Preg Etiquette

I know what you’re thinking, and of course I’ve been slacking around here; I’m 34 weeks preg with a 350lb linebacker whose only interest is seeing how far into my ribs a foot could possibly be jammed (answer: the foot feels like it’s coming out of my ear).  Every time I sneeze, I’m afraid I’ll pee.  Every time I pee, I’m afraid my water will break.  Every time I look at the carseat now installed in my backseat, I fuh-reak the freak out.  So I promise to be back with more regularly scheduled nonsense, but in the meantime, I’ve gathered a list of things I’ve been asked/told over the past few weeks that were not well received.  Thankfully, I have also provided you with a list of replacement phrases and questions.  Learn it, use it.  THE MORE YOU KNOW.
Things Every Preg Hates to Hear:
  • Are you having twins?
  • You haven’t had that baby yet?
  • You’re carrying your baby weight really well.
  • Better get your rest while you still can!
  • That baby will be enormous.
  • Do your boobs hurt?
  • I bet you can belch like a trucker.
  • Those are some serious dark circles you’re sporting.
Things Every Preg Loves to Hear:
  • The cook accidentally doubled your order of onion rings.
  • No charge for the extra hot fudge.
  • You look like a beautiful, glowing Earth Mama.
  • YOU LOOK SO WELL RESTED!
  • You’re so tiny!
  • Would you like an extra scoop of ice cream?
  • Would you like a brownie?
  • Please, eat the last slice.
  • Would you like a foot rub?
  • You should go take a nap.
  • I WILL CLEAN THE ENTIRE HOUSE FOR YOU.  And then I will bake you a cake.
  • DELICIOUS FOOD, THIS WAY!
And so, in summation, it’s food.  I like to hear about food.  Keep your opinions about belly size/nipples/dark circles/gas to yourself, and give me a brownie.
 
OMG ONLY SIX WEEKS TO GO,
K
ACCURATE.

ACCURATE.

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Kid Two = Jumping Out of an Airplane, AGAIN.

I read a really great post recently about skydiving and parenting; the author truly hit the nail on the head in terms of relating your pregnancies (and impending children) to jumping out of an airplane.  The first time you go skydiving, it’s thrilling and exciting.  You think you know what to expect, but aren’t quite sure until you’ve jumped out of that plane, and taken flight (also, like with skydiving, THERE IS NO TURNING BACK WITH CHILDBIRTH).  You had so much fun, you’re just crazy enough to decide to do it again, only this time it’s lost some of that sparkle.  Because this time, you sort of know how it will feel and what to expect.  Maybe this time you have a little more anxiety, because know that you understand how things are supposed to work, you worry about whether they actually will work the way you’ve anticipated.

Having kids = Jumping out of an airplane.

You see, with Kid One, you’re so superduper excited.  You stare in wonder at your weekly fruit/vegetable update from The Bump (Poppy seed!  Blueberry!  Prickly pear!  Jack-O-Lantern!  Baby Orca!)  You eagerly anticipate each week, moving further along in the club of expecting moms.  You cannot WAIT to begin wearing maternity clothes!  And you read an overwhelming volume of articles, books and blog posts on labor and delivery, because you have no clue what to expect, so you’d like to be prepared.  You are glittering, sparkling ball of OMGBABY!  You write your birth plan with stars and hearts in the margin of your notebook!  And you are terrified; so afraid of birth, of what will happen, of what could go wrong, of how bad it could hurt, blah blah blah.  Then IT HAPPENS, and the baby is HERE.  You officially jumped out of the plane, and survived, and it was awesome and exhilarating and everything you’d hoped it would be and LET’S DO IT AGAIN!

You also don’t know about the three week growth spurt, four month sleep regression, teething, various forms of poop, and being up every three hours for those first mind-numbing weeks (or months).  You know, the “jumping out of a damn plane” part.  But you know what?  You figure it out.  You pull the ripcord (or google “WHY IS MY BABY DOING THIS WEIRD THING?!”) and you become a full-fledged parent.

Then, if you’re like us, once Kid One turns about a year old you decide…yes, really, LET’S DO IT AGAIN.  You’ve officially joined the Parenting Circus (not the same as the Family Circus; PC has way more profanity and wine, trust).

And now, with Kid Two, you probably aren’t as excited.  What fruit am I this week?  I don’t know, I feel like a watermelon but I don’t think that’s accurate until week 473.  I started wearing maternity clothes before I even got pregnant again (because in reality, I never actually stopped wearing some of my favorite things from when I was pregnant with Kid One).  I only want to advance in weeks because I would like this child to exit La Hacienda de Uterus.  I have read zero articles on delivering Kid Two because I know how it works, and while I know some crazy situation could always arise, I also know that there are people more knowledgeable and trained than me who will handle figuring all that out.  My birth plan is simple: BIRTH THE CHILD.

Something else I’ve found with Kid Two that also happens when you jump out of a plane for the second time: This time, you know.  Like, you know what’s going to happen, what it will feel like, what the end result will be.  And that is what terrifies you this time.  Because you know what the jumping out of the plane part is like; you know what pulling the ripcord is like.  You know to be afraid of the witching hour, or cutting those first teeth.  Maybe it’s a blessing that first timers don’t really know.  And it’s a frightening blessing for us second timers in that we do know.

But it’s more than just the care of a newborn; that part isn’t really that terrifying, because once you’ve parented a toddler, you can do anything in the entire world with one hand tied behind your back AND blindfolded while singing Wheels on the Bus for the 782nd time that day.  The greatest anxiety I feel right now?  It’s still in the knowing, but it’s not in the care, that much I know we can do…it’s in the emotion.  Knowing how much you love Kid One, and wondering if it’s truly possible to love anyone as much as that.  Knowing that your life is about to be turned upside down (again) while in a good way (again) but a very, very different way, because it’s not just Party of Three any longer, it’s Party of Four.  How will Kid One handle the emotional process of gaining a sibling?  Better yet, how will a toddler handle it?  If you are unfamiliar with how well a toddler can handle a change in routine, try giving him the Big Bird sippy cup instead of the Elmo one.  Go ahead, try it.  I DARE YOU.

When we had Miles, I regarded newborns with a healthy amount of fear and joy combined.  It’s safe to say that those same feelings (is fearjoy a thing?) are still present and accounted for as we countdown to Kid Two.  I have no doubt in my mind that we’ll make it.  I mean, it’s not like we’re the first parents to have *gasp* two children.  So we do the normal sibling-prep things.  Miles talks to “his baby”, and kisses my belly (and will also remind me, “No, Mama, no baby”)  We talk about BIG BOY things, the important job of being a BIG BROTHER, and how much fun this will be.  We read books, sing songs, make crafts, things to incorporate the idea of becoming an older sibling.  And we do a lot of extra extra snuggling.  Is it enough?  I don’t know; I’m sure we’ll still experience the ups and downs of change, just like we did the first time around.  But we’ll handle it with grace and love and a fair amount of wine when necessary (and cookies…and chocolate…so much chocolate).

I’m hoping we’re semi-prepared for this next ride.  I hear it only gets wilder…

OMG,

K

Definitely parents.

Definitely parents.

Five Things to Avoid Googling While Pregnant

One would assume that because this is our second pregnancy, I’ve run out of things to research/google/obsess over.  Well, you’d be wrong.  Having a toddler means that all of the super pregnancy smarts and knowledge you gained the first time around have been replaced by songs about monkeys eating all of their vegetables (EVEN THE GREEN ONES).  Sometimes I have a legitimate question, but most of the time I’m just googling things that come from random musings that dance across my semi-awake frontal lobe.  I’ve found that there are three types of information available to pregs via Dr. Google: informative, hilarious and terrifying.  And now I present…

Five Things to Avoid Googling While Pregnant (aka “How Not to Scare the Shit Out of Yourself”)

Is (insert favorite food item) safe to eat?  Even if your favorite food is stupid kale, I can 110% guarantee you that somewhere on the vast internet, there is an article or blog post that will tell you said food is not only unsafe, but that even accidentally consuming .000001 ounces of the food will cause your baby to be born with the ability to speak only Swahili.  We all know the primary foods to avoid eating (delicious things like sushi, all cold cuts [I MISS SALAMI SO MUCH], soft cheeses and fish high in mercury) but every once in a while, you’ll read a comment on some BabyCenter message board that will tell you to avoid things like soft serve ice cream (because OMG when was the last time the machine was taken apart and waaaashed?!)  Really?  A preg, avoiding soft serve ice cream?  GTFO.  If you like food, stay off the google engine.

Is (insert favorite activity) safe to do?  Similar to avoiding all foods while preg, there are people who will tell you to avoid doing all things while preg.  Listen, I’m more than happy to avoid doing things like folding laundry, cleaning up cat puke, and washing dishes, so if the Hypno Baby Wizard website tells me not to do those things, I can legit show my husband the documentation proving he is responsible for 90% more household chores right now.  I know not to scoop the cat litter box and to avoid doing things like CrossFit (LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL), but did you also know you’re supposed to avoid things like warm showers, lifting objects over 15lbs and sleeping on your right side?  Oh, you didn’t?  Well you must not have made it to page 17 of the google search results; if you had, you’d know these important things.  So, feel free to be smelly (because cold showers are dumb), never pick up your toddler/groceries/obese cat, and forget ever being comfortable while sleeping for the next 47 weeks.

What is this funny feeling in my upper/lower right/left abdomen?  If you have a funny feeling, it’s probably gas.  Oh, the pain is in your ribs?  It’s still gas.  Lower back pain?  GAS.  Pregs, you have a lot of gas, don’t try to ignore it.  Set it free.  If it’s not gas, then it’s probably your sweet little baby squeezing a precious and vital internal organ.  Never, ever, ever google the words “feeling ____ while pregnant” because Dr. Google will tell you that you have something like West Nile Virus or Chinkungaya Disease, or that you were secretly abducted and probed by aliens during the night and GUESS WHAT, NOW YOU’RE HAVING TWINS!  You probably ate soft serve ice cream while laying on your right side, right?  That explains everything.

Images of anything, ever.  When I announced our second pregnancy, an acquaintance immediately asked if knew I was preg before taking the test.  Before I could answer, she said I must have known, and it was probably my nipples that gave it away.  Really?  My nipples?  Would pregnancy give them the ability to speak?  I wasn’t exactly sure what she meant, because I’d been pregnant before and my nipples didn’t hold the secret baby knowledge.  So I decided to google what she meant and OH MY GOSH, I regret that.  Do you know what happens when you google things like “pregnant nipples”?  You’ll be scarred for life, because only the worst and most frightening things that could ever happen to nipples will show up in google images.  And former pregs who did have nipples that looked like space saucers preparing for landing, I am so sorry.  SO SORRY.

Things like “sex while pregnant.”  Pregs can totally still do it (no, the baby won’t get poked in the head), but sometimes you have to get creative because after a few months, there’s an enormous watermelon between you and your partner.  You should be very careful in your google phrasing; WebMD has good articles with suggestions and tips, and what’s normal (i.e. “tingling sensation in my left third rib”) but if you don’t quantify your search with something like “pregnant sex webmd article” well, you’re going to find out there are a lot of weirdos out there.  A LOT.  It’s more frightening than the space saucer nipples.  It will also probably get your name added to some Federal list.  Oops.

Pregs, if you want to enjoy your 40ish weeks of growing life and eating cheese fries covered in Nutella, then stay off the google engine.  As long as you aren’t bungee jumping while smoking a pack of American Spirits and eating raw chicken, you’re probably doing just fine.  Common sense tells you what is and isn’t safe, and for those questionable things, your midwife or OB will give you a list – a physician approved list – of things you should avoid eating and doing.  Follow that list and your gut, and you’ll be fine.  Particularly follow your gut if it’s telling you the baby needs brownies.  Chocolate boosts mental stamina.

Acceptable.

Acceptable.

And as a reminder, I’ll just leave this right here:

Brownies 4Lyfe,

K

Halfwayish There

Here we are, 24 weeks along.  Although the cliché is so cliché it’s hipster, it still rings very true: time flies.  Particularly when you’re chasing a whirlwind toddler around…time really really flies.   But I didn’t realize how quickly the days were passing until I responded to an email from a friend who is currently pregnant with her first child, and due just two days after me (assuming Kid Two is on time, hint hint).
 
She had asked what things were my must-haves for those newborn days (short answer: neck pillow, thousands of receiving blankets and sleep ‘n plays that zip, a Boppy pillow, gripe water for the baby and wine for me) and what “tips” I had.  That’s the moment you’ve made it to Level 3 of the Mom Club: a first timer asks you for advice, because they trust your judgment.  It’s flattering and intimidating, all at the same time.  To realize that the same girl who thought nothing of table dancing during happy hour not too many years ago was now not only a parent, but a trusted parent with good judgment and decent mom skills, is totally b-a-n-a-n-a-s. 
 
And so, in addition to the must have items that no one tells you about, I rattled off some of the things I learned during those very early days.  Then, because I’m completely obsessive and an editor in a former life, I proofread my email prior to sending…and I was amazed at my own wisdom and sound advice. (Note: This is not bragging; this is me in shock and awe, seriously.)
 
I told her that of all the growth spurts your baby will hit, the three week spurt is the most terrifying, at least for me.  Four days of crying that sounded less like a sweet, cuddly newborn and more like a screaming baby goat, and I was a frazzled mess.  But we made it.  We said goodbye to those growth spurt months long ago, but of all the transitions we experienced in that first year, the three week spurt is still the only one that gives me PTSD.  If you’ve been through it, you know what I’m talking about.  Maybe yours wasn’t the three week; maybe it was the two month, five month, seven month, etc.  Maybe yours was that first round of teething, or the first ear infection, or getting your baby to latch properly.  Maybe it was sleep training, because I know I’ve heard some horror stories.  I believe that we all have that one particular moment in the infant days that we can reflect back on with thoughts of both terror and nostalgia, and heaps of gratitude, because we all survived.
 
I provided my thoughts on an epidural, which I did not have with my first, and which I do not plan on having with my second.  But I gave her my thoughts from a place of knowing what was best for me, and that she would know what was best for her.  I could tell she was leaning heavily towards forgoing the drugs, and I could also tell she was in need of some encouragement, which I gladly gave.  I reminded her that the human body and mind are capable of things we can’t even imagine, and that the way your mind and body handle childbirth is truly miraculous and astounding.  Moms will tell you they can’t describe the pain of childbirth, and that it’s forgotten the moment that sweet baby is placed in your arms.  A lot of that is true (but if you get hemorrhoids, you will remember them forever and always for the rest of your days, I PROMISE)  So, yes, you can do it without drugs, but stock up on the Dermoplast spray juuuust in case.  TRUST ME.
 
My friend had also asked the “breastmilk or formula?” question that all soon-to-be moms ask.  And to this, I told her she would know what was right.  I cannot give advice on breastfeeding because I simply didn’t do it; but I can give advice on feeding your child with love.  I reminded her that of all the opinions she will hear, articles and books she will read, and thoughts that will be bestowed upon her by others, no one – and I mean no one – knows what is better than she will.  I told her that we’re all unsure as first timers.  We’re all new to the circus that is life after the birth of your first child, and I come from an understanding that having the first child is the most intimidating.  While I have the blessing of carrying the knowledge and wisdom I’ve gained to my second baby, I vividly remember those first baby days (probably because they weren’t that long ago).  But I told her that even in her uncertainty, she will know.  You may always question and wonder, but you will know, and you will all learn together.  And so I wanted her to know that no matter how she chose to feed, she was doing so from a place of love, and that was most important.
 
My other responses ranged from advice on the simple (don’t buy a Diaper Genie, it’s totally not worth it) to the terrifying (should you choose to circumcise, know that THIS is what you’ll be doing for the next ten days…) to the gross (DID YOU KNOW YOU MIGHT POOP DURING DELIVERY?!) to the difficult (someone will judge you for a parenting decision; you will cry now, but you will laugh later, and you will know that you are the best mom your child could ever have).
 
As I closed my message, the realization hit me that all of this advice and wisdom can be applied to my own life, and very soon.  I have a confidence (albeit a terrified confidence…) this time around that I didn’t before.  I also have fears of other things, because I am aware of them now.  But I also know that no matter where this journey heads next, no matter what our delivery is like, our Party of Three will handle with great grace and strength the addition that will make us a Party of Four.
From this...

From this…

...to this, in the blink of an eye.

…to this, in the blink of an eye.

 
16ish weeks to go,
K
 
PS – I think my husband wants three kids just so he can say “Party of Five.”  What a nerd.