Welcome to Part 2 of 3 in the “how this chunk entered the world” saga! If you’re just joining us…. here’s part one. If you’re not into pregnancy/labor/birth stories I suggest you stay tuned for future blog posts and skip over this one and the next. Cool? Cool.
September 8 2018
I had no idea then what I know now… that this baby wasn’t just a boy but the most precious little man I’ve ever seen. We left the ultrasound excited and relieved. We had a healthy baby boy growing steadily and strong in mamma’s belly.
We had only told close friends and family about the baby until 22 weeks when we announced him publicly. I know a lot of people rush to share the good news out of excitement but we were so happy to soak up our own private bliss. As soon as you tell the world you are pregnant the questions and comments come streaming in without stop until your baby turns into a toddler and then a teenager, I’m sure.
The questions and comments of pregnancy deserve their own reflection- the range of appropriateness, sweetness, and thoughtlessness knows no bounds.
I got comments ranging from “”oh my gosh your bump is so cute!” And “you are the cutest pregnant lady ever!” To the classic “any day now?” and “wow you are so big/small/high/low/all belly/etc.”. The most ridiculous comment of the whole pregnancy has to be the time I was walking towards the grocery store entryway when an old man stopped to let me walk in front of him, he then said (my back turned to him) “looks like you and your husband are on good terms”. What. The. Fuck.
Over the summer my belly grew and grew. We continued our normal adventures- going camping at the state park where we were married, trying* to tube down the Otter Tail river (this ended up being a hilarious endeavor), and a taking walks around our local apple orchard. As we neared the third trimester and the final stretch I turned 30, we made a trip to Minneapolis and I started to realize just how swollen my hands and feet were getting – it was a hot summer but I had been so focused on being grateful that I could throw on one piece of clothing (dresses all day every day) that I forgot about what heat and fluid retention can do to your body.
Swimming while pregnant is amazing. It immediately relieves pressure from your joints AND you basically become a human submarine!
Shoes and rings were no longer useful to me. I went up a half shoe size, started living in Crocs, and had to switch out my wedding and engagement ring for a silicone band.
Please note my feet literally spilling out of these Crocs. No big deal.
Exactly one month before my due date we traveled back to my hometown for our baby shower. It was a perfect celebration and I was so amazed by and grateful for the support we had been shown. Baby boy was already loved so much before he even got here.
The drive was long and honestly one of the hardest parts of my pregnancy (my feet were very swollen afterwards and never really went down) but it was worth it to see and celebrate with so many friends and family I hadn’t seen in years.
In the final month (what was actually only about 3 weeks!) we did a lot of nesting around the house. Putting the finishing touches on the nursery, unpacking all of our shower gifts, setting up our little “baby stations”, washing little tiny baby clothes, and keeping ourselves busy as we waited his arrival. My nesting instinct manifested itself in getting organized. I put together the perfect little diaper changing station, a little caddy with all of my breastfeeding supplies, all of the drawers and the closet in his room were more in order than anything in my life ever had been. Seth worked on bigger projects. He focused on some big-picture house stuff that he knew he wouldn’t get to for a while once the babe arrived.
Aside from all the nest prepping we also took our baby classes and read some great baby books in the final months of pregnancy. The most transformative book I read was by far Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth. Seth really got into The Birth partner by Penny Simkin. We talked a lot about what we wanted our labor to look like. I was determined to have a natural birth with as little intervention as possible. Luckily the midwife I had been seeing throughout my pregnancy fully supported this decision and held the same view that our bodies know what they are doing.
Seth and I talked a lot about labor. We shared the belief that women were strong, capable creatures and that medical interventions – though sometimes life-saving and absolutely necessary – shouldn’t be the norm. I knew that I had his full support and that we were completely on the same page.
We did develop a code word for pain relief if I decided during the real deal that the pain was too much to handle which I highly suggest! That way you can allow yourself to express frustration or pain without having the medical staff jump in and offer drugs. Honestly I didn’t even think of pain relief during the entire labor and never came close to asking for it but everyone labors differently. I’ll talk more about the power of positive thinking and speaking during labor later.
Our plan had been that when the day came we would labor at home as long as possible, heading into the hospital only when I felt like it was nearly time to push. I was excited to labor with him in our new home that we had spent so much time preparing for baby. I envisioned us snacking, playing connect 4, walking around our neighborhood during early labor, laboring in bed, in the shower, and around the house as contractions built and then hopping in the car and making the short drive to the hospital where in just a few series of pushes I would pop this baby out of me and we’d go home the next day.
That is not, in fact, how it all happened.