Bend and Snap

It’s weird how the body can adapt to situations as need be.

Like how it created a viable, comfortable (I think?) home for Leila during my pregnancy. How it changed and moved and grew just to accommodate all 7 lbs 11 oz. of her. (I give my body full credit – the only thing I did to assist was eat. A lot.)

And how it prepared itself for her birth. And how it, now, is slowly going back to what it once was prior to her invasion. (Invasion sounds weird here, but it’s kind of what she did.)

Now it’s doing it again. I was in labor for 33 hours, and it ended with surgery. I have sore muscles and scars to show what I went through. (I’m not complaining – it was a hard process, but the end result made it beyond worth it).

It was bad at first. If I was sitting and holding L, S would have to help me stand up because I couldn’t on my own. If I was sitting in bed, S would have to take L to put her in the bassinet because my torn muscles wouldn’t allow me to turn. And for someone so independent like myself, it was a trying experience. I wanted to do everything I could, and yet, physically, I couldn’t.

Now, two weeks post birth, S is back at work and i’m having to figure out how to move and lift and place on my own. And, again, it’s as if my body just knows it’s time to act. Because two nights ago I put her in the bassinet on my own. And yesterday I got out of the rocking chair while holding her without assistance. Yes, i’m still sore at times, and the cuts and scars have not healed, but i’m adapting. I’m growing.

I’m not totally okay yet, and I don’t know when I will be, but i’m happy with my progress, and i’m excited to see it continue. Because she’ll only get heavier and snugglier, and I want to be strong enough for every hug and cuddle.

Leila

Sleepy sleepy

Baby Leila is here! Born just a week ago, she’s been an absolute joy. S and I are completely and utterly in love with our little girl.

I’ll admit I was hesitant about being a parent at first. What if I didn’t know what to do? What if I did everything wrong? Could I be responsible for someone? Could I be okay with changing up my life so much that it revolves around someone else? Even with S’s constant love and help, could we do it?

Obviously we decided that we could, that we wanted to. It was a natural decision. We took our time and I think that was for the best. Because now we’re ready. And, yes, we’re still petrified of doing something wrong, and yes, we’re not sure what we’re doing, but we know it’ll all be okay. Because we’re in it together. The three of us now.

It feels right.

Before Leila, I considered TNWSY to be my baby. In a way, there are similarities. I birthed it, nurtured it. It sometimes made me stressed or sad, but also extraordinarily happy and proud. And, when it was ready, I put it out into the world to create its own life.

I still consider TNWSY to be my baby (it will always be!), but it’s different now that I have an actual one. When TNWSY comes out, if someone doesn’t like it, it won’t be the end of the world. Sure i’ll feel rejected and sad, but it can’t force someone to like something I wrote. But if someone says something negative about my girl, I will come at them with the fury of dragons. I will do everything I can – everything in my power – to protect this little human. I will show her a good life. I will keep her nurtured and loved. I will love her every single day as she learned the highs and lows of the world. I will hold her close through everything.

It’s amazing, looking at this little girl as I am right now, and realizing that S and I created her. She’s ours, all ours. I never thought I could love someone I barely know – yet someone know so well – so much.

Everything Else: 2013 in Review

Top row: S & I in the mountains on vacation, our new dining room, gifts my teens at the library gave me. Bottom row: some of my best friends, my amazing writer friends, and S & I announcing the pregnancy.

I suppose it’s no surprise that, aside from getting a book deal, the biggest highlight of 2013 for me was learning S and I were going to be parents. I mean, you can’t top that, can you? I think not. So even with the mood swings and weight gain, the aches and pains, the cravings and exhaustion, I’m still celebrating the little human that’s growing (and kicking) inside me. A friend said that once you’re pregnant you instantly fall in love, despite not knowing anything about your child. Well, she was right.

Highlights:

S and I took a crazy road trip from Orlando; up to Pine Mountain, GA; over to Nashville, TN; through the Blue Ridge Mountains; around to Asheville, NC; down to Charleston, SC; and then back home. We learned to like country music, swooned over waterfalls and mountains, ate a ton, saw friends, and bought a lot of records. (Ok, S bought a lot of records. I bought a book. Surprise!)

I enjoyed my job at the library more and more with each experience. Sure there are moments when patrons make me want to throw things, but those scenarios are quickly trumped by memories of a girl giggling over her first library card, a boy telling me he likes the books I pick out, my regular kid visitors who made me a bracelet because they like me, the grandmas from my book club shrieking over the baby news. One of our high school volunteers designed her own program, and we successfully put it on (and let me tell you, I couldn’t have been more proud). Summer Reading Program was a HUGE success with some events having more than 120 very happy children. My teen club, the nerdfighters, celebrated its one year anniversary, and they surprised me with a party and scrapbook that brought tears to my eyes. If starting the club, and bringing all of them together, was the best thing I ever did as a librarian, I’d be set.

Also…we bought a house! Yeah, S and I are homeowners which feels so adult (oddly more adult than having a kid.) We fix things and paint things and own a rake. It’s awesome, though, having this little house of our own. It’s ours to do as we please with (like paint the kitchen teal, which I might have done) and ours to love. And now, ours to create a little nursery in.

I turned 30. Scary. But kind of great, too.

Other Favorites

Movies: I think I saw a grand total of four movies in the cinema this year. Maybe more. I don’t know. I love watching movies, but I also get restless. And I hate being disappointed. So I don’t really have favorites of the year. I did really love Catching Fire and Frozen though. (The soundtrack of the latter may be on repeat at our home. S definitely does not want to build a snowman anymore.)

TV: During my first trimester, when all I wanted to do was sleep, I decided to check out Awkward because I love teenage melodrama (surprise surprise). I might have finished the first season in a weekend. And then the second. And then the third (as the last few episodes aired). So, yeah, you could say I’m a fan now. S & I together finally jumped on the Friday Night Lights bandwagon and I’m so glad we did (see: teenage melodrama). We might have just purchased the box set. Riggins! As for old favorites, I’m still highly in love with Mad Men and Parks and Recreation.

Plays: We saw Book of Mormon this year, and it was awesome. I love the songs (as awkward and awful as some are), the story, the whole moral. (Yes, there’s a moral!) It’s just a supremely well-done show, and I’m so happy it finally came to…ORLANDO!

Music: Let’s be honest, I haven’t updated my iPod since college. Aside from radio hits, the only *new* CD I checked out (aside from the aforementioned Frozen soundtrack and other various Broadway musicals) was Rkives by Rilo Kiley. A compilation of previously unreleased b-sides from a band I loved…in college. So I guess my music taste hasn’t changed much. But, man, that CD was great.

And, I suppose, that is it. There were downs, too, but I’d prefer to reflect on the ups, on the ways the year will be remembered. 2013 was great, and I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings.

And to you all, thank you so much for reading my blog, and going through these journeys with me. Your comments and likes make me smile. If I could hug you all, I would.

And so, until next year. Thanks for reading!

xo, Lauren

Not Without My Leggings

As happens when one is pregnant, I’m predominantly wearing leggings. (Not as pants, mind you. I’d never let Blair Waldorf down.) My professional skirts have stopped fitting (sob), and pants are just uncomfortable. So, leggings and dresses every day.

My co-worker (who works at a different library branch) thinks elastic waists are an abomination to fashion. So when I emailed him to let him know of my current situation, he sent me back the following:

I really hope that’s a line from your tween pregnancy YA novel. Suffering complications during her pregnancy, twelve year old Donna McPregers is cryogenically frozen until medical technology is capable of bringing her baby to term, she awakens in a dystopian future in which elastic is a precious commodity and her leggings put her in the crosshairs of New America’s sexy teen overlord who simply must have her pants. AND HER BABY.

Lauren Gibaldi writes: Not Without My Leggings.

Clearly me forcing him to read YA novels has worked.