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Tag Archives: pregnancy
I’ll be honest. I didn’t think it was true. I thought it was just another one of those pregnancy myths, like you only gain weight in your stomach (you don’t). Or that your husband will actually run out at 3 a.m. to get you a taco (he won’t). Or that pregnancy is in any way enjoyable (it’s not…although it might be if “someone” would get me tacos in the middle of the night…HINT, HINT, Ryan).
But then a few weeks ago I innocently went to pick out a new book to read and, well, this happened:
Five manic hours later, every single book I own, which is not an insignificant number, had been taken down, cleaned, mentally recategorized and put back on the shelves using a system that made absolutely no more sense than the original system. Some books were organized via genre, some by how much I thought the authors would get along (Mark Twain and Dave Barry would totally have started a bromance) and some by how smart I thought they made me look.
Needless to say, it was a system that would have made any librarian’s head spin around, Exorcist-style, and then explode.
But despite the fact that it didn’t make any sense and that it didn’t actually need to be done, I couldn’t help myself. I HAD to do it. It was a compulsion. A compulsion no less powerful than what I imagine compels my dog to roll around in dead things on days when I am running late for something.
Yes, I had apparently unwittingly begun the phase of pregnancy known as “nesting.” Generally, nesting is when a pregnant mother feels the overwhelming desire to deep clean her home and prepare said home for the imminent arrival of her baby. As I discovered, pretty much all expectant mommas go through this, from animals tearing up newspapers and birds building actual nests, to human women who scrub their entire house with a toothbrush and then organize their spice rack alphabetically.
But in my case, my maternal instincts told me I couldn’t have a baby in a house where the books were shelved all willy-nilly. Never mind that there is food in my fridge that expired in 1997 and the bathroom tub hasn’t been scrubbed since I could wear pants with buttons. Oh no. No, it was far more important that my home be a home where Dorothy Parker took her rightful place beside Robert Benchley.
Luckily not all is lost for this kid. Because while his mother is currently about as useful as a fish with a bicycle, he has a father whose instincts are actually geared toward keeping his tiny butt alive.
For example, that following weekend my husband spent hour upon hour putting together the crib, the changing table and rocking chair, organizing all the tiny, tiny clothes by size and cleaning out our attic of all the useless crap that not only did we not need, but no one would ever need in their lifetime, to make rooom for all the new baby crap we would actually need. I watched him, mesmerized, as he did thing after thing that would, you know, actually be helpful once this little bladder-kicker was out in the world.
He was doing the male version of nesting. Or, as I like to call it, “mesting.”
Not that I was completely useless during this time, mind you. I helpfully did things like hold up random tools while saying “this one? this one? this one?” when he asked for a Phillips head screwdriver. And I put together a mobile for the crib all by myself. Granted, it doesn’t work now, but that could be for any number of reasons.
It just goes to show you, everyone approaches parenthood differently. But believe you me, someday that kid will be OVER THE MOON about the fact that all the Stephen King books are not only together on the shelf, but stacked chronologically.
I know what you’re thinking.
What the hell does a first-time mom who is only six months pregnant know about parenting?
And the answer is, of course, nothing. Well, almost nothing. I do know that the first poop the baby takes once it’s outside the uterus is apparently a mix of dark matter and pure evil, but I only know that because I read too far in my pregnancy book last week.
But after extensive and thorough research where I asked friends who were new parents scientific stuff like “so, does parenthood blow or what?” and “when do babies stop sucking?” and “how much Red Bull and vodka can I chug while simultaneously breastfeeding?” I have gathered enough evidence to debunk the most common myths surrounding this major life change.
Myth No.1: As soon as your baby is born, it’s love at first sight.
Chances are you will not immediately fall in love with your baby. Chances are you’ll look at it and wonder “who the hell is this wrinkled old man who came out of my vagina and what the hell is he covered with?” OK, maybe that’s exaggerating slightly. You could also be thinking “wrinkled old woman.” But the point is, it’s perfectly natural not to feel bonded to your child right away. So don’t worry. You will bond eventually. Possibly even before they go off to college.
Myth No. 2: Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world.
Breastfeeding is NOT the most natural thing in the world. Far from it. In fact, Joan Rivers’ face is more natural than breastfeeding. Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean feeding a child from your boob is unnatural (despite what those squeamish arseholes in restaurants that just HAVE to complain whenever a woman dares to use her boob in public for anything other than sexual arousal would have you believe). I mean that in no way does this natural act come to you or to your kid naturally. It’s a daily battle the first few weeks, sometimes months, to get you, the baby and your ginormous boobs all on the same page at the same time.
Myth No. 3: Having a baby will bring you and your partner closer than you’ve ever been.
Maybe it’s the sleep deprivation. Or the ass-numbingly dull tedium of changing diapers every two hours. Or perhaps it’s the immense crushing responsibility of having to keep a small human alive. But you and your significant other will hate each other for awhile and argue about stupid crap such as why lil’ Kayleighanna isn’t wearing socks outside when it’s OBVIOUSLY FREEZING OUT THERE AND WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO, KILL OUR DAUGHTER!?! But never fear. This is why God invented grandparents, so that just when your marriage is about to implode, they can take the demon seed for a night and let you two drink until you can’t feel feelings anymore.
Myth No. 4: Babies are sweet little angels.
Babies, by nature, are not sweet and nice and innocent. They are terrorists. Tiny, tiny terrorists who refuse to let you sleep or eat a warm meal or sit down or shower or pee or talk on the phone or have a beer or leave the house or wear a clean shirt not covered in vomit. But at least they’re your tiny, tiny terrorist.
Myth No. 5: Babies are expensive.
Babies aren’t expensive. Babies are ridiculously, mind-blowingly expensive. Whatever crap you bought for your baby, it’s not enough. Because apparently babies die if they are not surrounded at all times by educational toys, soggy baby books, slightly less educational toys that play music, no less than five chairs that all move or vibrate or swing in different directions and 76 blankets.
Myth No. 6: Putting your baby into yoga/music/sign language class will give them a jumpstart in life.
Babies think key rings are the height of civilization’s achievements. It’s OK to wait until they aren’t floppy headed drooling machines to sign them up for Infant Interpretive Dancing. Stop stressing out about their future at Harvard when they’re only three-months-old.
Myth No. 7: Babies cry for a reason.
As it turns out, sometimes there is no reason. Sometimes they’re just crying because they’re a butthead. For reasons why they do this, see Myth No. 4.
Myth No. 8: Religiously reading parenting magazines and websites and blogs will help keep you informed and up-to-date.
Religiously reading parenting magazines and websites and blogs* will help turn you into a competitive and paranoid control freak who lectures other parents about how they really shouldn’t let lil’ Pyke play with their iPhone because the latest studies show that children who are exposed to screens within the first two years of life end up being serial killers who work at Wal-Mart.
And everyone will hate you.
*That is, except for this blog. You should always read this blog.
Guys, I have good news and I have bad news.
The bad news is that I will not, in fact, be giving birth to a dragon and hence will not be known as the mother of dragons forevermore. Which wouldn’t be that bad if it weren’t for the fact that I now have to send back all those custom T-shirts.
But the good news is that I am pregnant with a human. A very healthy little…(drumroll)…boy.
I have absolutely no idea how that’s going to end up considering I still don’t understand grown men with that particular body part (fried eggs don’t belong on pizza OR cheeseburgers, guys). But I’m going to be super excited about it until the first time he pees in my face when I’m trying to change his diaper.
I have a whole, long post dedicated to the ultrasound that led to this big gender reveal, which I will post later, but for now just wanted to share the good (or bad if you were REALLY hoping for a dragon…sorry, Ryan…maybe next time, honey) news with you.
(Or at least with the one of you that actually cares…hi mom *waves enthusiastically*).
It’s karma. That’s what it is.
I just wish I would have realized what comes around goes around before now.
Yes, now that I’m pregnant, my past is coming back to haunt me. A past that I’m ashamed to admit includes some rather immature and inconsiderate attitudes toward the youngest members of our society and their caretakers.
For example, while I always kindly offered my seat on public transportation to pregnant chicks, inside my head I was thinking “Come on, how hard can pregnancy be, lady? Drama queen.” Not to mention the extensive and borderline dangerous eye-rolling I used to do when I’d see those “Reserved for Preggos” handicapped spaces in the parking lot.
I was downright ruthless to the women who used those unnecessarily giant strollers (the Hummer of strollers as I not-so-fondly think of them) or worse yet, the dreaded double stroller. Every time these exhausted moms nonchalantly blocked the doors on the subway or blocked my way on the sidewalk, I’d loudly sigh, say “uh…excuse me” and mutter under my breath about how having children doesn’t make you more important than the rest of us, lady.
Upon seeing kids at the store who were either a. constantly nagging “Mom! Mom! Mom! Can I get this please? Pretty please? Mom! Mom! Are you listening to me? I want it. I want it NOW!” or b. having a weapons-grade level tantrum, I’d silently think to myself “My future kids will never be like that. I’m going to train them just like a puppy to obey my every command.”
Upon seeing an infant and her terrified parents board our airplane, my husband and I were those people falling to our knees in the middle of the aisle, throwing up our hands and demanding “Why!?! Why, God, why?” as we wailed and pounded our chests in agony until take-off.
And while my husband and I love all the kids we personally know, such as our nieces, we were still those people who got annoyed when some brat we didn’t know started running amok in a restaurant because he was done with his “sketti” and wanted down from the table NOW because he had some very pressing toddler business to do that included touching everything with his sticky hands and banging on the window while singing at a loud volume.
And then…well, then that little pee stick changed color and loudly announced that karma is a bit…rough some times.
(Heh. See what I did there?)
It’s amazing how quickly your perspective can change. Ever since that fateful day, it’s like my husband and I are looking at everything with new eyes. For example, as it turns out, pregnancy is wicked hard. Like, super duper hard, you guys. Growing a human being from scratch is exhausting. I wouldn’t wish this kind of agony on my worst enemy (mostly because she already has, like, three kids and that is punishment enough). So, not only should you give up your seat, but you should also probably carry that pregnant woman around, Cleopatra-style, and feed her grapes while rubbing her feet and telling her how thin she looks.
And as for those frou-frou women with the giant strollers? I have had no less than 23 mothers tell me they are absolutely essential because when you leave the house the baby needs to take all of its belongings with it or else it, like, dies. Or craps right through its onesie. Whichever one is more inconvenient for you at the moment.
I have also been informed by these same mothers that swatting your kid with a newspaper in public, while not technically illegal, is generally frowned upon. As is shoving your kid’s face into their own diaper while yelling “No! Bad!”
Considering both our families live in the Midwest, that screaming child on the airplane who is too dumb to realize that if they would just yawn the pain would stop is going to be ours. Feel free to shoot us dirty looks and to loudly question the cruelty of a god that would allow this. Turnabout is fair play.
With pregnancy also comes compassion and now I suddenly see that those parents in the restaurant are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Because you can insist junior stay at the table, locked into his high chair, in which case he will likely have a meltdown, or you can let him down and let him run amok while you follow and try to minimize the damage as much as possible, but at least he’s not screaming. These parents deserve a free drink, not your contempt, because they are essentially being held hostage by a short maniac in overalls and are doing their best to deal with it.
This is especially true, in my opinion, because in a mere six months, those parents dealing with all that will be us. And while considering our past, we probably don’t deserve your mercy, I can only hope the rest of you are more understanding than we have been.
But if you’re not, that’s OK too. Rumor has it we’ll be too tired to even wear real pants in public, let alone care what you think.
You guys may remember when I wrote a few weeks ago about how I quit smoking. If you don’t remember, let me quickly sum it up for you:
I quit smoking. People got hurt. Property got destroyed. At one point, the National Guard was called in to shoot me down off of a skyscraper. The end.
And I am happy to report that not only am I still 100 percent cigarette-free today, but the casualties list has significantly shortened thanks to my nicotine cravings finally dying down. In fact, my husband hasn’t had a frying pan or the complete works of Shakespeare hurled at him in eight days, a personal best since I started this journey.
And that’s not all that is new. I’ve actually been on a bit of a health kick lately. For instance, I hardly drink soda anymore. My coffee consumption, which was dangerously close to reaching “unemployed writer hanging out at Starbucks” proportions, has been reduced by 90 percent. I no longer eat hot dogs or other meats that I can’t readily identify what animal it came from. Believe it or not, I also haven’t had a drop of alcohol in months (which, alas, also resulted in some casualties…but don’t worry, the vet said our dog only suffered psychological trauma and physically is fine). And I’m trying to eat at least one vegetable a day as opposed to my usual one vegetable a month when my husband tries to sneak mushrooms into his homemade calzones (oh yeah, I can taste them, babe, and they taste mushy and disgusting).
And let me tell you, after all that, I have never felt worse. Oh yeah, you read that right. All that crap about how important it is to be healthy? Highly overrated. Those granola-eating hippies are all liars. Because for 20 years my body ran just fine on all those toxic ingredients. In fact, it thrived on booze and non-organic pizza rolls. And then I took all that stuff away and suddenly I’m curled up in the fetal position at the base of the toilet for months.
Then again, it could be because I’m pregnant. (Ha! See what I did there? Buried the lede for purely comical effect! Cruel writer shenanigans!).
Yes, dear readers, yours truly is with child. Preggo. Knocked up. In the family way. Bun in the oven. Uterus status: Occupied.
Or at least, I’m pretty sure I am. I have to be honest, it feels more like a very small demon wizard has taken over my body. But my doctor keeps reassuring me that this is highly unlikely despite the fact this pregnancy feels more like the movie “The Exorcist” than any kind of blessed event. Seriously, if you could see the things coming out of my body, you’d be wondering too. Not to mention, the violent mood swings (the weather makes me angry, that Snickers commercial makes me laugh like a mad woman, paprika makes me cry), the vivid dreams where I keep getting lectured by Bill Cosby, my sudden intense cravings for red meat that are so strong I’ve seriously contemplated taking a bite out of a live cow; all signs that point to demon wizard in my hormone-drenched brain.
That said, however, even if I do end up giving birth to a demon wizard (I’m still 70 percent sure I might), I couldn’t be happier. And that demon wizard will be loved unconditionally and dressed up as an adorable tiny bear next Halloween.
Which is why as I’m limping my way across the first trimester finish line, I wanted to share the news with all of you. Even those of you out there who truly hate it when women document their pregnancy journey in a public forum.
Because you know I’m gonna. The fun is just beginning, friends.
The longest day of my life began at 4 a.m. on a Tuesday.
I had gotten used to waking up early ever since I found out, which I chalked up to the lack of massive amounts of caffeine in my body and my newly formed habit of falling asleep around 8:30 p.m.
But this time was different. This time it was the dull ache that gently woke me up. Clumsily making my way to the bathroom though, it was the blood that jolted me awake.
Spotting, I told myself. Mild cramping. No big deal, my head said while my body frantically looked for the right section in the book. Yep. Totally normal.
I laid down on the couch in total darkness and turned on some crappy late night/early morning/not really suitable for human consumption TV. I absent-mindedly rubbed my lower stomach, a sort of unconscious gesture meant to signal reassurance for the both of us. I’ll be fine.
We’ll be fine.
By 5, the crappy movie was over and the meaningless dull ache had forced me into a fetal position. By 6, I was walking around bent over in an effort to relieve the meaningless pain that had meaninglessly grew into an intense ache. By 6:30, I was lighting a cigarette from the secret stash I hadn’t been able to throw away yet even though I had quit smoking. Just one to calm myself down.
Everything is fine.
As my husband woke up at 7 and as dawn broke, casting brutal light on the situation, I allowed myself the first tears. He ran to the store for Tylenol and maxi-pads, a first aid kit for a gaping fatal wound. By 8:30, we were on the road to the women’s health clinic, an appointment that had actually been made weeks ago.
Good one, universe.
No one even knew yet besides a handful of close friends and family. Eight weeks pregnant. Keep it quiet for now. Just in case…you know.
And suddenly, I knew all too well.
We nicknamed it Poppyseed in lieu of the popular moniker “It” so many other couples use during those early months. Poppy, for short. It was a private joke courtesy of my cousin, who upon finding out my new condition three weeks prior, pulled a poppyseed off her cheeseburger, pointed at it and said, laughing, “that’s how big your baby is right now.”
Urine sample. Blood sample. Weight and height check. Hello, I’m Carol. Is this your first pregnancy? Congratulations. Symptoms could be normal. Your cervix is closed. Good sign. Hmm…can’t find a heartbeat. Let’s schedule you an ultrasound…just in case…you know.
I was due in May, which was perfect. If it was a girl, her name was going to be Mae. A decision made long ago. Because Aprill is always followed by Mae. If it was a boy, well…Milo has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
Two hour wait. Silent tears. It’ll be fine, honey. Don’t worry. Mrs. Brandon? Nice to meet you. Hop on up here. Now what happened exactly this morning? Relax your legs. Too small to see on the monitor. Let’s try this.
Just the other day I had planned on shouting the exciting news from the virtual rooftops of Facebook and Twitter. After our first doctor appointment. Once we made sure there was little chance of any sort of just in case.
Well, there doesn’t seem to any pregnancy tissue. You may have passed it this morning.
There’s nothing you could have done. Or did do. These things just happen. Forty percent of pregnancies in the first trimester, to be exact. Most women only have one in their lifetime. Chances are high you’ll conceive again.
I know they have to say this. The doctor. The nurse. The now demoted future grandparents. The friends and co-workers.
There really is nothing else you can say.
But it doesn’t help. At least right now. Because no words can erase the image of your husband, so strong and stoic the entire time, finally breaking down on the phone when he calls his boss to tell him he won’t be in today. And because what died on that horrific morning wasn’t just a fetus. What also drowns and dies in that tsunami of blood and cramps is that movie montage you’ve been playing over and over in your head the past eight weeks until it’s the perfect mental screenplay of the rest of your life.
But then, the dream of a completely different future than the present you are currently living in fades slowly to black.
Suddenly you can no longer see the labor scene where you hurl hilarious insults at whoever is standing by, ones that even give the nurses a giggle. Or the moment you both sob like idiots when it’s all over and you’re holding a baby that has your eyes and Praise Jesus! his nose.
The never-ending need to count all his perfect fingers and toes. The uncontrollable urge to kiss her little face all the time.
The framed photo of her sleeping on her dad’s bare chest or his first Halloween where I dress him as Frankenstein’s monster simply so I could send out a photo card with the caption “We have created LIFE! It’s ALIIIIIIVE!”
Christmas mornings. First birthdays. ER trips because someone couldn’t resist shoving a Lego up their nose. Catching her digging through the trash with the dog as her accomplice. Him helping me make pancakes.
Ballet recitals. T-ball games. First girlfriends where I whip out every single embarrassing photo I can find, including the one of him in a dress having a tea party with his female cousins. First heartbreak where I cuddle with her on the couch and we eat ice cream while watching “Love Actually” and I let her cuss in front of me for the first time.
Graduation. Marriage. Becoming a grandparent myself. And everyone coming back home for Thanksgiving, filling our quiet house with welcomed chaos.
It all died too.
So, for now, I mourn the loss. Of her. Or him. And of the dream.
And hopefully, after time, and some Merlot, and maybe a night or twelve of healing vodka, we’ll be able to try again.
And I can start to dream again.