early morning serenity and learning to be a mother

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

lately i have had trouble sleeping - a common side effect of being nine months pregnant. without fail, i wake up at four thirty a.m. to make yet another trip to the bathroom. and without fail, after i have resettled into bed, not without much effort and grimacing, blissful sleep always eludes me. in its place has crept dark anxieties concerning things over which i have no control.

what if i have to get a c-section? because i really do not want a c-section. what if something happens to me during labor? what if something happens to husband on his way to work? on his way home from work? what if something is wrong with baby? what if baby is born in distress with the umbilical cord choking him? what if he gets the worst personality traits of both me and husband? what if he eventually manifests autism? what if, what if, what if...

this morning, my mind was playing a particularly cruel game of "what if" with me when i remembered something from the very early days of my pregnancy. almost as soon as that pee stick indicated i was pregnant, i began to be fiercely protective of the life growing inside of me. while still sitting on the toilet, pregnancy test in hand, i remember thinking, "Lord, please do not let anything happen to my baby." a few nights later, i came upon Psalm 139 in my nightly Bible reading.

"For it was You who formed my inward parts; You wove me together in my mother's womb.
I will praise You, for I am awesomely and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, And my soul knows it well.
My frame was not hidden from You When I was made in secret, Skillfully fashioned in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; And in Your book all of them were written: The days that were ordained for me, When not one of them was yet."

it occurred to me then, and i was reminded again during this anxiety filled morning, that my days, AND all my baby's days have already been ordained. when you actually stop to think about what this means, it is quite awe-inspiring. ALL of my baby's days have already been measured out and ordained.

The Lord reminded me this morning with that soft, familiar, loving voice "yes Grace, I have ordained all of your baby's days. All the good things and the not so good things. can you accept all that I have ordained for your child?"

it struck me then as it did today, that despite feeling intensely about my baby  - intense about preventing suffering, and intensely hoping only good things for him, there is One who is in control, who lovingly formed my son within me, One whose works are wonderful. so when these verses and words found me again, i found some early morning serenity and with a heavy, but genuine and trusting heart, prayed, "Lord grant me the grace to accept all that You have ordained, including the suffering, including the not so great things." and somehow, though all those "what ifs" still exist, and they could still happen, i was a little less anxious. not because suddenly trusting in the Lord will change any outcomes and bestow upon my son and my family a life without suffering, a life without pain, and a life without sorrow. but because the lives of this Carlson family - each one, has been measured and ordained by the very God of this universe. it is peaceful to know and accept that we are not in control (despite our best efforts at times). 

spring is but a tease

Monday, March 25, 2013

this morning, we woke up to this:

which was so disappointing because we had a lovely spring teaser of a weekend. it is almost april after all. here are a few scenes from our weekend:

i found sunday to be quite productive. not only did i help successfully install our car seat, but i also shaved my legs, which at nine months pregnant, is no small feat. oh yes i did because yesterday the one thing i kept worrying about was having stubbly, prickly legs when the entire hospital staff is up in my woo hoo. you know, i've always been good at this priorities thing. 

on your marks, get set...count contractions

Friday, March 22, 2013

according to my doctor, i have hit the huge milestone of thirty-seven weeks. i also apparently "have gained the upper range of normal weight." thanks - that is exactly what a very pregnant lady wants to hear first thing monday morning.

the trouble with hitting the thirty-seven week mark is you are told that at any minute you can go into labor, which means, for me, any twitch, any slight perception of pain is interpreted as a contraction. so last night, as i lay in bed, i began experiencing distinct pain in my abdomen area around two thirty-five a.m. lucky for me, husband was up, cradling his ipad. i poked him, in between (maybe slightly exaggerated) moans of pain. but seriously, i was definitely uncomfortable. after ignoring me for about fifteen to twenty minutes, he turned over and said, "ok, so should i start timing your contractions?" 

well i have no idea what a contraction is supposed to feel like, but i also did not want to actually be in labor and think i was not in labor and miss my opportunity to get that epidural, so i curled into a ball (as much as a fat pregnant lady can curl into a ball), and murmured, "yes please." only i could not really distinguish when the contractions were starting and stopping, which makes timing them a challenge. the reason i could not distinguish start and stop times of my contractions was because as it turns out, i was not experiencing contractions at all. just a bad, painful case of pregnancy induced gas. and now husband has dubbed me "the girl who cried contractions."

but let me tell you, thank goodness it was just gas and not contractions for real. i keep telling baby to stay in there - stay in there at least another two and a half weeks. because there is still a slight chance we may be able to move before he comes. and if baby wants mom to be reasonably sane, he really will take this under advisement. that and coming out sleeping through the night...that could happen right? improbable, but possible???

happy friday and bon weekend mes amis!

a white man's suffering

Thursday, March 21, 2013

about a week and a half ago, husband suffered a terrible injustice. he was a victim of racism - asian racism. and since i am asian, i feel like i can say, first generation asians can be kind of racist.

we went out to eat at an asian establishment. i was pretty excited about it since the washington post had indicated that this restaurant had one of the forty must try dishes in the washington metro area (more on this in a later post). so there we were. we placed our order, when lo and behold the waiter brought us our dining utensils.

husband was not happy about getting a fork, especially considering his chopstick skills far exceed mine (most of the time).

alas, the indignities a white man suffers in diverse northern virginia. sometimes, life just is not fair.

thirty one and thirty six

Monday, March 11, 2013

on sunday, i turned thirty-one. and i have a feeling thirty-one is going to be a great year. keeping my fingers crossed for sustained happiness. even though my birthday fell on one of the worst days of the year, spring forward, and i was robbed of an hour of "all about gracie" time, it was lovely, and low key, and peaceful. just what i needed as we are living among packed up boxes.
the husband took me out for brunch at ted's bulletin where we each had a homemade poptart. oh. my. gosh. do yourself a favor and go get one. the crust is buttery deliciousness. i highly recommend the brown sugar and cinnamon one. we also got the blueberry cheesecake one, but the brown sugar and cinnamon one is where it is at.
i was treated to an hour long walk - this happens about twice a year, when the hubs is willing to go on a walk with me. so i capitalized on it. and i even got to pick our dinner destination too. if only every day could be all about me =)

thirty six weeks pregnant and loving (mostly) it! eagerly waiting for my homemade poptart.

how a red punch buggy driver restored my faith in humanity (for now...)

Friday, March 08, 2013

lately, i am doing serious battle with my pregnant psyche. most days, i force myself to get dressed in something that is not elastic. most days, i put make up on, and most days, i curl my hair. mostly i do this to combat the frightful non-curled hair, no make up, elastic rocking image of gracie that greets me and makes me feel like a gross pregnant lady. ahhh third trimester - a rewelcome of exhaustion plus extreme discomfort plus what in my mind is the equivalent of morbid obesity. make way, grace is barreling down the hall. i have now taken to grunting whenever i try to get up off a chair, or roll over in bed.  most days, i do not feel too great about myself. i am tired. i am cranky. and despite my best efforts to not be a crazy pregnant lady, i am losing - terribly. you see our move got pushed back even more. but most of our house is packed up. what remains to be packed, i cannot pack because there's this baby in my belly that prevents me from being able to bend without grimacing (and he lets me know it too, with a few swift, yet powerful kicks that sometimes bring me to my knees, "mom, quit bending over, you're crowding me out here!") someday, when he is older, i am going to remind him of this and inform him that he was merely a renter, and i the owner and i WILL BE collecting overdue rent!!!! so i am overwhelmed.
on top of the stress of now being delayed in moving until two weeks before baby is due, everyone i talk to says that if i do not want to go into labor early, i should limit my unpacking. well, sure that sounds great, except i have this INCREDIBLE need to feel settled, which i am fairly certain cannot happen while everything is still in boxes. it is a conundrum. i guess this is when i cash in my friend chips and call all hands on deck!
and the whipped cream and cherry on top of it all is lately, i have discovered that people suck. yes all you rush hour washington, dc metro riders, you stink. everyone avoids my eyes when i get on board in the morning, lest anyone feel obligated to relinquish a seat for the nine months pregnant lady. even older generationed men avert their eyes. seriously people, were you raised in caves by rabid wolves??? it's a problem when i give up my seat to a woman who looks more pregnant than i do.
but today, on my drive home from the doctor's office, i decided to stop by chik-fil-a for a spicy chicken biscuit sandwich, because sometimes, you just need one of those to get your day started. i pulled into the drive thru, ordered my biscuit and patiently waited to pull up to the pay window. i almost honked at the little red punch buggy in front of me who did not move right away when the car in front of him moved (what can i say, grouchy grace was visiting). but i did not honk and reveal my impatience. he finally pulled up to the window, paid, got his food, and pulled away. now my turn - i could practically taste that chicken biscuit. as i rolled down my window, the lady handed me the food and said, "the car in front of you paid for your meal." and somehow, that small, $2.49 gesture turned my mood around. there are decent people out there who believe in doing kind things for total strangers.
so i drove off into the already risen sun, munching away, with one hand holding my biscuit, and the other the steering wheel, when a toyota truck almost rammed me off the road. and the indignity of it all, i could barely honk at him because i did not want to drop my free spicy chicken biscuit. a one-handed steering wheel controlling attempt at an aggressive honk really equates to scaring the nearby ants. maybe. but boy did that biscuit go down good.