- I’ve always wished to have a professional maternity photo taken of myself. Seeing how this is our fourth — and, most likely, our last — pregnancy, I decided it was now or never. Out of a maternity magazine which I picked up at my doctor’s office I found a coupon for a photo shoot at the local JCPenney photo studio. Only $3.99 for the setting, plus a free 8×10! Beau and I had a day alone in Billings right before Christmas, and this photo resulted:
The gal behind the camera at JCPenney thought Beau should participate in the photo shoot too. She got a couple decent shots of the two of us, and then…
… and then…
… she wanted him to get down on his knees, with his hands on my belly, and kiss my belly while she snapped a photo.
I could read Beau’s thoughts: Is there a man in the world who would feel comfortable doing that, especially if a non-professional photographer wearing black sweatpants was wanting him to?
This is the oh-so-appropriate photo that resulted:
My ever-so-polite cowboy wanted to tell that poor gal that she was taking things a little too far. Sure, he wanted to prove he would do about anything for me… but he could see no benefit in doing exactly what she wanted.
Still, he did his best to play along. Just another one of the ways in which he’s a great daddy.
A. Marsi calls me Big Mama these days. I don’t think anybody taught her to say that. She’s two years old, remember, so I guess she’s just calling it as she sees it: I am an XL version of myself right now.
3. I know I have at least two more (really nice) maternity shirts stashed away somewhere. But try as I might, I can’t find them. They weren’t with the other maternity clothes I’ve uncovered since our move 15 months ago — but then, the other maternity clothes weren’t necessarily with the other maternity clothes either! Meaning all of our stuff if so scattered out and disorganized and still packed that it’s entirely likely the shirts are molding in the garage, packed in a box with pantry staples and Easter baskets, and I’ll uncover it all in approximately 17 years. Considering I’ve had 9 months to look and also that I’ll have this baby within 23 days (and that’s if I go the full two weeks over my due date), I’m doubting I’ll find those darn shirts in time to wear with this pregnancy.
b. Nesting is real! You know, pregnant women enjoying a surge of energy in which they clean and prepare the house for the new baby — it’s a real phenomenon. And it’s good stuff. As one of my friends put it, “Wow, your house is finally starting to look moved into!” My late-pregnancy cleaning sweep has inspired Beau, too; one day (without too much pestering from me) he even took apart the oven door so I could clean between the front glass and the back glass. And one evening, as we were watching a movie, he cleaned out the top drawer of his dresser (totally his own idea; my hero)! My own favorite way to clean, of course, is to peruse the house, stuffing things I think we don’t need anymore into trash sacks and boxes to be taken to the local second-hand store. Beau, though, does not like to get rid of things as much as I do, and is usually catching me red-handed with some treasure in the giveaway box: a coffee cup, a camouflage cap, a stuffed animal with sentimental value. Asher shares the sickness with his dad: last week, as he sat in the backseat of the pickup, he watched us load the bed of the pickup with giveaways, and he — you guessed it — spotted a couple things that had “accidentally” been included. This is the same kid who routinely finds things in the garbage can that have “accidentally” been thrown away. (And today he drained one of those plastic jars that canned peaches come in and then asked permission to wash out and save the jar. You know, it might come in handy for… something… some day.)
3. I really do love to feel the baby moving inside me. It’s such a special and unique feeling — a reminder that there’s a God thing going on in my belly, and that our lives are about to be changed forever. I am so thankful for my healthy, active kids, including the one that’s pressing so hard from the inside that this one spot on the left side of my belly — is it his heel? his butt? — is continually tingling and numb. Still, there’s little to complain about. I am thankful to be having this fourth baby and to have been blessedly healthy through all four pregnancies. I will say, though, that I officially feel after four that I’ve had a sufficiently thorough pregnancy experience in my lifetime!
J. I’m packed and ready for the 70-mile drive to the hospital. I have not neglected to stash in the pickup a bucket and two towels and a garbage sack. My sister, who delivers babies in Miles City, keeps teasing me about their recent run of babies being born in the car or ambulance on the road to the hospital. One proud dad, she said, walked into the ER carrying the baby in one hand and in the other a bucket with the placenta in it. I assume the baby and the placenta were still attached. I also wonder if your vehicle would ever be clean again if you delivered a baby in it?
z. My doc is, I fear, about 10 years younger than me. The doctor who delivered our first three retired from OB shortly after Marsielle was born (I don’t think we were the cause). This new gal, not too far out of residency, was raised on an Eastern Montana ranch, seems to be very well trained, and we’re getting more and more used to each other all the time. The other day she told me to call her at any time and she could meet me anywhere — in the hospital parking lot, in the ER. I said, “How about Rosebud?” And she seemed agreeable. Seriously, those days of the doctor going to the patient were a lot easier anyways, weren’t they?
6. I have one pair of pants. I try to wash them every night; otherwise they don’t fit right. In my first two pregnancies I didn’t wear maternity pants, and I didn’t realize until my third pregnancy — when I did invest in fitted maternity pants — that wearing poor-fitting pants while pregnant (or, I would assume, big-bellied in any way) was the cause of my sciatic and hip pain, because I wasn’t moving correctly because I was always trying to keep my pants from sliding down. In this pregnancy I headed straight to Target to buy the perfect maternity pants… which were there three years ago, when I was pregnant with Marsielle, but which (apparently) are no longer being made. Still, I tried on about 20 pairs of pants from the maternity section at Target three months ago, because I wanted to make sure I had the best possible fits. I carefully purchased two pairs of pants. The first pair I hated by the second day; I just didn’t have enough butt to keep them up. I tried to wear them many times over the last months, but finally, last week, I threw them into a giveaway box because I couldn’t stand to wear them one more time. So I’ve got one pair of pants right now.
b. Will I wear regular jeans out of the hospital? I’ve got them packed and loaded in the pickup. Here’s hoping.
C. Only God knows when this baby will come. The doctor’s official due date is the 25th, but she’s making that guess based on my dates from way back last spring, and I don’t think my dates are probably the most reliable. Seriously, Dr. G., do I look like the kind of gal who has the time to track her ovulation? Beau was seriously betting on the 12th, but that day came and went and — alas, even though we loaded up the entire family and headed to Miles City to wait him out — no baby arrived. The ultrasound pointed to the 17th, which I see is tomorrow! To make things more interesting, Emi’s birthday is the 23rd, and her 5-year-old birthday party plans march forward in her own mind. Guess we won’t know ’til we know.
22. I notice that people are generally afraid of pregnant women. Especially men. The men who work here at the ranch keep a watchful — but far-sighted — eye on me. I chuckle at the young cowboys who are just starting out in the adventure of married life and I wonder if they’re thinking, Why is Beau’s wife wandering around outside wearing pink sweats, muck boots, and a knee-length Carhartt coat? … Someday you’ll know, boys… especially if those gals of yours go for four!
g. Back to nesting: help from my mom and my sister has been making it possible for me to get some stuff done around the house. Yay! Last week the kids spent a whole day at Mom’s while I buzzed around here putting away Christmas decorations and catching up on desk work and packing my hospital bag. Then, over the weekend, my sister’s family took our kids to their home for a two-night sleepover. That means Beau and I were home alone, in our house, for two nights. Of course we got a ton done without the kids here… but the quiet house became increasingly eerie to the two of us. Of course, it didn’t help that we’d rented two unfortunately unsettling movies to watch in the kids’ absence. But seriously, though we were trying to keep our perspective and see the big picture and use our time alone wisely, we started going a little stir-crazy without our kids making noise like they usually do… which led us to wonder: Are we going to turn into weird old people when our kids grow up and leave home?
23. The weather is not ideal. Last night was 24° below zero. When Beau and I went to pick up the kids at my sister’s house on Sunday, it took us two hours on the interstate to cover the distance from our front stoop to the hospital. The roads were terrible. So we opted to spent Sunday night in Miles City, reasoning that we’d feel pretty silly if we drove our kids home on terrible roads just for me to go into labor and have to turn right around.
We made it home Monday morning, and since then he’s continued with all the work it takes to keep the ranch running in extreme winter weather. And I haven’t gone into labor. Who knows? I might not until February! Thank the Lord, I’m able to sleep comfortably at night and so far I’m waking up feeling really good. Still, the pickup stays plugged in at the top of the steps… and all the stuff we might need is either already loaded or neatly organized in the house. Sometimes I get to thinking I’m super tough and I wonder if I’ll even realize I’m in labor. Maybe I’ll just sneeze and the baby will come out and it will all be over? My doctor tells me this is a common type of amnesia for returning OB patients.
I’m guessing I’ll realize.
© Tami Blake