To honor Carl and what a great daddy he is, Ryland and I tried to make Father's Day as special as possible. In the morning, we each had a card ready for Carl, and since his gift still hasn't arrived in the mail yet, I gave him a little print-out of what he can expect (a pair of Sperrys!). After we presented Carl with a homemade crown, we made our way to our favorite brunch spot and had the most delicious eggs benedict with salmon we've ever tasted. Next, we made our way to the park across the street from our apartment and later that evening, we cooked burgers and watched a movie.
Here are some photos from the park...
A handsome daddy ready to head out to the park
I love this alter at the Catholic high school across from our apartment
This pic was taken at a work event Carl and Ryland joined me for on Friday evening. Oh, the perks of working at a science and natural history museum :)
I am so blessed to have two amazing fathers in my life; my own wonderful dad and Carl, my love, partner and father of my unborn baby. A little message to each of you...
On this special day, I honor you and the man you've been in my life. You've shown me love, laughter and joy, and what it means to breathe in each moment and appreciate all the goodness around me. Thank you for your continual support and faith in me and in my own family; I strive each day to make you proud. Happy Father's Day, Abbaleh. I love you!
(my sister, my dad and me, september 2010)
My Dear Carl,
I find myself falling deeper in love with you each and every day. You are my friend, my light and my love, and I am honored to be starting a family with you. You impress me each day through your talent, your wit, your sensitivity and your hard work. I have learned so much about myself through you, and because of you, I strive to be the very best woman I can be, for you and for our family. Thank you for everything you do, all day, everyday, for us. Happy Father's day, my handsome man. I love you more than I can adequately express.
With only days left until we meet you, time has started to inch by, and you can't arrive quickly enough. It seems that we have been preparing for your arrival our whole lives, growing into the people that we are now, making the mistakes and learning the lessons it took to bring us together as a little unit and finally, welcome you into the world.
I have spent these past nine months daydreaming about your every feature, the pitch of your laughs and cries and the image of you coiled on your daddy's chest, drawing sweet baby breaths that make up the only sound in the room.
You're being born into a warm home, a nurturing family, a life filled with love and light and color. I look forward to loving you and learning from you, my sweet girl. Take the time you need to prepare yourself, because when you finally arrive, you've got quite the adventure ahead of you.
A safe and happy trip to the coast with my little family. We really had the most beautiful time and I am so thankful we got to experience it together before the baby makes her appearance.
The video camera we bought last week and the time Carl spent filming and editing the video that documents our beach trip.
Our dog, Hudson. He is such an important part of the family and it was a treat taking him to the beach and watching him enjoy himself so completely. The night we camped out, he never strayed (just explored for a few minutes here and there), but quietly held court outside our tent to protect us. Every hour or so, he'd poke his head in to make sure we were safe and sound and remind us he was there.
The little baby gifts that continue to trickle in from our friends and family. This morning, Del, the housekeeper at the museum where I work, left a bagful of baby goodies on my desk. What a sweet surprise!
Carl and Ryland and their continual efforts to make me feel special and loved during this time in my pregnancy. Last night after class, I came home to my boys cooking one of my favorite dishes and a homemade dessert. One of the best parts? The eggplant was topped with fresh basil plucked right out of our herb garden!
After our ob-gyn appointment last Friday (all is well and baby is head-down and in position), we loaded up the gang and headed south toward the coast. Just a few hours later, we set up camp (a 4-person pop tent!) mere paces from the shore on Mustang Island.
We made s'mores, walked along the water, slept and spent the entire next day enjoying the beach. Carl fished, Ryland splashed in the water for hours before they both made a sandcastle, Hudson frolicked on land and sea and I spent most of my time in the water, letting the waves crash on my back and carry the weight of my belly. We saw a beach sunrise, a host of crabs, mystery slugs and our doula, Tina, and her family! And finally, Saturday night, we decided to treat our sandy selves to a hotel rather than camp out another night. Fun all around. It was one of our most memorable weekend yet, and we have a ton of photos and video (!) to share....
In lieu of a traditional game at one of our baby showers, my sister introduced this really special bonding activity for the guests. She looped one long string around everyone's wrist and asked those who wished to share a few well-wishes or words of wisdom about birth or parenthood. Then, after those who chose to spoke, each person cut the string and tied it around their wrists as a symbol of support and love for me and the baby. She asked everyone to keep it on until I deliver (I have one on, too).
Every now and then, my beautiful best friend Alex, who lives all the way in Mexico City, will snap a photo of her bracelet and send it to me to remind me that she is thinking of us. This time, she was holding a Lily flower, a possible namesake for our little daughter. Made my day.
Our neighborhood squirrel. Each morning, I catch him hopping from this post to a massive tree outside our door. Here he is enjoying his breakfast.
Our newest addition: a cam-corder! Carl and Ryland are documenting their latest adventure as I type this.
Full-term and hugely pregnant. Come out, come out, baby girl, we would love to meet you now.
View from the top. Slowly but surely my feet are disappearing.
After a very long, hard day yesterday, I'm relieved to find a few minutes this morning to sit and reflect on the good things in my life. Here goes...
This week, I'm grateful for:
Making it to 37 weeks pregnant! I'm officially full-term today. I am so grateful to have made it this far. For the most part, I've had a very healthy, happy pregnancy and I'm feeling so blessed by all the love and support the baby and I have recieved to this point. Our darling baby girl, you are free and welcome to join us. Don't be shy, now!
Ryland and Carl surprising me with a delicious homemade shrimp cocktail (my favorite!) last night. After a full day of work, a grad school class, and a dead car battery, it was definitely a welcome treat.
Our nursery/Ryland's room has finally come together! After a month of non-stop work, it's complete. All we need to do is organize a bit and hang a few things and we'll be all done. I'll post pictures very soon.
My mom's generosity. Knowing that our budget is tight with baby on the way, she's been incredibly helpful and just ordered me this gorgeous diaper bag:
I've been really, really lucky to have had such a smooth, uncomplicated, happy pregnancy. This whole experience has largely been packed with fun (and funny) moments that I'm sure we'll recall often and bore our daughter with. But it hasn't all been belly casts and baby booties...
Carl and I have a very focused ideology when it comes to our pregnancy and our birth, informed by a lot of research on the current state of maternity care in the US, reading and watching many birth stories, hours spent discussing the birth process with our doula and our doctor, and our own tendency toward homeopathic remedies as opposed to prescription drugs.
We've committed ourselves to a natural, physiological birth. Hopefully, our delivery won't require any chemical interventions and I'm able to go into labor without any type of medical induction, labor without Pitocin or an epidural, and deliver naturally, allowing my body and my brain to work together to do what they need (and can do) to birth our daughter.
Our commitment to an unmedicated birth isn't rooted in distrust toward the medical community (we're big fans!), but rather, it's based on our desire to experience the entire gamut of unfiltered emotions, both physically and mentally, when it comes to her delivery; and our deep-seeded faith in what the human body is capable of when you just let it do its thing.
Our resolve didn't happen overnight. In fact, we've spent many late nights discussing what a natural birth means to us and why it's so important to our family. We know it's not for everyone and we reserve no judgement toward women who plan epidurals or schedule c-sections. It's our plan for a physiological birth; but we are well aware that even the best laid plans go awry and ultimately, we'll have to surrender to what our daughter has in store for us, because a healthy baby is really the main goal.
With all that said, I've decided to share our birth plan here. I have looked to other pregnancy blogs that have resonated with me over these past nine months for inspiration and motivation, and if our experience can offer that for one other mama-to-be, well, that's just great.
Whew! So if you're still reading this... here it goes. It started off as a two-page draft, and after some edits from Carl and a few discussions with our doctor, this is what we've come up with....
Patient: Yardeni, Cassandra
Father: DeKoatz, Carl
Doctor: Dr. Gee, Rebecca
Doula: Castellanos, Tina
Hospital staff and all care providers,
We trust your experience and appreciate your support and sensitivity in this delivery. We are committed to experiencing a natural birth and ask that you please refrain from offering pain medication and other chemical intervention as far as reasonably possible.
Below is our “ideal” birth experience:
We prefer that Cassandra go into labor spontaneously, without chemical interventions. If necessary, preferable induction methods include walking, breast stimulation, and sweeping of membranes and/or internal vaginal exam.
We would like to labor at home as long as possible, with our doula present. Please send us home if it is not medically necessary to keep us!
Cassandra prefers not have a catheter inserted.
We ask that lights be kept dim and noise be kept to a minimum. We will provide our own music.
Cassandra would like to try different laboring positions, depending on her needs.
Cassandra prefers not to have an episiotomy unless medically necessary.
As long as Cassandra and baby are well, we’d prefer no stringent time limits on delivery.
Cassandra reserves the right to accept or deny any and all measures that can be reasonably left to her discretion.
We would like to for mother and baby to have skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth, as Cassandra would like to attempt to breastfeed.
Please wait for the umbilical cord to stop pulsing before it is clamped, and for Carl to cut the umbilical cord.
Please do not offer any bottles or pacifiers to our baby without our permission.
Thank you for your cooperation in this momentous occasion.
(december 2010. this photo was taken at her baby shower in el paso. i was three months pregnant here and she was seven months along.)
Sending lots of birthday love to my beautiful sister, Kiki.
We share the experience of having been pregnant together (she gave birth to baby Noah in February), and as my older sister, she's been so incredibly loving and supportive to us during this special time. Not only did she throw us a beautiful shower, but we get goodies mailed to us almost monthly--from pregnancy pillows, to natural childbirth guides, postpartum sitz bath concoctions, meditation CDs and the cutest baby robe you've ever seen.
Kik, you are such a amazingly kind, inspiring woman and I am proud to call you my sister. Happy birthday, mama.
This past Sunday, we spent our evening mini-golfing. It was a beautiful, breezy night and after a long day dealing with the dreaded loft bed, it was a much-needed break. I made what I believe is my first hole in one ever (!) and took an early lead, but alas, I couldn't contend with Carl's consistency and he ended up taking the win. But it was close, I tell you!
What a fun night. It reminded me a lot of one of our earliest dates, when I joined Carl and Ryland at a family fun center in El Paso and they ruthlessly drenched me in bumper boats. Ah, good times...
For the most part, we've had to do very little shopping for baby clothes. We've been gifted so many adorable onesies and cute outfits, that we've hardly had to purchase any clothing ourselves, and what we have purchased has been largely second-hand. Because, really, the baby will wear each outfit only a handful of times before she grows out of them, and why spend $10 on an outfit when you can pay just .99 cents?
Of course, being a recovering shopaholic, I have splurged on a few really special pieces, and I couldn't not share our most recent purchase for our little daughter...
Ha! Aren't they the cutest?! Let me explain...
Growing up, I was an I Love Lucy fanatic. As a nine-year-old, I found it extremely comforting to curl up to reruns on Nick at Night and I believe I've read Lucille Ball's autobiography Love, Lucy (it graces our coffee table even now) in its entirety a half a dozen times.
Moving on to the Edgar Allen Poe onesie... Carl and I actually met in 2008 in an Introduction to Poetry class; he was pursuing his BA in Creative Writing and I, my minor. Quite...apropo, ay? (Pun intended. Hehe).
And finally, Abraham Lincoln has been a huge source of inspiration for Carl, as a law student and otherwise. I love the baseball tee style. This little girl will be representin', that's for sure.
So no, these aren't quite the frothy little tulle confections that you'd imagine, but she has plenty of those in her wardrobe already. These are probably much more us anyway. I can just imagine her in her little Lincoln onesie, pint-sized Vans and a big, fabulous pink bow in her hair. So fun.