Already but not yet.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Howdy, fella. May I introduce to you-- and me-- my little boy's face, courtesy of an unexpected ultrasound yesterday.

Is he not beautiful? Just look at those fat little cheeks.

Mysteriously, those healthy, fat little cheeks have a left kidney that's "dilated"-- meaning that it's-- in my opinion-- enormous, at least four times the size of the right one. Along with that (probably because of that), I'm swollen with lots of extra amniotic fluid-- not a good thing. So now we've been launched from "absolutely uneventful, perfectly normal pregnancy" into "let's get you an appointment with a perinatologist asap. How about Friday morning? And we'll probably be needing to do stress tests, and see you more often, and" et cetera et cetera. Including the fact that my primary care provider, a midwife nurse, may have to turn over my care to the ob/gyn, a perfectly competent man (I'm sure) who I inherently distrust because he makes part of his living doing boob jobs and other plastic surgery. (Sigh. I took this risk when I chose this clinic, I suppose.)

And I'm trying not to google too much, worry too much, or say too much until after Friday. But oh, I am so afraid.

Not so much that he may be born with a bad kidney-- I've never been one to use the phrase "as long as it's healthy" as if health were a prerequisite for a parent's love or approval or thankfulness for the gift of a child. If he has a problem, we will learn and love and deal with it.

But I have a sick spot in my gut that simmers all day long over this thought: I am deeply afraid of not ever getting to touch those little cheeks or hold these little hands and feet that are drumming away at my insides these days.

Please, God, let it be something that can be helped or fixed or healed or managed, by you or doctors or me or anyone or anything else. Just let there be something we can do.

I was holding my anxiety in check pretty well until about thirty minutes ago, when I discovered that my washer was on strike. My "new" 15-year-old bare basics washer, which was donated by my parents to replace my 5-year-old energy-efficient fancy washer that needs a $400 keypad repair and, according to reviews and Consumer Reports and etc, is likely to have further motor, drain, and other repair issues. We've decided that paying for the pricey repair would be akin to pouring money into a lemon of a vehicle, so the fancy washer is getting the boot. Dad came and hooked the freebie up for us last weekend because my husband's back is injured. (Dad entering our basement and seeing the state of our workbench/tools/etc is never a good thing, particularly for our husband, but it couldn't be avoided-- we needed the washer, needed the help, and weren't able to prepare the basement before he showed up.) I did one load of clothes successfully tonight before it decided not to drain the water out of the tub for load #2.

Now I have a load to wring out and haul to my mom's (to use her fancy new washer that finally replaced this one). That is a stupid thing to sit in the dining room and cry about, I admit. But it was really just a final straw on a long list of stresses this week.

I also have tenants-- ex-tenants-- who cannot seem to get all their belongings (or their butts) out of my house in Florida, six days after their move-out date. This is deeply difficult to manage from eight hundred miles away or so. Painters, carpeters, realtors are all standing at the ready to begin fixing it up and taking it off our financial back. But they can do nothing until the place is empty and clean. I had a smooth, quick transition to On The Market planned, and now it's all shot to hell.

I also have a nice mixer with a burnt-out motor. A bathroom window that's been covered with a paper tablecloth for the last eight months-- which a certain toddler just shredded in her enthusiasm to see "owside!" (So now anyone peeking in can see us, facing them, setting on the pot.) There's a beautiful dishwasher out in the garage that I'd love to be using, but we need to hire a plumber to install it into 90-year-old iron pipes, and the money's not there. And I'm enjoying (ha) a steadily shrinking wardrobe as my belly gets bigger and bigger. I'm at 31 weeks pregnancywise, and 38 weeks sizewise. How big can I get in the next nine weeks-- assuming that I have the immense privilege of having a full-term baby? Will I have any clothes at all, or will I be buying used Mumus from the thrift stores and refusing to leave the house in a month or so?

I have the vintage gas stove of my dreams-- some parts of it are in my house, having been given $250 worth of reporcelaining. The rest is in a guy's garage in Tulsa, waiting for him to have time and inclination to restore it for me. It's been there since April.

I have a house that I adore-- that badly needs a $3500 paint job that I can't give it. It has beautiful horizontal board wooden interior walls-- covered with wallpaper, paint, and ugly wallboard that I'm not yet allowed to remove. And in four months, my rent-to-own lease expires, and the grumpy half of the two sisters that own it is likely to demand that we purchase. And without the Orlando house sold, no bank will give us the loan to do so. (We have the option of appealing to my father-- but oh, how sick I am of appealing to my father for help, be it washer installation or financial loans.)

I feel like I'm a living example of one of my husband's favorite spiritual illustrations-- living "in the already, but not yet."

I already have:
A husband
A beautiful sweet mischevious brilliant toddler gal
...thank God those things are present, settled, and being enjoyed here and now. We also have:

A house I love that we have resources to buy
A fabulous stove
A kitchenaid mixer
A washer
A dishwasher
A tidy house/garage/workbench
... and most of all a beautiful, beautiful little baby boy about to enter our lives. And it's possible that all this will come to fruition in a relatively quick time span.

...But the full experience of so many of those things hinge on other (known or unknown) factors. It's such an occasion for uncertainty, doubt, fear, faith. I have them already, but I cannot relax and enjoy them just yet.

These are hard days for me, I think. Even without the addition of a high-risk pregnancy-- which makes everything else on that "not yet" list seem suddenly trivial.

Please, God, make him okay. Or okayable.

22 months old.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Bird, I love this new you.

You found your words this summer. About a month ago, language just exploded out of you. It amazed us. I just tried to think to some of the things you say, to record them, but there are now so many that I can't figure out where to begin or which are most remarkable. We know so much more of you now that you can talk.

Grammy discovered that your hair's long enough to put into pigtails now, and the new hairstyles have changed you from a baby to a full-fledged Little Girl overnight. You love your "dog ears", and rarely pull them out of your hair-- but a barrette never stays in long once you've realized it's there. Just too easy and tempting to remove, I guess. It's amazing how much older you look with your hair pulled away from your face.

You have an endless enthusiasm for dogs. Aunt Leigh's Lucy, a golden retriever mix, and Mel and Darla's Pete, a farm mutt, are your favorites. You chase them, laughing, petting their heads and backs and pulling on tails and generally crowing with delight. Being big, loving, good dogs, they put up with a great deal of your affection/absuse, wiggling their affection back to you. Our own silly dog likes you, but being so little, is a little more likely to accept a pat or two and then retreat to a safe distance before you get too excited. Someday your daddy wants you to have a bigger dog, I think.

You love playtime with your Daddy-- chasing each other through the house, tickling and swinging up into the air and laughing. He takes you out to your sandbox, and you both let sand dribble through your fingers while you intone in deep voices, "TIME..." (short for "the sands of time"- it's your private little joke). You love walks, either in the stroller, or holding steadily to Daddy's hand as you toddle down the street in the late afternoon heat. (Your pregnant momma has been standing at the window and watching you walk away, wishing she could come along without dissolving into a sweaty shaky pregnant mess. Maybe when it cools down a big more, I'll be able to go.)

We spent the weekend at a cabin with friends this weekend, less than an hour from here. You loved being outside, playing with toddler friends Ava and Jesse, and having so many adults around. At one point, when your daddy and I were preparing dinner for the crowd, I realized that you weren't in the living room with everyone else as I'd believed. A quick search through the bedrooms and bathrooms yielded no Bird; we found you on the front porch, holding a big ball that I think was last in the backyard, bare feet covered with grass and damp hands scrambling at the doorknob. Close observation yielded your secret: you've figured out how to unlock deadbolts. You'd ask first to "WALK," but if no one yielded to your request you'd set about trying to get a deadbolt undone to go by yourself.

Guess we'll be installing some safety latches soon, well above your reach. I'm so glad you learned this at a cabin in the middle of nowhere rather than at our house with a busy road running behind it.

You're still very sweet and generally accommodating, but you can be headstrong. Suddenly, you hate your high chair at Grammy's, which has been completely acceptable for the past year as it was, strapped to a kitchen stool. Now you want to eat in one of the grownup chairs, your highchair perching like a slightly unsteady booster seat atop the cushion. You often prefer a cup over your sippy cups, and fight putting your diaper back on after we've had a session on the potty. I'm getting the distinct impression that you want to be a big girl.

...And I guess that's good, because in ten weeks you'll be a Big Sister instead of the only Little Baby. You'll be fetching diapers and blankets and having to be patient while I tend to him before I can tend to you. It's going to be a big change, and while we're thrilled about this new baby coming, we're also kind of sad to leave the era of Little Bird Alone behind. You are a delightful, absorbing only child, sweetheart.

I am so proud to be your mommy.