Friday, September 29, 2006

nooooo, no hormones over here

My mom told me years ago that before you have a baby, love songs are about your significant other, whoever they happen to be. But once you have a child, every love song brings you back to this new love of your life. When people talk about unconditional love, you realize that your love for your baby takes it to a whole new level. These days, I am consumed with love for this being that spends every second with me. This belly that is fast approaching the size of a (rather large) pumpkin. I try to picture what this baby looks like, and I don't mean whether he has Josh's cleft chin, or she has my straight brown hair, but just a picture of an actual baby. With eyes and ears and hands that she keeps by her face, and feet that he kicks around and crosses and uncrosses. A real live baby, fully formed, gaining weight and practicing breathing.

We had our final hypnobirthing class on Tuesday, and at the end watched another video of a birth. It seems almost impossible to me that at the end of this wonderful journey, that tiny baby might be placed in my arms. Josh seems to believe it more, and his most common refrain when he chats with the belly is to remind him or her or how excited he is to meet his baby. He squeezes my hand when we see an infant, and his face lights up when someone asks him about the pregnancy. I am equally consumed with love for him these days, with watching how he is changing, how our relationship is changing, imagining what kind of father he'll be.

So I wasn't wholly surprised when I burst into tears the other day when a sappy love song came onto the radio. I was surprised when I couldn't stop crying for the rest of the ride to work, but I guess pregnancy will do that to you.

The other day, another associate came into my office to tell me that her doctor had decided to induce her that day, at 38 weeks, and that she was off to pack a bag and head to the hospital. She confessed that she was nervous to be induced and nervous about how painful labor would be. I could hardly contain my excitement, though, and I clapped my hands together and reminded her that she would be meeting her baby soon! If not tonight, then tomorrow! And then, I promptly burst into tears.

BURST INTO TEARS. And I don't really know this girl, she is just a friendly colleague. So she stood there looking awkward, while I tried to contain my tears, then hugged me quickly, wished me luck, and ran the hell out of my office. It took me 5 minutes just to get my tears under control, all the while feeling terribly embarassed. I guess the idea that someone, anyone, would get to meet their baby today, just pushed me over the edge. I felt like I was in a sitcom.

I pity Josh a bit, because I'm starting to think that despite my denials, I may be just a tad hormonal.

Monday, September 25, 2006

operation baby

Do you know what today is? Today is September 25th. The 25th. As in, 3 months from December 25th. Also known as 3 months from my due date, the date on which I have forbidden this baby from appearing any earlier. I hear most women hoping their baby appears a couple of weeks early, or at the very least right on their due date, and instead I find myself lecturing my uterus on the fine art of patience and remaining inside until I am ready for baby to emerge.

My mom bought us a tiny little countdown clock that we keep on the mantle, and I noticed a few days ago with no small measure of alarm that the clock has bypassed 100 and dropped into double digit numbers. Double digits! On the one hand, Christmas seems forever away, and I have more than enough time to finish the registry, and get Josh to paint the room, and purchase the crib, and order the dresser and the rocker, and get diapers, and do all of those things that everyone tells me don't actually need to be done before the baby is born but I feel a pressing need to complete. Yesterday, though, when I saw the Christmas display already set up and twinkling at Target, I felt a little sick to my stomach. Excited sick, but sick nonetheless.

Meanwhile, Josh skips around the house singing and alternately cupping my belly in his hands and telling baby to come "faster, faster!" because he can't wait for December to arrive. Every night he presses his hands against my abdomen as we wait for the nightly internal kickboxing show to begin, and every night he ends up sighing and telling me how jealous he is that I get to feel our baby every single day. I am so lucky, on so many levels, there is not doubt about that.

So that is what we're doing these days. I try to get my head around the idea that a baby might come home at the end of all this, and it seems impossible. Instead, I focus on cleaning out the closet, finding spaces for the junk accumulated in that room. I've discovered that the color yellow is an evil bastard, and I have 6 different 2*2 foot swatches painted on the wall to prove it, none of which match the yellow of the crib bumper exactly right. Did you know that yellow can be too green and too orange and too icy and too pale and too just plain wrong? Because I didn't. But when I asked at the paint store for a common yellow used in a nursery, the clerk just laughed and laughed. I should have known then.

Yesterday I attended a prenatal yoga class, and I'm in all kinds of pain right now. Pain in places where I didn't know I had muscles, like my ribs and my back and my shoulders. Ouch. I'll try to believe the teacher, though, when she tells me that I'm making space for my baby by stretching out my chest and doing squats. Seriously, though, OUCH.

Besides all of this, I herald the arrival of my favorite season, of course. My favorite holiday is coming up soon, and then I suspect that the days will fly by from there. I'm just trying to hold onto these last couple months before they slip through my fingers.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

my hips (and my heels!) don't lie

I have to go back in time for a second to comment on the advice! My goodness, people, the advice! I love it! I'm going to print it all out, 3 hole punch it, put it in a binder, and hand it to the salesperson at Oversized Baby Store and tell them to pick all my products for me. Or I might give it all to Josh who will then collate it into a spreadsheet laying out the median responses of all participants, and then maybe make a graph for each product that includes yesses and nos, because that is the type of thing these MBA students like to do. You think I'm joking, but I'm not.

Seriously, though, THANK YOU! I will be going into Oversized Baby Store to begin our registry there and I will most certainly NOT be adding a wipes warmer or a bottle sterilizer to our list. I will also be sitting down tonight and analyzing whether we even have the space for all this junk, because indeed, as a couple of you pointed out, perhaps our 1500 square foot house may be a bit small for the goods. The baby's room is a solid 9 foot by 9 foot, a fact that makes me want to weep a bit as I look through baby magazines and catalogs. Oh the things I could do with a normal sized room that doesn't have 2 windows, a door, a closet and a wall of built in bookshelves.

Since my post asking for all of your suggestions, I failed to mention one of the major milestones of my second trimester a couple of weeks ago- Josh and I met up for a Shakira concert at the Boston Garden! Shakira, I know, but I am not ashamed to admit that I love Shakira's music with a fiery passion. I have been listening to her for years and years and years, having picked up her music on one of my many visits to Buenos Aires in high school and college. I think her music is intertwined in my mind with wonderful outings with cousins and friends, and freedom to explore a city that is foreign but feels like home at the same time.

Attending her concert and hearing the songs I've been singing for years in person was a fabulous gift, and she played all of my favorite songs, even one of those random ones that I simply adore but was never a top hit. Josh and I danced so much standing in our seats and in the aisles that for days afterwards my heels were bruised a dark black and blue. I worried a bit about the baby's hearing since some of her songs are very loud, especially her newest hit with Wyclef Jean, but the baby seemed content to dance along with me via the womb. I've thrown her CD in a few times since then, and baby kicks along with my singing, so either he or she likes the music, or is adamantly asking me to STOP.

But again, thank you for all your tips! I am feeling much more relaxed about the whole registry thing, and I'm confident that I won't start crying when they hand me the clicker!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

holy reflux, batman

People kept warning me that along with closeness to your due date, the third trimester also delivers lovely gifts such as heartburn and acid reflux.

I didn't actually realize that by acid reflux you meant "clawing at your chest, having to get up at 4am because your esophagus is being burned from the inside, uncontrollable burping all day at work, can't drink decaf coffee anymore" type of acid reflux.

It's been lovely, really.

I'd had a few instances of heartburn before last night, but this was just ridiculous. I'm hoping that this will not be a regular occurrence, and I plan on using Dr. Google to let me know what types of foods I should avoid and whether I should try getting up or drinking milk, or what I can possible try the next time I am unable to lie down because of the burning.

Advice? It was just the one time, right? It isn't going to happen again? Because holy reflux, I am only 25 weeks! There are (hopefully) a lot of weeks to go!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

baby scares

I guess no pregnancy can be totally perfect, and maybe every baby has to give you a bit of a scare before he or she is born. This Sunday, as we were leaving to run errands like picking up paint samples and looking at cribs, I began having stabbing abdominal pains. At first, I wasn't concerned, but simply followed the advice of all my pregnancy books and drank a glass of water, put my feet up, tried lying on my left side, but nothing helped.

The pains got worse, until I couldn't stand up straight and Josh was begging me to call the emergency line at my Ob/Gyn. We finally got through to the doctor on call at the hospital, when she proceeded to further scare me to death by telling me that she was concerned that I was either in early labor or had appendicitis and wanted me to go straight to labor and delivery. The pains were radiating downward, starting at about an inch to the right of my belly button and a couple of inches down. Walking or touching the area made the pains worse.

I tried to keep my emotions under control, but the only thought running through my head was "25 weeks... 25 weeks... 25 weeks... it is just too early." I didn't know whether a baby could survive surgery, if it really was appendicitis, and even contemplating anything different made me want to vomit.

After 3 hours at the hospital, blood tests, urine analysis, exams and ultrasounds, we could come to no conclusions. The pains eventually faded after a couple of hours, and the on-call doctor's best guess was that my growing uterus had been compressing one of the organs in the area, causing the organ to be unable to function and therefore spasm and contract with accompanying pain. I was told to come straight in if the pain recurred, but in the meantime I could resume all normal activities and try not to worry.

All has been well since then, and I'm back to feeling great. Thankfully, the whole time I was experiencing the pains, the baby was kicking up a storm so I didn't worry about how the baby was at that instant. I just worried about the future.

I guess I'll just chalk this one up to phantom pregnancy pains, and put it in my pregnancy book as one of the many things I'll hold over this baby's head along with labor, hemorrhoids, and sleepless nights.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

all my lists won't really help, will they?

This morning I was thinking about Yankee, Transferred and Jo(e) who are each watching one of their children head off to college. Jo(e)'s eldest son and Yankee's older daughter are beginning their new adventures this year as freshman at their respective universities. I know that watching your child spread their wings and make the natural progression to leaving your home brings with it a whirlwind of emotions, but for me, this morning, it brought a crying jag lasting over an hour.

I have moments when the happiness of a solitary kick or roll can bring me to tears, but today I am terrified at the thought that someday this baby will leave me. Someday soon, I won't be able to simply cover my belly with my hands to shield it from the outside world. Much sooner than I can even fathom, I'll have to watch this baby walk away from me at a playground, or at the doors of preschool, or for a school dance, or for college. They are all things I want for my child, of course, but if I love this tiny thing so much already, when we haven't even met, how will I ever be able to let go?

It scares me to death.

It makes me wonder how I could allow myself to do this, make myself so vulnerable? And yesterday, when I read on Chris' blog that you wait 9 months for this baby to come out, to see for yourself that he or she is safe. When really, the only time your baby is really safe is when she is safely esconced in your uterus. That just makes me burst into tears all over again.

I'm not a person that opens herself up to hurt or pain, although I admit that I am rather sensitive. I tend to protect my emotions more often than not, but in this case, I've made this decision that will change my life forever. It will never be about just me or just me and Josh ever again.

And the day I finally give birth to this wee kicking monkey, I'll have to share him or her with everyone else. When I think about it that way, the first 6 months seem so easy, because at least this baby will rely on Josh and I for everything, and I can shelter him or her in my arms. But as soon as he crawls, or walks, or runs, I'll have to learn to start letting go.

But how do you do it? Also, how do you stop crying long enough to do it?