Thursday, July 28, 2011

Big, big week

Tuesday, July 26th was my last day at the firm. I cried a bit and stayed late that day to write personal notes to everyone in the office. I cleaned out all my things [I think] and have tried not to think too much about the work that is left for the new girl to handle. It was hard but I feel completely at peace that it was the right thing to do.

Wednesday and today, I'm trying to spend as much non-responsible time with Jericho as I can. Only a few errands and things to do around the house. Mostly I just want to stare at him and memorize his face and talk about super happy things. I've also gotten super clingy. Anywhere we are, I insist on holding his hand, his arm or resting with my feet on his lap. Maybe if I hold on tight enough, he might not actually leave.

Tonight, around 6:30 pm, I get admitted to the hospital. This time is subject to change based on any other women that are in "real labor" and therefore must get admitted before me. Boo. I will not be allowed to eat once I get admitted so sometime prior to 6:30, I need to eat a great last meal with Jericho. I'm thinking Cookout [b/c there's one near the hospital]. When I get admitted, I'll get put on some sort of magic delivery prep drug for 12 hours.

Friday, after the 12 hours are up, hopefully early morning, they'll start me on petocin, another magic delivery drug. And then we wait, or not wait, until game time. And then we pray a lot that baby girl comes quickly, or at least within the same day so that we don't risk Jericho leaving before she comes. And then we'll have a baby. We'll be happy and crying and smiling and hugging and updating people via text messages.

Saturday, Jericho leaves. Luckily, I will see him in a month. He gets a pass in September for four days before he flies to Iraq and baby girl and me and mother-in-law fly to Albuquerque to rendezvous with Jericho at his older brother's house [4 hours from the base in Texas]. After that, I say goodbye for six months.

Sunday [hopefully], baby and me will come home. I'll leave my house with a husband and no baby. I will return with a baby and no husband. My lovely mama will be with me. And baby will do her best to wonderful and cute and enthralling and distracting so I'll forget that I'm sad about other things.

Most people have life changes throughout various stages. Me, I like to take mine out in multiples. It'll be like ripping off a band-aid. Just do it all at once. We'll all build a lot of character and a lot of love. After this week, everything in our family will be new and different. I'm excited and nervous and anxious and sad and happy. And I'm grateful that I will not be going through one second of it alone.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dear Bev...

I thought about adding this to my last post about things I'm learning but decided it needed more of an explanation. The snippet on what I'm learning would have said this:

When you're experiencing extreme emotional sensitivity during your 3rd trimester, it's not a good idea to make serious decisions. One of those serious decisions being writing a letter to Governor Bev Purdue about why your husband can't get his deployment delayed so he can witness the birth of his first-born child.

You may know from this post that Jericho is being deployed very soon and will most likely miss the birth of our baby. Since that post, we've explored some of our options in trying to arrange for Jericho to be here when the baby comes. I asked my doctor what their recommendations are on inducing me early for no medical reason. They said that they don't induce prior to 39 weeks and I would be right at 38 weeks, so they wouldn't do it. I was totally fine with that. If it comes down to risking anything with the baby or making sure Jericho is there for the delivery, we're fine if he's not there. But my doctor said that even if we were to get his deployment delayed a week, then inducing early would be a more reasonable option.

Next, Jericho said something to his superior officers in his unit. And they talked to someone else, who talked to someone else. And then the Commander finally said that I should get a letter from my doctor explaining why my husband should be there for the delivery. When I asked my doctor, who was awesomely willing to write any letter we needed, he said, "Isn't this kind of obvious?" To the civilians, yes. But the gov'ment, they need it in writing.

It's important to note that when he leaves North Carolina, he'll be going to Texas for training until they leave for Iraq on September 8. Any delay would be in him leaving for Texas not Iraq. And we've already determined that if I deliver once he's in Texas, he won't be able to come back to NC for the delivery.

A month or so after sending the doctor's note to the army people, Jericho received word that he would not be granted a delay in his deployment. He would be leaving at the same time as everyone else in his unit [July 27th]. I was peeved. And sad. I felt small and helpless and annoyed that they couldn't adjust things by a matter of days. If only I could write a letter to Obama, I thought. He's all anti-war liberal. He should have sympathy on my situation and let my husband stay 2 seconds longer. Logic eventually stepped in and made me realize that I didn't even have his address.

But wait, Jericho is Army National Guard. His commander-in-chief isn't Obama, it's Governor Bev Purdue! Bingo! That's much more feasible!

And so on June 30th, I penned a letter to our dear governor explaining my situation and what I needed. I didn't get mean. I didn't get sappy and plead to her "from a mother to a mother". It was fairly emotionless and short. An hour or so after I sent the letter, I immediately regretted my decision. It suddenly occurred to me that Jericho might get in trouble for his hormone-crazed pregnant wife tattling on his Unit to the Governor. I calmed a little as I convinced myself that there was no way the Governor would actually get my letter and do something about it. It'll just sit in a stack somewhere and I'll eventually get a form letter response one day.

I was little embarrassed by my rash decision so I didn't tell Jericho for a couple of days. He laughed at me and said, "Yeah I hope I don't get in trouble." Since then, I've been super worried that he's going to get yelled at by someone above him. I really didn't intend on anything coming of this letter. It was mainly cathartic. I needed to feel like I at least tried to make something happen, even if nothing changed. 

Well, he didn't get yelled at, but my letter somehow, in a matter of days, made it to someone that mattered and the phone calls started. When Jericho told me that my letter was causing a bit of a reaction, I laughed. Hard. "Are you happy with yourself now?", he asked. "Only if you don't get in trouble."

Over the past couple of weeks, various phone calls have been going back and forth between an unknown amount of people in unknown authoritative roles. Jericho's platoon sergeant called him. His Commander called him (!). All trying to figure out what to do with the situation since apparently, they can't not do nothing at this point because someone went over their heads and brought the Governor's office into the mix. [I'm sorry! I'm sorry!] Every time Jericho tells me about someone else calling about the situation, I very frantically ask him if they're mad at him. He assures me that everything is fine and that no one is mad. "Do they at least know you had no knowledge of your crazed wife sending this letter?" "Yes. They know it's your fault." "Good. Should I write a letter apologizing to your commander?" "No. I think you've done enough."

When I realized the fuss my little letter caused, I wanted to take it all back. I still had this fear that Jericho would get in trouble and I'd be to blame. But as it turns out and Jericho keeps reminding me, it all ended up being good in the end. Jericho's unit leaves NC for Texas on July 27th. My 39th week mark, my magic number for induction, is Friday July 29th. The army people assured Jericho that he wouldn't be leaving until after the 29th. I updated my doctor on the situation and with full confidence, he scheduled me for an induction on July 29th. Yesterday, I [personally] received a letter from the Major General of the North Carolina Army National Guard [basically the head of the National Guard in NC] telling me that "after careful consideration", they would let Jericho leave on July 30th. 

For ways and reasons that may always be unknown to me, my letter made it to someone in the Governor's office, probably not Bev herself, but to someone that obviously mattered. And that someone clearly thought enough of what I wrote to take action. And now, through a totally unexpected chain of events, my husband will be there for the delivery of our baby.

And now I'll know what address to use when I send Bev a baby announcement.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


I've made no effort to take pregnancy pictures but people keep telling me I should. So here we are. It was Jericho's last Sunday in our ward so he wore his pretty uniform to church. He looks super handsome and I look super pregnant. I'm 37+ weeks. I'm seriously longing for normal breathing patterns and normal clothes and somewhat normal numbers on the scale.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Name Game

As I've referenced before, picking out a name for our baby girl has proved harder than I expected. Ya know that part in The Neverending Story when Bastian has to save the dying princess in the make-believe world by giving her a name? I'm waiting for that to happen. One night, we'll be having an apocalyptic storm and the house will be shaking and falling apart and suddenly we'll hear some name yelled over the claps of thunder and that'll be the name of our baby and all will be quiet and still. [Although, as many times as I watched that movie as a kid, and as many times that we rewound that part, I still have no idea what name he yells out.]

The issue that I'm having is that I don't feel emotional about any names. There are plenty of names that I like and even love, but when I try to picture my beautiful little baby girl for the first time and calling her... [fill in the blank], nothing seems... IT. Plus, what if I regret the name we pick? My goal was to pick a name fairly early in the pregnancy and use it as much as possible so we would know how we liked it. Clearly that plan failed.

One thing I thought might make it easier is to narrow the pool of possibilities. I knew I didn't want something super common but also not something totally made-up and weird. Instead of reading through the Mother of All Baby Name Books with its 5 million names, I wanted to pick a theme. I thought it a good idea for our children's names to mean something. Not like "Irish for beautiful rainbows and sunshine on a spring morning". I wanted them to reflect parts of who Jericho and I are and things that are important to us. I'm fine using family names and we intend on using family names as we see fit but, no offense to any of my extended family, we have really, really boring family names.* They get the last name, that's a family name right?

These are some of the themes we've come up with and the possible names for each with boys and girls names. Some of these are serious considerations, some of them half-serious, and some of them not serious at all but are kind of funny [plus we don't want our kids to hate us]. Feel free to make any suggestions [serious or not]. But know that if you suggest Emma or Lily, I will not be taking it seriously. 


Classic Rock:

Vintage autos:
Studebaker ("Stu")

American History:

*Smith family fun fact: my paternal grandfather's name is Charles Norris Smith. He went by "Chuck".
*Belcher family fun fact: some woman in the family tree's last name is Rambo. 
If we have twin boys, they will be Chuck Norris Belcher and Rambo Belcher. Ya know, because they're family names.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Some Things I'm Learning, Part 4

This may be my last version of this post. Post-pregnancy, every moment of my day will be devoted to new things that I'm learning so it may be pointless to try to record all of those in blog format.

More things I'm learning... 

I'm never, ever cold. Ever.

"Popping out" or "getting ready to pop" are never flattering phrases.

Sitting at my desk at work all day makes my feet grossly huge. I'm thinking that's reason to self-prescribe bed rest for the rest of my pregnancy. And when I say "bed rest", I mean propping my feet up by the pool and reading a book.

I'm starting to get trunky at work. I know that's missionary lingo but I can't find another word to identify how I feel. In high school, it was called Senioritis- the feeling in the last days of high school when you know the end is in sight so you don't feel the desire to really try as hard.

There is a 50% chance that I will mess myself in the delivery room. Welcome to childbirth.

When you go to the beach 8 months pregnant, it's impossible to tan the back of your body.

I'm starting to collect books and movies to occupy me during my new job as stay at home mom. Any suggestions? Will I have that much time? Who knows. But I'd rather be prepared with a stock full of media to occupy me during the quiet hours than stare at the husband-less rooms of my house. 

I daydream about hard-core workouts and eating lots of fantastically healthy foods.

Coming up to the end, my attitude towards baby stuff is becoming nonchalant when I expected it to be the complete opposite.
Am I getting an epidural? Maybe.
Do I know who will drive me the hospital if Jericho isn't here? I think so.
Have I taken my birthing class? Didn't even sign up.
Is my hospital bag packed yet? Nope.
Have I practiced installing my car seat 8 thousands times like they tell you and, if possible, drive over to the local PO-lice department and have them show me how it's done properly? Ha.
Do I even own my car seat yet? It's coming soon.
In case you're worried for the welfare of my child, I do have my pediatrician lined up, a place for her to sleep for when she comes home, clothes for her wear, food for her to eat, and enough diapers to get me through the first week [I think].

I'm hoping to rely more on common sense and my instincts as a woman and superhero to get me through the learning curve of motherhood than trying to research and plan everything perfectly. I figure the harder I try to enforce order and control over a situation that I know very little about, the more shocking life will be when it comes to game time. It's like when coaches look for "raw talent". It's easier to learn when you go in with a flexible attitude instead of 25 books of instructions that make you think you know how it's supposed to get done. They didn't have What to Expect When You're Expecting when my mama raised her kids and we all turned out smashingly.

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