Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Wonder How Deep a Mother's Love is?

At least 10 feet deep of foam.

Today, I took Noah to a gymnastics class. He had a really fun time but it was hard to wait in line for turns to do most of the things. At the end of class, there were a couple of slides lined up by a foam pit. Noah happily slid down the slide then looked back at me with the most pure, happy smile I've ever seen on another person. A whole pit of foam for him to play in and explore.

He happily played with the other kids in his class then he scooted farther through the foam and found a place to hang out. He kept putting his head down, I think to see if he could figure out how deep it was. I kept reminding him that mommy needed to see his face at all times.

Little by little he moved his body so it would sink deeper in the foam. Each time he'd look right at me with a huge smile. After a little while, I he got deeper than I was comfortable with. His head was getting lower and lower into the foam. The teacher didn't seem to mind, but I asked how deep the pit was.

Around the same time, Noah started to move like he wanted to get up or move to another spot but he was so submerged in the foam he couldn't. He was stuck.

"It's 10 feet deep."

One of the other moms asked the teacher to get Noah and he began to cry frantically and was sinking farther into the foam because he didn't want her to touch him.

So at 35 weeks pregnant, I jumped in the foam pit and tugged hard on Noah. It was harder than I thought it would be to get him above the foam. He was happy and safely sitting on top of the foam. Then I looked up and realized I'd have to climb out of the foam pit somehow. Except my legs were stuck. I had to kick my way free then I had to do a pull up off of the side to get out.

I'm glad no one was video taping because I can only imagine it going viral.

Everyone was safe. And I realized there really is no limit to what a mother would do for her child.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Promises to Fancy

When I first started this blog back in 2009, one of the first posts I wrote was a post called Promises to Demorris. Demorris was our fake baby name for Noah, and I had just read Malika Chopra's book Promises to My Children which made me want to make my own promises to my future child.

I'd like to make some of the same promises to Fancy, to add a few, and to expand on some.

1. I promise to love you for who you are. No matter who you choose to be in life, Fancy, you will always be my daughter, and you will always have a mom that wants the best for you and is willing to help you be the best you you were meant to be.

2. I'll be here to catch you when you fall, but I won't be standing right behind you waiting for it to happen. Mother/daughter relationships seem to be complicated sometimes, and I want you to know that I will try not to micromanage your decisions, but even when you don't see me, know I am there with you, and I will always be only a phone call, a walk or a conversation away.

3. I will understand you are not your brother and he is not you. I want Noah and you to love each other very much. Noah already talks to you daily, lifts my shirt to listen to you, pats you and you kick back at him. If your relationship now is any indication of the future, you two love each other a lot. I know as a parent the best thing I can do is recognize that you are two different people, and I will encourage you to have strong/healthy relationship. I will do my best to make sure that's possible for you both by not creating or allowing unhealthy competition or jealousy in our home.

4. Relationships with relatives. I promised your brother I wouldn't restrict relationships with relatives based on my feelings about those relatives, and I'd like to make you the same promise in a more complicated way. I promise to let you love who you love without consequence. I've learned a lot from being Noah's mom that I think will benefit you. One of the things I have learned is it is so important to make an effort with people that should be important in your children's lives, but I also understand now that just because someone is a relative it does not make them family. I promise to let you decide for yourself about people, but most importantly, I promise not to bring you around people that are toxic to our family. I made lots of efforts with different people for Noah's sake that I now realize were efforts that should have been made to encourage relationships with positive, loving family members and friends. I'll still make sure to bring you around to meet with anyone who wants to meet you or be a part of your life, but I'll make sure to have my mama bear on when we do, and no one will be allowed to mistreat you or other members of our family.

5. I promise to encourage your relationship with your dad. You're going to love your daddy. He's a great dad, and I know as a mom I need to make sure that I do what I can to give you two alone time to form your own relationship. I promise not to be jealous if you are closer to daddy than you are to me. I just want you to know you have two parents who love your brother and you more than anything in the world.

6. I promise to continue to work towards changing the world for you. Noah and I spent a lot of time lobbying in Annapolis this year for marriage equality and gender identity protections. Next year, I hope I can bring you both to Annapolis at least once. I know it's going to be more difficult, but I promise you will grow up knowing that I used my voice and the energy I could to work towards making the world a better place and somewhere we can both be proud of.

7. I promise you will learn about loving relationships by witnessing them. My relationship with you is so important to me. I promise to teach you how to love by loving you. I also promise you will see loving relationships between your brother and me, your father and me, your brother and father, and your father and you. We have a very strong family, and I hope you will always feel loved and secure.

8. I promise to love your dad no matter what. Marriages are complicated, and we're lucky we have a very strong marriage, but I promise no matter what the future holds, I will always love your dad and you will know that.

9. I promise to explore the world with you. Whether it's an ant whole or a trip to another country, I promise to explore, listen and enjoy the world around us. I know you will look at the world differently than I do, and I can't wait to see, hear and witness what you think about it and how you fit into it.

10. I promise to love you. No matter what. Pure and simple. No strings attached.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Getting the Shaft or Fancy's the Second Kid

Over the last few days, Fancy has been kicking like a wild woman. Yesterday, she was active for around 20 hours. I am not exaggerating at all. Today she seems to be passed out in my belly after what I imagine felt like she ran a marathon yesterday. Now that she's moving around a lot I feel so much more connected to her. I can tell when she likes or dislikes something, and she often kicks and moves around a lot more when Noah talks to her or when I hold him. I like to think of it as their connection to each other. Sometimes Noah tells me she's hungry or sad or happy or wishes she had shoes in my belly.

After we had Noah we were so in love with him, I considered never having another child. My heart was so full of love for him I didn't think it would be fair to have another child and run the risk of not being able to love the baby as much as I love him. Now that I almost in my third trimester of pregnancy, I realize how ridiculous that sort of thinking is. My heart is expanding like a rubberband, and I am overwhelmed with excitement and love for Fancy's arrival.

I feel sorry for her already. I haven't written any posts about her since we found out we were having a little girl, and I have only written one other post about pregnancy before this one. I guess I'm already slacking on documenting her life. She even has to share a blog that is named for her brother when he was in utero.

I promise to love her and shower her with as much love and attention as possible once she is born.

Here's a picture I took last night when I realized how big my baby belly has gotten. I'm trying for "I'm pregnant, no way" in the photo. How did I do?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Did YOU See Me?

Today, I gave Noah a bath after lunch because he'd had a few dirty diapers, and Ash is on work travel so I figured if we did bath time earlier maybe he'd get tired for a nap, and then we could just drive around at bedtime instead of our usual exhausting hours long bedtime routine.

While we were in the bathroom, I looked down for three seconds or so to grab Noah's towel because he had been splashing some and I wanted to wipe some bubbles from his forehead. Lately, he's been trying to use a little bath toy of his to drink bath water. Every day we explain to him that the bath water is not clean and that he can have a drink of water right after the bath. So I looked down and I heard the little toy go in the water then a quick noise that sounded like Noah gulping.

I looked up and asked, "Noah did you just drink bath water?"

He smiled from ear to ear then rolled his eyes to the side, his new look anytime he's about to or has just completed doing something mischievous. His smile got even wider as he looked right at me.

"Did you see me, Mommy?"

I paused for a second confused. He's two, right? Did my two year old just ask me if I saw him doing something naughty when I asked if he did something naughty?

I tried not to crack a smile with my eyes, as I looked back at him.

"Noah, Mommy is asking you if you drank bath water. Did you?"

Again, more indignant this time, he looked at me with the side eyes. "Did you see me?"

So I explained that I didn't see him but that I heard the toy hit the water and then a gulp come from him. And that it didn't matter if I saw him he was supposed to answer me honestly because he knows he isn't supposed to drink bathwater.

Again, he smiled then laughing heartily he repeated, "Did you see me? No."

I am in trouble.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Noah has entered a really fun phase recently. He's two now, and he has a great sense of humor, and now that he's talking more he makes Ash and me laugh more and more every day.

Ash traveled for work recently and while he was traveling we couldn't talk to him on the phone. When he got back home, Noah and I were in California for a conference I wanted to attend.

After almost three weeks of solo parenting, and traveling from the east coast to the west cost alone with Noah, I was a little tired. I feel like I do a great job keeping up with Noah for a lady who is 5 something months pregnant, but even I need a break sometimes. One morning, I told Noah we were going to head to the San Diego Zoo but I needed to sit down for about 20 minutes first.

Noah looked at me and said, "Call daddy!"

I figured he missed Ash so I called Ash and put him on speaker phone. As soon as Ash answered Noah said, "Hi Daddy, help me, mommy's stuck." Ash and I each laughed really hard and we tried to explain to Noah that I was sitting down, I wasn't stuck.

Noah Fancy and me in San Diego

Last night at dinner Ash was talking to Noah a lot as we ate. He kept asking Noah questions about the food, his day and so on. Noah looked at Ash, then pointed to Ash's plate and said, "Daddy, Mommy said EAT!"

Every day, Noah seems to learn something new, and every day he seems to laugh more often and heartier at the things around him. It's like he gets more and more and each new thing he learns makes him love his life and the world a little more. It's completely humbling and wonderful to be around.

He walks into a room, smiling from ear to ear. If Ash and I are both there he says, "Hi Mommy. Hi Daddy." Then he goes to the opposite end of the room and runs at us with his arms open wide, a smile set on his face and lands in one of arms, hugs us then runs to the other. Sometimes he kisses each of us and then demands we kiss each other and these moments that may only last a minute seem to fill my heart up like they are forever.

Monday, August 1, 2011

When a Pregnancy What If Really Becomes a What If

Two weeks ago, Ash and I went in for the anatomy scan for the new baby in my belly. We got to Johns Hopkins Hospital 40 minutes before our 8 am appointment, and the woman checking us in was super nice to us. When I asked where I could buy a bottle of water after almost throwing up from the water in their water fountain, she brought Ash and me each our own water bottles from their supply. A few minutes later, we were in the room sneaking peaks at our daughter. We'd been calling the baby Fancy as a joke name for weeks (in the spirit of Demorris), and I was delighted to find out the baby was a little girl. As the tech was doing the scan, Ash, she and I chatted about fake and real baby names and laughed a lot. She told us, Fancy was transverse and had her back to us so she couldn't get good readings of the heart. As she looked at the heart, I could only see three of the chambers moving. I didn't think anything of it, and so when she left the room for a long time to see if the doctor would be satisfied with the pictures we got, Ash and I texted people, called some people, and updated our facebook statuses with the info that our family would soon have a little girl in it.

A few minutes later, the previously jovial tech came in with a completely sullen face. She explained we'd have to come back for a scan of Fancy's heart in a week or two. I explained that Ash was about to leave for 20 days, and that I'd like him to be there for it. She explained that while she didn't think Fancy had a MAJOR birth defect, they couldn't rule it out. She kept saying major birth defect. They explained to us that there is a small window to see these things and to still have options. Our elation over the news that we were having a little girl stopped. Did they say termination? Huh? It's standard procedure to let folks know these sorts of things.

We left the office and met back up with the nice woman who checked us in and she let me know that they would schedule me for two weeks, and that she'd be happy to see me again.

I held it together until we walked a little farther down the hall and then I cried. Only briefly.

Ash left for a long work trip where he wouldn't have access to a phone and time went by. On Friday, I had an appointment with my midwife where she told me they may have seen light in the pictures of Fancy's heart. Light can mean a hole in the heart, and a hole in the heart is one of the marker's for genetic disorders. There are plenty of things it could be, severe heart defect, downs syndrome, trisomy, or something mild.

I sat up each night in Noah's room watching him sleep and rubbing my belly. I said the same prayer I've been saying since 5th grade for my fertility and that I have healthy, happy children. I waited for what felt like an eternity to see Fancy's heart again.

I felt hesitant about heading to the ultrasound today. I had opted to go alone, and my parents came in to stay home with Noah while I went. Until I got to the hospital it seemed completely reasonable to me that I would go alone so I could react however I wanted to react before I had to share the news with anyone else. Until I thought back to a year ago, when I laid alone in an emergency room in Seattle while Noah and I accompanied Ash on a work trip, and an ER doctor held my hand as he told me I was losing the baby I was pregnant with. Did I really want to be alone for potentially devastating news again?

A few seconds later, the same ultrasound tech we had the last time emerged and called me back. Within the first few minutes of the scan she let me know Fancy was still not cooperating. But a couple minutes later, Fancy started flashing her heart. I immediately saw all four chambers pumping away. I squinted trying to see if I saw any light. The heart scan lasted about an hour the same amount of time the full body scan took two weeks before.

The tech let me know she really liked us, and so she was looking at every vessel leading into the heart and surrounding areas as well as the heart to do a more complete scan than the one I was there for.

She told me in her opinion Fancy's heart looked great. She left the room to confirm with the doctor and reemerged before I could draft an email to Ash, beaming with her thumb up. "The doctor says Fancy's heart is GREAT!"

I can't really describe how happy and relieved I felt. I walked past the front desk and the women shouted after me, "Take care, Amanda." I stopped and sent Ash an email titled, "Fancy's heart is GREAT!" in case he could only read the subject heading or something.

Then I went to get my car from the valet, and just as I walked up to the kiosk my phone rang. I didn't recognize the number, and when I answered it was Ash. I was so happy to be able to tell him the great news. We talked about the experience, he told me he loved me and then he started to say something else but he lost the call. I sent him an email telling him how nice it was to talk to him, and I saw one from him that said he was about to tell me to tell our son and our daughter how much he loves them.

Perfect day.