Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day! (I'm Pregnant!)

Clockwise from top left: Mary Helen Jenkins, Carson Burke and Newborn Hayley, Inez Emily Oggel, Edie O'Connor, Hayley 17 Weeks Pregnant (March 2014), & Ynes Oggel

If you're one of the lucky few, you are blessed with an amazing Mother.
I am so thankful and grateful to be one of those people as I have been blessed more than once.

My Mother has given me so much over these past 35 years. She has taught me the value of perseverance, and that I'm loads smarter than I give myself credit for. She has always listened to my concerns and woes without judgement and offered me gentle guidance. She has encouraged me when I'm ready to give up, and celebrated with me when I eventually succeed. We are amazingly similar in voice and actions, but different in mind and spirit. Our differences teach us about ourselves, and our similarities a hilarious reflection of our neurotic behaviors and dark sense of humor. My Mother is most importantly my Mother, and secondly my treasured friend. 

Thank you Mom for:
Teaching me about creativity (sewing, crochet and creative thinking). 
Teaching me how to care and cultivate life (plants, gardens and my inner-self).
Teaching me how to feed myself (through cooking, recipes, and self-compassion).
Teaching me to be a lover of reality.

If your luck continues, when you're 16 years old, another Mother comes into your life.
She becomes your friend, your confidant, and your fiercest cheerleader. She sews your madrigal costumes for you in high school and teaches you the proper way to eat a mango. She encourages you to live life to it's fullest and not to be shy with your laughter.

Thank you Ynes for:
Being an example of what it means to live life (traveling abroad, speaking another language, dancing).
Accepting me for who I am (even though I was a very angst filled teenager for many years!).
Teaching me to go after what I want, and to believe in my talents and education.
Loving my father and my family perfectly.

And if you can believe it, when you're 31 years old, one more Mother comes onto the scene.
She welcomes you into her family of boys with wide open arms and the most genuine smile you've ever seen. She is the story-keeper for the life your husband lived before you knew him, filling in the blanks of his childhood and younger years. She is wicked smart, an unstoppable force of energy, and an amazing Mother to you, to your husband and to her family.

Thank you Edie for:
Raising a son that is respectful of women and emotionally aware.
Treating me like a daughter from the first day you met me.
Your unending generosity and constant flow of care, concern and love.

And before I was even on this earth, to the two women that raised my Mother and my Father.
I am so thankful that I knew you both as Grandmothers. You were both so unique, and so very different from one another, except in the way you loved me. 

I carry with me the stories you told, the experiences we shared, as well as the smell and feel of you. The rustling of pantyhose against a skirt, the smell of your perfume, the softness of your cheek as you hugged and kissed me, the depth with which you loved me. I can only hope to someday be a grandmother in your likenesses.

The story of Motherhood continues now with me and the little one I carry inside.
It is my hope and aim to give this little one all of what has been given to me through these generations of women. It is because of their love, support and influence that I feel prepared to take on this challenge of being a Mom. 

Thank you to all my Mothers.
Happy Mother's Day.

An August Christmas Present

February 15, 2014                                                                                                12 Weeks, 3 Days

Hello People of the Interwebs.

Seems I'm finally ready to share our exciting news with you (incase you missed it, see photo above). Many of you who read my blog likely already know I'm pregnant (!!!), but for those of you who happened to randomly click on my blog post via Facebook you may just be finding this out!  Lucky you!  Isn't it exciting?!  I'm excited to share it with you and the rest of the interwebs.

Have you been suspicious? Have you been wondering? Were you one of the few that caught a couple little slip-ups on Facebook before I managed to delete them?  None of it matters now as the cat acorn is out of the bag (so to speak).

We took a pregnancy test in the wee hours of Christmas Eve morning while home in Denver, Colorado.  I'd had a sneaking suspicion I might be pregnant and had daydreamed about how fun it would be to tell our families in person while we visited people stateside.  While in the U.S. we spilled the beans to our families and had the immediate gratification of getting hugged and squeezed by our family members in person instead of through video chat (virtual hugs still have a long way to go).

December 24, 2013  6:30AM                                                                                 Sunrise over Denver moments after we found out.

December 26, 2013         Bow Mar Lake, Littleton, CO          5 Weeks, 1 Day

Luckily, for most of our holiday at home I felt pretty good physically. Though trying to wrap my brain around the fact that I was indeed pregnant and had a baby growing inside me was a whole other matter. It was difficult to fathom we were going to be parents in just 9 short months, and that my entire pregnancy would be happening away from all these people who I so dearly love. Being pregnant in England? I knew this was always a possibility, part of our plan even, but now that it was happening I struggled to adjust to all the logistics and emotions that would follow.

Just before we flew out of Florida I started to feel a little urpy in the mornings, and foods I usually loved started to make me feel nauseated instead of hungry. Unfortunately, our trip home was far from smooth (cancelled flight in New Jersey, packed hotel rooms, waiting standby for flights, bad food, little sleep).  I ended up feeling pretty lousy and was never so happy to get home and crawl into my bed in Cambridge.

January 6, 2014      Vacation Over. 1:25AM    Newark Airport

Once we recovered from minor jet-lag and a mild form of post-traumatic travel distress my morning sickness decided to take center stage. Have you ever felt like your healthy body is betraying you? Like every ounce of physical and emotional energy you have has disappeared and all food is disgusting? Well, I hope you don't know this feeling and that you never have to experience it. It's not fun. It's a real killjoy to the whole, 'Yay! We can get pregnant and ARE pregnant!' thing. 

For the next 2 months I rode the roller coaster of almost-constant nausea, fatigue and various emotional highs and lows. Those hormones of mine really kicked me in the face. And throughout these 2 months the only confirmation I was pregnant (besides my internal hormone revolution) was that pregnancy test I'd taken on Christmas Eve. In the UK they don't confirm your pregnancy until your 1st ultrasound which is around week 12 - 14. So while all the signs pointed to ---> You're Pregnant <--- big pieces of me just didn't believe it. Until . . .

February 24, 2014                                                                          1st Ultrasound

February 24, 2014                                                                   13 Weeks, 5 Days

The midwife touches a wand to my abdomen and quickly, as if by magic, the image of a baby in perfect profile appears on the screen and then proceeds to dance about before our eyes. Finally, after 10 weeks of disconnection between what my body was feeling and my mind couldn't begin to grasp I felt like myself again. My internal monologue went something like this:

Oh. My. God. 
There's a baby inside me! 
And it's moving! A lot. And yet I can't feel a thing. 
Maybe this is why I've been so out of sorts? So nauseated? So tired? (Duh.)

Seeing this tiny little baby wriggle around inside me was the most surreal and comforting experience I've had in my life to date. Full stop.

March 24, 2014                               17 Weeks 5 Days 

Shortly after the ultrasound my hormones seemed to settle down and I returned to eating and sleeping normal amounts. You know, less like a bear in hibernation and more like a human. What a relief it was to be able to cook again and to tolerate the smell of well, anything (the world is one stinky place!).

And because I'm built with the voluptuousness of a telephone pole, a bump started to appear rather quickly. By March I was wearing a few maternity tops and asked for a few things from the U.S. that I couldn't seem to find here in the U.K. (Aside: Pregnant friends, do yourself a favor and get one of these.)   

April 10, 2014                                                                            20 Weeks, 1 Day

By April we were back at the hospital for our second and final ultrasound. This time the baby was much bigger and the whole body no longer fit on the screen at once. Ultrasounds are pure magic. Seeing heart beat, each vertebrae of the spine, the beautiful walnut shape of the brain, the flow of blood and fluid through this tiny little babe that's inside of YOU. Indescribable. 

Since I'd been feeling 'quickenings' (pregnancy codeword for movement) from week 15 it wasn't such a mental leap for me to connect the image on the screen to the flutter in my abdomen. Now it was just a chance to see our baby and to watch it move about. The only leap left for me to take was that the next time I see our baby will be in person, when I'm holding it in my arms (OhMyGoshNoWay). 

As of today, I'm 24 weeks 3 days along and my belly continues to swell. I'm still cycling about 25 miles a week to my various jobs around town, and my appetite seems to be as it's always been. The only major difference in my diet is that I'm giving in to my cravings for sweet things more frequently than usual. Kale chips followed by a chaser of Peanut butter M&M's, yes please. (Thank You Carol and Richard for those "medium" sized bags!). 

I'm still not wearing maternity pants (though today I'm sporting a pair of Devin's jeans) and I really don't want to go out and buy any. Seems inevitable though. Also inevitable is buying things for baby (we don't know, and won't know the sex until birth). While we're hoping to buy the most minimal amount of things we know that we'd better hop-to and get shopping. I even dreamed about diapers the other night. 

I'm already dreaming of exciting things like diapers. 

So there you have it interwebs. 
That's the news from our side of the pond. 
Who knows, maybe I'll even write another post soon.

I'm sure you can't wait to hear what exciting baby related thing I dream about next, right?