36 Weeks

Hallelujah, I made it past 36 weeks and 5 days without having the baby and now we can all breathe a sigh of relief. What was 36 weeks and 5 days, you ask? Some important developmental milestone past which I needed to progress to ensure that Hamish would be born healthy, adore broccoli, and one day deliver the graduation speech at Harvard? Nope, 36 weeks and 5 days was July 4th, otherwise known as Independence Day, otherwise known as Sean's birthday, and I was determined not to have a baby that day because damn it, Sean already has to share his birthday with America, I didn't want him to have to share it with his son as well. 

Also, too much pressure to throw an adorable founding fathers—get it? FATHERS?—party every year, you know? Too many presents to buy. Too many cakes to make. You just stay in there for July 4th, Hamish, and we'll make sure you have your own special day instead. 

(He did, thank goodness, so we took my 36-week picture in front of the old star-spangled banner, which I'd like to think will make a great back cover photo for that presidential memoir he's going to write. Or a pretty strange one if he becomes the prime minister of the UK instead.) (Choices! He has choices!) 

36 weeks has brought with it a wealth of Braxton-Hicks contractions, which I can actually feel that I'm having now—exciting!—and which tend to come about if I do anything even vaguely strenuous, like sweep the backyard, meaning I have to keep reminding myself not to do such strenuous things, which is tricky because otherwise I feel pretty much fine. Well, pretty much fine apart from this debilitating nighttime back pain, of course, which still hasn't got much better, despite the various wedges and pillows I've thrown at it, and despite the fact that I went to see a chiropractor last week, which was its own special experience, because wow, I did not know a chiropractor visit would be like that. Have you been to the chiropractor? I feel like somebody needs to tell you what it's like to go to the chiropractor before you go to the chiropractor, man—like, maybe there should be government-sponsored PSAs about it or something—because, well, it is kind of.....intense. Kind of....physical. Kind of.....wow, there is a strange man practically lying on top of me and I only just met him five minutes ago.

I suppose I thought going to the chiropractor would be like a souped-up deep tissue massage, but it is actually not like that at all. It's more like physical therapy, I guess, or maybe some intense partner-assisted yoga, or maybe a really rousing game of Twister with a few of your joints clicking for good measure. I'm not sure one session made a huge amount of difference to my nighttime pain, but it was fairly satisfying all the same and I'm hoping to go back a few more times over the next couple of weeks, particularly now that I know what to expect and will be a little better at making polite conversation about the weather with my left leg bent behind my right ear and the chiropractor pushing on my extended calf. 

In other news, last week's shift from June to July became particularly momentous when I realized I was most likely going to have a baby this month and could start telling people my due date was "the 27th," no qualifier, which was fairly weird. My amazing co-workers also threw me a baby shower at work, where it became pretty much guaranteed that no-one is going to stop calling this baby Hamish once he's born and has a different name, so we might as well just christen him that anyway. 

Cutest cupcakes ever? Cutest cupcakes ever.

I am now feeling mostly prepared, gear-wise, for Hamish/Not Hamish's impending arrival—thank you all so much for your diaper advice, by the way; I bought one package of the newborn size and plan to raid the hospital room before my departure, then order whatever we need from diapers.com or Amazon Mom as soon as we get home—and only have a few minor things to do in the nursery before I can officially call it done.

In all other areas, however—i.e.: emotional—I am not nearly as prepared and am finding it increasingly hard to wrap my head around the fact that in a few short weeks, I will be somebody's mother. Forever. Which, yes, I realize is sort of what I've been saying ad nauseam for the last 36 weeks—I know, I know, my incredulity at impending parenthood is probably wearing thin; WE GET IT, HOLLY, YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A BABY AND IT FEELS WEIRD—but it seems to be even more mindblowing the closer we get, when you'd think it would actually start to be less surreal. Is that normal, do you think? To be anxious because your entire life is about to change in ways you can't even fully comprehend yet? I hope it's normal, and in fact I hope it just means that I get that my life is about to change in ways I can't even fully comprehend, because I think it's probably better to be expecting that than to be caught completely off guard. 

But still. There's so much to worry about. Will my labor be okay? Will the baby be okay? Will he walk and talk and teethe and crawl on schedule? What if he doesn't want to sleep or eat? What if he gets some horrible childhood illness? What if he's the only little boy in his class who doesn't get invited to someone's birthday party or he fails an exam he worked hard for or he gets in a car with someone who's been drinking? Sometimes it feels like parenthood is just this vast buffet of worry, with thousands and thousands of different options, and you can just keep choosing whatever you want from it to worry about and it never, ever ends. It never ends. And yet we sign ourselves up for it, don't we, from the moment we first decide it's what we're ready for. So it must be worth it, I guess. Something must really make it worth it. 

Jul 07, 2013

We (and all our family and friends) called our son Rufus in utero, and I'll admit, for the first few days after he was born, I struggled to think of him as William, but I eventually came around!

A vast buffet of worry - a perfect description. But yes, so so worth it.

Jul 08, 2013

Yes, dear, it is normal! The one piece of advice I'd give to every expectant mother: go easy on yourself on those first months. It is normal to have doubts, to break down, to miss your old life, to think you suck at this parenthood thing.
Before having my child, all I read were accounts of mothers falling in love with their children at first sight and finding instant happiness when holding their infant. It wasn't like that for me --at all. Sure, I found my infant son impossibly cute and was ridiculously protective of him, but (this is difficult to admit even now, over a year later) I also hated those first weeks of no sleep and being constantly chained to him on the couch (we had feeding issues; he wanted to nurse non stop). I resented his neediness. And then it all got better: he started sleeping and went two, sometimes three hours between feedings. I got some time to breathe. We all slowly found our place and today I'm so proud and happy to be the mom of that little boy.
Also, the worries: they never go away but they fade on intensity. The first weeks I panicked when leaving my son for more than 20 minutes; now I can go on an overnight trip while he stays with dad and it's not an issue.

Jul 08, 2013

It is totally worth it. My now 3 year-old daughter is the greatest accomplishment of my life, and there are no words to describe the pride and love you feel for them no matter what they do. And now that baby #2 is on the way I get to experience it all over again from the beginning. It is all amazing, even the bad days that we all have from time to time. I wouldn't trade it for a thing.

Jul 08, 2013

Those giraffe cupcakes are sensational, wow!

All the very best of wishes for these last weeks, it's been so cool seeing you progress through it and there are lots of us 'out here' so excited for the arrival of 'Hamish' :)

Jul 08, 2013

I'm nine and a bit weeks in to this motherhood lark and I'm still catching myself thinking 'wow, I'm a mammy' every once in a while. So far it's made every other learning curve I've ever embarked on - degrees, country moves, learning to play the clarinet - look ridiculously easy. But then my clarinet doesn't smile at me when I go to pick it up in the morning. My point being: so far, the love is beating the worry, hands down.

Jul 08, 2013

Cutest. Cupcakes. EVER.

Jul 08, 2013

Motherhood is, in fact, a giant buffet if worry. BUT! But, the silver linings are so very worth it. I think just worrying about doing it right is an indication that you will be just fine. Great luck!

Jul 08, 2013

It's completely normal. My son is 3.5 and I still have moments of, "Wow, I'm somebody's mother forever." I frequently visit the worry buffet. But it's definitely worth it. Can't wait to see Hamish's little face and real name THIS MONTH! :) Also, do we know if there's any law precluding him from becoming BOTH the prime minister of the UK and the president of the US? Because that would be a pretty amazing feat.

Jul 08, 2013

You'll find it is more worth it than anything you've ever done or ever will do. Even Steve Jobs, who I believe has done a few things, said that his kids were the most worth it thing he had ever done. Paraphrasing a little, there.

Jul 08, 2013

Those ARE the cutest cupcakes ever! Love the giraffes :-)

Anna Louisa
Jul 08, 2013

My sister is having her twins tomorrow, and she's still in the "this is too surreal" phase! I trust that at some point (maybe during a night feeding) it finally just hits you :)


Jul 08, 2013

yup to all of this... it didn't feel "real" for me until we walked into our apartment with eliot for the first time and i had a head-smack moment of "jeez... this is my life now!"
add to this the hormonal swings in those first two weeks and whoa... it was intense. but all totally and completely and unwaveringly worth it.
enjoy the ride!

Jul 08, 2013

I have to say, I honestly thought you were going to name him Hamish. It just seems so romantic to have named him before he even existed! Can't wait to meet him - you'll be a wonderful mother!

Jul 08, 2013

Worry will take on new meaning, you'll worry about things you've never even thought about before, let alone worried about before, and you'll hate the news and never want to read or watch it again. You'll ache from your head to your toes over a million things that might cause your son any kind of emotional or physical pain and the first time another kid is mean to him, you'll actually want to cause another child physical harm. (I've dreamed about drop-kicking a kid that was mean to Kyle, not proud but definitely the truth.)

But...well, you'll hear it a million times and you'll soon feel it yourself. Worth it doesn't begin to describe it. Worth it isn't the tip of what you're about to feel.

He'll call you beautiful one day, and it'll be the best thing you've ever heard. It'll be better than all the other compliments you've ever been given combined. It's so worth it.

Jul 08, 2013

The worrying will never stop. And like your first commenter, Mariana, said cut yourself some slack in the first few months. The first year is hard and you may experience some pretty intense hormonal swings so take care of yourself and never doubt that you are the best mother for that little boy.

Jul 08, 2013

"What if...?" Answer: you'll get through it (with fewer injuries than anticipated).

Jul 08, 2013

I agree - it's a buffet of worry that never ends, and it's totally normal, but it's worth it anyway. One of my favorite quotes about parenthood is that it's "deciding forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body".

I remember being terrified when I was discharged from the hospital with my first and it really sank in that I was in charge of a brand new human being. But despite all of the worry and angst and loss of sleep and hormonal craziness, there are moments of joy and love mixed in that make it all worthwhile.

Stephanie S
Jul 08, 2013

What Mariana said. She nailed it.

So excited for you!

Jul 08, 2013

Miriam is two weeks old and there are still frequent moments when I look at her and think "i can't believe she's my kid!" It's been awesome and exhausting and a little overwhelming, but I keep reminding myself that people far less capable make it as parents. you're going to be great!

Jul 08, 2013

I still look at my 14 year old, and wonder how I am that persons mother. Like... I should have acclimated to this by now, surely, but sometimes I still don't really understand how that happened.

Jul 08, 2013

The best advice I've ever gotten re: The Worry is to try not to worry about anything other than the immediate concerns. You can worry about labor and those first few weeks now, but give yourself permission not to stress about how he'll handle his first day of kindergarten until he's almost 5. Whenever I find myself stressing about my 1.5-year-old's teenage years/driving/college/etc., I've found it really helps to remind myself to focus on the here-and-now and put off worrying about all that other stuff until I absolutely have to. Of course, I still worry about all that stuff, but pushing it to the back of my brain to be dealt with later helps keep me from getting completely overwhelmed by it all.

Jul 08, 2013

A worry buffet is a great description but it is also such a love fest and it's the kind of love that you can get no other way. To say that it changes everything is true. So there will be some occasional mourning of your old life, but your new life will be amazing!
There was this show called Duet on a LONG time ago and the main female character's boss was having a baby. She was very type A and when everyone arrived at the hospital for the delivery, no one could find her because she had gone to the gift shop since when she felt out of control she went shopping. She then announced that she was NOT going to have this baby. This was all just too much of an unknown and she was always in control so if she decided not to have this baby then by jove she wouldn't. It was one of the best depictions of the emotional roller coaster involved in bringing a baby into the world.

Jul 08, 2013

I highly recommend a visit to an osteopath if you find the chiropractor too intense!! It did wonders for my pre-pregnancy pain, and also helped align my pelvis and the baby for a very smooth, relatively easy delivery. I am in Canada, but here is a description of what an osteopath can do for you during pregnancy!

Jul 08, 2013

The funny thing about the worry buffet is that you'll be paying more attention the the dessert buffet to notice it. The dessert buffet is filled with all those beautiful and amazing things that little Hamish will be doing day to day. You'll be so consumed by the sweet course that you'll only occasionally look over to the worry buffet.
My daughter is turning two on the 21st. I can honestly say my days with her are like a chocolate cake, but I'll still get up at least once a night to check on her.

Jul 08, 2013

I'm a week behind you, and right there with you on the surreal aspect. The best way I've thought to describe it to people is that it feels like I'm about to move to Japan. I can read all I want about Japanese life, and I know that millions of people have traveled this path already, but I still don't really have any concept about what it's going to feel like when I get there. I just know that life will be very very different, very very soon.

Mrs G
Jul 08, 2013

In the weeks after my son was born, I frequently thought, "when is this kid's mom going to return to pick him up?!?" The idea that I was his mother was mind-boggling at times. Still is, occasionally.

I agree with a previous comment about only worrying about the immediate. Do not make yourself crazy now by worrying about preschool. There are plenty of other things to worry about now! The joy and overwhelming love that your child will bring into your life far, far exceeds the worry that comes with being a parent. It changed every fiber of my being and I rarely miss my old life. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Wishing you all the best!

Jul 08, 2013

It's normal. I think I have apologized to my parents, especially my mother, about a million times because I now get why they worried constantly. Totally worth it all, though.

Lydia Basham
Jul 08, 2013

Yes, those feelings are all completely normal. I'm 25 weeks along with our second and I'm starting to have similar feelings all over again...didn't expect that. I think the worry and self-doubt prepares you for birth and motherhood, in a way, by forcing you to confront your doubts and fears and allowing you to become more vulnerable for the most challenging and selfless period of your life.

I read this article the other day and thought you might appreciate it...it's so hard to be patient but babies come when they're ready, not when we say they're due :). http://voices.yahoo.com/the-lie-edd-why-due-date-isnt-you-1958162.html?c...

Jul 08, 2013

I remember being in the last month of pregnancy, when I suddenly became incredibly anxious after an uncharacteristically zen 8 months, and saying something to the effect of: I can't wait for this baby to come so I can stop worrying. HA!!! The thing to know, as Mariana says, is that you have to be very very kind to yourself about all that scheduling and developmental milestones and OMG I suck as a mama, that inevitably kicks in. This article gets those first 2-3 months better than anything else I ever read: http://m.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/04/before-i-forget-what-nobo...

And my boy is now 9mo and, yes, it is absolutely 100% worth it.

Jul 08, 2013

I've been a mother for over a decade and sometimes still have moments of "whoa, I'm someone's MOTHER?!" Parenthood is definitely a worry buffet but totally worth it - even to someone like me, who wasn't sure she even wanted kids.

Jul 09, 2013

As the mother of a soon-to-be 25 year old daughter (now living in NYC and making us proud), my advice is to enjoy yourself and pay attention . . . it all goes by SO fast. You'll do the very best you can and that will be perfect.

Jul 09, 2013

Yes, it is a vast buffet of worry. I'm coming on the other side of 3 months now, and you know what made it worth it? When she smiles at me when I come into the room. All the sleepless nights and worry and frustration just melted away.

Just take it one day at a time, and try not to worry about too many 'what if's?' And as others have said, go easy on yourself after the baby comes :)

Jul 09, 2013

For serious, I have the THREE children and I am still often overcome with the vast responsibility of the whole thing. But all you need to remember is that you and Sean are very smart, very normal people and no matter what life throws at you, you will make sure Hamish gets through it and you will also get through it too. You are the perfect parents for him.

It is hard to raise a Prime Minister, but I am sure that just exactly the right amount of early bedtimes/time-outs that are appropriate to get him to that high office will come to you in the moment.

Jul 09, 2013

It's so true, and it gets you to a fundamental truth about life, which is that nothing great comes without risk. IMHO there's nothing greater than being the one who that adorable little kid runs to and clings to as if his/her life depended on it. But of course you have to put your heart and your happiness permanently on the line in exchange.

Jul 10, 2013

I can't believe I forgot to tell you about the importance of brain-washing your child before birth! I did this with my first. "You will arrive quickly--no long labour for Mum," I told him over and over in a soothing voice. "You will be a good sleeper and will sleep through the night by 2 months. You won't rebel as a teen." He's 18 now (well in 2 days) and he did ALL of those things! It totally works. Get going now!

Also, I well remember when he was a few hours old and I was left alone with him for the first time. My husband was gone (I think I'd sent him for coffee) and the nurses were gone and it was quiet. I remember saying out loud "Mother" and the word feeling so strange in my mouth. It's an enormous adjustment and takes a while to get over. This is right and good, I think.

Jul 10, 2013

Not only do you have to name him Hamish, you have to add "Mac" to his last name - so it will be Hamish Burns MacSlinsky. Or is it Hamish Slinsky MacBurns? Either way, he also has to wear a kilt to preschool. And high school graduation. And his wedding. 8-)

Jul 10, 2013

Oh my gosh, are those Sibby's Cupcakes? They look like Sibby's. I had Sibby's at my baby shower, and I ate a LOT of them. And then went through the extras that got sent home with me embarrassingly quickly. As in, I might have eaten the entire dozen within 24 hours. But they were SOOOOOOO good. And pregnant me is not so good at the moderation.

Jul 11, 2013

I remember all those worries when I was pregnant. I wish I could say they go away, but they don't. You'll worry for Hamish his whole life, every step of the way. But when he hits those milestones and does these amazing things as he grows,and he will, you'll feel the amazing pride and happiness that being a parent brings. It balances out all the worries and then some.

Jul 11, 2013

Worth it. *So* worth it, even if your kid is being a stinker and won't sleep or put away his toys or remember to say please and thank you. Still worth it.

Jul 11, 2013

I am going to go completely off topic and ask you what is the brand/color lipstick you are wearing? I love the color!

Nothing But Bonfires
Jul 11, 2013

Tiffany: Thanks! It's the Cover Girl Lipslick in Daring which I have written about before here: http://nothingbutbonfires.com/best-thing-ever/cover-girl-lipslick-in-daring. And I think I probably layered it a little with this other one, called Revlon Just Bitten Lip Stain (in Smitten): http://www.drugstore.com/revlon-just-bitten-kissable-balm-stain-smitten/.... It keeps the color lasting longer if you combine both!

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