Friday, May 3, 2013

The Nine Stages of Pregnancy

In honor of today's status as "Official Due Date," I thought I would take the opportunity to share what I have discovered as the stages of my pregnancy journey.

1. Suspicion: Call it an instinct or a hunch, but before I ever took a pregnancy test, I just had a feeling that something was going on in there, and it wasn't just indigestion. Not wanting to jinx it, I still waited a bit before confirming my intuition, leading to...

2. Excitement/Fear/Excitement/Fear/Excitement: A native Missourian (the Show-Me State), I often have to see things in order to believe them. When that blue plus sign revealed itself not once, but twice, I knew our lives were about to change. I remember crying tears of joy, which were immediately followed by some freak-out-holy-crap revelations. Apparently the pregnancy hormones had begun to kick in already.

3. Secrecy: Despite the fear/excitement cycle I found myself in, I knew I wasn't ready to share the big news with anyone but Jon (because he was actually out of town when I found out yet still managed to thwart the awesome way I had planned to tell him...which is another story). Getting pregnant and ending up with a healthy baby 9-10 months later is not the guarantee movies make it out to be, so I certainly wanted to play my cards close. Plus, it was fun to carry around that little secret (pun intended) until the time was right for the big reveal.

4. Sharing: When we passed through the initial danger zone and heard Baby's heartbeat for the first time, we decided to share the news with family and then friends. While we did figure out some creative ways to inform people that they would be grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc., we mostly went for the direct approach. I pride myself on maintaining correspondence with faraway friends, but I'm not the best phone person, so when I call out of the blue after several months, it's pretty obvious that there is some big news. Why beat around the bush?

5. Fat or Pregnant?: Anyone with an ounce of tact knows never, ever to ask a woman about her pregnancy unless 100% sure she is indeed pregnant. However, it is weird to be on the other side of this quandary. There were definitely days that I couldn't button my pants and wanted to let perfect strangers know that I was growing human life and not a food baby. Once I officially started wearing maternity clothes, however, all bets were off. In fact, I walked into class one day only to have an outspoken college freshman proclaim, "I knew you was [sic] pregnant!" (keep in mind that I teach developmental writing), which then prompted another student to announce that he thought my "stomach was getting bigger."

6. Overwhelmed: Once the initial excitement of the "baby bump" became routine, reality set in. We are going to be responsible for a real, live human being. We will have to feed said small person, as well as clothe, bathe, diaper, and transport him/her. Of course, the most important part will be loving and caring for/about Baby, but that doesn't mean all of the practical things go away. The to-do lists began to grow and the trips to the baby store grew exponentially. Who knew that such a tiny person could need so much stuff?!?

7. Celebrity: Now that Baby is just about as big as s/he will get (although not the 18 pounds my little brother predicts), and I sometimes feel like I'm wearing a circus tent (I jest--I really do enjoy the fact that my spoon shape has "blossomed" into a ladle), I have become somewhat of a celebrity to friends, acquaintances, and even perfect strangers. I don't mind when people randomly comment on my size, not even the little old lady at church who flat-out told me that I had gotten fat since the last time I'd seen her. I know I won't always view these comments as cute, so I'm trying to embrace them now. We are also enjoying the way that people can't help themselves from predicting the gender of the baby, especially when they scrutinize me as if I'm a crystal ball or something.

8. Waiting: We are just now entering this stage, and so far, it hasn't been so bad. We are planners, however, so it's a little tough not knowing exactly when Baby will make his/her triumphant entry into this world. We do know that Baby will arrive when Baby arrives, so in the meantime, we've been trying to keep ourselves occupied. I'm a natural "nester" who loves to organize, so I've been doing that for a while now, but beyond that, we've done lots of reading, eating out, and general relaxing that won't be quite so easy once Baby shows up.

9. ???: Obviously, I can't comment on labor and delivery yet, since I have no clue what that experience will entail. Despite the books I've read and the videos I've watched, I won't know until I experience it, so please wish us luck in that department, and more importantly, pray for a healthy baby!

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