Week 21 ~ October 5, 2005
~ Finally Showing
Well, it is official. I am finally 'showing' pregnant. Although, I have thought I've looked very pregnant for some time now (at least from 12 weeks on). I am now pregnant enough that I can't go anywhere without a total stranger commenting on my upcoming pregnancy or ask when I am due. The funniest part is their reaction when I tell them February 5th. I think they expect me to say "tomorrow" because the look on their face is priceless. Like, 'how big are you going to get with this one' and 'wow, you still have a long way to go.' I just point to the other 3 kids tagging along at my heels next to me and tell them it is my fourth. I think they are not sure what to say at that point and then wander off. Very few women commend me when they find out this is my fourth. Not that I am expecting a pat on the back - I don't need that. But, it is because of that I realize I am definitely venturing into a smaller category of families, and I think they wonder if I really knew what I was getting myself into. Before we got pregnant, we thought a lot about our decision to have another baby, and we welcome the newness and challenges that come with having four children. I don't think we are naive to think it will be easy, but then again being a parent to one is not easy either. I also know we have plenty of love to spread around.
One thing I have noticed, and strangely enough this has happened a handful of times, is when I am actually alone and without my little friends tagging along next to me, strangers coo over pregnant women. That is not new to me, I've noticed it before, but this time it has changed. It happens when they decide to be brave enough to ask, "is this your first?" I have to chuckle and tell them "no" and that it is my fourth. All of the sudden, the cooing stops and the sympathy begins. As if it was an affliction I caught, not a pregnancy that I desired. I don't quite understand that. When it comes to strangers, the 'first' is such a blessing. The second is another blessing, but they hope for the opposite sex of the child that is plainly standing next to you. Dare you tell them it is the same sex and you can almost see the disappointment in their faces. Then the third deserves an "oh" and they are bold enough to ask if it was planned. But, with four, I guess there is not an expression. Since we've passed the 'was it planned' phase, they realize we are serious and really planned it - then think we are crazy. That is okay though. I still do feel blessed, with my first, second, third and even my fourth. But, if my hands keep swelling much more, I am soon going to have to take off my wedding rings. Then I can assume the conversations with strangers will be even more interesting and I will get even more 'looks.'
Sydney is reaching the age of frustration. Not my frustration, but hers. She can understand a lot more than she can communicate. Often she ends up in small battles over the simplest of things. Last night she wanted to stand on the kitchen table for dinner. (Huh?) It has never been acceptable before, I don't know why she thought last night was going to be the night of initiation for standing on the table in order to eat. She went from standing on the chair, to the table, to me putting her in the highchair and pulling it to the table, to standing on the table again, to me then pulling her away from the table and putting the tray on (which she can still get out), to me taking her back out and placing her on the floor. She was only happy and smiling if she was teetering on the edge of either falling out of the highchair or standing on the table. I always wondered why Graco had given me a 5-point harness with that highchair. With Syd, now I know, but unfortunately threw it away 6 years ago. So, she finally came to my side of the table and just screamed as loud as her little voice could carry her. I am sure it was some sort of baby cussing of sorts. The other two just chuckled while covering their mouths so she could not see them. So, I had to get up and take her to the other room to try to talk to a 20 month old and find the root of the problem. Again, the communication barrier was a factor and she finally just gave up and ended up eating after every one else was done. Poor girl. I feel for her frustration, and she just can't come up with the words to ask for what she wants. But, as for last night, I'm really not sure what would she have said. "Mom, I think tonight is the night I am going to stand on the table for dinner." Well, we would have probably ended up with the same screaming after my answer of "no" anyway.
I'll close this week with a thought. This thought was brought up when I was having a discussion with another parent of 3. We were discussing what we thought of the first time we left the hospital after having our first child. Honestly, now I look at the hospital stay as a mini-vacation. I'm not really concerned or worried, but take me back to that first child and I am surprised I am actually going to be having my fourth. Don't let me scare you, it was not a bad experience, it was just so new and I felt so unprepared. I was an only child. I also was not one of those children who baby-sat. In fact I never baby-sat at all. I preferred to take care of my animals. Then I was suddenly a mother. And just like that, the nurse told my husband and I we could take our baby home. It just made sense to me it would be a harder process than that (notice the 29 hours of labor have already exited my memory). I began sweating and I was scared. What do I do? I have taken parenting classes, but the babies were not real. This one is crying. Now, I'm crying. And then he pooped, as if to break the tension in the room. Yes, the poop of all poops too. Embarrassingly, my husband and I really did not know what to do with such a mess, so since we had not left the room I called in back up one more time. I called my nurse who had just said good-bye to me. The one who was probably glad to get me off the floor and welcome on another new parent. But, she willingly came in one last time. After we had one more diaper changing class with the nurse she again said her good-byes. And my husband and I walked out the doors of the hospital; the place I actually felt comfortable in surrounded with all their knowledge around me, and was free to go home. I was waiting for beepers or alarms to go off as we exited the doors of the hospital. As if to say 'nope, not ready, let's take the baby back.' I can still feel how real those feelings were to this day. But, you know what, it really was natural when it had to be, at least most of it. I did call on my sister-in-law to help with the first bath though. But seriously, it did not take long to understand those first cries, and whimpers, and smiles. Before I knew it we were flying solo balancing Alex on one arm and making dinner with the other. So, for those of you who are going to be a first time mother, trust me - if I can do it, so can you. Nature will take over for you and your primal instincts will kick in to help out. I just did not notice them until we left the hospital and we were left truly alone with our baby. Just relax - you will be fine.
Have a wonderful week and thank you to all of you who have emailed me. I wish you all the very best with your pregnancies, upcoming deliveries, and motherhood! Know that you are truly blessed!