I can guarantee I will hear these three things multiple times today and every day until this precious boy gets here (please note, I am having a boy. He's a he. I'm having a boy. I do, in fact, know what I am having. I'm having a baby. And I happen to know my baby is a boy):
1. When are you due?
Fair enough. I ask my fellow pregnant women the same thing (once I am absolutely, positively, 100% certified sure they are also pregnant). I'm due at the end of this month. I don't like giving a specific date because we all know Mother Nature doesn't operate on our time. Baby boy's not being delivered by a stork via Amazon Prime with a guaranteed date and time. Being my first born and a boy (and let's just admit it, related to my side of the family), he's probably going to take his sweet time. If you want to predict a date, I hear there is a baby ETA pool going on with my co-workers at the College Hill Alliance.
2. Are you ready? / I bet you're ready!
I don't know how you can be truly ready to have life as you know it transformed and turned on its head. Jamie and I got most of our thirties behind us before we decided we were ready to expand our party of two. We've taken all of the baby classes the Medical Center offers and even a private birthing class with local Douala extraordinaire Mandy Miller. We've read books on pregnancy, birthing and parenthood (personal favorites are From the Hips and Bringing up Bebe) and subscribed to the e-newsletters like the amazing Lucie's List and others that tell us what fruit or vegetable our baby is sizing up to every week. The bags are packed. The nursery is done (see the pic!). The car seat is installed. I've even made a play list for the hospital. According to our checklist and Jamie's mantra of "Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance," we're pretty darn prepared. But ready? To become a parent? To bring a child up in this world? To take on the wonders of a newborn? I just don't think it's possible to be ready.
As for those who bet I am just "ready to get that baby out," the answer is no, I'm not. I have enjoyed every minute of this pregnancy.
Read these hips: I LOVE being pregnant.
Yes, I got a hall pass on morning sickness. I haven't even experience much fatigue. Even in this final trimester, I still have crazy spurts of energy and for the most part, I'm sleeping well (as long as I get my pillow fort arranged just right). Don't get me wrong, I love the excuse of saying, "Sorry, I'm making life right now" as legitimacy to multi-task while napping. I love that my husband acts like I am wrapped in bubble wrap and literally bends over backwards to help me (since bending in any direction is pretty much out of the question).
I love this new found sweet tooth that has me spending a fortune on organic fruit and indulging in the occasional Amanda's Bakery cupcake with glee. I love that I have justification to pamper myself more than usual with the little things like manicures and pedicures, massages, prenatal yoga and the perfect blow-out (shout-out to Mitch, Miki and Amber at Amanda Jane Salon!). I love feeling this little being inside of me and knowing that this is most I'll ever be able to protect him during his life in this crazy world.
Aside from my biggest ache and pain being the stress fracture in my foot I most likely acquired from switching from heels to bad flats (and possibly the combo of Pure Barre, treadmill and walking to work which I was actively doing up until my injury), I truly have no complaints. Carrying this little guy has been an honor and a blessing. We worked hard to get here. The first time (see previous post), was not as easy. So no, I'm not ready to have this baby. Technically, I am 37 weeks and some change. I want to carry him as long as he wants because I am his best incubator. I want him to be safe and sound and have every chance to develop to his best ability, and right now, that safe place remains my womb. Yes, I may change my tune as I approach these final, anxious days. But until then, just let me enjoy it. I am proud to have this honor and a privilege on board.
3. You are huge!
I just don't get this one. When does pregnancy give anyone the right to basically call you fat [to your face]? This one really does ruffle my lustrous prenatal feathers. I am not huge! I am still just under 5 feet six inches tall. I still wear a 6.5 shoe (maybe a size 7 when the swelling kicks in at the end of the day). And I'm still fairly loyal to my original body frame I've had all of my life - chicken legs (check), lanky arms (check), and judging by the fact I wish I had more padding on my arse these days, I am not sure if that area has grown or possibly shrunk. My belly, however, is indeed huge. There's a growing baby boy in there. If you look closely, he'll give you a wave as he does his little alien-like jigs throughout the day. I love my healthy Buddha belly. Let me just break-down what's happening right now in pounds, according to estimates from Baby Center:
Baby: 6-7 pounds
Placenta: 1-2 pounds
Breasts: 2 pounds (okay, outside of the belly, I'll give you these. Bra size doesn't lie. And never did I think I would see the day.)
Uterus: 2 pounds
Amniotic Fluid: 2 pounds
Blood: 4 pounds
Other Fluids: 4 pounds
Fat Stores: 6-8 pounds
That's over 30 pounds, and of course, varies from women to women. We all carry differently. We all look differently just like any outfit would according to the one wearing it. Call me over-sensitive, but I just can't imagine saying this to anyone - pregnant or not. I wish I could fire back with "Well, I am pregnant. What's your excuse?" but even I can't muster enough hormonal rage to fight rude with rude. I especially don't get it because we're in the south. I thought our mamas raised us better than that.
And while we're on the subject of sh*t people say to pregnant women, here are a couple of other teeth-grinders:
Are you sure you're not having twins? What I want to say - Maybe this is a question you should pose to my doctor since you're doubting her diagnosis. We have this thing called an ultrasound that works really well these days . . . If there is a twin, he or she is hiding behind my son's giant scrotum.
Are you about to pop? What, a button (maybe)? A gasket (keep talking)? Do you think I am an explosive device? This isn't a jack-in-the-box being cranked up to "Pop Goes the Weasel," there's a baby in utero! I've been called a firecracker before, but outside of some red face and hissing, I haven't combusted . . . yet. There are only two exit options for this baby boy, and I only wish it was as simple as Snoop says. But alas, I will not pop it like it's hot.
There are actually a few things that don't prick the hair on the back of my neck. I am not totally freaked out by folks touching my belly. Most of the time, I've found people ask first, which immediately sets me at ease. I was surprised to find that the laying of hands doesn't bother me as much as I thought it would, especially when asked. After all, I'm not sure when my stomach will ever be this tight again! Just don't ask to feel the "mummy tummy" after the birth. I hear that thing is like a bowl of jelly (please note: like all new moms, I will have one. God forbid the moment and poor soul who asks me when the baby is due after he's born!).
I also don't mind when people exclaim, "You're so pregnant!" It's almost a relief to hear the obvious stated. I am so pregnant. Nine-months-and-counting pregnant! I don't think everyone realizes that we human mammals carry our offspring almost 10 months. And what I love most about being *so* pregnant is I could go on my brief baby hiatus any minute now. It's a terrifying relief to know I am about to take a step aside (not back, mind you) and focus on my family, however long or short that may be.
End of my one and only pregnancy rant. The fact is, I could stay pregnant forever if I wasn't so anxious to meet my son AND the fact I am growing weary of the unsolicited comments and observations of folks who mostly mean well.
There are also those who get it just right. They are often parents themselves. I don't mind being asked how I am feeling, even if it's over and over again. I love those who shower me with sweet compliments and reassure me I'm holding it together, especially when I've just been side-swiped by another who just told me I'm huge. I love the ones who tell me to enjoy every moment because it flies by. I appreciate those more than they know who tell me the joy my husband and I are about to experience.
I'm around a lot of folks throughout the day, and while I love that they all take an interest - and seem to have a genuine liking - to this little guy they haven't met yet, this mama is starting to yearn for a return to our regularly scheduled programming of small talk surrounding the weather, the latest local news and the things we do for a living. But I realize this may never happen again. In fact, in a few months, I may be the one annoying them as I scroll through endless cell phone pics of my son and rave endlessly about his latest coo, poo and sleeping patterns. I may even be doing this while publicly breastfeeding or at least referring to the need to pump, making the conversation that much more squirm-worthy. Actually, now that I think about it . . . for all of these awkward commenters, payback will be swell.
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