Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Reader's Poll...

Okay, all four readers out there, I have a question. I've been wanting to find some sort of baby countdown device to put on my blog, so I found the one above on Do you like it, or does it creep you out? Is it neat, or is it too much information? Be honest! If no one's interested, I can put it down below where it will be less noticable, but if people want to see it, I'll leave it up top. Let me know! I'm here to make your blogging experience a good one!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Crampy McCramperson

Two nights ago I could hardly sleep for all the cramping I was getting in the sides of my stomach. I was trying to decide if it was something serious, but I noticed that it wasn't like menstrual cramps, it was more like charlie horse cramps, so I didn't call the doctor right away. After consulting many moms at school the next morning, I discovered that this pain is quite normal when you're body starts to STRETCH. Ach!!! My body is STRETCHING! I don't know why I find that so strange, I know all about stretch marks, but I never really stopped to think about the fact that you can actually feel the stretching part. S0 weird.

Last night I decided to take some affirmative action against this stretching sensation and started a new yoga routine. I've been putting off yoga for some time, telling myself I'm too busy for it, but these cramps were a huge wake-up call. I thought, "okay, body, if you want to stretch, we'll stretch. But we're doing it my way. The normal way, with yoga." So there I was, doing all kinds of awesome stretches on my little blue mat in the basement and I have to say, I felt so much better when I was done! I felt like I was finally letting my body move the way it wants to move and I didn't have any cramping in the middle of the night last night. Take that, stretching tummy! I win!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Lazy Saturday

I can't remember the last time we woke up together at our own house on a Saturday morning. It's been months! When I looked at the clock this morning and it said 7:15, I was soooooo happy! We slept in for two whole hours and neither of us could get back to sleep, so Sylvain said, "Hey, wanna go hang out with retired people? We can get our slacks starched!" He's the funniest person I know.

I'm officially out of the first trimester and while it's nice not to have any of the nausea or overwhelming tiredness anymore, I kind of miss it (kind of) because it at least made me feel pregnant! All I have now is a roll of fat on my tummy. We go back to the doctor on October 8th, which can't come soon enough because at this point I'm starting to feel a little bit crazy again, like I'm making it all up. Hearing that heartbeat sure would settle me down a bit!

On a side note, let's all pray for the Atherton football team - they lost their homecoming game last night: 72 - 0! Poor guys. On the positive side of this side note, when we were at the game, we spoke to a lot of students that either have Sylvain now or had him in the past, and I have to say, Atherton kids are so NICE! One of the seniors actually sat with us and chatted for like, 15 whole minutes. And their dance team is awesome. We had a really good time!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Loose Ends

There are so many things I've been meaning to blog about concerning the pregnancy but just haven't had the time, so here they are in a condensed version:

Things That Make Me Cry
1. "Halo" by Beyonce. The first time I cried after learning I was pregnant was when I heard this song on the radio on my way to school on the very first day. For those of you hip enought to know that song, now you understand the titles of a couple previous posts! Taylor Swift's "Best Day" also chokes me up.
2. The picture of my husband as a baby that sits on my desk. If I look at it too long, I get teary.
3. The hug I got from a student at the end of the day. He had a really rough day, but still found it in himself to give his teacher a hug.
4. The reading that Emily's mom did at the wedding from the Velveteen Rabbit. Something about becoming real once you have been loved by a child. I looked across the row of bridesmaids and groomsmen and caught Sylvain's eye, then cried. On a side note, I cried more at her wedding than I have at any other wedding in my life.
5. Random emails from my Mom about how she can't wait to sit on the porch swing with my baby.
6. Baby books at Joseph-Beth. All of them.
7. Almost any commercial with a child in it.

Things I Ate in the First Trimester That Make Me Want to Puke Right Now:
1. bananas - I was obsessed with them for about four weeks. I looked forward to my evening ritual of checking out who was on Facebook while simultaneously making out with a banana. I'm not kidding, I went to town on those suckers (get your minds out of the gutter, people, I'm totally talking about the fruit)!
2. saltine crackers - saved my life more than once, now the sight of them makes me gag.
3. gingerbread cookies - see "saltine crackers"

Things I Did During Week Eleven When I Got a Superhuman Burst of Energy
1. Finished lesson plans and grading (whuuuut??? That's never happened in my life!)
2. Finished a week's worth of National Board reading material in ONE NIGHT.
3. Baked and decorated sixty cupcakes.
4. Bought and wrapped a wedding gift.
5. Cleaned the kitchen.
6. Organized the bedroom closet and dresser...then dusted the bedroom furniture. Another miracle.
7. Organized and sometimes bought the Science supplies needed for the rest of this unit for my class and Tyler's class. Oh! And I helped Tracy and Linda set up the containers for their crayfish because they refused to touch them.
8. Read the next two chapters of "What To Expect When You're Expecting," even though I hate that book.

So, as you can see, when I wasn't busy keeping myself from getting sick (which I never really did, by the way, thanks to awesome pregnancy genes from my mother), I was buzzing around my classroom and the house like a CRAZY PERSON!!

Word to your mother.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Our Announcement!

My original plan was to wait until the 12th of September - our big Neltner women's weekend - to tell Grandma and the aunts and cousins that I was pregnant. Then, Mom decided to have a big Labor Day party and she organized this huge picture of our entire family as a gift to Grandma for her birthday. I knew I couldn't make it through the party without spilling the beans, so we decided to announce it at the party - during the photo session. My friend, Laura, was snapping pictures and she was in on the plan, so she got this awesome shot of our family being all "No way!" and "You're kidding!" and "WHAT??!!" after I shouted "Okay, everyone! This time, on the count of three, let's all say THE FASCIOTTOS ARE HAVING A BABY!" Grandma looked at my uncle Roger (the one on the left) and said, "Is she joking?" and Roger laughed and said, "No, Mom! She just announced it to the whole family, she's not joking." It was awesome.

And the funny stories begin -

During writing yesterday:
Me: ...and when you have a bunch of lines of poetry together, it's called a stanza.
everyone turns to stare at the blurter-outer
D: You know, like on Seinfeld.

During science today - we were dissecting owl pellets, which contain tiny bones of rodents and the kids think it's totally awesome.
Me: So, what do you think is in your pellet?
M: a rat!
A: a mouse!
S: fossils!
all good guesses, perfectly reasonable. One of my little strugglers has his hand up and is waving it furiously. I call on him, hoping maybe he'll at least repeat one of the previous answers and feel a little successful....

Oh heavens, we have a lot of work to do.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"I got my angel now..."

We heard the heartbeat last week. A real, live, tiny person heartbeat. It was such a surreal experience. I knew it would be emotional, but I had no idea how flutteringly, amazingly wonderful such a tiny sound could be!

Sylvain and I both took off work on Thursday, and we spent the morning puttering about the house waiting for our appointment with the Ceritified Nurse Midwife. I'd been waiting for five weeks for this appointment and time was creeping by, but the last two hours before we left were the longest eternity of my life! Finally we made our way to the Birth Center at Clark Memorial Hospital and met Beth - my new favorite person. She was everything I thought she would be - no lab coat and stethoscope, just a normal lady who's really good at helping people have babies. She works in a practice with another CNM and two OB/GYN's, which makes me feel good, just in case. We sat in the exam room and talked with her for a long time and she really helped ease my fears about pregnancy, labor and delivery.

When it was time for my exam, she reminded me that we may not be able to hear a heartbeat this early, but that's okay - everything would still be fine. On the outside I was all, "Oh, okay. No problem." But on the inside I was shouting "OH MY GOD IF I DON'T HEAR A HEARTBEAT TODAY I'M GOING TO FREAK OUT!!" Sylvain was sitting by the head of the table as I laid down on my back. She squooshed some goop onto the end of a big plastic stick and held what appeared to be an old transistor radio in her other hand. She put the goopy stick on my lower abdomen and flipped a switch on the radio. All we heard was a "whhooooossshhh" and a "sswwwwiiiissshhh" and it sounded like the ocean. There was an ocean inside my body. I immediately thought about that Modest Mouse song:

A third had just been made and we were swimming in the water.
Didn't know then, was it a son was it a daughter?
And it occured to me that the animals are swimming
Around in the water in the oceans in our bodies,
And another had been found, another ocean on the planet
Given that our blood is just like the Atlantic - and how...

Man, I love that song.

The ocean sound was really cool, but I was starting to get a little nervous when I was able to sing that song almost all the way through and we still hadn't heard a "bum-bump" sound. I thought she was about to give up when she swiped the goop stick around to one side and suddenly - there it was. The most beautiful sound I've ever heard in my life. A quick, fluttery, thumping of a sound. Beth looked at us and smiled. I looked at Sylvain and smiled. I didn't think I'd cry so quickly, but I was totally fighting back tears. I knew that if I tried to say anything...anything...I'd let loose a flood. Sylvain was quiet, I was quiet, so Beth finally broke the silence and said, in a rather sing-songy way, "Yup! There's a little person in there!" I tried to say, "That's so exciting!" But instead I said, "That's so ex...." and couldn't finish. I was totally choked up.

I giggled while I wiped tears from my eyes and Sylvain noted that this was the third major event of our lives that I laughed through - first the proposal, then the wedding, now our baby's heartbeat. I reminded him that I laugh when I'm nervous, but inside I was secretly glad that he notices little things like that.

We finished up the exam and left with our goodie bag of books and pamphlets from the birth center. I smiled for the rest of the day. What an overwhelming sense of relief it was to hear, "everything looks good!" Ahh. Everything looks good.

Thanks to all of our friends and family for the prayers and happy thoughts. This week has been much more relaxed and easy-going now that we've been to the doctor. My nausea is pretty much gone, I've accepted the fact that my clothes don't fit anymore, and I'm so excited about our journey ahead! What a wonderful time it will be!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

"Everywhere I'm Looking Now / I'm Surrounded By Your Embrace"

Pregnancy Story Part 2 - not as gross as the last one.

Sylvain came home the day after I wrote that post and saw the present I left for him on the bed. I heard a loud, "Whaaat?" come from the bedroom, so I ran in there and we just stood there facing each other for a few seconds before we both starting giggling and hugging each other. Then we laid on the bed and stared at the ceiling for a few minutes while I told him all about the day before. He kept looking at the pregnancy tests and finally said, "Well, at least we know we're doing something right." We talked about when to tell everyone, and decided that we had to tell the cousins when they got here, since they would be living with us for three weeks, and that we'd tell our parents as soon as we saw them.

The only parent we were able to see within the three week cousin visit was my Mom. We had to tell the rest of them over the phone, which was disappointing for me, but my Stepmom made me feel a lot better about it when she said, "Hey, good news is good news. It doesn't matter how you tell it." So true. Out of the four sets of parents that we told, my Dad's reaction was my favorite. He answered the phone, which is rare, and I said, "You're just the person I want to talk to. Guess what?" "What?" "I'm pregnant!" Short pause and then - "Oh God, oh honey, oh my, oh...well, that's just, oh honey, oh God, that's great news, oh honey, oh..." We laughed and I tried to get him to SAY SOMETHING, and finally he said, "Here. Talk to Sally. I'm gonna go walk in the woods." "Okay, Dad." Then Sally got on the phone and said, "Rachael, your father just fell backwards on the couch when he heard your news." Hilarious, and totally Dad-like.

Within a week of taking the pregnancy tests, I did not need two pink lines to tell me I was pregnant. I was crazy nauseous, I had a terrible taste in my mouth and I was TTIIIIRREED. I never threw up, but while I was setting up my classroom and during the first couple weeks of school, I really had to slow down and take it easy for fear I would hurl all over my alphabet carpet. Once I figured out how to eat right and once I switched to taking my vitamins after dinner (good advice from my Stepmom), I felt much better.

The only other thing really bothering me during weeks 6 - 9 were my freaking pants! Nothing fit me anymore and I felt like I had already gained 20 pounds in my gut. The kids started to notice, too. One day I was standing in front of my class and I accidentally burped (not a belch, more of a hiccup) and I said, "Sorry guys, I'm a little burpy today." A boy sitting right up front looks straight at me and says in all seriousness...."Are you pregnant?" I was taken aback, to say the least, and I did NOT want to answer that question. Every good teacher knows that to avoid answering a question you just ask them one in return, so I said, "Now T., why would you say something like that?" and the boy behind him says, in all seriousness..."Because of your stomach." Holy cow! I thought. I'm never wearing this dress to school AGAIN! So I looked at both of them and said, in all seriousness..."Boys, here's a life lesson for you. Don't ever ask a woman if she's pregnant because she might just be FAT!" They shut up pretty quickly. That was a close one. A few days later, another kid in another class asked me if I was pregnant while I was walking by him, and I pretended like I didn't hear him and just kept on walking. I don't know how long I can pull it off before I have to spill the beans, but I'm going to try to make it as long as I can!

Within the last week, we've pretty much told almost everyone we know. I even announced it on Facebook, which I was dying to do for the longest time! I know it's still really early and they say you should wait until you're out of your first trimester to tell, but I just can't keep a secret, and I wear my heart on my sleeve most of the time anyway, so I have no problem sharing joys or sorrows with all of these people. Besides, we need all the prayers we can get!

Aside from the crazy symptoms and the pesky fourth graders, I've been in a very Zen state of mind these last few weeks. My brain still can't quite grasp the fact that I'm pregnant, even though my body keeps reminding me. I've been reading lots of books and I bought a "40 Weeks +" organizer, which I love, but I still can't beleive it's happening for real.

I'm surprised at what it's done to my mood. I used to think that when I got prengant and had a kid, I'd be a terrible teacher, because I used to put 110% into teaching and could never understand how a person could be a great teacher and a great parent. However, when school started I noticed that I was focusing my energy on the things that really mattered and not bothering myself with all the small things that can wait. I look at my kids and think about how they used to be inside someone's "belly" all safe and snug and warm, and now they're in this harsh, cold world we call "school," so I see it as my job to make them feel safe again. I really love my class this year, and I wonder if it's because I'm pregnant and I just love everyone right now! Every morning when we sit down on the carpet together I think, "This is the class I get to be pregnant with!" and I feel so lucky. I nag less, although some days are worse than others. I feel like I'm more patient with them and I feel like I just glide through every day with my little secret tucked into the back of my brain. There's this gem of knowledge that pushes me forward with the thought that I'm going to be a Mom, and everything I say and do needs to reflect a sense of calm and quiet. I need to ignore the small, silly stuff that would have pushed me over the edge last year, and focus on the big, amazing things my kids are doing. I think we're all better for it and I know it's going to be an awesome year!

I still have a lot to write about (maternity clothes, grandma's reaction, and bananas) but that's enough for tonight. Send happy thoughts our way tomorrow at 1:00!

Monday, September 7, 2009

"Gravity Can't Begin / To Pull Me Back to the Ground Again"

Pregnancy Story, Part 1

*I wrote this post when I found out I was pregnant and I've been DYING to post it. Now that almost all the families know, I figured I'd post it tonight. Warning: gross girly things are referenced in pargraph 2 and bathroom habits are referenced in paragraph 6. Skip this if you don't want to read about periods and peeing!

Today is August first, which marks many important events for us. August brings the beginning of the school year, cousins from France are coming for three weeks in August, and we have a slew of wedding related activities for two very special couples. On top of those, August would be our sixth month of trying to make a baby. July was our fifth, and it occurred to me in the middle of the night, that I should be finding out soon if I’m pregnant or not. I’ve been trying very hard to remain cool and calm about the whole thing this month, but there I was, in the middle of the night, wide-awake with thoughts.

See, there are two ways to find out if you’re pregnant. Normal people wait until they’re a day or two late, then take a test. Crazy people like me, we count the days until our next period and wait until a day or two before, then take a test to find out because waiting for a period is not good enough. Sometimes I have to know NOW. And that’s what I’ve done for the last four months. Each time it was negative and each time I was devastated, so this month I decided to take my mother’s advice, throw the calendar out the window, and do it the normal way. Until this morning. Here are the thoughts I was thinking:

The cousins are coming on Monday. Today is day 28 of my cycle, which isn’t the last day, but it’s pretty close. If I wait until I’m late, we’ll find out (one way or the other) when the cousins are here. If I take a test this morning, we’ll have a couple of days to deal with it before they get here. But I promised not to take a test until I’m late. But it’s day 28, which is really close, so I might as well be late. I could wait until tomorrow. Sylvain’s going to Lexington today and if it’s negative I’ll just cry all day, so I really should wait until tomorrow. I’ll wait.
When Sylvain finally woke up this morning he was in a very good mood, which is rare since he is NOT a morning person. He was puttering about the house, singing and humming and getting really excited about this bachelor party in Lexington. I wanted to talk to him about this whole pregnancy-test-but-the-cousins-are-coming dilemma, but I decided to wait and talk to him about it tomorrow when he got back. By the grace of God, he brought it up himself (a sign that things were going my way)! I explained that I almost took a test this morning, but decided to wait and before he left he said, “Call me if you take a test or anything,” and I smiled and said, “Okay!”

I put it out of my mind and went to the Farmer’s Market. On my way home, though, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It occurred to me that this was the perfect opportunity to take a test. If I was pregnant, I could surprise Sylvain with the news tomorrow in a very old-timey traditional marriage sort of way where the wife knows before the husband and not simultaneously. If I wasn’t pregnant, I had a whole day to cry about it and get over it before he came home. I went back and forth, back and forth for hours while I was unloading groceries, cleaning, and preparing to bake a pie in the kitchen. Finally I had too much of this line of thinking and decided – That’s it! I’m just going to take the stupid test and be done with it! (This is how every past month’s disappointments have gone down – with me finally saying “I’ll take the stupid test and be done with it!”)

I decided that I just have to be strong either way. I hadn’t felt pregnant this month and we still had another month left in our window of trying, even though that month had house guests for three weeks, which would be a bit of a drag, but we’d do it. No big deal. I walked into the bathroom, unwrapped the test, said a prayer, made a sign of the cross (not even kidding), and sat on the pot. I barely peed at all and the directions clearly state that you have to have a steady stream for five seconds. Mine was more like a two-second trickle, so I was bummed from the get go. I put the cap on and watched the white strip saturate from left to right. One line appeared….then another….

Wait a minute.

I looked at the diagram. I looked at the test. Here were my thoughts:

I’ve seen a thousand negative tests, but never a positive one. This one did NOT look negative. Let’s just stay there for a minute – NOT negative.

My brain rested…

Not negative means POSITIVE. (I smiled.) Positive means pregnant.

I'm pregnant……


Oh, crap, why did I do this??? There’s no way I can tell Sylvain on the phone, which means I have to wait until tomorrow, and if he calls and asks, what the heck am I going to tell him? I have NEVER lied to my husband, but I refuse to tell him on the phone. Why did I do this??? Ack!! I’m pregnant!!
I walked out of the bathroom with the test in my hands and my jaw on the floor. The word “shock” doesn’t cover it. And I was all alone! I decided to show the cat. I yelled at her, “Kitty, I’m pregnant! Look! Two lines! TWO!!” She was completely disinterested. Stupid cat.

Well, I had to bake this pie and I decided I would do my baking then take another test later, just in case this one was wrong. I turned my iPod on to all the baby songs I’ve been collecting for friends, and I couldn’t stop smiling as I did my two favorite things: sing and bake. I didn’t cry at all, I just moved extra slowly and carefully…and smiled and smiled and smiled. When I wrapped my apron around my waist I stopped for a split second to look down at my tummy. I’m pregnant. I smiled.

I was so grateful to have this information all to myself while I baked my peach pie. I resisted the urge to call everyone I know. After a little while it wasn’t as hard. This was my secret, and I had one whole glorious day to relish it. When the pie was finished I decided to go find Sylvain a “Daddy present” to give to him tomorrow when he comes home. I wandered around Babies R Us and the mall in a complete daze. I picked up little clothes and bibs and shoes, which I’ve done a thousand times before, but they felt different today. They felt weird. It was like I’d been let in to a secret club and now I knew what all this stuff was for. I tried to imagine our own baby in these clothes, which I’ve also done a thousand times, but this time I couldn’t. All I could think about was Sylvain and the little teensy embryo inside of me. I couldn’t even think about a baby yet, my head was still reeling with two pink lines.

All the daddy bibs I found were silly and not like Sylvain at all, so I settled on a baby UK shirt and baby UK cap to lay on his side of the bed tomorrow with the TWO pregnancy tests. I think he’ll like it, I just hope he doesn’t ask me anything on the phone. I don’t know how I’m going to sleep tonight with this information in my head. I know one thing, though. Nothing else in the entire world matters at all to me right now. Not school or weddings or cousins. It feels like the world stopped turning for me today and I’ve been moving in slow motion. Me. Me and two pink lines. Pregnant me. Amazing.

Part 2 (and 3 and 4 and 5...) coming soon! There's a lot of catching up to do!