Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Right now, I'm listening to Tyler and Stella playing and laughing outside. Which, if Tyler feels at all like I do on Mother's Day, is probably a blessing ("I'm being a good dad") and a little something else too ("I should get a break for being a good dad every other day of the year"--even more fair since I'm mostly sitting inside getting some work done).

Tyler, as most of you who read this likely know as well as I do, is an amazing dad. And sometimes it's a little thankless for him these days, with a daughter who can be seriously mommy-centric.

This photo from our camping trip exemplifies a lot of what Tyler adds to Stella's life--a lot of fun, laughter and love. I'd love to write more about how wonderful Tyler is and how excited I am to expand this parenting adventure with him this year, but it would probably be better for me to get off the computer and join the fun outdoors!

Happy Father's Day, Tyler!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Probably July 11th

This week I started the 9th month of this pregnancy:

36 weeks!

We also got some news--the c-section has been scheduled for 11AM on July 11th. 7/11/11. Of course, this birthdate is likely but still not totally certain. I could go into labor before then (though I hope not). They'll check the location of the placenta the week prior, and it could have moved and they'll cancel the c-section and then I'll just wait until I go into labor (unlikely, but mathematically possible). But probably this baby will make an appearance mid-day in a little over three weeks!

We have plenty to keep us busy in that time. Three weeks just doesn't sound very long!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pre-Baby Navel Gazing

Tonight I was casually futzing about on facebook when I found myself scrolling through a friend's profile pictures, which were filled with adorable shots of her two kids, who got younger with each click through. Looking at them made me wonder about what my profile picture choices would show me about Stella. So I started looking. And being the nerd/professoinal evaluator I am, I started categorizing and summarizing the data:

  • 100% of my pictures include me
  • 69% include Stella (not terribly surprising, and often when we were headed out on our Friday adventures together)
  • In 34%, I'm wearing green (my favorite color)
  • In 29%, I'm travelling (in another country except for one shot from Hawaii)
  • In 23%, I'm in side profile (which is only interesting because at one point in my life I thought my nose looked too big that way, but apparently I have come around on that point)
  • And, sadly, only 9% include Tyler (which I think says more about how many photos there are of either the two of us or all three of us) or are from a camping trip (that might have something to do with fewer trips and the generally grubbier photographic evidence)

What can I say--I'm well-suited for my job. And, yes, I busted out Excel to be precise.

As I went through the ways to categorize my photos, I was reminded of an exercise Tyler and I went through this spring. We spent a day taking a workshop based on the work of John Gottman, a nationally known (but locally based, go Seattle!) researcher on relationships. In the course of his research, he found that many couples experience significant decreases in marital satisfaction after having children, so he studied them and created a workshop on ways to maintain a strong relationship post-kids. We did the first workshop shortly after Stella was born (one of my big takeaways was that Tyler and I are both conflict-avoiders, which means we don't really fight and are both happier that way) and found it really valuable. So in preparation for Baby Number 2, we decided to try a new follow-up workshop. While I think we do a pretty good job of keeping our relationship strong and healthy, we figured a little "tune-up" could only help.

One of the exercises toward the end of the workshop was to create a shared family philosophy. So we decided to think about how we like to spend our time and what those choices reflect about how we want our life to be.

When time, energy and resources allow, we'd like to prioritize travel, the outdoors, cooking/eating/wine, reading/drawing/cultural stuff and generally doing things together. Then we thought about what we thought really undergirded those choices, things like having fun ways to spend time together, trying new things, seeing everyday things in new ways, being creative, creating opportunities for meaningful conversations and experiences, appreciating culture and diversity.

Our brainstorm of priorities, what they mean, and how they are related

It was fascinating how intertwined these seemingly disparate interests were. For example, we found travelling, reading, drawing, cooking and spending time outdoors all provide opportunities to be reflective, which we valued. So while on the surface it sounded like a slightly woo-woo/west coast kind of activity, it led us to have a really interesting and useful conversation.

I guess the reason I'm navel-gazing about all of this now is in thinking about how life is going to change in just a few short weeks. I don't want to lose sight of what's most important to us and what kind of values we want to pass down to Stella and the baby-who-has-yet-to-be-named. And I just realized we've spent most of May and the first half of June cramming in exactly these kinds of things: a trip to Mexico, a camping trip, BBQs with friends, date nights and delicious meals. I know Stella's first three months, six months, possibly first year were just a bit of a blur. It's going to take awhile to find our sure footing as a family of four instead of three (particularly when you consider that the current youngest member is getting significantly more self-sufficient as of late) and figure out how to do all these things as a new and expanded unit.

I know it will happen. I also know it will take some time. Any suggestions for easing the transition?

All of us on a hike--in keeping with our spending time outdoors theme!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sayulita: Our Mexican Vacation Part II

I think it's interesting that it's taken Sarah and I this long to get around to blogging about our Mexico trip. Back when we were on our big trip, years ago, we blogged nearly daily. I think that's less a comment on this trip itself, but more about our lives outside of this trip. With both of us being busy with work, wrangling Stella and managing the basement remodel, it's a lot harder to find time to type up an entry like this. And, when we do have the time, the energy is often lacking.

Anyhow, it's a slow work day, so here goes...

As Sarah mentioned in her entry, Yelapa was stunning. But, after a few days of life eating the same meals on the same beautiful beach, I think we were all getting a little antsy to catch the boat back to Puerto Vallarta, and head on to our second destination: Sayulita.

So, when we awoke on the morning of our fifth day in Mexico, we quickly began gathering our stuff, and headed down to have one last breakfast on the beach. Stella, cheerfully oblivious of the coming journey, took her time ignoring her breakfast, and fixating -as always- on the array of dogs which roamed freely around the "all dogs must be leashed" sign. Meanwhile, I found myself becoming increasingly, and unexpectedly tense. Basically, there were three morning water taxi's: 8:00, 9:30 and 10:30. After that, it was siesta time till the next taxi arrived at 3:00. As much as I had enjoyed Yelapa, I didn't want to miss that 10:30 taxi.

Finishing up lunch, we returned to our room, and then Sarah headed down to the office to settle up our bill, leaving me to finish up the last bit of packing. It was about 10:15, and though a small grip of people had amassed at the end of the small pier near our hotel, we figured we were doing fine time-wise. Then, I looked again, and noticed that a water taxi had arrived, and the people were loading into it! Running out onto our front deck, I shouted "wait!" as the taxi began to pull from the dock. The people on board heard me, and killed the engine.

Desperately, I looked around me: Big backpack? On my back! Medium backpack? On my front. Small backpack? Over one shoulder. Two other loose bags? Over the other shoulder. Stella? Well, at first I tried to coax her to "follow daddy?" But, that just led to panicked "wo mommy go?" So, ooof, I scooped her up in my arms, and began lumbering down the stairs toward the pier. Reaching the beachfront walkway, I looked up again... just in time to see the taxi fire up its motor again, and pull away. "Wait!" I collapsed at the end of the pier, as the boat disappeared around the corner of the bay.

When Sarah arrived on the pier a few minutes later, she found (despite the clear blue skies overhead) a distinct, dark raincloud hanging over my head. Stella, meanwhile, had discovered that the pier was crawling with dark medium sized crabs, which she watched with something halfway between fear and joy. The next 15 minutes were spent with Sarah and I trying to decide if, as I maintained, we'd missed the 10:30 taxi, or if, as she maintained, that was another taxi, and the 10:30 was still on its way.

Then, we boarded the 10:30 water taxi.

The taxi ride to Puerto Vallarta went smoothly. The waters weren't very choppy, and Stella even seemed to be warming to the experience. As we approached the beach, we could see that the pier the taxi usually docked with was under repair, and that boats were simply pulling directly onto the beach, and unloading onto the sand. Easy-breezy, right?

So, our boat pulls up to the beach and... Bam! A big wave hits. Now, as you might be able to see from the photo Sarah posted in the previous entry, these boats aren't too big. Maybe, like, 10 or 15 feet long, with six rows of benches. I'm sitting the second row from the front, with Stella on my lap. Sarah is in the front row, with one or two other people, and one of the guys running the water taxi is sitting on top of a pile of luggage in front of her. The boats actually turned around, and beached with the tail end in the sand. So, when this sort of freak wave hits, it basically pounds our luggage, crashes in over our heads and fills the inside of the boat with water up to knee level.

"Everyone out!" Someone shouts. "Another wave, soon!"

Suddenly, I'm faced with a dilemma: Do I focus on getting a scared and screaming Stella off the boat? Go try to help my pregnant wife? Try to save our luggage? Quickly, I make me way to the end of the boat, and pass Stella down to some random person standing on the shore. Leap out myself, and then turn to try to help Sarah down and grab our bags, which are basically being hurled overhead onto the sand.

30 seconds later, everyone is standing on the beach, surrounded by soggy backpacks, and watching the crew work to bail water out of their boats. Meanwhile, the beachfront jewelry hawkers circle warily, trying to decide if now would be the correct time to try to sell us a bracelet. Stella, regaining her composure after the initial surprise, begins explaining to us what just happened: "Big wave! Little scary. Cry." It's a story she'll repeat to this day, if you ask her about it.

Remembering that our Yelapa hotel has an office near the pier, we make our way there, where the man working at the office turns out to be a godsend: He let's us in, allows us to clean out our bags, use the restroom to change clothes and freshen up, even gets us a refund from the water taxi, and helps arrange a cab on to Sayulita. Our stuff though? Soaked. Clothes? Wet. Books and magazine? Dripping. Portable DVD player we borrowed from one of Sarah's coworkers? Destroyed and smoking. Electric baby monitors? Fried. Camera? Well, already dead, but still.

A short time and many "Gracias" to the hotel office employee later, we are in our cab and off to Sayulita. Initially, we'd planned on taking the public bus to save money to get out there, but having filled our adventure quota with the soggy disembarkation, we decide to splurge on the ease and luxury of the cab.

The ride is quick and -thankfully- uneventful, and soon our nice cab driver is dropping us off in Sayulita's main square. And, only minutes later, a real estate agent is escorting us to the Casa we've rented for the next couple of days: Casa Sorpresa!

The front courtyard of Casa Sorpresa. I was excited about this place when I reserved it, and was happy that it exceeded expectations. We had this whole courtyard, with the pool, an outside sitting area, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and a back courtyard all to ourselves. In comparisons to most places we stayed when we've traveled in the past, this was palatial.

Mine and Sarah's bedroom. Stella had her own room, though she'd usually end up sleeping on (and falling off) the couch in our bedroom.

The back courtyard. A large lizard seemed to live on the roof of our casa, and we'd sometimes see him circling on the courtyard walls.

The front gate, which featured the places one hiccup... the street was being repaved. So, entering and leaving involved, as Stella noted, a "big step!"

Settling in to our new home-away-from-home (or the "new house" as Stella dubs it), we also quickly settle into our new routine: Mornings are spent relaxing at the Casa, including maybe a dip in the pool. Lunch at a restaurant, often our favorite taco place: Fish Taco (though, oddly, of their 6 tacos, only one is fish). Maybe some time on the beach. A siesta for Stella in the afternoon, while Sarah and I relax, maybe take another dip in the pool, read and I enjoy a Pacifico or two. Then wandering around trying to pick a dinner place. And watching sunset on the beach.

Pretty rough, I tell ya.

The view from inside of "Fish Taco." Watching a team of men thatch a roof.

Lounging in the pool.

Sayulita was apparently, originally, a sleepy fishing village, that turned into a sleepy surf town... and is now on its way to becoming a small tourist town. Still, while the main beach is now lined with beach chairs and umbrellas, and a number of shops selling tourist tchotchkes is increasing (Che handbag, anyone?) it still retains its small town charm. It's definitely more active than Yelapa, which at this point in our vacation wasn't a bad thing.

Highlights come scatter-shot over the next few days, and its hard to recall what happened first. One night, we end up sitting and eating popsicles from the Wa Kiki ice cream shop (definitely recommended) in the town square, surrounded by locals and tourists talking and laughing, and are reminded of our time hanging out in similar town squares in South America. Another morning it spent on the beach, relaxing, enjoying splashing in the surf and trying to coax Stella to come down near the water (which is still deemed "too loud"). Dinner at a Cuban restaurant proves to be fun, with Stella enjoying the live music and the orange sauce our all-you-can-eat chicken come drizzled in. And sunsets, with Sarah and I siting on the beach, and Stella collecting rocks and bottle caps around us, are always a highlight.

Sarah and Stella relaxing on the beach.

Playing with Stella on the beach, this was about the closest she ever willingly came to the ocean.

We need to figure out what these are called. Basically, they were like Cheetos (minus the cheese), and the vendor would drizzle hot sauce and fresh lime over them. We all agreed they were a super-tasty snack.

Stella and Sarah in the Cuban restaurant. This photo is a bit Lynchian, but it was a good time... honest!

Enjoying another Sayulita sunset.

...the sunset in question.

All in all it's a wonderful time.

But, honestly, there are challenges too. One day seems to be dominated by Stella either wetting herself in public, or asking to be taken back to the Casa to use her little potty we've brought along. Then there's our first trip to the little market across from our Casa. While Sarah and I gather groceries, Stella plops herself down on a rocking chair in front of a TV... and then wets herself, a pool of her pee forming on the market floor under the chair. Sarah hurries Stella back across the street, while I grab a mop and start sopping up the mess. Then, returning to shopping, I manage to drop and egg on the floor. So, out comes the mop again... except, this time, I manage to knock over the pail of mop-water while mopping... spilling it all over the market floor. "Don't worry about it," the woman behind the counter says, with a less-than-impressed look on her face.

But, often even the challenges end up having positive spins. One night, dragging a screaming and wet-pants Stella back to the Casa, we pass a brass band playing amazing music in a courtyard near our house. Back in the Casa's own courtyard, we clean Stella up and then decide to take an evening dip in the pool. My frustration melting away as we play in the water with the sound of the band drifting in over our courtyard walls.

On our second to last day, we arrange a cab ride to the neighboring town of San Pancho. Pulling up to the little main square, which also serves as the entrance to the beach, we are delighted to find what appears to be a smaller, sleepier and nearly abandoned-seeming version of Sayulita. The narrow green streets are deserted and not more than one or two people lounge on the beach. Perfect.

Perfect. And, apparently, abandoned.

...So, promptly, we organize a Death March.

"Hmmm, I wonder what the big white building is over there? Looks like maybe some sort of church, or something." So, off we go, through town to try to find out how to get to it and see what it is. Unfortunately, this ends up involving a long, hot, winding slog up a gradual, wide boulevard... taking turns carrying Stella. The church? Ends up being some sort of exclusive resort. So, its back into town. Though, thankfully we find a way to walk back on the beach.

The objective of our Death March. Not a church.

After enjoying a drink on the beach, and letting Stella check out a monkey living in a depressing cage near the bar, we meet up with our cab driver and head back to Sayulita.

The next morning, it's back to the States. We catch the public bus home, which ends up being both 1)a much longer ride and 2)a much cheaper one. The flights home are long, but go smoothly, despite Stella not having the DVD player to keep her occupied. And, around 10pm, we are back in Seattle again.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Yelapa: Our Mexican Vacation, Part I

As Tyler mentioned in a previous entry, Stella is a great traveller. In less than three years, she's probably been on more plane rides than I had been through graduate school. She does well in transit, she loves hotel rooms and adventures and changes of scenery. But most of our travel the last two and a half years has been to visit family. My parents are in Texas, our siblings are in California, and my mom's family is in Illinois, so seeing any of them mostly means hopping on a plane.

Our last real vacation was almost two years ago when we went to Hawaii. We'd been talking about another real vacation in various locations (Iceland, Buenos Aires, Mexico, Portugal, Hawaii's Big island) at various timepoints (fall for South America, winter for Mexico or Hawaii), but there were many practical reasons to keep putting things off: I was busy with work, we'd be on maternity leave this summer (which isn't a vacation, but did have work implications), and we could use all the money we could get to keep our basement remodel moving along. But one day it seriously struck us that travel was only going to get harder for awhile after baby number 2's arrival, and we got serious about planning. We saw some sales for Mexico, Seattle had experienced an unusually cold and rainy spring (after an unusually cold and rainy summer last year), and we just decided we had to make it happen.

So Mexico it was. We'd had a couple friends go to Yelapa, a small Pueblo only accessible by water taxi about 40 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta) and others who raved about Sayulita (sleepy fishing/surfing town about 40 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta), so we decided to get the best of both worlds and spend four nights at each location.

So early Monday morning (4AM early), we headed to Seatac. We had a brief stop in San Francisco and then continued on to Puerto Vallarta (PV). The only possible flaw in our plan was that the time between when our plane arrived in PV and when the last water taxi left for Yelapa headed out was do-able but tight. To help decrease the likelihood of missing the boat, we had asked our hotel to arrange a car to take us to the water taxi pier, thinking that one less thing to deal with after a long day of travel would be good. But, lo and behold, when we got to the exit, there wasn't anyone holding a sign with our names. So much for that plan. After hmming and hawing a bit and trying to call the hotel, we decided to just take our chances with one of the drivers trying to pick up riders. One bumpy ride through PV later, and we found that the last water taxi had already departed from there and we'd need to go to another town about 20 minutes away to catch the very last option for the day. We'd kind of known that was a possibility, and we had about 30 minutes, so not all hope was lost, but we were not excited about the possibility of having to make last minute arrangements for an alternate plan. Fortunately, our driver was very nice and helpful and we did, in fact, make the other ferry after a slightly tense drive on a speed-bump-filled road. Our aggravation with the hotel and our fatigue quickly gave way to relief and a starting sense of relaxation as we then bounced across the waves to get to Yelapa.

The water taxi to Yelapa

Stella seemed to do pretty well, hanging out in my arms with her life jacket on (which we brought), though she did look a bit green at one point. Soon enough it was time to disembark, which meant pulling the boat nearly to shore then jumping out into the water. We hopped off (some of us more gracefully than others) and started trudging down the beach with all our bags to get to the hotel.

This was another less than promising bit of the arrival--the beach is beautiful, but the sand is really gravell-y and it was hot, so it was not so comfortable to walk on. And, being 7+ months pregnant, I couldn't carry much. And Stella thinks waves are "too loud" and wouldn't walk, so Tyler ended up being quite the beast of burden. But we arrived to a very welcoming staff and knew soon enough we'd really get to unwind.

One of our first pictures--I wanted to post this on facebook with the caption "this does not suck"

Hotel Lagunita was delightful. We were in a thatched roof "casita", with big windows that opened up to a view of the saltwater swimming pool and bay.

Hotel lagunitas from the restaurant--not a bad home for a few days.

From our balcony, our daily view of the saltwater pool and the bay. Stella doesn't like waves, but she does like water. It did take us a few dips to learn where all the rocks were (so we could avoid kicking them) and the shallow spots were (where we could hold Stella or have her stand).

Our casita's balcony as seen from the pool

Pretty quickly, our days took on a routine: Tyler and Stella would wake up first, walk to the restaurant to get a pot of coffee which we'd then enjoy on the balcony, then breakfast on the beach. We'd watch pelicans dive for food and watch fishermen arriving back with their fishing boats then take their kayaks back to shore. Terrible start to the day, no?

Good morning! Stella thought it was pretty fun to have the windows wide open.

After a cold summer, winter and spring, it was nice to let Stella wear a dress and sandals, without having to complement it with pants and a sweater. She seemed to agree she looked pretty cute!

Stella primarily lived on pancakes for breakfast and quesadillas the rest of the time. Not ideal, but we figured it wouldn't make her sick, and she probably couldn't get scurvy in 9 days....

After that, we'd either hang out on the beach or take a swim in the pool (the beach in Yelapa isn't a great swimming beach). The hotel had thatched areas with lounge chairs and hammocks where they'd also provide food and drink service.

R&R on the beach under a palapa--my belly apparently makes a pretty good pillow!

Who can complain when they're in a hammock on a quiet beach?!

After a day or two of this, Tyler started getting a little antsy to do more exploring. So one day we hiked along the stretch of beach from our hotel's side to the pueblo's ("city") side. One of the reasons we'd been interested in Yelapa is that it's very quiet--as I mentioned, you can only get in and out by boat, so there are not cars. Mostly people use horses or donkeys, though we saw a few ATVs.

The beach and hotel from the other side of the bay

The first day, we walked through the more main part of the little town to see a nearby waterfall. It's dry season now, so there was only a small trickle. And the other challenge of the hike is that Tyler has to carry Stella a lot. In the heat and on the sand. And she complained the entire time that it's "too loud." We didn't get tons of pictures of the town because on the third day of our trip, our camera just completely died, so the rest of the trip was captured on Tyler's phone's camera.

This is how Stella spent most her "walks" on the beach, on Tyler's shoulders with her ears covered, saying "too loud!"

We did decide to take a second trek over and walk the other way along the river where most of the residents live and which eventually leads to another waterfall, though we knew we wouldn't get that far.

"Hiking" along the river on the pueblo side--lots of lizards, horses, donkeys, beautiful flowers, chickens and roosters

Probably Stella's favorite time in Yelapa--looking at tadpoles and throwing things into the river

On our way back from that walk, we ran into a man from Montreal who was living in a small house in Yelapa with his wife and two kids. We found out they had started off on a two-month trip but had decided to extend it indefinitely, selling most of their belongings remotely and documenting the process of living abroad in this manner with kids through a blog. They were very nice and fun to talk to--we wished we had met them earlier so we could have talked with them more. But, interestingly to me, I didn't find myself envious of them. I think what they're doing is admirable and interesting and, in some ways, enviable, but I was somewhat happy to realize that I really am happy to be in a more settled place in my life for now. I like our house and my work life and our friends and our stability. Sure, I'd like more travel and adventure on a more regular basis, but I didn't find myself wishing we were still on the road being intrepid travellers again.

Given Stella's displeasure at making the trek to the town, we spent all our evenings at the hotel, which had its plusses and minuses--the food was fine if it got a little predictable after a couple days, but the view was gorgeous and it was great to have a built in playground of sand so we could linger over drinks and our meals.

We got tired of the selection, but the location of the hotel restaurant really never disappointed.

One of our daily habits--sharing a limonada on the beach

Not a terrible way to spend our evenings, watching the sunset with a lemonade (for me and Stella) and a Pacifico (for Tyler) on the beach.

Of course, I realize as I write all this, two weeks have already softened some of the rougher edges of travelling. I won't lie--there were moments when it did not feel like a vacation to be with Stella. She decided for almost the entire time we were in Yelapa that she was no longer using the potty, a contingency we hadn't planned for. And her dislike of being close to the waves limited what we could do and meant not taking some cool possible day trips that we might have taken otherwise. But I left really charmed by Yelapa. The people we met there were all very nice, and the slow pace was a great way to start our vacation.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Week 34 and a Change of Plans

I might have mentioned this before, but one thing that's been interesting about this pregnancy is that I've been much less focused on being pregnant and much more aware of the fact that there's a new little person developing inside me that we haven't met yet. At least, that was the case until last week.

At my 21 week ultrasound, the ultrasound tech and midwives told me that I had marginal previa--a fancy name for the placenta being too near the cervix. I didn't have full previa, where the placenta is covering the cervix, and in most cases, the placenta will move away as the uterus grows with the baby. But, because they'd found that, it was important to call if I ever had any bleeding and to be sure to let the person on call know that this had been found earlier. So I've been going along my merry way, optimistic that this would resolve. I probably worried more at the beginning, but then I met three or four people who had had a similar finding early on but in all cases the placenta moved far enough away for it to not be an issue.

And I hadn't had any bleeding. Until last week. Wednesday I was planning to drop Stella off at home then run out to an evening work event but I wanted to run to the bathroom first before diving back into traffic. And I saw a tiny bit of spotting. I thought, well, I better call, but I'm sure they'll tell me that it's not an issue unless there's more. A conversation later, and Tyler, Stella and I were all loaded up in the car to head to the childbirth center to check things out.

We arrived, got put into the exact room that Stella had been born in (which was kind of cool), and then waited for the on-call ultrasound technician to show up. The nurse on duty even seemed very blase--I had the distinct impression she thought the midwife was being overly concerned--and they monitored the baby for awhile. (Now we had medical proof that "little kicker" is an apt nickname--baby was moving and grooving almost the entire time.)

Finally the tech arrived and she did an ultrasound. I'd been a little excited to have another ultrasound, thinking that compared to the early one, we'd really be able to see more. In fact, we could see less distict body parts, and it didn't seem like the kind of situation to ask for more baby peeks. As soon as she saw the placenta, she said it looked close. Too close. And the midwife later confirmed that it needed to be a minimum of 2 centimeters away, and it was only .77. If it had only moved that much in 11 weeks, it was unlikely to move significantly further. Which means a scheduled c-section.

I know I'm lucky to be in a position where this is known and can be addressed. In other parts of the world and in older times, this kind of thing is serious enough that it can mean death for mother and/or baby because of heavy bleeding. I'm adjusting to the idea, but I'm still bummed. It's the polar opposite of what I would have hoped my birth plan would be (like with Stella, med-free vaginal birth), and I'm not looking forward to more time in the hospital and longer recovery when I'll already have a toddler at home. For some, this would be a welcome option. For me, not so much. I have to change providers, probably have an earlier birth, and anticipate surgery instead of labor.

So now I'm spending *lots* more time thinking about the birth than I probably would have otherwise. And, to be frank, in a way that has more dread than I would have otherwise. Which makes me really sad. Fortunately, I have friends who've been in similar situations who can provide advice and support, and I can have one of the midwives assist with the c-section even though I need to move to having an OB as my provider. I know that I can still make this the best birth possible and that having a healthy baby at the end will make it all worth it. But I'm still adjusting. It's really a fallacy to think I could plan any of this anyway--I guess I'm just getting an early reminder that a new baby is going to require many adjustments.

So, stay tuned. I'll probably even know next week when the birthday will be, which seems odd but should also appeal to the planner in me. Until then, I'll just spend a little bit more time mourning and adjusting. Soon enough I'm sure I'll be able to focus on all the positives, which will still include meeting this new little person and watching Stella transition into being a big sister.