This weekend has been get-ready-it's-coming. On Friday, I opened a package filled with gifts from Momma Val, including a used Brest Friend support pillow, which she highly recommends over Boppy, three beautiful (and oh-so-soft!) handmade swaddle blankets that I just love, adorable knit booties, a pass-it-on bear, and much more. Of course it made me cry. She has given me so much, not only gifts but time and advice. Thanks Momma Val! I really miss you.
I'm listening to Joe Pass and relaxing after two days spent with my mom and sister. It wasn't as tense as their visits usually are, actually, which was refreshing. We went to visit Target, where I haven't shopped in over a year, to make some returns. It was strange being back in a big-box store, especially since the only major chain I frequent is Whole Foods. My mom used her GPS system to find it and I discovered that she talks back to the GPS. The voice repeats "turn left at whatever whatever" when you're almost at the intersection, and my mom will say things like "I know! I heard you the first time!" all pissed off.
(A side note on the big-box store shopping: my goal is to frequent only farmers markets, co-ops, small mom-n-pop stores, etc., but I'm not perfect. Whole Foods. Registry at Babies R Us.)
My mom mentioned next time she saw me I'd be a full-fledged mama and that hit home. They brought up a used Fisher-Price highchair (yea for used baby items!) and the baby's crib. We haven't set up the crib yet, but the highchair is sitting in my kitchen and every time I walk by, I'm reminded of how I'm "in the home stretch" as my sister-in-law put it.
Everyone keeps asking me "how much longer?" and I find that a hard question to answer. Despite appearances, I'm not all-knowing. I usually try to say "Well, I'm almost 33 1/2 weeks now, and a full-term pregnancy is considered anywhere from 37 to 41 weeks." I read this article about due dates and how randomly 40 weeks was determined as a full gestational period. It was also interesting to read because it suggests that an early ultrasound (which I had at 8 weeks because of slight spotting) should not override a known date of last menstrual period. I knew my LMP for sure, but they still changed my due date from May 28 to June 5 based on that initial ultrasound. This could pose a problem if I deliver at 36 weeks according to the ultrasound, because at my birthing center, anything before 37 weeks is an automatic hospital delivery ... but that could be at 37 weeks if they paid attention to my LMP. Same for postterm.
Not knowing when Fetus will make his/her first appearance, I feel my baby to-do list with increasing pressure. The partial list: put together crib and rearrange furniture, final selection for a pediatrician (meet and greet scheduled for next week), write down our birth preferences, fill out birth certificate pre-delivery worksheets, create a mock-up for the baby announcements, come up with all the addresses for the announcements, design baby thank-yous, launder some of the NB and 0-3 baby clothes and some bedding, watch a DVD on the baby sling, clean the used baby books, stock the pantry, dog and cat-proof the baby areas, prepare a diaper bag, order gDiaper liners, organize a breastfeeding zone ... and the list just keeps on going. This, coupled with my hectic work flow at my job and the indecisiveness on my maternity leave, is making it harder for me to relax. I'm trying, though.
So, my maternity leave ... I caught the HR manager printing out a copy of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). That makes me nervous. The act, which to me is a very bare minimum of what a parent should actually receive postpartum, mandates 12 weeks of unpaid leave--and it only applies to companies with more than 50 employees and employees who have been there for more than 12 months. Neither of those apply to me, and I certainly can't afford unpaid leave for three months. I'm astonished that my work might pull this on me, especially now that I'm almost 34 weeks along and I put in my request two months ago. Hubby and I are trying to figure out what we'll do if they make that asshole move for a typical three-month leave. The FMLA needs reform, that's for sure. How can you claim to be centered on "family values" with a policy like that and a horrendous lack of affordable childcare options? I know, family values is just as much a euphemism as the Clean Air Act, but it's pathetic how we can be fooled as a society by titles or marketing phrases.
The Boston Marathon is Monday. I can't believe we've already lived here a year.
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