Monday, January 6, 2014

The Home Stretch, One Year Later

Last year at this time we were getting into the final home stretch before Carter's arrival.  The time that's normally hardcore winter doldrums for me was transformed into a busy time of preparations, and ultimately, survival of a brutal last few weeks of pregnancy.  It's amazing for me to think that one year ago I was less than six weeks away from Carter's arrival and we were in the throes of so many projects to prepare. 

Over Christmas break last year we got new carpet in our bedroom and Jacob's new room, and once that was done we got Jacob set up in somewhat temporary digs in the new room.  It wasn't until a couple weeks into January that we (read: I) got his furniture assembled and shifted the rest of his stuff into his new room.  A year later, the room still isn't quite as decorated as I'd like it to be, but with how his tastes change these days, that's probably not the worst thing in the world. 

In the end I didn't get Carter's room done until pretty much the week before he arrived, which was actually much the same as with Jacob.  The room got painted less than two weeks before his arrival, and I believe I was moving in the baby clothes and all that the weekend before.  Nothing like the last minute!

Of course, this final push took place in the midst of my feeling like absolute crap most of the time.  I wasn't sleeping well, and every waking moment I was in some sort of discomfort.  I had sciatica at my desk all day, and any sort of walking or other effort I exerted for the last three weeks or so brought on pressure (possibly contractions--to this day I have no idea if that's what they were).  Those three weeks alone were torture at times, and for that reason alone I don't think I could do it again.  Well, that and the first trimester nausea and the fear that another baby would come even earlier than the first two, among 400 other reasons why we're stopping at two.

On the bright side, the period of time that usually encompasses some of the hardest weeks for me mentally during the year (when winter's at its worst and spring seems like it's never going to come) flew by last year because of everything surrounding the baby.  The worst of winter was spent preparing and then holing up in the house after he was born, and those frustrating weeks waiting for spring to make its entrance were mostly spent cozied up on the couch with Carter and making short trips out into the world.  My maternity leave was one of the most blissful periods I have ever spent, despite Jacob's (not-as-bad-as-now) behavior issues and my eventual agonizing over giving up breastfeeding.  I savored so much of that time where I could just cuddle my baby, watch mindless TV, and focus on the things that mattered most.  It's sort of been all downhill from there, as the hole of to-dos I've dug myself as I've gotten increasingly behind on everything has been a bear to get out of.  My nine days off plus another weekend went a long way toward improving that situation, but there's still so much left to do and I fear it will start its eventual descent again.  Still, I took care of a lot of projects I've been pondering for up to a year, like getting up my bedroom curtains (which I really like) and decorating the walls above the toys (with the fancy easy-change frames, no less). 

It's nice to finish up some long-standing projects, even if I have a few new ones taking their place.  I suppose it's nice to not have a rapidly approaching, inexact deadline for the projects this time around!  But it was sort of fun last year to spend this cold, gray time of year getting excited about something awesome.  This year we can enjoy Carter's upcoming milestones--first birthday, standing, walking, talking--and that's got to get us through because we have a whole different set of other issues keeping us preoccupied. 

As much as I can't believe it was a year ago that we were in the final stages of waiting for Carter, I really can't believe we're less than six weeks away from his first birthday now!  I really have to get on the party planning train ASAP, because it's going to be here before we know it!  This year has absolutely flown by, and I can hardly believe that tiny, skinny little baby is getting so big and turning into such an awesome little boy.  He is still such a joy to everyone that meets him, and I feel so blessed to be his mommy...even if he needs to be with me every waking moment right now!  I'm trying to enjoy it while it lasts, because I'm well aware of how it can go the other way.  He's awesome and I can't believe it's been nearly a year since he brought his little light into our lives.

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