As I sit here on the eve of Maisley’s first birthday, I can’t help but think about what I was doing last year at this very minute and the days leading up to her birth; endless swells of uncertainty, joy, fear and excited anticipation.
Here are some highlights from my journal entries during the last 15 days of waiting for Maisley.
Pinch and a punch to the first of the month no take backs. It’s Bean’s birthday month. August 1st raises the anticipation level to “go-time”!
My sweet Nonno went to Heaven today. We got to see him yesterday and say I love you one more time. He’s with his beloved Christina now and that makes me so happy. How ironic that he left and Bean will be coming into this world. They passed somewhere in the soul-space of the universe. I think she will be bold and strong-willed like him. After years of Alzheimer’s and physical decline, I’m trying to remember Nonno as his old self.
- Cold cut sandwiches around the table in the mobile home
- His jokes and constant humor
- Slipping us hundies as we walked out the door of his mobile home
- Teaching us poker with his trickster ways
- The way he peeled his orange with a knife in a circular motion
- His stories from WWII
- How he always made sure everyone else was okay
- How much he loved my Nana with all his heart
- How he would say “tree” instead of “three”
- His love of basketball
- That he was a fisherman
- He was frugal, but he lived and traveled the world
I love that he was there on Christmas eve when we told my family that our Bean was coming into the world. They are soul mates. He left and will guide her onto the earth. He is or angel. I’m so happy he is at peace; in Heaven where he deserves to be.
How are we going to keep this baby alive? We aren’t prepared at all. The bassinet situation plagued my mind at 3am. Do we tilt it upwards? Does Bean just go in there at night? How do we know what Bean needs? I forget everything from Breastfeeding and Newborn 101. Where is my Solly Baby wrap? I need to wash it. Shit is getting real at almost 38 weeks. Sleeping? Tired. I feel pregnant. I love you though, Bean.
Happy 28th Birthday Brandino.
It was so good spending the day with my mom. She is so excited to meet Bean and I’m so happy to bring her that joy. Sammie, oh sammie girl and her sensitive puppy tummy. I think she is sensing the heightened energy and hormones, that anxious soul. Ryan woke up to a real treat this morning.
The elusive productivity felt good today. Bean is still feeling pretty high up. Ryan said last night that this waiting game is like the biggest game of jack-in-the-box. We have been winding up for nine months…when will I pop?? Ever since then, I can’t get the song out of my head: do do do do do do do do do, do do do do do do do, do do do do do do do do do, pop goes the weasel! I hope mine’s a baby.
I swam for 20 minutes today per my midwife’s suggestion. It feels so good to let my belly float free and weightless. It’s so surprising how heavy everything feels as I walk up the steps out of the pool. It’s peaceful in there. I think Bean likes it too.
I’m happy to see Jackie and Nicole tonight with their little loves Juno and Greyson. Pretty soon I will also be a friend with a baby. I want to always be a friend, and have my baby. I want to remember to be me. I think Bean wants that too. As the days get closer to meeting Bean, I feel more ready and simultaneously freaked out. I think I am most nervous 1) for labor 2) how everyone calls those first months the dark days. Yikes. I want to stay positive. How do I not fall into the darkness? It almost feels like something out of my control that can happen to me, not come from me. I will say yes to help. We are strong and can do hard things.
Bean, I had a meltdown tonight. I sat in our rocking chair in your dark nursery; meditated and chilled out. I said to Ryan that I just want to feel normal again. I felt bad for saying it, but I was having a moment. He was comforting to me in the moment, but later said, I feel so bad because I don’t think you’re going to feel normal for another year.
We gardened the backyard today and re-planted our succulents. It looks so refreshing and beautiful. It was mostly me directing and Ryan actually doing the hard labor (my day is coming, I don’t feel so bad). I’m a bit useless in that sense right now. We got this new peach colored rose bush. I normally hate roses, but today they were all I wanted. They remind me of my Grandma and as kids the “Rose Hotel” we would create for her and my Papa when they would stay with us. Maybe it’s Bean. Maybe I’m just getting older, but roses are somehow back in my flower game. I slept for 10 hours last night, we got breakfast and strolled the beach. Happy.
38 weeks has come slow and fast. It’s almost like my body has been waiting since I was 12-years-old to get the chance to do what it was made to do. My fears are many. How will I fight through the frustrations and hormones with grace? How will I not be a control freak? I want to be nice to Ryan. I don’t want to be the crazy person people say you become in labor.
We said “goodbye” and “see you later” to Nonno today. It was such a happy and sad day. It was hard to know that we won’t see him or hear his voice on this earth again. It was hard to see my mom cry during her eulogy. She did so great. Father Angelos spoke about how much love, faith and generosity my Nonno and Nana exuded; he said he wants to be like them. It was so powerful to hear him speak so highly of them.
It was a surreal experience being 9 months pregnant with Bean at a funeral. One soul gone, one coming. It’s the in-between phase where neither are out in the world right now.
I love my rose bush. I wonder if the symbolism is for my grandparents or me blooming like our labor visuals. It brings me a lot of happiness right now. I will carry ‘their’ hearts with me. All of these beautiful strong souls up in Heaven, they will all help me up this mountain.
We came home from the service and had the most joy-filled afternoon with my sisters and mom and dad. Dad seems to be doing a little better. Thank you God for this glimmer of hope. I hope he feels it too. He means the world to us.
I haven’t thought much about the pain of labor, until now, while my lower back feels like it’s breaking apart. Holy cow, this is real. Me and Ryan talked about our labor fears last night and any residual feelings. I said the intensity, but I also know this is what we have been preparing for. Our hypnobirthing classes, rainbow relaxation meditations, visualizations, everything. It’s the big race. I remember the night before my marathon so vividly. I thought I would be nervous and unable to sleep, but I was calm and woke up well rested, ready for the event I had prepared so hard for. And then it was over, it passed, and it went great. It was God. It was me.
I’m so fortunate to have Ryan. How could I ever tell him enough? The little and the big things. He is so good to me and never complains. I’m so happy it’s him and I’m so happy he is Bean’s dad.
Also, Bean, what are YOU?! We are so anxious to find out. I’m leaning towards girl, but I’m also 50/50. I can’t wait to share your name. I can’t wait to meet you. Waiting for you is so strange. I pray you have a beautiful, healthy birthday. When will you come? I feel it getting closer. I feel it in my heart…and my lower back. We have been reading you bedtime stories at night. Can you hear them? Dad is really good at telling stories, you’ll see.
I cried again last night. The full belly kind of cry I used to do as a kid. The cleansing, uncontrollable kind. I’ve been trying to be tough and not ask for help and it’s not doing me any good. I’m frustrating Ryan because he feels like he can’t help. We had a really good talk last night and I exploded out my fears; some real, some not. I guess that’s what fears are; even if they aren’t real it’s whatever you perceive them to be.
Despite all of our prep, I’m afraid of the unknown of labor. So many people everywhere are pouring their opinions and experiences on me, and while they mean well, quite frankly, I’m over it. I just want to stay in my own experience. I’m so tired of advice. Advice from the lady at Trader Joe’s, advice from the random woman walking her dog, from my aunt, from friends. It’s just so overwhelming and the words are spinning like a washing machine in my head.
Me, Ryan and Bean. It’s us. It’s going to be hard, but we will get through it.
What does “mom” me look like? Does she still have long hair? Is she patient or does she have a temper? I know these waiting days are just a blip in time, but they feel forever.
I love you Bean. I am sick with a bad cold. My back hurts, but I love you. I’m grateful for you. I met with a mom friend Devon yesterday. She gave me good advice. I wonder what my advice will be for a new mom. I’m trying to stay positive. Other people are feeling much worse. Other people are dying to be pregnant and feel what I feel.
I’m feeling so much better mentally today. Less sad and scared. More excited and ready. I got a good night’s sleep which made all the difference. 39 weeks tomorrow. At 6, I couldn’t imagine this would ever come. At 29, when we had the small hospital scare, all I wanted was for you to be full term. Here we are!
I think I said in my baby hunch prediction that you would come today. Will you? You can come anytime. We are ready for you Bean. I’m so anxious to meet you and catch your glance for the first time. To feel our outer-body connection. To feel a love I’ve never experienced. What a weird feeling to wait like this for the greatest love of all time?
Well Bean, you’re still fluttering around inside my belly. I’ve been waking up around 3am thinking I’m going into labor the past few nights. I have this mild cramping feeling during the night, and then I wake up wondering if it was a dream or real. After a few nights of the same thing, I’m going to chalk it up to the wonders of gas and constipation.
You are all I’m thinking about, Bean. I can be briefly distracted, but any minute alone in thought is about you. How you will come? When you will come? What will it be like?Emotionally I’m feeling much better than earlier in the week. My nesting need is fierce, but I can barely do anything to help which is so frustrating!
Me and Sammie often cuddle and hang out during my morning routine. She sits between my crossed legs and listens to our prayers. Bean, you’re going to love Sammie. She’s going to love you.
The weather has been so warm and beautiful. Before getting pregnant, I had this visual of giving birth at the hospital when it was cold and rainy (add some drama to the scene). Now, I envision being in my bathing suit, laboring at the pool and then wearing a loose sundress all the way to the hospital. It will most likely be a bright, happy, sunny day when Bean comes into the world.
It’s so fun having the Olympics on right now. Watching people push their limits and work hard – what more motivation for labor could I ask for? The track started last night. It had me thinking of the 400 and 800 meter races. I learned through sports that my body is WAY more capable than I could ever imagine. I can push myself past the limit. My heart is strong, I am strong.
The labor snacks I bought at week 38 are slowly dwindling. I need to re-stock! We’ve been reading you bedtime stories every night. Dad gets really animated. It’s so fun to have that time with you.
“She believed she could, so she did”. Such a simple mantra, but it just stuck to my heart. Believing in someone else gives them so much power and strength. Believing in yourself is just as empowering. I can do this. I am stronger than I think. Surrender.
Bean, I told you this morning that we are ready whenever you are! We hung out at Pizza Port with Amy and Paul, the newlyweds, last night. It was so fun to see them. I always leave feeling better than before.
Ryan had the worst seven golf holes of his life today. Was it a sign from the golf gods that he should be at home with me? Ha! It was such a bad round that he quit at hole seven and put his clubs in the attic.
I was thinking this morning how lucky I am to have my mom. She calls everyday to say how excited she is and to see how I’m doing. We are lucky to have her, our whole family. I can’t wait to see our family’s relationships with Bean.
How weird it’s going to be to not call you Bean!
I woke up this morning around 8am with pink blood. I think that meant I lost my “mucus plug” (the two grossest words ever created). I started getting some light period cramping around 9am when early labor began. Me and Ryan both started doing random chores around the house, trying not to get too nervous or excited. We are going to meet Bean, but still don’t know when, just soon.
Maisley Christine Nienhuis
Born at 12:58am
7 lbs, 3 ounces, 18.5 inches long
Willow – Doula
Danielle – Nurse
Michelle – Widwife
Ryan – Dada