23 Weeks – Letter to My Baby

Dear baby girl- (AKA, baby nugget),

Don’t worry, we do have your real name picked out for you but as far as the rest of the world knows, you are baby nugget.  A word that we use for most things and it just so happens it has worked for you as well.

The other day I pulled out your baby book and started to fill in the blanks that it provided.  Family names, when we found out about you, and other basics.  But they were just that, basics.  As a blogger it didn’t feel like enough to me.

I feel like one day, perhaps as a teenager, you will think I was a completely cool person for keeping a blog about my life with great details of when I was pregnant with you.  Or by then you will not give a crap and will think how dorky I am.  I’m fine with it either way.  Some days I wish I blogged like most expecting Moms, listing out exact details of weight gain, cravings, and every new body change in detail.  Then maybe one day I would compare your pregnancy to my next pregnancy (God willing) and you can compare it to your own pregnancy way, way down the road when you are all grown up and married.  But unfortunately I’m not that kind of blogger so you get something different.

Here is what I do want you to know.  I may not love being pregnant but you have giving me one thing to look forward to every day, your moving and grooving inside.  Sure, in a few weeks I may hate having your body parts jabbing my essential organs and so forth, but right now it is a nice reminder that you are okay in there.  Because right now, it is just you and I nugget.  You have only let Dad feel you move around once but normally you instantly stop when I call him in to try to feel your kicks.  It makes me feel like we are actually starting to bond a little.

I want to give you kudos for making this an easy pregnancy.  I needed that after our journey to get here.  Thanks for not plaguing me with morning sickness, horrible sleep, major weight gain or anything else too major.  While I have had a few aches and pains along the way, I know it could be worse.

I will say you are all your father’s child at times.  I may not be much for sugar items but you demand cookies, cupcakes, and candy corn from time to time.  I give in and shove one in my mouth and tell you that is all your get for a while.  You happily spend the next hour kicking back on some sort of whacked out sugar high.  Your Dad finds this hilarious and is quite proud of himself, asking where his own cookie is.  I can see the amount of times you two will be hiding these items behind my back in the future.

With this pregnancy half over, we are very excited to meet you and I swear I will start on your nursery at some point.  I’m not worried about the late nights, the crying or the poopy diapers after you arrive.  I’ve done it before, so I don’t have a lot of anxiety to go back to that phase.  It is short lived anyways and you will quickly grow.  That is just how it happens.  So I’m looking forward to all of it.  Because here is the thing, kiddo, pregnancy is only a small part of this parenting thing and then the real life part kicks in.  The part where our family forever grows by one more.  So lets finish out these last 16ish weeks in style and with ease so we can get to the good stuff, like sniffing your newborn head.

Love,

Mom (The one playing the music too loud, poking you back when you kick, feeding you sugar and talking to your Dad late at night.)

 

 

An Alzheimer’s Truth

My Dad stood in the room when I told my Mom I was pregnant.  With tears in her eyes, she showed him the ultrasound pictures and asked me a million questions.  He nodded and thought it was cool but I could see the disconnect in his eyes.  Once they made it to their own home that night, he asked my Mom when they were going to the hospital to see the baby, he didn’t want to be late.  The next day, when my brother came over, my Dad asked him where the baby was.  Why couldn’t my brother go home and get the baby?  Dad had a baby stuck in his brain, he just didn’t know the who, what or when behind it.

Since then he will have obsessive days when he constantly wants to know where the baby is or asks to go see it.  Mom shows him ultrasound pictures and explains but you can tell it only sinks in so far and then he gets distracted by something else.

At 55, Alzheimer’s is slowly eating away at him.  A disease that my family knows all to well.  This is where I should write about how sad it is that my Dad, who hardly recognizes me, will not know my child, his grandchild.  This is where I should mention that I pray every night that he just holds in there a bit longer to see my child.  But if I wrote all that it would be a lie.

I didn’t grow up with this fairy tale Daddy/daughter story in my life.  My Dad continued to drink more as I got older and it killed our relationship.  It also brought on the Alzheimer’s sooner than necessary.  He requires care 24 hours a day at home which requires a nurse to be with him when my Mom is not and requires my Mom to have no other life unless she can find a babysitter.  That is what it is.  A babysitter, for her husband, so she can come with my sister and I to pick out furniture or else he would probably burn down the house.

A few weeks ago my Grandmother presented the question that more and more people continue to ask.  Don’t you just pray your Dad holds on till the baby is born?  I don’t sugar coat my quick “no.”  My Dad is gone.  The man who raised us, taught me to fish, fought with me after he drank too much, argued politics, fixed everything around the house, shared memories of his old racing days, he is gone.  What is left is a shell of his body and the occasional thought that pops into his head.  He might even start forming a sentence on that thought but then it turns into babble because his brain can’t handle it.  And here is the kicker, nothing will change any of that, there is no cure and there won’t be anytime soon to save him.

As with any disease, that has no cure or relief, it wears on a family.  The constant battles, the ups and downs, him destroying the house, the financial burden, and so on.  If my Dad knew how he truly was now he would be not only mortified but would rather be dead than alive.  I would feel the same way.  I think most would.  The quality of life is gone.  That is Alzheimer’s though.  You start grieving the loss of the person long before their body follows.

I honestly never pictured taking my child back to my parents home and having my Dad be there.  Some think he would be fascinated by a baby but that fascination would merely last minutes before he was cussing at her or dropping something on her.  There are a million things that could honestly go wrong and the stress of it wouldn’t be worth it.  It would be safer to keep my baby away from him than near him.

There is truth in life and sometimes it hurts.  I know some people can’t imagine their parents dying anytime soon, let alone not having them around to meet their grand kids, but my truth is different.

Religion and Your baby

Both my Husband and I grew up in the Catholic church.  I spent my K-8th grade years in a Catholic school that was not at all tragic to my childhood.  There were no strict nuns and I haven’t needed therapy to discuss how it all ruined me.  My Husband did not attend Catholic school but did go through all the normal rites of passage, if you will, for the Catholic faith.  Baptism, first communion, reconciliation, etc.

Since leaving our parents home and becoming adults, neither of us have been particularly crazy about the Catholic faith nor have we gone out of our way to make sure we attended Catholic church more than the Christmas Eve/Easter holidays.  For several years I did attend a non-denominational church in my town and Rebecca joined their Sunday school program.  I felt like I got a lot out of it but as it happens, we didn’t go one week, then the next and now it has been about two years since we have attended.

Flash forward to today, a baby on the way, and suddenly we are digging deep on our faith and further considering which direction to go with our child.  I would consider both my Husband and I to be more spiritual than religious people and we have a tough time with organized religion.  We have faith in God, believe in an after life, and pray each night with Rebecca.  But there are those questions that family members like to start asking you, or more specifically, Grandmothers.  Will you baptize your child?  Will you raise your child in the Catholic faith?  How will your child know about God?  I honestly didn’t realize this would be such a big topic of conversation but I found myself this past Sunday, with my Grandmother, being interrogated about all things religious for my unborn child.

The Husband and I decided we needed some sort of game plan, before this got out of control with the families, on what they might think would be right or wrong.  It seems quite different from when we were infants.  There is no hard or fast rule with our generation on baptisms and so forth.  Call it the Catholic ingrained in us but we both are uncomfortable with our child not being baptized.  The only Catholic church I even have an attachment left with is my Grandmothers church.  We came to the conclusion that we would have her baptized there.

For a number of reasons, Rebecca is not baptized nor has she gone through any other Catholic rites of passage but she does attend a private Catholic school.  The few times we have found ourselves in the church setting, it truly bothers both the Husband and I that Rebecca sits in the pew while we go up to receive communion.  I’m not quite sure why it bothers us so much, perhaps the disconnect, but we know we would like our child to at least have her first communion through the Catholic church.  Again, perhaps just the years of being a Catholic drilled into our heads, those of you out there raised the same way probably understand, but it is something we feel should happen.  We feel being both baptized and having communion in one faith will give her a base for whatever direction she may want to take as an adult.

We plan on teaching our child about God, faith and having an open mind spiritually.  For us, some of it just comes from what is ingrained in us from our childhood, some is what we have learned as adults.  In some ways it seems more difficult, these days, to come together as parents and decide on how to teach your child about religion.  In other ways, these days, it seems people are more open-minded to different ways of celebrating religion and beliefs.  I think it is a tricky topic to navigate for a lot of couples though because it may not be one that a lot think about until they are shouldered with the task once a child is on the way.  Thankfully, the Husband and I previously had some basic conversations about this back when we were dating, so this wasn’t completely out of left field.  Our families great interest over it seemed more surprising to us.

Religion, like finances, is one of those tricky topics while you are dating, married or even once a baby is on the way.  For most though, it is very important.  For now I feel like we have a starting point and can adjust our sails as God sees fit from here.

What’s in a Name?

Inevitably, the second you announce the gender of your unborn child, people will begin to ask what you are going to name said child.  I will say that while I could not keep the gender a secret, we are going to hold out on sharing the name of our baby girl until the day she arrives.

We are doing this for three reasons.

For starters, like assholes, everyone has an opinion on the name.  When the baby is but a bump beneath your shirt, people are much more likely to tell you exactly how they feel about the chosen name whether it is nice or not.  However, if they are holding your freshly birthed, potato looking newborn, they are more likely to smile and say how adorable the name is.  In that moment people know the name is finalized and they feel they shouldn’t hurt your feelings.  Instead, they can walk out the door and talk about the name behind your back like a normal person.

Secondly, we do want to leave a bit of a surprise on the day she is born.  It means a little something to hold between us as a family till then.

Thirdly, I want to make sure that when I first see her I can look at her and say “Yep, that is certainly your name” or “Crap, that name doesn’t fit you at all!”

I have actually had her first name picked out for a long time.  Yep, I’m that person.  A random name that I have always loved and thankfully the Husband instantly agreed with it. There is no family ties to the name or anything else, just something we like.  While it isn’t overly popular, it isn’t off the wall unusual like so many try to do today.

Her middle name was a whole other matter.  What I should be using for a middle name is Marie.  It is my middle name and also the name I’m suppose to carry on to my first-born daughter.  It is also the middle name of every single person that I went to elementary school with.  How boring.  Apparently the parents of the 80’s couldn’t get much more creative than Marie, Lynn or Ann.  I was torn between sticking with tradition and doing what I wanted.  I finally broke down to my Mom one day and asked if her feelings would be hurt if I didn’t follow through with the tradition.  It turns out I worried for no reason, she could have really cared less.

There is no family name tradition on my Husbands side, thankfully, that we needed to follow either.  I always feared meeting the man of my dreams to find out he is Mr. Wonderful the VIII.  I would have to rethink a future with him.

We were left to our own devices.  The Husband and I, along with Rebecca, set out on a quest to pick a middle name.  My family is strongly Irish and I did really want her to have an Irish middle name so we stuck to those.  We ended up with a very strong, old, Irish name that I can bet most people won’t like, but we do and I’m fine with that.  It flows, it works, there are no weird initials or strange nicknames and we have said it enough we love it.

Also, we have no back-up names.  So if she comes out and it is a moment of “Crap, that name doesn’t work!” we will be back to square one in the hospital.  For now, the three of us are trying not to blurt it out on accident.  We will see if we can make it 20 more weeks.

 

19 Weeks – It’s A…….!

A very common question from everyone, once you are pregnant, is whether or not you are going to find out the sex of your baby.  I always knew I would.  I am a straight type A person who needs to plan, plan, and plan.  I could not keep sane decorating a nursery and buying clothes for a child I did not know the gender of.  I have had friends that have not found out the gender and I applaud them.  I get how cool it would be to find out that day, I do get it.  However, they are stronger than I am.

Yesterday Rebecca joined the Husband and I for the anatomy scan and to find out if we were right on our assumption that the human I am growing is indeed a girl.  I can finally say that yes, we are having a girl!  I now feel like we can say, game on! Let the shopping begin!

Our appointment went really well.  She is measuring exactly as she should be and weighs 10 oz.  We have a  perinatologist that we meet with, whom I adore, and he has eased so much anxiety with this pregnancy.  He spent a lot of time explaining everything as he measured her and did extensive looks at her heart as we are keeping a specific eye out for that due to my family’s heart issues.  We will do another anatomy in eight weeks as there is concern that the heart medication that I take will slow her growth.

We happily left with a string of ultrasound pictures.  Rebecca thought it was very nice of them to give us all those pictures for free.  Yes, free, that is what happened there.

 

 

Irrational Fears

After my miscarriage I had a lot of issues with fears over my Husband.  I would often panic that he wasn’t going to make it home, get an accident, suddenly die in his sleep, etc.  Until he was safely home every night, my mind would run rampant with worst case scenarios.  I don’t know where it came from but I read of other people experiencing the same thing.  The fears faded with time as things got back to a new normal but in the past couple of weeks it has reemerged.

I think it is the curse of three’s or whatever you want to call it.  It seems when one person dies, more follow, whether you know them closely or not.  I think that is what is starting to feed this fear of mine again.  This month feels like we have been surrounded by death, illness, and bad news.  People with sick newborns, preemie babies, young husband’s/father’s dying of cancer, car accidents, it seems we have had or heard it all.

Last night my Husband called me, as always, to say he was on his way home.  It should take him 30 minutes.  At the 40 minute mark I was nearing the panic button, assuming the worst.  Is it the pregnancy?  Hormones?  Is this normal?  I would think so.  I don’t assume I am exempt from worst case scenarios.  I don’t want to think “It will never happen to me” because things do happen, life happens.  No matter what, having a baby, is a big life change and my brain must be starting to register a lot of it.  Then again, when this type of stuff happens to anyone it can cause them to reevaluate.

At the same time, I don’t want to live in this constant state of fear.  It isn’t realistic, worth it or good for me.  I’m looking for a balance.  I need to step back and take a few more deep breaths.  That is my goal this weekend.  To pray for those that need it a bit more, be thankful for the little moments, and deal with my anxiety instead of feeding it.

Have you or anyone else you known dealt with this?

First Babies R Us Venture-Travel System

This weekend we went to Home Depot three times and Lowes once.  That adds up to hours of my life that I will never get back and truck loads of stuff brought back to my house.  Yes, we are those people in pro-parking with things so loaded down and strapped in you really wonder what the hell is happening back at their house.  Then we fold ourselves into the front seat and head home, hoping nothing flies off the truck bed and wondering why we don’t just bring the trailer every time.

Since we weren’t busy enough with that we thought it would be a good time to wander in to Babies R Us for the first time.  Why not?!  I have a few items that I have researched and have assumed they are the ones I want (car seat and stroller) but I wanted to actually go in to the store and touch them with my hands first.  With summer holiday’s coming up, the sales tend to follow.  I don’t want to miss out on the sales because we are too busy with the basement and are then paying full price for the larger, pricey items.

We have a few concerns and desires on our car seat/stroller system.  I honestly think baby items differ from family to family based on where you live, what you are using them for and your budget options.  Due to the high safety ratings I narrowed the brand down to Chicco.  Also, I’m not a big person and wanted a less bulky stroller and lighter car seat which Chicco also offered us some better options for.  Thirdly, we wanted a stroller that could easily be gate checked when we traveled.  My Husband had a few of his own needs when it came to strollers.  We needed one that was more narrow and less cumbersome as my Husband has PTSD issues in crowds and fighting a crowd with a bulky stroller is not fun.  Chicco has a lightweight plus stroller that fits all of the must have items for us.

So there we found ourselves in Babies R Us, early on a Sunday morning.  I parked myself on a shelf while my Husband took apart a bunch of strollers and car seats and then put them back together.  Knowing this is how his brain works, I just let him go.  He declared half of the items complete shit and asked why they weren’t built by NASA or the military.  Sales people didn’t dare come near us or question him and I promise you he left everything as he found it.

In the end, my internet research was worth it and everyone is happy with the decision.  We found our way to the rocking chairs to sit and debate on what was left to purchase on the basement list.  Multi-tasking, that is what we are good at.  At least we can shut our parents up and say yes, we have looked at baby items!  Now to wait for the sales.  No one said having a baby was cheap!