I’m quickly learning that with motherhood comes a hefty dose of not really being in control of much.
Today I had my ultrasound that was supposed to tell me our little bub’s gender. We wanted to have a little party to celebrate the big reveal (y’all know I’ll take any excuse to party), so we had planned to hold it this Sunday.
Of course, even as I planned I was nervous about setting the date. I have heard enough stories of shy babies concealing the goods on an ultrasound or two, but nearly everyone I asked seemed confident that it wouldn’t be an issue.
Apparently they had forgotten what contrary genes I’ve passed on to this child.
Despite being his or her usual wiggleworm self on the monitor, my baby kept his or her legs resolutely shut for the whole scan. On one hand, I’m happy my baby isn’t flashing its goodies for just anyone. On the other, come on, baby! Your type A mother needs to plan a nursery over here!
But, as I said, I’m pretty sure this is the least of my worries in the list of “things I can’t control about my child”. So maybe I should just get used to it.
And while I was super bummed when the nurse first gave me the non-news, I’ve made peace with waiting another month. It gives me more time to get the apartment ready for company, and at the end of the day, the only thing I really care about is that the little bean is healthy and happy in there. Besides, my mother tells me that I did the exact same thing when she was pregnant with me, so I can’t really blame the kid for taking after its mother.
Do you ever stop to think about the little things in your life that make you you?
I don’t. Or, at least, I didn’t used to. Which is funny to me because, as you’ve probably worked out by now, I’m a fairly introspective person. I think a lot about what I feel and why I feel it and what do I wish would have happened and why is that important to me and what does that say about me as a human being.
It can be exhausting.
But as much thought as I put into those things, it’s really not until I suddenly don’t feel like myself that I start to analyze who (or what) exactly I am.
For example, we moved a few weeks ago. (Yuck.) Not on the list of my favorite ways to spend a weekend, but the real worst part of moving to me is that your life is in complete disorder for at least a couple of weeks. Clothes are in random boxes in random rooms, dishes are buried under boxes of towels, and the thought of cooking at home (and thereby increasing the already overwhelming mess) is enough to induce tears. (Or maybe that’s just me?)
So for a few weeks, you wear boring outfits because God only knows where your accessories (or even your favorite jeans) are. And you eat takeout for every meal until your Seamless delivery guy starts to call you by name. And you shuffle and sidle around boxes so much you almost forget what it’s like to walk in a straight line through your own dang living room.
Hypothetically, of course.
Of course, I know that these things bother me, but it wasn’t until this weekend that I really started to analyze why. It wasn’t until I finally cleared away the majority of the boxes, set up our kitchen, and organized my clothes. When Joey and I had finally blocked off the living room and tossed the mound of cardboard molding on our patio. And suddenly…we could actually live in our apartment.
And immediately I started to feel more like myself.
Which…is weird? Because it’s not like you ever stop being yourself. But I had stopped being me in the way I define it. As someone who stays very organized. Who plans their outfits and puts some effort into their hair. Who can make their own breakfast before leaving the house. Who can walk from the kitchen to the bathroom without risking life and limb.
And maybe these are silly, surface things. So maybe I’m a silly, surface person. (See what I mean about the dangers of introspection?)
Now, I’m of course being a bit dramatic here. When I say “what defines me,” I am perfectly aware that there are myriad other things that make up who I am besides the fact that I appreciate a well ordered linen closet and shoes that perfectly mismatch with an outfit. But there’s something to be said for how having those things makes me feel — about my life and myself.
Which made me wonder…what are your things that make up you? Look at it like a desert island game: If you could only have five things every day to make you feel human, what would they be?
Judgment-free zone — there’s no way your list is shallower than a 1-inch curling iron.
If you’ve been pregnant or thought about being pregnant for even fifteen seconds, you’ve probably realized that there is an abundance of things to read about the topic. Some might say too much to read.
But regardless your thoughts on Google-induced panic, I still think there are a lot of things people don’t tell you about the process of creating another human life.
Namely, how revolting a lot of it is.
Don’t get me wrong — there are wonderful things too. But the biggest thing I’ve learned about pregnancy in the last couple of months is that for everything amazing and miraculous thing, there is an equaling disgusting part of the process as well.
Take, for example, the effects baby has on your body. On one hand, I’m finally starting to develop the tiniest of bumps. Adorable! Amazing! Also giving my tummy a rounder look? Welp, turns out babies will also have a pretty solid effect on your regularity. (No pun intended.) Call me crazy, but it’s hard to find anything miraculous to see in constipation.
But don’t worry, the baby isn’t leaving all the disgusting side effects to me. Oh no, the bean has its own host of vom-inducing abilities.
For example, as of right now, our baby is completely formed (it’s just the size of a lemon for now). To me, that is completely incredible. But the funny thing about having all your organs is that they also start to work. Meaning the baby is digesting. And urinating. Into the amniotic fluid. Where it then reabsorbs its urine. So it can urinate it out again later.
It will repeat this pee, rinse, repeat cycle for the rest of the pregnancy. Glamorous, right?
The point is, it’s not all miracles and fairy dust. But, at the end of the day, I guess it’s still pretty cool.
You guys, this has been a doozy of a week.
First, we made a somewhat big announcement last Thursday. Also, today is my last day at my current job. (I know, I know, Justine changes jobs like most people change their Brita filters…moving on.) ALSO, we’re getting the keys for our new apartment this week.
All of that would have been enough to solidify a super busy week. And then two days ago my new job called and asked if I would be okay with them sending me to Belgium for job training. Sunday. As in, six days later. HA! Um…sure?
So now I can add “visit new country” to my March to-do list. Who knew?
SO anyway…have any of you ever been to Brussels? What should I do while I’m there?
I have to admit, I’m still feeling a bit overwhelmed with how happy for us everyone was after our big announcement yesterday. You guys are the best. As promised, I have a couple posts about what it was like before the world knew our secret. Hopefully some other soon-to-be mommas out there can appreciate — the waiting is the WORST.
Can I just say that I had the hardest time blogging before I revealed I was pregnant? It is so hard to think of topics that I’m supposedly thinking about when REALLY all I’m thinking about is the tiny person growing in my midsection.
Fortunately, the jig is UP, so now we can get down to brasstacks. Specifically, what my first trimester was REALLY like.
At the beginning of my pregnancy, I didn’t have a ton of symptoms. I think this is partially do to my extremely type A (you’re shocked, I know) monitoring of my body. I pretty much knew I was pregnant from the first week. But typically, symptoms don’t kick in until closer to the sixth. So for a while, I was honestly nervous I had just taken a faulty test.
No lie: I took an extra test or two a couple more weeks in just because I NEEDED TO KNOW, YOU GUYS. Fortunately, that second blue line waited all of four seconds to appear, confirming that I was, in fact, knocked up.
The first couple of weeks, I experienced a few things. I felt a few cramps (which are apparently caused by your uterus stretching to make room for said tiny person…let THAT sink in), some boob soreness as they also apparently grow (STILL hoping to get a decent rack out of this deal), a few hormonal things (FLASHES OF INSTANT RAGE! CRYING AT EVERY COMMERCIAL WITH CHILDREN IN IT!), and the craziest dreams EVER.
I read somewhere a long time ago that humans actually dream every single night, you just rarely remember dreams as adults unless they are particularly traumatic. Welp, pregnancy apparently changes that. In a big way.
My dreams ranged from slightly odd (my old coworkers showing up at my new office and trying to make me look bad…THANKS GUYS) to bat-crap crazy.
Need an example?
In my fifth week, I had a dream where I was house-hunting. Which is not that strange, except that I was shopping off a Buzzfeed-esque online article that listed the Top 15 NYC Homes With Shark Infestations. (Yup.) The sharks had apparently been abandoned and allowed to proliferate, eventually evolving into a weird shark/puppy(ish) hybrid that could sort of waddle out of the water and that I had to keep throwing back into their moldy tanks. (The homes were also warehouses. I have no idea why this seemed like a good idea to Dream Justine.) My shopping buddies were two of my friends’ moms, one of which was using bright red crutches to hobble around. Well, they might have been regular crutches, but they were wrapped top to bottom in red duct tape.
SEE WHAT I MEAN ABOUT REMEMBERING EXPLICIT DETAILS?
Other than that, the first few weeks didn’t bring too much in terms of typical pregnancy symptoms. I didn’t have much of an appetite, but I also didn’t have morning sickness. (That party started a few weeks later!!!) So win some, lose some?
Basically, now you all know what a liar I was when you asked me “what’s new?” and I said, “NOT MUCH!” and changed the subject.
Last September, Joey and I were camping. One evening, sitting at the picnic table outside of our cabin eating some burgers, I asked him what he thought about trying to have a baby this winter.
This wasn’t the first time we had discussed children. We’d both typically been on the same page: We wanted kids, but we wanted the time to be right. Sitting there with the person I loved and our sweet dog during my favorite season in the middle of the woods, I suddenly knew I didn’t need to wait anymore. And, even better, Joey felt the same.
“It’s going to change everything,” he said seriously.
“I know,” I replied.
For the first time, this didn’t seem to scare either of us enough to change our minds.
It has been almost six months since that conversation, and we have something to tell you guys.
This is not a drill.
WE’RE HAVING A BABY!
I’ve practiced writing this post in my head dozens of times since we heard the news (and, let’s be honest, before it was ever a fact), and I guess I’m still at a loss for words on how to describe how we feel.
We’re incredibly excited, of course. Nervous, sometimes terrified, sure. Apprehensive? Sometimes. Madly in love with this little bean? Constantly.
I know what you’re thinking:
WHAT!? HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN KEEPING THIS SECRET?!?
About 12 weeks. I’m one of those weird cases who knew she was pregnant pretty much from the get-go. (More on that later.)
Ugh, fine. Well, when are you due?
September 20th. Almost exactly a year after we had that camping conversation.
Do you know what you’re having? Will you tell us THAT at least?
I don’t know — yet! But we’re planning to find out. And, yes, I will tell you when I know. Y’all know I’m too type A to not plan everything — and then share the plans with you guys.
How did Joey react?
Once we both got over the shock, we basically grinned at each other with tears in our eyes for the next hour. Now that it feels more real, he’s mostly just excited.
How have you been feeling?
Depends on the day, but mostly good. I’ve actually been writing posts along the way to share after I made the announcement so I would remember everything. Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks for those updates. Spoiler alert: Growing a human is not always a glamorous affair.
So…are we done with the secrets now?
Yes! Promise. I hate secrets, and it has been KILLING me not to tell everyone I talk to. I mean, I’m thinking about it all the time. The question “so what’s new?” has become the bane of my existence.
So there you have it! Our big news. As I said, over the next few days I’ll be sharing a few old posts about my first trimester experience (for anyone out there who needs a little commiseration), but then it will be all new stuff again. And I will do my best not to talk about the baby all the time, but…well…no promises. It’s kind of a big part of our lives now.