Tuesday, September 20, 2011

When your doctor says "hmmmm..."

Well, I am now 24 weeks and about 21 pounds heavier so yes, I would say I am still in fact very pregnant with baby #2. This baby is moving all the time and I love feeling those flutters, jabs, and rolls. Latest checkup, however, has brought a few concerns to the table...but nothing that I need to immediately worry about.

At my 20 week visit I had a the normal scheduled ultrasound. Baby was "stubborn", according the US tech, and breach making it difficult to see the spine and kidneys very well so another ultrasound was scheduled for my 24 week appointment. Everything else, according to the doctors, looked good despite the fact that my baby was in the 10th percentile for growth at 20 weeks. No real concern then considering my technical due date is four days later (but they can't change it now I guess...).

Fast forward four weeks...I have another appointment and ultrasound. Spine and kidneys look good and sitting in the doctor's chair while he looks at his laptop with info on the baby I'm smiling and making small talk. Then a long bit of silence... "Baby is about a pound 5 ounces" he says without looking at me. I smiled and commented on how tiny that seems. He then proceeds to ask me how big Noah was.

"8 pounds, 6 ounces", I reply.

"Hmmmmm...." he says, still studying the laptop and tapping the screen with a pointer. Long silence.

"Is that ok?" I ask with a bit more concern than before.

"Well, I'm happy to see the baby is still in the 10th percentile for growth. We'll need to schedule another ultrasound for 28 weeks."

"And what if the baby is still at 10th percentile?" I ask again.

"If its still at the 10th percentile, that is fine....anything below that then we will START TO WORRY."

Obviously, I am emphasizing those last three words in this post...he didn't quite shout them at me or tell me to start worrying now. However, when your doctor says the words "hmmm..." and "then we'll start to worry" all in the same appointment about your unknown, unborn child, well, I'm going to start to worry now!

I left feeling a little taken aback and more frustrated that I didn't ask more questions. However, I don't want to worry about something that isn't even there. Of course I did the only natural thing any woman would do as soon as she got home with confusing news about the size of her fetus...I got on Google and did a little more research on "small fetuses" or "fetus' in the 10th percentile". A lot of medical mumbo-jumbo later I felt a little more at peace that perhaps my little peanut (actually my little "papaya"...that's how big it is supposed to be now) will just be that...little! I did see words like "complications", "death", and "difficulties" in some of the articles for babies below the 10th percentile, so yes, I'm a bit concerned as any normal parent would be.

So throwing this out there for some extra prayers that everything will be smooth sailing from here. October 17th (my next appointment) could not get here soon enough so I can have some peace of mind either way. In the mean time, I'll be praying for some extra contentment and trust that God is working everything out for our good. :-)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Is my child "normal"?

Heavy title...I know. But what mom hasn't had this question lurking in their head at one time or another either during pregnancy...or perhaps when their child is well into their 20's! For some the word "normal" can imply boring, average, or uninteresting. For a mother, that word can have implications for their child's dreams, future, and health.

Noah is my first child so I am sure I will be asking this question a lot more with him than with child #2.  I have already shared that I am a worrier by nature...and becoming a mother (while being German, female, and the daughter of Kathy Rimpel) has quite honestly compounded worrying to another level completely. I often "worry" on a weekly basis at least if I am raising Noah right...if I am teaching him skills that he needs at his age...if I'm being patient enough...if he's happy...if we'll end up on Supernanny...if he's developing appropriately.

"Developing appropriately?" Yeah...sounds like a lot of fancy-schmancy buzz words used by parents who only let their child eat hummus, favor attachment parenting, and play with only wooden handcrafted toys bought in Sweden, but take a look at my Google search engine and you'll see some key words being searched like "my child doesn't like to play independently", "what is normal for a 16 month old temper tantrum", and "my child doesn't like tv...is that normal?"  I want to know where Noah stacks up, particularly with behavior.

Perhaps to be even more candid, a lot of this has to do with comparing him to other toddlers his age that I know. When I see Noah around other children his age I would use more ACTION verbs than linking to describe what I see him doing.  For example, he outruns them, outyells them, and is much more impulsive. Noah is not the child who stops, observes, and studies a new toy, rock, or flower...he grabs, rips, or throws them. Noah is not the child who sits, builds, and stacks. He is the one that runs, bounces, and demolishes. So I ask you, any experienced mother, is my child "normal?"

I have already gotten a few nods and smiles from veteran moms either at church or in the grocery store saying things like "well, he's a boy" or "he's fearless" or my favorite "what a personality". Am I supposed to be taking comfort in this? It doesn't really tell me that Noah is acting like other boys his age...it just tells me I have my work cut out for me!

But, when I worry about how "active" my son is compared to other children I see and notice who can sit for 30 minutes straight playing with their blocks or like watching Sesame Street by this age, I need to stop and think about what a wonderful child God has given me. He keeps me on my toes, for sure...but he has a sweet side others may not see when we're in public. For example, one of his favorite things to do (and one of mine) is listening to me sing. When I ask him "Noah, should we sing a song?" he will stop in mid stride and look at me intently as I pull him into my lap and start singing "I Am Jesus Little Lamb" or " Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" clapping after each verse and staring at my face with an amazed smile the whole time. He also is in that "helping" stage wanting to help with small tasks like putting his shoes away, loading a plate in the dishwasher, or today at Kroger, throwing bread, bagels, or chips in the cart and smiling when he's praised for it. Reading books is a habit he enjoys together or alone in the evenings and he also loves everything in nature and can pick out a rock, flower, or leaf a mile away. Lately his obsession outside has been visiting the mums I placed by the front door and "petting" them (not picking off the petals like mommy said) and smelling them. A truly adorable little moment that I will not forget :-)

So in summary, I do have one amazing, awesome child and need to just keep reminding myself of this when I feel overwhelmed with the job of raising a small child to have manners and a friendly disposition. Parenting is a lot more work than I ever thought it would be...but that doesn't mean I don't see how worth it it is :-) I am truly not the same person I was before I had Noah...nor do I want to be. So while I will most likely continue to "worry" to some degree about the normality of my child and his "development" at the same time I hope to be more aware that maybe I am the one who is "normal" for feeling like that and feel a bit more at ease. I welcome any comments/feedback from other moms out there...am I alone? :-)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mommy Style

Those of you that know me, would probably never say (and I'm really not fishing for compliments, people) that I have great "style".  I'm ok with this...really. And I am sure that even a few very close friends have dialed "What Not To Wear" on occasion to stage an intervention, only hanging up thinking that may hurt my feelings.  (For that select group...please go ahead with the call...I would LOVE to be on that show. Meeting Stacy and Clinton...getting $5,000 for a new wardrobe...shopping in New York...having someone tell me how to properly do my hair and make up. Really, I would love it!). And trust me, you can definitely get some good "before" footage at some key hangouts I frequent like Kroger where I don't think I know anyone.

Style is not a word I would use to describe me. I know everyone is supposed to have one...but I don't really think that's true. I do think there are a lot of people that have a natural sense of personal style (my sister, Jessica, for example) and what looks right, and those that don't. My favorite magazines, for example, are not Vogue, Lucky, or Elle. Right now, I prefer to spend my Barnes & Noble free magazine reading time perusing Parenting or People.  Does that mean that I am automatically locked into the category of dressing like a....mom???

The word "mommy style" may affect some of you in a positive way when you think about famous celebrity mothers like Jessica Alba, Heidi Klum, or Sarah Jessica Parker.  After popping out children, these celebrity mothers are often hailed as having great "style" while they walk their toddlers to the park or Whole Foods.


And the word "mommy style" may also have a negative connotation, such as the infamous SNL skit "Mom Jeans"...enjoy for a bit to refresh your memory...

While I'm thinking about the word "style" and now being a mom...I am really striving to remain somewhere closer on the continuum in the way I dress to the celebrity moms I referenced instead of looking like an extra in the "Mom Jean" skit.  And to some degree, I think I have. I own no pleated or tapered leg pants that I can mention and so far have withheld from any "bulletin board" sweaters (you know, the ones that are knitted and sequined with Halloween themes or Christmas trees on them, depenidng on the season). 

As I am approaching the big 3-0...I am thinking about the way I dress a little more than before. Not that I am by any means spending hours in the bathroom (time I don't have) or getting special manicures, pedicures, or hair treatments (money I don't have). I am just thinking about the way I dress as another way to express that I am happy to be a mother while at the same time I am happy to be me. I don't want people to look at me thinking..."oh, that poor woman. Her child must wear her out" or "eeek...she's turning 30, looks more like 45!". Vain? Perhaps. But I'm choosing to look at it as another way to treat my body with respect.  God gave me this body to do His work...so why not, while taking care of it through eating right, excercising, resting, also dress in a way that I look like I'm proud to be myself instead of looking like I'm lazy and taking it for granted.

However, as I know will happen, there will be some days when I feel that I'm in "style" if I shower that day. :-) Other days, I want to put on that cute, turqoise maternity top, wear my skinny jeans with a belly band, and adorable black flats to the mall play area.  I will not only look more presentable to the rest of the world...but also happy, rested, and more energetic to face the day with the child that does wear me out on occasion :-)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Make mine a double...espresso that is!

I believe there are two types of people...those that are "morning" people (like my father's side) and face the world like this when the alarm goes off:

and those that are "night owls" (like my mother's side) who love the chance to sleep in at every opportunity and face waking up like this:

Well, based on the title alone, I think you can already guess what type of person I fit into. That's right, I'm more of a Cameron in the morning than the bright and cheery Dickey Fox...until now!  Ready for some inspirational words of wisdom?  Ready to hear the secret to my success?  Well, there are two steps I now follow in order to be that morning person and mom I know I need to be...they aren't difficult steps, but are definitely easier said than done.

Step 1:  Go to bed earlier...surprising, isn't it? Instead of falling asleep around midnight/one o'clock watching Bravo, Conan, or Investigation Discovery (super addicting channel...), I'm in bed by 10:30, no TV, no excuses.

Step 2:  Get OUT of bed when the alarm goes off once...not twice or on some occasions in my past...seven or eight.  I have to physically tell myself to GET UP and once that happens, viola!  My day has begun.

Ever since becoming a parent about 16 months ago, I have told myself in the deep, deep part of my conscience, "Michelle, you really should be getting up earlier, work out, read your Bible, spend time in prayer, yada, yada, yada...You'll feel better, have more energy, will start your day off right, etc, etc"  Notice a key word in that phrase "should".  How many times do we tell ourselves what we SHOULD do instead of actually DOING it.  Does this sound familiar to you like it does to me?

"I really SHOULD stop snacking at night."

"I really SHOULD start running again."

"I really SHOULD stop being so negative."

"I really SHOULD stop watching the Millionaire Matchmaker marathon on Bravo and be more productive with my time." (well, maybe that is just me...)

So with my 30th birthday fast approaching (eek!) and baby number two on the way, oh, and having a year to be home raising my son I started telling myself the "should" statements over and over again about what type of mother I want to be. "I should be a mother who is patient, gets up early to study the Word, stays organized, has energy, is positive..."  Well, I'm happy to report that the foot has come down and the "should" statements are over.  If I want to be this mother I say I want to be, then what am I DOING about it?  Now, let's be honest...nowhere have I told myself I should or want to be the "perfect" mother. I am not and never will be ...so with that out of the way, I have things about my habits that I needed to change and I am now doing something about it.

What helped me really push things into gear is a website/blog I ran across called Inspired to Action.  I highly recommend any believing parent (or Christian, working or not) to peek at it.  The author, Kat, has just a grounded, Christ-centered perspective on being a mother and also knows the importance of starting your day right.  I downloaded her free e-book "Maximize Your Mornings" and it has helped me formulate and structure what I have been wanting to do for so long.  In her book, she describes her mornings that start at 5:30 a.m. with personal Bible Study, excercise, and planning her day.  In the two hours she has before her kids are awake, she has accomplished so much and is fully ready to begin her day on the right foot.  My goals right now are to eventually wake up at 5:30 a.m. (right now I am up by 6:00), be in the Word, journal, and plan my day.  I am being realistic (at 22 weeks pregnant) and not starting an excercise routine...sorry, but this preggo isn't sweating to the oldies at 6 a.m. quite yet. 

With any new change (and believe me, getting up before Noah's normal 7:30 wake-up time is a change considering the summer months Nick and I have traded off who gets to sleep in...) there will be some challenges.  Obviously, not hitting the snooze button is mine.  Granted, when I was a working mother I was up early in the morning because I HAD to be...however, the snooze button was my friend then too.  It was like a grandmother nudging you in the morning gently trying to wake you up without being too harsh.  Checking on you occasionally to "wake up, darling...I made pancakes."  I wouldn't ever fall back into a DEEP sleep but would lie in bed thinking about my day with eyes shut, covers pulled tighter, and breathing steady.  With my new routine...the snooze has to be done.  There are no more second chances to waking up...it's too dangerous to think "well, I don't really have to BE anywhere..."  Yes I do...I need to be downstairs with my cup of coffee listening to God in his Word.  That's where I need to be!  I am up with the sound of the beeping, not only so Noah doesn't hear it and wake up...but because I know how important this morning time is to my new routine. 

My new routine, I am happy (and a little embarassed to say since I'm writing so much about it) has only been a week...but I am just so excited and happy that I want to be accountable to others now.  I feel like it's the "January" of my life and I'm starting a new resolution and I know the true test will be 6 or 8 weeks into it...am I still doing my routine then? How many of us have "resolved" to lose 10 pounds by Valentine's only to starve ourselves January 1-5th and then say "screw it..." once we hit the movies and have to have that box of peanut M & M's.  (again, perhaps that is just me....).  Accountability is the real reason I'm writing about this as well as to encourage anyone else to peek at the blog or e-book I mentioned if they also want to start a new morning routine grounded in God's Word.

Here is the link for the e-book if interested.  I also have it posted on my side bar. 


Check back with me in about 6-8 weeks...and hoping to report that while I am not perfect and will fall here and there, I am desiring to make this routine a life-long habit focusing on being FAITHFUL to it and not perfect.  Maybe by then I will post my own "Dickey Fox" You Tube video of me leaping out of bed, clapping my hands, and saying "today is going to be a wonderful day!"  :-) Where's that video camera?
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