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Saturday, July 24th 2004

1:18 PM

Six and a half Months

Up to this point, each day of this pregnancy has felt like an eternity. The debilitating morning sickness, the depression over my disproportioned body, and the chronic fatigue were enough to kill any joy I might have mustered towards our new person. Chad’s hearty attempts to encourage me while he held my hair back out of my own vomit only made things worse. "You are half way there!" I know from experience that the first half is the easy part. The last trimester is filled with painful twinges, even more physical limitations, and an overall discomfort that makes eating, sleeping, and breathing a chore. "Babe, today you are 26 weeks!" brought me to tears. How am I going to endure another 14 weeks of this?

I will once again declare that I have the world’s best husband. But my husband comes home from work sometime between nine and ten at night to a clean house, children who have been sentenced to reading in bed, and, on a really good day, dinner. He is not around for the actual cleaning of the house. I don’t mind sweeping the floor but it won’t be long before I will need a crane to pick me up after I have scooped everything into the dustpan. The baby is riding uncomfortably high which makes breathing a feat. I can’t tell you how many times I have sat out of breath on the stairs this week wondering why, oh why, someone as intelligent as a house designer hasn’t put the laundry room on the same floor as the bedrooms. Chad usually misses out on the excitement of Mommy trying to reach over the tub to scrub somebody hair and the nightly hunt for lunch pails and pool towels. All this after I have survived yet another meal with my kids. The days may be flying by for Chad but that clock runs in slow motion while he is away at work.

I have come to the determination that my kids will go barefoot until this baby is born. I am officially incapable to stooping down to pick up their endless supply of shoes that are always underfoot. Frustrated, I attempted to train Bekah to be keeper of the shoes. Being closest to the ground, she seemed to be the best candidate. We played games and effectively trained her to put shoes in the shoe cubby. Unfortunately, I trained her too well. Now it is nearly impossible to get both of your shoes before she grabs them and returns them to the shoe cubby. It might sound funny but there is nothing cute about it when you are frantically herding three kids out the door, behind schedule of course, and it takes twenty minutes for everyone to put on their shoes because of an overly helpful shoe fairy. To be totally honest, I probably wouldn’t care except that the boys gets distracted on their way to retrieving their stolen shoes. I have to heave myself up off the floor (Note to self: think Velcro when walking through the shoe section…) to retrieve the shoes and the children to start the process all over again. Repeat this scenario five times because my children take off their shoes the second they come through the door and I am plum exhausted without starting any of the other household chores. And my beloved husband doesn’t understand why I cry when he tells me I am "already" 26 weeks along!

This chronic uncomfortable thing has definitely gotten old and, to Chad’s bewilderment, I was really starting to get depressed about the whole pregnancy business. We are witnessing the mysterious miracle of life… It won’t be long before I have baby toes to love on… I have always bounced back and lost those pregnancy pounds… blah, blah, blah. Fourth time around, how mysterious could it really be. The real mystery is how I am going to be able to homeschool the boys, entertain Bekah, and still manage to stock clean underwear once those non-sleeping baby toes get here. Sleep deprivation does not bring out the best in anyone and I am still trying to forgive myself for locking baby Drew in a running car in the middle of Sam’s Club during our annual California storm. Because my husband is safely at work, he is not home to see that the reason I lose the weight so quickly is because I don’t have time to eat between bouncing a colicky baby, changing mustard diapers, and washing the clothes stained by malfunctioning diapers not fully equipped to handle poop of a mustard consistency. Woo hoo, we are having another baby….

Most of the baby books address the postpartum blues but they don’t really talk about what to do when you are depressed before your little person even arrives. Feeling like the world was about to end, and unsure whether I had the energy to care, I prayed that God would please change my perspective. Having had issues with the whole "His Timetable" thing, I meekly added that sooner would really be better all around than later. "Thanks for understanding… Love Heather, the City Girl who keeps you entertained down here in West Virginia." Albeit, this was probably not the most respectful way to talk to the Creator of the Universe, I figured He already knew where I was coming from and I might as well lay it out on the table and be frank instead of compounding matters with deceit.

Many of my friends have a totally different view of God and lately I have wondered if maybe I’m the one who has it all wrong. I still haven’t decided if it was the simple act of praying, even if sarcastically, or a true change of perspective, but walked away from my God Conference feeling much better. Whether I can intellectually grasp it or not, in my heart, I still believe there is someone out there who care about me. There is something comforting about being able to hand over a big problem to someone who is so much more capable of handling it than me. The situation hadn’t changed. I still can’t see my toes. The pool is still full of stretch mark free, itty bitty little things wearing Band-Aid sized bikinis. I am still winded going up and down the stairs. But, now I don’t go through the day fighting back tears.

Even better, I am able to find humor in the rigors of pregnancy. I used to tease Chad unmercifully about being a slob because he was constantly dropping food on his shirt. It turns out there is something about a rotund belly that attracts food. I jokingly hypothesized that messy foods are somehow more magnetic. That will teach me. Now, Drew wants to scientifically test my theory! Each new spot now brings a smile to my face as I do the laundry. I recall the embarrassment of having to apologize to Chad and Drew’s enthusiasm over his newest experiment. As uncomfortable as Littlest Bit’s position is, I can’t help but laugh myself into tears (and the bathroom) when my belly starts jumping around with hiccups. A little of the mystery has returned.

The last week has been an exciting one for us. The first thing people ask when they find out we moved from California is, "Why?!?" There are days, particularly humid ones, I wonder this myself. Truth be told, we came to build a house we could afford. California is an awesome place to live if you can afford it. Unfortunately, when we chose to homeschool, we no longer fell into this group. Things never quite seem to go the way we plan, and our dreams of building a house burst four months into Chad’s adventure on the East Coast. I had already sold the house so we decided to go ahead with the move, but it was definitely not the way it was supposed to happen. Chad is one of those people who is content waiting for things to fall into place. If patience is his virtue, impatience is my vice. We are in a wonderfully spacious hundred-year-old house complete with backyard and garage. But, it isn’t mine. I can’t paint it funky colors or change the carpet. I want a house of my own!

It looks like my dream is (finally) going to be granted. Tomorrow we sign the contract to buy our first house! Today, I am vacillating between disbelief and indescribable excitement. We are just at the beginning of a very complicated process. There are all sorts of things that could come up to void the transaction. The little voice inside my head is desperately trying to keep my excitement contained. Unsuccessfully.

For the very first time, I am going to have a nursery to decorate. My kids will have 2,500 square feet of open space to play in. The boys will have a blast repainting the playhouse out back. I am going to have my very own craft room, in addition to the library, homeschool room, and play area. Two of my kids will sleep next to the laundry room! The kids can play out front without being run over by a semi truck. We still have a front porch swing to watch the rain! Central air conditioning!!!!! I can paint every room a different color!!!!

Poor Chad doesn’t know what to do with me. Mr. Constancy is not totally ready to embrace the change ahead of us. While he is anxious to be in a house of our own, he doesn’t see empty rooms just waiting to be decorated with my enthusiasm. He is suddenly experiencing a new appreciation of eggshell white. He released an audible sigh of relief when Dr. Brown reminded me that pregos are not to be painting their new house. No worries! It just means that I will have the prep work all done so the rooms are all ready to be painted when he gets home. We are buying a new house!

I was still reeling from the excitement of them accepting our offer the night before when I pranced into our doctor’s office yesterday. We are buying our first house!!! I happily assumed the position on the scale and didn’t even flinch when the nurse had to bump the little weight thingy up a notch. After all, I have always bounced back and lost those pregnancy pounds. I happily waddled after the nurse and climbed up on the table. I handed her the videotape and anxiously waited for the ultrasound to begin.

Did I mention that my husband agreed to buy me my house but it was conditional? I could have the house of my dreams if, here is the catch, we find out the sex of the baby. Hmmm…. House of my dreams or a surprise? It wasn’t really going to be a surprise because we gave away all our boys clothes when we left California and I still have every bow, hat, and outfit that Bek has ever owned. God has a sense of humor so we are going to have a boy. House of my dreams or confirmation that we are having a boy?

Even though I was still unsure about surrendering, I could feel my excitement building as we waiting for the doctor to come in. Chad was so sure we were having a girl. We had narrowed the girl names down to two: Abigail or my favorite, Noelle. The boys’ list has been shortened to a healthy fifteen or sixteen. Finally, Dr. Brown came in and the ultrasound began. The four chambered heart was pumping perfectly. Littlest Bit’s alien looking head was complete with eyes, nose, and mouth. The spine was all there and in good order. Right now, we are not on course to have another behemoth child. Watching the doc measure this and that, more of the mystery of life returned. In nine short months, it felt short laying there watching our child move around on the monitor, a tiny mass of cells grew into a living, thinking person. In three months, this little alien will pop out and be able to grasp my finger, recognize my voice, and melt my heart.

Moving down the body, Doctor Brown was ready to tell us the sex of Littlest Bit. With firm certainty, he announced the final score of the Johnson Zoo… Boys: 3, Girls: 1. Bekah will remain reigning princess and Kaleb gets the baby brother he "ordered". A John Deere nursery it is!

We are buying a house! We are being blessed with another baby boy! I am not totally sure why Chad left the doctor’s office clutching his wallet. :0)

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