ride in the front seat of a Collectivo.
22). Start English classes for the neighborhood kids.
23). Read a Spanish book.
24). Talk to my Mexican niece and nephew in Spanish only.
25). Find the source of music and fireworks.
26). Have a conversation without apologizing or saying, “Hablo poco!”
27). Visit a waterfall that you can swim in.
28). Scuba dive (or snorkel) in Belize.

Turns out, meeting my (future) husband two weeks after my birthday keeps me from doing most of those things, but helped me accomplish the few things I actually did.  And I know that some of these will happen yet–but the others really aren’t that important to me anymore.  Funny how a husband and a baby can rearrange priorities!

You should know, I used to be all about making lists for things that I want to accomplish–my “bucket list”, if you will.  I remember the first list when I was 20.  I was living in Minnesota with my first real taste of independence.  All I could think is “There are so many things to see and do!  And I have so little time to do it!” I made a list of 101 things to do.  My older friend (with a five-year plan that he actually followed through on) dashed my dreams when he edited my list.  He told me that half of the items weren’t important and most of the others wouldn’t be achieved.  Bah!

Now, almost a decade later, I feel like I’ve grown beyond lists.  My greatest lesson this year is the importance of taking things one day at a time–and making sure that I enjoy the moment that I am in.  (This is easier said than done when the moment is swollen hands and feet, sleepless nights, and achy parts of my body that I shouldn’t share…)  We aren’t planning (or worrying) about the future, we’re just living today and trusting tomorrow in God’s hands.  So if I were to make a new list–it would be full of on-going goals that MIGHT be accomplished in this lifetime…

  1. Learn to serve God with my all.
  2. Learn to be a mother as good as the one I have (and the one she has).
  3. Learn to love my husband as unselfishly as he loves me.

I don’t even need to go on.  This should keep me busy for years to come…


My 42-Day Vacation in Mexico

When I finally came out of the closet (telling the school I was expecting), the first thing I hear about is their “rather generous” maternity leave.  Required by law, I would be taking 42 days before the due date and 42 days after the birth as my incompasidad.  Then, sometime last week, I hear about a NEW law.  Instead of taking 42 days before–I could pile all those days together and have about three months after the baby was born.  Hooray!  That sounds wonderful!

Until Mexico bureaucracy struck again.

It seems that when laws change here, people who should know about them never do.  Oh, people at school were aware.  The school lawyer confirmed it.  And yet, the people who sign off on maternity leave (the government hospital) had no clue.

So, it begins:  my forty-two day count-down.

I won’t complain about Day One.  I slept in.  I went to the store.  I hung out with my husband.  I cooked some Asian food.  I watched some shows online.  I read a book.  But this kind of life can’t continue for long…

I’ve decided a couple of projects are in order:

  1. Make my own Moby Wrap.  Do you know how expensive these are?  Basically, you pay close to $50 for a long strip of cloth so that you can carry your baby the way Mexican women have for centuries with scrap material.  I want to go get the material today to begin my project.  I am having a hard time deciding between a woven Mexican fabric or some kind of knit fabric.  
  2. Make a baby blanket.  I am not talking about anything fancy here.  The main idea is that this project gets finished (unlike many of my schemes).  I want some kind of applique business, but I can’t decide what.  It has to be gender neutral–and I am wondering if undertaking the entire alphabet will be too much.  Probably.
  3. Wash and store baby “stuff”.  I am talking about the diapers I already have mostly.  They say you should wash those a few times before using them to make them more absorbent.  I also have a few baby clothes–we really don’t have that many, and when people ask, I say, “What is the baby really going to wear to begin with?  Onesies?” Usually seasoned mamas will tell me, “They outgrow them so fast anyway, you don’t need too much.”  I bought some Free and Clear (imported) Detergent yesterday.  Turns out Mexicans don’t really believe in detergent without smell.  (The detergent aisle was my enemy when I had morning sickness.)

I can’t wait to begin!  This will keep my mind busy while this little guy incubates a bit more.