Getting a move on

Up until a few days ago, there were no signs that anything might be afoot in the next couple of weeks.  I figured that like most first-time moms I would probably give birth late (average date of birth for first-time moms is 41 weeks 1 day).   That was OK by me, I am not in a huge hurry for the little one to get here, although I am getting quite curious to meet him/her.   The little one hasn’t “lightened,” the only thing that had changed was that occasionally I would get light menstrual-like cramps for an hour or two.  Nothing to be seen here, move along folks.

Then Thursday night I got cramps and lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions.  Friday morning the cramps started up again and lasted the whole day.  Woke up Friday night and… still cramps.  These obviously weren’t labor contractions,  but it started to make me think… something has changed,  labor could actually happen soon (although it could still be weeks as well, don’t get too excited, folks).

I am a bit embarrassed to admit that my reaction to this was… “sh*t, I can’t go into labor yet, I still have the to-do list to polish off!”   Despite busting my rear at work this week, I still haven’t finished everything that “absolutely needs” to happen before I can go on maternity leave.  The home list also has a few key items left on it.  The last two months I have been trying to polish off both of these lists but have been stymied by my miscalculations about how much energy a third-trimester person will have.   In retrospect I would say I have also been pretty bad at deciding that things that “absolutely have to happen” maybe can just “not happen” and everything will be fine.  Once the little one is here the illusion of control will be pretty much gone anyway, so am trying to learn to accept these things with equanimity, not an easy task for someone with my hyper-accompishment-oriented personality.

In any case I can announce a major milestone in the to-do list experience, yesterday we finished our baby shopping list.  We had been waiting for our baby shower this week to make the final purchases.  The great thing was that 95% of what we need for baby we got from people around us, mostly second-hand and hand-me-downs. It just doesn’t make sense to me to have to buy all new stuff that a little one might use for just a couple of months.   The most special batch wasfrom friends of ours who have been with us on the infertility journey and are getting their daughter from China in December… they had some clothes for their little one that are already going to be  small before their daughter is in their arms, so they passed those on to us.

Yesterday morning found Mr. Nishkanu and I at the (unbelievably excellent) kid stuff second-hand store here in town buying the very last items on the shopping list.  We have enough hand-me-down clothes to dress an entire army of infants, but for some reason no one in our very-cold-in-the-winter town gave us any baby sweaters or warm winter hats.  We therefore had license to purchase a few baby clothing items, something we were doing for the first time.  I have to say, despite my happiness about the hand-me-down train, it was a real joy and a thrill to pick some things out ourselves for our little one, things that reflect our taste and that we think will be super cute (esp. at a cost of $1-3 a piece!).  After 5.5 years of waiting, a pretty special moment.

Mr. Nishkanu has also been finishing up our bathroom remodel job.  He still has one major task left, building a new bathroom counter, but it can happen after the baby comes if necessary.  That’s a good thing, because that task has been a comedy of errors – he has been trying to get various parts needed for it for about two months, and he already had to restart the project from scratch once after the first counter warped…

The bathroom is not only usable again, it is starting to look great.  It was the one thing I really hated about the house when we moved in 6 years ago.  The house as a whole is older, with lots of character, but the bathroom had been “updated” in the 80’s… if by “updating” you mean “decorated in various shades of puke beige and green and gussied up with early colonial fixtures and cabinetry.”  We are more mid-century modern types so this was NOT working for us.  The remodel has dialed back the hands of time, we now have a 1940’s-ish bathroom with white subway tiles, funky stream-lined cabinet handles from the architectural salvage store, chunky fat porcelain knobs, etc.   It was an indulgence for sure because 90% of the changes we made are simply cosmetic, but it is such a pleasure for the bathroom to now feel like it is actually part of our house and not just a weird portal to a different – hideous – style.

Along the functional lines, we now have a window that actually closes (kinda key for our cold winters) and… the greatest indulgence of all… a thermostatic mixer in the shower.   Thermostatic mixers are common in Europe but don’t seem to be known here, and, peeps, you do not know what you are missing out on.  They basically replace the “hot/cold” knob with one knob that sets temperature and one that sets volume.  You set the temperature once, pretty much, and then just turn the volume knob on every time you get in the shower.  And the special magic?  The thermostatic mixer makes sure that your shower stays the exact same temperature the entire time you are in it – even if  someone flushes the toilet or starts doing the dishes.    After spending 6 months in an apartment in Mr. Nishkanu’s homeland where our shower had a habit of switching into way-too-hot or way-too-cold whenever it felt like it, it is such an elemental pleasure to have Total Temperature Security.  Garrison Keillor once wrote a column about his thermostatic mixer where he talked about how it violated his midwestern sense that a person should suffer, that he felt guiltily spoiled because his shower was always the perfect temperature.  Yeah baby, that’s what I am talking about… aaaaah.

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2 Comments »

  1. Ana said

    I found that last paragraph hilarious for some reason—at the same time I am totally looking up the thermostat mixer to see if I can get one installed.

    Congrats on being done with the shopping & hopefully things will progress along at a good pace…

  2. I feel like such a slacker, compared to you. I’m still not 100% I’m really having Braxton-Hicks contractions yet. This is all so new to me.

    Sounds like you are primed and ready for take off… it’s so exciting!!!

    I am wishing you boatloads of luck and smooth sailing.

    Oh, and those showers… hhhhhmmmmm, sister, I do know that of which thou speaketh. Heaven. Especially if you’re a shower/bath freak, as am I.

    Enjoy your thermostatic nirvana.

    Your partner in crime,
    OAS

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