When Carrie told me she was pregnant, I cried. I waited until I was alone but then I cried quiet tears over how her life would change, how beautiful her belly would be, and how her heart would break when she finally held her baby. It’s a funny thing when someone you love so dearly experiences something great. You want to keep some distance, let them have a raw experience, and yet here I am texting her every other minute about her cervix and PLEASE TELL ME ABOUT YOUR MUCUS PLUG.
I asked Carrie to do a guest post here today not only because she’s so great, but because when I was pregnant with Waylon, I devoured anything on pregnancy from real people. I wanted real life, real experiences, real talk. In the age of photo blogs and fluffy pregnancy books–it can be hard to find.
13 questions, 13 answers. And yes, you’re reading it right. Austin knows the sex of the baby but no one else does, including me. That guy knows how to bob for apples.
1) Give us your stats, even though I already know because I ask you about your womb every day. You know, like how far along you are and when you’re due.
I’m many weeks along. Due the 14th of December. I’m sure baby will make me wait an extra 9 months or something though.
2) Do you know the sex of the baby? Oh wait, you don’t. But Austin does and he’s being a pain in the arse about it.
We are choosing to be surprised with this one. We love surprises. Don’t know if we’ll do it for every baby, but we wanted to start off with a bang. What I didn’t realize was how annoying everyone else would be about it.
To appease the masses and give them a chance to find out, we had a big Lumber Jack battle where the winner got to find out the sex but must keep it a secret from us and everyone until baby is born. This idea probably was inspired by our current obsession with reading the Game of Thrones series – we wanted a tourney prize that would evoke good competition. There were three games: hatchet throwing, apple bobbing, and pumpkin carving. I think the appropriate person won. As we get closer and closer to the date I’m so happy that we don’t know – it’s like this extra layer of excitement (and impatience).
3) What questions do you have about the rest of pregnancy? Maybe someone out there can answer.
What are some good things to do in labor, especially early on? I’d of course love to stay home as long as possible. I was reading some funny things to do, but hey, why not? So far on my list is to sew some things, watch a movie or two, walk around with our dog at the dog park, eat popsicles, sit in the bath tub. Am I dreaming too much? Why were people recommending these things? I think I will need distractions. Probably the reality will be that it’s 2am and I’m trying to time contractions and figure out if this is the real deal or not. I better just read Game of Thrones and sit in the tub and frantically do all the things I should have done weeks ago to prep for baby.
4) What about birth? Does it gross you out? Excited? Scared?
Of course I’m scared. And excited. Overall though I’m just not really thinking about it. I’ve been going through this book of ‘mindful birthing’ and trying different meditations to deal with pain, so I’m sort of looking forward to putting them to the test, and then realizing they probably don’t work at all:) I’d rather not poop on anyone in the process or rip all the way to my rectum and need 100 staples or drop the baby the first time I hold it. I hope I can just be calm and cuddly as soon as baby is handed to me. I can’t wait to see my husband’s face – I hope I remember to pay a little attention to that.
Journal excerpt 11/27/12- What a strange place to be, this season of transition. Waiting for this baby that will explode our hearts with love and fear and joy. And the physical pain that is to come to get baby out! Like you know any day now someone is going to rip off your leg very slowly but in its place you will grow the best leg ever. Except this is way better, way more of a miracle. A whole new person. Oh my glorious God. Help us.
5) What are you looking forward to? Do you have a mental picture of something that you’re impatient for?
I mean, I want to know if it’s a girl or boy and what baby looks like. I can’t wait to name baby and have everyone respond a little awkwardly when we tell them the name. We didn’t pick names like Jane or Toby. Who knows though really. Maybe we will change our minds when we see baby, maybe she will look like a Jane Ashley and we’ll shock the pants off of our friends.
6) What surprised you about pregnancy?
Physically I’ve dealt with a lot of extra phlegm (sorry, but I wish someone would have told me). I’m constantly coughing it up in the morning which in turn makes me throw up sometimes. I also had a gall bladder attack when I was 8 months which was so very terrible – I didn’t know a lot of preggos deal with that. Besides that I have felt pretty good. I also thought I would blow up to be 400 lbs and have 10 chins and wouldn’t even want to look at myself in the mirror. I’m surprised that I actually feel good and find the whole process a thing of beauty and miracles instead of feeling insecure and grossed out with myself. It is a bit daunting how everyone stares at your belly and you just never know what complete strangers will say to you. A fast food worker once leaned through the drive thru window and swore she saw the baby move.
7) How’s Baby Daddy handling things?
I know its super sappy and the kind of facebook status that makes me gag but when I think about Jake being a father I want to cry. He will be the best. He’s handling it all very well and every now and then we just sit in awe at what is about to happen in our lives. We laugh at how ridiculous it is that we will take a baby home and have to take care of it but we’re also really excited to have this little creature to raise up to be a quirky King family member.
8) Any weird reactions to your pregnancy news? I remember feeling let down when a few friends seemed almost disappointed I was expecting.
Most everyone was shocked and happy. We weren’t actively ‘trying’ to have a baby and often talked about waiting a couple more years so we took a few people by total surprise, which of course was fun.
9) You are due around Christmas. Sorry, that’s not really a question.
My birthday is Christmas Eve and all my siblings were born in December. This poor kid is joining the big December party. Hopefully they can stay a week or so away from Christmas so friends can come to a party on their actual birthday. That’s something I could never really do. There is something very magical about December though and so I’m glad they will associate twinkling lights, and starry nights and warm fuzzy family times and candlelight services with their birth. On my birthday, after Christmas Eve service and friends playing ‘now you have it now you don’t,’ I used to go sit by the tree in the dark and stare and pretend each light was a little angel and think about such great love. Then my mother always used to sing O Holy Night to me and play with my hair when I went to bed on Christmas Eve – such a special memory of being part of something bigger than myself. I hope this baby enjoys it too.
10) What’s your expectation for the first few months of newborn? I’m ready to bring over my sleeping bag.
I don’t know. Maybe it will be like college and I’ll just take random naps and be up most of the night. I’m expecting to be super emotional and cry at embarrassing times and feel totally insufficient at having to take care of a baby. I’m also expecting to fall so in love that it will hurt like hell and I won’t know how to handle it. I hope i can navigate the first month with grace and love, even if I’m unshowered and can’t open my heavy eyelids the whole way. I’m hoping I’ll be surrounded by lots of supportive people who will also walk with me in grace and love.
11) What is the most annoying thing so far about being a pre-parent? Is it the advice? The expectations? Vent.
I don’t have any major complaints. The one thing I can’t stand people saying is to ‘enjoy’ these last couple weeks/days of not having the baby. Excuse me, that would a lot easier if I wasn’t 9 months pregnant. It would be great if your last month you could somehow not be pregnant – like the baby goes to a womb center for a bit and then comes back when it’s ready. I could sleep so hard and have some merry drinks and be wild in bed and run around and do all the things I haven’t been able to do for almost a year. Instead its like I’m already a mother – it’s not just me I have to worry about. I mean, I have to be careful just trying to put on my socks. I think it’s great because it makes you anxious/ready to have baby, but it’s hard to enjoy being 9 months pregnant when you’re just waiting to see this new amazing thing staring up at you from your arms instead of from rolling around heavy in your gut and kicking your bladder.
12) Do you find yourself giving the stink eye to parenting styles?
I try to be as open as possible and know that I can say what I want now but who knows what will go out the window when I’m actually there. I think I lean towards the middle as of now. Co-sleeping at all and breastfeeding til their 2? Hard for me to swallow. Putting them on a rigid schedule the minute they are born – that sounds mean. I’m fully expecting to have baby in our room at first (just not in our bed) and I’m also expecting to start trying a schedule a few weeks in, but I also want to be flexible and natural and nurturing as this poor baby transitions into this hard, bright, cold world.
13) What should women know who have just found out they are pregnant?
That thing will grow and grow and amaze you and change you. You will not be the same in 9 months. Your social life will slowly start to change but you will also slowly be okay with that. It’s a good long transition into such an important work in your life. Write lots of it down. There are many things to be afraid of these days, especially while pregnant and you can have millions of internet answers about every little ache and pain. Don’t jump to the worst conclusion, just take it day by day and let people surround you with love and support. It’s okay to have people do things for you. Last week I slipped and fell on ice after proclaiming to my mother who wanted to walk me to my car that I would not slip. My brother had even offered to carry my box of Christmas cookies but I thought that was so unnecessary. Then I fell. Baby is fine but it taught me a lesson, let people help you. It’s okay. And one last thing, please don’t post a photo of your positive pee stick on facebook or post about every prenatal appointment or have a countdown til your due date. A little mystery and sacredness to this event is a wonderful thing and special to you. Also, you never know what will happen with your pregnancy, so no need for 500 semi friends to know every step. This whole thing is a miracle – dwell in it and love your baby from the start – it’s really all a very unbelievable thing and you get to be a part of it. I truly believe you are a mother already – sustaining this little soul and protecting it and hoping the best for it’s whole life. How very wonderful.
PS: Here is Carrie and Jake singing a song for Baby Baer still in utero.