The Month of the Squash

Squash, really? I guess so, as long as the squash is bigger, heavier, and much more wiggly than an eggplant. Our baby girl, in weeks 29 through 32, is 15.2 inches and 16.7 inches from head to toe and weighs 2.5 to 3.8 pounds already. According to our ultrasound this week, she is already head down. She is very active and I've been able to feel and see tiny elbows and/or knees moving around, at all hours. We had a 3D ultrasound so I got to see her little profile, but I can't figure out how to freeze the frame and post it (they give it to us on CD here), so you'll just have to wait until she's out in the world for your first picture!

When I was three months pregnant with Calvin, I thought I was getting big, having just "popped out" and all. Then I went full term plus one week and learned what huge was. I didn't make the same mistake with the other two pregnancies - it wasn't until at least seven and a half months along that I allowed myself the thought that I couldn't imagine being any larger or tighter. I still learned that indeed I could, but still...

This time around, wow. I think I am carrying totally differently or something because everything is tight and heavy already and we have at least ten weeks to go! Yikes!

But despite my tremendousness, I am actually feeling better right now than I have the entire pregnancy. I think getting some darling little girl clothes in the mail from my mother in law and perhaps having a leveling of hormones has helped some. My weight has stayed the same (yay!) and I have lots of energy and am nesting like I have never nested before.

In the last two weeks, I have: officially and finally packed away Christmas stuff (the house hasn't been decorated still all this time, it's just that the holiday decorations were piled and untouched in a mostly forgotten / ignored corner, nagging at me all this time...); sorted through all the boys drawers and made lists of what they need for summer and back to school so we can get that all lined out before I enter newborn land; packed up several bags of donations of toys, books and clothes for the homeless and an orphanage; washed all the bedding in the house and made the beds up fresh and beautiful (bought all new pillows because ours were older than most of our children and grungier than all of our children put together - how does that happen?); gathered up all our office and art supplies into one area and am planning to make a art/writing/"inventions" center for me and the boys so that markers, crayons, paste, staples and recyclables aren't scattered all over the house all the time; completely cleaned our master bedroom so that it is peaceful and relaxing instead of a total dumping ground...and I'm not finished yet! It feels great!

We've also recruited a mother's helper for me - one of the young women in our church branch who has been here for a semester volunteer teaching English is going to stay an extra month with us in Ukraine and travel along to London. She'll be my right hand girl until the end of July. The boys like her and she is very even-keeled and sweet, and I am soooo looking forward to being able to rest every once in a while or go on errands in peace.

I've started gathering little girl clothes, and was so excited about the things David's mom sent that I was telling my Russian tutor about them but didn't know the names of the clothing. She told me to bring them and she would teach me all the words, that would be our lesson. As it turns out, there aren't Russian words for things like "onesies" and "sleep and plays" - because they don't have those kind of things! Really, they don't. And it was so funny to see my tutor in awe of the way things were made, how soft the fabrics are, how well sewn, how in America we think of things like cuffs that can fold over tiny hands so the baby won't scratch her face, and we sew fabric behind the zippers so it won't pinch the baby's skin, etc. She saw the label on the onesies and asked if it was a designer brand. Gerber. She just couldn't get over how wonderful all these little basic things were. I love them, too. They make me happy.

And what else am I thinking of in this month of the squash?

One thing is cloth diapering. My grandma will think I'm nuts, but we are actually thinking it is a very practical and viable option. Diapers here are much more expensive and much lower quality (so we go through more) than in the U.S. for one thing. We do have the option of ordering through the commissary, but orders are only once every three months and it's hard to gauge how many of what sizes a growing infant will need over the next several months. Plus, they are more pricey that way as well. Cloth diapering one child would pay for itself in about four months. If we cloth diaper two children, it will be even less time than that.

Another (admittedly odd) thing that tips me in the direction of cloth diapers is that there are people who go through our trash almost on a daily basis, looking for salvagibles. We've started seperating out bottles and bags and plastic containers to make their lives easier, but I still feel bad that they have to touch and smell our dirty diapers in the process. And that makes the reality of rotting, nonbiodegrading yuck from us sitting in landfills here, in a country where most of the population potty trains their children well before age one (that's another thing altogether) and already has serious environmental issues, something very compelling to think about.

So, I ordered a two-pack of one-size pocket cloth diapers and have been trying them out on Charlie. I think I can do it. I think I want to do it. I need to be tutored a little more, especially when it comes to an older baby's diapers, but it's not that difficult - cloth diapers have come a long way since complicated folding and jabbing with huge safety pins and stained plastic covers! We have a fabulous washing machine. Call me crazy, but I think it's a go.

I've also been thinking a lot about breast feeding. It gives me huge stress. HUGE stress. Not so much that I will not attempt it, but enough that I already feel like crying. It is just not easy for me, ever - latching on difficulties, engorgement, thrush, pain and uncertainty, not really having the luxury of lolling with an infant at breast until they feel like they are fed enough. I know those it comes easy to cannot fathom what my problem is, but it is truly rough! I'm just really not looking forward to it. Plus, because we weren't entirely planning on having a baby in Ukraine, my great breast pump is in deep dark storage in the USA and buying a new one would be dumb. But it just makes me feel better to have one as a back up. I don't know. Formula here is outrageous (deciphering ingredients and prices), so I don't want to go there already. It's just stress.

And finally, I've been thinking, "Oh yeah, I have to give birth." On the one hand, I've done this three times before, so I'm not so worried. On the other hand, um, giving birth is a pretty huge deal. Usually by now I'm all psyched up and prepared for going natural like I've always wanted, but I haven't done so much of that this time. It kinda hit me day before yesterday - this baby will have to be born. Somehow. And even though I've done it three times before, I think, "Wow." And also, "Yikes."

And that, my friends, is the long and short (mostly long) of the month of the squash. Oh, except for that Henry told me the other day that he doesn't like me anymore. I asked him why and he said, "You're just ruder, with a baby in your tummy."

Yeah, well. Get over it.


Real said...

You know I'm all natural birth and breastfeeding advocate and I've nursed babies for more than 10 years of my life so far now. And it always drove me nuts to read in the pregnancy books about how you might be a little tender at teh beginning of breastfeeding. Yeah. How 'bout in excruciating pain for the first 8 weeks? I don't know what my problem is, but the only baby it didn't hurt for was the one baby I tandemed. But anyway, I just wanted you to know you're not a freak. After I have a baby, I love to look and hold and cuddle and then someone (my midwife or my husband) will say something like, "You want to feed teh baby now?" And I delay, delay, delay and finally take a big breath and cringe and get the whole thing started. I LOVE breastfeeding and I'm so glad that I do it because it's so important. But that doesn't mean it's easy.

Then again. Maybe motherhood isn't supposed to be easy. And these are the sacrifices from which love is borne.

Andrea said...

Wow- cloth diapers- can't wait to hear how that goes. Great reasons though.
I hope you have a great nursing experience this time. Each baby for me got better, although it still hurt bad.
How nice to have a helper with you. Enjoy!!
Love the last line. Funny!

Janelle said...

That's great about cloth diapers-I never had the gumption to try it myself, let us know how it goes. And yay! for getting a Mother's helper, that will be so awesome for you!

About breastfeeding-I wish it had been easy for you before, but hope it will be smooth (maybe not easy, but smooth) for you this time around. I can imagine the stress you are feeling at this point. Just enjoy the gathering of little girl clothes and know you've got people praying for you on this side of the pond :)

Ah, Henry, telling it like it is!

Gabriela said...

Quite a post! I love the "oh yeah, I have to give birth" part. I totally remembering feeling that way with #4-like people thought it was no big deal because it was #4. Ummmm, still hurts. Lots.

You go girl with the cloth diapers. You are very kind to think of those who are going through your trash. :) I haul in the huggies. I haven't bought a diaper here yet and we've been here almost 2 years now. (why I feel proud of this, I'm not quite sure)

megachick said...

wow, potty trained before age 1? how come we in the 'civilized' world can't accomplish that? are american babies not as smart or what? we should work on that.

for the breastfeeding, it's great that you start thinking you want to do it. just think that it could be different with a girl...