39 weeks 5 days and a few delusions

2 days, or 48 hours, or 2,880 minutes, or 172,800 seconds until I arrive at the baby’s official due date.

The 39 weeks leading to this moment went by in a blink, but these last few hours feel like slow, grinding years.

Everything on the to-do list is complete (seriously, I have no list for the first time in my life!). And, yes, these last quiet hours before the arrival should be relished and cherished as this kind of solitude will probably not be revisited for another let’s say 5 or 10 years! Yet, I feel nothing but restless energy. So many of the mommies I have spoken with  describe a similar emotion when it was their time. They shared that now that the finish line is completely in sight the waiting becomes unbearable. When I try to describe this to the non-pregnant around me, they tell me to relax and to rest my aching body.  The thing is my body doesn’t ache.  I am very lucky that despite my large belly full of baby, I do not have any aches or pains to complain of and could theoretically continue on in this fashion for quite a bit longer. The only “ache” I have is in my emotional center. I am ready to meet this little guy, I am ready to face labor head on, and I am ready to endure the birth process. And this waiting, this daily waiting around, goes against every fiber of my busybody being!

So what happens to one’s mind under these conditions? Delusions start.

Delusion number 1: I am not pregnant. Despite the protruding stomach, I have begun to rationalize that there is not a baby in there after all.

Delusion number 2: If delusion number 1 is not true and I am indeed pregnant, then at this point my body has begun to reabsorb the baby.

Delusion number 3: I don’t look pregnant in the mirror.

Delusion number 4: If I wake up in the morning and have not already started labor than that day is “lost” and won’t turn into a labor day.

Delusion number 5: I will be waiting forever.

Obviously, I know that these thoughts are nothing but frivolous notions that fill the lagging time until the baby’s ultimate arrival but with each passing day they become a little more vivid and I have to check in and remind myself, “Melissa, you know this is just your boredom talking.” To counter the boredom, I have tried to at least venture outside once a day.  David doesn’t want us to go too far in case my water breaks but, “See delusion 4,” I  sometimes say to him.  We have gone on walks in the park, the mall, and the arboretum. We have spent some time shopping around Whole Foods and lounging in our backyard. These have all eased my spirit a bit but inevitably the restlessness returns. I know I am on “his time” and I know the closer we get to the due date the better for the wee man but I also know that this is hard for me and I am trying my best to stay relaxed while I wait incessantly for the inevitable.

steak with balsamic reduction potatoes

Saturday was a gorgeous day in Boston.  We ran some errands in the morning and then came home to play with the pups outside and enjoy a lazy weekend with each other. When it finally approached dinner time, David started this delicious dish. Unfortunately, just as he had finished off the steak, I called my midwife a little concerned that during our lazy day  I had not felt the little man moving around. As a precaution for low fetal activity, the midwife suggested I head into the hospital for monitoring. So David turned the stove off, slid the steak onto a plate and we dashed off to the hospital both worried and a bit hungry. We drove in nervous silence punctuated with questions like, “Are you feeling okay?”, “Have you felt him yet?”, and “Do you think you could be going into labor?” When we arrived at the hospital, the staff was incredibly efficient and kind. We were rushed into a room and I was hooked to a fetal monitor. They asked us some questions about our day, brought us some water, and we waited for the heart monitor to “tell” us something about the little guy. Of course, as soon as they placed the monitor on my belly, the little man started to have a dance party. It was quickly established that despite his silence all day, he was perfectly fine.  We were dispatched and hurried home feeling much more assured and definitely ready to eat some dinner.

David headed straight for the kitchen and went back to whipping up this delicious meal! Thankfully, it still tasted AMAZING despite the delay.

Ingredients

1lb hangar steak

salt and pepper

1tbsp canola oil

3tbsp unsalted butter

fresh thyme

4 slices of thick bacon diced

10 fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise

1 red onion thinly sliced

1 clove of garlic

5tbsp balsamic vinegar

Place a cast iron skillet on high heat. Season steak with salt and pepper, add oil to skillet. When it almost smokes, sear the steak for 4 minutes on each side. Reduce heat to medium-low and add butter and thyme (4-6 spring). Using a spoon, bast the steak for 2-3 minutes flipping once to coat other side. Remove steak from heat and set aside.

Discard all the fat and thyme from the skillet. Over medium heat cook the bacon until crispy about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes cut side down to the skillet and cook until crisp and golden about 4-5 minutes. Turn the potatoes and continue to cook for another 4-5 minutes. Add onions and cook until they are caramelized 10-15 minutes. Lower heat and add garlic. When you can smell the aroma of the garlic add the balsamic vinegar and reduce for about 3 minutes.

Carve the steak into strips and return to skillet and serve!

It is such an amazing dish. Flavorful, simple, and satisfying it was perfect after our hectic evening.

yard work: phase II

Today we can happily announce that phase II of the backyard remodeling project is complete!  Unlike last year’s phase I, this year’s project was smooth and completed within the time frame that the contractor originally noted. Last year, we built the great wall. What was supposed to be a three week project turned into a three month nightmare of fighting with the contractor, begging him to come to work, and praying that the whole ordeal would end with the wall being completed. The contractor was slippery to say the least. Of course, this left David and I exhausted, feeling abused, and incredibly nervous about embarking on any future projects in which a contractor would be called in.

Thankfully our friends recommended a fence distributor who very quickly and easily provided a reasonable quote, set up time to install the fence, and then installed the fence.  It is the small things like doing one’s job which now greatly impresses us!! Who knew a house project could be so simple. Whew! With the baby just a few weeks away, it feels so good to have this yard project complete.  Now Buster and Bella can enjoy the yard fully. I was SO scared opening the back door to the house this afternoon to just “let them out.” A part of me wanted to still have them on the leash despite the fence. But, David assured me that the whole point of the fence was to give the pups the freedom to run and play in the yard uninhibited. They raced out of the door (I was surprised they didn’t hesitate at all, clearly they would just run away from us in general!), and immediately started barking and chasing each other. It was so great seeing them instantly excited about their new yard experience. I can just see us all now sitting out back for a cookout and just relaxing together as a family. This will definitely change how we all experience the summer and I am just so excited to be outside more with the pups! We even bought two new zero gravity chairs to “christen” the new space.

Phase III of the “never ending” yard remodel will be to plant arborvitae trees along the back of our property to increase some of our privacy and to plant hydrangea bushes in front of these trees to add some color and depth to our backyard garden. Ah!  After this successful phase, I am REALLY looking forward to phase III next Spring.

 

baby shower

On Saturday, David, Heather, Alyza, Zachary, and I piled into our car and drove from Boston to New York for our Baby Shower. My mom and dad planned this special afternoon back in December and we were very excited to finally be able to see all of our family and friends and share in this truly  great moment. In some ways, it wasn’t until this moment that the upcoming arrival of the little one became real. Being surrounded by the love, support, and laughter of the strong and beautiful women in my family felt like the “official” initiation into the “mom club.” Sharing stories about their pregnancies, births, and parenting adventures helped provide calm and perspective to the luncheon. It was inspiring to see these women and to share in the good, the bad, the ugly, and the miraculous of motherhood. David and I felt truly loved and the generosity of our loved ones was overwhelming. Our little guy is so lucky to be joining this tremendous family and to have a nursery that is stocked with all we could imagine and need to help his transition into the world go smoothly. It was quite a special weekend for all of us.

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  After the meal, David joined us and we unwrapped the gifts for the little one together. Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 3.37.25 PM

  Baby clothes are so darn cute and tiny!Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 3.39.32 PM

Even David received a special gift just for him. The Daddy Doo Doo Emergency kit was a hilarious gift filled with all he could need for a poop disaster!  Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 3.39.47 PM

We had the very special help of Zachary and Alyza (our niece and nephew) throughout the party.

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Can you believe this cake! I was so surprised when it arrived and could not have imagined a cuter more delicious dessert. Our friends Maryanne and Amanda were so wonderful in finding this treat. And, yes the baby’s  nursery “theme” is elephants!    Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 3.41.00 PM

Our visit to New York was short but it is amazing to think that our next trip down to our family in July will include the little one!

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sunday adventure

Yesterday David woke up and said, “Want to go for a Sunday drive?” We didn’t have a real plan but decided that we wanted to avoid highways and just follow the back roads and see  where they took us. Packing a few snacks, we got into the car and started our journey. An hour and a little bit later, we found ourselves in Salem. The streets were completely quiet as families stayed in to enjoy their restful Sunday morning. We walked the old cobblestone streets to the wharf and slowly made our way around the town. Before heading back in the car, we grabbed some pizza and lattes. We took little detours all the way home and truly enjoyed our “Sunday Drive.” A random journey really did turn into a special Sunday together!

 

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advisory party

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This afternoon I was anxious about lunch. My advisees, (9 students who I support and advise throughout the duration of their high school experience) wanted to go off campus for lunch. Not just that, but they wanted to go to Shake Shack which is notoriously crowded.  Of course, the idea of lunch off campus was totally appealing, but the reality of getting everyone there, fed, and back in time for their next class was intimidating. Despite my concerns, I went with it. Why not?  I mean my time with them is so limited and we enjoy our time together so much that I got in the car and drove over to our luncheon.

Once there it became apparent that they not only invited me to lunch to enjoy burgers together but also to celebrate the baby-to-be.  They brought “It’s a Boy” balloons and a celebration cake that said “Congratulations” in blue to the table and were too cute with their surprise. They giddily shared how they planned the whole thing and how they tried so hard not to ruin the surprise. There thoughtfulness was truly touching.  The night before this surprise, I had shared with David how hard it feels sometimes to be the first friend in my primary friend circle to have a baby. Not only will a baby change the friend dynamics but I sometimes feel like this momentous event in which my body and my life will forever be defined as “before” and “after” baby is moving by fairly unnoticed. Of course, I in no means expect constant celebration but it sometimes feels that talking about the baby-to-be among friends isn’t always popular.  Rationally I know that life gets in the way of life and that everyone is busy with the events, family, and moments that are most directly connected to them, but it meant so much to me today to celebrate and share with my advisees.  I am going to be devastated when this group of talented, kind, and funny students graduate in another year but I am so thankful to have gotten to know them so well and to share in their journey, just as they have shared in mine.

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