Saturday, February 18

The Firstborn, Part 2

When Amy was at her eighth week, my family was in town to see us for a weekend. My sister, Heidi; my niece, Tori; Ma and Pa Vrbas were all here and we were enjoying our roles as hosts for the fam.
We all went shopping on Saturday because...well, that's what we always do when people visit us. I went to Rue 21 with Tori to help her pick out stuff and Amy went to Kohl's with Heidi after hanging out in Rue 21 with us nincumpoops for a while. Plus, she had to use the restroom.
A little while later, my sister returned to Rue 21 and whispered to me that Amy was out at the car because she was bleeding. I raced outside and met Amy at the car. It was locked so she was standing at the door of the car in the department store parking lot in tears.

She had gone to the bathroom and saw the blood, went back out into the store to find my sister and couldn't find her for a while. She was bawling and could hardly see through her tears. Heidi finally spotted her, knew something was wrong and took her outside to find me.
Amy, needless to say, was inconsolable. I felt crushed too, but being Mr. Brightside, I felt hopeful that the blood was nothing at all. We raced home and grabbed all the pregnancy "manuals" to look for information about bleeding. Since it was Saturday, I called our doc, but they couldn't see us until Monday. It was the most nerve-wracking two days of our lives.
Then, as if waiting until Monday wasn't tough enough, we couldn't even get in that morning. We had to wait until the afternoon. As the doctor started the ultrasound, you could literally cut the tension with a knife. Then...a heartbeat.
A month later, though, bleeding again, but this time was different because it was right before the 13th week and we were in the thick of a very stressful situation. My sister's baby girl, one of a set of boy/girl twins, died of SIDS during the night--right before our 12th week.
I cannot even imagine that pain, losing a child. We were almost heartbroken thinking about losing a fetus, so to have a child and lose them to a senseless disease two months later? Unthinkable. Literally unthinkable. I pray we never know that pain as parents.
Anyway, the day after little Maya's funeral, Amy had spotting again. We chalked it up to stress, her usual time o' the month and all that, but we were just bundles of nerves. Do you see what I say about trying to stay un-excited for the first few months? It's a defense mechanism.
We had other scares, including one at Amy's grandparents in Des Moines during Christmas.
So, here we are at Week 21, and what's changed? Well, up to this point, I used my defense mechanism of trying not to get too excited about the baby...just in case.
A couple days ago, though, I felt the baby kick from the outside and everything changed. That, and our good friends, Melissa and Tony had their baby on Valentine's Day. It made it real for me. There is a baby in there, and in June, it'll be here in our house.
Now I'm in Daddy Mode and excited as heck for this to happen. I can barely wait for next Wednesday when we find out what it is we're having. I think boy; Amy thinks girl.
I'm fine either way, and am looking forward to being daddy to either.
That's what our first-born experience has been like.

The Firstborn, Part 1

They say having your first baby is the most exciting time you'll ever experience as a married couple. I have to be honest: a few weeks ago, I would have argued against that notion. Now, though, I think that's pretty darn accurate.
Let me explain.
Amy and I found out she was pregnant in October after several months of trying. We had tried the basal body temp tests and all the other methods of making sure she was ovulating, but we'd always realize a couple weeks later that we were just a couple days off after the pregnancy test read NOT PREGNANT.
It's funny how Amy related to that test. She said she spent 10+ years of her life trying to make sure the test stick said she wasn't pregnant, then all the sudden every time it said that, it was heartbreaking.
One morning in October, the alarm had buzzed and she decided she felt too crappy to go to work. I told her she needed to take a test (you know, just in case) and we had a little argument about it. I honestly didn't think it was possible to get a positive answer from a test that day and neither did she.
I walked into the bathroom after she'd already taken the test, and watched as she tossed it onto the clothes washer. "You can deal with that thing. I'm sick of this, and I'm going back to bed," Amy snitted at me. (Okay, she's not much of a morning person. And, honestly, I was feeling very much the same way.) I finished up my bathroom duties and turned to look at the test strip, which was right-side up on the washer.
As I glanced at it for a mere millisecond, I watched it turn from blank screen to the words PREGNANT. I did my double take, triple take, quadruple get the picture. I was stunned and wanted to make sure this was correct. I grabbed the box and read the instructions quickly just to make sure that's what I was supposed to be reading. Yeah, okay, there's really only one thing the word PREGNANT can mean, but I didn't want to be that idiot who had the false alarm.
"Amy!" I shouted from the bathroom as I made a beeline for the bedroom where she'd returned to go back to sleep. "You're pregnant! You're friggin' pregnant!"
"Shut up," she said tersely, as I reached the door of our room. She was out of bed and standing there waiting for the strip--with a very nervous smile pasted to her grill. "If you're joking, I'm going to be SOOO pissed."
Turning the screen over, she stood in silence and started to cry. We both cried and celebrated and danced and hugged. I called in sick to work to stay home with her and we had a Vrbi party. Amy, Dave and Fetus V took the day off for each other. It was the best day we've ever had as a couple. There were so many things to talk about, so many things to consider.
We were not the same people we were before we read that test. WE WERE PARENTS. Overnight. Instantly.
As excited as we felt that first day, though, we were tuned in to what can happen in a flash: We knew many people who had miscarriages: my sister, my sister-in-law, Amy's mom, friends, other family. That's when you try to calm your excitement a bit to make room for the possibility that something bad can and might happen. So, in trying to un-excite yourself for the first 13 weeks, you play really funny head games with yourselves.
And the next few months were nerve-wracking, mind-numbingly stressful times with all the things that happened in our family, giving the pregnancy a close second place on the ladder of importance.

Thursday, February 16

Pregnancy, Estrogen and Women

My sister, Missy, sent this to me today. I thought it was very funny and very true:

Pregnancy, Estrogen and Women

Pregnancy Q & A & more!
Q: Should I have a baby after 35?
A: No, 35 children is enough.

Q: I'm two months pregnant now. When will my baby move?
A: With any luck, right after he finishes college.

Q: What is the most reliable method to determine a baby's sex?
A: Childbirth.

Q: My wife is five months pregnant and so moody that sometimes she's borderline irrational.
A: So what's your question?

Q: My childbirth instructor says it's not pain I'll feel during labor, but pressure. Is she right?
A: Yes, in the same way that a tornado might be called an air current.

Q: When is the best time to get an epidural?
A: Right after you find out you're pregnant.

Q: Is there any reason I have to be in the delivery room while my wife is in labor?
A: Not unless the word "alimony" means anything to you.

Q: Is there anything I should avoid while recovering from childbirth?
A: Yes, pregnancy.

Q: Do I have to have a baby shower?
A: Not if you change the baby's diaper very quickly.

Q: Our baby was born last week. When will my wife begin to feel and act normal again?
A: When the kids are in college."

1. Everyone around you has an attitude problem.
2. You're adding chocolate chips to your cheese omelet.
3. The dryer has shrunk every last pair of your jeans.
4 Your husband is suddenly agreeing to everything you say.
5. You're using your cellular phone to dial up every bumper sticker that says: "How's my driving-call 1- 800-".
6. Everyone's head looks like an invitation to batting practice.
7. Everyone seems to have just landed here from "outer space".
8 You can't believe they don't make a tampon bigger than Super Plus.
9 You're sure that everyone is scheming to drive you crazy.
10. The ibuprofen bottle is empty and you bought it yesterday..

10. Cats' facial expressions.
9. The need for the same style of shoes in different colors.
8. Why bean sprouts aren't just weeds.
7. Fat clothes.
6 Taking a car trip without trying to beat your best time.
5. The difference between beige, ecru, cream, off-white, and eggshell.
4. Cutting your hair to make it grow.
3. Eyelash curlers.
2. The inaccuracy of every bathroom scale ever made.
AND, the Number One thing only women understand: 1. OTHER WOMEN

Wednesday, February 15

21st Week

Tomorrow begins Amy's 21st week of pregnancy, and today is the first day I've been able to feel it move from Outer Utero Land. We were both at home today with gastro issues (we won't delve any further into that story; let's just say it wasn't a super-romantic Valentine's evening).

Anyhootie, we were lying there and she thought she could feel it move on the outside, so I placed my hand on her tummy. Sure enough, the baby was performing gymnastics in there. That's when it set in: there's a living being in there!

We find out next Wednesday, February 22nd (Amy's 28th birthday) whether it's a boy or a girl. I've had a feeling it's a boy this entire time and Amy says the opposite. We'll see who's correct.

We did a quiz on and according to Old Wive's Tales, this is what's up:


You have a 50% chance of having a boy.

And you have a 50% chance of having a girl.

And Here's Why...

You are carrying the extra weight out front, so it's a boy.

The hair on your legs is not growing any faster during your preganacy, so it's a girl.

Boys are carried low. You are going to have a boy.

Your feet are colder than they were before pregnancy. You are having a boy.

You refuse to eat the heel of a loaf of bread. You are having a girl.

Dad-to-be hasn't been gaining weight along with Mom-to-be, so it will be a girl.

The maternal grandmother doesn't have gray hair (dyed or natural), so a girl will be born.

You didn't have morning sickness early in pregnancy, so it will be a boy.

You are looking particularly good during pregnancy. Therefore, it must be a boy, because girls steal their mother's looks.

Your chest development has been quite dramatic during pregnancy. You should expect a girl.

Since the sum of the mother's age at conception and the number of the month of conception is even, it will be a boy.

A needle on a thread held over you belly moves from side-to-side, so it will be a girl.

Your urine is a dull yellow color, so you will have a girl.

You have a craving for salty or sour foods, which means that it is a boy.

Your nose hasn't changed during pregnancy, which indicates a girl.

You have been craving meats or cheeses, so it is a boy.

Your baby's heart rate is 140 or more beats per minute, so it's a girl.

You must have orange juice every day, so it's a girl.

You are having headaches, so it's a boy.

Your belly looks like a watermelon, so it's a girl.

You show the back of your hand, so it's a boy.

You use the handle, so it's a boy.