Wednesday, May 12, 2010

5/12/10--It's a girl!

We went last Friday for our 17 week check-up, and I made sure Jason was with me, because on this visit we had a mission. They say you can tell the gender maybe even earlier than 16 weeks, but definitely by 17, and we were just DYING to know! (In fact, I think almost everyone else who loves and cares for us and already loves our baby was dying to know as well!) So we went in with a purpose.

It was so wonderful to hear the baby's heartbeat on the dopplar again (although nerve-wracking EVERY TIME until they find the pulse)! And then Dr. Lake said it--when he asked how I was feeling and I told him it depended, that I could think of a medical reason for us to need an ultrasound so we could find out the gender, he laughed and said easily, "we can do that". And the next thing we knew, we were back in the little sonogram room, with the most wonderful tech (I've just got to learn her name! I was so excited I didn't even ask), and soon enough she'd found our little person, and it took my breath away the first glimpses we got of the baby! Where there had been a bean looking object before, now there was a little person, with a face with a profile (I think she has my nose!), and two perfect little arms (she gave us one view that must have been from over her head with her two little hands together in front of her face), and legs that were just moving and kicking and stretching, and even a glimpse of a perfect little foot. We checked out her spine, and her 4 chambered heart just beating away, and then she looked for us--"oh, she's definitely a girl," she said. In fact, not only did she NOT see the little boy parts, but she said she saw the telltale lines that indicated girl parts! (Poor little thing--nothing to hide!)

We're having a girl! I don't know how I thought I would react--but it felt like a slow realization washing over me of all the things I'm going to love about having a little girl. Shopping for pink, ribbons in her hair, cooking with me, teaching her to be a little lady, all those things. I was also watching Jason's face, and his reaction--"it's a girl?" he repeated to the tech, not a hint of disappointment, just a look of enchantment on his face as he got out of his chair and moved closer to the TV monitor where our baby's image was displayed. He was enchanted and delighted, that's what I think. And the next question out of his mouth was, "well does she look ok?" And the tech said that she looked perfect. She looked perfect to us, too!

And she was highly entertaining, still wiggling, moving her arms and legs, stretching and kicking, even seeming to twist around. It was amazing and delightful to see how active she was!

As soon as the tech said "it's definitely a girl", one name came into my mind--Imogen. Once we were back in the car, both Jason and I still beaming, he mentioned it too, the same name. "You know, I really like the name Imogen." So we might be trying it out on her soon, to see how it fits!

So it's a girl! I already cherish the photos we got from this week's sonogram--I have them on my desk at work already, and any time I look at them I marvel, and they motivate me to be strong and good. After all, I've got my little girl with me--I have to be good! And the picture of her, um, femininity, makes me laugh every time I see it! My delightful little daughter: what a light and a joy just the thought of her already is!


Well, it hasn't happened in a shocking, sure fashion, as I was kind of expecting and hoping it would. But I just have this growing sense, from almost imperceptible feelings in my belly, that there is life down there. Sometimes I'll try very purposefully to sit very still and feel what I can feel... and it's never anything certain. But whether it's a flutter, or popcorn popping, or a hardening, or underwater waves, or anything else, every now and then, usually NOT when I'm trying to feel anything, I'll just get this sense of... life.

Admittedly I haven't practiced the most patience in waiting to feel something. And I haven't followed the strictest advice (which is basically drink some OJ and lie on your back to feel what you can feel). And I keep wanting to put my hands on my belly now and see if I can press and feel anything that way... but then all I feel is my pulse, and I'm pretty sure that's not what I'm trying to feel. So for now it's just an awareness of my growing uterus and wondering what amazing acrobatic feats may be going on down there!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Fourth letter to my baby: Mother's Day hopes and dreams for my unborn child

My dearest child,

It's Mother's Day, and my heart is filled with wonder. I am celebrating my very first Mother's Day (a little early, because you're still in my belly), because of you. And because of your two grandma's, who sent me cards, and your precious daddy, who loves us both and is already ready to celebrate over you.

We found out 2 days ago that you're a girl! And my mind and heart are racing at all the possibilities. As you're growing up, you won't realize that I was a young woman with my own life and thoughts and desires for a while. We'll spend our time reading books, and cleaning up messes, and hopefully laughing and hugging a lot. But as yet, still before you've arrived, I am just a young woman, with a heart full of possibilities.

I hope that you're healthy, that all of your systems work perfectly, and that you grow up healthy and strong.

I hope you have you daddy's eyes and dimples, but that you look like me, too.

I hope you'll be open to lots of new experiences, from food, to places, to people.

I hope you won't have acid reflux, or other digestive hardships, like I've heard about with some babies, that you'll get on a schedule, and will be sleeping through the night soon. I hope you'll have a great sense of security and safety in our care. And I hope you're easy to potty-train!

I hope I learn quickly how to best take care of you--from how (and when) to respond to your cries, to feeding, bathing, changing, and play-time. And I hope your daddy enjoys learning all of those things too.

I hope you learn to be compassionate to all people. I hope you learn that love is the most attractive thing about a person when offered from a place with confidence and freedom to love, whether everyone loves you back or not. Because everyone needs to be loved.

I hope you learn that your value comes because of who you are, who we say you are, and who God says you are. I hope you have a personality and personhood all of your own, that you're an individual, and that you have creative perspectives and the strength to stand out and be a leader. And I hope that you reach for the stars!

I hope you like to play in the kitchen with me while I'm cooking, and I hope to be able to teach you to cook like me. I hope you like the recipes I cook, and one day begin to make them for yourself, and your friends, and your own family.

I hope you don't have bad allergies (neither your dad nor I really do), and that you love to be outdoors. I hope you love the little hikes, bike rides, walks, and working in the yard that your dad and I enjoy (and like it or not, that we already have planned for you).

I hope you like to fish, and ride your bike, and go on hikes with your dad. I hope the two of you always enjoy special times together, and will always find a way to understand each other.

I hope that I'll be a fun mom, that we'll ride on shopping carts through the parking lot, and have races, and dance together, and laugh until our sides hurt from laughing, until we forget about what we were laughing at, and then the only thing we remember is that we're laughing with/at the other.

I hope I'll be able to teach you well to be a lady--to be polite, and how to have good manners, how to present yourself, and how to deal with different people in different circumstances. And how to feel pretty and good about yourself.

I hope we get to spend enough time together--with me going back to work just a few months after you're born I'm worried that the people you'll see most will be surrogates. I want all the mommy stuff for myself, too.

I hope we'll be able to talk to each other throughout your life. Whether it's about what you're learning while you're tiny, about school and friendships and experiences there, or about relationships and social dynamics, when you're older. Or just about anything and everything!

I hope your dad's and my love will be a safe place for you to always run home to, that you'll never fear running out of favor with us, and that even when we disagree or disapprove, you'll always know we will accept you.

I hope for an easygoing disposition for you, that you learn drive, and desire, and achievement, but you also learn satisfaction, and deep contentedness.

I hope you learn the value of hard work, commitment, and making your own way in life. I hope you're not afraid of a challenge. And I hope you learn the value of a dollar.

I hope for a world of peace for you, where we still have the beauty of the natural world. I hope for a world that is open and available for you to explore it. I hope to be a part of those adventures when you're young, teaching you things like how to take photographs, and look for the good in experiences, and to live vicariously through all the advetures you'll have when you fly away from us.

I hope that when your heart inevitably breaks, that you'll know well enough to love and trust again. I hope for enough hard times to make you strong and tender, but enough good times to keep you joyful.

And one day, I hope for you to find true love--the truest partnership in life.

I hope that you'll come to know, love, and trust in God, and to accept the grace offered through Jesus Christ. I hope you'll nestle down into it and really feel comfortable in a relationship with the most powerful force in the universe.

I love you, my daughter, and I want all these good things for you, because I love you.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A gentle answer, and the tongue of the wise

Proverbs 15
1 A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
2 The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.

For some reason these words are just coming to my mind today. A gentle answer, and the tongue of the wise. How can I get to possess those 2 things? I feel like these words are wise, I feel like I've seen them play themselves out in my own life, and I feel like the life in these words will keep coming true time and time again.

I can think of numerous examples in my own past of how harsh words and folly have gushed from me before, and the truth is that all too often I think that's what's really in me, but one particular instance sticks out as a painful lesson. One foolish staff meeting early in my probation career, I let all of the senior officers know that if they wanted me to help them speak Spanish to a client, they ought to let me know in advance, ought to set an appointment with me. And when a nervous laughter broke out across the group, I got defensive, and the gushing began. I felt like I couldn't turn it off! Out of my own mouth flowed a river of destruction that I couldn't control! And I knew it was happening; I knew it was foolishness. In fact, things were never the same for me at that job, I was called to the carpet for my arrogance, and as a matter of fact, I got physically ill driving home and had to pull over into a parking lot to vomit in a trash bag. It was bad, but I couldn't stop the folly once it started, and suddenly the ramifications were also out of my control. It ended up that I was sort of black-balled after that meeting, and before long I was looking for a new job.

I've also seen where a gentle (or humble!) answer has been able to turn a potentially hot situation considerably cooler. There are always cliques in high school, and I remember in 10th grade gym class you could tell the cliques by who was changing out with whom. And Rhonda, was definitely not in my clique. She was a rough girl in the redneck clique, with straight black hair parted in the middle that hung down to her waist. And I'll be honest, she was a little scary! Well, high school cliques being what they are, we basically kept to ourselves, until one fateful day when we were playing volleyball. The ball came to me, and like a miracle, I was able to deliver a perfect hit, and the ball went lopping back over the net... straight into Rhonda's head! At first I was so excited I'd hit the ball and won a point, I didn't see the steam that was coming out of Rhonda's ears, or the crimson flush that was creeping over her face. But later. Back in the locker room. All became clear. I began to hear murmerings of her beating me up, because I'd hit her with the ball! Purposefully she approached, crossing the invisible line between groups, and before she got a chance to utter a word or lift a hand, my apology was on my lips. It wasn't for delivering a flawless hit (and let's be honest, I've never once performed a flawless move in volleyball, or any sport, for that matter!), but because I'd offended her with my exuberance. And I was sorry for that. I was sorry that I'd embarassed her, and I was even more sorry that my butt was on the line, but in front of my clique and hers, I humbled myself and apologized, and remarkably, she accepted and turned on her heel to return to her girls. I have to tell you, I was VERY glad to see this truth in action that day!

But even more than that, now, at 28, I see the truth of this principle. There's a particular woman in another office that my office regularly interacts with, who I've had occasion to go head-to-head with in the professional capacity--and to be fair, our two different offices often have two different perspectives and interests, so there's really nothing wrong with opposing viewpoints. But as relationships and roles have changed, I've somewhat recently found myself in a different dynamic with her. And actually, I'm still feeling out how that dynamic might end up. So, just today, I sent her an email, thanking her for a kind action on her part, and just expressing how I'm looking forward to continuing to work with her, and to get to know her. It's not flattery--it's true. So I'm anxious to see how this relationship develops, and how the principle of the gentle answer plays out in this circumstance.

There really are so many examples, and I have such a desire to be gentle and wise. But when at work, faced with co-workers, clients, employees. It has to be a conscientious decision. And even among friends, and loved ones!

Clearly this is a lesson I've been learning for some number of years, and I just hope more and more that the truth will keep sinking in deeper and deeper. But I also wonder how things will change and how I'll be stretched when Baby King arrives. Will I be wise? Will I be gentle? I know I'll make mistakes. And I know Jason will. And to be honest, I imagine that for the first little while, that little babe will do a lot more teaching me than I do teaching him or her! But somehow this principle just seems so important, perhaps the most important when it comes to this--parenting. Lord, change my stubborn hard heart, and make me more like you!

Haha... I somehow have the feeling that the next lesson along this line will be that love covers over a multitude of sin... Thank God for that!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

More names under consideration

Other names currently under consideration:

For a girl:
Imogen--Innocent girl (English)
Magdalene--from Magdala (my grandmother's middle name)
Arwen--royal maiden (English)
Sydney--wide meadow
Haven--safe place

For a boy:
Aaron--Exalted strong one

So... seems like girl names are a little easier to come up with! Baby King and I are both doing fine at 16 weeks, enjoying the 2nd trimester. We've been gardening and doing a lot of yard work, and I'm really looking forward to beginning to feel this little thing move around! We've got our next appointment next Friday, and Jason and I are hoping to get the doctor to take a look for the gender then. So maybe sometime soon we'll be able to narrow down these names by, say, half! I've heard of a number of ladies recently who all found out... so we're hoping!