Monday, June 4, 2012

Dear Leland: 6 months



Dear Leland,
I always intended to write you a letter for every month of your life like your Aunts Haley and Kelly have so beautifully done for your cousins. Today, however, you are six months old, (!!!) and this is the first letter I have to show for myself. I really do regret this, and though my excuse is inadequate, I will submit it presently: every spare moment I have had, I have invariably spent kissing your giant, irresistibly poofy cheeks. Even now, I am tempted to put down this computer and take you from Daniel and smooch those chubby baby jowls and your abundance of other fat rolls. Please excuse my utter inability to get things done. I can't help myself. I'm ruined.

Hiii, y'all.
During your sixth month of life, you had quite a few adventures. For starters, you took your first ever vacation. Mrs. Frosty and Jill, Jill's little boys William and David, Gam and the two of us all packed our cars and went to the beach for a few days. You were perfect. You traveled like a champion, slept like an angel, and when we went down to the beach, you acted like you'd been lounging on beaches since the beginning of time. You would sit in your swing under the canopy we had set up, and for no discernable reason, you would just squeal and laugh all by yourself over there. You loved it. I had expected the wind and all the new smells and sounds and the brightness of the sunshine to overwhelm you, but you took it all in stride, so much so that within minutes of being there, I decided to take you down to the water in an attempt to dip your toes in. This did not go according to plan, and I would like to offer my sincerest apologies for what happened next, when I squatted down at the shoreline, planted your feet in the sand, and realized all too late that a particularly boisterous wave was on its way to splash up on all 24 inches of your body, leaving you sandy, salty and wet. To my amazement, even this didn't seem bother you in the least, and I thereby pronounced you the most easy going baby in all the land.  (Even still, I'm so sorry for dunking you in the ocean.)

After the beach, we went to Gam and Geez's house where you enjoyed your first four wheeler ride with Geez, Gam taught you to blow raspberries, and you hung out with your Aunt Kelly and cousins Clark and Griffin.

You and Geez embarking on your 50th four wheeler ride in 2 days
There's a phenomenon we Rices like to call "mooshka," which is when, upon exposure to something extraordinarily tiny and cute, an intense urge washes over the observer, who begins feeling strangely, almost aggressively compelled to squeeze the object of his affection much tighter than he ought. In a survey of the general population, half of participants responded, "YES!!! I know exactly what you mean!" while the other half looked at me fearfully, and slowly backed away, clutching their infants and small pets protectively. Anyway, mooshka clearly runs in our family since we all felt the need to coin a term for it, and that's why, when a 2-year-old Clark saw you and was smitten by your pure angelic beauty, he clenched his teeth, his breathing became labored, and he growled, "HEEEYR BEHR-BEHR LEELERRR!" while slowly reaching for you with trembling hands. Kelly and I recognized these symptoms, and promptly removed you from the vicinity. During our visit, every time Clark saw you, he would behave in a similar fashion. This eventually culminated in Clark, upon being invited to kiss your face before bedtime, biting you affectionately on the ear instead. It couldn't have been more than a nibble since you didn't so much as blink, but after that, anytime Clark approached you Kelly would tell him, "Whatever you are about to do to Leland... just do it to Griffin." Once, after being thus instructed, Clark obligingly planked atop an unsuspecting Griffin, who remained entirely unfazed. It was the cutest thing ever. I love how even with his own baby brother around, Clark was so freaking excited about seeing his baby cousin that he was about to burst. I am really looking forward to seeing you and all your cousins as a bunch of elementary school kids running around in the woods of Oloh, Mississippi together, jumping in the lake, building forts and getting into trouble. Cousins forever!

You and Griffin share a tender moment. Mooshka to the max!


A couple of weeks after we returned home from Mississippi, our church had a baby dedication service and the vast majority of your entourage drove to Nashville from distant lands to celebrate. After the service we had a barbecue at our house with lots of family and friends, and you spent the afternoon being a social butterfly and getting held by lots of people who love you, which has got to be one of your favorite things in the world.


From left to right: Everybody in the world.









 Granny lovin'
You are now at an age where you are developing strong, observable opinions about the world around you. Some of it is not to your liking, and there are a few things things that you find absolutely despicable, like rice cereal, the food processor (or anything that makes sudden loud noises,) and The Booger Sucker of Doom. But what's most fun about this age is watching you come to love the things you love. Here are a few of your favorite things right now:


Daniel
Let me tell you, Leland; you are some kinda crazy about your daddy. You would stare at his face for days if he would only sit still long enough, and nothing delights you more than when the two of you play together. You will also sit quietly and contentedly in Daniel's lap without any additional entertainment much longer than you would ever tolerate such an uneventful stint in mine. Daniel usually travels out of town a few times a month for work. While he's gone, I am not entirely sure if you realize what you're missing (such a complex emotion would be more difficult to communicate nonverbally than, say, hunger, which you tell me about by opening your mouth like a baby bird and violently ramming your face repeatedly into the area from which you are accustomed to receiving milk, often growling ferociously.) but you usually get a pretty bad case of the grumps during Daniel's absence, and when he comes back you light up like a Christmas tree. It's so sweet to me to see how much you love your daddy, and I'll let you in on a little secret: I happen to know he loves you more.


The Johnny Jump Up
Sweet mercy, child, do you love that Johnny Jump Up. I put you in it for the first time a couple of weeks ago and you enjoyed pivoting on your toes, but when you finally figured out about the jumping part, it became your new favorite pastime, and I expect you will still be bouncing in that thing when you are 18. You are so cute hopping around in it that I don't know what to do with myself. I usually end up squealing wildly while you jump in an attempt to amp you up even more. I can only hope nobody ever hides a camera in our house for any investigative purposes, because they would confirm that I am, indeed, a moron. I make a complete fool of myself when I want to entertain you, which is approximately ten times per second.

video


Bathing in the glow of the fish tank

The Fishes
Since you were under one month old, you have been very, very into the saltwater tank in your room, which contains several types of coral, a couple of clown fish, and incidentally, 2 sea urchins who must have lived as eggs in some of the live rock Daniel put in there until one day they just appeared, seemingly out of thin air. Daniel and I have often held you and stood in front of the tank, where your attention remains undivided for as long as it is in sight. It's bright and colorful and it has fish that swim and little fan-like motors that blow the coral like trees in the wind, and you find it absolutely mesmerizing. The only trouble with this is that during the day when you're supposed to be napping, you have been known to squirm your way into a position from which you can observe the fishes, which you do quietly and reverently for the entirety of your nap.



Hey girl...

The Ladies
Leland, you are a little dreamboat. Everywhere I go, women fall over themselves and swoon before melting into puddles of goo, saying things like, "I cannot say no to your fuzzy baby head!" and, "Your tiny little mouth is the teeniest of tiny mouths!" (These are both actual excerpts from conversations I have overheard between you and our friend Hannah Hester.) You are clearly aware that the ladies of the world are silly putty in your tiny baby hands, which is probably why you've developed such an affinity for this particular demographic and have learned to pander to them, rapidly becoming quite the flirtatious little charmer. You enjoy fluttering your lashes and feigning shyness, flashing giant, toothless grins just before bashfully burying your face in whomever's chest is most conveniently located before you. I am not above being bamboozled into making the same kind of sloppy displays as other women, by the way. Daniel and I both like to narrate your thoughts, (Constantly. It's actually a little weird, I'm afraid.) and Daniel has often looked over at me cooing hysterically over you and said, "Mommy gives me whatever I want!" And alas, it is true. I do do that.


Nanners
The first food we fed you was bananas, which may have been a mistake. The only way we can get you to eat anything else now is by mixing bananas in. I need not go on: this video of your first taste of nanners says it all:

video

I just put you to bed and said goodnight to my new six month old. We both enjoy going through our night time routine together. First, I change you and blow on your belly. Then I take you to the crib where we play one last game of peek-a-boo before I wrap you up in your blanket and give you your pacifier. We head to the chair where I read you "Goodnight Moon," then I sing you a lullaby, rock you and put you in the bed. When I'm singing to you, I love watching your face. You make a weak attempt to fight sleep sometimes with these tiny little grunts, and you look up at me sleepily and say, "heeehhhhh?" a few times. Then your whole body relaxes, and as you start to doze, your sleepy eyes roll back. What I love most about bedtime is feeling you nuzzle close to me for comfort. These days, you are growing so strong and independent that I have to take those moments where I can get them, which is every night before bed and on occasion, when you wake up from a nap and are extra sleepy.



I can hardly believe you are a six month old. I remember the first day of Leland Elijah like it was yesterday, and yet, everything from before you were here seems far-off and hazy. You are such a gift. Our days are infinitely sweeter and brighter with the joy that you bring to our world. The little details in our lives seem to hold a lot more significance, too, knowing that the habits we form and the individual choices we make day by day will all ultimately contribute to what kind of home you will grow up in, and what you will learn about the world from us. Everything seems profoundly more important, because you are so important and beloved. I hope that with God's help, ours will be a home where you will always know that you are loved unconditionally. I hope that you'll never hide who you are or how you feel, or even what you've done, because you'll know nothing can change how much you are loved. And it's a lot, Leland. A whole lot.

Love,
Mama

Friday, April 6, 2012

Ramblings of a Sleep Deprived Mother

Well, I am beginning to emerge from the foggy abyss that is new parenthood, and I think I can finally pull myself together enough to blog. Maybe. We'll see.

For the record, this isn't the first time I've tried to blog. Most of my attempts have involved me staring stupidly at the screen, which is occupied by a single, lonely word:

Baby

Followed by a sad little blinking cursor.

Then, several hours later, a stroke of genius will leave me with this tremendous improvement:

Baby,,, I had had hem.

I wish I was kidding, because I would have written all kinds of brilliant, moving prose about the joys of motherhood by now. But as much of a joy as it is, (And it is. It is pure joy.) it has rendered me quite a remarkable specimen of dumb dumb. Let me count the ways...

1. I now call Wilco "Leland" every. single. time.

2. At first I called Leland "Wilco," which was significantly worse. I'm glad it started going the other direction, since one of these precious little babies will eventually be able to understand what I'm saying.

3. I leave my phone everywhere I go. Kroger, the pediatrician's office, church...

4. I constantly forget very basic vocabulary words like "pillow" and "paper."

5. If you play me a song by my favorite artist that I listened to a gozillion times in my former life before Leland was born, I will strain myself so hard I may have a brain hemorrhage trying to remember who wrote it.

6. HOWEVER, I walk around with the simple, nursery grade number from Leland's bouncer stuck in my head all day. And I hum it while I do stuff around the house? Because that is my music now?

Maybe I am way off about this, but I feel like I was a pretty cool person at one point. I mean, for about 10 years there I had a personality and everything! I had preferences and opinions and good taste in music... Evidently, that has all been wiped clean. My new favorite book is "Goodnight Moon." I didn't used to care much for "Goodnight Moon." It wasn't part of my childhood, I wasn't emotionally attached. But now, it's my G.D. favorite. Because it's the one that gets Leland the heck to sleep, that's why.

7. When I mean to say "meet," I spell it "meat." When I mean to say "week," I spell it "weak." Avocado? "Avacado." I was an English major, people. When my grammar starts going, you know something is up. And I almost spelled it "grammer."

8. I am completely incapable of cooking anymore, especially baking, because when I try to follow a recipe I lose my place and put in the same ingredient up to 5 times. It requires an remarkable level of concentration for me to avoid doing this, and I almost never succeed.

9. I use Daniel's toothbrush on the daily. (Daniel, if this is the first you're hearing about this, I'm truly sorry.)

And I would have no way of knowing for certain if this is the first Daniel was hearing about this because...

10. I tell Daniel the same things. Over. And over. And over. I will tell him something, and then about ten seconds later, I will turn around and repeat the same dadgum thing again. This is because I no longer have the mental capacity to distinguish between what I'm saying in my head and what I'm saying aloud.

It's crazy what sleep deprivation can do to a person. I recently sleep walked for the first time. Well, I assume it was the first time... I obviously wouldn't have any way of knowing if it had happened before, or if it's happened since. The only reason I know it happened that particular time was because I woke up with Leland in the bed next to me. He was just laying there, looking at me, kinda confused but content nonetheless. Like, "Ohai mom, why did you wake me up and bring me here? I mean it's cool, I like snugglin and all, I's just wonderin dat's all, you don't hafta put me back in my crib or anything..." (Yes, I'm aware that I sound like I'm channeling Bil Keane, but that's how Leland talks. Get used to it.) At first I assumed that he had cried, and Daniel gotten him and brought him in for me to feed. I asked Daniel, "how long has he been here?" He didn't know. I asked him, "didn't you bring him in here?" Nope. "yes you did." Nope, he said. One of us was sleep walking. I immediately retorted, "Well must have been you because I don't sleep walk." That's when I noticed that he was under the covers and I wasn't. I must have dreamed Leland was crying and gone and gotten him- he clearly had not been crying and was not hungry. So anyways... now I sleep walk. While carrying my infant. Which is totally terrifying and I try not to think about it too hard or ask questions like what if I tripped or decided to go for a little dream drive. We just try not to think about those things in this family. We need to get some sleep at night in this household so we choose to ignore the very real possibility that I could get up one night and take Leland for a stroll into the Cumberland River.

So obviously, I didn't just break my blogging hiatus because my IQ spiked. I'm still a total sleep deprived basket case. What motivates me to blog now, after all this time, is that over the past weak, (<--- SEE??? I wasn't kidding about that!) I have become increasingly aware of how crazy fast Leland is growing up. It is insane. He is four months old already. And he's doing all kinds of new cool tricks he couldn't do when he was born, and now he's teething, and his feet are gigantic, and all around he is just this awesome little dude who's getting awesomer by the day... but I can't stand it! I love this stage and yet it's impossible for me to be totally content because I am far too aware of how fast the time is passing, and I know it will be over so soon. I just want him to stay like this for... ever! Ok, I don't know, maybe not forever. but at least for like 10-15 years. But instead, one third of his first year has already passed in a flash, and time keeps moving and it just makes me want to cry. I have recently discovered what I want out of life, and it's very simple: to have a baby, always. I am going to have so many babies because I am addicted to having a baby. Sorry Daniel we're having 20 kids. I know you didn't sign up for this, but it's your fault for marrying a crazy person. Now this is your lot in life. The best thing you can do is just accept it, and move on.

Anyway... all this to say, I'm realizing that I need to be writing about Leland during this time to help me hold on to these sweet, fleeting moments with him as our tiny baby boy. He is amazing, and so funny and full of joy. There are so many details about his little personality that mean the world to me and that I want to cherish forever. I'm afraid I'll forget. I want to have them recorded somewhere, even if I can't form a coherent sentence to save my life.

So please, allow me to tell you about our baby.























(To be continued...)


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Baby Bed

Last night while I baked Thanksgiving pies, Daniel assembled the crib. Now our little Leland nook is all set up and ready for a baby boy. Leland's nursery is also a shared office space, so Daniel and Leland are going to chill together in their man cave all the time. I'm just waiting for the day that "No Girls Allowed" poster shows up on the door.


The aquarium, one of Daniel's favorite hobbies, is sure to be a lot of fun for Leland as well. It will also double over as a noise maker and a night light. A very expensive night light.



My sweet friend Roseanna Hatton hand-sewed these sweet little fox and owl pillows for Leland. Roseanna is also pregnant, and her baby girl (Leland's girlfriend,) Lyla is due on December 13th. We are so, so excited to meet sweet Lyla Grace soon!

The canvas with the writing on it was painted with love by Leland's Aunt Audrey. It features the lyrics to my favorite lullaby, "You Cannot Lose My Love"which makes me cry every single dad-gum time I hear it. It's by Sara Groves. Go figure. Here's how it goes:

You will lose your baby teeth.
At times, you'll lose your faith in me.
You will lose a lot of things,
But you cannot lose my love.

You may lose your appetite,
Your guiding sense of wrong and right.
You may lose your will to fight,
But you cannot lose my love.

You will lose your confidence,
In times of trial, your common sense.
You may lose your innocence,
But you cannot lose my love.

Many things can be misplaced,
Your very memories be erased.
No matter what the time or space,
You cannot lose my love.

-Sara Groves

Agh. Now I'm crying.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. God has been so faithful. I am thankful for His providence and provision, and for the love and support of our family and friends this year as we've prepared to welcome our little one.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"Meaningless! Meaningless!" Says the Pregnant Lady; "Everything is Meaningless."

I don't even know how many weeks I am anymore guys. I lost count somewhere around a thousand. What I do know is that these days, anytime someone calls me and I don't pick up, they leave me an excited voicemail asking, "ARE YOU HAVING A BABY?!"

Sadly, I'm not.

I'm never having a baby.

I haven't had one. Single. Baby.

And at this point, I'm starting to think there may actually be four or five inside me.

Don't ask me how they missed them in the ultrasounds.

These babies are ninjas.

But on a serious note, there's something I've been putting off telling y'all for a while now. I'm not actually having a baby. I know this probably comes as a shock to those of you who are still naive and pure of heart, and still believe that pregnancy ends in labor, which, in turn, ends in the birth of a baby. But as those of us who are a thousand weeks pregnant can tell you, babies are not born into this world. It is simply not the reality we live in.

I was once like you. I used to call Daniel in a desperate panic and have him fly home from shoots in New Orleans when I had 10 contractions in an hour, because I, too, believed in labor. But not anymore. I have become, as my sister Haley so aptly coined it, a Labor Atheist. Contractions are meaningless. I've been having them for weeks now, and sometimes they are painful and come every two to four minutes. But now, I just ignore them. Fool me once, contractions, shame on you. But until a baby physically comes out of me, I will believe no more of this poppycock about "labor" and "birth". What's that you say? There's a puddle of amniotic fluid on the floor? Ignore that. It's nothing. It, too, is meaningless.

Now that we've established that I am not having, nor will I ever have a baby, let's talk about why I've fallen off the face of the earth.

The real reason have been missing so many calls from my loved ones is because I spend an insane amount of time napping. Most women report that in this stage of pregnancy it's almost impossible for them to get any sleep at all, so I'm not complaining. But I do have (sort of) good news for those women: it doesn't matter. No matter how much sleep I get, I'm still a total zombie when I'm awake. The only difference is that I get to enjoy long bouts of unconsciousness, and that helps the time pass. You could achieve the same effect by hitting yourself over the head with a frying pan occasionally, if you were so inclined.

Every so often, though, I will have one really good day where I will experience a burst of energy. The cycle has gotten to be pretty predictable. I usually have about two or three down days, followed by a day of feeling normal, and then two or three more down days followed by a day of raving lunacy.



On one such occasion last week, I woke up at 6:30 am, baked banana bread from scratch for breakfast, cleaned the kitchen, washed and folded all our laundry, sewed some pennants for Leland's room, made some thank you tags and bows for the goodie bags I'm assembling for the birth team, (this was before I'd given up all hope,) cooked homemade soup, and wrote, addressed and mailed all our thank you notes.

Another time, after catching up on some basic chores I'd fallen way, way behind on, I vacuumed our entire house, including many of the walls, (not a joke,) mopped the floors, and crawled around the perimeter of several rooms with cleaning spray and a sponge scrubbing all the baseboards. I'm not going to say I felt great that night. Or for several days afterwards. Or even that I will ever fully recover. But I'd been lying around on the couch for days at that point, staring at the dirt, silently seething and plotting my victory over it. So when I collected enough strength to do something about it, I showed no restraint.

Each time I finish one of these cycles, I get exceedingly desperate for Leland to come quickly. Because if birth really does exist, and it happens during the part where I haven't touched a dish for days and no one in the house has any clean underwear left, I'm just not sure what we're going to do.

That's about all I've got for today. If I keep being pregnant right through Thanksgiving, I might have some pictures of the crib to post soon. If not, I'm probably just going to post pictures of Leland's face at the rate of 12 per hour for the rest of my life and not bother setting up the crib until he's about six months old.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Third Trimester Highlights

32 weeks

Purchase absurdly enormous body pillow. Bring home to full size bed and sad husband. Enjoy first decent night of sleep in weeks.


Heaven

Birth class instructor teaches Daniel and I a neat trick: after birth, instead of bathing the baby to get the vernix off, "rub it in like lotion" to "protect the baby." Unclear what we are protecting baby from. Try hard not to make eye contact with each other and risk laughing.

33 weeks

Mom comes to town for a wonderful shower with sweet Axis ladies. Feel the love.

Daniel assembles stroller, stands back and laments its incredible size. "It's so big. I didn't know it would be this big." He's right. It looks like a boat.

34 weeks

Notice first stretch marks on stomach. Soon thereafter, notice girl ahead in line at coffee shop wearing midriff top. Grieve for approximately one millisecond that I can "never wear a midriff top again." Snap out of it, recalling that in the 24 years I've had to try this out, it's never once struck me as a good idea. Promptly get over it.



Get dressed for dinner with a friend. It's cold out; wear red maternity sweater dress I've been looking forward to bringing out. Feel really cute until I look in the mirror and realize I look like a Christmas bauble. Resolve that getting dressed up is no longer worth the effort.

Week 35

Daniel and I are 2 years old! Celebrate with a short trip to Chattanooga. Reserve a hotel with very few pictures on the website; don't know what to expect. At least seventeen cats is what to expect.* Have a great time, see aquarium, eat dinner at the best restaurant in the world. Decide to stay in Chattanooga with the cats forever.

Week 36

At my appointment, chiropractor corners me and begs me not to vaccinate the baby. Wish he would stop using words like "child abuse" and "propaganda;" feel very uncomfortable.

Baby drops.

Earlier today

Midwife tells me Leland is measuring a little ahead of schedule. Next week they'll check again, and I may have an ultrasound to determine if the fetus is too strong.

*At the hotel, the tip envelope has a handwritten note on it reading, "anything you can give will help feed the cats!" We get the feeling this whole operation is about the cats.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Challenge

During the last 20 minutes of our childbirth class last night, we worked on a relaxation technique that involves deep breathing and massage.

I triple dog dare you guys to lie down on the floor with a dozen pillows around your body while listening to the sounds of soothing music and my instructor guiding the men through how to give a buttocks massage, then have your derriere awkardly massaged for the first time in your life in a room of people you don't know very well at all, then lift your head up from your pillow to see all the men concentrating really hard on massaging their wives butts. I dare you to do these things and not laugh. I was able to stifle it pretty well in my pillow so I don't think the whole class knows that I'm not mature enough to handle the seriousness of labor. But oh my goodness. I am not. It is all so very very funny.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Now This Is Happening

There's so much to do. So naturally, I'm sitting down to blog about it.

This past week I went to a used bookstore and found a few of the books you all recommended, then ordered the rest on Amazon. I made some good headway on a couple of them this week at work. I was initially expecting to spend much of my free time trying to keep up with all my reading, but then I remembered that I work with the most wonderful supervisors in the world, and as long as we don't have any customers and there's nothing else for me to be doing, which is very often the case, I can read all day and they don't mind a bit. It really is very helpful that I can read at work, since it frees up my days off to work on all my other baby projects. At work, as a courtesy to everyone around me, I've been making a concerted effort to cover pictures of anything alarming, like babies crowning, with post-it notes. Don't want to scare off all the customers.

Tonight I'm attending an open house for Nine Months and Beyond, a doula service in Nashville. They call this event a MaterniTEA Party, and the idea is that you can meet and interview doulas on their Baby Ejection Squad, or whatever they call it. (Probably not that.) Meanwhile, Daniel is currently on his way to Athens, GA to get a tattoo to commemorate Leland's upcoming birth, which means that I'll most likely end up choosing a doula on my own. I hope he likes my choice. And I hope he loves his tattoo. Here's the design:

Juuuust kidding. More on the tattoo later.

This morning I was lying in bed thinking about all the things I need to do in the next three months, and it occurred to me that I wasn't sure when to pack a hospital bag. So I checked it out on my phone. And wouldn't you know, there's a whole website dedicated to the packing of hospital bags. Of course there is. Here's what it said:

"We recommend that you pack your hospital bag by the end of your second trimester. Although this may seem early, it's better to be safe than sorry and you never know if you'll go early."

Guess what today is? The last day of my second trimester. I'm taking a trip to Target and packing today. Who knows what could happen if I didn't have it packed by tomorrow! I'm so glad I found out before it was too late!

Tomorrow marks the first day of my final trimester, as well as the first day of our birth class. Then on Monday I have my monthly (soon to become biweekly) prenatal appointment and Daniel and I are going to our pastor's house to talk to him and his wife about this whole Becoming Parents thing.

Today it feels like I looked up and all at once we have actual concrete things that we can do to prepare to welcome this child into our lives. It's very exciting, because up until now it's just felt like a lot of waiting around. I'm aware that it's common to get impatient toward the end of the third trimester once you can't breathe anymore and you're running to the bathroom every five minutes and you've completed all the major preparations. For now, though, I just feel elated that I can do things. I can start packing for the hospital, setting up the nursery, writing a birth plan and doing stupid looking pretend-pushing exercises with a room full of giant pregnant women and their husbands, (all of whom have a far away look, as though trying to recall how, exactly, they got roped into this class,) and all of those things are perfectly appropriate for this stage of pregnancy. It really is time to start getting ready to have a baby. It's almost time to have our baby!