I’ve endured only pregnancies from hell. Not the run-of-the-mill variety either, involving scary pre-eclampsia or placenta previa, but rather, pregnancies that have left doctors befuddled while I became best friends with the porcelain thrones in my home. With my pregnancies, nurses took my blood on a weekly basis to monitor the function of various organs, and my OB/GYN’s assistant would regularly call me with the test results, always the bearer of only bad news. I was admitted to the obstetrical high-risk in-patient unit more times than my OB/GYN, my husband, my family, and I would’ve liked during both of my pregnancies. But I’m grateful that I walked away from both experiences with my life and my organs intact, and with a healthy baby in my arms each time.
But while having a baby is the end goal, watching my body betray me while playing alien host, I came to feel that I was owed something a bit better than a purple star or medal of honor for having lived in the trenches. I wanted a push present. No, I deserved a push present.
A push present is defined as a gift from a spouse to the one who’s pregnant and gives birth. There is no price tag associated with a push present–it can be as inexpensive as the candied diamond ring inside of a Cracker Jack box, or as costly as a canary diamond pendant necklace. Cost may matter for some, but ultimately it’s the thought that counts. If a woman doesn’t believe in receiving a push present that’s her right, just as it is another woman’s right to believe that having a baby should come with one. The push present is the gift that keeps on giving, and ultimately becomes a family heirloom that is bequeathed to the child for whose birth it recognized. Read the rest of this entry →
My husband and I got married young and couldn’t wait to become parents. We both come from families with two children, a boy and a girl. We assumed that we would have two children, and of course, we’d get one of each.
We were elated when our first son was born. He was the first grandchild on both sides. He hung the moon.
I was pretty surprised when we got pregnant two years later with, what turned out to be, another boy. He was born just before my older son’s 3rd birthday. We were all nuts about him. Read the rest of this entry →
A paper published recently in a social science journal explored the correlation between intelligence and childlessness and determined, “One standard-deviation increase in childhood general intelligence (15 IQ points) decreases a woman’s odds of parenthood by 21–25 percent. Because women have a greater impact on the average intelligence of future generations, the dysgenic fertility among women is predicted to lead to a decline in the average intelligence of the population in advanced industrial nations.”
If you’ve been on the internet recently, you may have noticed a video going around about a couple announcing they are expecting by way of the new “Share a Coke” campaign. In case no one has posted it to your Facebook page, you can watch it here:
I had a lot of ideas about what kind of pregnant lady I’d be (cute, active, not too huge); what kind of birth I’d have (natural, empowering); and what kind of mom I would be (cute, active, not too emotional). Read the rest of this entry →
With this pregnancy, as with my first, I’ve found that there is no need to wonder what strangers are thinking. They regularly share their thoughts unprompted, those thoughts are often rather strange, and they are typically about three things: size, gender, and timing.
1. My Size. When I was about 6 months pregnant, I attended a dinner. A stranger approached and announced, “You’re pregnant!”
“Yes,” I responded.
She asked how far along I was and then informed me, “You look too big for six-months.”
“Well,” I explained, “I’m very small, so the baby only has outward to go.”
There’s a reason I look like a three-sided plus-sign (again), and comments about my being “too big” are both rude and false.
2. Dreaming of Boys. Opinionated Washingtonians have consistently insisted that I must be carrying a boy. According to a woman who saw me this winter, my gaining weight only in my belly, rather than all over my body, was the give-away. My body must like head-faking, because several sonograms have confirmed that Matzah Ball (our nickname for my baby-to-be) is indeed a girl. Read the rest of this entry →
This week, a dear old friend came to visit. We haven’t seen each other for a long time, but we seem to be on the same mama schedule–we both have 2-year-olds and are pregnant again.
We sat outside drinking iced tea, talking about birth and motherhood and the 15 years since we met. We talked about how confident, driven, and maybe a little entitled we both were in our early 20s. How much has changed since then. And how much of what we’ve learned, we’ve learned from our kids.
Both committed to a natural birth, we ended up with C-sections. Both committed to exclusively breastfeeding our babies, we ended up with serious nursing problems that made that goal physically impossible. And we’d both carved out wonderful and unusual careers that grew out of our passion for our work, involving tons of travel, and have turned out to require some major re-adjustment–especially as we head into two-young-kids territory. Read the rest of this entry →
Pregnancy is a great divide. My mothering life bears little resemblance to my pre-pregnancy life. But my second go-round is reshaping my thoughts about pregnancy. Being pregnant while parenting a toddler is so much harder. Now wiser, I offer 10 of my own second pregnancy lessons:
1. Hello, Exhaustion. When I was pregnant with Lila three years ago, I slept nine hours nightly. For the first time since kindergarten, I was also eager to nap. And nap I did. If I was tired and didn’t have anywhere to be, I indulged. No such luck now. I’m learning what tired really means. Even though this has been an easier pregnancy, I’m still tired and all-over achy. Handling that while chasing an über-energetic preschooler is tough, especially since she’s often awake before I am and is outgrowing her nap. If it weren’t for decaf, I’d be a complete zombie.
2. Less Anxiety. I generally know what to expect where pregnancy is concerned. Sure, I still have periodic questions for my OBGYN, but I don’t need to call all the time like I initially did with Lila. So, whereas an unexpected pain might have scared me last time, now I typically just shrug. Read the rest of this entry →
Two weeks and one day ago, I gave birth to my daughter. It was a pretty amazing experience, all the way up to the point when she was born. Then, while I was luckily distracted by holding my little girl skin-to-skin, I had a postpartum hemorrhage, eventually treated by a Pitocin drip, and some stitches.
With those two surprises on top of the exhausting work of giving birth, I was glad to spend those first two nights in the hospital. Knowing that help getting to the bathroom was just a call button away, that lactation consultants were at our beck and call, and that for a few hours each night a nurse was willing to “borrow” Penrose so my husband and I could get some uninterrupted sleep was precious. Suddenly, in addition to a child and all the accompanying emotion, stress, and responsibility, I also had a “peri care” routine and a drastically lower hemoglobin count to deal with.