The Homestretch: Am I ready? When’s it gonna happen? Give me a sign!

We’re in the homestretch! I’m due Monday and have been feeling like this kid could come any time. Two nights ago, I had crazy new cramps down my inner thighs and some shortness of breath, and I thought for sure both were a sign that labor was going to start sooner than later. But, alas, 2 days later he’s still cooking.

labor coming

Two days ago: Wednesday night, October 21 9:30pm

I’ve been trying to remember how I felt (and if I had any clear signs) in the days leading up to Aria’s birth. I can recollect feeling different, but, then again, she was a week late so every day that passed I was anticipating her. The night before she was born, I had started getting contractions at 10pm, and it all rolled very easily from there (she was born the next morning), but I don’t remember the signs before that all started. I now wish I had written down everything I felt in the days leading up.

I’m thinking this boy will arrive in the next few days (I’ve been chatting with him for a while to come this weekend, or on his due date of Monday, as it would be most convenient for me), but even though I feel like he might, I also have no idea. I’ve been asking friends and googling some common signs that labor is coming soon, but bottom line is anything can happen at any time.

Nonetheless, if it’s any help to any expectant moms out there, here’s what’s going on with me right now.

Pressure & cramps: The crazy leg cramps I had the other night were not the common charley horses I felt all through this pregnancy. Instead, they were intense sharp pains down my inner thigh (perhaps he’s hitting a nerve?), that took my breath away. I’ve had them here and there since, but the other night they were hitting one after the other, so it had me thinking labor was definitely on it’s way to meet me.

I’ve also felt more pressure and bearing down in my pelvis. Now it could just be that the bigger he gets, the more I feel. After all, he’s gotta be a pretty good size by now, and is definitely in position. They say in the last day your baby “drops,” but this boy has been head down and ready to go for months. Lately though, ANY little move he makes, I FEEL.

I also sense a build up of what feels like a fluid pressure at times. It’s hard to describe, but almost like my water could break at any moment. With Aria, it didn’t break until I was in the hospital, and, since I experienced that, I can kinda recollect the feeling just before, which is this build up/pressure feeling I’ve had the last few days. But, nothing popping just yet, so I guess for now I’m good.

Nesting: I’ve been scurrying around trying to get things in order the last few days. Some say this burst of energy and intense “nesting” often comes days before labor sets in, but I still wonder if it’s just my procrastinating nature, and the fact that now I know it’s crunch time, that I’m finally getting shit together for this boy. It’s so funny, because for Aria I was setting up a room and making sure all was as it should be months in advance, and this poor baby gets things pulled out of the attic and dusted off last minute.

Emotional: I’ve definitely been more emotional as of late. I found myself crying during CNN the other night. Granted it was a Lisa Ling documentary that was a bit tender, but never would have brought my pre-pregnant self to tears. I’m sure it’s all these crazy hormones, and perhaps the anticipation of the unknown that’s got me a bit off kilter. Many woman say they’re more crabby also leading up. Of course, I wouldn’t know anything about that.

Speaking of being off, when I was thinking we might be close the other night, I got a little jittery because I was home alone and thought, “Is this whole thing making me nervous?” (As clearly shown in picture above!) Nerves aren’t common for me, but the reality that all was about to change in life (and hey, that I could be pushing out a kid that night), did put me a bit on edge. I think it’s totally natural for women (and dads to be for that matter) to feel that way. I guess I just didn’t expect it to come over me since this my second go-around, but, hey, life IS about to change… BIG time!

This Morning. Still in there!

This morning. Still in there!

No matter, what the signs or symptoms, I’m thankful that in the end I know that I am ready. We never have all set, and the unknown is scary, but having had Aria and knowing the incredible impact she has had on my life reassures me. Before her, I had no idea how deep and wide and unconditional love could be. Granted, with her it was not this immediate gush of love upon delivery like you see in movies, but it has been a steady and increasingly heavy hold on my heart. A love that has grown to be more immense than I could have ever imagined. This, and even the swell of my heart as I just caught sight of the banner on this page and her sweet newborn face, totally put me at ease and crush any and anxiety I might feel about number two. In fact, it only makes me look forward to meeting him, and starting another new adventure. So, we’re in the homestretch. Bring it on.

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First day of school… no tears here. (well, almost)

So, Miss. Aria started pre-k last week at one of the city’s public schools. We were extremely lucky to get a lottery spot at our school of choice, and her first days were a huge success. When I applied for Universal Pre-K last winter, the thought of her going to school full time was a bit daunting. Was my little one really ready for school 5 days a week all day long???

I now am so thankful that I went ahead with the process, and that she is in school full time. She is beyond ready (amazing how much 3 year olds can change and grow in a short 6 months), and I know school is the perfect place for her to grow her curious mind. She’s always looking for a challenge and so incredibly bright, and I’m sure this will only foster her incredible love of learning, and strengthen her foundation for future success.

Not to mention, I now realize the timing of it was all perfect (thank you Universe), as our next little one is expected at the end of October. Fully pregnant, I now have a little breathing room to prepare, and am also freed up to invest just as much time and energy into him when he arrives (Mommyhood take 2!).  Although, perhaps if I planned it better, I would have waited a few more months to get pregnant, as I’m totally reveling in the leisure of having some freedom again.

first day of school

Aria couldn’t have been more excited or ready on her first day of school. Her dad and I walked her over, while she skipped ahead most of the time, all smiles and fully excited for the experience. We had prepped her, encouraging her in the weeks leading up, chatting about the new adventure and how much fun she was going to have.

Indeed she absorbed all our encouragement, seemingly having no issue entering a new place, practically waving us off before we even entered the classroom that first day. She humored me on the way to school, allowing me to take multiple pics of her in her cute little leopard print dress and red jelly shoes, but once we arrived it was quite clear she was indeed Little Miss Independent.

While other kids walked in with hesitation, she greeted the new space enthusiastically, taking hold of her name tag necklace, practically pushing us out the door (but not before I insisted on a hug and snapped one more pic.)  I was so very grateful that she embraced the separation and experience so well, albeit I was also somewhat surprise that it was SO easy for her to wave us off (whaa!)

get out of here mom and dad pre k teacher nyc

It wasn’t until her third day in (which was really her first full day), that she even shared the slightest bit of dismay in her day. While recounting the school day on our drive up to our weekend house, she informed me of all the things she had done and accomplished. She was particularly proud of her picture of the panda she had drawn, and the new songs she had learned.  It was only after I asked about “rest time” (wondering if she indeed did rest), that she shared it had been the only tough part of her day.I wasn’t super surprised since naps are usually off the table these days (and often bedtime is not embraced by my girl).

She recounted how a little girl kept “squeaking” during the quiet time, and she “just couldn’t rest!”  I wasn’t completely surprised in her annoyance as she too often tells us to “be quiet” before going to bed (sigh), but upon further probing she then chose to mention that she also “cried a little bit.”  When I asked her why she said, “because I wanted you there,” quickly adding “but, nobody saw me because I pulled my blanket over my head.”

And there it was. Her first teary moment, which, of course, lead to my first teary moment. Choked up and eyes brimming as I drove up the West Side Highway, I realized that my girl wasn’t all independent after all. My heart ached a little bit, thinking about her alone and teary eyed under her soft orange blanket. I then replied how that was OK to feel sad, reminding her how new things can be hard and how sometimes we all need a little cry.

Then without missing a beat, she replied happily, “but then rest time ended and I got to play on the playground!” And that was the end of that.  After all, in the end, I guess the playground trumps all.

mommy and me

I

Do more, say less.

wayne dyer parenting tip

Amongst the many other nuggets of wisdom, this one seems most appropriate to share here in honor of an amazing life lead by Wayne Dyer. This morning I found out he passed on, but there no doubt in my mind that he lived his life to the fullest– following his passion and excitement, and inspiring millions to do the same along the way.

I feel lucky to have gotten the chance to hear him speak at a Hay House Ignite conference a few years back. Amongst many other valuable things, he shared parenting advice– at one point bringing his daughter up on stage and talking about a children’s book they had written together, a true story of the power of positive thought and self healing.

This quote in particular struck me today, as just this past weekend I was thinking a lot about the power of our actions on our little ones. I was in the Hamptons at a friend’s and had picked up her book Babywise, expecting a refresher on feed schedules and the best way to get your baby to sleep through the night. Yet, the first part of the book goes deep into the power that our actions have on our little ones, and how exposing them to the security of a truly loving home (and that being reflected in the relationship of mom and dad) is one of the most beneficial things we can do for them.

Wayne Dyer believed in the power of love and forgiveness, and in seeing the best in others and ourselves. In honor of him, may we all try to lead with love, and remember that (in parenting and otherwise) the real power is in what we do, not what we say.

Mommyhood Take….2! Pregnancy the second time around.

Yes, so we’re six months in on pregnancy number 2, and, if you haven’t heard already, Aria is expecting a little brother come October.

pregnancy 6 months

He’s already suffering second child syndrome (yes, even in-utero), not nearly getting the attention that Aria did while I was pregnant. I can’t believe it, but I’m already 6 months. Time flies when you’re not really paying attention!

With Aria every week was relished — from tracking her size with baby.com updates to journaling and recording every little pregnancy milestone. This go-around I’ve barely even stopped to think about being pregnant. Perhaps it’s because I’m running after a toddler, or because it’s just old hat now (one kid, I’m a pro right?), but this time I already feel like I’m neglecting my second child.

He must sense this too because he has definitely tried to make his presence known. While Aria was a super easy pregnancy, this go around I got a little taste of what some women go through in pregnancy (albeit still just minor infractions). From waves of nausea the first trimester to feeling bigger and more limited physically now, I’ve been forced to reckon with this pregnancy.

With Aria I barely even looked pregnant at 7 months, did yoga until almost the end and amazingly, aside from a few minor infractions like the occasional charlie horse at night, didn’t have any real side effects. Only when I was overdue (she was a week late) did I feel heavy and limited and like she was bearing down.

But this time, it’s as my body recognized pregnancy and kicked right into it right away. Granted I still have it pretty easy compared to some, but I’m definitely well aware of my limitations, especially when teaching yoga or trying to lift my solid three year old. Lower back pain and carpal tunnel have already reared their head, and I feel much heavier and limited (despite having only gained 10lbs to date). I’m also much more aware of his very active movements, although I’d just like to think that I have a star athlete in the making.

Perhaps it’s my unborn boy already crying out for attention (“hey, I’ll show you mom!”), but I find it so interesting how we treat second pregnancies and, for that matter, second babies (imagine the thirds or fourths!) No more pregnancy journal, or lovely pregnancy photo shoot, but really, well, just moving right along.

And even as I write that, I get a tinge of mom guilt, and think I should commit to savoring these moments a bit more. I mean, to his credit, he has given me a little pregnancy glow this go-around (the old wives tale about girls stealing your beauty and boys giving you more apparently holds some merit.) So today, I’ll give him a little more love and attention and try to not let him get lost in the shuffle (already). I guess a dedicated blog post is a start… hang in there kid.

We are so lucky…

A particularly grateful moment! We are SO lucky to have family in Florida!

A particularly grateful moment! We are SO lucky to have family in Florida!

So, gratitude is a big thing that I try to instill in Aria. And myself. “We are so lucky”, seems to be my catch phrase these days. So much so that just the other day, Aria called me on it and said, “Mom, you say that ALL the time!” And indeed I do.

But realizing how lucky we are is something that I want her to know. I want her to look for all the good in every situation, and always focus on the positive that life hands her. To know that she is fortunate and blessed and to hold on to that.  To not be spoiled or complacent,  but really appreciate every good thing that our life holds.

Quite often she and I will run through all the good people we have in our life– those who love her so much, as well as all the good things we have. Or we recap our day and talk about how lucky we are to spend so much time together doing fun things.

I don’t think we could ever wear out the phrase “we are so lucky.” My hope is that she will always feel gratitude and realize the good and wonderful things life holds for her. After all, we are so lucky.

Lessons From The Yoga Mat: To Everything- turn, turn, turn….

just be seasonLaying in savasana (final resting pose) today I started to hear a far away tune start rolling through my head. Why the Pete Seeger and The Byrds had suddenly entered my yoga practice was a bit humorous at first, but, of course, the gentle chorus repeating within held deeper meaning.

“To everything ( turn, turn turn) there is a season (turn turn turn)””

It wasn’t the fact that autumn was mentioned at the start of class, nor that this time of change was referenced in the sequence that was heavy laden with twisting that brought on the tune. Yes, we are in a literal season of change, but the directive was bigger, yet more personal, than that.

Aside from the catchy melody, the message of being still and enjoying this season (of life) was pressing loudly. Quite often in the quiet of savasana, after I’ve disconnected from all the busy-ness and noise in my head, I hear the clearest. From within, I was reminded to really enjoy this season, and to stop worrying about the things to come or times of past.

I’ve been pondering my place as of late, and the ever-neurotic part of me  wondering if I should be doing more. I am blessed to now have motherhood as my full time job, but the driven little being inside me always seems to nag, that I should be doing more– producing more, working on more projects and pushing towards more “success”.

Just pre-class I had even found myself scanning TV jobs wondering if it was time to make my way back in that direction. Often, I’m also “nagged” to be doing more with my “first child,” HealthyStyleNY.com. “Why haven’t you gotten to this point yet? Why haven’t you done more with that?”, that annoying little side of me (aka Ego) taunts.

But then when all is quiet, I hear the Byrds singing and of reminded of my truth. That I don’t need to  worry and indulge all the useless noise. That I’m not going to miss anything, except if I don’t enjoy this season. For everything there is a season. And a purpose.  I know what my purpose is for this time. It’s confirmed every time I look into her big blue eyes. Why part of me tries to steal or diminish that joy (and importance) is infuriating. But then again that’s why I do yoga. To be reminded and hear truths, in whatever form they come.

 

Abundance: Bringing it Forth

So, although it seems like the only thing that is overly abundant as of late is snow (oh and all of Aria’s toys that seem to be constantly underfoot or all over the floor for me to pick up), I know that abundance exists beyond what we can see. This morning I was baby-free so I took advantage of it by going to a yoga class at Living Yoga. The theme (my how I love my yoga lessons) had me thinking beyond the 75 minute class.

TREE OF LIFE ABUNDANCEAbundance is something that’s been circling around my head lately. I recently watched on of Marie Forleo’s videos with guest Kate Northrop, both of whom I know and respect greatly. Their focus was abundance in finances and beyond, while this morning at yoga it was about a release of holding back or hoarding (whether energy or ideas or material possessions), and in turn allowing abundance to come forth.

In all, abundance really comes back to our energy, intention and faith in the renewal process. It’s this idea that when we give or empty out, abundance is right there behind us ready to fill in that space. The idea that there is plenty for all, and the Universe just needs us to release in order to give it right back to us, and our holding on to anything too tightly not only hinders that process, but in fact cuts us off from abundance in our lives

All great teachings from the Buddha to the Bible re-iterate this, and my experience in life has shown me it’s true. Yet, whether ego, “sense”, or fear of being without, there are still there are days I hold on too tightly and hamper the little voice within that knows better. So, today I appreciated being reminded of the abundance that exists when we let go and choose it. Abundance is ours…we just have to bring it forth.