The Time of Your Life

Not since Dirty Dancing has a summer been so full of “Baby!”

This winter, I realized that between April and Labor Day, I knew 8 couples who were expecting. That’s a lot of babies! So far, beautiful Natalie, little Lexie, adorable Liam and cutie Charles have arrived. In the next few weeks, two more munchkins are expected to join this brood.

All this pregnancy is making me crave ice cream again. At this time last year, I was three weeks away from my due date and feeling pretty good. Sure, there was the rib peanut liked to use as a foot rest, checking the mail was the most exercise I could handle, and did I mention I was nine months pregnant in the South? As some of these mommies are approaching their due dates and experiencing those first few weeks of motherhood, I thought I’d share a little mommy wisdom, you know, the kind you don’t get in the books.

What the books don’t tell you about the emotional roller coaster that you’re on the last few weeks of pregnancy:

Week 37: I am really enjoying pregnancy. I think I’ll miss being pregnant once peanut arrives. It’s been such an exciting time.

Week 38: Honey, we can’t leave the house because nothing fits anymore but this one shirt and I’ve already sweat through it twice this week. I think if I wash it one more time it might fall apart. Do we have any more ice cream?

Week 39: OHMYGOD I am so not ready to have this baby. What happens when he’s 16 and misses curfew? How will I handle that? Dammit, I can’t even have a panic attack without having to pee. Help push me out of bed.

Week 40: Any second now! I’m so excited! What do you mean I’m not really dilating yet?

Week 40 and 4 days: My house is immaculate, I’m trying every trick in the book, including eating the eggplant parmigiana at Scalini’s, my bag is packed, why am I still pregnant?

Week 40, 4 days and 10 minutes: How will I know how to take care of this child? If he stays inside at least I know he’ll be fed and taken care of. I can’t possibly mess that up…I’ve been doing a pretty decent job the last 40 weeks, 4 days and 10 minutes. Maybe I don’t want him to come out.

Week 40, 4 days and 11 minutes: Seriously, when is this baby coming out? I’m going to be pregnant forever. It will be discovered that I’m not really pregnant, that this is some unique, freak disease where I will feel, look and behave pregnant for the rest of my life. I will be a marvel of modern science…and permanently pregnant.

Week 41: We’re getting induced! We’ll have a baby soon…

Week 41 and 2 days (yes that translates into 30 hours of labor): PEANUT’S FINALLY HERE!!

What the books don’t tell you about labor and delivery:

* Labor can be REALLY boring.
* It’s only magical and wonderful when it’s over and a slimy little bundle is screaming on your belly (before that, it’s LABOR – it ain’t called that for nothin’).
* Make friends with your nurses so that when the epidural has been turned down too low and you’re screaming at your husband that you in no way wanted a natural childbirth and your midwife is in with another patient she will physically find the anesthesiologist for you.
* After several hours of labor and more internal exams in a day than you’ve had through your whole pregnancy, pooping on the table will start to rank low on your list of worries (so stop worrying about it!).
* Hospital food tastes damn good after 30 hours of labor and no solid food in 48 hours.

What the books don’t tell you about the first few weeks:

* Lanolin cream should be used right away, before you need it. Please ladies, trust me on this one.
* Your belly will be foreign to you. This bump that had become so beautiful to you, that you and your family touched non-stop, that had a life of it’s own will suddenly be big, flabby, squishy and altogether strange. I refused to touch mine for several days.
* You won’t (and if you do, please keep it to yourself) fit into regular clothes for awhile, but your maternity clothes will all fit differently based on the new squishy belly.
* The swelling gets worse in the first few days after delivery…as if I thought my ankles could get any bigger. Don’t worry it gets better. The day I realized my feet looked normal, I hiked up my pajama pants and tried on every single pair of heels in my closet. My PJs never looked better.

And to think we’re now approaching the one year mark — I can’t believe it. Peanut will be 11 months old next week and the whole pregnancy thing seems so long ago. So I suppose that’s my biggest nugget of wisdom — in a few months/days/weeks (depending on where you are in this crazy cycle), you won’t remember your life without your little one. Okay, you’ll remember it and miss some things, but you wouldn’t trade this absolutely wonderful being that looks at you with such love and joy for any of it.

Plus, you’ll finally be able to drink again and due to your 9 month+ alcohol abstinence, you’ll be a really cheap date, even if you’re still in your PJs, unshowered and on your couch at 8pm.

Good luck, mamas! Welcome to the club!

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