Saturday, July 21, 2012

First Trimester Reflections

It's hard to believe the first trimester is already almost over!

I feel like I've been saying this ever since Jennifer and I got together, but time really seems to fly by and stand still all at once.

It feels like we just got married a few weeks ago... but it's already been 3 years.

And it feels like we just found out we were having a baby yesterday, but it's already been almost two months since we found out!

January still feels so far away, but I know it'll get here before we know it.

Jennifer has been going through a lot these past few weeks, and I've done my best to help keep her as comfortable as possible. A lot of times there wasn't anything I could do for her -- the thought of eating anything would make her want to vomit, or she had a pain here or there that just wouldn't go away, or she was going crazy being stuck on the couch all day.

So when she got a craving for something specific, I was perfectly happy to drop everything to get it for her. It really was the least I could do.

It was really pretty interesting, too -- some cravings didn't have to be satisfied right away. She'd say "sometime soon, I'd like..." whatever it was, so I made a mental note to make sure she got it.

Other cravings were immediate, as in "I need brownies like 10 minutes ago!"

Most cravings fell into the latter category, which had me rushing out to the store as quick as I could to get whatever it was.  I had to laugh when I found myself walking around Meijer with this in my basket:


Yep, pistachios, Mini Chewy SweeTarts, and cheese ravioli.

"And if you get the regular SweeTarts I'm going to beat your ass!"
(She was joking, of course. At least I think so...)

I've been pretty light-hearted about it all, and I've been trying to soak in as much as I can.

We both wanted this so bad and for so long that we're still in disbelief that it's actually happening, and that we'll have a new baby in our house come January.

There are times it definitely still feels like a dream -- that one day I'm going to wake up and realize that none of it was real. I'm not sure why I get those feelings. Maybe it's to keep me in check, or to help reinforce that every day is a gift.

Some of the books I've been reading talk about how the reality of things usually hits the mom right away, but that doesn't happen for the dad until later (usually when they see the baby on the ultrasound, or when they feel the first kick).

I think it really hit me the morning we found out. Mentally, I had been preparing myself ever since we decided to start trying. That morning we got the positive test was unlike anything I've ever experienced before. I wanted to run around screaming that I was going to be a dad, but all I could do was hug Jennifer and cry. I think I was finally able to let go of a lot of things I had been carrying around.

I feel like I changed right away. Not so much that I was really any different, or that I became a better husband or parent, but that I was doing things with a renewed sense of purpose. I realized how important I am to our family, and I wanted to give even more of myself to them.

Seeing the baby on the ultrasound screen for the first time was unbelievable. I was nervous about not seeing a heart beat, but it was one of the first things I saw. Being able to hear it really helped reassure some of my fears.

Interestingly enough, seeing the baby again at 12 weeks gave me mixed feelings. I was completely amazed at how much he or she had grown in just four weeks, and the 3D images were incredible! But I definitely had feelings that the images were simulated -- that we weren't really seeing our baby.

Those feelings have gone away now, and looking at the pictures again over the past few days has made everything feel real again. I'm so curious to see what our little one will look like, but I guess that anticipation is just part of the fun.

I thought it would be fun to see how the things I'm excited about or scared of change as we get closer to meeting our baby, so here's the current run-down:

Things I'm excited about

  • Everything!
but seriously,
  • Getting the nursery ready
  • Watching the baby grow
  • Buying cute clothes
  • Feeling the baby kick
  • Watching the birth
  • Holding the baby for the first time
  • Learning how to swaddle
  • The baby sleeping on my chest (not sure why, but it's something I've always wanted to experience)
  • Baby's first smile
  • Baby's first laugh
  • Being "daddy"
  • Seeing if my parental instincts kick in
  • Those times when it's just me and the baby
  • Seeing how the puppies react to the baby
  • Watching the baby try new foods

Things that scare the crap out of me

  • Everything!
  • Something going wrong
  • How I'll be with limited sleep (I get pretty grumpy, and I really don't want to take it out on Jen or anybody else). I could just be being naive, but I have a feeling waking up in the middle of the night for our little miracle will keep my mood in check.
  • Really screwing this kid up!
  • My parental instincts not kicking in

That's really about all I can think of right now.

I think jumping into parenthood when B had just turned 4 has really given me confidence about being a parent (although I know having a newborn will be a completely different experience).

That, and going through all of this with Jennifer is a big reassurance. She's an amazing mom and wife, and we've already seen that we can go through just about anything together.

Now if only she could start feeling better!

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