Road Rage on Hormonal Steroids

I could see it all happening in slow motion, but really it happened so fast that my adrenaline began pumping so quickly through my body that I was tempted to chase her down!

I’ve always had a certain level of road rage. I don’t have patience for idiotic drivers, nor do I care for those people who claim that they are entitled to a driver’s license and have a right to drive. First off, having a license is a privilege not a right and secondly, the whole sense of entitlement is what’s wrong with society and nauseates me more than my first trimester of pregnancy! And so sense I was already cursed with a short fuse, especially with fellow drivers, you can only imagine how much worse it is now that I’m pregnant. I sometimes have an out-of-body experience and imagine myself just snapping and claiming pre-partum anxiety as my mental defense when I finally decide to run the moronic drivers off the road!

Today, I’m on my way home from work, rush hour traffic on the interstate. I have already merged into the left hand lane off of my exit and got in behind a dark green Dodge Durango with an obnoxious Tennessee Volunteers sticker plastered on the back window. I turn my left directional on and decide to merge into the next lane, which happens flawlessly. With my directional off, I start to set my speed and cruise on down the interstate when Ms. Green Durango Vols Fan just decides to get over into my lane as well. What do I do? Well, the same thing any defensive driver would do, I lay on the horn! She seems to ignore this and keeps merging into my lane, while the entire time I’m pushing down on my horn. I didn’t even take the opportunity to see what was in the lane to my left, but immediately swerve into the left hand lane as the Durango comes into mine. Immediately I look into my rearview mirror and see a gentleman in a champagne colored Ford Focus slam on his brakes and all I can think is “oh my, God, this is going to cause a huge pile up and I’m going to go into labor early!”

By this point, Ms. Tennessee is right alongside me and is on her cell phone! She already has one hand off the wheel as she’s using it to hold her cell phone and proceeds to take the other hand off the wheel to flip me off and mouth a very unladylike word that I can only imagine is F you! Then she speeds off! At that point my temper was boiling over and had I have been in my old car, my beloved Maggie, I would have had the power to chase after her. What I was going to do if I caught her, I don’t know, but you can bet that I have in the past chased after a car and actually kicked a dent into a man’s passenger side door for stupidity like this.

So, if any of you out there might happen to know this dark-haired shoulder length brunette who drives a green Dodge Durango with a Tennessee bumper sticker and was on Interstate 385 around 5:10 this afternoon, she best be warned. Mama has no patience for people like this anymore. I’ve got less than 4 weeks left of pregnancy and my tolerance level has dropped. I can guarantee that whatever damage I cause to her car, I can make sure I won’t have to deal with the repercussions because I plan to play my hormonal pregnancy card.

I feel a lot better just getting that off my chest.

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The 5 S’s

I call him The Baby Whisperer. His movements flow like the soft current of a river. He quiets crying babies flawless and with little effort or anxiety. He is quite literally the greatest thing in the world when it comes to calming a fussy baby. Question is, can I practice his techniques and achieve the same results? I certainly hope so and you’d better believe I’m going to try.

His name is Dr. Harvey Karp and he is the author of “The Happiest Baby”. Dr. Karp is a renowned pediatrician who claims that it’s easy to calm a fussy baby if you see it from the baby’s point of view. Dr. Karp goes into explaining that babies are continually fed, shushed, jiggled and cuddled while they are in the womb, but that after they are born they no longer experience the comforts of the womb which psychologically impacts a child. The change is abrupt and can often trigger waves of crying that can then lead to a frustrating mommy and often a bout of postpartum depression.

Basically the technique that Dr. Karp suggests in order to mimic the effects and security a baby feels while in the womb involves the 5 S’s: Swaddling, Side or Stomach, Shushing, Swinging, and Sucking.

Swaddling: all mothers know what this is or at least you should. What you’re hoping to do is to give the baby the tight effect of still being in the womb by swaddling the child by using the D-U-D-U method with the blanket…down, up, down, up.

Side or Stomach: if swaddling doesn’t immediately soothe a fussy child, then try the side or stomach technique. With this, you are placing the baby on its side within your arms while it’s still swaddled. Placing the baby on its side or stomach while still swaddled can also be called the football hold that most fathers use with ease.

Shushing: babies are used to hearing a mother’s voice and the sounds of daily activities mixed with amniotic fluid and heart beats. When listening to a baby’s movements on a doppler, it can often be confused with white noise. In order to give your baby this same level of security, shushing loudly into a baby’s ear will work. Should that not be the ticket, then using a blow dryer, keeping it within a foot of the baby’s head will provide the same effect.

Swinging: with your baby still swaddled, turn him over on his back and cupping his head in both of your hands, place him on your legs and gently swing him, allowing for his head to move just slightly. Obviously, we’re not looking for shaken baby syndrome, but offering a small swinging sensation gives your baby the same movements that he experienced while in the womb.

Sucking: finally, if you aren’t looking to give your child a pacifier just yet, placing your thumb or finger in his mouth with also give the same sensation. Here’s the catch, though, you want to make sure that you are encouraging the sucking by either pulling your thumb from his mouth, or in the case of using a pacifier then gently try to pull it from his mouth, forcing him to actually suck on the pacifier.

My husband and I watched the video for “The Happiest Baby” this afternoon and were completely in awe over the effects these five techniques had over any child, even apparently the colicky ones. I’m curious as to how many other parents have heard of the 5 S’s or perhaps something much like them and if they actually worked or not. Less than 4 weeks away and I should be able to try these out for myself. I’ll let you all know how well they worked or even if they did at all.

What Was That Tremor?

So, the East Coast experienced an anomaly today. For those of you completely oblivious to the current events of the day, a small town in Virginia experienced a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that could be felt all the way down here in good ole South Carolina. I was on the phone with a customer when it happened and apparently our building shimmied just a bit. Did I really pay that much attention to it? Nope! I was too mesmerized with the rhythmic thumping occurring in my belly.

For days I’ve noticed that Davey has been giving me different movements, something out of the ordinary of his stretches and kicks. These movements occur in the same place usually with little thumps that occur every five seconds. Today is the first day I actually started counting these movements. Sure enough every five seconds, for approximately 10 minutes straight, I felt little nudges and jolts, that at times could be seen with the naked eye. I decided to take the opportunity of phone lines being down in my sales territory, thanks again to the earthquake, and google what could possibly be causing these new sensations in my stomach. Guess what I found out!?!?! My son has the hiccups!

“Get outta town!” was my first thought as I read about hiccuping in the womb. The more I read, the more excited and anxious I became to feel even more hiccups. Each time Davey would hiccup, I would giggle as it left a bit of tickling sensation in my body. I was absolutely amazed and in awe and my child never ceases to amaze me. I know, I know! You’re all going to say it…every child hiccups in the womb and in most cases the first hiccups occur towards the end of the first trimester and start of the second, although you’re not able to really feel it at that point.

Every day seems to bring on a different little sensation, something that I am more than grateful to be experiencing. I wouldn’t dare trade this feeling for anything and yet as much as I’m completely uncomfortable these days with the amount of weight I am gaining towards the end, this is yet one more thing that saddens me about the birth of my son, it’s one more thing that will no longer be between me and him. But I must admit that nothing was more exciting that sharing this wonderful news with my husband.

So, while everyone else felt the temblor of the earth moving, I felt the temblor of my son’s first hiccups. Another magical moment!

Me and My Son

Less than five weeks remaining and I find myself looking back and reflecting.

When I first found out I was pregnant, September seemed like a lifetime away. I can recall many friends telling me that the time would fly by. I would laugh at them, roll my eyes, and say, “I wish.” Well, my mother always said, “be careful what you wish for.”

I had my last baby shower yesterday and while I had so much fun and am so grateful for the blessings bestowed upon me, including the wonderful friends and family I have, I am sad that this stage of my journey down Mommyhood Lane is coming to an end.

The anticipation over our son’s impending arrival has been more than my husband and I could ever imagine. For the two of us, we’ve built a much stronger relationship with each other, for the first time seeing things from not our own eyes. We’ve each taken a step back to realize that it’s no longer about the two of us, and as much as I thought that would be difficult (and yes it was the reason I always gave for not becoming a mother), I’m finding that what I thought was difficult is minor in comparison to what I’m experiencing now.

I’m more saddened by the fact that I will have to share my son with the outside world. I’m saddened at the thought that someone else will take him from my arms at some point and they will get to experience a side of his personality that for almost nine months has been exclusively between Davey and me.

We’ve shared our little jokes, as I’ve felt his nudges within the womb almost as if he’s responding with his own little giggle. He’s comforted me in my bad times, soothed me during my days of anger, and I suppose my biggest fear is that he’ll be doing the same for others. It’s a selfish fear and trust me when I say I’m more than excited to know (and yes I DO know) that his little fingers will wrap around someone’s fingers in a few weeks and he’ll light up their life the way he’s lit up mine from the moment I realized my husband and I created this little bundle of joy. I’m saddened because I know he won’t always be with me exclusively anymore.

One of my friends just had her first child yesterday. She and I spoke at length about some of the fears and worries we each have. Her fears seem to be reasonable and pretty much what almost every mother fears. She worries about how she’ll be when she is alone with the baby, after her husband goes back to work. Is it wrong to say that I’m looking forward to the days when my husband goes back to work and it’s just me and Davey? Some say this mentality will change, but I can’t imagine that ever happening. I can’t imagine not wanting to spend every waking moment of every day with my son. I suppose my biggest fear is that I’ll make him too needy of me, or not allow him room to breathe and grow.

I’m truly blessed to have this opportunity and I plan to continue to tell my son this everyday (he hears it from me everyday now). I just can’t believe how soon my time has already passed and it breaks my heart to know that soon I will no longer feel his movements, his kicks and somersaults. It hurts to know that my husband will no longer reach towards my stomach to feel his boy move or laugh like a child himself with Davey gives him a swift kick. We’re quickly reaching the end of the road with this leg of our journey and we have a lifetime of other roads to travel down, but I will truly treasure these days when I can say it was always just me and my son.

Something New Each Day

I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m not too worried about giving birth. Actually, I don’t think I’m nervous about bringing my son home either.

I’ve spoken to a couple of my friends who have given birth, and even one whose due date was today (she’s only dilated 1 cm, so it may be a while). These friends have expressed their fears within the weeks before their children were born. These fears have included what will happen when the husbands go back to work and leaves them alone with the baby, a fear of not being fully prepared with the baby’s room and necessities, and a fear of what happens if the baby won’t stop crying. I suppose I’m a bit naive in thinking that there’s no real reason for the fears and worries. I’ll learn as I go along, right? Of course that could change as my due date gets closer.

Today; however, I did have a bit of a paranoia hit me and I had to text my friend, Stephanie, to help me out. Ok, when I tell you the reason for my neurotic state, you’re probably all going to laugh and think I’ve lost my mind. Before I tell you what happened, let me just explain what led up to this jolt of fear.

I had a beautiful shower on Saturday with all of my best girlfriends. It was an absolutely wonderful and magical occasion and kudos to my friends for going to such amazing extremes for me and my son. I can’t thank them enough. I accumulated a lot of goodies and things that my son and husband and I desperately need. Another added benefit of this shower included a diaper cake, which I absolutely adore. I’m mesmerized with diaper cakes (whoever came up with the idea is a genius) and they have one of the greatest necessities for a mother-to-be…DIAPERS.

Tonight, I decided to unpack everything which meant also taking apart the diaper cake so that I could easily store everything and get myself organized (I am a bit OCD). As I began taking apart the diaper cake, I opened up the diapers to look for a size, falsely assuming that a size would be listed inside just like with pants, shorts, and all clothing. I literally tore apart 5 diapers frantically searching for a size, but I couldn’t find any. I sat down in my rocking chair and began to quickly rock myself as the thought came into my mind that “OMG I don’t even know how to find the size of the diapers, how am I supposed to take care of my child?”

I took a couple of deep breaths and thought about what to do. I didn’t want to text Stephanie or anyone for that matter. I didn’t even want to call my mother. I was afraid of what they would think of me. I pondered the thought of googling where to find a diaper size when I finally just sucked up my pride and texted Stephanie. For those of you who don’t know, a diaper’s size is on the front of the diaper! Imagine that!

So, with this one little speed bump tackled, I began to organize my diapers when another thought hit me. How do I know what size to put my son in? Am I the only one in this world who doesn’t know this or seems to question this? I have three freaking degrees and I don’t even know where to find the size on diapers or what size to put on my son at each stage of his life! This is ridiculous! Some of the diapers I have are still in their original boxes, so I’m able to determine what size to put him in, but what about those that aren’t clearly labeled? So, I googled “diaper sizes” to find out.

For those of you unsure, here’s the breakdown:
Newborn: Up to 10 lbs
Size 1: 8-14 lbs
Size 2: 12-18 lbs
Size 2-3: 14-22 lbs
Size 3: 16-28 lbs
Size 4: 22-37 lbs
Size 5: 27+ lbs
Size 6: 35+ lbs

Whew! I feel like I can breathe a sigh of relief at least until the next obstacle comes along!

Too Calm For Baby

Is there something wrong with me? Today marks my 34th week! Holy cow! That means my son should be here in my arms within six weeks, and for once in my life I’m calm. Is that normal?

Last week, my husband and I took a tour of the maternity ward at the hospital. There were at least 4 other couples on this tour with us who seemed to be a bit more involved than my husband and I. I can’t help but wonder if I’m suffering from a bit of ADD where my child is concerned and that is therefore impacting my seemingly calm state of mind at becoming a mother. The reason these concerns have started to pop up in my mind is based upon my observations of other mothers who were on this tour. Let me offer examples and then basically explain my rationale.

Each mother asked questions last week. These questions ranged from where should we park the car, what entrance should we enter through, and is there any additional paperwork we need to complete? You know what? I didn’t have a single question, nor did I have a single worry! One mother was actually writing verbatim what the tour guide, a nurse, was saying about our birthing experience, and the various rooms we may be staying in. I watched her frantically try to keep up with the nurse as we walked the halls, eagerly asking questions as if she were attempting to brown nose at the hope of acing a test! What did I do? I hung back with my husband, listened to what was said (not sure if I fully digested it) and looked at the intricacies of the various rooms.

I suppose my concern at being too calm is a contradiction in itself. After all, if I’m worried about being too calm, doesn’t that mean I’m not actually calm? Oh my goodness! I’m starting to feel my inner sense of peace quickly swirling down the drain. I told my husband that I’m concerned that I’m not concerned. I’m relying on him to just know which door to enter through and that someone will be there with a wheelchair to chauffeur me to my next destination. I apparently have no concern as to how he’ll find me! That can’t be normal!

And here’s the other thing that’s hit me…I haven’t actually packed my overnight bag yet. According to most mothers AND non-mothers, I’m WAY behind schedule. I can’t exactly pack an overnight bag just yet if for no other reason than the fact that I’m still using some of the items that need to go in my overnight bag. My husband has even told me I’m behind schedule on this front.

So, perhaps it’s not that I’m calm, but instead I’m in a severe state of procrastination, and I do my best work under pressure. Maybe that’s a sign! Of what I’m not sure, but I can only imagine that my calmness will soon fade and be replaced with intense chaos and hysteria once Davey arrives.

New Side Effect…Creativity

Some women talk about how they experience weird side effects to pregnancy. As a matter of fact, I wrote a blog a few months back about Icky Side Effects. Over the past few weeks I’ve begun to experience a new one, one that I’m embracing with arms wide open. It’s called “Creativity” and it’s such a warm and inviting, even friendly side-effect.

There’s one thing about being pregnant and it’s that you discover new things about yourself. You discover you have abilities and talents that you never knew existed or perhaps you did know, but you just stifled them. Being pregnant seems to open up your mind and body to new experiences and no longer do you feel the need to hold back some of your talents. I’m not sure if it’s because your fears about raising your child seem to far outweigh your fears about displaying hidden talents, or if it’s just because there’s a new freedom about you. For me it’s almost as if a weight has been lifted off of me.

I am a writer. It’s taken some time for me to admit that, just because I have been afraid of my talents and gifts. Actually, I think the word I’m looking for is “intimidated”. Becoming pregnant has allowed me to get in touch with a whole new side of my personality, quelling any insecurities I had about my writing. I’ve managed to find a way to better channel my feelings and emotions onto paper and screen. And fortunately for me, I have absolutely wonderful people reading what I write. But there’s another side to me that I’m experiencing with, a side that I’m still super nervous about, but a side of me that I think is and will be fun and an added asset to my son’s life. That side of me is artistic creativity, the kind of creativity that spawns art projects and do-it-yourself home projects.

Lately, I’ve found myself doing crafts, creating gifts and designing packaging. I’ve never been very good at interior design, but I’ve found that I’m not quite so bad at decorating and designing especially where my son’s room AND NOW his bathroom are concerned. Not to worry, the bathroom should be completed by tomorrow night and I plan to post pictures along with the completed updates to Davey’s bedroom.

I’ve also found that I want to experiment with painting, with doing canvas artwork and trying my hand at something that I used to think was crazy and insane reserved only for a special set of people. By special, I’m not implying any sort of negative context, but truly special people who are able to make us see what’s in their heads. I’ve slowly learned that with my writing, so now I’m graduating to painting.

I’ve found that I’m now scouring pages of magazines, eager to find crafts and projects that Davey and I will be able to do together once he gets older. It’s a wonderful side effect, these new found creative juices. As a matter of fact, I have a date with one of my girlfriends tomorrow night. She is an absolutely wonderful artist and inspiration and I can’t wait to get these creative juices flowing! So, thank you, pregnancy and thank you, Davey.

By the way, some of my non-diction creativity will be seen here within the coming weeks as part of my projects include hostess gifts for my baby showers. Shhh!!!!!

Is this purely an “Amy Side Effect” or have so many others found out something new and exciting about themselves while being pregnant, something that isn’t a flaw or an imperfection? Instead have you found that being pregnant has indeed enlightened you as it has me?

Thank You, Sir, For Your Concern

Studies have shown, and my friends have informed me, that having the occasional glass of wine (preferably red) will not cause any harm to my unborn child. Personally, I consider it a blessing from God and a true gift to be able to carry a child and bring him into this world, so giving up beer and wine is a supremely small price to pay in exchange.

Unfortunately, I am one of the few women in this world that genuinely enjoys the taste of beer. Liquor I can do without. Wine, I don’t really need (it’s nice to have a glass when taking a bubble bath, but that’s something else I’ve given up as well, since I LOVE hot baths and I can’t raise my core temperature too high while pregnant).

When I first became pregnant, I thought my options on non-alcoholic beer were limited. I falsely assumed I would be forced to endure the unappealing taste of an O’Doul’s (which reminds me more and more of a Coors everyday, and for anyone I may offend, I apologize, but Coors is a pretty classless beer reserved mostly for those of the redneck stature.) What I found out after a few months was that there are other options. Beck makes one that tastes like Heineken. There’s also Kaliber made by Guinness, and then Warsteiner and even Buckler (which is my favorite and is actually made by Heineken). Then there is St. Pauli, which has also found its own spot in my fridge. So, rest easy, mommies (and even dad’s who are eager to find something to soothe their wives’ cravings), there are options.

Friday, I decided to take my afternoon break from work to go purchase some non-alcoholic beer and non-alcoholic wine. The discount beverage store around the corner from my office is the only place I’ve found that carries the entire wide variety of choices. I was fully expecting the stares and quiet whisperings I received when I stepped out of my car and walked through the sliding glass doors. The first thing people saw was my protruding belly and then I watched as their eyes moved up to my face. Many had furrowed eyebrows and pursed lips, obviously disgusted by the fact that a nearly eight month pregnant woman would have the audacity to step foot into a liquor store. I kept my head held high and walked to the aisle that housed all of my favorites. Within 5 minutes, I had my preferences in hand and I walked to the register.

I was second in line which only meant that I had to deal with more idle stares and judgmental glances. I didn’t care, because I was doing nothing wrong. When it was my turn to check out, I slid my purchases to the front of the counter and reached into my purse to retrieve my debit card. What I encountered was completely off the wall and unexpected.

“I’m sorry ma’am, but I can’t in good conscience sell this to you,” the pimple faced kid replied to me. He had pulled my wine and six-pack of beer closer to him, protecting it. I looked up at him and saw that his eyes went down to my stomach and then back to my eyes.

“And why is that?” I asked.

“Well, because of your condition,” he said. I watched as he proudly inflated his chest and stood taller. The poor kid was pleased with his voice. He was standing up for what he felt was right, and I couldn’t stifle a laugh.

“Well, Sparky, I want to thank you for the concern of the welfare of my unborn child, but if you’ll take a look at what you’re protecting there, you’ll see it’s all non-alcoholic and even if it were not, you still can’t NOT sell it to me.”

I watched as the poor kid drooped his shoulders and released the air from his peacocked chest. He tilted back the bottles and six-pack and read their alcoholic content before quickly apologizing to me and then ringing up my purchases.

I appreciate this kid standing up for his beliefs and what he felt was right. I can’t say I’m angry, actually I find the incident more amusing each time I think about it. I thanked him for his concern, took my bags and walked out the door, only to walk into a couple who were walking into the store. I immediately caught their stares and looks of disgust before hearing the lady say to her partner, “I think we should call the police. She should not be drinking.” The partner then replied, “that’s non-alcoholic beer she’s carrying.” Obviously he was a beer connoisseur.

So, note to myself moving forward, if I decide that I have that craving again for beer, I will send my husband to take care of it.

Stretch Marks and Vanity

I think I’ve conveyed this to many of you before…I have a flaw and it’s a major one, it’s called Vanity. Vanity is an evil little monster that I’ve allowed to live within the realms of my mindset for quite some time. I continue to feed Vanity and he continues to want more, he never seems to be happy, which makes me unhappy.

Last night, Vanity decided to come back with a roar and I let him eat away at my resolve and drop me into a deep downward spiral of emotional distress. Not good.

Lately, my husband has been pretty apt at rubbing lotion on my belly. Davey has seen some pretty huge growth spurts within the past week and my stomach is now stretching into something I never thought I would see. It’s metamorphosed into an atrociously obnoxious ball.

When my husband came into our bedroom last night, he picked up the bottle of lotion and proceeded to give my stomach a therapeutic massage while bonding with our son. As a side note, I once felt bad asking my husband to do this, but I now see that it’s an opportunity for him to talk to Davey and he genuinely seems to enjoy it (both of them do). After my husband left, I began to inspect my sides, hips, and stomach looking for those tell-tale signs that the elasticity of my skin isn’t what it used to be. I was almost finished and home free when I spotted on my right side, 6 stretch marks, faint though they were.

I immediately began sobbing (trust me I’m still ashamed of myself) and told my husband that I was NEVER going to get my body back to what it was before. Between my heaving cries, I croaked out that I would NEVER be a pretty mother, I was destined to be fat and ugly. Yes, I know…DRAMA, DRAMA, DRAMA.

My husband proceeded to do nothing more than stop everything he was doing, climb in bed with me and wrap me in his arms. He told me I was beautiful inside and out and that would never change. And then he did nothing more than hold me in his arms as I cried uncontrollably.

I ended up crying myself to sleep last night, silently berating myself for being so vain, fo allowing that evil monster into my life, but also I did the unthinkable…I asked my son if he could perhaps not grow too much bigger.

I can hear all of you now! You’re all gasping and speaking about how selfish I am and trust me I’ve hated myself for asking my son such a self-serving question.

So, each day I suppose I will continue to ward off Vanity, although I’m sure my weakness will allow him back in. I hope I’m not the only mother-to-be who’s had such vile thoughts and if I am, I continue to hang my head in shame. If not, can any of you please tell me how to get past this?