Sneak Peek

So this is what I have to look forward to this fall:

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Me, pregnant with Eleanor at about 38 weeks. I don’t know how I was able to walk around.

My due date with Eleanor was March 31st, which I was pretty certain was incorrect, but whatever, it’s what the midwife’s little circular cardboard calendar told us, so she marked it on my chart as March 31st. I think I would have preferred April Fool’s Day, which, given the size of her, would have been far more appropriate. My due date came and went; I’d been having Braxton-Hicks contractions for months, so there was nothing going on that indicated Bun was ready to make his appearance. (I say “his” because I was convinced I was having a boy.)

I had a sonogram on April 4th, because my midwives wanted to make sure that Bun was still doing okay, and to give us an estimate as to how big s/he was, since my belly was measuring like 46 cm or something ridiculously close to that. I think I just about fell off the examination table when the technician said that based on her measurements, my baby could weigh approximately eleven pounds, five ounces. Give or take a pound or so, she added. Afterwards, with the older two kids safely oblivious at school, Daniel and I went for a leisurely waddle along the Amherst bike path to discuss our imminent future, which probably involved a huge baby. The next day, I was scheduled for my weekly midwife visit, and beforehand we went to Chipotle for lunch, where I happily noshed on lots of guacamole and an enormous burrito and some chips. (My appetite during pregnancy has rarely wavered, except during the first trimester, where I basically have to eat all day long to stave off nausea.) Off we went to the midwives’ office for my appointment, where I was told I would need to be induced, since they were reluctant to let Bun have the opportunity to grow any larger.

“What?!” I exclaimed. “If I had known that, I would never have eaten Chipotle for lunch!” I had visions of the worst kind of labor-induced vomiting in just a few hours, and thought I’d never be able to eat Tex-Mex again.

I’ll spare you all of the gory details; no one really needs to hear yet another birth story, but Eleanor Kathryn Fischer came barreling out after about an hour and a half of the worst Pitocin-induced contractions I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing, weighing in at a solid 9 pounds, 15 ounces. The nurse who weighed and measured her after she was born said she’d never measured a bigger head circumference on a baby.

Go Beth. And I can still happily eat an order of nachos (sans meat and cheese nowadays).

Anyway, my intention with this blog post was not to reflect upon my most recent pregnancy and labor experiences, but to talk about photography. The funny thing is, looking at photographs conjures up such powerful memories of the time and place where they were captured, I couldn’t help but be launched firmly back into early spring of 2012. Maybe the fact that I heard Frankenstein’s powerful heartbeat lub-dub-dubbing away this morning for the first time made me super-excited that I’m doing all of this again. Definitely still nervous (FOUR KIDS! AHHHHHH!!!), but mostly excited.

Pregnancy is a time for creation, and I often find myself tackling creative projects in which I wouldn’t normally have the time or energy to invest. There’s something about incubating a tiny human that gets my brain muscles flexing. During my pregnancy with Eleanor, I prepared for a DMA audition at the Eastman School of Music. This time, I’m relaunching a photography business. I know absolutely nothing about running a business, but with lots of time to spend resting (oh hello again, couch), I’m going to learn all about it. Be on the lookout for the debut of Fischer Photography, complete with a fancy new website, opportunities for family portraits and professional headshots, wedding and engagement packages, and more. Until that time, I leave you with two of my favorite landscape images taken by Daniel.

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And Baby Makes…FOUR KIDS.

So we’re having another baby. This means one of the following:

a) We’re nuts.
b) We don’t care about overpopulation.
c) We already get plenty of sleep, have plenty of money, and loads of time to spare, so why not throw another kid into the mix?

I vote for a), don’t you?

I never thought I would have a big family. The Quimbys are a spare bunch; I only have one sister and one first cousin. Daniel, however, has twenty first cousins and loads of aunts and uncles, so he’s used to big chaotic family gatherings. I will say that at one time, probably when I was twelve or so, I thought having a boatload of kids sounded like fun. That’s because I had NO IDEA HOW DIFFICULT RAISING CHILDREN ACTUALLY IS. And let’s not even talk about childbirth.

I’ll be honest: I’m nervous about managing four kids. I’m thirty-seven years old, and my oldest starts middle school this fall. Eleanor shows zero interest in saying bye-bye to diapers anytime soon (but that’s gonna change FAST, no pun intended). While I’m a pretty healthy specimen, I know I don’t have the energy and stamina I had when I was a new mom at twenty-six. And it’s not as if life is going to slow down any time soon.

But let me be clear about one thing: this was no accident, in case anyone was wondering. I remember distinctly feeling that my family was not yet complete shortly after Eleanor was born. In the months that followed, though, I firmly declared that I was DONE. NO MORE CHILDREN. Enough. I had more than I could handle. Still, there was that nagging feeling remaining…no more snuggly babies? No more nursing? No more tiny wiggly toes? Sigh. So we gave ourselves a time limit–we’d try for six months. If, during those six months, we didn’t conceive, then the door was firmly closed and we’d be happy with our wonderful brood of three.

Well.

I’m crossing my fingers that everything continues to go smoothly and that our little bean is growing healthy; my next midwife appointment is in less than two weeks, and I get to enjoy several months of “Advanced Maternal Age” bullsh-t. At my request we’ll be finding out baby’s gender this time. I want to know whether I can send Eleanor’s pink clothes on their merry way or if I need to hang onto them. Look at me, actually planning ahead!

Adrienne, Beth, Connor, Daniel, Eleanor, and Frankenstein

Adrienne, Beth, Connor, Daniel, Eleanor, and “Frankenstein”

 

 

 

 

 

Racing My Battery

I made a pact with myself earlier this year that I would start doing two things more often: reading for pleasure, and writing. I’m doing pretty well in the reading department–my father gave me my a subscription to New Yorker magazine for Christmas, and though they often pile up on my desk waiting to be read, when I allow myself the luxury to delve into its pages, there is no greater pleasure in the world. My favorite thing is to curl up either on my bed or the couch with my Nana’s pink afghan, and usually a cat, and read the fictional short story first. I found that after I had children, my attention span shrank to the size of a gnat, and sometimes a short story is all I can handle. Most of the longer articles in New Yorker I have to save for when I’m particularly well-rested (HA), and while the poems and cartoons rarely fail to please, I have to be in the right mindset to properly appreciate the rest of the magazine.

I’ve also been reading all of Kate Christensen’s novels; I first read her memoir entitled “Blue Plate Special,” which is her eccentric life story told with a heavy emphasis on food and the indelible role it plays. Right up my alley! She creates these fascinating, self-deprecating, often unlikeable characters and weaves them into incredible stories that are entirely believable, many based on her own life experiences, and I am unable to put her books down once I’ve started. I was on a Louise Erdrich kick late last summer, and have decided that Russell Banks is another author I need to spend more time getting to know after reading “The Reserve.”

“Racing the Battery” is a bit of an inside joke with myself; I own a six-year-old MacBook Pro with a battery that lasts about fifteen minutes when it’s unplugged. So in order to fulfill the second part of my pact, which is to write more, I will often race my dying laptop battery to see how much writing I can get done in that short period of time. Today’s challenge was particularly difficult, as Eleanor decided to stink up the room about midway through my essay, which required a five-minute changing hiatus, and I came back to find my battery at a dismal 42%. Knowing that the “reserve battery warning” was only minutes away, I typed furiously away, but ended up having to grab my charger. Be glad, therefore, otherwise you would not be reading this incredibly mundane blog post!

Mundane? Yes. Fulfilling my goal to write more? Yes. And how much of our lives are made up of the mundane, the dull, the repetitive (poopy diapers!), the ordinary? If I can carve out a few minutes during my morning to toss out some mundane thoughts about reading, my day is somehow slightly less ordinary, because I’ve taken the time to document that which will not seem mundane when the kids are grown up and gone, and I have all day long to sit with my pink afghan and read New Yorker from cover to cover.