The Pregnancy, So Far

Yesterday I found myself with an hour or so of down time before between walking and playing with the dog and going out for dinner with some new friends I recently made, and instead of vacuuming or cleaning the dining room I decided to totally freak myself out by reviewing the month-by-month calendar provided to me by our local women’s hospital, which neatly details goals to accomplish month-by month so I will be organized, ready and waiting when February 1st rolls around to greet my new born child.

According to this calendar, if I simply follow its outline, I will find breast feeding a breeze, caring for my infant second nature, will return home from the delivery to a kitchen and pantry well-stocked with four months of home-cooked, well-balanced meals and will feel like nothing less than the goddess I so obviously am – bearer of life, with loads of whole grain, veggie lasagna in the freezer.

I am nearing the end of my fourth month of pregnancy. According to what will from now be referred to as the freak out calendar, this is a GREAT month to line up a pediatrician (you don’t want to wait until month seven or eight because your choice of pediatrician might not be able to accommodate your new baby) and install your car seat. After all, the hospital isn’t going to let you take your new born bundle of joy home without a properly installed car seat, so maybe use what free time you have to cross that pesky task off your list? I didn’t even bother flipping back to look at the previous three months – what is not done is not done, after all – but the rest of the months seem equally as ridiculous to me, with lists growing longer and the print growing smaller as they wear on, closer to the due date.

Here is my question: How do women find time to accomplish all of these things in the first four months? Granted, I am feeling better now and actually do planning on calling our family practitioner today to get a pediatrician referral, but for the first three months most of my time was spent trying to (a.) stay awake and (b.) not throw up, not necessarily in that order.

More than one friend has asked me why I am not blogging, regularly and enthusiastically, about my pregnancy.  I generally mumble some sort of unsatisfactory non-response, but the truth of the matter is two-fold: firstly, I am very well aware that hundreds of millions of women each year go through what I am going through, many of them in third world countries with little access to water let alone access to the nutritional recommendations from What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and secondly, while I am thrilled to death about the end product here – I really and truly cannot wait to be a mom, and my lack of reservation about this is probably a bit misguided, pregnancy itself for me has been sort of uncomfortable.

I say this with complete knowledge that, as far as pregnancies go, I’ve had it relatively lucky. People keep mentioning my “glow,” and while I brush it off and joke about perspiration, I know I could have broken out in a thousand hormone-induced zits, which I did not – my skin has improved dramatically, and it was always pretty great. Nor have I gained a bunch of weight, and while a bunch of that is the exercise I do, an equal amount has to do with sheer luck on where my weight has distributed itself, which is solely (for now) my stomach and nowhere else. I am lucky. Otherwise, though, I am not sure what it is my friends want to hear. Do they want brutal honesty, like for two days I had such bad gas I thought my lungs were going to explode?  That every day for three months when I walked to work or rode the bus I had to figure out places where I could throw up, if necessary? That the exhaustion is such that before I found out I was pregnant I convinced myself I had cancer? That I no longer eat steak, avocado, green tea or broccoli, and I have to avoid the fish section in all grocery stores, but in particular Whole Foods?

The truth of the matter is I actually came up with a visualization – a visual of me, rocking my baby – to concentrate on during blood draws and attacks of nausea, because otherwise I feel less like  life-bearing goddess and more like a science experiment. And what I’m going through is so incredibly normal – so very every day – that I feel bad talking about it and pedestrian writing about it.

In between these normal but not-normal-to-me symptoms, I have worked and gone on vacation and tried to keep the house up and gone out to dinner and movies with friends and I’ve continued to go the gym. I have not particularly begun preparing for this baby. The sum total of our baby items currently include one Ernie doll from S.’s mom, one blanket from my mom, and a 6-9 month year old onesie I bought for a friend and then decided to keep because it was so cute. I have done very little besides trying to create a healthy environment for this kiddo of mine, but this calendar has reminded me there is an end product to ready for, and end product that will need diapers and a crib and a properly installed car seat and warm clothes for it’s winter birthday and probably blankets and books, it can’t be born without its very own books, and also I need to contact HR to find out about maternity leave and now I am going to hyperventilate. Which is probably another reason why I have avoided blogging about the pregnancy, so far…

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12 Responses to The Pregnancy, So Far

  1. Amy Whipple says:

    I’ve been collecting information about pregnancy/parenting since I was about eight (not even a little bit kidding). What’s really interesting is how much (so much) you’re expected to do if you’re birthing a child. If you’re adopting (even a newborn), it seems to be the going thing that you don’t get anything in case the birth parents change their minds and you’re left with a house full of baby paraphernalia. Not suggesting either is better or worse, just interesting the difference b/w the two.

  2. Go at your own pace. Babies need far less stuff than we are led to believe, though a few seasonally-appropriate garments and some diapers will come in handy. Those you can get in January.

    If your baby is born on 1 Feb, she or he will share a birthday with my oldest.

  3. appellationmountain says:

    I seem to remember reading that calendar sometime after arriving home with Aly. So far, he shows no ill effects of my total lack of planning, but I guess it could surface in the teenage years …

  4. Noble Savage says:

    All you really NEED for a baby before it’s born is a car seat, a place for it to sleep (if you’re not sharing a bed), some diapers, a couple dozen onesies, a couple blankets and a sling or a pram (or both). You won’t need toys, books, play centres or anything else like that until the baby is several months old. The leaflets they give you in the hospital or through the doctor’s office are often sponsored by some corporation who have a vested interest in you thinking you NEED a bunch of stuff.

    You can get the crib and pram second hand and if you have any friends or family who have had babies in the last couple years you’ll likely be bombarded with clothes and blankets. The only thing you need to buy brand new is a car seat.

  5. A says:

    First of all congratulations! Everything you have to do will all get done somehow. You’ll probably find you get given a lot of stuff.

  6. pvreader says:

    LOL over your reaction to the month-by-month calendar. Reminds me of the horrible wedding planning book I bought that didn’t at all account for the fact that a bride to be might have gotten engaged and set a date that was not a full year away (more like half that), while also trying to buy a house. If I were pregnant, I would be complaining very loudly. Every. Single. Day. And acting as though no one else had ever been through what I was going through (because nobody hates to throw up more than I do). Oh yeah, and I would have been convinced I had cancer, too. That thing growing in my stomach? That would be the tumor. Thank goodness, I will never be pregnant. I admire your restraint.

  7. Pete says:

    That calendar made me laugh. Installing a car seat in the fourth month is waaay too organised. Sorry that it’s a little overwhelming right now. But I’m so happy for you and looking forward to the 1st of Feb.

  8. litlove says:

    I’m catching up here and it’s wonderful to find you blogging again – just whenever you feel like it is good by me. Oh boy, the freak out calender. Beware of all the freak out books on parenting that are available too (Buddhism for Mothers is the only book I’ve ever found that made me just feel better). The advice about the car seat made me laugh. We bought ours from the shop at the maternity hospital as we exited with our newborn. I felt very much the way you do throughout my pregnancy, and if I had my time again, the only preparation I would have done would have been more chats with my husband about how we were going to approach parenthood and keep our marriage firm and strong as we did so. But I was probably too tired to actually do that, and you cannot second guess the experience, either.

    But if you ever worry about writing about what you’re going through, do remember that it brings back all sorts of memories for those of us who’ve been there, and that in itself is always fascinating.

  9. Courtney says:

    Amy – that is interesting! I have to admit I always thought I would do very little until the baby was actually home, given the many possibilities for things to go wrong over the course of nine months, but I am finding within myself a huge desire to be prepared…
    Charlotte – good points about many of the clothes and things being able to wait until January. I guess I’m a tiny bit concerned what the weather will be like by then, and my willingness to travel in it – I love living in a city but most baby things will need to be procured in the suburbs…
    A- LOL! The calendar takes a very rigorous approach, I must say. Aly is thriving, so I am going to take my approach from you…
    NS – thanks for the advice. I definitely don’t intend on having the baby sleep with me…too many scary warnings about that here in the US. I know the baby doesn’t really need books but I find myself desiring to buy those above everything else, anyway 🙂
    A -thanks for the words of encouragement. Everything does tend to get done, doesn’t it?
    Emily – LOL. Before you actually know you are pregnant, the symptoms are certainly disturbing, to say the least – at least, they were for me!
    Pete – I am looking forward to trading baby stories with you. What is your fiance’s due date?
    Litlove – thanks so much for reminding me that if I post about pregnancy, some people will be interested, LOL. I feel a little self-conscious about doing so right now but it’s what I’m going through right now, and to not write about it feels like self-censorship! Thanks again!

  10. Pete says:

    L’s date is the 11th of March but she has hypertension so will probably be at the end of Feb. So our babies should be one month apart.

  11. Smithereens says:

    I’d say: Throw the calendar out of the window! You have plenty of time for everything’s needed and that is not really much. Books and TV and internet put such a pressure and make every mum guilty. My son is 2 yo and he has yet to have a pediatrician. We have a normal MD and he’s fine.

  12. Cam says:

    The best thing i bought before my child was born was 2 car seats – one for each car! But, at 4 months? Thats crazy. At a baby shower this weekend for my neice who adopted – and had 2 days notice and none of the things on your freak out list — she told story of how she put together the crib – and then realuzed that it didnt come w a mattress. There were at least 2 other moms who said they’d done the same thing. Dont worry about someone else’s list. Make your own reasonable list and enjoy the next 5 months at your pace.

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