Staying At Home: In Hindsight….

It’s been a little over a year since we had Baby A, and though I’m not sure if I mentioned, we made the decision as a family that I would stay home with her during the day. However, working is a huge part of my life in that I love my job (I’m a freelance Dog Trainer in Boston). I’m also extroverted and can’t stay cooped up in the house all day without seeing people. It was important to me to get to go to work, see people, and continue teaching. It wasn’t for the money, but it was for my own personal sanity and my own personal identity.

Here are the things that I realized in the course of a year what staying at home really means:

1. Why We Did It:
My husband goes to work, and does so every day – even on the days he might not want to – so I can stay home with our daughter. That means the world to me. If he told me to go to work tomorrow, we’d put the baby in daycare and I would do it – but I would probably , as many women who put their baby in daycare, would have a really hard time with the fact someone else was raising our kid. The fact that we’re sacrificing some money now (and a house, and paying off the car fully) so one of us can be with the baby was very important to all members of the family at the time we made the decision. It’s a decision we stand by and I’m not going to speak for my partner, but I’d personally make it again in a heartbeat.

2. Daycare is too damned expensive.
Even if I kept walking 10 dogs a day, teach 5 classes a week, and brought in 2-3 private clients a week, we still would have been losing money by sending the baby to daycare. That seemed absurd. Yes, I could have charged more, but then I’d be literally working all the time to just pay her daycare bill, it wouldn’t be fair to my clients, I’d be tired, and not able to do the things I do with her. I personally feel, given our situation and our circumstances, that we did the right thing. Either way, my income would have been null and void – so I just stay home with her. Plus, I can pick the dogs I want to hang out with and my clients are super understanding if the baby is sick (or if I fall off the Baby Slide and went to the ER)

3.  You are the preferred parent and this is a double-edged sword.
The parent who stays home feeds, cleans, and changes the baby. When the baby can roll over and make expressions, you’re likely the one to see it (meaning, the other parent will maybe miss out on these “firsts”). You will be excited, and your partner might also be excited, but it will be laced with a little sadness that they missed it.

4. That being said, as the preferred parent, it’s hard to watch your baby turn away from your mate.
It’s hard to hand the baby over because you need a break or your partner needs a baby hug – and the baby just WAILS.  Soulful mourning and tears – real life tears streaming down their face. You have to pee, and they want your comfort. It’s exhausting to be needed all day long, and it’s crushing to see your partner want to reach out, and only have the baby cry at them. Recognize that this is only a phase (really the worst from 1-4 months old if I recall). Now that she’s a year, she gets excited to see Daddy come home, but at the end of the night, if she can see both of us, she comes to me. I can leave now for the night for work, and she’ll cry, but it’s really short-lived compared to the SADDEST SAD OF ALL TIME that we got before. So that does get better over time.

5. Work, Work, Work
I think the thing that I just realized in the last few weeks is that my husband goes to work, comes home, and he is done working. He still has things he needs to do (make lunch, iron a shirt, etc) but his brain is done with work, or he at least has a different set of responsibilities when he’s home. Essentially, he can change the channel. From her first cry in the morning, I’m working. I’m awoken by the sound of her cry like an alarm clock that won’t snooze. Half asleep, I change her diaper, start her breakfast, and get everyone else fed (all 4 animals, all the people, etc). Sometimes, in the course of this, I have food thrown at me. It’s no different from a normal commute on the Green Line, but still – I haven’t had coffee yet, and I’m “on the clock”. I’m with her all day, keeping her out of outlets, climbing on glass entertainment centers, pulling her away from the cat, cheering her on, having a dance party with bad Pop Music, rolling a ball for her, and give her a nap. We repeat this process while I’m doing laundry, washing dishes, walking dogs, and prepping for classes – but I’m constantly watching her. I have to – because if I don’t, she will find something to do, and it’s usually not good (like opening the dog food bin and feeding herself out of it, which she did yesterday).  No matter what  baby proofing you do, she will find something to get into that you really didn’t consider. Today, she opened the dishwasher. So I locked it. In retaliation, she started it, even though there were no dishes in it.  She will find trouble, which is normal. She’s exploring the world, mapping her own experiences on to her previously blank brain, and learning. But, when your partner comes home, you are still on the clock (see #4) because as the preferred parent, they want you to hold them through their tantrums, and in part, you want to do it because your mate has been away all day working. In part, you also just really want to pass them off. Some nights, you will hand the baby over and essentially say “fuck it – you HAVE to take this baby” but other nights you will hold the screaming, wailing baby and laugh because she needs you. And that is awesome.

6. The Baby Will Get Bigger In A 7 Minute Window:
I was just commenting that our kid grew 205% in a year. She came out at 7lbs, 14oz, and is now 20lbs 8oz. If I did that, my doctor would be horrified, terrified, and all sorts of -ifieds. Two weeks ago, her legs could barely make it over the curve of her stroller. Now her legs dangle all the way down, almost to the foot rest. That’s a significant jump in a couple of weeks. I am not being hyperbolic when I say there are days I put her down for a nap, and she is bigger when I get her a few hours later, or her hair is a little darker than it was earlier in the week, or her face is a little rounder. When people tell you it goes fast, it GOES FAST, often in a day or a week. Here is an example. I don’t often put photos of my kid online, but look at her the day we brought her home – my finger is HUGE compared to any part of her tiny body:
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Here she is just after Thanksgiving (she was 3 months old)
She’s as tall as my knees, and none-too-happy about it:

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And here she is in July – a few days shy of 11 months old. She’s almost as tall as my legs. Almost.

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It goes painfully fast. It’s thrilling, it’s exciting, and there will be no other time like it (every parent says that) but it’s hard, it’s exhausting, you will lose things – keys, glasses on your face, sometimes your mind, certainly your memory, but when she falls asleep on me, or learns something new (which she does daily), I would do it again, absolutely.

8. The Best Time Of The Day Is Drinking A Cold Beer or Scotch, Watching How I Met Your Mother Reruns, And Checking Out For The Night: I love having a beer (because every day is a victory that needs to be celebrated), catching up over really mindless television, and decompressing after a long day. Just like anyone else who goes to work. But, unlike going to work, I can stay in my jammies all day, and sometimes that’s just awesome.

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Top 10 Baby Shower Gifts

Now that we’ve been at this for a little over 3 months, I feel that I should make a note of the things we found most useful that we will without a doubt suggest to new parents & will bring to any baby showers going forward. Also, if you are my friend and will have kids, you will get something off this list. New moms, register for these things. They are very helpful, all are things we use everyday (exception: #7) and are often overlooked.

1. Baby Legs or other leg warmers (babylegs.com )

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When our friends gave us a pair of these, I thought “these are cute, but what on earth am I going to do with leggings?” Turns out, when you have a REALLY squirmy newborn, getting pants on and off are a challenge. These kept A’s legs warm, and were significantly easier to maneuver around while we were learning the fine art of diapering.

Now that she’s a little older, I put them under her pants, and use the bottom of the leggings to hold up her socks, which she inevitably would kick off otherwise and in the colder weather, a second layer is good.

2. Binky leashes (booginhead.com )

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We found these in a bag of stuff given to use from a friend. Once we figured out what they were for, we thought it was freakin’ ingenious! One end loops around the handle of the pacifier. The other end clips to the shirt of the baby.

Here is how it works:
Baby spits out the pacifier, pacifier does NOT HIT THE GROUND. The pacifier does NOT get lost in a pile of blankets. The pacifier does not end up as a cat toy. The pacifier stays tethered to the baby! YAY!

3. Long Sleeve & Short Sleeve Onesies, solid colors.
There are lots of adorable prints, patterns, bunnies on outfits, and plaids. When you want to mix and match (or if baby pukes on the shirt, but the pants are still usable), it can be tough when everything is decorated with patterns. Having solid colors does make things easier when dressing. Also, in the climate we happen to live in, long sleeves and short sleeves are super-important as we are now discovering.

4. Clothes beyond 3 months that are seasonally appropriate.
We got a TON of summer stuff for Baby A. TONS! The awesome thing is that we got a lot of clothes that were up to 3 months of age. The downside of that is she only wore some of the clothes, most of it only once, and outgrew the 3 month clothing by 2 months of age. We have a freakishly long baby, but many of my friends with kids say they tend to outgrow the 3 month old clothes before 3 months regardless. It’s not just us.

So now we have a pile of clothes for up to 3 months, which we were grateful for, but that don’t fit her anymore. The significantly smaller pile of clothes for 6-9 months old are mostly summer stuff, which won’t really work in Boston’s December. So though the clothes are cute, Baby A can’t really  get away with wearing a tye-dyed tank top set under the mistletoe.  So we had to go out and get more clothes that were seasonally appropriate, even though we have a massive pile of clothing that technically still fits her.

The best advice I can give is this: ask for clothes that are of varying ages (the NB stuff won’t last more than 3-4 weeks, and the 3 month stuff will not last 3 months), and not just in the season that your baby shower happens. We had a summer shower, and most of the things we got were for summer.

5. Diapering Supplies (Diapers.com or local diapering facility)
Either way, if you are buying bum-stuff for a baby-to-be, the easiest thing to do is get a gift card to Diapers.com so the parents can get the things that they discover that they need, or replenish the things they need AND don’t have to go anywhere during the first few weeks.

If they are doing disposables, they might discover they need more cream, or diapers, or wipes – stat! If they are doing cloth diapers, having access to different cloth covers and inserts is incredibly helpful. Plus, they have other things for babies – not just diapers and diapering supplies, so you know your gift card will definitely be used!

6. Coffee. Bags and bags of ground coffee. 

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If you don’t have a French Press, get one. They are literally $20. They also happen to be the easiest, and one of the tastiest, ways to make several cups of coffee. You put the grinds in the French Press. You add boiling water from a kettle. You let it sit for 3 minutes, and plunge the grinds to the bottom of the container. Good tasty coffee in 3 minutes. If you forget, no worries. You can pour it into a cup and microwave it.

If you already have the coffee maker, have people get you bags of your favorite coffee, ground, of course!

7. Massage/Spa Day/Haircut
Two weeks after having Baby A, all I really wanted to do was feel like a human being. I was tired, still really sore from having a baby, but I was also starting to feel a bit stir-crazy. Any significant time out of the house was not possible yet. I wasn’t up to it, and the baby couldn’t handle it.

A haircut fixed all of  that. My husband watched her on his own for an hour and a half. Someone else washed my head and gave me a stylish haircut that was easy to manage with a newborn, but most of all, socializing with other people while I was getting cleaned up a bit made me feel like a human being. AND my husband got a little bit of bonding with the baby. It was a break I needed, and a connection he wanted.

If you know where someone gets their haircut, and they are expecting, do them a favor, and get them a gift certificate to their salon of choice so they can go and experience a little break, and look good after!

8. Baby Straight Jackets /Swaddlers (Kiddopotomus via Amazon)

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The Baby Straight Jackets were a lifesaver, and source of comedy. Babies have a startle reflex that will wake them up if they sleep on their backs and move their arms. The more they wake up in the course of the night, the more you wake up in the course of a night. By swaddling, you can prevent the startle reflex from waking up the baby. The baby will still wake up at night, but at least you know it will be from hunger or a soiled diaper.

The swaddle pods, blankets, or other swaddling devices make things idiot proof, and if fitted correctly, impossible for the baby to break out. They have light fabrics for summer, and fleece fabrics for winter. The velcro helps make things stay in place as the baby sleeps.

If you are purchasing for someone, get two sizes: Small and Medium. The small will get a baby up to about 12 pounds, but they still need to be swaddled until 4 months – long past the 12 pound mark for many babies. Baby A outgrew blankets by 2 weeks, the Swaddle Me size small at 2 1/2 months and is now in a medium Swaddle Me. We got a few different kinds – some that transition into a sleeping bag once they don’t need the swaddle anymore, but honestly having a couple of swaddles at each size is so helpful.

9. Babies R Us, Motherhood Maternity or Amazon Gift Card
You will get a lot of things from friends, work, and hand-me-downs. You will also realize 2 weeks into being a parent that there are things you don’t have, or need more of. This is where the gift cards come in. You will still be sore after having a baby, and if you can get things shipped to your home while you are sleep deprived and still adjusting to being a parent, life will be easier. Babies R Us has swaddles, nipple cream, nursing pads, and other “new mom” stuff. Motherhood Maternity (or another “for mom” store) has nursing tanks, and shirts to make nursing/pumping easier. Your shape will be different for a while after the baby is born, and you’ll need in-between clothes. That’s where the Amazon and Motherhood gift cards can come in handy.

10. Nursing Pads (Lansinoh.com)

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Get the gel ones for the freezer for the first month ahead of time, and get the disposable ones for longer term use. You’ll find a brand you like, but get ahead of it. The gel nursing pads were a god send in the first month. Put them in the freezer or fridge, depending on the instructions for the brand you get, then stick them to your sore self while you get accustomed to nursing.

You won’t need the gel ones forever, which is something you need to know. However, when you need them, you don’t want to send your partner out for them – you’ll need them RIGHT NOW. The disposable pads are great to have in bulk, because you’ll go through a ton of them at the beginning, and will need them throughout your nursing days.

 

Unexpected Things: Labor and Delivery Edition

1.  Labor hurts. Really, really hurts.
There was a point a couple of days before Baby A was  born that I was having painless contractions. I thought Braxton Hicks were just little contractions, or where parts of your belly would contract, but not offer the full experience. I didn’t have any of those – but I did have full on contractions a couple of days before, without the pain. My entire abdomen  would tense up, look like a loaf of bread under my shirt, and then slowly soften.

I mentioned to B that maybe we should call the doctor because I thought I might be in labor, but I wasn’t totally sure. His response, which was actually really sound advice, was: 

“If you’re in labor, I think you’d know it”.

When it did happen, two days later, I knew it, and it hurt. My back, my body, my everything. It took me 45 minutes to eat banana bread (which was the last thing I ate), 9 hours before the baby arrived. Overall, once it started, I knew it was happening. Before that I kept thinking “maybe this is it? I don’t know.”

When you find yourself saying “Ow, my most of me”, you know.

Oh god, do you know.

2. Doctors Not in Labor & Delivery Have No Clue What To Do With Ladies in Labor
During our first night of birthing class, our Labor and Delivery instructor told us not to go to the ER for anything relating to labor. We were to report to the 5th floor, and if emergency care was necessary, we’d be transported to a bigger hospital. Her reasoning for not going to the ER was that doctors that aren’t in L&D don’t know what to do with pregnant ladies who are in labor.

When she said that in class, we all chortled, giggled, laughed, and moved on without giving it a second thought. At least, didn’t give it a second thought until I was in labor.

When we arrived, I could barely get out of the car. When I did, I had to buckle over some strangers car, cry it out for a minute, then walk 20 feet to stop, cry and do it all over again. Meanwhile, there was a guy in blue scrubs walking to his car. He looked at us, turned his head away really fast, and completely ignored the production in the parking garage. Basically, he did this:

“La la la – if I don’t see it, it’s not happening…la la la”

I thought maybe it was the end of his shift, and he just didn’t want to deal with it. Totally fine. A little weird, but totally fine.

And then we got to the parking garage. There were two attendants at the help desk area when I started a contraction. I held onto the wall, cried for a minute, then looked up – – – and they were GONE! Poof, disappeared – like Roadrunner.

Once we got inside the lobby, the doctors and nurses seemed to totally ignore the commotion. The ones that did recognize that something was going on were standing in the doorway of the cafe as we passed.

Not a single one of them came over to help.

They stood there, staring and conversing like people watching Evel Knieval performing his next record-breaking stunt. Will she make it? Will the baby just drop out of her in front of the caf? Who will clean it up? Stay tuned – something might happen!

“Will she have it here? Now? Will we have to wait until next season to find out? The suspense is killing me!”

In fact, the only helpful person was the security guard who offered to get me a wheelchair. Sitting hurt too much, so I said I’d walk, foot by foot, to the elevator. The audience in the cafe thought my husband declined the chair for me, so they got a little judgmental. I felt like I was on a reality show, and they were watching from home. The only difference was that I could hear what they were saying because I was 5 feet in front of them.

“He should have got the wheelchair for her”.
“Why wouldn’t he let her have a wheelchair? I would have got her one.”

All I could think of was what they must have thought of my husband. He’s not the type to say “walk it off champ, deal with it”, and in that moment, that they would assume that’s what happened, is absolutely hilarious, especially considering that they just stood there with their medical degrees, coffee and muffins.

“Walk it off, Champ.”

Once we got to the 5th floor (L&D floor), everything was great. I stepped off the elevator and sat on my knees on the floor. I couldn’t go another step. A lovely nurse helped B pick me up off the floor. She carefully helped us navigate our way to the admitting desk, let me stop and cry it out a couple of times, and told us everything was fine. We were promptly put in a room, and everything was on its way to being great.

3. Epidurals – Don’t Be A Hero. Just Do It!
Seriously, this is a bumper sticker I want to have.

Waiting to get it was the hardest part. I was crying with each contraction. When our L&D instructor told us to have a mantra, I don’t think she had the cries of “Owwwwwwww, Owwwwww, Owwwwww” in mind, but that was all I had. Even the needle going in for the IV hurt like no pain ever before, because my threshold for pain was just shot. When the anesthesiologist showed up, if I wasn’t already crying, I would have cried happy tears for his arrival.

Here’s the deal with the epidural: it’s weird going in. An anesthesiologist is putting a needle into a very specific, small place in your spinal area. You are still having painful contractions and you have to sit up for the needle. You’d think it would be hard to sit still through contractions when someone is putting something delicately into your spine, but someone is putting something INTO YOUR SPINE. You find a way to suck it up for 3 contractions and not move very much.

It’s tingly, it’s a bit cold, but it’s fucking magic.

When my husband left, I was a ball of goo, crying, moaning, and in the most pain I’ve ever felt in my life. When he came back, I was smiling, sleepy, and joking around. For a 20 minute turn around, the ability to sleep from centimeters 5-10, and have the peace of mind/body that I could deliver our child without worrying about how much it was going to hurt was worth it in spades for me.

During Transition, my body started to shake and twitch. All I kept thinking was “wow, I’m really glad I don’t feel this, because I’m sure it would suck”.

Seriously, don’t be a hero. Trust me. Epidurals are your friend.  A friend that only ladies can enjoy, so you might as well!

4. Hand Washing: Feel Like An ER Surgeon Without All The Annoying Schoolwork 
I’ve never washed my hands so much in my life, and I work with dogs/clean dog shit up all day. 

5. Breast is Best – But Hurts Like A Motherfucker
You’d think after pushing a 7 pound baby out of your whoo-ha, that nature would give you a break.

Nature sucks.

I’m all for breastfeeding. It’s natural, it’s cheaper than formula, and nutritionally complete for your baby. It’s a great bonding experience!

But it hurts SO MUCH.

The baby has no teeth, but the pressure such a little thing can create with the sucking motion of her mouth rivals any vacuum cleaner on the market. If Hoover could replicate the suction of a nursing baby, they’d make so much more money, and get so much more pet hair out of the carpet.

6. You Will Leak. A Lot More Than Expected.
Every time the baby cries, I feel like I’m leaking like a sieve. I’ve had to do more laundry for bras and shirts in the last week than I’ve done in the last year.

Scratch that. I feel like I’m leaking like this:

7. And You Thought The Belly Looked Weird When There Was A Baby In It! Wait Until Delivery!!!
When you have a baby in your belly, it’s round, it moves, and it feels weird when they kick/hiccup.

When they are on the outside, the movements they make at first seem to mimic the ones they practiced on the inside. You see a shoulder roll, and think back to the weird shapes your belly made for a few months. When they kick, you think about how many times that the baby kicked you in the ribcage, and though it hurt, you’ll miss it.

But, you look down at your previously big belly, and it’s gone. The organs have yet to move back to their place, but the immense pressure in the abdomen is gone, freeing up all sorts of space. Your belly feels empty – and almost like a sandbag. A very squishy sandbag. As the weeks go on, the organs drift back to their original spot, and you have a bit of a “pooch”, but it does feel mighty weird for the first 3-5 days after birth.

8. Surprisingly Hungry!
One thing that surprised me was how HUNGRY immediately after birth I was. I’ve heard women get really hungry after delivery, but I assumed that was a few days down the road. Pretty much after the shock of delivery had worn off, I was ready for the biggest, baddest meal on the planet.

Frankly, it makes sense. There you are, 9 months of having your internal organs shoved up under your ribcage, and suddenly, everything is free to move once the baby is out (#7).

Gravity helps, and everything starts to move back to where things are supposed to go. This frees up your stomach immediately. For the first time in almost a year, it’s able to expand without the threat of morning sickness, indigestion, or getting kicked by a baby.

Once I realized I could eat a full meal and NOT get sick, I ordered macaroni and cheese, and felt like this:

I totally would have done the dance, if I could feel my legs.

9.Shock Is A Weird Thing
When my best friend had her baby a few months back, I had the honor of being in the room with her, her husband, and the delivery staff. When the baby came out, we were all crying with emotion (it was quite a long ride and an emotional roller-coaster for everyone involved, but mostly for her). I took the photo of the first look, when she finally got to meet her baby for the first time.

The expression on her face has stuck with me. That photo with her looking at her son who she literally just met said more in the vein of “Pleased to meet you, I’m your mom. How was your day?” than the overwhelmed “ZOMG, this is my baby and I will love it forever and ever, and holy balls, I had a kid!” that you see in movies and birth videos in class.

I pretty much was in absolute shock that I had a baby. They handed her over to me after she was born. I heard everyone say “oh my god – wow – look at that!”, and because I didn’t feel much, I assumed that was indicative that she was born. When I took her, I  remember thinking “Hm. She’s really pale and covered in goo”.

I also recall feeling hungry (#8), tired, a bit overwhelmed, and totally in shock.

Before my husband went to help give her the bath with the nursing staff, I told him something to the effect of “I will love her. She’s great. But right now, I’m in shock and don’t feel a whole lot. I’ll see you in a bit. Take some photos”

I don’t think there is anything wrong with that feeling. Your body went through a pretty big trauma. Your baby went through a pretty big event. You haven’t eaten in 9+ hours, and likely haven’t really had good sleep in weeks/months. Now, you are suddenly not pregnant anymore, your belly looks funny, your baby is crying, and you’re starving. Plus, you are now 100% responsible for this helpless creature that you helped create and incubate.

And, you just met.

So it’s ok if you don’t feel that overwhelming gush of adoration and love from the exact moment of birth. Not everyone does – but it comes. For me, it was the next day, when it was just me, my husband, and the baby in our room. The sun was coming up, and it was a new day – we had breakfast, checked on Baby A, and realized that we were a family unit. Once that hit, everything clicked into place.

I’m totally in love with this kid.

Ten Things I Wish I Knew Before I Got Pregnant

One of my friends was asking last week what it’s like being pregnant, and what advice I could impart. I got to thinking about some of the things that I wish someone told me ahead of time so I could be prepared. So here it goes – for my friend (for preparation), for me (as reflection) and for anyone else who might be curious:

10. Morning sickness affects everyone differently, but many of those who suffer from it state that it’s not just “morning” and it’s not “puke and you feel better” (like college!). For me, it was like being seasick every time I tried to eat anything, and even randomly through the day.

The boat I got seasick on during our honeymoon: The M.V. Tranquility.
Tranquility my ass.

It often occurs for the first trimester, though for some women, it can go all the way through their pregnancy (those poor, poor women). Personally, 5 1/2 months of it was entirely too long. My OB prescribed a medication to help with nausea, which was a life saver.

9. I didn’t “feel” pregnant until about 5 months. Up until 5 months, I felt bloated, sick, tired, and generally icky. I felt doughy. I wanted to look pregnant so people would understand why I felt like I did. The irony is once I started to look pregnant, I started feeling much better. I have a few students that are pregnant and they are at the “I don’t feel pregnant” stage. I promise you – the minute you feel the first kick, you start looking for more of those. That’s when I finally “felt” pregnant, even though I looked it for months previous.

Side note: You also don’t feel any kicking until 16wks – 22wks, depending on the pregnancy. I started feeling what I thought was kicking at 18 weeks, but it was much further along in the pregnancy than I thought it would be. I also thought she was the result of eating too many beans in my burritos for the first few kicks. Now, we don’t have that confusion because my entire abdomen moves with each kick or flip and it’s really cool (unless I’m driving. Then it’s a bit distracting), but it did take a lot longer than I really thought it would to feel the existence of a little human in my own body.

8. Maternity Pants are THE BEST. I’m going to keep a pair around for Thanksgivings, or other special occasions. I also feel that they should make Man-ternity pants for Football Sundays.

7. What do you mean that you’re actually pregnant for 10 months?!? Currently, we are just a couple days shy of our 8 month mark. However, the baby isn’t scheduled to be here for another 2 months (July – August).  I couldn’t find a concrete answer to this, but the best theory I have is that we start counting at the day of our last period, which actually adds two weeks to the calculation. We also assume that when you hit 9 months, your turkey is cooked, but you are actually still counting (9 months, 2 weeks; 9 months, 3 weeks, etc). So you’re into your 10th month at full gestation instead of 9.

To toss one more wrench in: each month has a different number of weeks. Either way, it’s hard to explain to people “how far along are you” followed by “when are you due” and the two numbers don’t seem to add up.

6. Constipation anyone? Get stock in Benefiber and Colace. Even if you’ve never suffered from it before, buy it now and thank me later. Food takes longer to get through your system. It’s a built in response from your body to slow down digestion to make sure that all the nutrients are sucked out of food. This is to get the most nutrition to you and the baby, but the side effect is it takes longer for everything to get through your system, and as uncomfortable as you already are with 16+ pounds of baby counter weight, there are things that sadly make it more uncomfortable.

5. Gummy vitamins! Most prenatal vitamins are the size of horse pills. The ones I had at the beginning actually triggered a vomit reflex (taste aversions don’t just apply to food. For me, I had to switch toothpaste and vitamins as well). My sister recommended the gummy vitamins and I’ve been taking them religiously since.

SO much better than the horse pill alternative.

You do have to supplement with slow release Iron (they can’t put Iron in the Gummies), but those pills are little tabs, and much easier to swallow…pun intended.

4. All of your internal organs get shoved up into your rib cage. I made an entire post on the wacky things your uterus does while incubating human life. Perhaps the most fascinating thing to me through this entire process is that your internal organs have to go somewhere else.

Yup. This is really as uncomfortable as it looks. See how small the lungs are? See the intestines are all stretched out and pushed up? I now have a MUCH deeper understanding of how someone can be so tired all the time.

Your large & small intestines get pushed up into your rib cage, your liver gets shoved under your lungs (making it hard to breathe), and your entire abdominal cavity is dedicated to your new “womb mate”. Don’t believe me? Here’s a crazy animation showing exactly what happens, and why you can’t breathe after you eat, or walk up 4 steps.

3. People make weird shit you don’t need. Again, I’ve already written about it, but it begs to be shown again. Side-note – there are things in here that can’t be unseen. Placenta Bears, $17,000 binkies, and Man Boobs for breastfeeding are totally on this list. You’ve been warned.

Courtesy of T-Shirt Hell

2. Your joints get really loose and not in a good way. I wish I sought out Chiropractic sooner in this adventure, but I thought the stiff legs, back pain, tightness was all normal and something I had to suck up. Apparently, most of that is correct – except for the “suck it up” part. Conveniently, a woman I know through the dog park is a well respected Chiropractor in my neighborhood, so I popped in to see her last week. She explained that during pregnancy, the hormones responsible for getting everything flexible for childbirth has some other consequences: your joints get loose, things fall out of place, plus you are compensating for carrying 16+ pounds of weight out from your center of gravity. This puts an enormous strain on the spine, shoulders and neck. I hobbled in, and I walked out. 4 days later, at 8 months pregnant, I can still touch my toes from visiting with her last week. It’s not easy, but I can touch my toes 🙂  So my advice is, if it hurts, see someone about it and don’t suffer thinking “it’s normal”. It probably is normal, but you can still fix it and feel much better.

A pregnant woman

A pregnant woman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Everyone will comment on your belly, and no two things will sound the same. It’s not meant to be a blow to your ego, a blow to your body, or a blow to you at all. People are just looking to comment, make a joke, or connect with you in some way. It’s hard to take “Wow – it looks like you swallowed a watermelon!” as a joke when you’re hormonal and feeling like a bloated cow, but keep in mind they don’t mean it as a slam. In the same night as the watermelon comment, I also heard the following:

“I thought you were only 5 months along – seriously, you look great! You should eat more because you don’t look like 7 months” (a student)

“You really popped this week – she must have had a growth spurt” (a co worker)

“Hey lady – congratulations!” – total stranger, rubbing his belly, wearing a Paul Pierce jersey, as I was getting out of my car.

So in a 24 hour period, I heard “fat, not big enough, getting bigger” and “Wahoo! Baby!” from 4 different people, different degrees of knowing these people and they all had a completely different perspective as to what normal is at a given stage of pregnancy – which makes sense because there is no normal.

Everyone is different. My sister is carrying her daughter higher than I’m carrying mine. We look very different standing next to each other, even though we are only three weeks apart. Some people bloat more. Some people put all their weight on at the end, while others do so slowly through the entire 9 (ahem….10) months. And everyone will comment on it.

It’s hard – but you are incubating a human life form. You’re not fat – you’re not bloated (well, you might be bloated. That’s a side effect). You are bringing life into the world.

And some days, it sucks to look in the mirror because the body you had isn’t yours anymore.

For some women, that’s really hard to get over.

For others, they embrace their pregnant selves and relish in what their body is doing (I am not that woman).

But every night when I lay on the couch with my husband and she kicks, it makes all the puking, back pain, morning sickness, bloating, not being able to tie my shoes, not being able to sleep, or having to pee every 7 minutes totally and completely worth it.

Unexpected Things: Top 10 “They Make That?!?”

One of the first posts I made highlighted a Baby Hanging Harness. It got me to thinking what OTHER stuff is out there that seems a bit….odd, creepy, or weird?

10. The Nose Frida
From their own website:

Nose Frida: Manual Snot Sucker.

  • It’s smart.
  • It’s Swedish.
  • It’s maybe a little strange.
Maybe a little strange? Um…..

9. Zaky Infant Pillow

To get your bundle of joy used to
really creepy hands


I don’t know what’s more odd. The fact that it exists, or the fact that it’s sold out on the website.

8. Placenta Teddy Bear

Winnie The Placenta


Sure, you could eat it, you can drink it in a smoothie, or bury it under a tree in a religious ritual. OR, you could have it made into a creepy, salt cured, preserved teddy bear to pass down through the generations.

7. Baby Bangs


Bangs are the only thing this website touts, and they say it’s so people don’t get confused about if your child is a boy or a girl. You know, in case the pink tutu didn’t give it away. For fairness and to keep things a little less sexist, it seems like they should come up with a Baby Mullet and other hairstyles as well. Click on the link because the before and after photo is pretty funny.

6. A Crib That Costs $19,995
Wow. A crib that costs about the same as a 2012 Nissan Altima.
5. Diamond Encrusted Pacifier
This one also fits under the “Crazy Expensive” category.  A pacifier that costs $17,000, encrusted in diamonds, that you can literally purchase on Amazon.


Although, I’m sure there will be nights where I’d be willing to give anything – including $17,000, to keep her quiet.

 4. Terribly Inappropriate Clothing
 Ok, I’m the LAST person to say what’s appropriate and inappropriate as far as humor is concerned. However, I think we can all agree that putting your tot in these gems are probably a bad idea.

 

3. Poop Bags…..for Babies
I clean up after my dogs at minimum 2 times per day, 1-3 times per walk. Apparently, there is a similar movement (no pun intended) called elimination communication, where the parents depend on their baby to tell them when the need to eliminate is going to happen, therefore, reducing or eliminating the need for diapers.

This depends on a few things:
-That you are watching your baby like a HAWK, which you should be doing. However, sometimes Mommy needs a sandwich, and that will be the time your baby will invariably need to be held over a Diaper Genie to poo in a bag.
-You really don’t care about your carpet
-That your infant, who can’t talk or control any body function, can communicate with you.
Now, I haven’t spent a ton of time with babies – but the time I have spent with them has taught me that they have ZERO motor function, for quite some time. Plus, they pee or poop once approximately every 10 minutes.  I’m not sure how many bags you’d go through in a day, but it sort of negates the eco-friendly aspect of things. Plus, as eco-friendly as you want to be, this is still just rather icky in public spaces. Like, on a train, or at the supermarket.

2. Gourd Rattle
The good folks at Regretsy have never let me down. According to the post, it’s a “large gourd rattle with deer hooves, leather, fun yarn, and furry acorn”.

To me, the sharp hoof, the heavy gourd, the strings of “fun yarn” screams UNSAFE!UNSAFE!UNSAFE! But hey, danger builds character!

 1. Man-Boobs
What’s the man of the house to do when the lady goes out for 2 hours of peace and quiet? How on earth will he feed the baby pumped milk or formula? He COULD use a bottle, or he can strap on a pair of these:

Most teenage boys wonder what they would do if they had boobs. Now, you know. Not as fun as you thought, now is it?