Then there was Jack

This little baby is nearly SEVEN months old – so in what should be a surprise to no one who has ever had a little baby in their life I’ve had no time to record any thoughts on early parenthood.

Continue reading “Then there was Jack”

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Come out now, please.

Here I sit, waiting (impatiently) to have my sweet little baby.  No, not little baby…big baby. This kid measured in the 90th percentile for his cranial and 95th percentile for his abdominal…a big fat brainiac.

It is a Sunday, a beautiful Sunday not unlike the day I found out I was pregnant.  I was due last Thursday the 7th, but am told it is totally normal for first babies to be late.  Be that as it may, this waiting is bananas!  If you thought you might feel emotional when you find out you’re pregnant, it doesn’t compare a bit to the rollercoaster you’re on while waiting to go into labor!

due date
Belly shot on my due date, April 7th.

Eli and I were talking a few nights ago about these conflicting emotions and I think we made an important observation.  We were discussing how excited we are for the baby to be born, to hold him and smell him and listen to him.  We hear from every set of parents new and old that it is the best thing in the whole world, meeting your child for the first time.  We trust that we will experience that sudden burst of love and joy and change.  But at the same time, we both also had this ever so small but very present feeling of sadness, almost of mourning.

I brought it up first, that I felt guilty acknowledging this sad feeling because I should be so happy and feel so lucky – up until now both I and the baby have been healthy and normal through the whole pregnancy.  Sadness shouldn’t have a place in my heart right now.  I have nothing to mourn – no wild young and carefree life of partying and freedom that I’m being forced to bid farewell to.  But yet I still felt true sadness, if ever so slightly.

But then Eli said, “I feel that way too, and I don’t think we should feel guilty at all.”  Having your first baby is such a solid marker of the start to a new life.  Of course elements of your pre-baby life continue on, you’re the same person, you’re with the same person, you live in the same house and have the same job and friends.  But the nature of your life is irreversibly different in the biggest possible ways.  That degree of change rocks your world and unhinges some of the strongest parts of your soul.  That’s a lot to deal with.  It is a feeling for YOURSELF, Eli said.  You shouldn’t feel guilty for taking a moment away from thinking about your baby so that you can feel something for yourself.

What an important reminder that self care truly IS caring for your family as well.  You can’t be your best self for your family if you aren’t looking out for your physical and emotional well being.  So the next night I tossed a bath bomb into the tub, slathered on some shower smoothie, put coconut oil in my hair and binged a few early Pam and Jim episodes of The Office.  Daddio took me on a nice long walk this morning, and here I sit reaching around my giant abdomen to write down some thoughts during my last few days before birth while this sweet baby rolls around inside of me.

belly
Mountain of baby belly between me at the computer

I’ll miss these quiet moments, but will cherish the memory forever.  Sitting in our living room with sunlight streaming in, listening to cars drive by while my baby stretches and rolls around inside me.  I’ll miss the little hiccups, I’ll miss his heel digging into my side and then him snatching them away when I push against him with my hand.  I’ll miss resting my hands on my belly and talking to him about what his life will be like, how much his daddy loves him already, how many people are excited for him.

Most of all, his mama is very very excited to meet him.

Some reading material for you…literally.

Wow so, I totally intended to keep track of my entire pregnancy but then here I find myself at the beginning of the final trimester having missed the chance to write about the most wonderful moments of pregnancy so far!  I guess the second trimester was too big a party for me to sit down and put words to keyboard.

But let me tell ya that is starting to change now that I’m transforming from a speed bump into more of a freeway center divide.  Lord, pregnancy is not nearly as magical and organized as some people make it out to be – they’re all totally glossing over the mid sneeze pee squirts and laughing accompanied by perfectly timed farts and wild hunger rages.  I for one find all of those things perfectly charming but could see them being difficult to glitterfy for the interwebz readers.

Keeping those thoughts in mind, I wanted to quickly plug two sources of child rearing brilliance that I’ve found myself thinking about nonstop from when I wake to when I fall into pregnant mouth breather slumber – Bringing up Bebe and Science of Mom.

bringingupbebe

loved this book.  It was the first parenting book I read after finding out I was expecting.  I’d started to read a combo of pregnancy horror stories and perfect pinterest mommy blogs and, coupled with a few choices memories of nasty children I’d run into in the past, I was starting to accept that I may just be doomed to birth a monster.  This book changed all that.

Pamela is, first of all, hilarious.  The book reads like you’re talking to one of your best girlfriends – someone who you trust, who is honest, funny and well meaning.  She shares common sense lessons she learned while bringing up her daughter and twin boys while she and her husband lived abroad in Paris.  She covers everything from tricks to help your baby sleep through the night to the benefits of daycare and cooking with your child.  The best part is, while you’d read the concept and think “oh God here’s another hoitsy toitsy ‘French Women Don’t Get Fat’ piece of nonsense” you start reading it and she repeatedly addresses that fear!  And puts it out of your mind!  She’s a quirky American girl just like you, trying to make it in a world of toned arms French high-heeled preggos!  I bought one for my own mother so she’d be on board for when our baby is born.

science-of-mom-book-cover-promo

I’m only about halfway through this one and truly can’t stop thinking about it, day and night.  The biggest benefit (aside from the infinite wisdom Dr. Callahan shares throughout the book) is that her approach is as gentle and non-judgey as you could ever want.  Her whole point is that while you should do what feels right for your baby, you should also be able to consider cold hard facts based on real, trustworthy scientific research – so here’s how you can tell what research is trustworthy and why.

She covers everything from whether to get the vitamin K shot (Eli:  “Is that like what’s in Special K cereal?”) to why babies have trouble sleeping through the night early on to breastfeeding and lots more.  You know when you go for your doctor appointment at the OB’s office and they ask if you have any questions and you think “UH YES WHAT THE HECK I’VE NEVER HAD A BABY BEFORE OF COURSE I DO BUT HOW COULD I POSSIBLY KNOW WHAT QUESTIONS TO ASK OTHER THAN HOW DO YOU BIRTH THE CHILD AND KEEP IT ALIVE FOREVER?”  Well once you read this book, you can feel so much more ready and at ease with material to chat to your doctor about.  Everyone can be on the same page, and you don’t need to feel like your doctor is internally rolling her/his eyes at you when you ask about whether you can sit in an essential oil filled bathtub while a medicine woman whispers Enya songs into your ear amidst the candle light during child birth.

The best thing I’ve been told through this whole experience, which was only reinforced by reading these two books, is that every pregnancy is different, and every parent is different. As long as you prioritize the safety and happiness of your baby using advice from your DOCTOR and your mom (as long as your mom isn’t wacko), then you’re doing it right. Or…as right as any of us know how to do it.

Things I’m scared of now that I’m 14 weeks pregnant

There are plenty of things I anticipated being nervous about when I found out I was pregnant.  I knew I would need to be careful about eating healthy, staying out of fist fights, and try not to scoot into my work desk with too much conviction.

But dude, whoa, if I thought I’d be nervous (and excited!  Don’t get me wrong!) before getting pregnant I had no idea what was coming next.  In case it brings a chuckle to anyone or, if you’re like me, a sigh of relief that I’m not the only one scared to sneeze now, here’s a sampling:

Sneezing, as mentioned

Coughing

Laughing too hard

Hiccups

Bending over at any angle, whether sitting or standing

Jumping without being ready to sink completely to the floor in an effort to absorb the impact of my landing (the jiggle is even more intense with even a small belly)

Eating things that are spicy

Moving a bowel which too much vigor (sorry, TMI but totally true)

Flatulence (mine now especially…if you thought babies were stinky…)

Going over bumps in the car

Putting on a seat belt

Not putting on a seatbelt

Sudden stops in the car

Really anything involving vehicles

Stepping off of curbs too ferociously

Sitting down too hard in a comfy chair

Rolling over from my back to my side

Rolling over from my side to my back

Laying on my right side at all (which is apparently not as good for you as laying on your left side but WHO CAN TAKE SUCH A RISK?)

Hugging people too hard (but really hugging in general…that is something I brought along from my non-pregnant self)

Wearing stretchy pants with too-tight elastic that can’t be pulled up over the bump, camel toe be damned

Sex that isn’t very slow and boring

Being within one square mile of someone who has smoked a cigarette in the past hour

Holding my laptop on my lap

Standing too close to microwaves, whether they’re being used or not

Standing too close to the bathroom counter while brushing my teeth/putting on makeup/washing my hands because what if there’s an earthquake and I’m pitched into the counter!  Sharp edge!

This feels crazy, but it is true.  It isn’t as though I’m walking around every waking moment worrying about the world around me – there are bigger fish to fry (Equal pay for equal work!  Student debt!  The environment!  Donald Trump!) but I guess I’m just starting to come into the realization most parents have.  You begin to love something with a strength you couldn’t have even imagined in a way that makes you nervous about anything that could possibly cause it discomfort, let alone harm.  I know, I know – babies have made it through living in caves and rolling through filthy surroundings (and sadly they still do) – but hey.  When you’re told that sleeping on the incorrect side could have scary health implications for your baby, you go a little nuts.

Seriously, I apologized to the fetus when I bent over to plug my computer in.  Because of bending over.  I apologized out loud.

I’m hoping this doesn’t translate into helicopter parenting…I have set my sights on creating structure but with tons of freedom.  I was allowed to break a few limbs and get some splinters and am no worse for it.  Eli thinks I’m bonkers, but then he is always very insistent about drinking enough water on airplanes and getting up to stretch for bathroom breaks.  Maybe we’re both bonkers together 🙂

Am I alone in this?  Is anyone else a little freaked?