This sentiment is so out of character for me that I’m sure those of you who know me well will think I’m being forced to pleasant-blog with a gun to my head. But since I’ve been pregnant, the generosity and helpfulness of friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances and even some strangers has truly been cold-dead-black-heart-melting.
To start with, I’ve been blown away from the very beginning by all the things people have been willing to honestly share with me about their own experiences. From worry, paranoia and anxiety to bleeding, hemorrhoids, heartburn and beyond – SO beyond. People – some I’m not even that close to – have come out of the woodwork to tell me things that have made me feel a little less nuts/gross/alone. Every pregnancy comes with its own set of disgusting/painful/worrisome afflictions…and it’s always nice to hear from someone who has been where you are – or worse. And, to hear about some of these things in advance so when/if they do happen, you know that it’s pretty normal. And if they don’t happen, you can thank your lucky stars that you managed to dodge at least a few bullets – like so far, hemorrhoids – knock on motherfuckin’ wood.
And then there’s all the stuff. Holy crap, do people love to give you stuff when you’re having a baby! We are so lucky in this department that we have barely had to buy a thing so far. The grandparents (both sets) sprung for the beautiful crib and slick stroller. Family and friends near and far are making us crib sheets, quilts, hats, blankies, car seat covers and curtains as I type. My mom ran all over town picking up necessities, cleaned, pressed and organized all the hand-me-down clothing by size, and assembled/stored the bassinet. We’ve gotten a great deal on a barely used car seat and extra base, more baby clothes than we know what to do with and a whack of assorted gadgets and gear. And these are just the hand-me-downs and loaners we’ve received ahead of time, pre- (totally unnecessary at this point) baby shower! A couple girls even passed along enough maternity wear that I didn’t need to buy any myself, including one coworker who totally saved my ass with summer stuff for my trip to Hawaii, seeing as I hadn’t exactly stocked up on maternity shorts and tank tops for my fall/winter pregnancy.
One of the very best gifts we’ve gotten so far was the gift of slave labour for a weekend from Brother (in-law) Greg. In the midst of my house-purging/nesting mental breakdown, he came to help us clean out a literal dump truck-load of garbage to make room for baby and then make an actual room for baby by setting up the dresser and crib. And the two of them did all of this under my watchful, demanding, whip-cracking supervision without a word of complaint. It was awesome, and it instantly took my stress level down about 500 notches.
Now as d-day draws closer, I’m especially thankful to have friends who have recently had babies (like Becky and Kristyn, who have definitely gotten the brunt of this next paragraph) and are willing to answer my probing – verging on intrusive – questions about their labour and delivery. I know everybody is different, but I want to ask people I trust things like, are you glad you skipped the epidural? Did the morphine/gas help? What did you actually use that you packed in your hospital bag? Who did you have in the room with you? What do you think about a doula? Am I crazy to encapsulate my placenta? Did you bleed a lot? What was the worst part? etc. etc.
Hmm…so I wrote most of the above about a week ago, and now that d-day is REALLY drawing near, I find myself done with the questions. And largely tuning most of the unsolicited commentary out. It feels like now is the time to go with the flow and stop consciously thinking about things. I only have a limited number of time left to eat ice cream every single day while actually losing weight (this happens towards the end of pregnancy, apparently) and so this fantastical paradox must be appreciated without question.