In Transition

I've been quiet all semester almost, huh? Well, as many of you know by now if you look at my photographs on Flickr, I have been in the family way for 20 weeks now. Our son is due to get here on May 2. It makes for sparse blogging, I guess, because while my mind has been racing, it's been with thoughts I doubt anyone would really find interesting, such as:

1. Are family members going to respect my birth plan, the first sentence and main point of which says that besides hospital staff, I want only Jonathan to be there?

2. I'm feeling movement, but not as much as I would like to feel.

3. I am terrified of gaining over 25 pounds, or too much weight that I can't lose or that would be very hard to lose. I write down what I eat every day just to be mindful of it and what I weigh every morning, and I dread looking on the scale and possibly seeing that I've gained more than the one-pound-per-week during the second and third trimesters guideline.

4. Am I going to be able to go to CCCC and do my presentation at 36 weeks? Certainly I wouldn't be able to if the conference were held anywhere else this year.

5. Will I freak out once he's born? Will I be put on anti-anxiety meds or antidepressants? My fear is not so much that I'll be put on meds, but rather that I won't get put on meds despite feeling that I need them.

6. Will I ever get over the paralysis of fear that I already feel? I already suspect that I absolutely will not be able to STAND it if other people ask to hold the baby. I especially don't want them to bounce him.

7. Will people, especially family, respect my requests regarding baby gifts if they want to give us anything? Will they stick to organic baby soap and lotion because I don't want to expose him to parabens and dioxin and junk just yet? Will they buy only toys vetted by this site or something like it? Will they get gender-neutral clothes and toys even though we know the gender, because we'll want to reuse them for subsequent children? Will they not buy any clothing with writing on it, since that's kind of a personal preference of ours?

Sigh. What we have here is a bit of a neurosis dump. Thanks for reading, but be warned that there may be more of the same to come.

(I really am very very happy about this! We've been wanting a child for quite some time.)


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mazel tov first

First, Mazel Tov. Scary and wonderful. What's new?
People will probably respect your birth plan, though I don't know your mother. You may have to be firm.

The gifts-- well-- that's more complicated. I tried to remind myself it still came from love and was not a question of respect. You can circumvent some of it by suggesting places online they can find things, slipping it into conversation or telling them outright. They mean as well as a person possibly could but your wishes are not part of the equation: they are giving something to your child. You have to give people room to give, even if you save the stuff for the next trip to the Salvation Army of the consignment shop or whatever. Lots of good stuff to be had there, since kids clothes turn over, and soon you'll have bunches of friends with with kids circulating bags of stuff their kids have outgrown.

Your parents are another thing. They've got IDEAS ABOUT WHAT CHILDREN NEED. You might simply be straightforward a lot of the time: tell them what you need and where they can find it.


I need some perspective, is what I need. As a thought exercise, I believe later I'll rank these fears and worries. Certainly the gift stuff is low on the list, when I think about it that way. Of course I'll be grateful for whatever gifts we get. Your comment (robt) is a much-appreciated reality check.


Congrats, you two! I was very excited for you both when I saw your Flickr photo a few days ago. To think, I was right where you are, about a year or so ago. Nowadays I'm on the verge of going back to work teaching, which is a whole different type of transition.

I don't have much advice for you at this time, because -- let's face it -- you're probably drowning in advice (wanted or not) right now. All I can say is enjoy this time! It's quite a magical experience being pregnant, especially after this halfway point. It forces you to slow down, and it's quite something to be so noticeable (especially as you get BIGGER and BIGGER!). I remember watching my students watch me as I grew -- I think I was probably the only pregnant instructor those engineering students ever had!

Even after I had my Emma, part of me missed that time when she was inside of me, growing. It was like I could keep her all to myself then, and when she was out in the world, it was so very different sharing her with others.

Anyway, last piece of advice -- don't listen to any advice you don't want to (even mine!). I hated getting the whole "your life will never be the same again" blah blah type of negativity while I was pregnant. While it's true, you don't need people out there trying to get you down. My life isn't the same -- but I wouldn't want it to be!

Best of luck to you. Take care.

My answers

Good for you three. It seriously kicks ass to have a family. It's also hard as hell. And yet there is nothing better in the world.

Here are my answers to your question (based on Jenny's experience, of course, so feel free to laugh them away).

1. Maybe. I seriously, SERIOUSLY recommend that you DO NOT TELL ANYONE YOU ARE IN LABOR. No kidding. Next time, we will not call anyone until the baby has popped. We learned the hard way.

2. No worries. You will feel movement, but he's still small. I never felt huge movements. Never. And it did worry me, too.

3. I am still wearing maternity clothes. 7 months later. I gained a lot, and it's hard to lose. You know what? Don't worry about it. You have other things to stress about. Don't make pounds one of your stresses right now.

4. Maybe. If you don't feel like it at the time, don't go. I really hated going last year. I was 7 months pregnant, and I felt like shit. My time was not fun.

5. You won't need anti-anxiety meds. You might need anti-depressants. Everyone around me (doctors) asked me a LOT about how I was feeling. The medical profession is getting pretty tuned into PPD.

6. No. I still won't leave Vered to go out for an evening. But, then again, other people think I'm nuts. It depends on you.

7. No. And you know what? I'm willing to bet that your strictness will fall by the wayside eventually. You'll just be too tired to police every little thing. But we only give Vered organic baby food, we try to buy organic toys, etc. Organic clothes are very expensive, especially when you have to change his clothes multiple times a day. Suddenly, all the things you said you would "never" do seem pretty appealing. (disposable diapers, Wal-Mart clothing sales, letting baby chew on plastic toys, etc.)


Makes a lot of sense

Wow - HUGE news. Congratulations to you and Jonathan. You'll be brilliant parents. Have you decided his name yet?

I don't doubt your mind's racing and I must say these concerns look very reasonable to me.


That's right, poop. There will be lots in your life. You will obsess over it. Did he poop? Did he poop right? WHY ISN'T HE POOPING!!!!

And sleep. Get it now. You ain't getting it later.

Congrats. Welcome to hell. The baby is now in charge. You are worthless and weak.

Yellow Dog

My answers

As a man, I'm sure I'll get these all wrong but...

1. I agree with Jenny. We told folks when we went to the hospital because there were long drives to get to town, but people respected us. It might not have been that way though.

2. As the outsider, we always want more. Big, kicky movements. Head-on-the-belly, kick-in-the-ear kinds of movements. But that's men for ya.

3. I gained at least 15. (My books tell me it's not just psychological, but hormonal too. Eat up, Jonathan.)

4. Be able? Probably. Want to? There's the question.

5. Yes and no. I suspect the freak out will go away as practicality sets in.

6. I hope so! Revel in the joys, avoid the fears. Baby smiles are like heroin. Get addicted to that.

7. The problem would be people who don't know about your requirements. These strictures make me feel like I'm bathing my child in poisons. :( AND she has pinkeye right now. Yuck.

Charting the poop

We had a chart. A big chart, with times and numbers.

The nurse called them "wet" and "soiled" diapers. We used those terms for about two days before we went back to "poop."

Now Avery has learned the word "stinky" which she pronounces "Sti - keee" and waves her hand in front of her nose.

Wonderful news!

2 Board Alley

Congratulations to the three of you!

Today and yesterday

These last two days, I've experienced a little more movement than before. Same types of movements, but more frequent. I've been EXTREMELY emotional too with the constant crying jags and all. I wasn't up to this point (well, I kind of was, but I'd get mad or weepy about other things that weren't directly related to the pregnancy), but it has kicked into overdrive now. Gah. I've been advised by a friend to just stop watching those baby story shows on Discovery Health. Maybe I should, but that feels like denial, or like I'm postponing emotional labor that I probably need to go ahead and get started on.

Crying jags, etc.

I cried a lot when pregnant. It doesn't matter what you watch. I cried at a commercial one time. It's your hormones. You'll really cry right after the birth. Seriously, I cried every day at 6:00 pm for several weeks after Vered was born.

To be blunt, nothing prepares you. Nobody can prepare you. It's something that is unlike anything else. Even people with kids can't prepare you. Other women who have gone through it can't do it. This is like the most intense change to your physical, emotional, and spiritual life you'll ever experience. I cannot quite put the experience into words.

It would be like trying to prepare someone for a first sexual experience. You can sort of do it, but the experience is nothing like the preparation. And what is sex like? You can't quite get the whole experience into a working description. Something will always remain a little out of reach.

I found it hard and also wonderful, all at once. And when Vered was born, I felt like we knew each other so well. It actually hurt me to be apart from her. I felt lonely all of the sudden. We had been physically together for so long. That is the feeling that stays with me, even now.


I'm ten years out at this point, but the advice I can offer is to do it your way all the way and not worry too much about anybody else, including family members. These sorts of experiences come around very seldom, and they should be as personal for you and your husband as you want it to be.

On the flip side, I remember being miserable and listening to people tell me that this was the "best time of my life" when I didn't feel that way, so it's all relative.

Congratulations! :O) I'm glad you shared!

Oh, that was me.





I can't offer any firsthand advice, but...congratulations!!!

Big wow!

I'm really happy for you. May I use the old cliche "one day at a time"? because after I gave birth, that was really what worked best for me--whatever happens, you will be able to handle it with the help of friends, family, advice books, professionals, and your own plain good sense. And as several other people have already said, there is no describing it yet, And you could just as easily turn all that worry energy to nesting energy. Knit a dozen baby blankets!
And yes, I wept uncontrollably at a f**ing Hallmark commercial. Hormones rule. But I loved being pregnant, and I loved the power of the experience of birth, and now my 13 year old has submitted her high school choice card and is taller than I am.How the hell did that happen?

1. I had a birth plan. It went by the wayside when my water broke and I drove myself to the hospital. Lots of things I would have liked to do, like walk around or take a bath, were no longer advisable because of the risk of infection. Which is to say, have your birth plan, but go with the flow when it happens, because every birth is different, and in the end I didn't really care, because everyone in the room with me was rooting for me and supporting me in some way. I hope it goes the way you want!
2. Dont' worry, you'll feel more movement as time goes by. By the end, I could tell where her head was, where her butt was, and which foot was kicking my bladder!

3. I gained lots of weight and enjoyed every minute of it. My weight loss method after I stopped nursing was to learn how to do the lindy hop. I lost the last 20 lbs in a few months. I highly recommend Cajun dancing as a weight loss plan as well! but while I was nursing, I enjoyed being pillowy mama.

4. Will you be able to present? Sure, if you feel like it. Unless the baby is already there and then maybe you won't. I taught up until the day I gave birth (not really on purpose).

5. Freak out? everyone freaks out in some way, some of it is freaking out from pleasure and joy and some from sleeplessness and boredom. You have a partner there to help you . You are not alone. You'll be fine.

6. If you are like me, you will go through various stages of protectiveness, but you will also start to welcome it when other people offer to hold the baby so you can have a rest. I didn't even want to leave the house at first. I couldn't stand the idea that my baby would ever feel pain or cry. I got over it. One has to start to let go as soon as the baby arrives because at every stage, you see that he is his own person, and it is good that he has his own experiences. You will be the great god mom for many years, no matter what.

7. Some people will, some people won't. You can always smile and shove the offending present in the closet or regift it. That's what I did when my stepmother gave my five-year-old Barbie makeup and Barbie high heels. High shelf in the closet until I could give them to Good Will.

Oh, and I read Annie Lamott's book Operating Instructions. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll realize that being crabby is part of motherhood and that's OK.

big hugs from Minneapolis!!

Update on movement, a.k.a. THRASHING!

I'm having daily and nightly bellyquakes now. It's like he's moshing to "Bulls on Parade" or, if he's like his dad, perhaps some Kyuss.

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