Week 12 of What to Expect When You Are Expecting, Again

Week 12
How you are feeling: Duh.

Your friend Scott has the audacity to say one of those obnoxious pregnancy comments. Scott, father of four. Saying the words. Scott is your friend. Scott is asking if you know how this happens.
You: “You know what, Scott? I have already heard that one about ten times TODAY. You people need to get some new material!”
Scott: “Um, we will when y’all do.”
And that reminds you why Scott is your friend. Because despite barfing your pent up pregnancy hormones on him, he is fluent in your love language: sarcasm. This exchange sticks with you as you continue interacting with people. You recognize we are each doing our best, connecting and sharing life as best we can, each unique in ability and thought. Sometimes we are clumsy and unkind, but mostly we just yearn to understand and be understood. You start to romanticize your thoughts about this new child you are carrying, you think bold beautiful thoughts about this innocents impact on the world…Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” starts to play in your mind as you gaze upon your fellow humans and marvel at our frailty, our potential…
and then you see a guy ask your husband “Are all those kids yours?” and then HIGH FIVE your husband for his what? Virility? Momentary contribution to the miracle of life?
You know how many times you, baby grower, will get high-fived?
never.
not once.
Let’s be the change. Let us scowl at the father of multiples and ask him the questions and start highfiving the crap out of our fellow moms!

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Week 11 of What to Expect When You Are Expecting, Again

Week 11
How you are feeling: Well, still crappy. Headaches, all the puking, incontinence, walking farts, tender nips etc…
Gah.
And then people want to talk to you. And they also want to share the very funny things they have heard on sitcoms and read on the internets of awesome things that they should say to a pregnant woman who is FOR REALS trying to not dry heave in their presence due to the amount of smells humans apply to their bodies.
I hear you, momma and I am totally with you. In fact, this week I have decided to write a cheat sheet for us so we have a prepared snarky or gentle response to other human’s super funny comments.

“Do y’all not have a TV?”
Snarky: “Yes. The kids were watching it.”
Mild: “We do. We just don’t have cable.”

“You do know how that happens, right?”
Snarky: “Have you ever seen my husband?”
or
“Yes. We are currently pursuing litigation with Jose Cuervo.”
Mild: “Yes.”

“Are y’all trying to be like that Duggar family?”
Snarky: “Absolutely. We base most of our important life decisions on imagined competition with the people on reality television. For instance, I am currently involved in a Kylie Jenner lip challenge. Vote for me at BigLips4Life@seriously.com.”
Mild: “Who?”

“Are y’all Mormon or Catholic?”
Snarky: “Oh I see. An assumption based on appearances. Let me try… hmm.. you are wearing too much cologne and your pants are far too tight and your combover has reached critical mass… I’m thinking you probably peaked in high school.”
Mild: “Human.”

“How many are in there??”
Snarky: “Don’t make me cut you.”
Mild: “One.”

“This is my first pregnancy and I feel so awful and tired. I guess it gets easier the more you have, huh?”
Snarky: “Absolutely. It’s pretty much like riding a bike, with a child dangling from each ankle and wrist, whilst your hemorrhoids send shock waves through your body with each bump, as your poor circulation turns your legs purple with a road map of spider veins and your varicose veins bulge, but you are wearing shorts anyway because as GOD IS MY WITNESS IF I HAVE TO LIVE IT THEN YOU CAN DEAL WITH SEEING IT. Oh, and I pee a little when I laugh, cough, sneeze, sing, cook, and I really can’t ride a bike without needing to pee.”
Mild: “The blessing at the end erases all the struggle from your mind.”

The following questions, when asked by a stranger, only warrant snark. These are impertinent questions and should always be handled with subtle sarcasm that will leave them thinking…or tweeting hateful things about you. Whatevs. We all grow in our own way.
Stranger: “Are y’all done???”
You: “Done what? Enjoying a fulfilling marriage and the occasional surprises of life? Gosh, I hope not!”

Stranger: “So, is one of you going to get fixed?”
You: “Clearly nothing is broken.”

Stranger: “OMG! I would hate to have that many kids!!!”
You: “Well, praise Him from whom all blessings flow that you don’t. Now, go call your mother and thank her for putting up with your crappy attitude.”

Week 10 of What to Expect When You Are Expecting, Again

Week 10
How you are feeling: Like a delicate flower. You know, the kind that wretches, wets itself, and breaks wind as it walks. Pretty pretty flower.
A fun change you are noticing this week is that you are no longer just the mild mannered momma who teaches Sunday school and shops at Costco. Nope. You have a secret and it is not the baby.
Mommy has a potty mouth.
Here you are, this matronly mother of multiples, carrying another precious baby and you find yourself using ALL THE WORDS. Your internal dialogue is peppered with vocabulary of the four letter variety. It’s not your fault. It is the combination of hormonal changes and dumb people boldly going forth with their words. For instance, when a stranger looks at your already swollen tummy and begins a conversation with you about how darling you look pregnant and then upon hearing you are only 10 weeks she says with an unflattering amount of shock, “You look like THAT and you are HOW FAR???”
Your inner hulk begins to turn green as your muscles flex themselves right out of your pastel maternity blouse and you snarl, “I am early enough that I have enough hormones coursing through my veins that I can crush you with my bare hands, but not so far that I am physically incapable of carrying it out.”
The mild mannered part of you instead responds with a delicate blush and a lilt of laughter saying, “This is my fifth baby.”
Make no mistake, that response is the lie. The truest expression of your feelings is the hulk out. Embrace it and then send me pictures of the aftermath.

The Day Everything Changed

I’d like to share a story with you and then I’d like to ask you to take another step.

I went to Trinity Christian School until high school. Then I begged my parents to let me go to public school. Reluctantly, they allowed their sheltered child to attend Coronado High School. It was a culture shock. I mean, I was pretty sheltered even for a Trinity student, but for Coronado…forget it. I was in a foreign land where everyone spoke a different language and I was utterly lost. I was used to uniforms and lots of talk about Jesus. In this new world I felt like everyone already knew who they were and dressed to reflect that knowledge, and “Jesus” was what people muttered when I got in their way. I cried more than once and hid in the bathroom often.

I took a computer class that year and my assigned seat was next to a pretty blond girl with big blue eyes. “Of course,” I thought, taking my seat “I get to sit next to a model and she’ll probably hate me too.”

I was wrong.

Her name was Leah and she could be rough around the edges, but she was always nice to me. She talked to me and laughed at my jokes. She was a good listener and shared some of her story with me . She invited me to lunch with her friends a few times. She was just one of those honest-to-goodness sweet people.

One day I finished my work in that class early and decided to use my “free internet” time to look up lyrics to a song I really liked but couldn’t quite catch all the lyrics. Now this was in the Year of Our Lord Nineteen Hundred and Ninety Eight so internet access in the classroom was an emerging thing and while firewalls were in place they were rudimentary at best and A LOT of kids knew how to get around it and even considered it a game to pull up inappropriate material when the teacher wasn’t looking. Thus, we were all monitored very closely and if someone was caught looking up something they shouldn’t they were immediately sent to the principal’s office and the punishment was severe. Nbd for me. I wasn’t really the rebellious type and besides, sex and violence were not on my radar.

So, back to looking on the Yahoo for that song… yeah, i’m not sure Google was even around yet…

I typed: “One+Week”

Too many potential results.

“Song+One+Week”

Still too many results.

“Lyrics+to+song+One+week”

…ugh… Finally, I turned to Leah and asked her if she knew the band’s name…?  She did! “Sweet! Thanks!”

I typed it in: “Barenaked+Ladies” A red stop sign filled my screen and my search was sent to the teacher. My search for BARENAKED LADIES. Oh sweet baby Jesus.

This teacher did not like me and was grinning like a maniac as she approached my seat saying, “Well, Amber, I did not expect YOU to be the one looking for pictures of naked women in my class!” The most obnoxious guy in my graduating class was also sitting next to me and he started laughing and saying some pretty disgusting things to me and calling me names. I froze. I was used to being mostly invisible, and now everyone was looking at me, seeing me for the first time, and suddenly the girl who had never kissed a boy, been on a date, or held a hand was developing quite the reputation.

Leah told the creep off in very descriptive language, then told Professor Umbridge (not really the teacher’s name, but a shout out to my fellow HP nerds and a very appropriate reference) to look at my search history, which clearly showed my intentions. Then Leah joked about how ridiculously prude and sheltered I was and how I probably had no idea what they were all even talking about.

And that was the reputation that stuck. I am forever grateful that I survived high school relatively unscathed, and I fully recognize it is in no small part due to a pretty girl standing up for this nerdy girl at a time in our lives when it was always easier to laugh with everyone, than to stand up for someone.

This story has gotten a lot of mileage, (especially from my mom, who literally thinks it is the most hilarious story of all time), but I betcha Leah never thought twice about it. Never knew the impact of her words, of her choice, in that moment. I’ll not know if she remembered, at least not this side of heaven, because Leah died suddenly and unexpectedly a week ago. As lives do after high school we drifted apart, though we caught up briefly on Facebook. I do know that she was a mommy who loved her three kiddos deeply and I know that she was married and was happy.

Her family is grieving now and also tasked with paying the unexpected costs of a love lost too soon. I wish I had shared with her how thankful I am, even today, that she was bold and kind. But I am honored to share one small story of many stories that made her who she was.

If you would like to join me in going a step further, sharing a story or a donation for her family, here is the link:

http://www.youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/in-loving-memory-of-leah-carden-zenger/347445#.VUm7upVrY80.facebook

Week 9 of What to Expect When You Are Expecting, Again

Week 9

How you are feeling: Awful.

This week your baby is no longer considered an “embryo” and is now referred to as a “fetus”. It is important to note that such terminology will mean nothing to your children who refer to the baby as “the reason mom is puking again” or “why mom looks so fat” and this little gem “her belly looks really really gross! Go see!!”

Ah, children.

Speaking of children, perhaps you have had an ultrasound and are sick of wearing blankets and carrying around empty boxes in an effort to hide your pregnancy from those you are closest with, so you look at the cherubic faces of your children and think, “Oh, we should get them matching t-shirts and photograph the most darling pregnancy announcement of all time!!”

You had this thought because pregnancy brain has already set in and you are now a dummy.

Scroll through to find out EXACTLY what it will look like:

“Y’all. Seriously? ANOTHER ONE???”

IMG_2802
This guy.
IMG_2783
So. Much. Joy.
IMG_2787
“Look into my sad baby eyes. I hope my tears haunt your dreams, forever.”
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“…soooo…I think we’re done here.”
IMG_2792
Oh for the love…why are we still documenting this?
IMG_2803
Magical.
IMG_2791
If you don’t look to hard at the girl’s tear-filled eyes, it’s almost…
IMG_2796
Yeah.
IMG_2797
Next year’s Christmas card?
IMG_2794
We’re not finished till I say we are finished.
IMG_2801
Sigh.
IMG_2798
Ok. We’re finished.
IMG_2804
Note: though evidence would suggest otherwise, no child was tortured in anyway other than being told there would be a new baby.

Week 8 of What to Expect When You Are Expecting, Again

Week 8

How you are feeling: Like death, which is remarkable considering you are carrying a life.         The thought of food makes you barf, and so does the absence of food. Your family trembles with fear every time you announce, “dinner is ready!” Their fear is understandable because food created by you is either:

1)  the product of when you thought you would get creative and throw together some of the weird things that have sounded vaguely appealing (olives and ketchup, anyone?)

or…

2)  you started throwing up about 2 minutes before the oven timer went off and when you threw up you also peed a little, so by the time you cleaned up and changed underwear**  the meatloaf had become a blackened brick of inedible crunch. ** you no longer use the word “panties”.  Pretty, dainty things are the reason you are going through this again.

Your family will do their best to take in enough nourishment to survive during this time, but you should help by making sure you have plenty of peanut butter and spoons on hand.

This week you find you are drooling even when you are awake, not because anything sounds yummy (no seriously, get that AWAY FROM ME.) but because you literally do not have the energy to swallow the extra saliva you are producing. In addition to spit, your body’s blood volume has increased 40-50% which can cause mind numbing headaches. If you find yourself drooling and forgetting your other children’s names, take heart! You are a sloppy mess, but your lil raspberry sized human is flourishing!

This week you may also be experiencing the oft entertaining phenomenon of the “walking farts”. This is a rarely discussed though common occurrence whereby a pregnant female biped will experience bouts of pressure relief with each footfall during her routine  course of hunting and gathering (trips to Target). This is an innocuous form of pressure relief and should never be confused with the toxic flatulence of male bipeds of advanced age. One way to easily distinguish between the two gaseous forms is observing the visage of the offender: is the human blushing with obvious embarrassment and wearing yoga pants? Or is the perpetrator grinning like a maniac and bald with a great deal of hair growing from nostrils and ears?

It is important in these moments that you do not lose your mind and start apologizing to the strangers on the aisle. You have kids! Maybe one or two of them are still wearing diapers…blame it on them. Trust me, your children will never remember that you did this and they are not verbal enough to deny it. This is why you had babies.

Let’s see, week 8 also means your family and friends are pointedly conversing exclusively with your belly wondering when you are going to acknowledge that you are either pregnant or that you have just completely given up on getting in shape and are hitting the bottle and the cupcakes pretty hard. Strangers are touching your doughy belly and asking you when you are due.

So, Same Time Next Week?

The firefighter and I volunteered to teach Sunday School to our four year old and his class this year. I think we have done a pretty good job. Tried to come up with activities that fit the lesson and really bonded with these kiddos.

…well…

Maybe we have become too comfortable.

The firefighter and our boy, Connor, got to class before I finished dropping off our other kiddos and when I walked in Connor was complaining to his daddy about a splinter in his foot. As Connor peeled off his sock to show the firefighter, I left the class to rifle through the church’s first aid kit and found some tweezers and alcohol swabs and took them to the firefighter. The firefighter and a couple of four year old’s were looking at our son’s foot with mild curiosity. We still had a few minutes before our class officially started so I told the firefighter that I needed to go grab the supplies we needed for our activity and I would be back in a few minutes.

As I walked out the door I also vaguely mentioned that I had seen something about getting splinters out with baking soda, just in case it was going to be an involved process, we could just get it out later. Then I left my big, strong, firefighter husband and our sweet little class as I went downstairs for supplies, waddled off to the bathroom, and chatted for a moment with a friend.

These were critical minutes, I would soon discover.

I walked in to find our son laying on the table, his leg across his daddy’s lap, squawking. My husband was trying to wrangle this child, who is dramatic at the best of times, but at this moment he was feral with terror. It seemed he was overreacting again… until I saw the knife.

Yes.

Knife.

My husband and I like to be prepared. For me, preparation looks like a ready supply of snacks and water bottles in the car, just in case. I also have an emergency supply of bubbles, crayons, and coloring books. I have a totally pimped out changing station in the back, a collapsable wagon, and a picnic blanket cuz you never know. The firefighter is prepared with things like parachute cord, a flashlight, and a knife on his belt clip. He’s like Bear Grylls, minus the accent. He uses his knife all the time, to the point that he doesn’t even consider the fact that most people do not interact multiple times a day with a knife. We have almost been detained at airports because it’s just part of his daily life. Kind of like the average human’s pants. Except it’s a knife.

The fluorescent church lighting glinted off the knife’s blade as the firefighter looked at our child’s foot with the focus of a surgeon, seeing only the splinter and not the wide eyes of the three 4 year old’s who were watching the scene unfold.

When I ran in and hollered at him to stop, he just looked at me like I was acting like a crazy person. Yes, the man pinning our child down whilst holding a knife in front of a bunch of small children felt my raised voice was irrational behavior.

“Babe, it’s just right there. I’ve pretty much got it.”

“Dude. You are holding a knife. This is not normal to these kids. Look!”

I pointed to one of the small observers who was self soothing by repeatedly smoothing his hands through his hair, as he waited to see what would happen next.

“Huh…Oh. Connor, put your shoe back on. We’ll just get it out later.”

This made for a nice transition to our lesson. Jesus showing love by washing the disciples’ feet.

Week 7 of What to Expect When You Are Expecting, Again

Week 7

How you are feeling:

According to whattoexpect.com “While your baby is the size of a blueberry, your breasts probably look more like melons” this week. Oh absolutely.

Shut up, Whattoexpect.com! You don’t know me. Or my life. Or post-nursing-multiple-babies pregnancy boobies. Melons… Ha! More like melon balls flopping awkwardly around in tube socks.

Whoops. Sorry, reader, I made this about me. This is about you/us. So, if your jugs look like they belong in a Swimsuit Edition whilst pregnant, go away. My bad. What I mean to say is, “how nice for you.”

This week you (and your breasts) may be examined by your doctor’s nurse practitioner who will comment upon looking at your breasts, “Isn’t it just a miracle that you can feed a baby with those things?” Upon reflection, she will insist that she was merely making a blanket statement that has nothing to do with what is happening under your shirt in particular. It is important that you understand she is lying to you. It actually is a dang miracle. Praise.

To sum up, your bewbs hurt and are probably in various stages of inflation and also deflation.

Tit is what tit is.

Let’s see…oh yes, barfing. You are definitely doing that. A lot. You have now been barfing for one week. You are still in the loud wretching phase, but by next week you should have perfected the ability to hork quietly and with grace and poise. Until you get to that point you are gagging, spitting, splattering, and coughing, then rushing to flush and clean up before one of your kiddos sees what you have done, cuz you haven’t lived till you have cleaned up vomit from a puke-train of sympathetic vomiters (your children).

Do not despair, you do have options: you may, of course, call your doctor to get a prescription called in, buuuuut when you read the list of possible side effects, you may decide death by vomiting is preferable to “hysteria, excessive sweating, mental or mood changes, yellowing of the skin etc…” Because who doesn’t love being a sweaty, hysterical, yellow ball of cray cray?

Or, you could go the natural route. Make sure you keep your electrolytes balanced. EmergenC is a great supplement for those needs. Drink plenty of water. Try to eat a little something every couple of hours. Make sure your pants are roomy in the belly area. Peppermint, lemon and ginger are all natural remedies.

But mostly complaining loudly and often is universally recognized as the best home remedy. By being super contentious and unpleasant, all the people and their smells are sure to stay far from you. No one wants to poke a momma bear.

Ain’t nobody got time or sick leave for that.

Week 6 of What to Expect When You Are Expecting, Again

Week 6

How you are feeling:

Hello, nausea! Remember the giant horse pill they call a prenatal vitamin? Yeah, that sucker is going to try to kill you slowly, as it gets lodged in your gag reflex area and you struggle to remember the point of the dang thing, if it really is so important that it make it down or if you could maybe just go ahead and ralph it and whatever else might be lingering in your belly… Well, unfortunately your vitamin is important for your sweet-pea sized bebe, so you need to keep it in. Here is a very real and helpful excercise: try to focus on something beautiful, like Ryan Gosling’s face. You would never vomit in front of Ryan Gosling’s face. I would say your darling husband, but right now all you can think about that man is how he did this to you, again. Don’t worry, those feelings will subside, but not for a couple of months, so go ahead and find a “Hey Girl” meme and take that vitamin.

Frequent urination. Yes, people will excuse a giant waddling pregnant woman from peeing all the live long day, but when you have not made the ol pregnancy announcement and you are peeing every 10 minutes people look at you with concern and give you their doctor’s home number.  Scientific fact: if you go 14 minutes between potty breaks, the added pressure will make you vomit. Also, brushing your teeth, changing diapers, walking in the garage, wearing pants, eating food, driving past KFC and/or McDonald’s, the word “moist”, etc..everything will make you vomit. This is your life now. Because you are carrying a miracle.

You are still in the “we’re not telling people, but my belly is” stage, so you try to conceal your burgeoning midsection with tunics, scarves, blanket scarves, until eventually you just start wearing blankets. This might be a weird thing for a first time mom to start doing, but at this stage in your life most of the folks who work at your grocery store have already seen you in your pajamas, with unbrushed teeth and days old mascara streaking down your face because life. Besides, if you stick a bow as big as your daughter’s face in her hair, no one is going to give you a second look. At least in Texas this is considered a pass. Or, if you forgot the bow, just take your baby somewhere sans socks. I promise every elderly woman WILL FIND YOU and tell you your baby needs socks. Bless them. They have forgotten that science has dedicated money toward making seedless watermelons (how is this even possible??) not toward infant socks that stay on infant feet. The point is, these simple life hacks are guaranteed to take the attention away from the fact that you are wearing a blanket.

Week 5 of What to Expect When You Are Expecting, Again

Week 5

How you are feeling: Tender nips, especially if the baby you are still breastfeeding is teething. Lil punkin’ is just asking to be weaned. You also increasingly notice your heightened sense of smell. Like, to the point where you can tell your husband everything he ate that day because you can smell it seeping from his pores. It’s as if you are a Super Hero. With a really crappy super power. This week you are definitely tired, because it takes a lot of work to create love handles, er…I mean, a baby.

An amazing thing about this week is your baby’s circulatory system is already pumping blood and if you were to have an ultrasound this week you may be able to see the heart beating. That beautiful flutter on the screen will make you forget the fact that the technician is not waving the ultrasound wand over your belly this early in pregnancy. Huh uh. You are seeing that miracle whilst wearing a paper gown during a very awkward encounter happening south of the border. Just focus on the pretty heartbeat…

Perhaps you are wondering why in the world a person would have an ultrasound so early. There are many reasons a doctor might choose to closely monitor your pregnancy early on, oooooor maybe it’s because you literally have no idea how far along your are. If you are breastfeeding, you may not have had a return of Aunt Flo. Understand this: the absence of the crimson wave does not mean an absence of pregnability. You hear that, young people? You can always get pregnant!

This week you discover how big of a lush you are in the eyes of your friends and family.  Seems like everywhere you turn, someone is offering you a glass of wine. Actually, the more you think about it, maybe THEY have a drinking problem! You could think that, except when you turn down wine, you notice your in-laws all exchanging a knowing look.  Or when you quietly decline a glass at a girl’s craft night and your friend hollers, “UM, COULD I TALK TO YOU FOR JUST A MINUTE?” while half a dozen of your closest friends nonchalantly follow you both down the hall for what promises to be as enthusiastic and giggly of a convo as when you and your 15 year old friends discussed french kissing and Leonardo DiCaprio. Now, you could blame the excessive number of these imbibing encounters on the holidays, but let’s be super honest; you have 4 kids, of course you drink! Just kidding.

Not really.

Just kidding.

No, but seriously.