Baby Kicks

When I found out I was expecting, one of the things I couldn’t wait to experience was that first big baby kick – I knew it would be a subtle thing, and that I might not even know what it was, or that I’d pass it off as gas bubbles or something else (because believe me, there were plenty of those from weeks 7-12 or so). But Russ surprised me again when I felt that first kick – a swift and easily identified one – at only about 15 weeks. I’d felt “flutters” as early as 13 weeks, but they seemed like isolated incidents. While I’ll never know if those flutters were true movements or just flukes, I can say for sure now that Russ is a mover and a shaker.

It’s just plain strange. In theory, your baby can still be pretty small when they start…yet the movements feel so BIG to you. It definitely drives home the point that there is a person in there (which is, if ya ask me, crazy in and of itself). And those little dances and flutters and punches can really surprise you – like Sunday afternoon. Jon and I were on the way to go eat after church when Russ suddenly began using my bladder for a trampoline (or at least, it felt that way). No kidding: I went from totally normal, looking out the window and chatting, to bolting straight up and going “Oh my GOD, get me to a bathroom now! RUN THE RED LIGHT!!!” I’ve not had an experience like that up to this point in the pregnancy, and it made me chuckle (afterwards, mind you) and imagine all the ridiculous stories I’m going to have to tell by the time that this kid graduates from college. It really is going to be an adventure, and it all starts with one kick.

For now, though, my interaction with this rambunctious little guy is limited to those kicks and flips. As long as a cold iced tea gets him going, a loud song sung gets him dancing, and the deep reverberations of his daddy’s voice make him perk up, we’re just soaking it up. But I have to tell you, I think he can hear my typing, because he is going NUTS over here…crazy kid. *sigh*

Until next time – peace and love

Becky

In honor of my baby’s daddy

For the past nearly six weeks, I have not woken up to this smiling face very often. Jonathan has been traveling quite a bit (gone all week, home for a day or two, gone again, etc.), and I’m so relieved and thankful to have him home for awhile. As a corporate auditor, he gets to go to some pretty cool places, for sure – but the downside is that I don’t get to tag along. And so I guess it makes sense that I’ve come to appreciate him a) even more than I did before this long stretch of his almost constant weekday absence and b) certainly more than I did before I found out I was expecting our first baby.

For a lot of people who might stop by and read this blog occasionally – and even for some friends and family of mine – Jonathan remains a bit of a mystery. Not that he doesn’t go out of his way to talk to people and get to know them, but it’s just unrealistic to expect everyone to know you. So here is a little bit about “that guy Becky ended up marrying.”

Jonathan walked into my senior year advanced romanticism English class (and my life) in the fall of 2005. I’d just gotten out of a not-quite-relationship-but-not-quite-friendship situation that had exhausted me mentally and emotionally, and I’d basically decided that men just weren’t for me and I’d just adopt dogs and cats instead. Seemed like a much easier prospect than continuing to be disappointed. But somehow things not only fell into place, they plummeted into position in warp speed, and two weeks after a very casual Sunday lunch date, we were in this thing for life. As in, the M word was already on the table and the L-word had already been dropped – and without an ounce of fear or restraint, on either of our parts. It just happened…and I think in a way that is scary to some people but really beautiful at the same time. There is no place for fear in love.

But I still had a number of other fears to deal with, things rooted in all aspects of my life, from my spiritual and religious questions to my intense self-scrutiny when it came to my looks and my body. Those first few years of our marriage (years 1 and 2, to be most specific) were an incredibly huge struggle, and Jonathan exhibited an equally incredible amount of patience and steadfast love and encouragement in getting me through all of that. Perhaps the truth is that, when I married Jonathan, I still had the crazy illusion that I could fix all my problems by ignoring them – or worse, by continuing the insane process of continually doing the same things and expecting different results (or expecting to feel differently about myself, I suppose). To be 100% honest, perfectly blunt and unabashed: Jonathan Wilhoit helped rescue me from a period of depression, a feeling of disconnection, an overexercising problem, and a damn-near full-on eating disorder.

There, I said it. And this isn’t to downplay the work that I myself put into getting through things…but without Jonathan’s support – the support that taught me that love is an effort you make every day and an unwavering commitment – I would still be doing the same stupid crap and wondering what was next in my life.

About two years ago, things started getting better, and Jonathan and I finally got a chance to enjoy being newlyweds. We went to concerts, we traveled, we fished for bream on the lake, and we took up hiking. And then we went to more concerts, and did a few more hikes. And I started making food that wasn’t “diet food,” which was nice – since, ya know, Jonathan had no clue that I make awesome meatloaf and a wicked baked ziti and stuff like that. I hadn’t even shown him all the things I could do, and the last two years have been such a huge period of growth for us as a couple that it made total sense that God decided to send little Russ our way exactly when he did.

To be honest, I wasn’t ready for this until recently.

To tell you what kind of guy I married, there are a million anecdotes I could share, but I’ll just give you one that happened just hours ago in downtown Greenville. After church, we decided to hit Liberty Taproom downtown, since they serve a She Crab Soup that has been a constant craving of mine since about 12 or 13 weeks (I get it with 3 or 4 slices of lemon and just coat the crap out of it in lemon juice…in other words, a big ol’ bowl of AMAZING).

When we walked out after our meal, just as we approached our car, a very skinny, frail man approached us. He was wearing a sweatshirt and sweatpants on a 75-degree day and using a cane, so we kind of gathered that he might not be fully “well.” Upon closer view, we saw disturbing signs all over his face – a whitish-yellow crust forming around his eyes, and some sort of chronic skin condition that had taken over the entire right side of his face. His cheeks were puffy and his abdomen was swollen – both signs of someone who is not getting enough food and proper nutrition. He asked us if we had a moment to speak with him (which we did), and he rolled up his pants to show us his leg – a shockingly thin, skin-over-bone leg that led upward to an extremely swollen knee with a large surgical scar on it. He said he’d been hit by a car several weeks ago, and that he didn’t have any money and just wanted some food. The fact that he asked us for a meal and didn’t give a nondescript request for money really took us both off guard, we later decided. As the tiny man pleaded with us, Jonathan explained to him that he didn’t have any cash on him – but that he’d be glad to buy him a meal.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud of my husband.

I continued on to get the car while Jonathan walked with the man back up to the restaurant and ordered him some food and a lemonade to take with him. And you know, it doesn’t really matter what the guy’s circumstances were, how much or how little truth there may have been to his story – we could tell there was some need there, and it didn’t pain us one bit to feed this guy lunch or dinner for today.

But that’s the man I married – that guy that pulled me through a horrible time in my life, that guy that will give you the shirt of his back and even let you borrow his favorite fishing pole. He’s the guy that I saw him being today, and I just can’t think of any other man being the father of my little boy.

There have been times in the past that I questioned what kind of mother I would be, if I could do it, if I’d screw my kids up or make them better people. But I never, ever, ever had to wonder that about Jonathan Wilhoit.

And that’s my baby’s daddy.

THE ultrasound

Though I can’t quite believe that it took me two days to finally get on this blog with the big update, I’m here now – better late than never, I guess. Monday morning was the big day, the big answer to the big question that has been looming over us since day 1 of this big journey…boy or girl?

Well, I’m happy to report (whatever, I would’ve been happy with either one) that the answer is:

IT’S A BOY!!

Yep, that’s right – our baby boy, Russell Clark Wilhoit, will be here in September (well, actually, the last week of August would be just FINE with me…Russ, are you listening?)

It was really an incredible experience, and I was so happy that Jonathan and I were able to share it. It was one of those defining moments in our relationship so far. The stuff you look back on when you’re old and still smile about and remember. Or at least, I can’t imagine forgetting it.

Russ is gorgeous, from we can tell. He’s going to be tall, that’s pretty clear already – he has his daddy’s nose (we got a few 3D pics from our oh-so-sweet ultrasound tech) and, though his butt is currently pretty lacking, I know it’ll fill right in and be quite pinchable by the time he arrives. My only question now, after seeing him is – how the heck can this kid possibly bake until September? If I make it to my due date, he is going to be monstrous, and I really would like to avoid a c-section if possible, so I think I’m going to be somewhat more open to an induction if it is offered. We’ll see what happens on that front, but August should be an interesting month.

And from the looks of it, August could be a slightly breathless month (courtesy of Russ’s tiny feet getting stuck in my ribs)…Russ is 10 inches long already (crown to foot, not crown to rump) at 18 weeks. Maybe this explains why I’ve been feeling him move since 15 or 16 weeks – fairly early for a first baby. Today around 4:30 or so, he all of a sudden got tickled and did a little baby breakdance in my tummy. I felt a few “swooshes” and then five or six strong movements or kicks, in close succession! Then, he kind of shimmied about every few moments, until he calmed back down. I don’t know what got into him, but I giggled the whole time. It was the sweetest thing. I just love being able to talk to him and call him by his name and know…”That’s my baby Russ.”

One of the things I love about Russell’s name is the meaning behind it. Though “Russell” isn’t a family name, “Clark” is both Jon’s middle name and his dad’s, and it was Jonathan’s late grandfather’s first name. Jon’s grandad was someone he really looked up to and has many great memories with. I wish I could’ve met him. Also, the initial “RC” is one shared by myself, my late uncle Rick, and my late grandfather, Richard C. Powell, Sr. So that’s where the name comes from. One thing I want to do for Russ’s nursery is type out one of my grandfather’s poems (something that will be relevant to Russ as he grows up) on some pretty paper, put it in a nice frame, and hang it in his room. I want writing and creativity and history to be something he’s immersed in from a young age, and I can’t think of any poet whose work would be better suited on my son’s walls than that of his great grandfather. It makes me a bit teary thinking about it, but it’s really just a happy sort of teary, I promise!

Anyhow, it’s about my bedtime and there’s not much else to say! I’ve posted some pics below.

I’m the happiest girl alive this week. I just feel so blessed. At the beginning of this pregnancy, I lived in a sort of cautious excitement from week to week. It didn’t seem like it could be real. Stuff like this happened to a lot of people I knew, but not to me – or so I’d talked myself into believing. But Monday, seeing that precious face on the 3D ultrasound screen made me realize that this is really my life and that is really my son.

It is the deepest happiness I’ve ever known.


His tiny face…look at that nose!! That’s his daddy’s nose…:)


It’s a boy!!


His lil’ butt and legs. He has very long legs!!


Short, fat feet – I can’t wait to kiss them!!

17 weeks, 5 days pregnant in St. Simons Island, Georgia

This is not to rub it in, but let me just start by telling you that, as I type this post, I am sitting on the back deck of a marshfront condo, in my happily-pregnant-but-this-still-fits two-piece bathing suit, inhaling the familiar scent of pluff mud and frying shrimp in the distance.

Say it with me now: Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

This week has been a fantastic one so far, to say the least. I only worked two days this week (Monday and Tuesday) and then we took off for my parent’s lakehouse (on Lake Marion, near Manning, SC) on Tuesday night. It just cuts about three hours off our trip from Greenville, and it’s free, so we figured why not?

After a short stay overnight there, we got up and headed south to our destination: St. Simons Island, Georgia (hereafter referred to as “SSI”). We stopped at a Cracker Barrel for breakfast (not so coincidentally, the same CB we hit up almost four years ago on our way to our honeymoon, also in SSI). Nothing like a plate full of over-medium eggs, salted tomato slices, and hashbrown casserole to let you know you’re officially “on vacation!” Yum! After an easy two-and-a-half hour drive, we arrived on the island just in time for a late lunch. We went straight to our absolute favorite SSI haunt, Cafe 4th of May (also just calling “4th a’ May” by the locals here). After a light lunch, we were ready to go walk around the island a bit.

The great thing about SSI is that it’s a vacation spot, but it’s hardly a “tourist trap” the way that Myrtle Beach is. And I know a lot of people get all up in arms when I say that about the “Redneck Riviera,” but I was born and raised there, so I can talk about it however I like and you can just deal with. Anyhow, in Myrtle Beach, it often seems so overdeveloped and just…icky…as if every single toilet seat harbors a strong case of crabs. The locals seem to grin and bear it as they are increasingly shoved into box developments and poorly planned infrastructure, without even the slightest thought as to how local leaders and officials are going to continue keeping up the charade of calling that place “a family beach.” Can ya tell I’m not interested in moving back any time soon? Maybe Murrell’s Inlet or Pawley’s Island would be perfect for me, but no more Myrtle Beach, please. I mean…well, whatever, but Myrtle Beach has its place in the heirarchy of vacation destinations, and a “family beach” it ain’t. Sorry, Liz Gilland, Burroughs & Chapin, and and the rest of the whole MB motley crew, but that’s a load of horse crap disguised as cornbeef hash.

Again, sorry for the digression, but it’s my blog and that’s my hometown and screw it, I’ll say what I want. (sticks tongue out at computer screen, sips lemonade, and returns to train of thought)

To me and Jon, SSI really is a family-oriented, mostly untouched place. The “Village” area is a small couple of blocks of kitschy shops and quaint restaurants, with a large fishing pier at the end that is always crowded with old men and young children reeling in some sort of odd catch. It’s not uncommon to see a school of dolphins making their way by the pier that looks across the bay towards Jekyll Island, and there’s almost always a family of stingrays congregating under the pier to scavenge discarded bait shrimp. But aside from that, it’s mostly small, older neighborhoods, one tiny elementary school, and the rest is natural beaches and marshes. The place has some pretty rich history, and amazingly enough, they’ve managed to leave those parts – like the old Fort Frederica settlement and the Christ Church site – safely preserved but respected by the developments around them. They give the history some space to sink in and resonate from decade to decade, century to century. There’s something to be said for that. Something we can all learn from.

Anyhow, enough of my blathering about development and politics and pluff mud.

We scored a pretty good deal to come down here, too – under $500 for a 4 day/4 night stay at a really nice little condo on a wide-open, protected marsh? I’ll take it! It’s really not an expensive place to vacation, especially if you’re a more laidback sort like us. Most of our time here is just eating good food and doing active stuff to burn it off and…um…naps. An embarassing amount of naps. We also love SSI b/c it’s really easy to work off all that yummy food we’ve been eating – we walk A LOT while we’re here. It’s been a blessing that we decided to come down in early April, because the temps are perfect (low 70s to low 80s for daytime highs so far, mostly 60s at night). You can lay out without breaking a sweat, and an hour-long walk yields nothing but a lemonade craving and a slight farmer’s tan. Pretty good if you’re an already hot-natured preggo.

On Sunday, we’ll pack up and head out of here, with the knowledge that after almost four years of marriage and three trips down here, we’re leaving SSI for the last time as “just us two.” Next time we come back, which I suspect will be sometime in Fall 2011 or Spring 2012 (wow…2012…that’s crazy), we’ll have a little “tagalong” of our own. It’s pretty funny because this is the first week that I’ve had people offer unsolicited “Congratulations!” and “When are you due?” comments. I even got a “Oh ma GAWSH, her belly is soooooooooooo cuuuuuuuuuute!!” today from a very Southern local shop-owner in the village. All of this is starting to feel very real, especially with the knowledge that, on Monday morning, we’re probably going to get to see if this little person is going to be Wren Caroline Wilhoit, or Russell Clark Wilhoit. I cannot wait. 🙂

And a lot of baby developments are happening this week, too. The belly is, of course, growing – but the movements have REALLY taken off this week! I’m starting to actually notice patterns, but more than that, we’re getting a lot of new moves from our little gymnast: last night, I swore this kid did an entire somersault. One minute, I felt this huge lump on the lower side of my abdomen, just to the right of center (my right). Two seconds later, there was this big poke and then a long drag across and the lump moved to left side of my belly – I’m pretty sure his/her feet ended up under my bladder or something, because then I had to pee so bad I couldn’t stand it. Go figure (haha)! The baby dances around a lot when I eat something hot (he or she seems to really enjoy all the she crab soup I’ve been downing), and also seems most active when mommy is just about to fall asleep. Hopefully that’s not an omen for my future as a mom, but by now, I know better than to even hope for a good sleeper.

We’re just really having a good time lately. I know that pregnancy will get rougher at the later stages in August and early September, just before I’m due. But for now, I feel pretty good – both emotionally and physically. I have my weepy days, sure – and there are days that I wish I had a rubber band gun to pelt people who wander into my cube at work with really silly comments or requests. But I’m just a normal woman, going through a normal process, and so far I’ve been really blessed to have a very happy pregnancy. As the summer heats up, I know it’ll get a little bit more hairy, but here’s hoping I can deal with it. Remember, there was a time when I didn’t think all of this would come so soon or so easily…having that perspective has changed me as a mother-to-be. I can deal with being a little pissy and looking a little chunky for the next few months. I know it’s all worth it.

Until next time, peace & love! 🙂

Becky

17 weeks and finally feeling like a family again

Well, I’m 17 weeks along now, and things around the Wilhoit house are finally starting to feel normal again. Since the beginning of March, Jonathan has been traveling during the weeks and we’ve only been together on the weekends. In my head, I know that it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as a lot of people I know who have been apart from their loved ones (namely, several military families who have endured separations of a year or more).

But in my heart, it was still difficult to be separated throughout the week and to say hello and goodby in the stretch of a day or two on the weekends. We made the best of it, and now the bulk of his spring travel is finished. The next week or so will be especially fun because we’re heading off to St. Simon’s Island, Georgia for a few days getaway and then we’ll come back the following Monday (April 12th) to finally, we hope, find out if this baby will be named Wren or Russell. I can’t wait to hear the words “boy” or “girl.” I know a lot of people wait and have the big “surprise,” and I think that would be so much fun to do on maybe a later child…but I’m just too much of a planner to not find out. Besides, my family is already practically putting down bets that it’s a girl, as are numerous coworkers, gym buddies, and even Jon himself. Jon says that he “wants a boy, but knows God as too much of a sense of humor not to give us a girl.” Did I mention I wasn’t an easy little girl? Okay, well…bless my mother. She put up with my wildly unkempt and precocious girlhood, only to be smacked with the incredibly headstrong and contrary teenager I eventually became. These days we’re the best of friends, but my poor mother (and father) really persevered through some trying years of my development into an adult, and if this baby is a little girl, I know she’ll have a lot of that spunk and fire and I will get what’s coming to me! Haha!

Last weekend, a good friend of mine had her baby daughter, and it was so cool to read her birth story. I’m not getting my hopes up for a birth like this, but this particular friend had a labor that was very swift and didn’t even register for the first several hours as “labor!” By the time she called her doula, she was probably quite dilated, and by the time she got to the hospital, it was time to push. She got the natural birth she’d wanted, AND the incredibly healthy baby she dreamed of. In fact, her little girl is already almost rolling over, if you can believe that – AT A WEEK OLD! Truly amazing. I should add that this pal stayed very active throughout her pregnancy. Take that, Vicki Iovine! Iovine, by the way, is the author of “The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy,” a book that has probably pissed me off more than it has helped me. Iovine has great information to give out, but she’s just a tad bit too pessimistic and very patronizing, neither of which are characteristics that I want coloring my pregnancy experience. Iovine tells readers in the book that she thinks workout out while pregnant is a waste of time because “You’re going to get fat anyway.” Maybe I’m naive, but I just don’t view “pregnant” and “fat” as anywhere near the same thing. But not everyone has to agree with me, and that is the beauty of this experience…it’s MY experience. So, walking, elliptical, and other cardio, lifting light weights, and doing Lotte Berk and some prenatal yoga here and there have been making me very happy without leaving me miserably sore. I feel good! Other than, ya know, all the “stretching” that is going on in my lower abdomen lately. Ouch!

Well, it’s Easter and it’s time for me to go get ready for church. Happy Easter to everyone out there! It’s an incredible day to remember what Christ did for us. I know he sure has been working in my life this year – wow! Until next time, peace & love!

Becky