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Posts Tagged ‘pregnancy’

Dear Baby,

Get out.

I’m sorry, that was rude. You’re new here (or, at least, you will be), so maybe you don’t know the rules yet.

When someone invites you over (with an expected end date), feeds you, houses you, and doesn’t complain (much) when you kick them in the ribs or squeeze their bladder, it’s only polite to leave at the appropriate time.

Maybe you’re nervous about the next steps, or maybe you’re just incredibly comfortable, which is all understandable. And that’s why most hosts, myself included, will be flexible with a day or two.

A full week is pushing it, my friend.

I am tired. I am tired of lugging around 30+ extra pounds, and running out of breath going up and down the stairs.

At this point, I would gladly trade waking up in the middle of the night to feed you, for the current situation of waking up multiple times to pee.

I’d like to be able to stand up from the couch, without needing a nudge from your father.

And I’d love to be able to walk anywhere without waddling.

But mostly, Baby, I just want to meet you. So does Husband; so does Manny, though, in fairness, he might think you’re a toy at first.

See? He's anxiously awaiting your arrival.

See? He’s anxiously awaiting your arrival.

You also have two grandparents already here to meet you, and one on her way shortly. And you do not want to keep any of them waiting.

I know it’s been a long, cold, snowy winter. And maybe you’re just making sure that spring is real before you make your debut. Maybe you’re waiting until the Phillies have a winning record (don’t – we don’t have that long), or until Manny’s birthday, so you can always share a party. (I wouldn’t recommend it, though – he’ll always go after your cake.)

But I want you to know we’re ready for you. As ready as we’ll ever be.

And there are countless friends and family members (pets included) who are also anxious to meet you and sniff you and hold you and love you.

So don’t think of this as an eviction notice, but as a gentle nudge toward the outside world.

I promise it’s not so bad out here.

I already love you,

Mama

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I’ve long held the belief that running a marathon is similar to giving birth. And soon enough, I’ll be able to test that theory.

The nerd in me is thrilled.

(You know, in addition to being thrilled about finally meeting my son.)

So far, I can only speak for marathons, but my hypothesis is that the following apply to both scenarios:

  • You prepare for months ahead of time, but when it comes down to race/birth day, it’s all just a crapshoot, dependent on the amount and quality of sleep you got, the weather, your previous meal, the encouraging signs, etc.
  • You push your body to its limits, make it go through a certain amount of pain and agony, and come out with a prize on the other end.
  • There may be blood, chafing, or other bruises.
  • You can’t walk normally for the next few days and yet, when you decide to do it again, you conveniently forget that part.

When I went through my Marathon Maniac phase, I remember finishing the Chicago Marathon, collapsing, and thinking, How the hell am I going to do this again in 3 weeks?

But I did. (And then I did it again.) Because the body is an amazing machine. And somehow, in three weeks, the pain was nothing compared with the adrenaline of crossing the finish line and achieving my goals.

I don’t know what birth is going to be like. Or rather, I don’t know what it’ll be like for me.

I very much doubt that I’ll be willing to do it all over again in just three weeks – never mind the fact that that’s not even possible. But I imagine that, given some time, I’ll forget the pain and only remember the wonder of bringing a little human into the world.

I mean, it’s got to work that way, otherwise there wouldn’t be any younger siblings, right?

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I wish I had recorded this phone conversation and could share it that way, but this is the next best thing. It’s not exactly word-for-word, but it’s pretty damn close.

It all started with me updating my mom on our baby preparation.

Me: And we have an appointment tomorrow to get the car seat inspected.

Mama: You have to get it inspected? Why?

Me: You don’t have to, but to make sure it’s installed right. Make sure it’s not too loose, all of that.

Mama: We never got our car seats inspected. They just trusted we knew how to do it. And you only fell out once.

Me: What? When?

Mama: I don’t know. I was in a hurry. Maybe I didn’t buckle you in right, or maybe the seat was loose. But I noticed eventually when you were on the floor in the backseat.

Me: Oh, good. Was this when you hit the guardrail?

Mama: No, that was a different time. You didn’t fall out then.

***at another point in the conversation***

Me: And we got a mirror so we can see what’s going on with him when he’s in the car seat.

Mama: That’s what the rearview mirror is for.

Me: Yes, but that doesn’t work when they’re rear-facing.

Mama: What?! They’re rear-facing? Since when? And why? How am I supposed to notice when you’re eating pennies or sticking them up your nose?

Me: That’s what the backseat mirror is for!

***and later on, referencing the permanent bump on my head***

Mama: I know when you got that bump.

Me: You told me you weren’t sure.

Mama: Well, it could have been any number of times. You did a lot of face plants, and none of them had to do with a car seat being too loose.

Me: Not even when I fell out?

Mama: You didn’t fall on your head that time.

Me: On that note, I know you have baby gates, so how is it possible that I went down the stairs in my walker? (one of my many face plants)

Mama: I don’t know. Maybe I didn’t put the gate up. Maybe I thought you couldn’t reach it. Or maybe you moved it.

Me: So you underestimated me?

Mama: Constantly.

So I’ve fallen out of my un-inspected, forward-facing car seat, presumably stuck pennies up my nose, done multiple face plants, and removed baby gates from my path. And I’m fine.

I can’t say that I wish these things for my son, but at least I know that he’ll survive.

And we’re still getting the seat inspected.

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Taking public transportation while pregnant has often felt like one giant social experiment.

The biggest observation, of course, is that people rarely look up while riding the bus or metro when others are boarding. It’s a head-down mentality, and the cynic in me has interpreted it as: if I don’t look, then I won’t see someone who needs my seat, and then I won’t have to get up.

It’s not personal, it just is.

Of course, there are the rare gems who either a) offer seats immediately or b) (and even more rare) make eye contact from across the car to give up their seat. (To the woman who did that, you might actually be one in a million.)

Overall, though, women have offered more seats than men have, and older women have offered more often than younger women.

But, naturally, I’d still rather go for an already empty seat, rather than take one from someone else. Which is what I tried to do yesterday on the commute home.

The train is always so crowded in the evening, that I was thrilled when I peered through the metro doors and saw one front seat open and available. As I moved toward it, the 40-something-year-old man sitting in the adjacent seat stood up, and I assumed that he just didn’t want to move over to the window, that he preferred the aisle. No big deal.

I made a move to slide into the window seat, perfectly happy to accommodate, and he blocked me.

He physically stood in my way, arms spread wide, and prevented me from sitting down – so that his buddy could step around me (no easy feat) and take the seat.

I looked at both of them in disbelief, said something eloquent along the lines of, “Seriously?” and proceeded halfway down the car where I managed to find the only other seat still available.

I’d like to think that if there hadn’t been one seat left, the men may have reacted differently. But, given the blocking, I doubt it.

I wish I could say I’d been the bigger person (aside from just my current roundness), but when we ended up all getting off at the same stop and they tried to cut in front of me, I may have thrown my elbows out wide and done some blocking of my own.

And honestly? I don’t feel too bad about that.

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For weeks – months, even – everyone has asked me the same question: how are you feeling?

And once I got out of the first trimester, my answer was always the same: I feel surprisingly great!

I could feel myself getting bigger, but I could still see my toes.

I could feel slight aches and pains in my hips, but nothing unbearable.

I could feel my body changing in all sorts of ways, but I could also feel the little human inside of me practicing his tumbling routine, so everything was worth it.

And it’s still worth it, but I don’t feel surprisingly great right now.  Or rather, my teeth don’t.

I’d been warned by friends that babies take calcium, and some women are more prone to cavities and bleeding gums when they’re pregnant. So when my gums started bleeding more during brushing, I accepted that.

I was not, however, prepared for the type of nerve damage that necessitates a root canal. In two teeth.

But that is precisely what happened today.

I have had one root canal in my life, and I barely remember it. But I’m told I gave the dentist a kiss on the way out, so it can’t have been that bad.

There was no kiss today.

There was pain and drilling and numbing and crying (not necessarily in that order). And now there’s the anxious anticipation of the two follow-up appointments, so they can finish what they’ve started.

On the one hand, I’ll be grateful when I can chew again.

On the other, this is really not the way I wanted to start off my week.

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Recently I’ve been wondering where the time has gone.

There were times when it felt like it was taking forever to get pregnant in the first place.

And then, once we found out we were, that first trimester of not making it public seemed to drag on and on. How do you sit on a secret that big?

Then I hit the second trimester, regained some energy, started showing, and found out that the little tumbler inside my belly is a boy. Everything became a little more real, and even more exciting.

But now we have about 11 weeks left, and I’ve entered the freak-out stage.

I’m still excited, don’t get me wrong, but I’m also keenly aware that I will have a human coming out of my body just a little bit later this year. And I (and Husband) will be responsible for his life.

And, as I said to a friend who has two beautiful little girls, despite all my confidence and experience caring for other people’s children, all of a sudden I’m terrified that I’ll do it wrong with my own.

She assured me that babies are tough to mess up, and that parenting is a process, but still I worry.

  • I worry about breastfeeding (especially after reading this article).
  • I worry about having the “right” bottles or diapers or swaddling blankets – none of which I can test out before he gets here.
  • I worry about knowing how to take care of him and making sure we get him to all the appropriate check-ups and appointments.
  • I worry about becoming so sleep-deprived that I can’t focus on conversations, or so consumed that I can’t talk about anything else (kind of like I’m doing now).

I worry about many, many things, and then I worry about more.

But at the end of the conversation, Mom-friend said this:

You just have to come to terms with the fact that something is going to have to give. Your house might not be clean, you might not have clean underwear, and you might have stale bread – but you will have a happy home filled with people you love and so the rest doesn’t matter.

So, for the next 11 weeks, I will attempt to commit that to memory, and try to breathe and stay calm.

And I will also buy extra underwear. Just in case.

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As soon as we solidified our plans for going to Nepal, I knew that 2013 would be a big year in terms of adventures.

Traveling halfway around the world to work with kids and live with strangers in a completely different culture and environment? That’s practically the definition of adventure.

nepalboys

elephantbath

Tack on a trip to India (and the headache of getting there), and you’d think we had enough adventure in the first 5 months of 2013 to be set for the rest of the year.

tajmahal

But wait, there’s more.

In June, nearly as soon as we got back, we celebrated two friends getting married (and had two more weddings scheduled for July and August).

In July, we decided it was time to buy a house.

newhouse

And then we found out we were pregnant.

In September we marveled at all the crap we’d accumulated in the apartment as we hauled it all off to the house, and we settled into our new roles as homeowners.

In October we had our first real taste of suburbia with trick-or-treaters, and in November we dove even deeper into the suburban lifestyle and adopted Manny (and, I should add, bought an SUV, because I’m not sure you’re allowed to live in the suburbs without one).

mannycopilot

Now, as December winds down and transitions into the new year, our little family of three is anxiously awaiting its newest member – the baby boy that will be the biggest adventure of 2014.

familyphoto

And I couldn’t be more excited to see what else the upcoming year has in store.

As long as I can enjoy it on minimal sleep.

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