Dear unborn baby.

Dear unborn baby,

I wanted to give you some reasons why I haven’t yet acknowledged you out loud or here or written you an encouraging letter about life on the outside or my hopes and dreams for you.

Haven’t been reflecting, haven’t been meditating, haven’t been exploring.

I wanted to do it elegantly, passionately, beautifully… but that’s not going to happen. Here are four reasons why:

1. Work life balance is more work than balance these days. I will regret this. I already do. This could be the last time for me, and it’s gone by in a blink. I wish I was stopping to smell roses. Excuses, excuses. We’ll bond more on maternity leave.

2. I’m not ready to admit it’s almost over. I usually end up opening up about it all towards the end. This time that’s been harder. For a few reasons. The one I listed above. The fact that it may be the last time I do this. If there’s something 90% mental about giving birth to a baby, then this is the thing that will probably shape it the most.

3. Hate to break it to you… but this ain’t my first rodeo. You’re being born to a world where you already have three overlords. You must have heard it by now, in stereo. One will steal the spotlight, one will smoosh you to pieces, and one will mess with you constantly. The reason I’m saying this is because that’s what it’s like for me, and I’m their mom. What will your super power be?

4. Maybe there’s been plenty of bonding after all. I’m not much of a complainer. And the past year has been up and down and inside out. Priorities busted, losing myself. But you’ve been in there the whole time. You know everything. You’ve felt it with me, for better or worse. Way too much caffeine. Then no caffeine. Panic. Anger. Stress. Laughter. Success. Joy. More laughter, so hard, I may have peed a little. That’s on you, baby.

By the way, I took you all the way to Australia. Before you had eyeballs. Ok?

It would seem this letter was more for me than you. To convince myself that for a fourth time, I won’t really be screwing it up.

Right, baby?

See you on the fun side.

We’ll have to teach her to knock first.

Nothing like making a life-beginning entrance in 3 hours. Baby girl came busting through just 25 minutes shy of midnight last night (March 22nd). Maybe she was hungry? Maybe she suddenly really had something to tell me? Was there something in my teeth?

She weighed in at 2.98 kilograms – still waiting to crack the 3-kilo mark – with a now-predictable, trademark full head of dark black hair, to rival her older siblings.

 

I’m not ready. Here’s why. (Hint: it’s not the toilet paper)

  • © Budda | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free ImagesFinishing the kids’ Purim costumes.
  • Keeping the car clean.
  • Prepping mishloach manot in advance.
  • Writing a letter to my kids.
  • (Trying) to keep the sink empty.
  • Refilling toilet paper.

Just a few falsely empowering things I’ve been doing over the last week in case I have to leave everything behind to dash to the hospital. Like if there’s enough toilet paper in each bathroom, and contractions start, everything will be totally ok. No one will need for toilet paper. Giving birth will go 100% fine.

Welcome. This is an honest post.

I’ve spent the last few months in a constant battle with the fears and anxiety I feel related to the fact I have to give birth in the hospital this time. I don’t care to go into how stupid it is, how unfair it is, how ignorant it is. This is the situation. It’s happening.

And I’m not ready.

I keep half-joking but totally-seriously saying to my husband, ‘when I’m gone, know that the kids’ costumes are in that corner’ or ‘when I’m gone, make sure they take the mishloach manot for their ganenot on Friday’ or ‘when I’m gone, the gifts for the kids are in this bag, bring them to the hospital so the baby can ‘give’ it to them.’

Is that weird? A little controlling? A lotta crazy? I’m honestly asking, I’m new at this.

Last time my son was over at the neighbors for about an hour before we brought him into our bedroom to meet his sister. We all slept in our own beds a few hours later. I tossed my laundry in the basket and it didn’t matter it wouldn’t get done for a little while. I was there. I could take care of it whenever. The toilet paper figured itself out, too.

The thought of leaving your family home to give birth to your new family member is so bizarre to me. Is that weird? Talking to most other people, it certainly seems I’m the weird one. I don’t get how, if all things are aligned correctly, feeding off the empowerment bestowed on you within your safest place is a problem. Am I that anti-social? I just don’t get how spending all that time in a public place is the best idea for a newborn. Or mother. I don’t want people I don’t know or trust talking to me or looking at me while I’m getting it done. Is that really so crazy?

I’m not ready for that. I’m not ready to have to act on an establishment’s universal rulebook. I’m not ready to have to politely decline or frustratingly accept.

I’m not ready to clear my head of negativity and it’s holding me back.

The good news is I started dealing with it today. Maybe I can turn this around in time. Putting myself out there is the opposite of my nature. Maybe that’s the key.

Maybe the toilet paper will start refilling itself.

lizrael update: 4 facts till I reunite with coherent thought

Happy March! Since it’s been quiet around here, I’ve provided a few quick facts:

  1. Fifty-Two Frames isn’t the only thing going on in my life, but I have felt uncharacteristically quiet for a long while now.
  2. I haven’t been working since beginning of February. More on that another time.
  3. Sometime in the next few weeks we plan to get a baby out of me. Pretty much as ready as.
  4. I miss running! It’s the season and every time I see a Tzur Hadassian making their rounds, I really miss it. I’d like to do the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem half marathons in 2015.

There. I hope that unblocks things a bit.

Fifty-Two Frames: Self Protrait

It’s a period when you’re never alone, your identity is not that of a single person. That makes it difficult to recognize yourself and be yourself – for a limited time. There is another soul inside you, and even your most intimate moments are shared. You’re not who you were and you’ll never be who you are again. When you split apart at childbirth, it’s both traumatic and miraculous.

Fifty-Two Frames, Week 1: Self Portrait

New year of our photography project, and the first theme is to introduce ourselves. I finally found words to describe a bit about how I feel. This is the photo I submitted, but afterwards realized with some feedback black & white would have worked much better.

New year, new learning.

Kids and reproductive biology 101: bellies, babies, birth and boobs.

belly handsBrought to you by the letter… Science.

I have an open policy on Q&A with my kids. If they’re aware enough to ask it, they’re aware enough to get a viable answer.

So now that the four B’s – belly, babies, birth, boobs – are major everyday topics around here, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to offer my knowledge and passion for kindergarten-through-high school level biology.

And the info is sticking!

On breastfeeding

Koala started telling me how his sister was feeding her ‘baby.’

“Oh yeah?”
“Yeah. You know how? She lifts her shirt up like this. Then you put the baby on your belly and its mouth over here by the ציצי and there’s a hole in the ציצי and – wait – Ima, you know what is ציצים?”

On supposed vaginal birth

You may have a little more work to do with your daughter when she’s playing a game of opposite-chicken with your body:

Pointing to my crotch: “Baby will come out here?”
“Yes.”
Pointing to my thigh: “Baby will come out here?”
“Huh?”
Pointing to my knee: “And then here?”
“What?! No!”
Pointing to my feet: “And then here?”
“VAGINA! It comes out the VAGINA!”

On birth by Cesarean Section

Maybe I should have waited a lil longer to teach my kids about c-section birth.

Driving in Israel meets the belly card.

Driving to gan pickup last week, I officially became that person. The person who looks down for a split second and looks back up to realize you’re a microsecond from hitting the stopped car in front of you. The person who, despite braking, hits the car in front of you.

I’ve been here nearly nine years and pride myself on two driving-related things: never getting a speeding ticket and never hitting anyone. Driving in Israel has definitely worked to repair my former young, stupid, New York driver self. Not that I’m by any means perfect but I’d say the improvement is noticeable to me.

Anyway, I’m copping to this: I hit the back of this car. It wasn’t major by any means, it was a residential road to start with, but it shook me up. I stopped, got out, and watched the older crew-cut-clad, Israeli-dye job woman driver come out, all puffed up and ready to attack.

I guess I attacked first. “Are you ok? I’m so sorry!” I said, with the requisite body language to back up my claim.

I watched her mouth close back up. “Oh -”

“Yes, this is on me. Are you ok?” I stepped closer to her and put an arm out. I noticed her husband (?) had gotten out too and I looked at him and moved closer in his direction. “Are you ok?”

“Yes, we’re fine,” said the woman, kind of taken aback. They both bent over to look at their bumper.

“Is there anything there?” I asked.

“No, no. It’s fine. It’s just -”

“Yes, good. I’m sorry.”

“What about your car?” The man started to examine my front bumper.

“My car is fine, it doesn’t matter. As long as you’re ok.”

I think they were looking at me like I was some kind of alien. Could I have been from around these parts?

She asked me if I’m ok and I said yes, I’m fine. She said “ok, well be careful,” and they both got back in the car and drove off before I even sat in my driver’s seat.

I was totally dumbstruck.

Ownership, accountability – is that so rare that they’d be so caught off guard by an incident so obviously my fault?

I turned my car back on and drove off, trying to not look back at the line of cars waiting behind us. Maybe this type of thing just happens so often, people are used to it. Expect it once in a while. I’ve certainly watched my fair share of bumper bumping exchanges at traffic lights, intersections, and residential roads.

It was when I had arrived at my destination and started shifting out of my seat to get out of the car when it hit me.

The belly. 

Her face, when she had looked me up and down while I was apologizing. Yes, it made sense now.

The pregnancy card.

Being pregnant might have hit me, literally, on a new level that day.

Now I’m just surprised she didn’t go nuclear savta and say anything about that as she left.

Or maybe it really was the accountability that threw them off.

Either way… that’s a new one for me.

We’ve come a long way, baby.

Hey, littler one.

My midwife says you’re ready to roll. Or squeeze yourself out of my body, whatever. She also says I’m ready. So I guess that means this is it, huh?

Needless to say, I’m really looking forward to meeting you. So is your big brother, though I apologize in advance if things are a little bumpy at first on that front. It’s only natural, as I suppose we all find out having siblings.

Last time, after giving birth to Koala, the thing I missed the most about pregnancy was being so close to him all the time. Feeling him moving, doing his thing. I think I will miss that most about pregnancy with you, too.

This time has been so much easier in so many ways – and gone by faster. I actually feel a bit guilty about already not having the same kind of time and attention I had the first time around. But that’s the way it goes, right? One day I hope you’ll understand it. Better my kids should have siblings, I think.

So… thanks for being so calm and easy so far. I appreciate the support. And let’s make the exit strategy a simple one: get out in one piece, and leave me in one piece. Then we’ll really let the fun begin…

Can’t wait.