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June 10, 2012

It’s been a year since I’ve updated my blog. I’m not going to fill the lost time, just keep moving forward.

Z and I have been home alone together all week. Each morning we eat oatmeal and watch the tide go out, revealing lowtide mudflats, which means its time for his morning nap. Every day this week we’ve been visited by a nesting pair of bald eagles, who perch in one of the tall Douglas firs in the woods out back and squawk out to the seagulls fishing in the mud.

When the eagles move on for the morning, Z wakes up and we go about our day, much of which I spend trying to think of ways to use his endless toddler energy. Yesterday I had him push his own stroller up the hill behind our house, and back down again. He loves pushing things.

And this morning, under the eye of the giant bald eagle high above, he pushed his stroller through the wet, too-tall grass, while I sat and watched, hands on my belly as his (probably) sister announced herself to me with her thumping kicks.

My son, and now my daughter, less than three months to go, who often gets overlooked as I spend my days chasing a boy who climbs and grabs, pulls things apart, yells and grunts and charges full speed ahead.

Right now I am just enjoying the mystery of her, soon enough we will meet her and know who she is. Right now I am enjoying these quiet days home with my son, watching the tide move in and out of the bay twice a day and knowing these sweet days will go by all too fast.



June 23, 2011

I don’t need a tattoo to commemorate the birth of my son. I have wide, red stretch marks reaching up around the once-smooth skin of my belly like branches on the tree of life.

It’s been nearly three months now since my son, Z was born and between feedings, changings and countless nighttime hours spent rocking him in the dark cave of our living room, I’ve not had time, nor the energy, to write.

So, here he is, my son. He was born at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, March 27, just at the sun appeared through the window high above the bed in the birth center – the window I had been focusing throughout the night I was in labor.

Z came four days past my due date and even though I was anxiously awaiting his arrival, it still came as a complete surprise to me when I woke up from a fitful sleep to feel my water break around 11 p.m. Ebon had gone out that night, after what seemed like endless waiting, thinking it wasn’t going to be tonight. Every morning, still pregnant, I’d look over at him and say it felt like the movie “Groundhog Day” where he wakes up each day to find that same morning repeated over and over. I’m still pregnant, I’d say. And it’s still raining. Groundhog Day.

So it kind of figured that I’d go into labor the one night he wasn’t home. But after I called he was home by midnight and after talking to the midwife nearly an hour away, we decided to head to the birth center on a little farm along the Salmon River near the town of Otis.

My contractions came on regular and strong during the car ride, and we timed them – four minutes apart – as we drove through the black night, hydroplaning and splashing on Highway 101 through the driving rain. I remember vividly, driving through patches of thick white clouds, still not fully believing our child was soon to arrive.

Labor was hard. It was far more painful than I expected it would be, and I yelled and moaned. A lot. The only place I wanted to be throughout the night was lying back in the warm birthing tub, which Ebon and Cynthia, our midwife, kept heated by refilling the hot water every few hours.

At some point, around 4 a.m., it seemed as though my contractions had slowed down a bit. I think my body needed a break, and I was able to sleep for a few minutes between each gripping contraction. Then, it seemed as if time stood still and I became fully engulfed in the work my body was doing. I knew nothing of who I was, or my life up until that point, as I lay there in what felt like one solid, ongoing stretch of pain that was only interrupted by the midwife at the foot of the tub telling me to try to push.

And so I did, and after a short half hour of pushing, my son came into the world, caught by his daddy. Ebon said It’s a boy, while crying tears of joy into the water our son was born into. He set him on my chest, all 7 pounds and 15 ounces of tiny life looking up at me with wide blue-grey eyes.

Ebon said later that our son did a little Irish jig with his feet as he emerged into the water. His hair is a coppery-red and he is strong and healthy as can be.

For ten months I carried you inside me, that’s ten full moons, four seasons, hundreds of high tides and hundreds of lows. And now you are here, my sweet, healthy boy, and I’ve never loved anything in my life like I love you.

Zavier Maris Bergeron
7 lbs. 15 oz, 19.5 inches long

Honeybadger and baby showers

March 8, 2011

Weeks 35-38

I must apologize for neglecting my blog for three weeks. But I’m very pregnant now, and that’s a darn good excuse. I’m just going to give it to you straight this week, because I’m tired, achy and have a peanut-sized attention span.

Here are the updates:

How far along? 38 weeks

Photo by the amazing Katherine Head. She has an eye for baby bumps. Check her out here:

How big is baby? Judging from the size of my belly, this baby is the size of a large, ripe watermelon. With a little booty that rises up like a lump on my left side and knees and feet that thump against my ribs on the right. He or she is probably getting close to weighing seven pounds now, and my due date is in 15 or so days, depending on when I actually finish writing this.

Maternity Clothes?

Sleep: I can’t say my sleep has improved any since I last updated three weeks ago. But I don’t want to sound too complain-y, so let’s leave that topic alone. Oh but I am having really vivid dreams, including one based on the following video. Please view, and then I’ll explain.

(Sorry, Mom and Grandma, there’s bad words in this. I love you though!)

One night last week, we had an intense wind storm come at our house in the middle of the night. It blew so hard the that back door popped open. So I got up, shut the door and deadbolted the lock, then went back to bed and fell right back asleep.

Then I dreamed that the honeybadger had tiptoed in through the back door and was in the house, foraging and rooting around. I was laying there thinking, ohhhhh sheesh, how am I going to get this nastyass honeybadger out of my house?

So anyway, I don’t know if that was a pregnancy-related dream or what. I digressed a little there.

Back to baby…

Movement:: Oh yes. I can’t help but wonder though if it’s getting a little uncomfortable for the baby. Everything’s so tight and squished in there.

Food cravings: Not one specific thing right now, but I’m insatiably thirsty.

What I miss: Ohhh I don’t know, it will all be over so soon, and then I’ll probably miss being pregnant.

What I am looking forward to: Meeting my sweet baby, rocking in the new rocking chair by the bay, long walks along country back roads in the spring, and wearing my old clothes again.

Milestones: Two wonderful baby showers, one in Eugene and one at the Bay House, in which I was completely surrounded by supportive women and plenty of love. Thank you everyone who came for all the fun baby stuff and for being a part of my life.

I’m just waiting for a few more shower pictures to come in, so check back in a few days and I’ll put a little slide show up here.

Roadside baby and some pregancy-related complaining

February 12, 2011

Doula cows at Home Sweet Home Birth in Otis, where our baby will be born.

I’m sleepy, so this blog post will be disjointed and all over the place, sorry.

I rarely say this, but I really loved my job last week. I spent hours traveling around the county interviewing elderly couples who have been married for more than half a century on their advice for lasting love. Not only was I fed plenty of homemade cookies and coffee, but I also took their advice to heart and made some very sweet friends from a whole different generation. Check it out here if you’d like.

But it only gets better – I also got to meet a four-day-old baby who was born in the back of the family Volvo en route to the midwife on Highway 26. She was caught by her daddy just in time and she’s sweet as can be. As I was doing the interview, I immediately felt a connection to the family, another cloth-diapering, breast feeding, midwife-birthing mama, their house overlooking the bay and their big, sweet yellow lab. How could I not? Check out their story here.

I’m 34 weeks along (and then some) in this pregnancy, and feeling it. I mean, I feel totally healthy and great for the most part, my only real complaint is it feels like my ribs are tearing apart from the inside. But other than that, I’m feeling great.

Here are the updates:

How far along? 34 weeks, plus a few days.

How big is baby? Almost 18 inches long and weighs almost 5 lbs, or the weight of an average cantaloupe. (These aren’t exact measurements for my baby, it’s just your average baby.) Those stats are unknown.

Maternity Clothes? Yes. Over it.

Sleep: Not great. I flip from left to right, left to right and my ribs hurt. I get up a lot, lay on the couch at 2 a.m. and watch the glowing lights of fishing boats out to sea. I guess this is good practice for when the baby comes, because I won’t be sleeping through the night then either.

Movement: : Kick, kick, lurch. Thump thump thump thump. Sometimes a little lump of baby booty rises to the surface on the left side.

Food cravings: Mmmm… waffles would be good right now.

What I miss: Sleeping, bending over, putting on shoes, going up a flight of stairs without being winded, my non-aching ribs…

What I am looking forward to: So much – holding my sweet baby for the first time – less than six short weeks to go! And finding out if this squirming creature is a boy or a girl. And seeing some my oldest friends next weekend in Eugene for the first of two baby showers. Oh and my birthday. And spring daffodils.

Milestones: Well, I’ve certainly reached a whole new level of huge.


January 28, 2011

For Laura, who told me today it’s my turn to blog about the Sunset Shack

I first came upon this place in early summer, when a friend’s little daughter took my hand and whispered (loudly), “Can I take you to the sunset shack?” And how could one say no to a sweet, curly-haired six-year-old on a golden summer evening at the beach?

So she shouted “follow me!” and took off running up the beach, splashing through streams glittering in the late-day sun, the roar of the ocean in our ears. I followed her up a grassy embankment in the sand, over a driftwood bridge crossing a creek, and into a beach hut built with little more than logs and rope.

She said to me in her loud whisper, breathing hard from our run, “this place is magical.”

Inside the hut, a piece of washed-up foam served as a couch and a wide tree stump made up a table. And on the table were a mix of treasures and trash, a surf-worn beer bottle, a collection of scrappy seagull feathers, a candle, a glass jar filled with little pieces of paper.

My tiny friend, barefoot with sandy feet, settled onto the foam couch with the jar on her knees and proceeded to take out each scrap of paper, one by one, unfold it, and hand it to me to read to her.

Scrawled onto the scraps of paper were short poems, some terrible and rhyming, some poignant and beautiful, most far beyond her six-year-old level of comprehension. Yet she listened intently as I read each one, then folded them back up and replaced the lid on the jar.

I don’t recall exactly how that day ended, but I’ve visited the shack many times since, sometimes bringing a friend, though none share the same breathless amazement of that child.

I’ve walked to the shack alone, lying back on the smooth driftlogs to read the names and thoughts Sharpied on every blank surface, from the profound to the profane. I’ve even fallen asleep in that shack, sleepy and pregnant, dreaming of taking my baby to the beach for the first time and wondering if she (he) can hear the roar of the ocean from deep within.

I returned to the shack this week with my dear friend, one sunny warm day after two solid months of darkness and storms. We let the rest of the world fall away for a sweet hour, watching the waves through the fishing net curtain and laughing at the terrible grammar and spelling of the fort’s graffiti-ists.

She put up nicely with my self-obsessed baby talk, which I’m sure gets old after a while. And I leaned back and looked out over the round moon of my belly, thumping and alive with a child due to meet this world in two short months.

You’ll like it here, I’ve said aloud almost daily for eight months now, to my unborn child. We have a beautiful life waiting for you.

Week 31

January 23, 2011

Less than nine weeks to go and we will have a baby. Here’s the update.

How far along? 31 weeks

How big is baby? More than 16 inches long, weighing more than 3 lbs.

Maternity Clothes? Yes yes. And I’ve started wearing Ebon’s shirts and jackets. Frumpalicious.

Stretch marks? Not on my belly.

Sleep: The past few weeks have gone something like this: Fall asleep before 9. Wake up a bit later with a sore back. Get up to pee. Sleep on left side till my back hurts. Rotate, sleep on right side till my back hurts. Get up to pee. Repeat until it’s time to get up.

Movement: Baby B’s movements have changed a bit. This child is still as active as can be, but I think that as it gets more and more crowded in there, there’s less of the massive somersaults and flips, and more steady elbow thumps and rib kicks.

Food cravings: Not really craving anything specific right now, just fresh. I’m on a kick where I want to eat nothing but bananas, mangos, apples, pineapples and fresh salad rolls with basil and tofu.

What I miss: Well, today was the first beautiful sunshining day in a looooong time, and I wanted so badly to go for a long bike ride out on the Bayocean spit, or hike out at Cape Lookout. But biking is so uncomfortable and my legs hit my belly when I pedal, and I’m more apt to waddle than to hike. So I contented myself instead by sitting in the yard overlooking the bay, with a book and some tea.

What I am looking forward to: The arrival of spring daffodils! And Groundhog Day of course. The baby will be here soon enough, I’m just taking it one day at a time and trying to enjoy the excitement of being nearly 8 months pregnant.

Milestones: Names names. We finally settled on names. I think. And a visit to the midwife last week was encouraging – it looks like the baby’s turned head down.

I thought you’d rather enjoy some sweet baby pictures instead of a shot of my enormous belly this time around.

Me, 1980

Ebon, 1973

Thea and Ebon, Hawaii, 1976-ish?

Me and Paul, Crater Lake, 1982-ish

Muddy waters

January 18, 2011

For those of you who don’t live here, click here to see what Tillamook looks like when it floods.

I had a harrowing time driving back from Eugene on Sunday and at several points thought I was going to float away in muddy, swirling waters. But I made it high and dry and came home to a warm fire and my sweet little family.