33 Weeks

Exciting new things in this picture: Fence, grass seedlings, manicure. 

33 weeks must be the "feeling all the feelings" portion of pregnancy, at least if all the feelings I've been feeling this week are any indication. The main feeling I've been feeling, unfortunately, is oh my god, I'm going to be a terrible mother, which stems from the fact that over the weekend—when Sean was away in Seattle with his brother, watching something like 74 baseball games in a three-day period, which I enouraged eagerly because dude, ENJOY THAT LAST HURRAH—I managed to:

* Paint a piece of furniture with what I didn't realize—until I started to get just a wee bit light-headed—was oil-based paint, causing me to spend most of Saturday googling things like "oil-based paint + birth defects" and "oil-based paint have I harmed my baby" and "effects of fumes from oil-based paint + 33 weeks pregnant," until I got myself into such a state about it that I couldn't even google anymore. (I was only painting for about 20 minutes, in the garage with the door wide open, wearing a mask and gloves, so chances are it's probably going to be fine, but still.) 

* Accidentally scoop the cat litter without even thinking about it—I don't even know why I did this, it's not like I was ever a paragon of kitty-litter-changing before I got pregnant—causing me to spend most of Sunday googling things like "scooped kitty litter do I have toxoplasmosis?" and "33 weeks pregnant + cat poop + toxoplasmosis" until it got to the point where I couldn't even look at my poor cat anymore without assuming she'd ruined any chance Hamish might have of a normal, toxoplasmosis-free life. 

* Totally put my back out doing what I thought was light gardening—a little planting, a little weeding, a little mulching—but which was apparently too much physical activity for my poor off-balance body, a fact it made me screamingly aware of for most of Sunday and all of Monday. (I also convinced myself that if I hadn't got toxoplasmosis from the kitty litter, I'd probably got it from contaminated soil, so that was a party.)

And all of this culminated, on Sunday night, in a sense of general regret that I hadn't been "better" during this pregnancy—by, I don't know, eating only sustainably-farmed kale and drinking organic rainwater distilled from the tears of Benedectine monks who all had excellent relationships with their mothers—and I found myself wailing to Sean that I wished I could go back to the beginning and do it "properly," by which I guess I meant not going to Chipotle so often and oh, it was so silly, but that's how I felt. And then a few days later, we went to a newborn parenting class with little fake dolls that we had to diaper and hold and swaddle and honestly, swear to god, I was so bad at diapering and swaddling and even holding—I WAS BAD AT HOLDING A BABY—that I just thought oh my god, what am I even DOING thinking I can be someone's mother, and yeah, it's been a real riot to be around me for the past week, I can tell you that. 

I think I've come through the worst of it now, helped by a) the toxoplasmosis test my doctor agreed to let me take on the condition that it would "ease my mind," b) frequent reminders to myself that hey, look, I'm eating a salad! I'm drinking a shitload of water! I'm buying an organic apple! Maybe I'm not the monstrous ogre of a mother I thought I was!, and c) the comfort that at least Sean was paying attention in the swaddling part of the class. Sean was actually really good at the swaddling part of the class, funnily enough, which even makes me feel better about all those visits to Chipotle. Clearly watching that many burritos get wrapped had some sort of influence. 

Jun 13, 2013

The best advice I was ever given is that babies are built to last and it's actually quite hard to break them! It's much easier to put a nappy on a real baby compared to a doll... Babies bend.

Jun 14, 2013

You're going to be a wonderful mother! The fact you're even worried about those things shows how thoughtful and kind you are, and you're great at seeing the funny side of things which is a very useful parenting skill.

Also your parents sound amazing so you've got the perfect example to follow.

I remember a programme on TV here (UK) featuring a young pregnant woman complaining that the baby had started kicking so hard it was knocking the ashtray off her stomach...

Pretzel Thief
Jun 14, 2013

Heheheheh. (All that googling and your hilaaaare description thereof!)

Oh, Holly!

What Becky said. All of it.

But seriously, girl, you will be a wonderful mama, no doubt about it. You're fantabulous (and THEN some), and I agree with Becky saying that if you weren't kind and thoughtful you wouldn't be thinking about these things in the first place.

Onward and upward!

Jun 14, 2013

Lady year, right about this time, I took a pregnancy test that turned up negative. I then gave blood, dyed my hair, got a massage, painted a room, ate lunchmeat, and drank a million glasses of sangria in a week. Naturally, I was still late a week later and took another pregnancy test. It was of course positive.

I googled the entire pregnancy, terrified.

My little girl is 5 months old and the picture of smiley good health. It will be ok.

Jun 14, 2013

one word - Nesting.

Jun 14, 2013

I'm 31 weeks pregnant, and we were totally awful at the baby care class, too. :P Couldn't hold the baby correctly, terrible at swaddling, etc.

Jun 14, 2013

Aah, the feelings. All of them. All at once.

Mine resulted in crying over a bowl of spaghetti sauce that was not 'red' enough. Because feelings are taking up all the room where logic used to live.

Thankfully, it passes. Probably because the feelings that replaced logic, are then replaced themselves by exhaustion and awe.

It's an equally strange but much more pleasant state of being.

Jun 14, 2013

Dear Holly,

You don't need to know how to swaddle if you have these:


They were lifesavers at 3 am after the third dirty diaper of the night.

Jun 14, 2013

Isn't it funny how men don't experience any of this stuff?

My biggest concern right now is that the last two days have been hot and my 39.5 week pregnant feet and ankles are merging into one swollen mass. I keep asking Jon to tell me if my hands or face start to look puffy since that's a sign of per-eclampsia and well, we all know what happened with Sybil! :)

Jun 14, 2013

I know how you feel. I STILL, four years later, feel bad about the caffeinated soda I drank before I found out I was pregnant. As for holding a baby, you'll be instantly good at it, and you'll be diapering like a pro by the end of a week, at most. And anyway, a bad diapering job just results in more clean-up for you. It probably makes the baby more comfortable, actually. :)

Jun 14, 2013

I did the SAME THING with paint. I LIGHTLY SANDED a wall, wearing a mask. And a minute later convinced myself that I had given my child lead poisoning.

The thing with the cat poop is, that you have to somehow touch it and then ingest it. Want to know how I know that? Because I had the same incident. But I was 8 weeks pregnant and no one else could empty the box because my husband was in Holland. I wore disposable gloves, and scrubbed like a surgeon afterwards.

These will become fuzzy distant memories in oh, 6 weeks or so. :) You will be great.

Jun 14, 2013

You're going to be a fantastic mother but the bummer about all of this is that it's only going to get worse when you have an actual baby. Everything you read contradicts what you read yesterday so there's a lot of second-guessing. Just remind yourself, the baby's healthy and happy and that's all that counts. Also, my husband was our resident swaddled. I could never get it tight enough. Many a night in those early days I had to wake him to help swaddle after a middle-of-the-night nursing session.


You will be a wonderful mother. Know why? Because you care. Hamish and you will be very lucky to have each other.

(P.S. My friend just had her second, which we'd called "Rocky" up until the point of his birth. We didn't even know it was going be a boy, but I'll tell you what - it's HARD to call him by his real name, now. So don't beat yourself up when you call him Hamish a couple of times after he's born.) ;)

Jun 14, 2013

A plastic baby doesn't bend. A real baby is quite squishy and will let you know if it is not comfortable. Also, each baby is different so what they taught you is a general guideline. Child one hated to be swaddled or face inward when I held him. Child two would still like to be swaddled. He is going to be 8 next month.

Jun 14, 2013

My husband was much better at swaddling baby #1 than I was. His swaddles were tighter and held better (and baby #1 was and is totally fine). I got over that by baby #2.

As for the rest, ease up on yourself. A relaxed and happy mother is good for the baby (and for you).

Jun 14, 2013

My husband has the same fears. He's a gentle giant and petrified he'll drop our baby (due in 3 weeks so his fears are a little amplified at the moment).

I'm going to be terribly un-pc with my reassurance of him, and hopefully you.

If an uneducated drug addict can manage to raise a thriving child (or 6) then so can an educated, sensible person. It isn't rocket science.

Now the more pc slant: I was 19 when my first daughter was born and she is wonderful (if I do say so myself). If *I* could muddle my way through that boat-load of crap with NO CLUE how to raise a child, and no idea anything like toxoplasmosis even existed, I'm more than sure you can. ;)

Since my "pep talk" my husband has decided he's much smarter than I an he'll be just fine. Now he's worried about how I'll do with this second baby. lol

Jun 14, 2013

I also suck at swaddling. I am really comically bad at it. So I bought Woombies and THERE, problem solved. At least my poor children have a mother who can work Amazon.

;) You're going to be a great mom. Nesting panic and All The Feelings are both terrible and I hope they pass soon for you.

Jun 14, 2013

Called my OB on a Friday afternoon convinced I'd given my baby neural defects thanks to taking too much vitamin B6 (for morning sickness). Yeahhhh.........

At our infant CPR class (which incidentally I had the baby 8 hours after...) one of the grandparents in attendance spanked the baby doll's bum when practicing how to help a choking baby. The technique was to smack the baby between the shoulder blades.

Jun 14, 2013

You'll be a great mother, Holly! At least I know I want to be your child!

Jun 14, 2013

Believe me -- BELIEVE ME -- you'll be fine. According to our nurse, "They find babies in dumpsters all the time and they turn out FINE."

Most women (myself included) have this exact same freak out at some point in the pregnancy. I had at least three. You're doing great. I promise.

Jun 14, 2013

You are 33 weeks pregnant so it is natural to be anxious about this rapidly approaching future. Also completely understandable why the focus is on the relatively small stuff. However because reducing anxiety can also feel refreshing on the mind and body, I shall offer the following pieces of advice as a mother and a certified mental health professional (family therapist):

1. Children are resilient. They are actually quite hard to break. I cannot recommend strongly enough that you watch immediately the films called Babies, which is a documentary-style film following the lives of four babies in four different places (San Francisco, Namibia, Japan and Mongolia). Every time I would start to get too freaked out I would watch this video (particularly the germ rich existence of the Mongolian and Namibian baby, which they navigate by bursting with health) and begin to relax.

2. Swaddling etc are all acquired skills. When my first child was born it took me and my husband to change any outfit or diaper because we felt that shaky and paranoid. Needless to say by the time the second one was born we could breeze through the thing.

3. Babyhood is a blip. You are allowed to not enjoy it. I know many good mothers (myself included) who aren't their best with babies. I did my best and kept the babies alive just fine but didn't really feel that I came into my own, parenting-wise until my kids were 18 months plus. Neither of them were harmed by that experience. Things don't need to be perfect to be good enough.

4. I have seen hundreds of families and what differentiates the actual bad parents are the following characteristics:
A) being 'mememememe' at all times and not seeing their kids needs at all. Majority of responses to their children's thought and needs are with aggression, rejection, humiliation and criticism.
B) not being willing or able to adapt, learn or change.

The rest of it: who drank a glass of wine while pregnant, who swaddled or not, who co-slept or not, who breastfed or not, who ate unpasteurised cheese or not, who ironed things or not, to echo Caitlin Moran I have literally no shits to give.

Whether things start easy or rough, they get better. Whether motherhood is an easy fit or not, a lot of it is experience and acquired skill. For me and many others it was a very steep learning curve. This does not make bad parents, simply ones who are enriched by experience.

The baby is okay. What you don't know you will learn by doing and trying and seeking help from books and people and instructional YouTube videos if you get stuck. And everything will be all right.

I wish you all the good things.

Jun 14, 2013

When your "feeling all the feelings" just remember that your mom keeps egg salad sandwiches in her handbag for when your feeling peckish.
Now is just the start of feelings and feeling the feelings and so on. It's because you care, you have unconditional love, you are a mother, Holly. There will be times in little Hamish's life when you're going to ask yourself am I doing this right? But always know that you are, even when you do make a mistake. Mistakes will be made, unfortunately. That unconditional love, the caring in your heart will always lead you exactly where you need to go in motherhood.
I guess what I'm saying is, motherhood is like an egg salad sandwich (that you'll keep in your purse when a grown up Hamish is feeling a bit peckish).

Jun 14, 2013

Just breathe little mama........You are going to be a wonderful mother!!!

Jenn Amano
Jun 14, 2013

I had NO idea how to diaper a baby. Which, inconveniently, I realized when my newborn needed a new one and the nurse looked at me expectantly. Oopsie!

That little newborn is 1.25 years old now! And I'm happy to report that I've changed a few diapers successfully. :)

You'll do great because you care. And laughing along the way helps a ton!

Jun 14, 2013

You're going to be awesome. The learning curve is sharp, and so are you. :)

Jun 14, 2013

Am 17 weeks pregnant with my third, the liberation of subsequent pregnancy's is that you realise babies are really robust and there's actually very little you can do to them - case in point, my 3 month old ROLLED OFF MY BED and I banged my son's head into a door UPON LEAVING THE HOSPITAL.
2. A friend pointed out that men would never ever put up with the amount of pressure, guilt inducing messages about how to do pregnancy "properly". So true.
3. Hormones are incredibly powerful, its not you talking, its the hormones.
4. There are a million standards we could hold ourselves to as mothers, but at some point you have to....stop it. Just stop it.
5. Men are always, ALWAYS better at swaddling. No idea what that's about, but I've seen it over and over again.

Jun 14, 2013

The fact that you're even worried about the toxoplasmosis and paint shows that you're going to be a great mother. Late on in pregnancy I accidentally ate a pasta dish containing gorgonzola and spent the last four weeks freaking out every time my little boy stopped moving for more than 2 minutes, so you're not alone!

Little Hamish will be fine - the painting thing is more important during the first trimester when everything is growing and being made. That little boy of yours is just piling on the pounds now!

Not long to go, I'm very excited for you :)

Saucepan Man
Jun 15, 2013

What very kind blog-pals you have, Holly...

Special mention for April (no 21)though.

Jun 15, 2013

I am expecting my fifth child and have never swaddled a single one. You will be fine.

Jun 16, 2013

Two things. First, I can totally relieve you of your Sunday night worries. Because if those Benedictine monks had such great relationships with their mothers, they wouldn't have cried any tears, thus making it physically impossible for you to drink said tears. You're off the hook!

Second, you will soon be laughing about the burrito wrapping comment. I'm not going to tell you why. You'll know soon. 8-)

Jun 16, 2013

My son actually did not like being swaddled, contrary to everything written and said out there! People would say, "oh, it just needs to be TIGHTER" or, "Just wait a while", but he ALWAYS hated it, kicking and kicking until he was free from the swaddle. One day we realized that he just likes to have his legs and body free. So, we let him be free and he was SO content and slept so well afterward. We finally let him be how he wanted to be.

Also, I was never good at holding him at first, but one day I found a way to hold him that seemed right for both of us. Whenever I tried to hold other babies, though, they totally cried. You will find a technique that works Holly - no worries, it will all work out.

Jun 16, 2013

Oh Holly! Hugs to you, I've been there! Pregnancy brain: that shit's for real. A few more things to ease your mind: 1) I had never changed a diaper before changing my son's (and we didn't take the parenting class!), and a few days in I was a pro. It's not rocket science, but it helped for us to do it together for the first few days, just made it seem less intimidating! 2) Let Sean be awesome at swaddling. My husband is better than I am at it (and our son loves it, it's what lets him sleep through the night at this 3 month stage) and it's nice to have him have something to be great at, especially in the early days when you're doing the heavy lifting of breastfeeding and most of the night waking. And lastly, 3) you will be a great mom. The fact that you are so concerned about all of this stuff shows it. You know what crappy moms do? They don't spend hours worrying about not eating enough organic produce :) We're all just doing our best here and that's all anyone can ask.

Jun 16, 2013

You should see the stuff my younger child has put in her mouth (including, on less disgusting side, the occasional sip of a beer or cocktail someone has left within reach at a party--damn parents who serve booze at kids' parties!). Of course I feel guilty, but she is lightning fast and relentless. Parenthood is all about letting go of preconceptions about what's healthy or normal, even when they are perfectly reasonable preconceptions.

Jun 17, 2013

If burrito-wrapping equals adept-at-swaddling then my husband will be wonderful at it when we decide to have children.

funny story about swaddling: when my mother was pregnant with my sister, three-year-old-me was better than the other kids in the "I'm an older sibling!" class the hospital offered. I was great at diapering a baby doll and swaddling a baby doll, but wasn't so great at diapering my teeny sister. Because she wasn't a doll. The things they don't tell you!

Anna Louisa
Jun 17, 2013

..."drinking organic rainwater distilled from the tears of Benedectine monks who all had excellent relationships with their mothers"

You need to write a book. The world needs more of these lines that make us choke on orange juice while at our desks.


Jun 17, 2013

I'm sure other people have said this, but it will all come to you, and very naturally. You'll know how to hold Hamish, you'll know just exactly how he likes to be comforted, you'll know how to diaper him and swaddle him and clothe him. It just... happens. I don't know how to explain it, and I say this as the most unnatural of baby-holders before I had my own. I thought I'd break Henry, I thought I'd never know how to comfort him or make him stop crying or, or, or (the list goes on and on, I assure you). And then, somehow, I did. We did. Something clicks when the baby is yours and it just works. That's not to say that it's never hard or that there won't be difficult times (for those times I highly, highly recommend you read 'The Wonder Weeks'), but you make it work. You'll be great.

Megan @ Mama Bub
Jun 17, 2013

Here's some really awesome news. That feeling doesn't really go away once the baby arrives in tact. I mean, the really great thing about parenting is that we're given an infinite number of opportunities to remind ourselves that we are not as awesome as we once were. It's such a magical time in life.

HOWEVER, the actual good news is that most people with cats are immune to their own cats toxoplasmosis. Or, they have it already and can't get it again? Or something. Mostly that scooping your own cat's litter isn't the huge problem that it has been suggested to be. That said, there's no reason to tell Sean about this, since the (rather small) threat of danger is an excellent reason to not have to scoop the litter box.

Jun 17, 2013

A couple things:
1. Some of the best advice to a new parent I've ever heard was, “All you have to do right now is love him, feed him and change him. And when you think you’re not meeting expectations, try and realize the only expectations are your own. He’s brand new and totally nonjudgmental. He loves you.”
2. Not to send you on another search for info, please resist :) - but the stress being passed to baby by worrying about hypothetical harm (which is so common during pregnancy, particularly the first time)is most likely far more affecting than any of the longshot "oh shoot, shouldn't have done that" things you mentioned. Outside of diagnosed conditions, stress of the gestating mom is the most common fetal interfer-er. The best anyone can do is stay informed (to avoid issues) and stay calm (regardless of anything else). That has been proven to have the best outcomes for both mom and baby.
p.s. In case it's of help, toxoplasmosis is actually most commonly transmitted via outside gardening (of which millions of people partake in each year and are a-okay) :)

Jun 17, 2013

I am a big fan of the swaddle and both of my kids were Adain and Anais swaddle babies (who now sleep with those blankets as comfort items - AWW!) but had I known Woombie (woombie.com) existed, I would have totally purchased a few for the kids b/c swaddling + 3a = too much work. They even have ones with leg outlets (GENIUS!) for when baby is buckled into a swing or bouncer.

Jun 17, 2013

Ohhh, how I've been there (my first child is now days away from being 5-months old). Google is both a blessing and a curse at the same time. I would Google tons of things pre and post-pregnancy, convinced that me or my son (or both!) were being harmed somehow.

When it comes to swaddling, I just gave up with using swaddle blankets (I just use them as actual blankets or nursing covers, or for burping) and decided that the SwaddleMe blankets (with velcro) were the way to go. There's also something called a Woombie that I found out about just in time for us to consider weaning our son of the swaddle. Boo!

Jun 18, 2013

Holly--you will know EXACTLY how to hold your baby. You created little Hamish and your instincts will guide you. You'll be shocked how much those mothering characteristics kick in once he's in your arms. Hang in there!! :)

Julie / Bound
Jun 18, 2013

You're going to be so great, Holly! Who cares about swaddling, and if Sean can do it, there you go! Everything you need to be a wonderful mother, you have in spades.

Jun 18, 2013

Oh gosh it's nice to know I'm not alone. It's the hormones. It has to be. Am just on the cusp of 33 weeks and on the weekend, I went postal. Like 'what if I don't love my baby' complete nuttiness, all the tears, all the time postal. A bath. A cup of tea. A walk. All these things are helping. Hoping this week is smoother for you...

Jun 20, 2013

My mother told me before,the most beautiful woman is the mother-to-be ,I hope both of you will have a wonderful life,best wishes~
By the way,if your baby say :I want a toy!~
you can come to our website to se it,thank you~

Jul 12, 2013

The fact that you're even worried about the toxoplasmosis and paint shows that you're going to be a great mother. Late on in pregnancy I accidentally ate a pasta dish containing gorgonzola and spent the last four weeks freaking out every time my little boy stopped moving for more than 2 minutes, so you're not alone!

Little Hamish will be fine - the painting thing is more important during the first trimester when everything is growing and being made. That little boy of yours is just piling on the pounds now!

Not long to go, I'm very excited for you :)

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