A Reality Check

I always imagined that I’d be one of those perfectly happy pregnant women skipping through fields of daisies, following every pregnancy guideline to a T, and planning the ultimate natural birth experience.

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The reality is that there is no way in hell I can skip, unless you count my reasonably fast-paced waddle to the bathroom as skipping. There is also no way in hell I can consume the proper amount of ANYTHING throughout the day. Not enough protein. Not enough vegetables. BARELY enough water. Finally, I am too freaking busy to even sign up for the series of birth classes the hospital recommends, let alone give any time to hypnobirthing or anything else. It will be a miracle if I have ANY idea what’s happening to my body at any given stage of labor, and considering my lack of any sort of tolerance for the searing pelvic pain I’ve been having, it appears that I will likely be crying for an epidural before I’m even out of the car.

Bubble: Burst.

And you know what? I’m okay with that. I really am. I have spent months trying to convince myself that I like being pregnant, but I actually DESPISE it. The only thing pregnancy really had going for it (besides the baby at the end, which is the whole point and which I will NEVER ever complain about) were the adorable baby wiggles and thumps, but now that she’s nuzzled herself sideways as tight and low into my pelvis as she can possibly get, even her movement is uncomfortable. These days, she likes to tuck herself against my hip bones and then STRETCH as hard and as far as she possibly can in a move that gives me some understanding of what it’s like to be a walnut in a nutcracker, only in reverse.

This morning, I was annoyed by her hiccups. Seriously. Mother of the year right here folks. I’m telling you.

At this point, I am one week from closing escrow on our new house, two weeks from having the keys in hand, and (hopefully) eight weeks from holding our baby girl in my arms. Pregnancy sucks and childbirth will likely be pure chaos, but life is really pretty good. I am miserable, but also so excited and happy. All I can do now is hand things over to the universe. I have no control over anything (including the hemorrhoids that I was gifted last night) and I need to just sit back (gently, and possibly on a pillow) and go with the flow. (Even if the flow has no free time, too much to do, and can’t keep its eyes open past 8:30 pm.)

31 Weeks – Baby Shower #2

Yesterday was baby shower number two for us, and I’m honestly still sort of in shock. Our family and friends have been so generous that I’m struggling to find words to describe it, and that’s pretty unusual for me. I never doubted that this baby girl would be loved, but I didn’t realize it was going to be such a hurricane of excitement, affection and generosity.

My mom threw a lovely shower. She worked so hard to make sure everything was perfect, and it absolutely was—from the food to the decorations to the people.

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She chose a “You Are My Sunshine” theme and made it her own. I thought the centerpieces were absolutely adorable. (I can’t wait to dress baby girl in that little pink dress because it’s Disney and it came with Minnie Mouse ears.)

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The sunshine cake was totally perfect in every way. And delicious. To a fault. I ate two pieces yesterday (it was lemon—my favorite) and then had to get on the scale at the OB this morning. Boo. (My weight gain for the past 2 weeks got two thumbs down for the first time this pregnancy, but everything else got two thumbs up so they’re just going to have to deal. I’ve been a little stressed lately, and I might possibly be eating my feelings. I am 31 weeks pregnant, buying a house, and I can’t have a glass of wine or four to relieve the anxiety. Just give me the damn cake.)

The prizes for the games were little mason jars filled with manicure essentials. I thought they were so cute. She even cut out part of the extra invitations to put on the top of the jar. For favors, she bought little magnets with a great Walt Whitman quote on them.

We are absolutely swimming in baby gifts, and I’m having some trouble making sense of it all. Mostly the clothes. I really need some advice on that front. What kinds of clothing did you find most useful in your baby’s first few months? Most of what we’ve received has been short sleeved onesies, and I’m feeling like we probably need some things with legs & sleeves. Granted, we are having a baby in the middle of July in Los Angeles—it’s going to be hotter than hell for probably the first 3 months of her life—but it’s not like she’s going to be hanging out in the sun. She’s mostly going to be in air conditioned rooms. Anyway, point being that I really have no idea how much of any type of clothing we need. Any advice?

Case Closed

I want to thank all of you for jumping to my defense yesterday. I read every single one of your comments, but I feel like my response to all of you would be exactly the same, so I’m just going to write it here:

  1. THANK YOU.
  2. It’s good to see that I have some clue (no matter how vague) as to what’s coming in 9-ish weeks.

We have settled the house guest issue. It wasn’t without tears and a bit of door slamming and yelling (we NEVER fight like that EVER—it sucks big time), but it’s settled. Even though I got my way (I hate to even put it like that), I still feel like crap about it because I know Catch is disappointed and hurt. I know she’s coming from a place of wanting to share her joy and excitement with the people she loves the most, and it’s really hard to swoop in and burst that bubble.

She pointed out last night that her support network is far away and it’s hard on her, which I totally understand. I wish I could change it. I wish her parents hadn’t moved hours away, and I wish her sister was closer, but I can’t fix any of that. It’s especially lousy because my own mom is just an arm’s reach away, and her closeness often highlights the opposite for Catch.

I wish there was a way to manage this situation so that everyone could be content, but there really isn’t. Bringing a new baby into the world is fraught with complications and feelings. When you’re dealing with a tiny little being that is SO wanted and waited for and loved by so many people, it’s hard to disengage from the feelings to focus on the facts.

In this case, the fact is that I am a very private person. I was not raised with a sister like Catch, or a half dozen sisters like her mother, and I’m not used to sharing personal things with people the way they are. I know I will barely be comfortable sharing postpartum things with my own mother. Catch is really the only person I am totally comfortable with, and I expect that I will need her to be my refuge during those fragile days.

Hell, I still haven’t forgiven one of Catch’s aunts for cutting the birthday/graduation cake at the party I threw for Catch when she got her Master’s degree. My house, my party, my cake to cut. I can only imagine how that’s going to translate when I give birth to this baby. It’s really in everyone’s best interest if we keep the visits short, sweet, and free of parenting intervention.

Between the two of us, we have two moms, two grandmothers, and 8 local aunts who are all going to want a piece of this baby action. (Not to mention the cousins…) All I could really offer to Catch last night is that we’ll figure it out as we go along. And that I love her. Because I do. She is my rock, and I couldn’t imagine doing this with anyone else by my side. She is an amazing wife, and I guarantee that her mothering abilities will put mine to shame. We just need to take this one step (and one visitor) at a time.

Raise Your Hand…

…If you think it sounds like a good idea to have house guests the week you are expected to give birth.

If you’re not raising your hand, please explain why in the comments.  The more detail the better.

Catch texted me a few minutes ago to inform me that my SIL, BIL and their niece (I think she’s 7?) are going to come visit the week of July 20th. My due date is July 18th. She says they “probably won’t stay long at our house,” but I feel like ANY stay at our house is out of the question during that particular time. We’re not talking about people popping in to visit for an hour. That’s to be expected! We’re talking overnight guests.

I am seriously pissed off that no one even thought to maybe include me in the discussion. My SIL was JUST here. Could we not have had a conversation about it before she left? I know everyone is excited to meet the baby, but Jesus–NO ONE IS MORE EXCITED THAN ME (AND CATCH), and considering that I have surrendered my body to this little creature for the better part of a year, maybe someone could consider my feelings on the subject?

And yes, they can find another place to stay, but I’m sure they’re going to expect to be able to spend as much time with the baby as they possibly can while they’re here (understandably–they are coming a long way and taking time off from work to be here), and I feel like it’s going to be too soon to expect that from me.

So far, the best reasons I can think of as to why this is a bad idea are:

1) There may not even be a baby yet!

2) If I have given birth, I will be sore, bleeding, uncomfortable, emotional and exhausted. (I don’t think I’m making too many assumptions there.)  Also, the new house has one bathroom. Perhaps I shouldn’t have to share my arsenal of personal products and mess of bloody pads and such with house guests.

3) I will also be learning to breastfeed, and I don’t think it’s fair that I should have to go hide myself away (in my own house) when the baby needs feeding because there are 3 extra people around who I would prefer not see my boobs.

4) It seems like maybe it would be a good idea for us to be able to spend some time alone together as a family before we have people sleeping in our guest room.

5) I feel like maybe going from being pregnant to being the mothers of an infant might be a bit jarring (ya think?), and perhaps we’ll need some time to adjust.

Why do I always have to be the bad guy? How did none of this occur to anyone but me? Am I wrong to be upset? Am I wrong to think this was rude? I know I’m pregnant and hyper sensitive, but SERIOUSLY? They can’t wait a few weeks and come in August? They would be MORE than welcome in August!

I should add that I sort of went off on my wife via text about all of this and now she’s not speaking to me. (I believe I said things like “no way in hell” and “no no no no no.”) Yay, me.

30 Weeks – A Baby Shower

Saturday ushered in both the 30 week mark and the baby shower my SIL threw for Catch. I’ll be honest—I was dreading it. I still felt slighted by the whole invitation scenario, and I just couldn’t get past it. To top it off, last week was a long, tough week dealing with major house-buying anxiety & difficulty, and then I had to add baby shower anxiety to the pile. I was really not handling it well.

That said, it ended up being a lovely day. Exhausting and completely overwhelming in every way, but absolutely lovely. I was totally amazed by the sheer number of people who were there. My sister in law, mother in law, and all of Catch’s aunts worked so hard all day, and everything turned out perfect.

Catch and I were both unprepared for the incredible outpouring of love and excitement for this baby girl. We had a brief reprieve for about an hour after the shower and before dinner reservations with my MIL and SIL, and we both just sort of sat on our couch and marveled at the day. Catch couldn’t stop smiling. It was so nice.

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The gifts were all thoughtful and perfect—and pink. (SO MUCH PINK.) Catch’s aunts bought us our bassinet and a whole bunch of little baby necessities. My mom made the cutest little burp cloths. Catch’s mom embroidered a sweet little onesie and tiny little booties, and is buying our nursery furniture for us when we move. There were onesies and books and toys as far as the eye could see. So many presents. (Soooo many thank you cards to write!) I’m still pretty floored by all of it.

Also, there were nuns. Two of them. At a lesbian couple’s baby shower. Not something you see every day.

All I heard all day was that my belly isn’t big enough. In between those comments, one of Catch’s aunts spent an inordinate amount of time insisting that none of the onesies that were hanging as decoration were going to fit our baby. So apparently, my belly is tiny, but I’m expected to give birth to a gigantic baby who can’t fit into a 6 month sized onesie? Hmm.

The shower my mom is hosting for us with my side of the family is next weekend, and while I am mostly looking forward to the opportunity to celebrate with my family, I have to confess—I am also really looking forward to the opportunity to eat more cake.

It’s been a bit shocking to us that we’re at 30 weeks all of a sudden. Time is really flying, and as the escrow insanity continues and we start preparing to uproot our lives and move to a new home, I know that time isn’t exactly going to slow down. I wish it would, though, because I finally feel like we’ve reached the good part of this pregnancy.