Tag Archives: pregnancy

Prepare Yourself (Pt. 2)

Last week I gave you my list of things to BUY  to prepare for your baby:  Mommy Must Haves. This week’s topic is even more important… things you should DO to prepare for your baby. These are the things that no one ever tells you to do.  These are the things that I wish someone had told me to do. These are the things that I am now telling you to do. These are the things that… well, just read ’em.

– Buy an alarm clock. Set it on the loudest, most obnoxious, earth-shattering, sleep-destroying alarm you can find. Now set it to wake you up every hour. When it shocks you out of sleep, wake up and rub your nipples with a rough washcloth for ten minutes on each side. Reset alarm to wake you up in an hour, then go back to sleep. Spend a couple of days/nights doing that. Now throw the alarm clock away and get some sleep while you still can, you idiot!

– Buy a 12 lb. bag of frozen peas (can substitute a 12 lb. water balloon, 12 lb. dead fish or any limp, heavy, hard to carry object). Carry it around with you for an entire day while cooking, cleaning, putting on make-up, napping, checking Facebook and talking on the phone. The next day, do it all while singing and/or humming the entire time.

– Get out your blender. Add the contents of your refrigerator. Start blender on highest setting without the lid, making sure that the mess inside reaches the countertops, cabinets, windows, floors and ceiling. Now dump whatever remains in the blender on the floor. Debate cleaning but instead leave for your husband to clean up.  Wait two weeks.  Still not clean?  Huh?

– Set your oven timer (you know the really loud, annoying one that always scares the shit out of you) for 26 minutes. Then start watching a movie, totally forgetting that the oven timer is on until it goes off and scares the shit out of you. Stop the movie, hop up and pick up your 12 lb. bag of peas. Now do laps around the house for 30 minutes. Gently put the peas down and restart the movie.  Lower the volume so as not to wake the peas. Reset alarm for 26 minutes. Repeat process until you eventually give up hope of ever watching a full movie again.

– Now repeat the above while cooking, showering, talking on the phone and having sex.

– Put on your favorite shirt. Add 1/2 cup whole milk to each shoulder. Go to work. Pray/pretend that no one notices the stains or the smell.

– Take your junk drawer (Oh, stop it. You know you have one.) and bring it into your living room. Now turn it upside down and empty its contents onto the floor. Retrieve one jumbo size box of Cheerios from the kitchen and empty the contents onto the floor as well. Now take off your shoes and pick up our 12 lb bag of peas. Turn out the lights and walk around in the dark for two hours while humming every children’s song you swore you’d never sing. If you step on something and cry out in pain or stumble even slightly (either could wake your almost sleeping peas) start over from the beginning. Do not pass Go.  Do not collect $200.

– Think back to your college days during finals week, when you pulled three all-nighters in a row (1 actually studying, 2 partying.) Remember how tired you were? Now, multiply that by 10,000 because now you actually have shit to do, and let’s face it, you’re not young anymore.

– Think about how much you love your parents. Now multiply that by how much you love your siblings and extended family members… subtract Drunk Uncle Steve. Now, add the laughter you have shared with your best friends over the years plus the sum of the pride you have felt at your own achievements, times 100. Subtract your heartbreaks. Now, multiply by the love you feel for your husband, wife, boyfriend, and/or partner. And add the cuteness of a basket of baby kitties… squared. Got it? That is 1/1000000 of what you will feel during the first year of your baby’s life.

Good luck.

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Mommy Must Haves: PT 1

A few friends of mine are pregnant, and me being full of parental knowledge, advice and slightly full of shit, they have asked me to put together a list of my favorite and/or must have baby items. I remember the first time I went to Babies R’ Us to register.  I recall my excitement as I walked through those automatic doors, rubbing my belly and gazing around the store in wonder.  Then I remember venturing into an aisle full of so many different kind of bottles that it made my head spin, and beginning to hyperventilate.  Then, I don’t remember curling up into a fetal position (ironic huh?) and rocking back and forth while singing “Itsy-bitsy-spider” in Pig Latin.  I don’t remember this because, like all painful memories, my brain has chosen to block it out.  But my husband remembers it, as does he remember carrying me out to the car in a shopping cart, and only returning to Babies R’ Us later when we were more prepared and I was in near sugar coma after eating at Yogurtland next door.

Because of these fond memories and also partially due to my PTSD, I decided to share my list of Mommy Must Haves with everyone who is currently expecting, but maybe doesn’t have a friend with as much mom-umental knowledge as me. (Ha. See what I did there?  MOMumental. Instead of monumental.  Because I am a mom…nevermind) Anyway, without further adieu… or bad puns…

HERE’S MY LIST OF MOMMY MUST HAVES:

FOR MOM DURING PREGNANCY

Maternity clothes –  Get a few maternity clothes that make you feel good about yourself.  You feel ugly enough already without shlubbing around in pajama pants and your husband’s t-shirts. Try Gap, Target and ASOS Maternity (my absolute fav!) for relatively inexpensive and cute clothes.

Happiest Baby on the Block DVD –  It seems hilarious when you first watch it (like “I just peed a little” hilarious)  but it REALLY WORKS.  When your new baby is screaming her sweet little head off, you will try anything to calm her…even scream-whispering in her ear.  We did, and she stopped crying almost instantly.

The Business of Being Born DVD  – A little preachy but I think it’s helpful to know about what can happen in hospitals whether you are using midwife, doc, drugs, natural, c-section… whatever.  Plus you get to see Ricki Lake naked.  Yay!

FOR BABY

Swaddle blankets and/or Halo zip blankets –  You cannot put regular blankets in the bed with a baby as they can suffocate, and these with velcro are easier than trying to master a baby burrito while baby is sleeping.

Video monitor – If you can spend the money, get a monitor with video, not just sound. It’s nice to be able to look at the baby when she makes noise to see if you really need to go in to check on her.  Worth the extra $$.  Summer Infant makes good ones.

Convertible car seat –  Look for a brand that has a rear facing weight limit of at least 35 pounds so you can use it longer.  The longer you can keep baby rear facing (in the car, you sickos) the safer it is for them.

Multiple sheet sets and mattress pads – Pee (and yes, the lovely yellow liquid new baby poo) can soak through PJs and this will help reduce laundry time.

Pacifiers – Get different kinds since they can be picky, and get a lot of them since they are easy to lose.

Diapers – Register for all sizes.  Babies R’ Us will let you exchange for a bigger size.  People tend to buy Newborn and babies fit in these for like a week.

First aid kit – Duh.

Onesies – Don’t bother with fancy clothes. Most of the time you are at home and they will wear what is comfortable for them and easy for you (think about removing clothes to change a diaper every two hours. Then stop thinking about it because it will freak you out) But they will mostly wear these for the first 3 months so don’t register for tons in large sizes.

Zip-up PJs – Again, the focus is on ease and there is nothing harder than buttoning 10, 000 tiny buttons on 1 hr of sleep. Go for sleepers with zips and thank me later (Preferably with wine.  No chocolate.  No wine…ok both.)

White noise machine – At first we used the Sleep Sheep, which we loved, but now we just have an iPod that plays ocean waves.  We still use the sound box in the Sleep Sheep for travel though.  Just remove it from the sheep so there is less to pack. 

Baby scissors – These work better for clipping nails than actual nail clippers.

Baby Bjorn or another baby carrier – Some people like Moby wraps but I never figured it out…too much material. It made me feel like an idiot.  I used the Bjorn constantly.

Activity gym/ Tummy mat – New babies are like high teenagers and can stare at things for hours, these give them something to do.  Plus they need to practice tummy time.

LOTS of bibs – Absorbent cloth bibs for spit up/teething and waterproof bibs for when they start eating solid food. You will go through many in one day and they get wet, stained and dirty easily.

Burp Cloths – Don’t bother with fancy or expensive burp cloths. Cloth diapers, like Gerber Pre-fold diapers, are so much more absorbent and cheaper (like 10 for $17).

Newborn to toddler bathtub

A nice baby thermometer – Spend $$ on an easy-to-use one, like the kind you rub on their head. We spent $10 each on 2 cheap ones that we couldn’t get Lyla to hold still long enough to use, before buying a $35 one that you rub on her head for 4 seconds that works awesome!!

Changing pad for diaper bag (fold up) –  I have one that holds diapers and wipes and folds out into a changing pad.  It’s great to only take one thing when you have to go the bathroom to change a diaper.

Swing – ??  We used it like crazy for the first 6 months but after that it was worthless.  Your call, but it was a lifesaver a couple of times when Lyla wouldn’t sleep.

Mirror for car – Babies have to face backwards and it is such a relief to be able to see her in the mirror.

aden +  anais blankets – These blankets are not the cheapest, but they really are the best.      They are stretchy enough to swaddle your baby, but not so stretchy that they swaddle too tight.  They are light enough to use in summer, and breathable enough to hang over the stroller to block the sun.  Plus, they are cute as hell.  People will give you hundreds of blanket (that’s what people buy when they don’t know what else to buy you) Return them all and buy 3-4 of these instead.  You’re welcome.

Ok, so that’s my list of recommended baby items.  But as I was creating this list, I couldn’t help thinking that besides what to BUY to prepare for a new baby, I wished that someone had told me what to DO to prepare for a baby.  I’m working on that list.  Look for PART TWO in next week’s blog.  But for now, here’s something to get you started…

Buy an alarm clock.  Set it on the loudest, most obnoxious, earth-shattering, sleep-destroying alarm you can find.  Now set it to wake you up every hour.  When it shocks you out of sleep, wake up and rub your nipples with a rough wash-cloth for ten minutes on each side.  Reset alarm to wake you up in an hour, then go back to sleep.    Spend a couple of days/nights doing that.  Now throw the alarm clock away and get some sleep while you still can, you idiot!  TO BE CONTINUED…

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Slow Burn: Looking Back on the First Year

Exactly one year ago… and precisely one week late… my life changed forever.  Ok, well it actually changed forever exactly 41 weeks + 52 weeks ago…what is that… 93? I’m tired.  And why do people with babies insist on counting time in weeks?  But  then again, exactly 93 weeks ago, I didn’t know that it had changed yet, so does it count?  So maybe it was 93 – 4.5 weeks (that’s math I can’t do right now) ago, when I found out I was pregnant that my life changed forever.  Hmmmm…  Is it the moment of conception, of realization or of admission into the world that changes your life?

Anyway, I digress…

I had a fairly easy labor and delivery… considering that it was labor and delivery (for those of you who have not had the opportunity to squeeze a human being through your body, past your internal organs and out a hole that somehow is just never big enough… I’ll spare you the grisly details.  I’ll tell you when you are older, or perhaps when I am drunk.) Then the magic moment came when my daughter sprung forth… actually she sort of oozed forth… from my loins.  The nurse immediately placed this sweet, tiny (albeit screaming) baby on my chest and I finally stared into her beautiful blue eyes and felt… really fucking tired.  I was expecting to feel fireworks, or a sparkly magical connection, or at least somewhat like a mother.  I didn’t.  What I felt was definitely joy, but it was tempered with disbelief and pure exhaustion.

I felt as though I were outside of my body, looking down at myself.  Looking down at a mom who had an ecstatic husband and the most beautiful baby in the world, but who didn’t know what to do with it all.  I felt numb.  And because I felt numb, I felt fear.  What if I didn’t love my baby as much as I should?  What if I wasn’t cut out to be a mom? What if I had postpartum depression? What if this whole thing was a mistake? And because I felt fear, I also felt guilt.  I guess that was when I should have known that I was truly a mom.

For those of you who are judging me right now, try to give me a break.  God knows I didn’t give myself one. But let’s take an honest look at the situation.  When you give birth to a baby, you top off the most tiring and uncomfortable ten months of your life  (TEN MONTHS, NOT NINE. 40 weeks. Do the math) with the final month of total discomfort and pure exhaustion (it’s really hard to sleep when you have to pee all the time, every appendage is swollen to 3 times its normal size, and you have a baby doing zumba in your belly all night, every night).  The good news is that all of this leads up to the most physically demanding thing you have ever done, which, besides being a marathon of huffing, puffing, pushing and tearing (sorry),  almost always involves not sleeping for at least 24 hours.  Then, right away you get to start the toughest job you’ll ever have, working for the most demanding boss in the world.  I mean, if any other job required working around the clock, sleeping for only single hour stretches, and taking care of every single solitary need for a thankless boss prone to total meltdowns… the unions would be all over that shit.  I mean, I was up all night without sleeping, going through a very painful as well as physically and mentally demanding journey,  when suddenly this creature who has been in my belly for 10 months is laying on my chest, greedily searching for my boob as I lay there helpless as a rag doll.  So yes, I was tired.  And no, I didn’t have the immediate and earth-shattering connection I expected.

For those of you still judging me… go ahead.  I truly hope that you had or will have an immediate connection with your son or daughter.  Some people do.  But not everyone.  And not me.

What I can say is that as the day wore on, I started to come down from the high induced by extreme exhaustion, physical pain, drugs for that pain, the euphoria of finally seeing my baby, and the intense fear that comes from knowing that you are now 100% responsible for someone’s life… and that someone happens to be the most important person in the world.  And as I started to emerge from my fog, I started to submerge into my daughter.  The less I thought about the birth itself, the more I started to appreciate the miracle of it. I spent a lot of time examining the tiny little girl who was now semi-attached to my breast.  I studied her tiny hands… so much like mine but so very, very small.  The detail that went into making those hands in miniature was insane.  The tiny white crescent on her fingernails, no bigger than a swipe of a pencil.  The wrinkly little fingers, with a fingerprint 100% her own.  Her perfect little mouth.  Her teeny little nose.  Her big eyes, staring up at me as if they could see directly into my soul. And most amazing of all was her personality… even at birth, already more individual than her fingerprint.

From those moments in the hospital, when I should have been resting but couldn’t for the fear and excitement I felt, and from every moment afterward, my love has grown.  So my daughter and I might not have had fireworks right away, but as I have come to find out, we had something better.  We had a spark, just enough to catch fire.  Every single day it burns brighter than the last.  And this fiery love and my daughter herself have illuminated my life in ways I never thought possible.

Thank you my darling Lyla for not giving up on me that day.  And thank you for filling my life with more joy, more laughter and more poop… than I ever imagined.

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The Ironies of Pregnancy

I was going through some of my old writing the other day and I found this short list of “Ironies of Pregnancy” that I constantly added to throughout my pregnancy.  Re-reading it made me laugh… then I remembered that at some point in time we will try to have another baby and I will have to deal with most of this again, and I STOPPED LAUGHING.

But hopefully it makes you laugh, whether it reminds you of your own pregnancy, or you are currently pregnant and going through some of this now.  If you are not pregnant, have never been pregnant, or happen to have a penis – which, lucky for you, makes you exempt from these symptoms… then read on anyway and gloat about the fact that you don’t have to deal with this… for now.

THE IRONIES OF PREGNANCY

1) I can’t drink, yet I constantly feel hung-over.

2) My boobs are suddenly stripper-big, yet they hurt so bad that no one – including my husband – is allowed to come within 7 1/2 feet of them.

3) I am completely exhausted but not allowed to drink coffee.

4) I have a constant headache but cannot take ibuprofen.

5) I am consistently nauseous but also ravenously hungry.  

6) Suddenly I have acne, but I am not allowed to use any kind of acne medication.  The only thing worse than having acne is having acne AND wrinkles.  And a giant belly.  And swollen hands and feet.  And a fat ass.

7) Pregnancy misconception:  That pregnant “glow” is actually a sheen of sweat on my face after vomiting violently.

8) When I got my bellybutton pierced at 18, my mom said I would regret it.  For nearly 15 years, I laughed at that.  Now, every time I look in the mirror, the stretched-out gaping hole of my piercing appears to be laughing at me.  Well… either laughing, yawning or screaming.

9) I was prepared to change diapers. I wasn’t prepared to have to wear them.

10) There are so many things that I need to do to prepare for the baby, yet I just can’t seem to remember what they are right now… wait… what was I saying?  Where are my keys?

11) At nine months preggers, the hardest thing to do is get out of bed, yet I have to pee every hour.  I spend 5 minutes hoisting myself out of bed (crane anyone?); 3.5 minues waddling to the bathroom; 2 minutes lowering myself down onto the toilet seat; 3 seconds actually peeing; 2 minutes cursing my bladder for constantly tricking me into thinking I have to pee, then only squeezing out a few drops; 3 minutes hoisting myself back up from toilet seat; 3.5 min waddling back to bed; 5 more min to lower myself back down into bed (seriously, Crane.  anyone?); 1 min realizing that this entire sequence will repeat itself in 35 minutes.

12) I spent my entire pregnancy eating all the right things so that my baby would grow, grow, grow.  Now, I realize that this baby has to somehow come out of my vagina … um… any recipes to get my baby to shrink, shrink, shrink?

13) A baby the size of a watermelon is about to come out of a hole the size of a grape (well now a lemon – can’t. think. about. that.) yet my biggest fear is that I am going to poop on the table.  (editor’s note:  I did NOT)

14) I haven’t even met my daughter yet – in fact, most of her interactions with me thus far have been in the form of painful kicks and jabs and an irritating push on the bladder or two – but somehow I love her more than I have loved anything.  More than I even thought possible.

Rereading this list reminds me of all of the things I hated about being pregnant… the physical discomforts, the embarrassing side effects, the frustrating lists of dos and don’ts. The truth is that I really didn’t like being pregnant at all.  But I think the most interesting part of the list is that last one. It is strange to love someone so much when you haven’t even met them yet.  That kind of love never happens except when you are waiting to meet your child (and also with Ryan Gosling.  I don’t need to meet him to love him. My husband is just lucky he met me first!)  What I couldn’t have known then was that the love I felt was just the tip of the iceberg – my love would continue to grow exponentially every single day.   That kind of love is worth every inconvenience, heartburn and heartache.  It is worth not drinking for 10 months (If you know me, you know that means a lot.)  It is even worth pooping on the delivery table in front of a room full of strangers (which, I repeat, I did NOT).  That kind of love is worth anything.

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