Tag Archives: pregnacy

Nesting: Extreme home makeover editon

I can’t believe I’m rounding (reeeally rounding) into the third trimester already. 27 weeks, friends.Β  Construction on our dormer addition got underway late last week, so I thought it might be time for an update on babythings.

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Whilst others in the Land of Third Trimester might be putting a final trimmings on the nursery, we currently have this massive hole in the wall and are beginning to open up the roof. We’re working with the father-son team atΒ  Woodland Fair on this project, which is way outside our DIY abilities.

Before: Yes, the blue and tan paint choice was weird and we’ve pretty much hated it since it dried. We’re going gray with our room after the dust settles. This was a little nook on the right side of the master bedroom landing, when you come upstairs.

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After: Brown wall is out and this is what lies beyond the curtain. Future kid room! Isn’t it cozy? Ha. Of course, the dormer will take the ceiling up.

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It’s exciting to be able to peek in to see the shape the room will take; in a blip of a fast-forward, I’m going to be walking those floors with our little human. The room will be L-shaped, extending from our landing area and hooking right back behind our upstairs bathroom. We’ll be closing off our Master bedroom to retain some parental privacy, but plan on keeping the flow with French doors.

Honestly, with this project and my final semester of grad school keeping me busy until May, I feel like I’m not even letting myself get worked up mentally about the enormity of impending parenthood. I’ve been reading up a bit on Montessori principles and activities, but I think parenthood is mostly a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants endeavor at first.

We’re super lucky that Joe’s sister will provide childcare and that my employer offers flexible scheduling, so knowing our baby will be in trusted hands is one less worry to navigate. Right now, I’m just enjoying the kicks my cauliflower-sized Jam Jam Jellyroll is serving up, singing to it while I’m in the car and continuing to indulge my desire to consume mass amounts of cereal.

Nursery decor inspiration board to come soon!

Baby bonus links:

My dear friends Tim and Gretchen are pregnant with TRIPLETS. Tim, who used to be my editor at Juice, started a blog about his “Costco Pregnancy” – and, I imagine, other things. He’s a terrific writer, so check TimPaluch.Wordpress.com out.

Cara sent me this funny Huffington Post essay with advice to new moms. I think my favorite advice in the thing is the “REALLY?” response line. But seriously, there’s some wisdom there.

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Filed under At home, Baby

Not knowing

This whole pregnancy, this is what I’ve really felt like saying instead of “No, I haven’t been sick in the morning.”

We sat cross-legged on our yoga mats last night, hands on our bellies after a series of stretches and poses made more wobbly by our altered centers of gravity, and our instructor addressed us as Mamas. It felt strange and unearned — almost fraudulent — to be called that for the first time, when at 18 weeks I feel more like a clueless kid going though a wardrobe crisis than a nurturing sage in lotus pose.

As Mammy says in the classic line from “Gone with the Wind”: I don’t know nothin‘ ‘bout birthinbabies.

Most of my life, “to get pregnant” was a concept used in sentences preceded by “DON’T!” Catholic school, we signed chastity pledges as part of our sex ed. I vividly recall the cool boys being asked to come to the front of the room, take a swig of water and swish it around, and then spit it back into the cup. They were then instructed to give that cup to the girl of the dreams. (Picture awkward 8th grade me, crossing my fingers that one of those cups would come my way. None did.) The girls were asked if they would drink from the cups. Umm, gross! If they didn’t want to do that, the facilitator said, then why on earth would they want to have sex, which is waaaay more intimate than drinking spit-sloshed water. Of course, then they lifted up the cups and things like CHLAMYDIA! GONORRHEA! HERPES! PREGNANCY! were written on the bottom. {True story.}

I am weirdly half-grateful of and half-outraged at this scare tactic approach. On the one hand, I did not become a statistic, forced to make choices I didn’t want to make. On the other hand, I spent half my life mildly terrified/self-educating based on anecdotes from friends, old issues of Cosmo and the Internet. But if Mary could become pregnant presumably without doing any of the 69 tantalizing tips on the magazine cover…? Freshman year in college, my friends absolutely stuffed my winter break bag with condoms so I would have to scramble, horrified and beet red, to pick them up when they exploded all over my room at home. I was finally at a public school.

So that was things, until getting pregnant was no longer a thing to be avoided.

Then here I was, a 27-year-old, married woman who had no idea that I needed to wait, like two whole weeks to take a pregnancy test. And who found that, even after reading up on ovulation and all that jazz, sometimes you don’t get pregnant immediately. Unless you’re 16 and in the backseat of a car, of course. And who once she did get that “pregnant” notice on the test (because that plus/minus/double line stuff is seriously impossible), came to realize that it doesn’t necessarily mean a baby in nine months. Instead, this summer it was a trip to the Farmer’s Market, followed by a long and crampy bike ride, a visit to urgent care, and tears. And then opening ourselves up to the vulnerability of not knowing whether things will work out, but trying again. And then holding my breath as the weeks go by, hoping I wouldn’t wind up with another empty ultrasound. This fall was holding brand new nieces and nephews and friends’ babies as a tiny seed of something started to grow, but feeling like dreaming or hoping or talking or planning too much might jinx things. I wouldn’t let myself order “Great with Child” until after the first trimester. It’s been tempering excitement and expectations and reading weekly updates, but generally a lot of not knowing. Whether those are kicks I’m feeling or last night’s tacos. What “normal” is and if everything will be OK. How being a mom might turn my life upside down and change my priorities and how it might feel to see the world fresh through my own child’s eyes.

My own mom was always open with me about that fact that she lost twin girls at 21 weeks the year before she had me. It was always this shadow life fact she followed with “but then I wouldn’t have had you.” I’m just now understanding what that might have been like, and I’m glad my mom was there when it happened (thankfully, much earlier in the process) to me. I might not feel like a mama, but in a way, losing that first pregnancy called me to tackle my key weaknesses in a real and profound way:

Patience. I am not a patient person by nature. When I want something, I go for it, because I want it right then and I’m motivated to make it happen. Pregnancy is a lot of waiting and being a mom requires boatloads of patience. We’re so close to being able to find out this baby’s gender and all of the sudden, my impatience to know seems to have evaporated. I’m considering not finding out. It’s strange.

Jealousy. You know that smart quip “Comparison is the thief of joy”? I need to hold that concept close to my heart. Not only are the things I’m comparing myself against most likely not the whole wide-angle lens picture of reality, but here’s something I’ve come to understand: Someone else’s happiness does not diminish my own. Her being an 8 on a happiness scale doesn’t knock me to a 2. We can both be 8s. Heck, we can both be 10s! And the things that get us to that point might be different things. Happiness and joy are not limited resources. So stop turning green.

Managing expectations. Managing expectations could be a whole big post. The very euphemism for pregnancy is “expecting.” I’m all for daydreaming/trying to plan some, but I think expecting things that are outside of my control to turn out a certain way is a setup to be miserable. I need to keep my expectations for this child and my post-baby life in check and not aim too low (sweatpants cannot become my uniform) or unreasonably high (cough). Let’s face it, I could get one of those adorable Walnut Animal Society toys I covet, but my kid’s favorite thing will likely be something made of plastic that repeats the same obnoxious thing over and over again. (Wilbur, in all of more-cat-than-doglike ways has been decent practice for this.) Not knowing is the truest thing I have.

I’d like to think that I could tackle my big Achilles heel faults without the sadness, and maybe I could. I will struggle with those issues as a parent, but I’m working on them. I came out on the other side of an often painful wedding planning process* understanding a few more things. More than the sparkly rings or sweet onsies, the tough stuff makes experiences like marriage and having children into catalysts for changing into adults. *Yes, my mom is planning a baby shower for me. It may or may not be baby manatee themed. She’s mega-excited. Lesson learned.

I am excited, too. That nervous-excited-anxious-hopeful kind. We’ve started to read to the baby a little bit each night. This morning was the third time we heard its galloping heart beat. I took a blood test for birth defects and don’t have the results back yet. This baby is roughly the size of a bell pepper. I’m supposed to get my Master’s two weeks before my due date. I’m baffled by options for strollers and cribs and car seats. We’re talking about a small upstairs addition to the house. June will be here soon, soon, soon.

As I stretched last night, teetering in a modified tree pose, I didn’t quite feel like a mama, but I felt newer than the old version of myself. I’ve let myself relax into being excited about the not knowing, accepting that there’s room yet to grow and making space.

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Filed under Baby, Life lessons