May 19, 2014

The Womb Life

Holy cow, we’re about to have a baby. We’re 10 days away from our due date to be precise…although I’m sure precision is not exactly on the baby’s agenda.

I am lucky…the last nine months have been a smooth and easy pregnancy. We have certainly gone through the normal milestones and emotions that any impending first-time parents have experienced, but I’ve shied away from writing much about it. I figured that since 80% of people who are reading this blog already have children, I shouldn’t bore you. Instead I’ll share some of our quirky and personal anecdotes…

Week 4
We find out we’re having a baby and I immediately have to attempt to fake drink in front of our best friends. I’m terrible at it. I think they must be onto me, but of course, it’s just the start of my needless obsessing over just about everything.

Weeks 6 & 7
We get to tell our families the good news in person…a special treat considering we live so far away from them. We try to capture their reactions.

Week 9
We meet our doctor for the first time. She has a crazy complicated Indian name which, when abbreviated, turns out to be Dr. Guru. It feels meant to be. We think we’ll be lucky just to hear the baby’s heartbeat at this first appointment, but we’re surprised with an ultrasound. We see our little babe for the first time on October 24, 2013. Its heart beat is fluttering away at 178 beats per minute, its arms are waving, and it measures a whopping one inch long. It is love at first sight.

Week 10
Even though we have received a clean bill of health from Dr. Guru, I lay awake at night worried that something is wrong with the baby. It just doesn’t make sense to me that I am feeling so well. I rhetorically ask Steve, “Is it weird that I’m still worried something is wrong with the baby?” I fully expect him to shrug off my question and tell me I’m being silly. Instead he responds with a very matter-of-fact, “No,” which completely catches me off guard. He then follows, “You’re going to be worrying about that baby your entire life”. 

Right on, Yoda. What an insightful and completely honest statement. I love my husband for telling me the truth that night. It is a singular moment that completely changes my outlook on my pregnancy and our new baby.

Week 11
I market HP computers for a living, and it turns out that when the Christmas season approaches, selling computers is a really big deal. I never anticipate how crazy my work schedule will get – upwards of 18-hour days. I am so thankful to be feeling well during my 1st trimester, otherwise I don’t know how I would cope. Some days I am so busy that I forget I’m pregnant, but I am always grateful for my little baby who is taking it easy on me so that I can temporarily focus on other things.

Week 12
We move from our short-term living quarters in downtown San Diego back up to our condo in La Jolla. This is not only a long-delayed forgone conclusion – or a nearly 2-year pilgrimage after coming back from our RTW trip – but also a very sentimental symbol of us coming “home” to start our family.

In the middle of the move I have to go to L.A. for work. I tell my boss that I can’t drink because I’m on a detox before the holidays. He later tells me that it was fairly obvious I was pregnant…apparently my detox story is hard to buy as I stand at the food service table stuffing my face with Cheetos.

Week 15
I am in Houston all week for work. I’m very anxious to get home, and in an ultimate case of pregnancy brain, I miss my flight…while sitting at the gate. I simply don’t hear or see anyone board the plane.

Week 17
We announce our pregnancy. Amazingly, it is one year to the day that we left Vietnam and flew back to the US, finishing our RTW trip. Crazy! There’s so much to be thankful for in life.

Week 19
I feel the baby kick for the first time during the day. Later that night, we plan its college fund.

Week 20
We have the standard anatomy ultrasound where we can find out if it’s a boy or a girl. Instead we ask the rude technician to put the answer in an envelope, where it sits unopened inside my desk for the next 3 weeks.

Week 22
Steve feels the baby kick for the first time and we both uncover our own baby books – very amusing light reading. It’s documented that at age 11 months, Steve held his breath until he passed out...5 days in a row. We hope this baby gets my knack for common sense.

Week 23
My parents visit us in San Diego. We give my mom the double envelope that holds the answer to our baby’s sex. While we’re on a hike with my dad she opens it, and in a well-orchestrated fashion, begins to make cupcakes with a special filling inside – peppermint flavor for a girl and peanut butter flavor for a boy.

We are all really worried that my keen sense of smell will be able to sniff out the secret as soon as we arrive home, so my mom makes batches of each flavor to throw us off. When we get home, there is no aroma, but there are remnants of peanut butter dropped on the kitchen floor. I think it’s so obvious that it must be a boy.

I wake up the next day and finish icing the tops of the cupcakes. Still worried about the smell tipping me off, I tie a scarf around my nose and look like a terrorist icing my own gender-reveal cupcakes. 

It’s Super Bowl Sunday and Steve and I hardly care that our Denver Broncos get annihilated. We have much more important things on our minds. During halftime we dial-up Steve’s parents on Skype and gather everyone around the table to find out if we’re having a boy (fairly obvious from the previous day’s events) or a girl (no way in hell). We all go for it…

We are shocked and so happy! We both secretly want a girl. It is one of life’s great moments to have our parents and so many of our good friends surrounding us as we find out in such a fun way.

Week 25
We take a trip down to Tijuana, Mexico to visit our friends Silvia, Mario, Julio and Renata. We love that the baby has been to three countries – Greece, U.S. and Mexico – before she’s even hit the 3rd trimester.

Week 26
I find out what’s worse than having to buy something off someone’s baby registry: creating my own baby registry. There are too many choices and way too many people’s opinions online. Whenever we finally get this done, it will feel like such a triumph.

Week 27
Steve and I are laying on the couch after work, and the baby kicks him in the head.

Week 28
I read through a book of 100,000 baby names. It takes me 6 hours to get through the girls names, and I narrow my list down to 45. After all this, we end up choosing a name that I thought up weeks ago on my own.

Week 29
At night when I’m asleep and lying right next to Steve, he can feel the baby kick. I love this because it feels like a special time when he and the baby can bond without me being there. I picture the two of them at night just hanging out.

Week 31
I have to go to Palos Verdes for work, and in a last minute audible, I convince Steve to come along with me. This spontaneous little adventure is our version of a Babymoon.  On the second night of the conference, the Counting Crows perform – baby’s first concert! She kicks the entire time.

Week 32
I take a red eye to Ohio….kind of dumb in hindsight, but I was only half this pregnant when I booked the ticket. My sister-in-laws throw me a fabulous shower, which isn’t even thwarted by a minor trip to the emergency room for the grandpa-to-be.

Week 33
After a second baby shower thrown by our best friends in San Diego, we go to close out our registries. This includes picking up a toy xylophone. It's not until we get home that we realize the xylophone is out of tune. No baby of mine is going to grow up tone deaf because Fisher Price couldn't get their act together.

Week 34
During our doctor’s appointment the nurse tells us, “Car seats are so complicated these days, it takes a degree in rocket science to figure it out.” We’re feeling pretty good because Steve has one of those.

Week 35
We meet the world’s best-selling author on baby sign language, who happens to live in San Diego. She totally brainwashes us.

Week 37
We have our car seat inspected by a California Highway Patrol officer. He is thoroughly impressed with the rocket scientist’s work.

Week 38
I keep a promise I made to myself to stay as active as possible during pregnancy. I still exercise about 5 days a week, including a Monday night ritual when I swim 80 laps at the pool. As I mosey to my lane, I get lots of awesome double-takes in my one-piece maternity bathing suit.

So as we approach 39 weeks out of 40, it's almost time. Of course it will be exciting to meet the baby, but I am also feeling a little sad to think that my pregnancy is almost over. I’ve really loved being pregnant and will miss feeling her little kicks inside of me.

After all this, here are three important lessons I’ve learned:
  1. Keep my expectations low when going in for an ultrasound. Sonogram technicians are heartless robots.
  2. Pottery Barn Kids is the worst company I’ve ever had the displeasure of working with.
  3. For as much as I like to complain that I, “need more hours in the day”, I now know this is just a result of me cramming my life full of meaningless tasks. When I found myself organizing our matchsticks one Saturday morning, I realized it was time for this baby to get here already. She will be a much needed enrichment in our lives.
It’s springtime and there’s no better season for new life! We're ready to reset the weekly counter and start over at zero. Wish us luck! We’ll update you on the flip side!