Tag Archives: Pregnancy

Rosie

By Mary

The other month I ran into a former neighbor who reminded me about how he spent the night at my parent’s house taking care of the four eldest Slattery siblings when my mom was at the hospital having Patrick. Apparently I screamed the night through, before falling asleep on his lap. I guess when you’re two, having Mom away for the first time ever is a rough experience.

Aurora has passed her due date and will be welcoming another daughter into the world any time now.

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The current baby of the family will soon become a big sister.

angel baby

I adore Antonia, or Rosie as she is often times called.

Like me, she is the fourth child in her family, and her birth order will surely form her in many ways.At this point in her life she seldom used words, but instead stretches out her chubby arms or points towards what she wants.

angel baby Antonia

Usually it’s a way of communication to be held, which just to happens to be one of my favorite things to do when I am in Aurora’s company.

nieces

As always, it will be a delight to be an aunt again, and I’ll be more than happy to let Antonia scream on my lap as she misses her Mama. She may not know it at the time, but gaining a new siblings is one of the best things life has to offer, even if it means being demoted from being the baby of the brood.

Read more about Aurora here:

How I Became a Slattery- A Love Story

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A Thousand Words

by Kate

In a week and a day, a Blue Moon approaches, and so does the birth of my baby boy. This pregnancy seems to have stolen the words from the tip of my tongue and severed the link between my thoughts and my fingertips. In general, my writing tumbles out in a rush and posts compose themselves. These days, I struggle to compose a grocery list, or to remember the name of the daily objects around me. Sentences begin and fade away, and blog posts don’t begin at all.

During the last months of pregnancy, it is hard to believe that being pregnant is not eternal but temporal in nature. I have faith that my ability to speak, and write, and leap will return in due course- but it is the sort of faith that seems faint and far off. On a daily basis, it really does feel like I will be pregnant forever. Perhaps this is part of the reason that I have almost no pictures of my previous pregnancies. During my first pregnancy, I did pour out my soul in words as often as possible. Knowing that I would be giving my first child up for adoption meant that I clung fiercely to every moment of that pregnancy, and the journal that I kept is vivid and powerful. However, I wasn’t posing for pretty pregnancy shots. Thankfully in the final week of my pregnancy I asked a friend to take one quick picture. I was in the middle of tearing down kitchen cabinets as we redid the kitchen in my parents home. I am wearing beat up mens cargo pants, a thin blue t shirt, and an awkward grin. I am so grateful to have that picture. For years, that picture tucked into the journal of my pregnancy served as a touchstone for me to look back and see that time, that pregnancy, that motherhood really did happen.

During my second pregnancy, I was struggling to adjust to a new marriage, new city, and entirely new life. It was winter and hard to keep moving when everything in my life had shifted so drastically, although thanks to my husband I kept dancing and through dancing found a new balance, even as the shape of my body dramatically shifted. Still I was submerged in myself somehow, and shy of the camera during that pregnancy as well. Again, at the last moment, I decided it was important to document my pregnancy. On the stone steps of an old church on Easter morning, less than 24 hours before giving birth, I posed for an awkward but beautiful shot of my belly in full bloom, complete with high heels and an Easter hat. Again, I am so glad I did. I have looked back at that picture many times, as the beginning of an incredibly joyful time in my life with my daughter Olympia. She loves the picture too.

And here I am, in the midst of the last week (or two) of my third pregnancy. Between running  after my exuberant daughter and caring for my elderly neighbor, I have spent a great deal of this pregnancy profoundly exhausted. Thankfully I had enough energy to be sewn into a sparkling dress for a Samba performance at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Hall in my second trimester, but in general I have felt wan and weak and tired and without words to write or a hint of the creativity needed to set up a photo shoot.  But! Lately I have been inspired by the beautiful pictures taken by the lovely blogger Jenna, who is a radiantly beautiful pregnant woman. I look at her pictures and think dang it, I want some of that. Pregnancy seems eternal but is fleeting, and I know that in a few months and in the years to come I will want a record of this time with this child within.

I wasn’t planning on doing a photo shoot when I headed out the door hand in hand with my two year old yesterday afternoon, but I had just bought some huge bright turquoise colored earrings, and the shadows of late summer afternoon were slanting into evening in an alluring manner, and so I grabbed my camera and called my friend Christina and headed towards the old brick warehouses on the edge of the Allegheny River. I am a big believer in taking pictures in beautiful places while the light is doing interesting things. This makes up for my lack of actual understanding of how cameras actually work. I am just too lazy to figure that out, at least so far. For this Blue Moon Baby to be photoshoot, I thought that the former loading dock of a red brick former icehouse converted into studio space down near the river would be a great start. This space has caught my attention and held it every time I’ve walked by for the past three years.

It was perfect. If you, like me, feel shy and awkward about a third trimester photo shoot, I recommend: an enchanted spot. Find one that works for you. For me, adding huge earrings and heavy eye makeup was essential.

A rambunctious small child is optional, but will definitely help to keep the mood from getting too serious. At least, she will try.

You also want a kind, compassionate, and creative photographer to work with, like my lovely friend Christina.

Christina was a joy to work with. After we climbed down off the back dock, she agreed to slide down the gravel path to the rocky shore of the Allegheny, where the water laps against slabs of broken concrete and rusty nails- and that was where the light and the view became really magical.

This picture is worth a thousand words. I am so grateful to have captured that moment of water and light. It has reminded me that this waiting time is beautiful, and it lifts me out of the fatigue and the aches and swelling I feel and reminds me of the incredible beauty of pregnancy. For that, I am grateful.

For more pictures, click here.

Fine Feathers at Carnegie Hall

by Kate

I spent yesterday in a red feather headdress and sparkling gold high heels, dancing samba with an orchestra and a full chorus onstage at Carnegie Hall.

Granted, we’re talking the Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh, not the larger and vastly more prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Of course, if you have ever seen the movie Flashdance you may recognize this as the home of the fictional Pittsburgh Ballet School the heroine is longing to attend… and be even more impressed that I had a chance to perform within this marble temple of the arts.

Although the Carnegie Music Hall itself is tiny inside, it is also a spectacularly opulent space.

I loved this staircase.

And these murals.

The opportunity to dance at the music hall came about due to the  Brazilian dancer and choreographer, Luciana Brussi, who is not only an amazing samba group director, but also a model for how to look amazing while in the middle of the sixth month of pregnancy.

Luciana was approached by the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony, who happened to be performing an entire concert of Latin and South American music, culminating with a samba piece entitled Brazil.

We spent the afternoon watching the Symphony rehearse, and waiting for our turn to take the stage. It was delightful. Sitting in a deep red theatre seat wearing dancing shoes, with a bag of sequined and feathered costuming next to me, is definitely one of my favorite places in the world to be.

On the other hand, I have to admit that being backstage with an entire Youth Symphony is something you MIGHT want to avoid at all costs. The experience brings a new meaning to the term pandemonium.

In our dressing room, the Pittsburgh Samba Group was experiencing pandemonium of a different sort- involving lots of feathers, glitter, and sequins.

Perhaps most dramatically, the zipper on my dress finally broke under the strain of my five month pregnant frame, and I had to be sewn into my dress.

Luckily, Luciana had a needle and stitched me up in no time, so I was ready for our Carnegie Hall debut.

The Youth Symphony was great. I can’t recommend their concerts highly enough. If you live in Pittsburgh, make time to attend one these concerts- especially if you’ve got kids. The concerts are free, there are tons of kids running around, and the atmosphere is simultaneously sophisticated and relaxed enough for toddlers. Also, you never know- you may happen to see an entire samba troupe, with red feather headdresses, front stage and center. I sure hope so.

For more pictures of my Carnegie Hall adventure, click here.

A Pregnant Pose

by Kate

What better way to prove that I do indeed look pregnant than to pose in front of a colorful Pittsburgh mural featuring the largest pregnant woman I could find? Here I am, at 20 weeks, not quite as large as the giant blossoming lady… but getting there.

See? Totally showing. And being pummeled from within on a regular basis. And still (trying to) dance.

Bright, light.

by Kate

This week marks the midpoint of my pregnancy. I celebrated this milestone with a trip to the thrift store. After a full month of wearing beat up low cut jeans with a rubber band strung through the frayed buttonhole on my more sophisticated days and regularly fighting the temptation to wear pajama pants in public, it was time to admit that I needed maternity jeans. In the dressing room, I pulled on a pair and then threw my arms to the sky in exultation. Why, I wondered, did I hesitate so long? In fact, why does anyone wear anything other than maternity pants with a soft elastic waist, ever?! I will know the answer to this a few months hence, but for now I am reveling in dowdy luxury.

Except on formal occasions, like the Legends of Raq Bellydance show I attended last night with my toddler as my date.  On formal occasions, my current policy is to keep dowdiness at bay with brightly printed dresses and high heels- four inch high orange wedges, in this case. Because every six foot tall pregnant woman lugging a squirming 40 pound toddler to a late night live dance show needs high heels.

I do love those shoes. I saw them at Target last week and reached out for them, powerless to resist. I figured they would elevate my maternity style, both figuratively and literally, and I really think the knowledge that I possessed them gave me the courage to reach for the maternity jeans again. Everything else we are wearing came straight from a long and productive morning at the South Side Salvation Army. My maxi dress was inspired by my gorgeous sister-in-law Nicole, who is also six foot tall and due to have her baby any time in the next two weeks, and the general explosion of color was inspired by my husband, who recently informed me that wearing all black at all public events is not always sophisticated and is often boring, and also by my bright curly haired toddler who is VERY proud of her fingernail polish and was a delightful date at the dance show.

And finally, my recent sartorial brightness is definitely a result of the spring and the flowers and the light pouring into the world. The world is bright, these days.

Ladies, Babies, and Little Girls

By Mary

A few weeks ago a stack of pink envelopes with baby shower invitations were sent out to invite people to Nicole’s “Surprise” baby shower. Neither my mother nor myself are particularly shower throwing nor going people. However, having one in honor of the newest addition to the family seemed like a most fitting thing to do for Nicole as a gesture of our love and support to her, and as a way for her to score some useful new things that the baby can put to good use. Before Nicole came over for a supposed visit with me; Clare, Mom and I banished the males from the house and got ready for the party. There was much cleaning to do. Naturally, I was more inclined to focus on the flowers and food than scrubbing floors and doing dishes.

My sister Clare made signs for the food.

My niece Claire made signs for Nicole.

After a frantic morning of cleaning and putting the finishing touches on the quilt that Mom and I have been working on together, things were in functioning order.

Ladies, girls and babies started showing up. The guest of honor coincidentally had her mother in town for the week. What a fantastic addition it was to have Elaine Naugle celebrating Nicole’s soon to be motherhood with us.

A special guest was this little one. Pearl Rose was born to my friend, Mary Marks only a few weeks ago. Isn’t she just a gem of a baby?

A bonus of having a spring shower is enjoying the weather.

Time spent outside in the clean spring sunshine was enjoyed by many.

Well perhaps, not everyone. These girls look like they are having a lovely time. Though in reality, some hardcore Girl War was going on which included tears, cliques and eventually adult intervention. The solution? Dress up of course.

Once the costuming came outside, the fighting died down and imaginary games in the garden proceeded.

When Nicole opened the gifts, the girls all crowded at her feet and jostled for the honor of handing her the presents.

The dual efforts of Moms quilting and my experimental cross stitching was revealed.

Before we knew it, the gifts were all unwrapped, the ice cream, scones and brownies were melting or gone, and there was a trail of dress up clothing lining the garden path. Soon enough the afternoon hours were dissipating and it was time for the ladies, girls and babies to head back to their homes. The only one that stayed firmly put is the little one in Nicole’s womb. Very soon though, he or she will be just as physically visible as the rest of and it will be fun to meet Nicole’s non-baby shower “surprise”. The question is, will it be  Felicity or a Lucus? Time will tell!

Sooner Sister

By Mary

Nearly one year ago I flew to Oklahoma to spend a few days with Nicole before she officially joined the Slattery family and relocated from her Oklahoma roots to the soil of the mid-west, here in central Wisconsin.

After an April wedding, and a May honeymoon in Texas, Nicole settled both herself and her worldly possessions into the apartment that she shares with Robert in Saint Joseph’s Ridge.

St. Joseph Ridge is an unincorporated town running along Hwy 33 with a population of about 500 people. Oklahoma City may be a larger city than little St Joe’s; with it’s population being around 600,000. Even if you were to take a head count that included all the dairy cows surrounding the nearby pastoral area, St. Joe’s still would be a far cry from the census count of Oklahoma’s densely packed city and metro area.

Over the past year, Nicole has done a fantastic job of adjusting to the cold northern winter, to the dark earth, and to the lifestyle and ways of our clan. After the full four seasons cycle, she’s been inundated.

Despite the inundation, there are drawbacks to living in such a rural area. Making friends can be quite a challenge. Back home my Sister-In-Law was accustomed to being surrounded by a group of classy suburban southern friends who she could watch TLC and buy snow cones with. Here we don’t even sell snow cones, and she has to watch sports with Robert instead of TLC.

Nicole did more than bring her material things to Wisconsin though. She also brought with her a wonderful sense of humor and a Sooner heart that is full of love, and open to both humor and adventure. Growing up in the Bible Belt, I bet she never imagined living a life in the Midwest as the wife of a carpenter. I know she always imagined having lots and lots of babies, but really, I dare to say she probably would have thought about having experience like the urine jug saga. I doubt she ever thought that pregnancy pictures such as these would be taken after the traditional post Easter Vigil powwow at Leo and Leona’s.

Initially I must state, this little impromptu photo shoot was designed to highlight the heels she was wearing (she knew it would make Kate proud). However, I got a little carried away and decided that my water chugging Sister needed to show off how fantastically photogenic she is. What better place is there to take pregnancy pictures than behind the bar?

Of course one picture is not enough: especially when the bartender wanted in on the shoot.

Even with her pioneer sooner spirit, Nicole got a bit overwhelmed by the last invisible shoe shot. Maybe it was just baby related acid reflex, I dunno….

After last weeks pow-wow I owe that sister-in-law something special. She’s made life here more complete, and I hope that I have made her life here a bit more full too. If only I liked TLC and was able to buy snow cones…..