Hello Third Trimester

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It’s hard to believe month 7 is already here. Little human is getting big. The size of an eggplant, according to the app on my phone. Just about 15 inches and over 2 lbs. That’s a big eggplant. More like a coho salmon! If I watch closely, I can now see little kicks from the outside. Not quite the scene from Alien, but we’re getting there. Trey took some photos the other day of me with the dogs and Mila and the little human in my belly. I think I might get some of them framed for the nursery.

Our nursery is really the dining room, haha. Our house is about 700 sqft, tiny! We got this wood mini crib that I love and can’t wait to use. We built some bookshelves a few weekends ago. Trey brought home this rainbow sloth stuffed animal and every night when Jack and Keeper come in from outside they go and check on it in the crib. They think it’s theirs. Keep’s got sloth stealer eyes.

I finally caved and bought a pair of Topshop maternity jeans and they are so comfy. I’m definitely wearing these as pizza pants post-pregnancy (pants you wear to eat too much pizza in). Most of my pants have been relegated to the bottom drawer unless they have some stretch to them. I was wearing overalls, but kept having to ask myself before leaving the house – how many undone side buttons are too many undone side buttons? I’m really digging boyfriend jeans at the moment (literally, Trey’s jeans), with my same shirts and comfortable shoes like vans. I think preggo bellies are cool looking. When else am I going to have this Homer Simpson gut peeking out from under my t-shirt? I’m into it.

This Saturday I start an Aqua Zumba class which I’m pretty excited about. I had convinced Trey to go with me until he found out it was latin water dancing. I happen to think he’d make a really beautiful water dancer. A friend told me about water aerobics and I’ve been looking for a class around me for that too. I lap swim most days if I’m not going a class. Swimming in liquid while the baby in my belly swims in liquid…meta! I like being pregnant during the summer because there are so many aquatic exercise options around. And there’s nothing better than throwing on a dress and slides and letting your hair air dry afterwards.

So, after not passing the 1-hour glucose test and having to go back the next day for the 3-hour test, I ended up passing the second time and being told I was negative for gestational diabetes, whew! I do have to watch my sugar intake though – my body really didn’t like having that much glucose put in it. The week before, I had a kidney stone (ouch) and kidney infection (double ouch) which put me on antibiotics for 10 days. The combination of the glucose and the antibiotics kinda threw my body for a loop. But then I went in for an ultrasound of my kidneys (normal) and got to spend 10 minutes taking a peek at little human with the ultrasound technician and…cheeks! A nose! Little hands and feet with tiny fingers and toes! Then we went in for an ultrasound with my OB a couple days later and got to have another look and everything is measuring and looking perfect. It’s really cool to see the development. Apparently little human can hear us in there now – so we’ve been making sure to play lots of New Order and Pixies to get this one ready for life on the outside.

Other than that, everything has been pretty chill and easy going. Now we’re just spending the next 2.7 months (not that we’re counting or anything) relaxing and getting prepared to meet this little turkey. I’m hoping this last trimester goes smoothly. We’re meeting with a doula next week to help us navigate the coming months. Lots to do, but feelin’ good about it!

Jack’s Birthday

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It was Jack’s 8th birthday last week, so we celebrated by looking at puppy pictures of him, reminiscing about some of the adventures we’ve been on together, and baking him a little birthday cake. I came up with a recipe that combined some of his favorite flavors, resulting in a carrot cake with pumpkin icing (and a tennis ball on top). I made two, one for Keeper too. They loved it. Afterwards they got to play with their new mini tennis balls. I’ll definitely be making this for them again…

Jack’s Carrot Birthday Cake with Pumpkin Icing
Gluten and refined-sugar free. Makes 2 mini cakes.

Cake:
1 cup all purpose flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
2 cups shredded carrots
1 egg

Icing:
8 oz all natural pumpkin puree (not canned pumpkin pie mixture)
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/2 tablespoon honey

Mix cake ingredients. Bake in a small, non-stick pan (I used a mini 4 inch pan) at 350 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes or until knife comes out clean. While you wait, mix icing ingredients. Let cake cool before icing. Add tennis ball on top!

Little Human Finds

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I’m currently sitting in the wait room to get my blood drawn. Having failed the 1 hour glucose tolerance test, I am now back for the 3 hour test which requires 4 blood draws (one when you come in, then one every hour after drinking a sugary orange drink). I was told I was REQUIRED to eat a PB&J with milk at 10pm last night, so you know… I gladly laid on that grenade. Then to eat nothing else until lunch (after the test). I’m thinking it’s a burrito kind of day.

Anyway, I’ve been going to the local vintage/consignment shops around here that carry kids items. San Francisco has some great ones, as does Oakland and Berkeley. I love looking for different patterns and colors and soft fabrics. I take them home, give them a good wash with gentle detergent, and put them in the dresser for later.

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They grow out of everything so quickly (and pee/poop/puke), so it’s nice to find things that are only $2 or $3 a piece. I don’t really bother with the overtly boyish or girly clothing. I love a girl in navy and a boy in blush. Trey’s mom is sending us a box of hand me downs he and his siblings wore as babies. I can’t wait! Jack models an eggplant hat. He’s my favorite eggplant.

If you’re local, here are the places I’ve found good stuff at so far:

San Francisco:
Monkei Miles (Sunset)- My favorite consignment shop in San Francisco. The owner has a great eye and only takes in the best items.
Chloe’s Closet (Bernal)- Really good place for stocking up on gently used baby clothing essentials (bodysuits, leggings, jackets, etc).
Over the Ocean (Online) – Started by a European mama who now lives in SF and brought European brands to the states. I love the awesome pre-loved section on their site with often has some vintage items by European brands, but they sell out fast so subscribe to the email list!
Handsome Oxford (Tenderloin) – Small hole in the wall (best kinda place)…I’ve only been once and they had a few really great vintage baby/kids items tucked in the corner.

Oakland:
Ruby’s Garden (Temescal) – A good mix of new items, consignment, and a small vintage section in the back.
Minds Eye Vintage (Temescal) – Small selection of vintage kids items, usually toddler age and up. They typically have a great selection of vintage denim jackets and overalls for littles!
Child’s Play (Rockridge) – Great place to score good quality consignment children’s clothing and toys. The owner is incredibly nice and helpful.

Berkeley:
Chloe’s Closet (Solano Ave near Albany) – not as good as the Bernal location in SF, but I’ve found some good things here.

DIY – Experimenting with Natural Dyes

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I guess you could call this the modern equivalent of knitting your little human-to-be a sweater. I had been interested in experimenting with natural dyes for a while, and this gave me a sweet reason to do it. Hand dyeing is fun – if you remember, we shibori-dyed a sheet in indigo a few years ago and still use it as a back seat cover for the dogs to lay on in Lola, our land cruiser. I decided to test out some new dyes, this time using avocado skins and tea on some tiny onesies for little human. The result turned out to be the softest shades of tan and pink.

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When you think of avocados, the color pink probably doesn’t come to mind. But sure enough, if you boil the skins and pits down it creates a pink dye. Neat, huh?

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Next, I tried tea.

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The sweetest neutral shades came from the dyes…

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Perfect with a pair of mini blue jeans and converse.

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I love how soft the colors turned out on the onesies. I wanted light colors so I just did a quick dip (2 mins). The longer you soak the fabric, the darker the colors will be. I’m interested in trying out natural dyes from other fruits and vegetables next like beets and strawberries, coffee, and even onion skins!

Natural Dyeing
Here’s what you’ll need:
Tea:
Package of tea (at least 30 bags)
Large pot
Stirring utensil
Fabric

Avocados:
3 avocados (4 if using smaller ones)
Large pot
Stirring utensil
Fabric

Here’s how:
Presoaking fabric
Soak a natural fiber fabric like cotton or linen in warm water to rinse off anything on the fabric. You will add the wet pre-soaked fabric to your prepared dye.

Preparing the dye:
For using tea, I steeped 30 Trader Joes English breakfast tea bags by tying them to a wooden spoon and placing it horizontal across the rim of the pot so the bags would hang in. For using avocados, I added the skins and pits of 4 small/medium avocados. For both you will need enough water in the pot to create enough dye for the fabric to be completely submerged. Bring water and tea/fruit to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Soaking the fabric:
Add the presoaked fabric to the dye. The darker you want the color, the longer the fabric should stay in the dye. For lighter colors, anywhere from 1-5 minutes will produce a pale shade. For a brighter, deeper color, try soaking the fabric anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple hours.

If you want deep colors, it’s best to use a mordant. A mordant will help natural dyes adhere to the fibers, keeping the colors locked in. You don’t have to use one, but if you don’t you’ll need to have them in the dye for longer to really let the fabric absorb the color and know that a lot of the color will likely wash out and fade over time. A good mordant to use is alum and can be added directly to the dye bath.

After you’ve reached the color you want, remove the fabric from the dye and put in a bowl of cool water with a little bit of dish soap and gently wash with your hands. Ring out well, or put in the washer for a drain/spin cycle and let air dry.

Unrelated:

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25 Weeks

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It all started with this photo.

I made the comment “this is how I feel when I wear earrings” to Trey laying in bed one night while scrolling through my Instagram feed.

Fast forward a week later when I’m getting dressed to go out and put earrings on. I ask Trey “earrings or no earrings?” To which he replies “no earrings…you don’t want to look like an alpaca”.

Me, having totally forgotten about the aforementioned alpaca photo earlier in the week, thinks he’s making a pregnant joke.

Then this alpaca decided she wasn’t going and took off her shoes.

Trey (from the living room): “Babe, let’s go!”

Me (from the bedroom floor, sitting in front of the mirror, now pant-less): “No, I’m as big as an alpaca!”

Then it became known he was referencing the photo. We laughed, I got dressed and off we went.

Sans earrings.

Yours truly,
Big as an alpaca

 

Photo by Kara Rosenlund.

Have A Happy Friday.

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Hi!

Tonight we’re watching Game 4 of Warriors vs the Cavs with friends somewhere (I hope there’s nachos). Tomorrow I’m stopping by the West Coast Craft fair in San Francisco and most likely getting a scoop of Hong Kong milk tea ice cream at Humphry Slocombe for the ride home. On Sunday, I’m dragging Trey to yoga with me. I still go to the regular classes and modify the positions. I know a good place for prenatal classes, but the ones at the gym are free. Sometimes I forget I’m pregnant. Trey caught me on a chair painting the wall trim last weekend and he was like what are you doing! and I was like, painting the wall!

We’re also planning on building bookshelves for little human’s room at some point this weekend. We gifted ourselves a table saw for xmas that we’ve yet to put to use! Last weekend we painted the walls of the room a soft white and I love how it turned out. I’ve been using Instagram Stories a lot if you want to follow along with the progress. Hope you all have a good weekend!

Here are a few things from this week…
 
Keeper is the new face for SF SPCA’s summer adoption initiative – we know her!

I recently got this tank in white and love it.

Anyone else watching Better Call Saul? The courtroom scene – so good!

Pretty reusable bags. I have one in “petal” and Trey carries it to the grocery store. Gender norms be gone!

I can’t wait for LCD Soundsystem’s new album. I’ve been listening to the two songs they recently released on repeat.

Some of these beauties are growing in our greenhouse.

If Trump pulling out of the Paris climate agreement made you mad too, rest assured no countries can actually leave the agreement until 2020 – after his term ends.

I saw this kids book at a book store this week and think little human’s library will eventually need it.

Have you heard of The Moth storytelling events? I’m thinking about going to this one.

Sigh!

Mara Hoffman’s rainbow swimsuits are so pretty to look at.

When the grass is lava.

Little Human: A new Series.

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I’m so happy to be starting a new series where I document all things Little Human. I’m 25 weeks this Friday, which means we’ve started to gather a few things here and there and think about a nursery and a crib and do we really need a stroller the first 6 months? and all that exciting stuff. One of my favorite vintage shops in Oakland carries mini vintage clothes, so I picked up a pair of little vintage jeans (above). Mini clothes are my new weakness, I’m finding.

I’m excited to continue sharing this journey here…while I’ve raised, cared for and studied all kinds of animals ranging from four legged to winged to fluke and finned creatures, this is my first human and I anticipate the learning curve to be steep! This isn’t intended as an advice column on the subject of parenthood – just a place for me to document my little family and the things we do. Hopefully I’ll meet some mamas along the way. I know very few – and can be really shy about making new friends! I really hope our kid gets their dad’s outgoing personality… haha.

I can’t believe how fast this pregnancy is flying by. Little one will be here before we know it!

Life with Dogs / Smiley Face Cool Treats

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Jack’s favorite treat is a carrot. Keeper’s favorite treat is an ice cube. I decided to combine the two and make carrot ice treats. I haven’t decided whether it’s inventive or lazy, but either way, they love them. Keeper has a Pavlovian response to the freezer door opening since she knows that’s where they are. I’ll go to grab a bag of frozen peas and all of a sudden notice a Keeper girl sitting underneath me, asking for her carrot ice. I like making these for the dogs on hot days because it’s something cool to help them stay hydrated, and because carrots are a naturally sweet, healthy treat. The smiley face molds are just for added happiness. We recently got them a pool, too!

Carrot Ice Treats

What you’ll need:
1 carrot
1 cup water
A smiley face ice cube tray (or just any ole’ one)

Here’s how:
Blend water and carrot together until liquid. Pour into molds. Refrigerate overnight. Give to your pups!

*Like most popsicles, these are best eaten outside because they can stain rugs, etc. And since dogs lack opposable thumbs it almost always guarantees making a mess inside (speaking for a friend).

More Life with Dogs can be found here.

A Babymoon in Kauai

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There are times in life for exploration. Times to sleep on trains and climb mountains, times to discover new cultures and develop yourself and how you view the world. And then there are times to lay idly by the pool listening to the lapping waves of an ocean nearby while drinking an overly sweetened virgin pina colada and occasionally leaning over to spark conversation with the old couple next to you about their two vizlas because one of their shirts says “I love dogs, it’s people who annoy me“.

The latter was what we chose to do for our “babymoon” in Kauai. Mila cat is drooling all over my arm as I write this by the way, so I’m assuming that’s her way of saying “hello internet world” to you all. She would like you to know we left her alone, without head scratches, for 5 days (although our friends did check in on her and we spoke to her through the nest cam).

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We flew into Kauai on a Thursday. Earlier in the week we had went in for the anatomy screen ultrasound that told us the gender of the little human. So it was exciting and sweet to finally know and have a name to put to this small creature currently kicking my insides. We checked into the resort and promptly ordered two drinks before going and hanging out by the pool. Intermittently we’d decide to interrupt our sun lounging to submerge ourselves in one of the pool’s fountains or waterfalls like a couple kids.

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The resort was really pretty, with gorgeous plumeria trees all around and a private beach. A big change from the places we usually stay at off the beaten path. I pointed out the pink plumerias in one of the trees to Trey while walking to our room, and later in the week when he came back with pizza delivery for dinner one night (my hero) because my ankles turned into cankles from too much fun, he handed me one of the pretty flowers he had picked.

The next day we picked up our rental, a red mustang convertible (they were all out of jeeps) and drove up the east side of the island. Kauai is “the garden isle” of Hawaii, and it really is just beautiful. I love how lush and mountainous it is. Along the way we stopped off for a green smoothie at Harvest Market, a natural foods grocery store with a smoothie machine in the back, and a farmer’s market where we got a fresh coconut before heading up to Tunnels beach on the northern part of the island. There we swam in the waves and spotted sea turtles and picked up shells on the beach.

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A couple hours later we got back in the car and drove in search of some lunch. We found some fish tacos and cute shops in the town of Hanalei. Then we got some shaved ice at The Wishing Well (a favorite on the island because of the homemade organic syrups, according to locals…it was so so good) and continued on our way.

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Our last stop of the day was Waimea Canyon, the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”…or, that’s what our waitress told us the night before anyway. It was beautiful. The colors of the hills and rock, combined with a rainbow that spread across the sky really capped off the end of an awesome day.

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Well, that and some burnouts in the mustang.

“Babe, can you stand over there for a min?” (points to edge of parking lot). I go stand “over there”. “Back up a little further!” he waved. I did. Then Trey proceeded to do burn outs in the parking lot. I wasn’t invited on this endeavor on account of having more than just two fish tacos and a snow cone in my belly. Later he told me we needed a new car (true, our mazda is part of the 10 year club now) with more horsepower when we get home because going faster is “actually a safety feature” for getting out of harm’s way quicker. Pffft.

We got back to our room to discover our friends from home had had a beautiful bouquet of local flowers and banana bread, macadamia cookies and fruit delivered to our room, which was the best surprise (I had no idea anyone knew where we were staying!). So sweet of them.

The rest of our time in Kauai was spent swimming in the waves at the beach right off the resort, drinking different fruity concoctions, eating nachos, and just being blissed out happy.

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“What should the middle name be?” I asked Trey, shielding the sun from my eyes.
“I really love _____”, he responded…a name I had jokingly suggested a few days ago.
I turned back to look at the beach and said the full name out loud. I liked it too. It’s still hard to believe in just a few short months the little human will be here and there will be a face to that name.

This trip was just what we needed to relax, have some fun, and set our sights on the crazy adventure that’s ahead.

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I also want to say a big thank you for all the sweet words and messages you guys have left on here, Facebook, Instagram and Reddit over the past few days. I read them all and we’re really excited for what’s to come.

A Happy Announcement

 
If you’ve been following along, you know that on January 5th we went in for an embryo transfer via a 2nd round of IVF. After taking a home pregnancy test and it coming out negative 14 days after the transfer procedure, we went in to the IVF center for a blood test to confirm the results we were getting. A few hours later our nurse called to give us the results of that test.

It was positive. TREY AND I ARE GOING TO HAVE A LITTLE HUMAN.

It feels really good to say that! When I started documenting the process, I was already half way through the 2nd round of IVF. I didn’t know whether or not it would work and was anxious, which led me to open up about it here. Since I decided to go back and start from the beginning to tell the story, the timeline has been on a bit of a delay for anyone reading this. When we found out the test was positive, I decided to finish telling the story before announcing. I wanted other women going through IVF that were reading about my process to get the full story, and for others who have people in their life going through something similar to understand what the roller coaster of IVF is really like.

Since finding out, we’ve been overly cautious with the news. We both couldn’t really believe it at first. We knew the blood test would be more accurate, but thought we had waited long enough for the home pregnancy test to read. Coming off 3 years of failure and disappointment, we almost had to convince ourselves it was really happening. We kept reminding each other to take it one day at a time since we still had 12 weeks to go to get through the first trimester before the risks of miscarriage and other complications went down. We knew from past experiences not to celebrate things too quickly.

At 6 weeks, we went in for our first ultrasound to make sure the pregnancy was in the uterus and not ectopic (in one of the fallopian tubes). We learned that there was one embryo only, and that we wouldn’t be having twins. I was relieved, though we would have made it work with twins…one was awesome. One is perfect.

Being overly cautious and not celebrating too soon ended up being a good strategy for us. Like everything has been throughout this process, the first trimester was a bit rocky. I would describe my first trimester experience kind of like the feeling you get when you step off a roller coaster and it still feels like you’re on it for a few steps afterwards. Around 8 1/2 weeks, I woke up in the middle of the night and something felt off. I looked down to see blood everywhere. It was basically my worst nightmare. As if this whole process hadn’t been difficult enough, now we were afraid things were over before they really had any time to get started.

This led to an emergency ultrasound early in the morning that found I was having major subchorionic hemorrhaging in my uterus. They said there was a 50% chance we would lose him/her and to be prepared for that. Dr. Chet put me on bed rest for the rest of the first trimester and told me to only get out of bed to do my progesterone-in-oil injections and go to the bathroom. Those 3 1/2 weeks were torturous not knowing whether or not I was going to wake up and have it happen again. They told us that subchorionic hemorrhaging of this degree typically happens when there is a trauma from a fall, or car accident, but then sometimes there isn’t a real clear explanation for why it happens other times. The only thing we could think of was me possibly coughing too hard from a respiratory infection I had at the time, but that seemed unlikely.

A week later we went in for another ultrasound, this time to check for a heart beat. Going in, we had prepared ourselves for the worst possible outcome. We were prepared to be told that there wasn’t a heart beat. Laying there, looking at the small black and white blip on the ultrasound screen while Dr. Chet examined the fetus felt like forever. He looked at the hematomas (internal bruises) that had formed in my uterus. Because everything is so small and hard to discern at that stage, it was hard for Dr. Chet to tell for certain whether or not the placenta had detached from 3/4 of my uterus, or if the dark spots were hematomas that could heal. Then he turned on the audio to the ultrasound machine and the whooshing sound of a strong heartbeat came through followed by a flicker (the heart) on the screen. He or she was still alive in there, and doing well. The nurse joked that we might have a strong-willed baby in our future, since he or she was hanging in there. Trey later told me he almost passed out in the room because he was so nervous.

Gradually, the hematomas that had formed as a result of the hemorrhaging started to heal. We went in for weekly ultrasounds to check the healing progress. We were glad to learn that nothing had permanently detached, I just needed time to heal. By 13 weeks, Dr. Chet referred me over to a high-risk OBGYN and released me from his care because things were looking good. Our last visit with Dr. Chet and the nurses was a happy one. It had been a crazy ride, but I had gotten pregnant and made it through the first trimester. We thanked Dr. Chet, the nurses, and the staff for being so kind to us. We decided to keep the news to ourselves a little longer before telling anyone. At this point we barely acknowledged there was a baby. We referred to her or him as “the embryo”, and later, “the fetus”. Looking back, I think this was because both of us were afraid of getting attached and it not working out.

Since then, things have been great. I was downgraded from high-risk to a normal pregnancy and have completely healed from the early trauma experienced in the first trimester. I was given the OK to start swimming and exercising lightly. Once we survived the first trimester, things seemed to pass by pretty quickly. Around 15 weeks or so, I was taken off the intramuscular progesterone-in-oil injections because my progesterone levels were consistent. My energy increased and we felt comfortable sharing the news with family and close friends. We met with our new OB and had a fun genetic screening ultrasound where the tech made me skip (slowly) down the hall (the mama catwalk, as the techs there called it) to turn our kid because he or she wasn’t cooperating with getting their picture taken. Our OB and the doctor who looked at the genetic screening ultrasound results told us everything looked normal, and that if they hadn’t known about the hemorrhaging from the first trimester, they would have never even suspected a thing. It was reassuring to hear that. I’ve never been so happy to be considered NORMAL.

It’s taken a while, longer than most probably, for this to feel real. I don’t think you go from 3 years of failures and the anxiety of things not working out, to being overwhelmingly happy and confident in the success you’re having. It’s been a process. Learning to allow ourselves to let our guard down and feel the happiness and celebration that comes along with having a little human is something that has taken us some time.

Trey and I have experienced that process of letting our guard down differently. For me, it happened randomly on the treadmill at the gym a couple weeks ago. I was increasing the incline from 3 to 5 like I always do after the first 10 minutes. As the steepness got greater, I found myself quietly saying “hold on!”, then realized I wasn’t talking to myself. I was talking to the little human. It was the first time I had done so. I think a part of me felt like up until then if I acknowledged her or him that they’d go away. I couldn’t help but smile a big goofy smile while walking up the rest of that pretend hill.

For Trey, it happened on my birthday last month. He brought home Thai food from the city on his way home from work. After dinner, he gave me a bag with a couple gifts inside. One of the gifts was an octopus nightlight for the little human that when you turned it on projected the moon and stars on the ceiling. We turned off the lights and sat at the kitchen table with the night light on. It’s funny how little things like a treadmill and a night light can represent so much more. For us, it was the start of letting go of the anxiety and disappointment from the past few years, and the beginning of feeling the happiness and celebration for what’s to come.

This Friday, I’ll be 22 weeks.
Which is 5 months and some change. It’s hard to believe we’re already over half way through seeing as though it wasn’t too long ago when we felt like it wasn’t going to happen for us. We just got back from a little babymoon in Kauai that was really relaxing and fun. We had pina coladas (virgin for me – they’re kinda better that way??), swam everyday in the waves, and rented a convertible (the were all out of jeeps) to drive around the island.

So. Currently, there is half a burrito, 3/4 a cup of yogurt, and 1 baby human inside my belly region. In September, Jack and Keep and Mila cat will have a new human friend around.

Two dogs, a cat, two big humans and one little human. I like the ring of that. Sounds good to me.

Sounds really perfect, actually.