Today I’m 23 weeks, three days pregnant. I read a message board occasionally where a woman posted a picture of her little boy, now a toddler, born very prematurely at 23 weeks, two days.
“This is about what our baby looks like right now,” I said, showing Drew the picture. “Can you believe that’s in my belly?”
“What does it feel like?” He asked. “What does it feel like to have a little tiny human in your belly?”
“It feels heavy,” I replied, and put his hand on my stomach so he could feel the baby move around.
The baby’s been kicking so much lately and in the evenings, before we go to sleep, I lie in bed and we talk to him and feel him kick his response.
“Hey, Baby,” Drew says, “Are you going to have curly hair?”
Kick, kick, kick.
Drew tells him about our life — about our cats and our families and what we’re going to do when he’s born. We’re going to take him on picnics and to the botanic garden and the zoo and to parties with friends. We’re going to go on trips and fly on planes and go swimming and catch fireflies.
“We’re going to have so much fun, Baby, you’ll see.” He says.
I sing to him sometimes and he kicks his approval — at least, I pretend it’s his approval. He has certain songs and singers he seems to like more than others. He doesn’t care for guys who sound like sissies, like Bon Iver. But he likes lady singers like Adele and Feist and Nina Simone. His favorite is jazz. Drew and I went to a jazz club a few weeks back and he kicked up a storm. Now we’re thinking about naming him “Count.” Or maybe “Fats.” Fats Condell has a nice ring, don’t you think?
We’ve just started converting our office into a nursery. The finished product is still a long way off and we have our work cut out for us, but I don’t mind. I like this part of the preparations. It’s the other stuff that scares me — stuff like lining up daycare help a few mornings a week so I can keep up with this site and worrying about finding a pediatrician and who’s going to help my son with long division one day. I worry a lot about how I’m going to fare on no sleep and what caring for a baby 24 hours a day is going to do to my relationship, not to mention my friendships and the career I’m trying to build for myself.
I worry about these things a lot, but I wouldn’t say they keep me up at night. Actually, I’ve been sleeping really well lately. Part of that, I think, is the result of some new medication I’ve been taking. I was diagnosed with thyroid disease a couple weeks ago — Hashimoto’s — and I’ve been taking medication that has quickly helped relieve some of the symptoms I’ve been feeling for years, including insomnia. The funny thing is I probably wouldn’t have discovered I had the disease if I weren’t pregnant and getting my blood and thyroid levels tested so frequently. So, in a way, the baby has already benefited me. I remind myself of that when I start to worry about all these little things and about the sacrifices I’m going to make, about the sacrifices I’m already making (no mojitos for me this summer). The benefits are going to outweigh the drawbacks, I tell myself.
Mostly, I daydream about our days together — those early days when the three of us are all getting to know each other — when even Drew and I will be getting to know each other in different ways.
“You’re going to be such a good father,” I tell him. And I know this so deeply, like knowing the sun is going to rise and set tomorrow. I married Drew as much for the father I knew he’d make as for the husband I knew he’d be, and I imagine, when I see him step into that role, I will fall in love with him all over again. And it will be that new love that holds us together on the tough days when I haven’t slept and the baby’s crying and motherhood is unraveling me in ways I haven’t known before. At least, that’s my hope. And it’s a hope renewed every time I feel those kicks. What is it about baby kicks that make it feel like everything’s going to be all right?
BecBoo84 June 29, 2011, 12:11 pm
Congratulations again, Wendy! I love the baby bump picture 🙂
sweetleaf June 29, 2011, 12:20 pm
When I was preggers I wore out Astral Weeks by Van Morrison. That album was on repeat for my entire last trimester. Miss Penelope is 6 years old now and she still loves it. Isn’t it fun to play music for the little person growing in your tummy? I also play guitar too, but after awhile I really couldn’t play comfortably. My big belly was in the way! Also, I think Fats Condell is a kick-ass name! teehee…
Yozi June 30, 2011, 4:48 pm
Astral Weeks is pretty much my favorite album ever. I’m not even really a big Morrison fan, strangely. There’s just something about that album. It’s so perfect.
PFG-SCR June 29, 2011, 12:21 pm
“I married Drew as much for the father I knew he’d make as for the husband I knew he’d be, and I imagine, when I see him step into that roll, I will fall in love with him all over again.”
This is so completely true – watching the man you love with the child you created together is incredibly moving.
Congratulations again, and such a gorgeous picture!!!
TheOtherMe June 29, 2011, 12:57 pm
That part made me well up with tears.
PFG-SCR June 29, 2011, 1:08 pm
It did me, too.
Then, it made me remember something funny – with my first, I had a c-section under general anesthesia, and when they were taking me to the recovery area, I see my husband holding our newborn (first child) on one arm while talking on the phone (to my parents) with the other. My _first_ thought was, “Can someone please take the baby because he’s not very good at doing two things at once?!?!”
TheOtherMe June 29, 2011, 1:33 pm
Hahaha… I can almost imagine it !! 🙂
fast eddie June 29, 2011, 8:16 pm
That’s a really good one. FUNNY!
melikeycheesecake June 29, 2011, 12:23 pm
Wow. What a touching post! Thank you for sharing this experience with us!!! You look gorgeous and baby boy is so lucky to have you and Drew!
SGMcG June 29, 2011, 12:23 pm
Wendy you look STUNNING! And I LOVE hearing how you’re interacting with baby already. Wendrew is so lucky to have such kickass parents.
Nina June 29, 2011, 12:28 pm
Wendy you look absolutely stunning!!! SO beautiful 🙂
Elle June 29, 2011, 12:35 pm
I bet you get this all the time, Wendy, but you are just glowing! And I have to say, I absolutely love your positive attitude!
TMSC June 29, 2011, 12:39 pm
You look so beautiful, Wendy! Thank you so much for sharing this part of your life with Dear Wendy followers. I enjoyed reading this post so much!
kerrycontrary June 29, 2011, 12:44 pm
What a great post!! Drew sounds like he’s going to be such a great dad even before the baby is born. You are lucky to have found a man that wants to be so involved. Congratulations again, and you DO look beautiful pregnant.
BoomChakaLaka June 29, 2011, 12:48 pm
You make pregnancy look gorgeous! This post was incredibly moving and makes me all giddy inside about one day having a family of my own.
Yammy June 29, 2011, 1:17 pm
What a special time this is! Makes me a little nostalgic for when I was expecting my son. I somehow doubt my hypothetical pregnancy with my second will be as serene as my first was, but I’m definitely looking forward to it (in a few years!).
And I have to agree with everyone else, you do look lovely. Very vibrant!
Blitzen June 29, 2011, 1:19 pm
You look lovely. 🙂
MsMisery June 29, 2011, 1:33 pm
Awwwww, this post gave me a toothache, and I’m not even a baby person!
(PS- they have websites to help you with long division/times tables/fractions now. I wish I didn’t have to know this and I could go back to blissful forgetfulness, but alas…)
honeybeenicki June 29, 2011, 2:08 pm
We had a homework hotline when I was younger. It was a phone number they gave us in school and we could call and have the tutor on the phone help us do whatever it was we had problems with. It kind of helped, but with math its really hard to just be talked through it – I’m too visual and need to see it done.
MsMisery June 30, 2011, 8:21 am
I was good at it in high school (got up to pre-calculus, straight A’s, etc), but unless you are an architect or math teacher or something, the average person doesn’t use it, and we ALL use calculators. I’m changing career paths and the testing procedure includes a small math portion, but they make you do it by hand. It’s pretty basic math, but after 10+ years of not doing ANY math mentally, even the easy stuff is daunting.
Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com June 29, 2011, 12:34 pm
Beautiful. Thanks for sharing with us.
Wendy June 29, 2011, 12:39 pm
Thanks, you guys! Pregnancy has NOT been good on my ego in the outward/superficial sense, so it’s nice to hear such sweet comments.
MissDre June 29, 2011, 1:25 pm
Are you nuts? You’re gorgeous! I PRAY that I look as good as you do when I’m pregnant.
honeybeenicki June 29, 2011, 2:06 pm
I agree completely. I have known some people where pregnancy just flat out did not agree with them and you are not one of them from what we can see in the pictures! It looks like it is agreeing with you quite well.
ForeverYoung June 29, 2011, 4:47 pm
You have always been so pretty, but you look absolutely beautiful. You have managed to have a motherly glow to you while still looking pretty and fit. Not many people can do it, i’m convinced i’m going to get fat everywhere.
Wendy June 29, 2011, 4:51 pm
Aw, shucks, thank you. I still have four months to go though — plenty of time yet to blimp out. I go to the gym a few times a week and have long walks with Drew in the evening, so I’m hoping not to get too big, but you can only fight your genes so much…
fast eddie June 29, 2011, 8:18 pm
I think your drop dead gorgeous with a lovely glow.
bagge72 June 29, 2011, 3:42 pm
You look great! You are my David Duchonvy!
bagge72 June 29, 2011, 3:45 pm
Don’t worry Drew I have my own incredibly beautiful red head that I’m marrying next year, Wendy is just my celebrity crush!
TheOtherMe June 29, 2011, 3:49 pm
Ahhhh Bagge72, you are so awesome ♥ !!!
bagge72 June 29, 2011, 4:00 pm
Thanks! You are too :o)
Oh and if anybody wants to beat me in words with friends, just use my user name from here. I need practice, because my fiance keeps beating me!
Katy Miller June 29, 2011, 3:57 pm
What a wonderful post! Congrats to you two!! 🙂
Firegirl32 June 29, 2011, 5:13 pm
So pretty! Just beautiful!
Addie Pray June 29, 2011, 5:57 pm
I hope your baby has red curly hair.
flopsybunny June 29, 2011, 6:57 pm
You look gorgeous. I’m trying to get pregnant myself – two cycles down, and nothing yet (I’m 37) but I could’ve written this line of yours word for word – I’m worried about all that NOW!!
“I worry a lot about how I’m going to fare on no sleep and what caring for a baby 24 hours a day is going to do to my relationship, not to mention my friendships and the career I’m trying to build for myself.”
Hmm, maybe I should be more worried about actually falling pregnant. Fingers crossed. I’m at the see-babies-get-teary stage, so hopefully it happens soon!
The sleep thing is huge though. I got up early this morning to meditate which meant I have had about 7 hours. And I literally should not be operating heavy machinery – my head’s in a total fog and I feel DIZZY from missing my 8th hour. Oh dear. 🙂
Wendy June 29, 2011, 7:37 pm
Good luck!! Try acupuncture if you haven’t yet.
MonMon June 29, 2011, 7:27 pm
That was awesome Wendy, thanks for sharing! Your post made me all teary-eyed; I’m a sucker for pregnancy and baby stories lately *sigh*. You look beautiful and glowy!
Chiara June 29, 2011, 7:12 pm
Congratulations! I hit 20 weeks yesterday!! 🙂 Pregnant writers, baby.
fast eddie June 29, 2011, 8:26 pm
As you get closer lots of us would pitch in to keep the site going and give you a break. Filter letters, research or whatever. I’d could do Short Cuts. or His Take.
RoyalEagle0408 June 29, 2011, 11:28 pm
You look gorgeous!
And I’m sure Miles can help with long division. If not, I’m not too shabby at it. 🙂
Bdubs629 June 29, 2011, 11:50 pm
I have the same Thyroid disease! Even though I can’t comment on the pregnancy part (congrats again), I can comment on that. You will hopefully feel MUCH better in a couple months! My mom, my sister, and I all have it so I can tell you things will start to feel better soon!
Wendy June 30, 2011, 8:10 am
I’ve already started feeling better and am looking forward to feeling the full effects of the medication post-pregnancy when my hormones all get back to normal. I’ve been tired for so long, I think I forgot what “normal” feels like (and I know I’ll have a new normal as a mother to a newborn, but you know what I mean…).
Bdubs629 July 1, 2011, 4:45 pm
It’s funny because the tired part comes back as soon as your medication is “off”. You will most likely notice right away and you may have to adjust the dose once your hormones settle, but like my doctor reminds me its one of the “easiest” diseases. (although I have three “easy” diseases that aren’t so easy all together!)
Skyblossom June 30, 2011, 7:57 am
Wow! You are beautiful!!! Pregnancy seems to agree with you.
As for the tiredness or lack of sleep after the baby is born the thing that helped me the most with both of my kids was feeding them while laying down in bed at night because as soon as they are feeding you can go back to sleep. So you feed them and sleep at the same time. This is in the La Leche League book “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.” I thought the entire concept was ridiculous until my son was two weeks old and I dozed off while feeding him in the middle of the night and could have dropped him (he could have rolled off my lap because I was sitting on the edge of the bed.) It was a scary moment and I realized I had to do something different because this was going to be going on for quite a while. So I layed down and started feeding him again and went right to sleep. My husband and I both started sleeping much better at that point. He works at a large site with over 400 people and there were four of them who had newborns at home. The rest were staggering in exhausted and he was coming in well rested and someone actually asked him what was wrong because he wasn’t tired. They thought something had to be terribly wrong in our marriage if he was getting some sleep. When you’re not both exhausted you also both have more patience and are in much better moods which helps the marriage!
The other thing I found was that I could sit at the computer while feeding my daughter and work while I was feeding her during the day. If you can prop the baby properly so that they aren’t rolling away or sagging away (which will pull like crazy on your nipple and hurt) then you can have both hands free and work while feeding the baby. If you need an arm under the baby to hold them in the right position you can type with one hand and although it is slower you can get pretty good at it. I have done quite alot of work one handed so, although you will be slowed by the baby, after a few weeks you will probably hit your stride and manage to work out many of your difficulties.
One of the big first hurdles if you are breastfeeding is learning how to do it. Breastfeeding is a learned skill for both the mother and the baby. The problem is that if you learn to do it wrong you will both continue to do it wrong. I can’t recommend enough that it makes a huge difference if you get some books on breastfeeding. They tell you how to position the baby and how to get it latched on. It is important to get more than just the nipple into the babies mouth and if it hurts stop and start over because if it hurts you aren’t doing it right. If you are having trouble go to a lactation consultant immediately or get advice from an online breastfeeding group.
Baby time comes out of couple time and at first that won’t bother you but at some point it can begin to wear on the marriage and you just need to be aware that you may at some point have to change the way you do things. Just address things as you need to. I’ve found that when the child is two-years-old it is the most difficult year because toddlers go nonstop and can get themselves into trouble in the time it takes you to go to the bathroom. The nonstop vigilance is exhausting and it takes a toll on both husband and wife.
Another thing we have found in our marriage is that whenever you have a major life change you will have to come to a new balance as to who does what in and for the home. You both need to jump in and do what you can when you can and things will settle into a new pattern.
Wendy June 30, 2011, 8:14 am
Thank you for the advice! I’ll keep all of it in mind.
Lexington June 30, 2011, 8:48 am
I don’t think you could get any more adorable. Finis.
lk June 30, 2011, 11:22 am
GAH. That is the prettiest picture & from what you’ve written I know that baby is going to grow up so ready to fall in love with the world & accept the love the world gives to him.
Sue Jones June 30, 2011, 11:25 am
Awww, that made me get a little teary. I remember them days! And we DO go to the zoo, go on picnics, go on hikes, bike, go swimming, go to school, learn math and reading, go to birthday parties, etc! In fact his 8th is coming up and I need to get with the planning program!! Enjoy this sweet time!
Sue Jones June 30, 2011, 11:27 am
And as for the Hashimoto’s , my advice is to go 100% gluten free in your diet. I am a health practitioner, and along with the medication, this really helps. IT may even help to reduce your dosage of the medication since gluten can contribute to all sorts of autoimmune stuff.