Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Movie Review: The Business of Being Born

Over the past two nights, Brett and I watched the movie The Business of Being Born. I was interested to watch it, since it talks a lot about the rising c-section rate in this country and the commercialization of birth. The stuff about rising c-section rates, anyway, hits close to home.

*disclaimer: It's entirely possible that I'm a little overly sensitive about this topic, given my own experience, so take what I have to say with a grain of salt.*

I came away from the movie feeling a mixture of frustration and sadness. I was frustrated because the movie really seemed to vilify the idea of giving birth in a hospital, especially with an OB instead of a midwife. It specifically seemed to vilify having a c-section. Sure, lots of the interviewees would say things like, "...unless a c-section or hospital birth is medically necessary," but the filmmakers just let those statements hang: they never pursued that line of thinking. I wish they'd explored more what "medically necessary" might mean, but they just didn't. And that surprised me, since one of the main people in the movie attempts a homebirth but has to transfer to a hospital while she's having agonizing contractions. (Her water even breaks in the cab. Pretty intense.) In the end she winds up with a c-section.

It seemed like the overwhelming message of the movie was that giving birth naturally -- that is to say, vaginally and without pain medication -- with a midwife, in a birthing center or at home, is the only "right" way to birth, and anyone who does it differently is somehow less of a woman. Yes, it may be ideal to birth outside the hospital without interventions. Sure, I'll accept and even agree with that. But I felt as though the filmmakers really made hospital births attended by OB/GYNs out to be this horrible thing that takes away the womanhood of those who choose to birth a baby that way, and that the OB/GYNs are just out for profit, that sometimes they just do c-sections because they want to go home for dinner or to go to bed, that they push interventions out of convenience or ease.

And I'll give them the fact that maybe that happens with some hospital births, but I don't feel like that was the case with me at all. Yes, I gave birth in a hospital, under the care of an OB/GYN, not a midwife. Yes, I wound up with many more interventions than I wanted -- an epidural, continuous fetal monitoring, intravenous medication like Zofran, and, ultimately, a c-section.

But in no way do I feel that the doctors and nurses made those decisions because they were out for profit or because they wanted to get home for dinner or for ANY reason other than my best interest or Elanor's best interest. A homebirth or a birthing center birth would have been disastrous for me. I cannot imagine how horrifying it would have been to have been transferred when I was feeling that intense, profound pain after almost three hours of pushing. To have to have gotten in a car and driven 20+ minutes (probably more; it was rush hour and snowing at that point) to the hospital would have been more than traumatic.

So while I was angry that hospital births were given such a bad rap, I also felt guilty and sad. One of the things I most wanted out of my birth experience was to get to hold the baby right away, to have that skin-to-skin contact, and to get a couple of hours of bonding with the baby and Brett by ourselves. And I didn't get that. I was far too out of it with pain medication after the c-section to open my eyes, let alone hold Elanor. When I finally did get to hold her, it was only for a couple of minutes, since our families came in to the room pretty much as soon as I was reasonably coherent.

It was hard to watch all of these beautiful, natural births and see that moment where the baby was put up on the mom's chest, all wriggling and wet. To see the wonder and love and the tears in the mom's eyes. I wanted that. I have to say that not having that and not having those minutes or hours with Brett and Elanor after the birth is, in retrospect, the one thing I struggle with about her birth. I don't care that I had a c-section, I don't care that I wound up with an epidural, but I do care that I didn't even get to see Elanor up close until she was an hour or two (maybe more, maybe less; I have no clue) old. But I can't change that, and she was born in the way that she needed to be. Ultimately, I'm thankful that she and I are safe and that we live in an era and in a city in which access to immediate emergency care is both excellent and readily available.

So yeah. The movie made me angry with its blanket indictment of hospital births, specifically c-sections, and it made me sad when reflecting on parts of Elanor's birth, which in turn made me angry, because at the core of it, I am satisfied with almost everything about her birth. Who are they to put a burden of guilt on me for birthing my daughter in a hospital? What regrets I do have are not anything I could have changed, since like I said, I feel 100% confident that I was taken care of completely by my doctors and nurses, and that Elanor was born via c-section because she needed to be, not because the doctor wanted to get home in time for the 11 p.m. news.

After watching the movie, I wish in some ways that I hadn't. It's a good thing, by the way, that I didn't watch this while pregnant or about to deliver. It would have scared me to death. Even 10 weeks out from Elanor's birth, some scenes were really difficult for me to watch without tearing up, shuddering, or needing to turn away.

I guess my point with all of this is that the movie seemed one-sided, favoring midwives/natural birth completely over OB/hospital birth, failing to recognize that some midwives are more intervention-minded and some OBs are much more like midwives in their approach to labor, which I feel that mine was. The movie seemed to lack balance, which frustrates the journalist in me, who always has to try to see both sides of an issue. Then again, it was clearly an opinion-type piece, so maybe I am expecting too much if I want balance.

So yeah. Bottom line? If you're really intrigued by birth, watch it. If you aren't, then you'll probably be either bored to tears, freaked out by the graphic scenes of babies being born, or scared out of your wits. And for all my pregnant friends out there -- don't watch this until quite a while after you've had your baby.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I knew there would be days like this...

but I don't think I was prepared for them.

I have never slept as badly in my entire life as I did last night.

Elanor's had a bit of a cold since Tuesday, and it looks like I caught it too. By yesterday evening, I had a massive headache, a sore throat, a runny nose, and that foggy-headed-ness that comes with a cold.

Last night was miserable. I was exhausted when we went to bed around 10, and just wanted to sleep. Of course, nothing went according to plan, and whether it was my nose running, or Brett snoring, or the stupid cat jumping on my legs, or our housemate's loud movie, or Elanor needing to eat, I kept being unable to fall asleep. I had a crying meltdown at 3 a.m. because I'd only slept for about 40 minutes at that point and I was so uncomfortable I couldn't stand it anymore.

So I slept for maybe 3 hours total the whole night, and most of that was sitting up, because if I tried to lie down, my nose would run or I would need to sneeze, and inevitably, it would wake Elanor up if I did. And now, she's up for the day -- so I am, too, even though all I want to do is drink some orange juice and crash back into bed with all the pillows in the house behind my head so I don't actually have to sit up against the headboard to sleep anymore.

Like I said, I knew there would be days like this...but boy, do they suck big time. It's going to be a long day, I fear.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Psalm 37:4

I've been feeling in a little bit of a funk this week for the first time since Elanor was born. It's partly due to some relational issues that I won't talk about here, but that have been consuming a lot of my mind and heart. One of them is mostly worked out, and the other will eventually work itself out, but they are still hard to deal with and make me sad to think about.

However, the main reason behind my funk has to do with the fact that I set a definite date to return to work: April 9. (If you hadn't guessed, that is the thing I mentioned in my last post that makes me cry when I think about it too much.)

I knew when I got pregnant that I'd have to go back to work full-time. I also knew that God would provide people to care for Elanor when that time came. Thankfully, it looks like either one of her grandparents or aunts or else a handful of our close friends will be able to care for her until the fall -- a huge relief off of my chest, knowing not only that she'll be with people who love her but also knowing that most of this care will be free, allowing us to sock away as much as we can can in savings or toward debt over the next several months.

Still, knowing that I'd have to go back and actually doing it are two wholly separate things. It's going to be the hardest thing I've ever done, even though for the most part I enjoy my job and truly like my co-workers. While I've had jobs I've liked before, I have to say that staying home with Elanor beats every single one of them, no contest. I love it. It is everything I've ever wanted to do. I know it sounds old-fashioned, but I really feel like this is what I'm meant to do in this life: be with her every day and see to it that our home runs smoothly. I just don't know from a financial standpoint how that's possible, though.

Really, it comes back to trusting God, I suppose. I do trust him. I know that he put the desire in my heart to have a baby. I know that he redeemed the miscarriage through Elanor. I know that he made her arrive beautiful and perfect and healthy. I know that he has provided amazing people to care for Elanor. I know that he has put the desire in my heart to be home with Elanor, and any other children we may have. So what I ask myself, then, is that doesn't it follow that he'll provide a way for me to be home with Elanor more? Verses like this one make me think that it does. "Trust in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4)

And, if for whatever reason that doesn't happen, and I don't get to do what is the desire of my heart and be home with her, I will have to trust him anyway, to provide the strength to get through the long 11 hours I'll be away from this sweet face each day.


Note: I don't want to jump into a SAHM vs WOHM debate with this post. Just know that it's how I feel -- that I want to be home with her and I can't be, at least right now. It is in no way an indictment of those who could be home and choose not to.

Note #2: An update on the fun thing I mentioned in the last post is forthcoming, probably this week. It's exciting, I promise!! Well, at least I think so, anyway. :p

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

home again, home again, jiggity jig

Ok, I've started two posts about our trip last week, and both are boring laundry lists of what we did. So I'll just say that overall, it was good. Elanor did great on the plane rides, and seeing Daisy was fantastic. We had an amazing time. I don't think we stopped talking all week! Our time in Oregon was good, mostly -- we were there for Brett's cousin's dad's funeral, which was very sad. But it was good to see our families, and good to meet Brett's cousin's new baby.

Overall, I'm really glad to be home. It was a long week, and Elanor and I missed Brett a lot.

There are pics up on flickr -- the link is over in the sidebar.

I've got some other updates to post soon, one really fun, and one that makes me cry. But right now I have a crying baby on my lap and about 9,000 things to do today, so unfortunately this is a short post!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

A link I forgot!

See, I told you I forgot to add a link! I'm sure this one isn't the last, either.

Thanks to D for the reminder...her blog is one I should have added!

And Baby B Makes Three -- D's blog about her life with her little girl, Baby B. D and I "met" on a message board for miscarriage survivors. She, along with the other girls on that board, helped support me through the dark time last year. The board has been a fantastic resource to have, not only throughout the grieving process but also throughout pregnancy and now as a parent.

Friday, March 07, 2008

March 10: Two months

I am posting this a little early because come Sunday morning, I am off to Denver to visit my friend Daisy!! We had talked for months about me trying to come while I am on leave, and it looked like it wasn't going to work. Then, this week, I looked at tickets, and I was able to get one with some of our airmiles -- if I went from this Sunday to Thursday. While it will be hard to be away from Brett for so long, I am really looking forward to spending the time with Daisy!

After that, I am flying straight to Portland Thursday night, where I will meet up with Brett. On Friday morning, we are going down to Roseburg to be with Brett's cousin and his wife, as Brett's cousin's dad just passed away last week and the service is next Saturday. Please keep Brett's cousin and his wife in your prayers; they just had a baby last week as well. What a stressful time.

After that, we will head back to Portland, and then take the train back to Seattle next Sunday night. It's going to be a whirlwind week, that's for sure! At any rate, I doubt I'll be able to get much blogging in while I'm gone, so expect a big update when I return!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Elanor,

Eight wonderful weeks have now passed since you were born! I know this is a very cliche mom-type thing to say at every milestone, but it seems like just yesterday that I was getting to hold you for the first time.

You have changed and grown so much during these four weeks, and we've done many new and exciting things, and you've met many great people. I barely know where to begin!


The first weekend of the month held a lot of meetings for you, as well as your first road trip! Papa and I took you down to Portland to see once again everyone who came to your birth as well as to meet the rest of our extended family.

One person whom we were very excited for you to meet was your Great-Grandma Dori. You are her first great-grandchild, and your middle name is her last name, Naudain. We took a special picture of you with Papa, Noni, and Great-Grandma Dori to commemorate the meeting.


You were also able to meet your Great-Grandpa Buz. We took a special picture of you with Papa, Grumps, and Great-Grandpa Buz as well.


Another big first this month was that you and I took your first bus ride!


We rode the #17 home from downtown. You did great and slept almost all the way. Since then, we've taken the bus almost every day, and you have been wonderful every time. Even if you fuss a little, you usually calm down if you can suck on my finger or if I bounce you. Sometimes, if the ride is bouncy enough on its own, that's enough to calm you down. And goodness knows, with as bad as Seattle's streets are, that's the case more often than not.


A funny first is that you took your first shower in the big people tub. Papa was in the shower on a Sunday afternoon, and he said to hand you in, since we'd been planning to give you a bath later that day anyway. While you still love taking baths in your tub, I don't think you liked the shower too much!


You also got to meet your fellow babies from our childbirth class at our reunion last week. Although you are the second youngest, you are by far the biggest!


I've noticed that you're a baby who likes to be in motion. A lot of times, if Papa or I stand still when we're holding you or wearing you in the Moby or the Ergo, your cries of protest are loud and demanding. Once we start bouncing or moving again, you are happy.


You still love to be worn in the Moby or the Ergo. If we're out and about, something I try to do every day, you tend to fall asleep most contentedly. When we are home, however, you don't sleep as soundly in the carriers. I have wondered if falling asleep when we're out is your response to all of the stimulus; it's just easier for you to fall asleep than to process everything that is going on around you.


One major milestone is that you have finally figured out how to get your own hands into your mouth! Papa or I will be holding you and we will suddenly hear a hilarious and loud slurping sound, and we'll look down to find you sucking on your fist like it's a popsicle on a summer day, and it's melting faster than you can eat it.


Also, the other night you were holding a rattle and you tried to put it in your mouth, missed, and tried again. It's clear that you're learning the relationship between your hands and your body!


One of my favorite milestones thus far is how you will smile back at Papa and me when we smile at you and talk to you. It is really fun to see and makes me feel all gooey inside when you grin back! You even giggled for the first time a few days ago when I was changing your diaper.


You're also content to be on your own in your rocking chair or swing -- or even, sometimes, your car seat -- for a little while these days, just looking around and seeing everything that's going on nearby. While we love holding you and snuggling you, these intervals are a welcome break for Papa and me, as our arms do get tired from time to time and it's much easier to make dinner or do laundry or go to the bathroom when you're not holding a baby!


A difference we've noticed as you've gotten more alert over the past month is that you tend to be fussy more often. You're so much more attuned to your world that when things aren't going the way you want them to (i.e., you're not being held, or else we are not interacting with you), you let us know right away. I think if we were the kind of parents who wanted to put you down all the time we'd term you a fussy baby. As it is, since you like it when we wear you, you are pretty easy to make happy and we can't really call you a very fussy baby.


Swaddling is still a must at nighttime, and you still wake up every three hours or so to eat. It's definitely starting to wear on me a bit, but considering that I feel about a million times less tired than I did when I was pregnant, I think I can handle it. You go to bed when we do, and you sleep snuggled right up next to me or Papa. You won't sleep unless you are in one of our laps or we are holding you or we are lying right next to you in bed, even during the day. All of your naps are in the Moby or the Ergo or in our laps, and as a result I am getting a little concerned about what we will do for naps once I go back to work. I guess we will cross that bridge when we come to it.


Your hair is even more wild than it was before, as it continues to grow. We call it your Mo-Mullet, as you have a mohawk on top and a mullet in the back. It is getting long! I love the mohawk on top; it's really quite adorable. You do have a couple of bald-ish patches right on the sides of your head behind your temples, although I have no idea why. Everyone we meet comments on how much hair you have.


Unfortunately, you're still spitting up quite a bit. For the most part, it's not accompanied by crying, and you are clearly gaining weight well, so we don't think it's reflux. We just have to have at least one backup outfit with us every time we go out, and some days, I have to change your clothes up to six times -- and my own nearly as many. I am certainly getting more disciplined at doing laundry right away; gone are the days of wearing my pajamas for a week or two before I washed them, or of wearing a shirt twice. Chances are, whatever it is I am wearing will be covered in spit-up or breastmilk or some combination thereof before noon. You did spit up in Papa's beard the other day, which made me laugh.


Also, you can toot and burp like a champion. Sometimes you are so loud, I think it's your papa tooting or burping instead! The best is when you do so at inappropriate times, like last week, when you burped very loudly during the prayer time at community group. Papa and I couldn't stop laughing!


You are the most wonderful baby, my girl. I love being your mama. Papa and I both think that you make our family complete. Each day is a fantastic adventure, seeing you make a new face, master a new skill, or feeling you snuggle up against me. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Love,
Mama

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

more about links

Elanor and I had a great day today. We took a nap together (she is so snuggly I can hardly stand it), worked on this post, made a fantastic dinner (more about that later) and went on a great walk with Leah and her baby Adeline, who is three weeks older than Elanor. The four of us (well, Leah and I, who were both wearing our babies) walked/hiked down the trail to Golden Gardens. It was a little strenuous but worth it. The day was gorgeous, so bright and sunny, and the Olympics were in full view across the water.

All in all, it was a great day.

And now, on to the rest of my post. Although I've highlighted a few of the links in my sidebar before, I thought it might be fun to tell a little about each of the ones I have listed now, since I just cleaned up the list.

Amalah -- The blog that started me back into blogging. I found Amalah through the Snarkies, and have read it for almost three years now. I love her funny and honest perspective on being a mom, and am excited to read more as she prepares to become a mom to two in the fall. I remember reading her blog a few years back and feeling really motivated to blog more.

Clarity and Grey -- My friend Annie's blog. I've known Annie since we were, oh, about eight, and we met at a birthday party. We met again in the church library when we were about 12 and I thought she was really cool because she had a cape instead of a coat. Now, she is a mom to a gorgeous daughter and is expecting baby number two in April. She is a very wise woman and I love reading her thoughts on life and also on being a mama.

Dooce -- Another blog I found through the Snarkies. I don't read it as much these days as I used to, but again, I appreciate her often funny and always honest perspective on parenthood, especially regarding her issues with PPD.

Evening Cicada Song -- My friend Daisy's blog. I've talked about Daisy here before; she was my freshman roommate at SPU. I couldn't have asked for a better person with whom to be randomly paired! We are still good friends and can spend hours talking about everything from our kids to our lives to...well, you name it, and we probably talk about it!

Everybody Doesn't Like Brett Walker -- Of course, a totally untrue statement. Heh. Anyway, this is Brett's website where he keeps a blog occasionally and also posts his artwork. So if you're curious as to what he does, check it out.

Far Side of the Sea -- My friend Marci's blog. I've talked about Marci a lot on this blog; she and her husband Caleb are some of our closest friends. We met them in Maine and they later moved here to Seattle. They now live in Rhode Island while Caleb is getting his MFA and I miss them SO MUCH.

Hola, Isabel -- I think Isabel and I found each other's blogs through the comments section on Amalah's site a few years ago. Then I moved back to Seattle, we discovered that we worked only a few blocks from each other, and we started having lunch together regularly. Now we meet up around once a month, which is not, in my opinion, often enough!

It's a Chongtastic Life -- A Snarkie blog. Chong, aka Tiffany, is an original Snarkie with a great sense of humor, and I love reading about her son.

Joel and Sarah -- Friends from my Marston days at SPU. Sarah and I both lived on Second South Marston our freshman year, and Joel lived in the room below Daisy and me. They are now married to each other and teaching English in China. I love reading about their adventures as they discover China!

McGee Unplugged -- My friend Kristina's blog. Kristina and I worked together on the newspaper in Maine. We got to be good friends during that time; I definitely miss being able to hang out! I like reading about her experiences with her son, and am looking forward to reading about her life after baby #2 arrives in the spring!

Miriam, My Love -- My friend Daisy's other blog, which is mostly about her daughter.

Miss Doxie -- Another blog I found through the Snarkies. Although Leigh doesn't update very often, her posts are always worth the wait. They usually make me laugh so hard I cry. Her stories of life in general, and, especially, her stories of her dachshunds, are hilarious.

Mom to Two Boys -- Another Snarkie blog. This is my friend Stacey's blog about life as a Christian mom to two boys, and now she has another on the way, due in the fall. I enjoy reading her perspectives on parenting. She's a Godly woman whose opinions and views I definitely respect.

Muffy, Insecurity at its Best -- Another Snarkie blog. This is my friend Stephanie's blog about life as a mom to two boys. They are both adorable little guys!

Parental Discretion Advised -- A blog I found through Hola, Isabel. This blog belongs to Bree over at What're *you* lookin' at?, which I'll talk about in a minute. (I have to go in alphabetical order, you know.) It's her more parenting-focused blog, since, hey, it's hosted by Parents Magazine!

Raspberry Chip -- I found Rachel's blog last year during the time around the miscarriage. She had one a few weeks before I did, so we connected that way. She then got pregnant a few weeks before I did and is now mom to a little boy.

Rebecca Sankey -- I've known Becca almost as long as I've known Annie. We met at church in early high school, and our families have been friends ever since. It's fun to keep tabs on what she and her husband Luke are up to, since we don't get to see each other often, unfortunately. (We never seem to be visiting our families in Portland at the same time...bummer!)

Red, Whine, and Boo -- Another Snarkie blog. Mama A and Mama E (I'll use their blogging pseudonyms here) both live in the Portland, Oregon area. Mama A and I usually try to get together when I'm down there visiting; we usually manage it about once every three visits or so. I love reading about their absolutely adorable kids!

So Close -- Another blog I found through the Snarkies. Tertia lives in South Africa and is mom to twins, whom she conceived after a very long battle with infertility and pregnancy loss. Her blog is always truthful, usually funny, and I love reading it.

Tales of KYT -- Another Snarkie blog. Lisa writes really honestly about being a mom to her two boys, and about the struggles she often faces as a working mom.

The Amazing Adventures of Overshare -- Yet again, a blog I found through the Snarkies. In it, Anonymous writes about her oversharing co-worker, Overshare. It's laugh-out-loud hilarious, and even though she doesn't update too often, it's worth the wait.

The Four-Chambered Heart -- My friend Arianna's blog. Arianna and I met through mopeds; she's a fellow member of the Mosquito Fleet here in Seattle. Her fiance Brendan and Brett are good friends, too.

The Seattle Krombeins -- My friends' Katie and Jon's blog. Katie and I met on our first day at SPU, and we traveled to France together in 2001 as teaching assistants for the French class on Dr. Davis' France trip. Jon and I met in high school French class, actually. It's funny that we all went to SPU and now those two are married. Anyway, their blog is mostly about their adorable little boy.

This Sorta Fairytale -- Another Snarkie's blog. This one is my friend C's blog. She's one of my closest friends, and while we're both at work, we usually email back and forth about 20 times a day, sometimes more. Unfortunately, that's dropped off since I've been home and found time to type at a premium, but it's nice she has this blog about her life and her son Luke -- it's an easy way to stay caught up!

This Tiny Offering -- My friend Bree's blog. Bree and I met at SPU, when we lived on Second Hill, and bonded forever over nasty refrigerators and overflowing dishwashers when we lived together in a house with about seven other girls during the summer of 2001.

What're *you* lookin' at? -- Frema/Bree's original blog. (Parental Discretion Advised is her spin-off blog.) Bree was pregnant about five weeks ahead of me, so it's been fun to read about her pregnancy and about her maternity leave, since she's just ahead of where I am. Plus, she's dang funny, and her daughter is adorable and just about as chubby as Elanor.

Whew! So that is it for now. I hope you enjoy reading some of these blogs; I know I do!

Monday, March 03, 2008

links

A quick housekeeping note: you may notice that I've cleaned up the links section in the sidebar. I've culled out some dead links, as well as some blogs that hadn't been updated in a while, and added some new ones. If I took your blog off, it's nothing personal, so no hard feelings, ok? Most likely, I took it off because it hasn't been updated in a while. (My cut-off was that if it hadn't been updated since January 1, I was deleting it.)

Also, if I added your blog and you'd rather I didn't link to you, please let me know and I'll take it down.

One more thing, if I don't currently link to you but you think I should (because I'm sure I'm missing a few blogs on this list), either comment in this post or drop me an email and I'll add you.

Enjoy!
After last Thursday's rough day, I realized that it's really important for me to get out of the house at least once a day, even if it's just for a walk to the park about two blocks from our house -- especially if it's a day where Brett won't be home in the evening. Plus, Elanor sleeps much better if I'm out and about than if I am wearing her in the Moby at home. I don't know what it is, but she seems to sense when we are home and is more awake during those times. Maybe she goes to sleep when we are out somewhere as a response to all of the stimulus. I don't know.

Anyway, after a pretty wakeful night last night, (she was up to eat at 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, 6:30 and 7:30, and then up for the day at 8:30), I decided it would definitely do me good to get out of the house, so this morning I walked up to the coffee shop about eight blocks from our house. It was raining, but I didn't care. I just threw on a hood and put a hat on Elanor -- this is Seattle, after all, she needs to get used to being out in the rain. :p But really, it was nice to just be outside, and then nice to spend a couple of hours somewhere other than here.

I got a latte and a bagel and settled in to do some reading, both from An American Childhood, by Annie Dillard, which was recommended to me by my friend Leah, and from the Bible and the How People Change workbook, which is the study our community group is currently using.

Gillian Welch was on the stereo, the coffee shop was warm and the windows mostly steamed over with the rain hitting them, Elanor was asleep against my chest in the Moby Wrap...and as I sat there listening to Revelator, drinking my latte, watching the wind blow the rain against the windows and blow the trees around outside, reading my books, periodically bending down to kiss Elanor's milky-smelling cheek or snuggle her head, I realized there was nothing I wanted more than to be able to do that every day.

Now that I've passed the mid-point of my maternity leave, each day like this is a little bittersweet, because while I love spending all day with Elanor, I know that in about a month, I'll have to go back to work and will be away from her for roughly 11 hours every day. It's going to be so very difficult. I'm trying not to think about it and focus on the positive instead, that we have family and close friends to watch her until September, at which point I really hope I can be home with her more.

While I was sitting in Caffe Fiore this morning, I couldn't help but think that this wonderfulness of being home with her, of being able to wear her all day, of being able to bend my head a few inches and kiss her head, of being able to see her smile, of being able to smell her baby smell whenever I want -- it is such a luxury! And it is all too quickly approaching its end, a thought that made me really sad.

I guess I should just appreciate each day that I'm home (and I do) and not think about being back at work, at least for now. I knew it would be like this when I got pregnant, that I wouldn't be able to stay home with her full-time, but I don't think I knew the reality of how hard it would be to actually go back to work after getting to be home for three months. And, of course, I wouldn't trade having her now for anything, even though I wish our circumstances were different and I could stay home full time, or even part time. I just hope and pray that by September, I'll be able to be home with her at least a little bit more.