Thursday, April 29, 2010

Getting to know her

It's been a process, but we're getting to know each other better and better each day...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Daddy's Rule

Daddy has a rule: No Babies Sleeping in the Bed!

Giovanna 1, Daddy 0

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A baby born

Last Saturday, April 10th, our little girl Giovanna Vitória Prieto was born at 4:03pm. She weighed 8 lbs. 8 oz. at birth, and is 21.5 inches long. After a labor spanning three days, she came out just as I had seen her in my "pickle" dream: perfect, and with a shocking mop of dark black hair.

Two definitely felt better than one, and three feels better than two...

The icing on the cake was that when my amazing friends/bosses Rebecca and Dena came to photograph Giovanna shortly after her birth, my mom and Marcos' parents were celebrating with us, and were able to be in the photo shoot. We are not at a point where we are able to give much to our parents in return for all they have done for us, so having this experience together was absolutely priceless.

Giovanna is named after both of her grandmothers, who are both named Victoria (Marcos' mom is Vitória, the Portuguese version), and who are both incredible women.

Since we had opted to postpone her induction date and allow her to come on her own, there was a chance that Marcos' parents would miss her grand appearance. As it was, she came two days after her scheduled induction, and everyone was able to enjoy her before returning home.

What a great, great blessing...

Last words

Marcos is "self-employed" and works as a contractor for his business.

Which means that we pay an arm and a leg every year in taxes: once as the employer and once as the employee. If you are employed by a business and you receive W-2s every year in the mail, thank your employer tomorrow for the heaps of money they saved you by having you on their payroll.

These were my last words today to the check I wrote to the IRS.

Me: "Here you go Uncle Sam, this is one year of my baby's college education".
IRS check: *silence* (out of shame)
Me: "...but it's okay. You'll probably end up paying for her Pell Grants anyway..."

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Induction: Canceled

Our activities today included a trip to the Maple View Farms General Store for ice-cream.
I love the rocking-chair ambiance...

Dear Readers,

I guess I forgot to mention that at an appointment over a month ago, we had to schedule a date for induction at the hospital in the case that Giovanna went overdue. We scheduled tonight, the 7th of April to go in for the inflatable catheter bulb to be inserted in order to "ripen" my cervix. And tomorrow was our induction date, with the pitocin drip scheduled to start at 7am.

Which is a big deal because instead of that thrill, I spent a great night at home eating homemade soup, a big salad and grilled sandwiches with Marcos' parents and my mom. We watched a movie and made cookies, which ranked far higher on my happiness scale than sleeping in the hospital with an inflatable bulb nestled up into my nether regions.

After a day of praying, and some tears, and frustration, we decided to cancel the induction and hope that by giving Giovanna another week we will be giving her a chance to make her debut on her own terms. I wish there had been some crystal ball that would have given us the right answer of whether or not to go through with the induction, but we had to wrestle with feelings, and search for peace, and pray like crazy and weigh the pros and cons. It was the hardest decision we've had to make in a really long time.

And it was really, really hard.

But we have come to peace with our decision to cancel. When we originally planned today's date for induction over a month ago, we didn't actually think she'd last this long, so stumbling into our "deadline" was not something we had anticipated (ha! here's to the illusion that we were in control of this process!). I have been so thankful today for the support we have felt from our parents who are in town, and are primarily here to see a baby, and yet were still supportive of our decision to wait and let her come on her own terms. I am also thankful for amazing, level-headed, wonderful Marcos, who has been a reminder that I need not feel pressure to birth on command, that nobody else's agenda matters, and who has had chats with my body about our giving it permission to birth on its own time-table. It is such a blessing to have support through this process, which is unlike anything we've ever experienced.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Natural Induction Method #74

Natural Induction Method #74: Jumping on the trampoline.

Result: I wet my underpants. Just a little bit.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A trip to the pool!

Today Marcos and I needed a break from the hot apartment, so we went to the pool. I've heard a number of friends talk about the magic of being weightless in the water during the heavy months of pregnancy, so we had to check out the hype. Frankly, even after days of nearly 90 degree temperatures, the pool water was frigid, so I only jumped in up to my waist, but it was very nice to rest my back and let the water take care of my belly weight. I did jumping jacks in the pool, which felt like a good low-pressure way to jiggle Giovanna downward.

The only other people at the pool deck were a few Chinese ladies with their kiddos. Their completely unabashed staring and smiling at me made me remember what it was like to live in China. I intellectually remembered what it was like to be around people who don't have the same feelings about staring and personal space, but I didn't remember what it felt like until today. It was something like being Moby Dick, the big, white whale.

If I had seen Moby Dick doing jumping jacks in a pool, I probably would have stared too.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A perfect Easter

A week ago I might have projected spending Easter in the hospital giving birth, or maybe at home wiping a tiny little butt, but we made it through this weekend without a single contraction, and plenty of energy to enjoy all of the socializing that came with the Easter holiday!

This year, our church's semi-annual Worldwide general conference fell on Easter weekend, so instead of our usual Sunday hours spent in the church building, we spent time on Saturday and Sunday watching the satellite broadcast from the comfort of our own home! Luckily, with egg hunts and brunches and indoor picnics with friends, we still managed to get out and enjoy the 80 degree plus weather and the gorgeous purple, white and pink blossoms that are starting to decorate the fruit trees around town.

This morning we had Easter brunch with a group of friends, and my mom and I became very excited about the food we were going to share. We started off by volunteering to bring fresh fruit, and then ended up adding to our menu molded tri-colored jello eggs and bunnies, and carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

Our small friend Bella with my mom. Below is a part of the breakfast spread. There were gorgeous savories too, but my attention was mostly riveted by the sweets.

Look familiar? Many of our life's happy moments are made in this kitchen. Rebecca and Dan are great hosts, and their space + a group of happy, kind friends gathered around the kitchen table made for a perfect start to Easter Sunday. Below, Marcos shares deep thoughts with Dwight and Aline Prouse.

Dan, Noah and Marcos and bacon and eggs. Mmmmm... Below, Marcos and my mom flank the biggest version of me, ever. Lately, Marcos has taken to sucking in his gut so that my convex can nestle into his concave. Otherwise, we stand about three feet apart, with this big girl in between.

At 40 weeks and 3 days, my feet and ankles are finally starting to retain water and puff up a bit. Why hello, little sausage toes!

And of course, I completely forgot to take pictures at our afternoon lunch party between conference sessions, which was full of more great company and great food. Thanks Becca, and thanks Stan, for hosting a really nice get-together!

Some of my favorite thoughts from this weekend's church conference were the reminders that we celebrate Jesus not primarily on the cross but as he continues to live on the throne, and that it is un-Christian to think that anyone who suffers deserves their suffering. We are looking forward to reading over the talks again to pick up things we missed the first time around. I love hearing the talks that the prophets and apostles prepare for general conference, because they have prayed to know what we personally need to hear. It reminds me that God is not as far away as we sometimes think he is, because there is such thing as modern-day revelation: God is involved with our day to day life, and desires to see us happy. What a great way to spend Easter Sunday...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Due Date come, Due Date go

And THIS may be the coolest parking stall I've ever come across...

Thursday, April 1st was Giovanna's due date. We were not under any illusions that she would arrive on that day, but it was still fun to celebrate the day that marks the center of her "due month". My mom had come into town the night before, so while Marcos worked on writing a paper all day, us girls planted seeds and some starter plants in the pots outside our door. Even though it was less exciting than the birth of our baby would have been, starting a garden felt like a good symbolic way to celebrate birth and spring and all good things that grow. When Marcos sent in his paper at midnight, we celebrated by downing three pints of Haagen Dazs while we watched Cool Runnings. Our life is full of celebrations, with a baby on the way.