I was lying next to Penelope the other night when I looked over to see if she was asleep yet. What I saw by the glow of the night-light was her blue wide-eyes peeled open and a smile on her face as big as the moon. She had her hands at her chest with her fists clinched in excitement. Her legs wiggled when we made eye contact. I was surprised she was still awake and whispered, "Are you excited thinking about the new baby?" "Yes!" she squealed.
The three youngest kids always ask to see baby and rub the baby belly at night. Everett often places his head to my belly, kisses, laughs and pats. They've seen home birth videos online and pictures of their siblings being born. They understand how babies grow and how they are born and it makes the big belly more real to them I think. I map out where and how the baby is laying in there so they can visualize it. Layla likes to see the birth photos of her siblings but doesn't like seeing hers. I think that's interesting, and it matches her quirky personality. Everett loves watching birth videos, which is pretty common for this age group. He asks for more over and over. He loves seeing babies emerge and as they cry for their first breath. His face lights up like it does when he sees a fire truck –total magic. I know just how he feels (about the baby magic, the fire truck thing is cool but not all that magical to me personally haha).
As the weeks melted by from 36 to 38 to 39 weeks I started thinking we wouldn't do a belly cast. We did one with 3 kids (Penelope, Sebastian, Everett) and I assumed we'd do another but the weeks started slipping away and we didn't have any supplies yet. Finally I bought some supplies and wondered if they'd arrive before baby did! It's so fun to see the shape of the belly and have as a memory. I really do remember more about how they were in the womb and what the movements felt like when I see and hold my casts. It's also just a neat form of personal artwork. Ricky and I have always casted them alone after the kids were in bed as a quiet relaxing date night activity. I have always been pleased at the attention to detail my dear husband takes with the cast, he's artistic but many people don't know that about him. He gets really into smoothing it out and making sure the shape is true to my form. It's something worth writing about so I remember, because in between casts I've forgotten his intentness on the artwork. I love thinking about it now. At 39 weeks 4 days, after getting everyone else asleep for the night, we told the girls of the house they could get out of bed; we surprised them by including them in cutting plaster strips, helping their dad dip them in warm water and smooth them out on me. They thought it was really neat. Layla said she had a lot of fun and for years she thought that there was a place that you went to try on bellies and buy a cast that fit you, she didn't ever think about or understand plastering! I thought that was so interesting and cute. I love how kids think, how else was she supposed to know though?! They enjoyed helping and I was really glad we decided to let them be a part of it. We have a roll of plaster left that I told them we could make fake pull-on and-off broken arm casts for fun! They loved that idea.
A couple weeks ago Layla made a household family chart for baby's birth date. She made two charts, one for June 6-9th and one for the 10th-15th. They keep adding more dates on as their guesses don't pan out correctly. It's so cute and a real treasure to see the kids' names written with dates and times and watch as they cross them off themselves as the days tick on by. They are so involved and so excited.
In our experience babies come when you least expect it. Since I've felt like I was prepping for labor for 2-3 weeks now (a very helpful thing the body does to make natural labor and birth easier!) I half expected to have the baby sometime in the last seven days. However, I've only had one baby "early", Penelope two days early. At the time it seemed like she was really early though; the previous babies had each been born at 42 weeks. (two weeks past their due dates). Due dates are an obsession with people, really babies come when they are ready. Every day I wake up I'm glad I have another day to prepare, clean, rub my belly, take a picture, charge the camera battery. :)
Baby was quiet last night. “She” is usually kicking like a crazy thing! I had more of the same deep twinges and at 11pm and when Ricky fell asleep rubbing my belly I got up and cleaned the bathroom, mopped the bedroom floor and finished 2 loads of laundry. For good measure I set a clean stack of towels and receiving blankets on the bathroom counter. I felt I could sleep through the tightness and pre-labor (pre-labor is something your body can do for weeks) so I went to bed and slept like a baby --even though Everett crowded into bed three times. I woke up with Ricky's good morning kiss and of course he said, "No baby yet..." :) He agreed it's always when we least expect it.
Today is 40 weeks.
Yesterday I had nice firm deep pressure and cervical pressure/twinges all day long. It reminded me of what dilation and labor is like (for me). It reminded me of the work, effort, and triumph. It reminded me that ‘oh crap I'm totally going to have this baby soon!' After a regular stressful day at home yesterday (nothing bad, just a regular day cleaning house with crazy kids.) around 2pm I hear:
"Mom! Everett's bringing a chicken inside..."
This is exactly why I'd never go into labor during the day: too much excitement. Night-time is safer. (That's why most mammals labor at night) Everett laughed like an ornery little turd as he ran around the living room in circles after the chicken - then the chicken hopped on the couch. I put it outside, a bit flustered because I just mopped the darn floor and I’m in the middle of 20 other things. He cries to me, "Noooooo me play my chicken, my chicken!" I told him to play with his chicken outside then!!
I get back inside and Sebastian says "We had a chicken in the house once, then twice, now three. Three times we've had a chicken in our house now." Overall, in the span of the last 4 years in this house that might be a low estimate. I've brought in at least two before.
Today I picked up the house, made the bed, switched laundry, made breakfast and had a list of simple things for the kids to do when they woke up all before 7:30am. We finished up simple chores and I told everyone to get ready to go to the park (homeschool play day). As we were leaving I painted the hallway wood floor I have been trying to paint forever! It’s a circle hallway in the middle of our two story house. The circle leads off to doorway that include a bathroom, master bedroom, the upstairs, kitchen dining room, and living room. I love it. It never occurred to me until now that I should call it a roundabout hallway! I love our old house! I’ve never seen anything like a “roundabout” hallway before. Anyway, ever since we ripped the carpet out in favor of the wood floors underneath I’ve wanted to paint the hall floor. It’s not an easy task because it’s smack in the middle of the house. It requires stranding yourself to one side or the other --not very do-able with kids. So today I decided to paint it halfway and then load up the kids in the car, paint the rest, and then leave the house for the park. It worked! Finally I did it, I got our floor painted… on my due date.
On his way home from work I sent my darling husband to the dollar store for a couple things, poster board for the creative kids that are on an art making binge was one of them. He came home with candles too and said, “I thought you might want some soft light for the birth, these were the only unscented ones I could find.” What a love. He's so thoughtful. Every morning and night he asks how baby is and how I am. It' so neat after doing this so many times it's not just the same ol' thing but a different day. Everyday is new, every baby is special, every moment counts, every day is a gift. A few mornings ago the alarm went off at 6am and as usual he asked how baby was, I told him the baby didn't move all night and I don't like that. He rubbed and pushed gently on my belly until the baby moved. "There's the baby" he said. And these are the things I want to remember. The little personal moments in time that make my days bright, my blessings plentiful, and life so rich.
This morning I'm sipping on Third Trimester Tea and feeling happy as a clam my wood floor is painted. I should tend to some outdoor things today (which includes more painting!), and try to keep the kids out of the house as much as possible! I don't really care when the baby decides to come, I just really don't want the kids messing the house up and eating all the food! lol! I'm slightly OCD so I want everything in it's place and ready when I have the baby. I just heard from Aunt Sharon and her and Grandma are coming over! We love when they visit. Family and food ...the greatest gifts.