Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Sex Factor - Why I'm on Team Green

Back in June, when I was pregnant for the first time, I told Brian I didn't want to find out the sex of the baby until it was born. It wasn't something I was on the fence about. I was positively 100% sure I did not want to know the sex. Just like a lot of little girls fantasize about their weddings when they're little, I skipped that part and fantasized about being a mom. Picking out baby names, singing to my growing belly that was actually a stuffed animal under my shirt, and finally bringing that baby home where I could wrap it up in a blanket, give it a bottle and rock it to sleep. Never in these fantasies did I find out the sex of my baby in a dark ultrasound room at my 20 week appointment. Maybe I'm being old-fashioned but this is my first baby and I want that special moment in the delivery room.

Of course Brian disagreed with me the same way he disagrees with me about everything but this was a battle I chose. No matter how much he argued I didn't budge.

These days hardly anyone waits to find out the sex. They find out around 20 weeks and by this time they usually have a name picked out so the baby is named before they even leave the dr's office. They then call their families and closest friends to announce the news. After that it goes up on Facebook so that every person they've ever known in their entire lives now knows the good news as well. And that's it. A baby is born.

The mother, meanwhile, is still pregnant for another 4 or 5 months! The family goes on for the second half of the pregnancy referring to the baby by name, getting the baby's name embroidered on bibs and blankets, buying block letters to spell out the baby's name on the nursery wall and I'm sure this is all tons of fun...but by the time the baby is born it's old news. The parents just experienced one of the biggest events of their lives and nobody gives a shit because as far as they're concerned, that baby was born 5 months ago. The parents come home from the hospital and it's kind of anticlimactic. Their lives have changed forever. There's supposed to be a celebration but there's nothing but a crying baby. There's no banners or balloons, no phone calls, and really no visitors except maybe the grandparents. Nobody even pays attention to the first photos anymore because they saw the 4D pics months ago. It's Postpartum Depression just waiting to happen if you ask me.

I'm not trying to be an attention whore or anything, but I think having a baby, especially a first baby, is a HUGE deal! Being pregnant is exciting and all, but that's just foreplay. Having that baby, that's the main event and I want all of the celebrating (mine AND everyone elses) to be done then, not now.

Explaining this to Brian didn't get me anywhere. He said I was being melodramatic as usual and that finding out the sex is just as exciting at 20 weeks as it is at 40 and imagine how hard it's going to be to prepare for a baby when all you can buy are things in green and yellow. So I decided to make a pros and cons list and I thought I'd share it with all of you so you will understand why I made this decision as well.


  • The last few weeks of pregnancy and the labor itself are pretty rough (from what I hear). Some women say it makes labor easier if they don't know the sex of the baby. They tend to cope with the pain better, push harder, and not give up as easily as those who have known the sex for months. I don't know if there's any proof of this but if there's a chance for an easier labor I'll take it.
  • When the baby comes out the dad gets to announce the sex to the mom. Then the dad gets to run out to the waiting room and make the big announcement to everyone else (assuming there's anyone in the waiting room). It's the dad's big shining moment and he'll be thankful for it later.
  • If you know the sex of the baby you're gonna buy every cute thing you see and forget about all of the stuff you actually need. Before you know it you'll have 30 bibs that say "Daddy's Little Girl" and a dress for every day of the year but no money left to buy diapers.
  • Same thing with everyone else. There's just something about baby clothes that everyone loves. Even the toughest guys can get all marshmallow-like when in the company of a preemie-size pajama set. If you have a shower you can end up opening up outfit after outfit after outfit. A friend of mine had a baby shower a few years ago and she got 13 pink blankets, like 25 pink outfits in size newborn and nothing else! I'm not trying to sound ungrateful. Of course I'll appreciate anything we're given but if people don't know the sex they're more likely to buy something less cute but more important, like plain white onesies and socks; boring but needed. Some people will find some cute gender-neutral clothes and that's great but in the end the baby will have a good balance of cutesies and necessities.
  • Since we don't know the sex we have to get gender-neutral everything. The car seat, stroller, swing, high chair, play pen and nursery decorations will work for a boy or a girl so when we have another baby we don't have to go out and buy all new stuff!!!
  • Have you ever opened a Christmas present early and even though it was something you really wanted you felt kind of disappointed? I'm dying to know the sex of my baby but I really feel like it'll be a better experience if I wait.

  • Some women say that knowing the sex and being able to call the baby by name makes them feel closer to the baby while it's in the womb.
I can't think of any other cons because I don't consider gender-neutral shopping to be a con.

I'm glad I wrote this blog and reminded myself why this choice is so important to me because our big ultrasound is in 3 days and I was starting to waiver a little. Especially since I started registering this week and everything on there is yellow, green or brown. But it would probably be just as boring if everything was pink and purple or blue and green, right? I told Brian we can find out the sex for the next baby but for now we're playing for Team Green.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Dress Rehearsal

My cousin was going on a 2-week vacation just a few days after we got back from ours and she asked if we would stay at her house while she was gone to take care of her pets. Of course I said we would. She has done tons to help us since we moved here so I owe her a lot more than pet-sitting.

My cousin basically lives in a Thomas Kinkade painting. She has a big house in the middle of the woods. There's no street, just a long, winding, gravel driveway. There are actual icicles hanging from the gutters and everywhere you look are snow-covered trees. In the daytime, it's serene and beautiful. At nighttime, well, it's a bit frightening!

If you don't know by now, I'm a worrier! On our first night here we couldn't get the internet to work and my phone wouldn't make calls. I told Brian I felt like we were in that movie The Strangers and I expected people in masks to appear at any moment. If I had to call 911 I'd be screwed. For one thing my phone won't work but besides that, I don't know the address! I don't even know if there is an address.

Because the house is so big there are several space heaters around. Of course I Googled the incidences of fires caused by space heaters and tried to come up with an evacuation plan to get all 6 animals out of the house in the event of a fire. We've been here a week now and I'm still not satisfied with my fire plan. The dogs and rabbit will live but those cats are unpredictable.

Besides worrying about ax murderers and fires, there are some great things about being here. There's a dishwasher! A dryer! She has the ID channel!!! I'm a total murder-mystery fanatic (which might explain the paranoia). She also has the Cooking Channel so I can watch Rachael Ray's new show. But the best thing about being here is that the thermostat is set at 69. The thermostat at our place is at 58 because we are waiting for a gas refill. We go there everyday to give love to the cats and it's quite uncomfortable. We are putting $800 into that damn tank this week (again!) so hopefully we can also live in a 69 degree world soon.

There are 6 pets here. 3 dogs, 2 cats, 1 rabbit. Let me tell you, this bunch is a high-maintenance handful! They all get fed different foods at different times in different amounts. I have to set timers, use measuring cups and even cut up veggies for the rabbit. The dogs want to go outside at least once an hour. The puppy of the bunch is a Newfoundland the size of a pony and because he's still in his puppy phase, he needs to be hooked to a cord when he goes out or he might not come back. The cord is long so he still has access to a lot of the yard. The thing is, he gets the cord tangled around bushes almost every time so about once an hour I have to bundle up and go outside to untangle him. There were a few days this week when the temps went below zero. Being outside for just 3 minutes or so and I felt like my eyelids were going to freeze to my eyeballs!

When the dogs aren't outside they want to play, be loved on, or be given a snack. But since they can't talk I have to figure out what each one wants. Unfortunately, I am physically unable to pet 3 dogs at once and this causes agitation and fighting. When the dogs go down for their nap, I go upstairs to let the rabbit out of his cage and play with him for a little bit. Playing with him means being chewed on and pooped on. Did ya'll know that rabbits can't control their pooping? It just comes out while they're walking around. If you have a pet rabbit you have to vacuum or clean the cage daily. I also have to watch out for the cats because one of the dogs likes to chase and attack them. So basically this is like a full-time job. I guess you could say it's a dress rehearsal to mommyville. Literally. I've even got drool on my shirt to prove it.

The first two days I did everything. I measured out all the food, I went outside in the snow, I got up at 9am to let them out....and then I got pissed because Brian wasn't helping. It made me wonder if he's going to help with the baby. And on the 3rd night I'm so frustrated with the dead phone lines, the slow internet connection, the whining dogs who I can't seem to please, the Newfoundland that just drooled all over my sleeve, the 3 holes chewed into the other sleeve by the rabbit, plus the fact that I've hardly slept a wink because the dogs bark every time the wind blows and I'm on the verge of tears and contemplating beating my head against a wall and all of a sudden Brian gets on the living room floor on all fours and starts barking like a dog. The dogs LOVED it. And Brian had this goofy smile on his face so I know he was having fun, too. I wish I would have videotaped it. It was the sweetest thing. Not only did it make the dogs happy for awhile, but it reminded me what a great guy he is and what a great dad he's going to be. The next morning he got up at 9 to let them out and feed them breakfast. *sigh* I love my husband.

So Brian saved the day with his silly little game but I learned that I have to practice my patience before this baby gets here. Brian's going to have to work 2 jobs to make up for my maternity leave and I'm going to be on my own most of the time. It makes me wonder what I'll do when Brian's not around to save me...should we put some padding on the walls?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Stupid Quad Screen

Our Babymoon in the Caribbean was absolutely perfect! I promised myself I was going to appreciate every minute of it and I kept my word. Even when the ship was rocking so hard that the staff put out barf bags, I was happy to be there. Instead of planning out every detail of every minute I just kind of chilled out, relaxed and let my vacation happen and it turned out to be the best I ever had! (Thanks again, Daddy!)

I was swimming in the crystal clear waters of Grand Cayman when Brian yelled for me to get out for an important phone call. It was the OBGYN's office. I had some blood work taken at my 16-week appointment and they were calling with the results. The test is called a Quad Screen and one of the 4 things they tested (called AFP) came back "slightly elevated." The lady on the phone made sure to tell me this wasn't anything I needed to worry about, that it didn't mean anything was wrong with the baby but they wanted me to come in for a second test to get a more accurate reading. You would think that I, being a little bit neurotic, would have been freaking out but I just told her we'd be in next week and got back to enjoying my relaxing Babymoon. There's just something about the Caribbean that calms me.

I did some research on this Quad Screen and AFP when I got home and now I'm kicking myself for even taking the stupid test in the first place. From what I've been reading, over 90% of the time the results are meaningless. And even when there is something wrong with the baby, what can I do about it? So I'm not worried about the test. What I am worried about, though, is that I haven't felt the baby moving yet. Most women feel the baby move for the first time between weeks 16-20. I'm 19w4d right now and nothing yet. They say that bigger women tend to feel it later than skinny women which makes no sense to me. Just because I'm fat doesn't mean I don't feel things!

Another thing I worry about lately is that I don't actually "feel" pregnant anymore. I just kind of feel like a normal person. It doesn't seem like my belly has grown any in a few weeks, either. It could be that I'm just "plateauing" and getting used to being pregnant. I have read that the 2nd trimester is a breeze and I guess you could say that mine has been a breeze so far. It could just mean that I've been lucky and maybe instead of worrying about my breezy time I should be thankful! We're having an ultrasound on Groundhog's Day and hopefully we'll see a healthy baby on the screen. Then I can stop worrying about the health of my baby and start worrying about how the heck I'm gonna get it out of me!!!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

16 Weeks!!!

The scariest thing to me about the OBGYN's office isn't the needles in the arm or pricks to the finger or even the duckbill platypus thing that they stick you-know-where. I mean, those all suck, yeah, but they don't make me fill with dread the way I do when it's time to get on the scale. I know how lame it is for pregnant people to complain about weight gain and I don't mind any weight related to the baby. I lost 20 pounds last year in a relatively short amount of time on the 3-hour Diet so I know that I can lose any weight I gain. But because I'm already overweight I'm only supposed to gain 10-15 pounds during the pregnancy. (Note: My Doctor never said anything about this but I read it on the internet). It says in What To Expect that the baby and its home and belongings weigh 15 pounds. So how I am supposed to gain less than the baby? And putting a limit on things makes it seem scary. I don't know what will happen if I go over this amount but I was hoping not to find out. I wanted to be the perfect pregnant girl who only gained weight in her basketball-shaped belly. So prior to my Christmas vacation I was eating nothing but healthy food and playing active games on the Wii. And then the holidays came and...well, I was a bit terrified of that scale today.

But I didn't gain any weight. I weigh exactly the same as I did 4 weeks ago, right down to the ounce. At first I let out a squeal of delight (I totally didn't mean to - it just happened). And then I started to panic. Why didn't I gain weight? I was on vacation for 12 days! I had fast food twice, ate at lots of restaurants and hardly ever had my daily doses of fresh fruits and veggies! When we were in North Carolina I loaded up on boiled peanuts and hushpuppies with honey butter. Not to mention the Christmas cookies and Reese Trees and Hershey Kisses! How did I not gain weight? Is my baby still alive in there?

Luckily it didn't take long for the nurse to find the heartbeat - 153. Brian got excited because he knows about the old wives tale that says a heart rate higher than 140 is a girl. He wants a girl. The doctor measured my uterus with a measuring tape and said everything is at is should be. Then he signed my permission slip. I now have my doctor's permission to Babymoon in the Caribbean!!!!! My dad is taking us on a cruise for our Christmas present! How awesome, right? We leave for Florida in 3 days!

I started to feel a little insecure when I was trying on my summer clothes. My "bump" isn't really distinguishable yet as a baby bump and it kind of just looks like I'm fatter than usual. I've also put a little onto my hips. My pre-pregnancy summer clothes still fit me but they look different on me because I have a different shape now and I don't feel like this shape is very flattering at the moment. I'm also WHITE! Obviously a pregnant chick can't go to a tanning booth and I read that self-tanners can turn out the wrong color because my hormones are out of control. My hair is a dull shade of brown with a little gray since I can't dye it and my face has that blotchy pregnant skin and I'm just yucky. So I worried about my gross, fat, white, dull, blotchy self for like 10 minutes and then I realized I was acting like a Fertile Ho and I snapped out of my whine-fest. I'm going to be in the Caribbean for 6 days! Who cares what I look like? Sheesh!

Because this will be the last relaxing vacation I get to take in probably 18 or so years, I am determined to make the best of it. I looked at the weather and saw that it is supposed to rain while we're in Grand Cayman and I said, "Yay! That means the beach will be less crowded!" Seriously, I'm going to love every minute of it no matter how bland the food is or how unfunny the cruise director is - I promise. The only thing that will dampen my spirit is if the ship sinks or tips over or catches on fire or gets shot at by pirates....ok i better stop before I freak myself (and my mom) out.

Things sure are different with a baby on the way, though. For my last cruise I bought all new outfits for both day and night including shoes and jewelry! This time Brian bought a tube of superglue to repair a few pairs of shoes with broken straps. Last time I cruised I paid $75 + tip for a pedicure in the ship's spa. This time I spent $2.99 on a bottle of Sally Hanson nail polish and let Brian paint my toenails. But I don't mind it one bit because I'm going to be a mommy!