Archive for April, 2012

18 weeks and counting.

The bump is now something people at work are noticing (as opposed to something only Mark and I, in our hyper-aware states can see). Everything was right on schedule at our 16 week midwife appointment, and the big news from last week was the ultrasound!

Yes, little baby Brown has ten fingers, ten toes, a tiny quivering heart, a slender curving spine, and all of the things you want to see in your unborn baby (except a tail – I think Mark was a little sad there was no tail). The doctor who was talking us through it is obviously experienced with couples who don’t want to know the sex because he did an excellent job of not revealing anything. I haven’t felt any movement yet (I don’t think?), so it was good to see the rutabaga squirming and wiggling throughout its first photo shoot. 

I found the tiny tiny maternity section at our local thrift store and picked up a dress (that probably won’t work much past june or july – it’s definitely designed for the smaller end of the mama belly spectrum – but looks adorable now) and a pair of jeans (jeans that are fitted to my thighs! but still fit my waist! amazing!). 

The hunger has subsided. It definitely comes in fits and starts – a week here, two weeks there, and then back down to normal. Of course, if I don’t nibble something every 2-3 hours, I start to feel a little woozy, so I’m still eating more (often) than usual, but not to extremes. Not full meals every two hours.

I get occasional inklings that I ought to somehow be preparing more. Namely, transforming the studio into a nursery. But it’s early still – isn’t it? I think of that as more of a last-month-or-so activity. Not to mention the fact that we’re not planning on acquiring half of all baby accoutrement (crib, designated changing table), and the rest (pad to put on the dresser as a changing table, rocker?, montessori mattress) we don’t yet have. We don’t have piles of baby clothes yet, except for what little I’ve made. I won’t start freezing food for the weeks of post-birth-haze until the end of summer at least. 

So I supposed I’ll stick with knitting more clothes, beginning to sew some, and growing the actual baby for the present…


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I subscribe to a number of blogs. They mostly run in a few key categories: artists whose art is their living; moms who blog about being moms and keeping house and the things they make for their families and friends; and a few that are maintained by many people on grand topics (one about mothering, one about home ownership, one about knitting/sewing/design). 

Anyway, when it came to the ones written by individuals, I could never understand the posts that contained pages and pages of photos from their garden or from local parks. Yes, flowers. More flowers. Ferns. More ferns. More flowers. On and on – I get the picture! (Yes, mom, this includes you. I know you don’t have a blog, but you did drive us around to see every flowering tree and bush in a five mile radius of the house each spring).

But, oh, things change. Now I live in a state that’s been chilly and brown and barren (and snowless!) since late October. Now I have a yard in which things are actually growing. Now I am growing a little crop of my own. And now I am delighted by it. 

Some lovely person who lived in this house before we did planted daffodils and tulips and all sorts of other flowers I don’t know in our front yard, and they’re all up and blooming, reddish-oranges and dark purples and yellows. Mark’s mother gave me more tulips, which I planted just last weekend. And the garlic bulbs I pushed into our first little garden bed last October have stalks a foot high and bright green. I am so eager for all of the buds on the tree to blossom, so eager for the swiss chard and arugula in the backyard to start coming up, for the tomatoes and peppers and eggplant seeds I have buried in soil in egg cartons to sprout and move outside. So eager for the weather to finally warm. So eager for this baby (the size of an avocado, if you’re wondering) to reveal itself more obviously in the shape of my belly. 

We’re all eager, I imagine. The dog is ready for afternoons in the yard instead of brisk walks through the chill. Mark is ready for evenings grilling out back, homebrew in hand, sox on the radio. The house is ready to open all of its windows and let the fresh air in. We’re almost there. I can feel it.

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The moodiness of the last few weeks seems to officially have disappeared. In exchange, my appetite has been a little ridiculous (yes, i know we just finished dinner, and my two bowls of soup with toast were great. now where are the almonds and dried figs?), I’ve been falling asleep in the middle of the afternoon, and there’s a definite bump in my abdomen. Apparently, now that all of the most important things are in place, the baby’s focused on quantity growth at the moment and I’m eating & sleeping for two. I’m craving protein and salty carbs, but making sure there are plenty of fruits and vegetables in there, too.

Baseball season has started (for those of you not the daughter, wife, and sister of rabid fans), and so our schedule has shifted for the next few months. Mark’s relationship with the Sox and with his fantasy baseball league can get pretty hot and heavy, so I’ll have more time to myself, and the days last longer from week to week, so I see more after dinner walks and time in my studio (which will start morphing into a nursery one of these days). Even the rutabaga will be occupied – (s)he’s got a fantasy team, too. It’s the dart board team – i.e. what happens when you draft the best players given statistical rankings and ride out the season without trading (except in case of disabling injury, in which case you pick up the next best player). So far, the Rutabaga team is “winning from the womb,” beating father, grandfathers, aunt, and others.

On opening night, I started a new quilt. I haven’t ben piecing since I finished Tay’s quilt back in December, and at that point I was a bit tapped out as far as sewing – hence the knitting devotion of the past three months. I love the practicality of knitting. I love the creation of something useful and beautiful in what is usually a relatively short period of time (those little diaper covers can be churned out in a day if I don’t do too much else). But my hands and my brain love quilting for quilting’s sake. There’s very little practicality in taking weeks and months to stitch by hand something that is many square feet in area, something I could churn out of a sewing machine in a week without really trying, but I can’t help it. It’s in the way that I love making my own bread (and kneading it by hand), or writing novels. It’s the anticipation, and amount of energy I can put into each moment of work, into each detail, and know that the result will be worth every bit of that energy.

I suppose that that’s why I looked (and look!) forward to this pregnancy and mama-hood so much. It’s another project with a similar mindset (albeit on an unbelievably larger, longer, more emotional scale). It’s going to be difficult and take the rest of my life and sometimes I’ll want to quit, but it’s also going to be the coolest experience ever.

Anyway, time to do the dishes (Mark made blueberry oat pancakes for breakfast – he is, in fact, the pancake master) so that we can start in on yard work. If all goes according to plan, we’ll have chard, tomatoes, and spinach planted, our front yard fence repaired, and a clothesline up in the backyard just in time for this afternoon’s important baseball games!

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Just For You

I know I have some friends and family who are terribly curious about where this pregnancy is taking me, especially those who have been mamas (and papas) and those who plan to be. I didn’t want to just post it to facebook or something along those lines and harass those who were not interested in all of the details. So here it is – the baby blog, which (if it sticks) I imagine will become the mama blog. 


The rutabaga (as hubby has taken to calling it) is due to make an appearance during the last two weeks of September. Hubby came a month late and I a month early, so any sort of definite expectation of a date just seems silly. For reference, if the baby shows up by the 22nd, all three of us will be earth signs according to astrology – a grounded, slow-moving, somewhat stubborn, somewhat patient tribe. If I don’t give birth until the 29th, it’ll be the Harvest Moon. There are also more births in September than any other month, so part of me is rooting to make it to October just to avoid being one in a crowd (I doubt I’ll still be rooting for such a thing when my due date comes and goes and we’re in the midst of some sort of wretched Indian Summer and I cannot wait to pop already. Don’t remind me of my wish then, okay?)

The first trimester was (unfairly, I know) a breeze. No nausea, a schedule that allowed me all of the sleep I needed, and the best mood of my life – for those of you familiar with the Dykeman tendency toward Eeyore-ishness, that disappeared completely during the first months.

Alas, things change. The second trimester, the “honeymoon period” of pregnancy, has been anything but. All of the mood swings I missed in the beginning have come rushing out of the woodwork, and I have to say, I’m not a fan. If you see me starting to cry or hear me snapping at you or someone else, I genuinely apologize. It’s not me, I swear. Hubby has been beyond remarkable in his ability to cope with my crying on his shoulder on a daily basis, alternating between complete despair and the insistence that I know I’m irrational but I can’t make it go away.

What helps seems to be activity of my own, specifically baking, cooking, and gardening. I think it helps my little lost brain to focus on something tangible with (relatively) immediate results. We get our produce all growing season from an organic farm inland from Plymouth, and I’ve been going on Fridays to work off the cost of our share. The meditation of filling tray after tray with soil, dropping in seed after tiny seed, covering it over, and moving on is a lifesaver.

And today, my first prenatal yoga class. Two other women and an instructor were there – they’re intentionally keeping the Sunday class small, but I suppose we three were the ones who couldn’t make the Friday class. It’s been so long since I’ve been regular with my yoga or any stretching at all due to the chilliness in the house all winter, but I think the class will keep me accountable. All three of the others are due much sooner than I, preparing for babies that will arrive between the start of June and the start of July. I felt tiny, an impostor in their midst. But I think the time and the movement will be good for me. 

I try to walk a good bit every day. In New England this time of year, that’s not always fun or enticing, and the cold windy days are always a challenge, but the tides are slowly turning. And I have a little dog who gets cabin fever if we go two days without a long walk.

No wild cravings. I’ve been eating a lot of fruit. Pickled things, too, cliched as it may be – we have pickled green beans, sweet pickled habeneros, pickled mixed veggies, kimchi, and olives in the fridge, and they all make excellent snacks.

What else do people ask? What do you want to know? 

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