Monday 13 August 2012

Pregnancy Tales: A lighthearted look at the past nine months

Pregnancy. It's beautiful and miserable and miraculous and painful and wonderful and all the rest. It's pregnancy glow and morning sickness. It's cute little baby bumps and big swollen ankles. It's grinning over tiny baby outfits and peeing when you sneeze. It's elation and exhaustion. Excitement and panic. Highs and lows.

And sometimes, it's just plain funny.

Potty Training

The actual process of potty training a child while you're pregnant is great. You're peeing so often that it's easy to remember to bring the toddler along each time. It's like a built-in potty timer! Perfect.

But then they actually become potty trained, past tense. Suddenly I'm waiting in line as my oldest takes a poo, my toddler does the potty dance in front of him, and I've got to go last because I'm the grown up. Meanwhile I'm imitating the toddler, legs crossed and all, and I've got to wipe the older one and then help the younger one with his clothes, all without peeing my pants.

And I'm asking myself the entire time, why was it, precisely, that you wanted to potty train the toddler?? I don't know, Self. I do not know.


The expectation of a new baby requires that certain preparations be made. For us, this included transitioning our bed-sharing toddler into his own bed. With that accomplished, our bedtime routine now involved me sitting in their room until said toddler fell asleep, as the alternative meant both boys were up for hours giggling and talking and playing together. As we figured out our new bedtime routine, I moved from sitting beside him on the floor, to sitting on the end of his bed, to sitting in between their beds, to our ultimate solution of me sitting on his bed while he fell asleep with his head resting on my lap. It's terribly sweet, actually, to have him fall asleep there, his head on my thigh, my legs a cradle on either side of him. Of course this only works because once he's asleep, he sleeps like a rock, making it easy to slip out from underneath him.

Aye, there's the rub. With this big belly of mine, there's no "slipping out from underneath him". It's more along the lines of heaving myself out from underneath him and praying I don't fall over in the process. There's an image of a beached whale in there somewhere as I struggle to both move out from underneath him and stand up at the same time. It's not pretty or graceful or smooth in the least; some nights I've very nearly given in and called my husband to come help me up. So far I've managed it myself, though, and I am invariably glad my five-year-old is the only witness to this nightly struggle.

My Bedtime

And then comes time for me to go to sleep. I've been exhausted all day. After all, in celebration of Mommy becoming pregnant, my two year old decided it was the perfect time to stop napping. (This happened both times. My toddlers can be awfully unkind.) Surely I'll fall asleep as soon as my head hits my pillow. Good thing, too, since everyone keeps reminding me to get in my sleep while I still can.

But no. The cruel twist of fate known as Pregnancy Insomnia strikes again. Instead of grasping these last nights of uninterrupted sleep before the baby arrives, I lay awake for hours. My brain refuses to turn off. My loose pregnancy joints begin aching. My pregnancy bladder demands yet another trip to the bathroom. I begin to mope about how terrible my life is. Nothing like overreaction at two o'clock in the morning.

At last I fall asleep. Then, far too soon, I wake up again - and can't fall back asleep. Something urgent occupies my brain. Last week it was what order I should phone people in when I go into labour. What if no one's home? Should I get the quick calls out of the way first - tell the husband to come home, let the daycare kid's mom know it's time to pick him up, call a friend to come over if no one else is here - and then go through the longer process of calling the midwife clinic, seeing which midwife is on call, getting her pager number, paging her, and then awaiting her reply? Or should I just go straight to 911 because oh dear Lord I'm going to end up delivering this baby with three children staring at me and not another adult in sight! This was all very urgent and important and dramatic at four o'clock in the morning. I watched the room get brighter as the sun rose.

Some nights, I simply give up. It's 3:08am as I type this section. My life is unfair.

Prepping for Childbirth

I was watching some natural birth videos with the boy to help prepare him for the upcoming homebirth of his little brother or sister. He wants to be there and the videos answered more of his questions and prompted some really good new ones too. He's feeling quite calm about it all.

I, however? Completely freaked myself out with those stupid videos. I suddenly remembered quite vividly just how painful natural birth is. I don't want to do that again! What was I thinking?? I told my husband I was just going to cross my legs really tight and the baby could just live in there. Supportive man that he is, he laughed at me, and then he said that would only have worked if I'd tried it nine months ago. Very funny, darling husband. Just hilarious.

Oh, the Comments

With two boys and a third child on the way, I have learned two things from the comments I have received during this pregnancy:
  1. Three children is A Lot of Kids.
  2. Everyone hopes this one will be a girl.
I can only shake my head in disbelief at the first. It's only three kids. One more than two. How that earns us Big Family status, I can't figure out.

As for the second, well, it's a little more difficult to stay lighthearted here. My midwife recently told me that three brothers would be nice, and you know what? I nearly cried. It was the first time this entire pregnancy that someone has said something positive about the idea of having three boys.

The worst comment I received so far was this gem from a mother of four: "Oh, you have two boys? Hopefully this one will be a girl. That would be nice. If not, well, you can always try again." Because it wouldn't be "nice" if I was blessed with a third boy, right? If sweet Mystery Baby is just another boy, it'll be "oh, too bad, but at least you can try again," is that it?

The second worst comment so far was from another mother: "Will you be okay if it's a boy?" No. No, I'll be devastated. Anything but another healthy and happy boy! The horror!

Finally, the third worst comment has come from multiple random strangers: Anything along the lines of "hopefully this one's a girl!" when said directly in front of my two boys. How do you think that makes them feel?

If it is a boy, I will be thrilled. What an honour and a joy to raise three sons!
If it is a girl, I will be thrilled. What an honour and a joy to experience raising a daughter!

We'll find out soon enough which joy our family will be blessed with.

Fortunately, not all of the comments received are awful. My favourite comment recently came from a single young man:
"So when are you due?"
"In less than a week."
"What?? But you look so...calm!"
I'm not sure how I'm supposed to look in these last days, but it would seem "calm" is not it.

And with that, I'm off to work on my panic-stricken face.


  1. I just want to say... I think three boys would be lovely. We're working on a third and I'm preparing myself for the onslaught as I have two girls. Much like you, I think three girls would be lovely. I think having a boy to add to the mix would also be lovely.

    It's interesting the things people say with innocent intention that end up being hurtful in one way or another. I'm sure we've all done it at some point or another.

    1. I keep telling myself that, Kory - they mean well, they don't realize how their words sound, and I've likely done the same thing at some point.

  2. I can relate to all of this! People will say some of the oddest (and rudest) things when you are pregnant- I can't figure it out! A healthy baby was all that we wished for as well. You are so lucky to be having another little one! Good luck with the pregnancy insomnia- I always have that too. Once the pregnancy was over I'd look back and kind of miss that time, though. Enjoy the anticipation, the kicks and hiccups, and the quiet time you have letting your son fall asleep on your lap. These are good times. ♥

    1. I always miss it so much afterwards! Especially the sweet little movements inside of me. But of course the trade off is more than worth it. :)

  3. As the younger sister of 3 boys...I'm glad number 3 was a boy. We are 4 years apart but really close, especially now that we are grown and have our own kids. Had he been a girl, my parents would have stopped and I wouldn't be here!!! 3 boys means you have the favorite oldest son, favorite middle son and favorite youngest son. 2 boys and girl is a favorite oldest and youngest son and favorite daughter, unless you have another later in life! :) I have an 8 month old son and was telling my husband the other day how nice it would be for LO to have a little sister...but it would also be cool if he had a little brother. I can see him with either! Good luck on having that healthy, happy baby and good job on NOT finding out what you are having! That was the oddest questions I had, "how can you not find out?" I didn't want to ruin the surprise!!!

    1. People are always so shocked that we didn't find out too! I think my family took it as a personal offense, they so badly wanted to know for each pregnancy. I just love that moment after all the hard work of delivery when someone shouts out, "it's a ___!"

      Love the perspective you shared; thank you! :)

  4. I am due shortly after you. (I'm 37 weeks and 3 days right now).
    Due with my THIRD BOY.
    Every time I tell people I'm expecting another boy I feel like I need to defend both myself and this baby. I actually WANTED a third boy. I know boys. I've been raising 2 boys already. I have all the boy stuff. Having a third boy would be a lot simpler and yes crazy-crazy with another boy in the house but you know what? Gosh darnit I always wanted a whole bunch of boys. So there. And I like crazy-crazy. :)
    It makes me a bit touchy when people ask if I'll try for a girl.
    I try to make my withering look not so offensive.

    Anyway, I'm excited for you - whether girl or boy, this baby will be exactly what your family is waiting for. :)

    1. Oh yes, I am so with you. I feel more offended for this little one inside of me than I do for me personally, as though I have to defend his gender and his worth if he is "another" boy.

      The idea of a girl actually makes me a little bit nervous! I know boys. I love raising boys. The idea of a house full of boys makes me smile. But a girl would be absolutely wonderful as well. :)

      Best of luck to you during these last weeks as you await the arrival of your third boy!! That is so very exciting; what fun they'll have together. :)

  5. Having just had my third (11 weeks, 21 months and 4 and a half), I was shocked at how much more work three was than two. Two is an even playing field. Three means you're outnumbered. Two means one for each hand. three means some pretty creative restraining practices when crossing streets/parking lots, often with your own pants half way down your behind. Two means tired. Three means utter and total exhaustion. I was very unprepared for handling three, and for how much WORK each one needed. Before it seemed fun and carefree. Now it was demanding, hard and stressful. But day by day, minute by minute, with God's grace and my family's help, we get through.

    1. I'm glad you're making it through and I hope things continue to go more smoothly as your family adjusts. It's funny how everyone's experience is different - some people say one was the hardest adjustment, others say it was number two, and others say three or four really caught them off guard. We shall see!

  6. Haha this was just delicious. I love boys. I love that you are still blogging and sharing so candidly with those of us who find community in your writing. I am thinking of and praying for you!

  7. We just had our third. We had 2 girls first, and didn't find out the gender until (home) birth. He was a boy!

    My heart skipped a beat while reading your remembrance of what labor is like. I was doing the same thing just about 3 months ago. But now I am in baby bliss land (well, sorta), forgetting what labor is like. And this last one wasn't exactly my easiest. But in the midst of it, I could keep remembering, "this is going to be over soon. by at least 24 hours from now we should have a baby." And it didn't even take that long. ;) Hopefully it won't for you, either.

    1. I figure it's a good thing we quickly forget how painful childbirth can be! ;) I'm sure I'll be thinking the same thing in the midst of labour, "it'll be over soon, it'll be over soon..."

  8. Oh, sweets. You know I've been through all this and just remember that what they think doesn't matter. Every child is a blessing, yes? Of course. As will be your #3, boy, girl, whatever. And three is fun!! Not too big at all.

    If it will make you laugh, here's my rant on strangers' opining on what the gender of my 3rd should have been (I guess he made them all so happy, being a boy after two girls):

    Feel well. Don't let all that noise distract you from the very important task ahead. And go birth!!

    1. That! Was the best rant ever. Thank you so much; I do indeed feel much better. The whole "it already is a gender" is exactly it - if you hope that my boy is a girl, or vice versa, what does that mean when it's born? You're disappointed?? Sigh.

      It was so interesting to read from the perspective of two-girls-and-pregnant instead of myself with two-boys-and-pregnant. To me it always seems like girls are the favoured gender - boys are loud and rough and will eat a lot of food when they are teenagers, but girls are where it's (apparently) at - so to hear the opposite comments was eye-opening.

      Every child is indeed a blessing!

  9. I had crazy pregnancy insomnia as well, and found that I actually slept BETTER after Claire was born than I had in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Granted, she was a pretty good sleeper, but still. I was pleasantly surprised.

    Can't wait to meet your new little one! I'm sure everything will work out the way it needs to, but if you do find yourself in labour with a baby coming fast and three kids staring at you, you can call me if you need to!

    1. So there's hope! Actually, I think I felt the same way with both of them - I got more sleep after they were born than I did in those last few sleepless weeks of pregnancy. Encouraging!

      Thanks so much! :)

  10. Thankyou for a lovely heartwarming and amusing post :-)

    My partner is the 4th of four sons and I've never heard his mother lament about not having a daughter. I have a gorgeous nearly 4 year old son,and a delightful 12 week old baby boy - wonderful!!!

  11. I love the idea of a homebirth. I personally would love to try it but I'm afraid something would go wrong. I am currently expecting my third child as well. I'm due in February. I have two boys ages 1 and 2. Everybody tells me "I hope its a girl" yeah. I would love to have a girl, but a third son would be just as fine. I always tell them yeah well as long he or she is a healthy baby i will be happy.

  12. Oh my - I laughed a lot through this post. Just had my third recently and I can completely sympathize with your experiences potty training and hearing ridiculous comments from people too!

    Three is really not a lot. In fact, I think three is infinitely easier than two in that the oldest kids can play together. Plus, they can help out a little too (fetching diapers etc.) I LOVE having three!! Plus, by this time, you'll surprise yourself at how good at this "mom thing" you've become with all that practice. ;)

    BTW, I had two little girls and constantly heard predictions about my third and if we were "finally" gonna get our boy. We waited till the birth to discover the sex though I had a sense of what we'd have. As if we'd been disappointed in our sweet, strong girls! We actually were blessed with a boy but we would have been happy either way. They all have such awesome, unique, interesting personalities.

    Oh - and I REALLY related to your comments about natural childbirth being painful. I admit I've never had an "orgasmic birth". (Wouldn't that be cool?). I told my husband as I neared the last few weeks, "How did I get myself into this mess? How could I have forgotten that what goes in - has to come out!" LOL What an attitude for a pro-home birth mama!

    I will tell you that I gave birth at home to a post -date baby who weighed 11.5 lbs and I got through it! You can too. :)

    Praying that your labor will be short, safe and not too painful. Enjoy that new life!

    1. Thanks so much for the encouragement! Loved reading your experiences.

  13. Love this post as someone who is recently not pregnant. Oh how I do not miss pregnancy insomnia! Ha! And thr birth was hard but also magical. I already could do it again. The 25 weeks of morning sickness however...nothing magical about that. Very soon you will be sitting where I exciting!

  14. Just had our third child (all are boys, ages 4 yo, 2 yo, and 7 weeks). I'm loving having three boys, and I've found the adjustment to three children to be very minor (yay!). Our first two are named Luke and Jacob, just like yours. Our last is named Adam. Good luck! Like yours, my second labor was precipitous, (very fast). My doctor kept saying this didn't necessarily mean my next labor would also be fast, but it was.

  15. I was looking thru your older posts. I don't understand why some ask if your are trying for a particular gender if you have more than 2. I have 4 boys. I was so irritated when people would make statements, still trying for a girl. I was happy to be pregnant. WE wanted a big family. We recently adopted another child ( again a boy). Not our plan, but we figure God has his.