Yep, still pregnant

July 26, 2010 - 8 Responses

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my due date blog post/ 40 weeks pregnant

July 24, 2010 - 8 Responses

Today on my due date… I did not water ski like my mom did on her due date with me… but I did garage-sale. Mom and I hit five garage sales this morning. At each one someone asked, “When is your baby due?” And each time I enjoyed the reaction to my answer: “Today.”

At one of the sales (where we scored a baby swing for $15) the woman asked, “Are we going to have to fly you off the island?” That’s when I noticed that she was wearing an EMS t-shirt. “I’m an EMT,” she said and then told us about a woman who gave birth at the medical center on-island in the winter and another woman who made it over to Anacortes only to give birth in the ambulance on the way from the landing strip to the hospital.

Lots of people gave me looks as though I were crazy not to be off-island already. And I can get that. I thought that’s exactly what I would do. Go to the mainland early and wait. But the thought of that now is horrid. Waiting is not easy. Laurie (my doula) told me today that this is often the hardest part. The part where you’re ready to have the baby, but the baby is not yet ready to be born.

Talk about a serious lack of patience. It’s my due date and already I’m frustrated that he’s not here yet. But… I guess I have been waiting patiently for 40 weeks. He’ll come when he’s ready. Right? Right.

So back to the day. After the garage sales, we hit the farmer’s market for some grub. And then went to the Friday Harbor airport to look at the pretty planes. Today was the “Fly-In” and Open House. There were all sorts of pretty Cessnas and bi-planes. I considered taking a ride in a bi-plane until I saw the price ($65 per person.) It was a blast. Until my eyes suddenly rolled back into my head and I almost fainted. Bob saw me sway and caught me.

It came out of nowhere. Home it was. I put my feet up and proceeded to chug water. The combination of the heat, not enough water and my low blood pressure is what did it. I was done for the day. Mom and Bob took care of me. I drank lots of water and napped. That’s what was needed. Which meant we had to unfortunately miss the most exciting event of the day- the box car derby races. Yes. It was either that or the “Kiss the Pig/ Relay for Life” Fundraiser.

So to sum up… unfortunately there was no derby race watching, kissing of pigs or birthing of baby today.

Feels like it won’t happen for a few days.

Monday, by the way, is the full moon. I wouldn’t be shocked if it happened then. Any bets?

About the photo–

These are all of the baby/pregnancy books on my bedside table. My favorite book to read is Spiritual Midwifery. It’s amazing. So fascinating and inspiring. And the pictures from the 70s are awesome.

I often feel buried by this huge stack of books and all that I still have to read. Then I remember Laurie’s mantra: “Your baby will still come out.” As in, your baby will still come out even if you don’t read another book.

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granny panties & mesh underwear

July 22, 2010 - 9 Responses

I wrote about giant bras. Now it’s time the giant panties got a little ink (so to speak.)

I have an amazing husband.

How amazing?

Well…

Last week I sent him on an errand to buy… granny panties.

Yep.

See, since he works in civilization where one can buy things and stuff, and since I needed underwear to wear post-birth, I thought it would be simple for him to pick up a package of Hanes or Fruit of the Loom or whatever brand of big, ol’, ugly, hideous underwear he could find.

I was wrong.

Momderwear

Allow me to explain.

First…

Why granny panties?

Well, I had heard that I would appreciate the high-waisted support of said panties as well as the roomy nature following the birth and in light of all the craziness that happens “down there.” Makes sense.

By the way, this type of underwear is apparently known as “Momderwear.” This valuable information was imparted to me by fellow islander and Twitter friend Sara Jensen. When I tweeted about sending Bob to shop for granny panties for me, her tweet back read:

“Those are called momderwear. you have officially crossed over to the dark side of under garments”

So true.

Bob’s disturbing lunchtime adventure

Bob calls me on his lunch break.

“So what did you need? You need me to buy you some underwear?”

I hesitate. Should I really send him on this quest? Is this really a smart thing to do? I need them. And they don’t have them on the island. And the clock is ticking. So…

“If that’s okay with you,” I respond. “If you have time.” And then, “They’re the big and ugly kind.”

He’s game.

His client is in the financial district, so we’re limited to the stores that are in that area. Stores like Macy’s, Marshall’s, Ross and Walgreens. No Target. It’s my thought that a drugstore would be more likely to carry the hideous granny panties than Macy’s.

So Bob’s first stop is Walgreens and calls me from the store.

“They have some with something called ‘tummy control’.”

“No, no! Nothing with Lycra! Nothing with Lycra!”

“Okay.”

“They have to be 100% cotton. It’s all about comfort. 100% cotton!”

“Okaaaay…” he says with that tone that he’s afraid of further upsetting the crazy pregnant woman.

You’d think that Walgreens would be THE place to find momderwear, right? Wrong.

“There’s another Walgreens closer to my hotel that’s much bigger than this one. I’ll go there,” he calmly suggests.

“You don’t have to,” I say. Already feeling bad for this crazy mission I’ve sent him on in his already busy day.

But he’s determined to find these undies for me. So he goes to the bigger Walgreens closer to his hotel. Strike 2.

His third stop is Ross. I’m not holding my breath.

He calls me to tell me that not only can he not find the mythical granny panties, but he feels really creepy perusing the women’s lingerie section.

This makes me laugh. I can just see it. Poor Bob. What have I made him do? I’m awful. I sent my husband to buy me the ugliest underwear known to woman and now instead of feeling like my hero (for acquiring the object of my desire) he feels like a big ol’ perv.

I suggest he ask someone for help.

“Tell them you’re shopping for post-birth underwear for your wife,” I say. Hoping that they have to have something.

Strike 3.

“Never mind,” I say. “Let’s just forget it. Thank you for trying. I’m sorry. I’ll just order them or something.”

That’s true love, right? A man who is willing to shop for giant underwear for his pregnant wife? It is in my book.

See? He’s amazing.

Mesh underwear

So I still haven’t acquired any granny panties. I  just haven’t gotten around to ordering any. So if anyone has any suggestions for the most comfy brands, please comment below!

Now… I’ve been told that the hospital provides mesh underwear for new moms. Why mesh? I have no idea. Some friends have said they love them and others say they hated them. I’m not sure how I’ll feel. I can’t even picture them. Every time I try, quiver with fear. Perhaps because the word “mesh” makes me think of wire. And ouch.

But seriously, this is now the least of my worries. Why? Well… I’m 2 days away from my due date.

Two days.

Bob will be home tomorrow at 10 AM.

My hospital bag is packed.

And I’m just hoping I’ll know when to go to the mainland.

The  end.

(for now)

what the heck is a doula?

July 18, 2010 - 5 Responses

In my last post I mentioned that we have a doula. I got a couple of questions about that such as, “Who’s Doula?” and I thought I should explain.

Firstly, a doula is not a who but a what.

From the DONA International Website:

The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves” and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.

Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.

A birth doula…

“…guides and supports women and their partners continuously through labor and birth. The doula is on call for you, arrives at your home or the hospital when you need her, and remains with you continuously, with few or no breaks, until after the baby is born.” – from The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin

So how did we come to hire a doula? Well…

What if I go into labor when Bob is away?

The longer Bob’s San Francisco work gig went on, the more stressed I became about being alone on an island and going into labor. These questions haunted me:

What if Bob doesn’t make it on time?

How do I do this alone?

Who will drive me to the ferry?

What if Bob doesn’t make it on time?

What if my labor starts in the middle of the night? (There are no ferries in the middle of the night.)

How long will I be alone?

What if Bob doesn’t make it on time?

Will I be alone in the hospital waiting for my midwife to arrive from Orcas?

Who will help me through labor?

How will my midwife get from Orcas to the mainland in the middle of the night?

What do I do?!

A Solution

My friend Jenn – who has given me priceless advice, a treasure of hand-me-downs and emotional support – had mentioned that they worked with a doula and how amazing it was to have her. This doula happened to be the nurse that assisted my midwife on her Friday Harbor visits… also the same person that leads the birth classes here in the islands. Her name is Laurie Gallo.

I liked Laurie immediately. Every time I got on the scale she would say, “Perfect.” Every time she took my blood pressure she would say, “Perfect.” Again. And she just had this way about her that made me feel at ease. When Jenn mentioned that she was also an amazing doula I started thinking about the idea of hiring her.

When Melinda, my midwife, told me that I needed to find a way to put my anxieties about Bob missing the birth out of my mind… I thought about Laurie. Melinda said that I just needed to prepare as much as possible and then let it go. I thought that if I had someone I could call in the middle of the night to be with me in labor, then I wouldn’t be as worried about Bob not being there. Of course it would absolutely break my heart for Bob to miss the birth… but if anything would have me stop freaking out about every little pain or Braxton-Hicks contraction, this would be it.

So we decided to meet with Laurie to talk to her about being our doula and what that would entail.

Another Sign From the Universe

Laurie and I exchanged a couple of e-mails to set up our meeting. My e-mail signature has a link to my blogs… both Love in the Time of Foreclosure and Two Years on an Island. I get this e-mail back from Laurie that says,

“So – I had already fallen in love with this couple I’d heard on “The Story” and it turns out to be you both.”

This to me was a sign from the universe. How crazy is that? She heard our story on NPR. I couldn’t help but think this was meant to be. We’d found the perfect person to be our doula. She knows our whole story because she heard us on “The Story” and she ‘gets’ us.

When Laurie arrived for our meeting, she came prepared with quotes from our segment on “The Story.” She had noted things we said that pertained to child birth and/or parenting and demonstrated that we would make great parents. She correlated what we went through to childbirth and told us we were well-equipped. She recalled a story I told about the night before we had to be out of our house when our friend Brian took my tear-streaked glasses off my face and cleaned them for me. That, she said, is what a doula does. (So, Brian… if you ever get tired of Boston Court… you’d apparently make a great doula. Think about it.)

We couldn’t have asked for a better connection. She really did get us. And she created this really open space where we could share our hopes, fears and goals in a totally authentic manner. That meeting sealed it for us. We had found our doula. And my anxieties disappeared.

Of course every day we ask our little boy to please wait until the weekend to make his way into the world. Bob is even more specific. He is constantly telling my belly to wait until July 25th. We’ll see if our son complies. I hope he does. Bob’s leave from work begins this Friday. He’ll be home Friday morning for four weeks. The plan is for him to take two weeks of vacation and to work two weeks remotely. After that? Well… we’re just taking things day by day for now.

Oatmeal bread and fresh strawberries

I couldn’t be more happy to have hired Laurie to be my doula. Here are some things she does that make a difference for me:

-Makes me delicious gluten-free oatmeal bread with chocolate chips and raisins

-Provides me with large mason jars filled with homemade trail mix

-Gives me fresh strawberries from her garden (the best I’ve ever had!)

-Lends me books to help me prepare for the birth

-Lets me know I’m on her mind.

-Challenges me to call her in the middle of the night – for any question or concern.

-Tells me on a regular basis, “Your baby will come out anyway.” (can be applied successfully in response to a number of questions/concerns… such as, “I haven’t been doing yoga.”)

-Assures me that I am more than ready and am totally capable of delivering naturally (my goal.)

-Is knowledgeable, gentle, caring and non-judgmental.

And so much more. Between my midwife and doula, I feel so taken care of. I never thought I would be the “type” to have a midwife and a doula. This place is what opened me up to the possibility. And I’m so grateful. I love my team!

Only 6 more days

As of today, I am six days away from my due date. And (I almost don’t even want to type this) but it seems that nothing is imminent. It looks like he might actually comply with our request to wait until the 25th. But if he does decide to make an early appearance between my mom, Laurie our doula, Melinda our midwife and Virgin America Airlines to fly Bob from San Francisco to Seattle, we have quite the plan.

In the meantime, I’m drinking lots of water, spending quality time with my mom, sleeping as much as possible and getting things ready. Now to finish writing my birth plan…

DONA International – What is a doula?

baby by plane or by boat?

July 12, 2010 - 4 Responses

Mom and I at the Friday Harbor Farmer's Market

So you know how they say that it’s a good idea for expecting parents to do a practice run to the hospital? To at least know what route they will take? Well, that’s a little difficult when living on an island. Especially this island.

We are twelve days from our due date and getting everything in order.

Mom is here now and helping me prepare. As I write this, she is outside painting a two-drawer dresser for the baby’s room that I bought at a garage sale several weeks ago. It’s so wonderful having her here. Thanks, Mom!

Saturday we were at a garage sale when someone asked me when I was due. He then announced proudly, “My son was born on the Elwha.” (The Elwha is one of the Washington State Ferries that goes between Friday Harbor and the mainland.) “That,” I told him, “is exactly what we are trying to avoid.”

But how?

Well, several ways. First, I’m listening to my body. Paying attention. Hoping I’ll know when to get on the ferry.

Some people make arrangements to be on the mainland prior to the due date so as not to have to worry about the ferry schedule. We’re not doing that. Because this is my first. And the first is usually late. So what if I’m really late? Where would we stay? What would we do. I’m so uncomfortable sleeping in even my amazingly comfortable bed, I don’t want to be in a motel room bed for days or weeks. So we’re hoping I will just know.

But… what if I go into labor in the middle of the night when the ferry isn’t running?

Great question.

Answer? We fly.

Here is a break-down of three different scenarios…

SCENARIO #1 – Helicopter

Let’s say my water breaks in the middle of the night and everything seems to be moving really, really fast… in that case, I would most likely be airlifted off in a helicopter. Back in November when we found out I was pregnant, we purchased Life Flight Insurance. It costs something like $75 per year for the whole family. So if I have to get to the hospital ASAP, that’s the way to go. And I’m lucky that we’re not in high-wind season. The only draw-back to this scenario is that apparently they only take me. Everyone else- Bob, Mom, Midwife, Doula – all have to go separately. At least that’s what I’ve been told.

SCENARIO #2 – Charter Flight

My water breaks in the middle of the night… or some other sure sign of labor happens… but I’m clear that things are not imminent. But I want to get to the mainland now. To be safe. Rather than wait for the first ferry of the day.

What do I do? I call Westwind Aviation and let them know that it’s time. Today I spoke to them to arrange this potential charter flight. They are available 24 hours a day and can take me plus two more people. I’m thinking that if Bob is here, that would be Bob and my midwife on Orcas Island. They told me that the ball park cost to fly from Friday Harbor to Orcas to Anacortes would be $150. The knowledge that I would have both my husband and midwife with me would be priceless. I just wish Mom could come with us as well. Mom and my doula wouldn’t fit in this scenario. Definite drawback.

SCENARIO #3 – Ferry

The little guy waits until Bob is home on the weekend before deciding to kick this labor thing into gear. Not only that… he also waits until the ferries are running. In that case, we would call my midwife and doula right away to let them know the situation. My labor will be in such a state that it will be perfectly fine for us to catch the ferry and head over to the mainland to meet up with my midwife and doula. In this case, we drive to the ferry and tell them that I have JUST started my labor and have a LONG way to go. Apparently if they think you are too far along, they won’t let you on the ferry. But I have to tell them I’m in labor in order to be let up to the front of the line as a priority passenger. This is one ferry we cannot miss.

They let us on the ferry, the ride is nice and easy, we head to the hospital on the mainland, meet up with my midwife and doula, everything progresses as planned and hours later we have a healthy, happy baby boy.

For the record, I’m rooting for Scenario #3.

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barefoot and handcuffed in the Bahamas

July 12, 2010 - 6 Responses

IN CUSTODY: Colton Harris-Moore, 19, is shown after his arrest Sunday in the Bahamas. AP

He escaped from juvenile detention at 17

He stole some stuff, crashed a bunch of planes, flew into restricted air space, evaded arrest for a long time, made some fans, made some enemies

And then he was caught…

‘Barefoot Bandit’ video: Cult Hero Arrested in BahamasThe Washington Post

‘Barefoot Bandit’ Arrested in BahamasLos Angeles Times

I had so many people e-mail and text me yesterday when the news broke to make sure I had heard. Thanks for that, guys. You keep me in the loop.

I have to say that somehow this kid has grown on me. I know, I know. I still don’t condone his actions. But he’s just so young. Perhaps once he left the area and stopped taxing our county’s resources and stopped burglarizing the locals and small business owners, I was able to sympathize more with his plight. I don’t know. Maybe it’s the part in the LA Times article about how he briefly held a gun to his head right before his arrest and threatened to kill himself. He comes off as this ‘animal’ who just cannot be caged. And I can’t help but feel sorry for him.

Here are a few thoughts:

I won’t be getting any reward money for his capture

I’m glad he was caught before he ‘escalated’

When you’re on the run, stick with what you know. Obviously going to the Bahamas – a place so foreign to him – was his downfall.

The movie promises to be amazing. A high-octane version of “Catch Me If You Can,” perhaps?

What do you think?

a friday harbor 4th of July

July 5, 2010 - 3 Responses

Last year we were in Humbolt, Iowa celebrating the 4th with Bob’s family on our journey from L.A. to the Chicago suburbs. This year we were in Friday Harbor… which as you know is quite the opposite from Humbolt, Iowa. But neither disappoint in a plethora of Americana and John Deere tractors. (I guess that’s redundant.)

Anyway, I thought I’d share some of the images from the parade. So away we go…

This was taken about an hour and a half before the start of the parade. During the parade, there wasn’t an empty seat to be found on Spring Street.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Jennifer told me that she had bought a little muscle t-shirt for Pablo. She was organizing a tie-dying party to dye clothes for the parade. She and her girls thought this little dog tee was a hoot. And so did I. I joined them for the party and as everyone dyed clothes for their children, I dyed a wife beater for my dog. Well, I also dyed a onesie for my baby. But it was the Pablo tank that had me there.

So you see the result. The poor little guy was not happy. Not at all. I left it on long enough to snap a few pictures for evidence. And that was all. It came right off. I promise.

This is Pablo’s friend Valentino (Tino for short.) He is a Smooth-Coated Brussels Griffon… also known as a Petit Brabancon. He belongs to our friends Juniper and Sean. Who are also Pablo’s friends and took care of Pablo for ten days when I was in Chicago this Spring. Don’t worry. He did not witness Pablo in the tie-dyed tank.

Oh, Lady Liberty… what have you done to your hair?!

Loved this.

The folks from the UW Marine Labs were playing Bull Kelp as instruments… adding a uniquely Friday Harbor element to the parade.

Why? No idea. But as a huge Back to the Future fan, who cares. It was awesome.

I love how easy it is to support local agriculture here on San Juan Island. One of the local farms was handing out sweet peas instead of candy. Delicious.

Check out our seats. I’m particularly in love with the foot rest. This is such the perfect pregnant lady position. July 4th marked 20 days until my due date. And I was feeling it.

the pig war picnic

After the parade we walked with the throngs of people up to the historical museum for the Pig War Picnic. It’s called the Pig War Picnic as an homage to the beginnings of the U.S. Occupation of the island. The Pig War was a confrontation in 1859 between the British and the Americans over the occupation of San Juan Island. A pig was the only casualty in the confrontation.

A pig was also a casualty of the Pig War Picnic. Not sure how many. But enough to feed the hungry residents and tourists on San Juan Island delicious pulled pork sandwiches.

The picnic was followed by a nap… then came the fireworks. We watched from a small park in town in our awesome reclining beach chairs, dressed in several layers and snuggled under a wool blanket. Yes, it was cold.

It was a wonderful weekend. I particularly enjoyed the fact that I got Bob for an extra day.

A note about the tourists.

The island was invaded by tourists this weekend. Which is good for business. Makes getting around a bit more challenging, but we planned accordingly. The ferries were on overload all day today… packed with tourists trying to return to the mainland. I overheard one tourist today in a deli asking about the best place to watch the fireworks.

“Not that we’ll ever be back here on the Fourth of July seeing as we’ve been stuck here all day,” she said.

Getting to Friday Harbor is not easy. And sometimes leaving can be even harder. It takes determination and a heck of a lot of patience. The best way to do it in the summer, it seems, is without a car. Walk-ons do not have to wait.

As for residents who need to get off island, say to have a baby? Well… I’ll save that for a post in the next day or two. The most important thing is HAVE A PLAN. AND A BACK-UP PLAN.

Have a great week, everyone.

P.S. Mom arrives on Wednesday on a one-way ticket! And this is my last week of work. It’s almost baby time!

what a difference a year makes

June 30, 2010 - 6 Responses

Pablo & I on the Mt. Finlayson trail on SJI - photo by EM Lewis

It’s June 30th.

The day almost went completely by without me realizing the significance. Bob just reminded me.

One year ago today we finished clearing out our house in Silver Lake, closed the door, drove away, handed over the keys, drove towards Chicago with nothing but a blank slate and received the e-mail that would lead us to this house on an island…

That was one year ago today. Twelve months. Just one year!

I just re-read the post that I wrote that morning and I can remember all of it so clearly.

The exhaustion. The feeling of just being ‘done.’ The despair. The OVERWHELM. I was so over it all.

I remember feeling hot, sweaty and smelly. I remember the ache of my feet hurting. (That’s not hard given that my feet ache now for a completely different reason.) The pure exhaustion.

I wrote that I never wanted to have stuff ever again. I took pictures of our stuff out on the curb. I remember feeling like it would never end. Like we’d never be done and the house would never be empty.

But eventually it was. Empty. And the stuff… gone. And we had nothing in front of us but possibility.

On that day one year ago I never would have predicted that in just one year I’d be about ready to have a baby and living in a 1910 farmhouse on San Juan Island.

Isn’t it amazing how much can happen in one year?!

I truly feel blessed.

Reading my post from June 30, 2009 on “Love in the Time of Foreclosure,” what moves me the most is the thought of our friends. How much they helped us… were there for us every step of the way. And how much we’re supported by everyone around us now. Both friends from far away and new friends here on the island. Your support and generosity means everything to us. Thank you!

Last year we said goodbye to a house/ This year we say hello to a baby

Another thing that occurred to me while reading that post…

I wrote about my meltdown on our last night in the house- June 29, 2009. There was a moment where I just sat on the kitchen floor and cried to Bob, “I can’t do it. I can’t. I just can’t!”

As soon as I read that I thought about child birth.

I thought about my impending labor and how there is likely to be a very similar moment.

Me crying to Bob that I can’t do it. I can’t. I just can’t. I’ll likely be exhausted and beyond pain and just done. And I’ll cry to Bob. And he’ll be there to remind me that I can. And then I will. Somehow. But instead of the end result being a blank slate, it will be a baby boy. A new addition to our family.

A year ago today our lives changed forever.

And they are about to REALLY change forever all over again. Just 12 months later.

How do I feel about all of that? Humbled. Grateful. Inspired by life.

Thanks for reminding me, Bob. I guess it’s a good thing that the day almost went by without me remembering. But I’m glad to have the opportunity to acknowledge how far we have come. It’s good to be grateful.

If you’d like to read the post I wrote one year ago today, here it is:

“The Last Night (I Can’t Wait To Have Nothing!)” – Love in the Time of Foreclosure

And if you know anyone who is in the process of losing their house or facing challenging times…. please share this post with them. I believe it helps tremendously to see how much can change in just one year.

Thank you!

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Paddling and pregnant at 35 weeks

June 22, 2010 - 5 Responses

I wasn’t sure I could do it

I thought I might get stuck

I wasn’t sure I’d make it out without forceps or a forklift

I thought I might go into labor and give a whole new meaning to “water birth”

But I really wanted to try

For the last nine months Mom has been bragging about the fact that she was water skiing on the day she was due with me. Water skiing. On her due date.

I had to try or risk not having my own story to brag about to my son.

I imagined how it would sound. How I would say it.

Something like…

“I was kayaking in killer whale populated waters when I was 34-weeks pregnant with you.”

And I would say it like it was no big deal. No big whoop. I’m just awesome. That’s all. Or incredibly stupid. Either way.

So I did it.

Last week my dear friend Ellen came to visit and we went for a 3-hour kayak tour.

If you ask me, she’s the one that took the bigger risk sharing a kayak with a pregnant lady.

I did ask our guide if we could return to land if I were to go into labor. And I wondered how I would be able to tell if my water broke. Our guide said that I could just have a water birth. Hahaha. Ha.

As he told us what to do in the event of capsizing, I worried about how I would climb back into the kayak from the water.

As he informed us that the preliminary effects of hypothermia set in after only eight minutes of being in the waters of the Haro Strait, I wondered how smart of an idea this really was.

But what did I discover?

It truly wasn’t that big of a deal.

I mean, I fit in the kayak just fine.

Yeah, so it looks like the kayak was “built around me” as my friend Brian kindly pointed out when he saw this picture.

But still. I fit.

And yes, my life jacket was pushed up to my ears and rubbing against my chin like sandpaper. But I was able to zip it with no problem.

And thanks to my large belly, that kayak was not going tip. I had us centered just fine. There would be no tipping.

And sure, I might have needed a little extra help getting up off the dock…

But I got myself out of the kayak…

Nice and easy.

The Tour

I sat in the front of the kayak and was responsible for setting our pace. Ellen was in the back and had the job of steering with the foot pedals while paddling. Takes coordination and I was happy that she was willing to take that on.

The paddling was harder than I thought it would be considering we were heading into the wind and against the current for the first half of the tour. Also considering that I was limited in my mobility. But once we got into a rhythm, it was so much easier. I concentrated on timing my breathing with my paddling. I thoroughly enjoyed the sound my paddle made as it went into the water.

It was so peaceful out there. It felt amazing to be on the water. I didn’t realize it until later, but the baby didn’t move the entire time. He was asleep. Which isn’t that surprising. I’ve always slept best in a boat.

Did we see whales?

No. No whales. But we did see bald eagles, harbor seals, starfish and jelly fish. Actually, I held a jelly fish. The kind that doesn’t sting. The kind that looks like a breast implant. I also ate sea kelp. Our guide said it was full of protein and demonstrated how to eat it. I thought protein is good for pregnant ladies, so I had a bite. Salty.

My arms were completely spent by the time we got back to the docks. And I was entirely relaxed. As though I had just been rocked like a baby for hours.

I’ve clearly missed being in a boat. On the water. And I’m so glad that we went. I’m so glad that I can tell our son that he went kayaking before he was even born. That he took to the water immediately. Like his mom. And his grandma. And his grandpa. And his great-grandpa. And his great-great-grandpa who was a shipbuilder in Scotland. Or was that his great-great-great-grandpa? The point is that this love of the water comes at him from all sides. It’s in his blood. Now we just need to work on getting him out there more often.

Oh… and no. This does not mean I will be having a water birth

And, Mom… you win. I can say with the utmost certainty that there is no way I will be water skiing on my due date. You’re one tough (and/or perhaps crazy?) mama!

Thank you to Crystal Seas Kayaking for an awesome day out on the water. Johannes, you were right. I did just fine. I made it in AND out of the kayak and didn’t go into labor. Success! Our guides- Adam and Jordan- were so much fun and extremely helpful. Adam deserves a raise for pulling a 35-week pregnant lady up off that narrow dock.


the house built too close to the water

June 18, 2010 - 7 Responses

Sunday it hits me. Hormones.

Tears.

The feeling of “I can’t do this anymore” coupled with “But I don’t want to complain because I know things could be so much worse.”

I’m missing Bob. Missing our together time. Feeling alone.

Feeling like it’s always going to be this way and I can’t handle it… and then feeling guilty about having those feelings.

I’m supposed to be strong.

I’m supposed to be resilient.

I’m not supposed to complain.

Talking to Bob would help. He’s been so busy and I haven’t had any time to even connect with him over the phone. At least. So he calls me from Midway Airport. He has about two hours before his flight from Chicago back to San Francisco. Uninterrupted talking time. Good.

That’s when it bubbles up. Everything. And I go from zero to sobbing.

A few days before I had updated my Facebook status to say that I was crying at everything like a proper pregnant woman.

I cried when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. Not just cried. Sobbed.

I cried watching So You Think You Can Dance as though I personally knew each contestant.

I cried when Pablo wouldn’t stop barking…

My friend Steffi said that in Germany they have a saying about this crying all the time thing… something like “Your house is built close to the water.” Steffi, is that right? What is it in German?

So, yes, my house was built very close to the water… too close. If not in the water. On stilts. Fragile, termite-ridden stilts.

Bob just listens. As best he can. Because at times he can’t understand my blubbering. He sweetly says, “I’m sorry, honey… but I couldn’t understand that last thing you said.” Sometimes I would repeat myself. Slower. Less blubber. Other times I would just charge onward in my rant. I was on a roll.

I never get to see you

I’m all alone

Nobody knows what it’s like

I have this baby growing every day and I’m uncomfortable and just want to be taken care of… but that’s never going to happen again

I can’t keep doing this

I miss you too much

I miss my family

I miss our friends

I miss being a part of something

My writing career is over

How will I write again with a baby

There’s no time to make anything of myself

How will I be able to contribute to our family financially

I’m just so sad

I’m all alone. I’m all alone. I’m all alone!

You get the drift.

I blubber. The more I blubber, the more dramatic I get. The more it spirals out of control and just turns into sobs.

And Bob just listens. Nothing to fix. Only to hear and get. I get it out. I calm down. Then we talk.

Saying most of it out loud has me realize how ridiculous it is. How there’s always another way of looking at things. And how with Bob’s love and partnership, I will never be alone.

Physically alone is different. Physically alone can be challenging. Especially on an island. But that is just my challenge. As a guest told me at work the other day when I was checking them in, “We all have our problems.”

Feeling guilty about my reaction to our circumstances doesn’t help either. That sob/blubber fest is just something I needed to go through. Like I said,

Get. It. Out.

And it feels good. So much better. Bob helps so much by just listening. By not telling me NOT to feel that way. By not offering a solution. By just listening. And attempting to understand. Things are put into perspective.

And the next morning I am able to return the favor. I awake clear headed and have the opportunity to listen to Bob as he gets some things off his chest.

We work that way. Thankfully.

“That’s partnership,” says Bob.

Just two days later, my friend Ellen arrives at the island for a visit and I am no longer physically alone. Her visit came at the absolute perfect moment.

She’s gone now. And Bob comes home tomorrow for 29 hours.

We’ve been apart for two weeks.

I cannot wait to see him.

I cannot wait to show him my belly so he can see how much our baby has grown

I cannot wait to kiss him and hug him

I cannot wait for him to talk to my belly

to read to the baby

to massage my feet (ahhhhh)

We have our birth class on Orcas Island tomorrow and then Aunt Deb will be here for a visit. Yay!

Just when I can’t handle being in the house alone for another minute, people show up to remind me I’m never really alone.

And it helps move my house away from the water.

(Steffi, my lovely German friend, you will have to tell me if I’m butchering that phrase. I apologize if I am.)