Friday, December 28, 2007

Thoughts From The Father To Be

As long as I am awake (see post below), I thought I'd take the time to post here a recent blog that Steve wrote on his website.....enjoy!

Things I would like to know in order to be a better “pregnant” father:

1. What is the appropriate caring male response to the question "you wish you were pregnant instead of me, don't you?"

This is a loaded question. Carrie read in one of her pregnancy books that there are men out there who wish that they were pregnant instead of their wives just so they could experience the whole miracle of birth thing. There are even supposed "pregnancy simulation camps", where men get to carry around large fake pregnant bellies and experience what it would be like to be pregnant for a weekend. Frankly, I think that's a little weird. If you think about it, there's very little difference between that and those goth kids who run around the forest pretending to be vampires. Anyway, I have no desire to actually be pregnant, thank you. But the thing is, Carrie isn't really asking "do you want to be pregnant." She's actually asking, "if you had the opportunity, would you shoulder this burden for me." And yes, I do want to be helpful and supportive and make things as easy for her as possible because, as an understanding and thoughtful contemporary male, I understand and appreciate that pregnancy does take a physical toll. So now I'm looking for ways to answer this question that sound as if I'm a caring and compassionate partner without sounding like I have some weird pregnancy fetish. This is a growing dilema for me, as Carrie asks me this question at least once every 1.5-2 weeks. I'm thinking now about faking sympathetic pregnancy symptoms. Maybe she'll stop asking if I start developing all kinds of unexplained lower back pain; we can trade stories.

What am I going to have for dinner?

On 99% of occasions since we've been married, Carrie has picked what restaurant we go to. This occurs for two reasons: 1) I can go to any restaurant in the country during their normal business hours, find something on their menu, order it, eat it, and be happy; hence I honestly never care where we go eat, and 2) Carrie is very discerning about what she has an appetite for at any given time, hence there are only a limited number of restaurants at any given moment where she could eat and be happy. This discerning attitude has only become more prominent during her pregnancy. It is now to the point where it is virtually impossible to predict what she will be craving on any given day. Obviously, this makes planning meals very difficult. We have devised two potential solutions for this problem: 1) buy every food and/or ingredient that could conceivably be made into dinner so that we have everything on hand at all times, and 2) eat out every night. Neither of these options is at all appealing. I think we've found some middle ground and we're making progress on this front. Still, it's hard to be the caring and sensitive cook of healthy meals when your wife would prefer a Qdoba burrito.

Will I make it through the winter without contracting hypothermia?

As an involved husband, I know that the increased blood flow that leads to the notorious "pregnant glow" may also result in an increase in body temperature in pregnant women. This has certainly happened with Carrie. Normally, at this time of year, Carrie would be very upset about the cold temperature. This year, we are keeping our house at 62 degrees, because this is the temperature at which Carrie is comfortable at night. I will repeat this in case you didn't think you read that correctly; IN THE DEAD OF WINTER IN INDIANA, OUR HOUSE IS SET AT 62 DEGREES! The good news is that I am not as worried about the rising cost of natural gas as I would be if we were heating our house as normal. The bad news is that I wake up every morning shivering, use a ton of hot water in the shower, and proceed to shiver even more once my shower is done. Carrie, of course, is completely comfortable.

Please know, I am not complaining, nor am I at my wits end or anything. I'm just adjusting to life with my pregnant wife and trying to make the experience as easy for her as possible. That's what the caring husband is supposed to do isn't it? After all, it isn't about me, it's about Carrie and the little baby she's carrying right now. I think I can stand being a little chilly for them. =:^)


Why oh why, Steve's dear carpooler, did you have to conveniently text Steve at 1:52 a.m. and let him know that you may or may not be in the carpool this morning? Did you not realize that even when you send a text, a cell phone emits a loud tone letting you know that the text came through? Seriously. Yes, I was happily in dreamland when 2 hours ago his cell phone went off. Old Carrie would have no problem going back to sleep. Pregnant Carrie is another story (I've laid in bed for 2 hours praying for sleep while baby Brett decided to do some Tae Bo in my belly). So, I am going to now go into work with about 3 hours of sleep under my belt. I am facing a busy day at work, after which I need to come home and pack for 4 days and get up really early Saturday morning to leave for Chicago. Needless to say, I am NOT a happy camper :(. I wish I would have taken a Tylenol PM... at least I would have had a shot at returning to sleep. Ahhhhh.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Yes. This is my belly.

So, here it is in all of it's glory... behold my massive belly..... (and yes, I have no shame)

This is at 21 weeks (and I am supposed to expect 40?!!!!)

So, Merry Christmas, everyone! You can go out and stuff your face all day tomorrow and I bet you won't come out looking quite like this.

Decisions, Decisions

I feel like this is a repeat of a couple of days ago! Now it’s not as early as 3:00 a.m., granted, but I have no reason to be up this early today. Ugh….is it normal to wake up feeling like it’s the middle of July when your thermostat is set on 60 degrees and your husband is covered in multiple layers with all of the covers on, freezing? I don’t see how women make it while being pregnant in the summer.

Anyway, I digress….

So, we went to Babies R Us a couple of days ago and now that we know we are having a boy, I am excited to start the nursery. We’d already picked out the crib/changing table ensemble (which we haven’t bought yet, but I’m thinking it will be soon now… the problem? We have to totally re-locate our home office into various rooms in our house. Yeah, that kind of sucks. Anyone want a leopard print chez lounge? No, really, I am serious!). Now, we have picked out what I think will be our nursery theme. I REALLY would love someone somewhere to have created a Butler Bulldogs nursery bedding package (for all not in the know, Steve and I met at Butler)… I scoured the internet, and if we were fans of a major university, certain sites have nursery bedding for like say, Alabama. However, no Butler University. So, I think we have settled on a sage colored teddy bear theme. Now we have to start buying everything…let the fun begin! I actually DID already buy a really cute onesie set with puppy dogs on it - I couldn’t help it.

And, the biggest decision we’ve made? We picked out a name. Actually, we had picked out a name while we were still dating in college. Yeah. So, for about 8-10 years we’ve known what we would name a boy. A girl? That changed several times - but a boy… we were pretty dead set on Brett. Now, I know what you all are thinking – that Steve is a huge Packers fan, so Brett MUST be because of Brett Favre. Well, me and my football hating mentality would have to somewhat cave to this and admit that on his end, this probably had a pretty big influence. But, I genuinely like the name, and it’s much better than his second choice – Lars. Seriously (you know the guy in Metallica?). Yeah, I don’t think so. Actually, someone I know asked me if Brett was after Brett Michaels. I thought that was pretty funny (Steve would kill me for that – since Poison isn’t a “real” band, you know… according to him anyway). So, no more Jose Cuervo, or Dos Equis (our due date is May 5th – Cinco de Mayo, which lead to some fun early baby names). It’s Brett. And no, Steve, you can’t call it “the kid” anymore :).

Friday, December 21, 2007

It's a - WHAT?

So, here I sit at nearly 3:00 a.m. Wide awake. Just awakened from a bizarre dream. No inclination of falling back asleep. Wishing I had taken a Tylenol PM (which IS legal by the way). Welcome to my pregnant world.

It's been an interesting past few weeks for me. Around week 15 I started to feel the baby move. At first it really did feel like "butterflies" in my stomach (and not from nerves…just little flutters moving here and there). And then about 2-3 weeks ago I was sitting at my desk at work and suddenly I felt this little poke at my abdomen. My first baby kick! Then, with increasing frequency the baby decides to run a marathon one day (that's the only logical explanation I have for it), and then sleep all day the next. On Sunday the kicks were finally palpable enough that Steve was able to put his hand on my belly and feel them for himself. It definitely makes the experience much more real.

The most obvious change has been my ever-expanding belly. Seriously. The only pregnant picture I have posted here is at week 14. You can see a round belly starting to emerge. It's crazy now. I am in week 20, and when I tell people I'm due in May they give me this look that seems to indicate fascination-horror. If I had to judge, I'd say I look more like I'm about 7 months pregnant than 5. And, what started as a slight overall weight gain has gone straight to my belly. (When I walked into work Monday, my co-worker Brandie looked at me and told me that SHE thought my belly had gotten much bigger over the weekend, and she sees me practically every day). This has made life slightly more uncomfortable. First of all, sleeping has become quite a challenge. I have to sleep on my side (and my body desperately wants to be on it's back). This causes leg cramps, and even though I am following all the advice in the book (sleeping with lots of strategically placed pillows) it's not generally working for me. Also, beginning this past week I've started to experience lower back pain. I don't think there is too much that I can do to prevent this (I mean, I can't even see my feet when I look down any more, it's all belly). Luckily for me I have a loving husband who doesn't seem to mind the fact that I am growing like a whale and gives great back massages.

There are other slightly un-pleasant parts of pregnancy that I am also experiencing, but I don't feel like going into that much detail on my blog. Let's just say that pregnancy is a total body experience.

Finally, the biggest thing that has happened in my pregnant life lately was the ultrasound we had on Tuesday. Now, keep in mind, EVERYONE was telling me that based on every old wives tale in the book (baby's heart rate, how I was carrying, etc. etc.) that I was absolutely having a girl. Even my own mother (who rarely gets the gender wrong) was so convinced that she was calling me up every few days with suggestions for girls' names. I was trying to keep an open mind here. I mean, I didn't have the evidence to support the fact that I was having a girl, but deep down I knew that's where I was leaning. I'd already had visions of sharing experiences from my childhood with my daughter and decorating her nursery pink and putting her hair in bows and buying her all of my old favorite toys – Rainbow Bright, Care Bears, My Little Ponies. You see, secretly I am afraid of having a boy…I grew up with 2 brothers and Steve had 2 brothers (so I know the gene pool towards boys is strong). And, I HATE, I mean HATE football… and I know that Steve would have the little man watching football with him all day on Sunday, every Sunday. I also don't like to wrestle or play with cars or those violent Playstation games.

However, I know several friends of mine who have recently had boys and absolutely love them to pieces. I also know how horrible and catty pre-teen/teen girls can be (yes, I was one of the "picked on" ones in grade school and it was on of the worst feelings in my life). So, I didn't want to have that all waiting for me. As girly as I can be, I HATE drama.

So, here we are on Tuesday, sitting at the doctor (and yes, I did have to drink all ungodly 32 ounces of fluid to have this ultrasound). The doctor covers my belly with that gel-like stuff and starts to look around. I let her know that we want to know the sex if possible. Immediately she smiles and definitively tells us it's a boy (and trust me – he is most definitely a boy, absolutely no denying it, a very proud boy. We have the blackmail pictures – which I didn't post - to prove it.) I was immediately shocked and so was Steve I think. Although, I could tell that he was incredibly excited (I mean, what father doesn't want his own little man around?). At this point though I was so relieved to see that my baby was healthy. It's amazing to see what detail they can show on those ultrasounds (you can even see all 4 chambers of his heart). He was growing like a normal baby and that made me so happy. You see, I was secretly worried that I'd be at the doctor and they'd tell me my baby had like 2 heads or it's spine was growing outside of it's body or something like that. Not the case. He was a large healthy boy, contently kicking his feet and rolling around. Needless to say, I have to re-adjust my mindframe towards having a boy, but I've started to come around. We've got some cute nursery themes in mind – I just really,really hope that he's a momma's boy, you know?

His Little Foot

But, at least now I think that my massive belly is starting to make sense. See, my husband is 6"4' (compared to my 5"3' height), and all of the men in his family are super tall. And, this kid obviously has Steve's genes. He is in the 75th percentile of size for his age. He should weigh ¾ of a pound and he's already at least a pound. And, he has super-long legs (which the doctor noted with his femur length). Yeah, my belly doesn't stand a chance here (again, the doctor noted that my abdomen was larger than normal). When I told one of my friends who I had dinner with on Wednesday about my predicament, she emailed me a link to this girl's blog who recently had an 11 pound girl! (She is about my height/weight and her hubby about Steve's height). Near the end of the pregnancy her belly could have had it's own zip code. Seriously. I had a foreshadowing of the future. I don't think it will be pretty. I just hope that Steve can keep up with the back massages!

Well, that's all for now. I wish I had different subjects to blog about, but this pregnancy thing is kind of all-consuming and the most interesting thing going on in my life right now. I will attempt to find my way back to bed now that it's almost 4:00. I guess I could have another 2 good hours if I am lucky.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Beast That Is Christmas

So when did Christmas start to feel like such an "obligation"? I can't pinpoint the exact timing of it, but I know that around Thanksgiving I already start to feel overwhelmed! When you are a kid, you only have to worry about Santa making it to your house and hoping that you were good and he left you some good stuff.

Now there is shopping, decorating, baking, Christmas cards…all of which CAN be fun if they weren't things that you had to schedule to do. A lot of these things don't translate to the working woman in the 21st century. See, I picture 1950's housewives really getting into this. What did they have to worry about anyway, except for fetching groceries and cleaning their houses while managing to look perfect? (No disrespect for stay at home mom's – BTW, I just think the portrayal of the typical housewife back in the day is soooo annoying!) I bet they were the ones who created those intricate Christmas cookies that take forever to make. Why not? What else did they have to do?

This year I haven't really wanted to do any of the typical holiday things, therefore I have a kind of "git r done" mentality about it all. Saturday we decorated the inside and outside of our house and I finished my Christmas cards and shopping (Steve and I battled the Black Friday crowds and actually got almost all of it done last week). Yesterday I wrapped so that all that is left is the obligatory Christmas cookie baking weekend (see my blog from last year… it's an insane Graunke family tradition). Why the frenzy? Because I've got so much other stuff going on in my life right now that I'd be totally stressed about it all and worried up until the day I got it done.

On top of all of the things you have to do to get ready for the holidays… you are also expected to enjoy every second of it and be "in the Christmas spirit" at all times. I mean, except for your wedding day (where you are expected to be ecstatically happy and emotional) what other occasion pressures you to feel a certain way? It's almost claustrophobic. I haven't really felt "the Christmas spirit" in a few years now (well, except when I've been able to imbibe a few "spirits", which alas will not be happening this year) and it's kind of sad, really.

Anyone else on board with me?