Archive for March, 2010

CYNICdaddy

March 24, 2010

I’m a pretty simple guy, one who doesn’t often dabble in frivolity. So you might understand how trips to Babies ‘R Us never leave my cravings to climb atop my soap box of practicality unsatisfied. Some of the items you can buy are nothing short of outrageous.

Disclaimer: I am about to reveal some of these products that I deem utterly unneccessary. I am doing this from a very harmless perspective, and am sure some of you enjoy or see the benefit of these items. Maybe you can’t live without one of them. I am not saying these things aren’t crucial to your ability to raise your child. I’m simply taking a point of view and amplifying it to a place where we can all laugh at ourselves a bit. Please, do not be offended if I bash your go-to luxury item.

(But, maybe you should reassess your need for gadgets. I’m just sayin’.)

Product #1: The Gro Egg Digital Room Thermometer

This thermometer, retailing for $24.99, changes colors to let you know if your baby’s room is too cold, too hot or within the correct temperature range of 61-67 degrees. Nothing egregious here, but I just think I’d rather spend my 25 bucks on something that doesn’t remind me of the homeland security rainbow. I can read a two-digit number; I don’t need changing colors to save me the two seconds it would take to get close enough to read them.

Product #2: Wupzey High Chair Food Catcher

See here’s the thing. You’re gonna end up cleaning up the food either way, whether it’s on the floor, wall, ceiling, your face, your dog, your flower arrangement, or inside this giant funnel. To me, it would be worth it to pay $15 to avoid the additional steps of attaching and removing this food catcher every time your child eats. And wouldn’t it smell like a raccoon after a few days? But fear not! This amazing investment comes in any of the nine colors you know you were considering.

Product #3: The Wipes Warmer, several brands

There’s practically an entire aisle dedicated to this product. Clearly, it’s popular. Many of you reading this probably have one. I, for one, don’t want to mislead my child into believing that everything that’s going to come into contact with her tush will be soothing and warm. No. She can handle the cold. Imagine her shock when she first uses toilet paper. Or rides a bike in the rain.

 Product #4: Double Stroller Netting

For when you’re pushing your stroller thru the Amazon, naturally. So I’ve already been enlightened by a friend who actually registered for this fly net. It would come in handy if you were camping, which they plan to do with their twins. But last time I checked, there aren’t a lot of paved trails at your local KOA. I bet most of the baby transportation will be via sling, Bjorn or other carrier. I’m sure I’m wrong. Just taking a side. Plus, that thing is ugly.

Product #5: The First Years Babypro Sterilizer 

Likely the least offensive product on this list, the Babypro Sterilizer “kills household bacteria on bottles, pacifiers and small toys.” Kinda like soap and water does. I know, we’re all worried about germs and bacteria and babies are susceptible to all illness, but really? This reeks of some company asking themselves “what product can we put in a flashy box, charge a boatload for, paste some fancy words on, and fool people into believing they can’t live without?” I think soap needs to up their advertising.

Product #6: Sozo Wee Block Absorbing Sponge-Lil’ Squirt

More humorous than anything else, the Wee Block’s description makes your baby boy sound like quite the sniper: “A baby boy loves to take direct aim at you when being changed.” Aim?!? I speak from endless experience here: three-year-old boys don’t aim. Infants certainly aren’t. But yes, babies do love to pee when that diaper comes off. Block it with a rag or something. No need for a jock strap just yet.

Product #7: Leachco Prop ‘R Shopper

If you spent $60 on this, you need to find a charity. You baby needs to sit in a padded seat because the shopping cart is too rough, or too dirty, or too whatever? Where do you put your baby while you take five minutes to snap it into place? On the floor? Because that’s much more sanitary and comfortable. Or how about this–leave your kid in the car seat! It’s not that difficult, people, and your 60 bones could be spent much more wisely.

Product #8: Summer Infant Complete Coverage Video Monitor Set

Now we’ve reached it: the swankiest of the swanky. The $300 video monitor, complete with 7-inch LCD color flat screen and 1.8″ portable video screen. It crosses my mind that there may be circumstances in which a video monitor would come in handy, like if your child has shown he can scale his crib, but the amount of surveillance required to make this worth its cost is insane. Sure, the camera may catch your Houdini attempting a jailbreak, but you have to be there watching for it to matter. Do you really want to sit in your kitchen, watching a color video (of a dark room) of your child sleeping? Waiting for him to make his move? That sounds like a sad evening to me.

Fatherhood Will Not Break Me

March 21, 2010

 

Calm down, the body of this post is not nearly as desperate as the headline reads. You see, I’ve never been a coffee drinker. Once, when I worked at the post office in the student union in college, I got a free coffee from the Starbucks next door on free coffee day. Until I was 24 or so, that was the only cup of coffee I’d ever had.

 

The reasons for my resistance are many. Throughout my school days, I was known as the kid who smelled like coffee. I had the parents who made it every morning, and we’re not talking Folgers. This stuff was heavily-scented and dug into the fibers of my clothes. It was inevitable, and despite my treatment plans–scented sprays in my locker, changing clothes right as I left the house–there was no cure. I left for college absolutely hating the smell of coffee or any of its spinoff drinks. And at that point in my life, I didn’t need the energy boost.

Then came college, where I embraced many other vices, but coffee never entered as an option. Keep in mind, these were the days when energy drinks were just starting to take hold, and I fought to keep my addictions to a minimum. Plus, I rarely scheduled a class earlier than 10 a.m., so I was usually well-rested and needed no morning caffeine. And what poor college kid would choose coffee over beer? Not this one.

So we were home free! I would never be a coffee drinker, I thought. I don’t have any urge to drink it; don’t like the taste, don’t want to spend the money, and don’t need another addiction. Three strikes. I made it a couple years working with 20 3- and 4-year olds every day with this mantra intact.

Nils after coffee

Gradually, though, coffee began to creep its way into my life. At first, it was a once-every-few-months treat, when I really needed a kick in the butt. A vanilla latte or whatever the person making the coffee run got me usually sent me spiraling out of control. As a rare energy-boost, this could work, I told myself. Each Christmas, I got more and more coffee gift cards from generous parents, so that relatively small amount of money got me through the year. But as any addiction works, coffee began to pull me in, though it walks a very thin line. I don’t like full-on coffee flavor, but a flavor shot–or whatever the lingo is–usually makes it too sweet for my tastes. But, the energy boost is undeniable, so the drinks never went unfinished. In the year leading up to Blanche being born, I probably had 15-20 coffee drinks of some type.

Then I had a baby. Blanche slept well in the hospital, but the routines there were so wacky, the sleeping arrangements so unfriendly and the coffee so available that I couldn’t help myself. We were there four nights and I probably had three cups of coffee. (I don’t remember nor do I really know the difference between coffee drinks so I just refer to all of them as coffee for simplicity.)

Since we’ve been home, though, several factors have pushed coffee to the forefront of my morning routine. First, both Kristie’s and my parents have been steady presences at our house, and all four are avid coffee drinkers. Each morning when I awoke, a huge pot stared right at me, and somebody was planning an imminent trip to the nearby coffee shop (A great one, Anodyne). At this point in my coffee-drinking life, I won’t turn down a cup if there is one available. Second, I have a baby now, a baby that needs to be fed and changed randomly during the night. I’m really trying to be available for Kristie for these things, and have been taking the 2 a.m. bottle shift so Kristie can get a handful of consecutive hours of sleep. It’s worked out great, but my body isn’t used to being forced to stay awake for a half hour in the middle of the night.

For all you breast-feeding advocates, these bottles are previously-pumped bottles of breast milk, not formula. For you formula junkies, I don’t choose sides. Just trying to keep everyone happy. This apparently is a deal-breaking issue for some.

So…

This morning, night three of our nighttime feeding and changing routine, I woke up and wanted coffee. For just about the first time in my life. Coffee, it seems, has me in its grasp. But I promise you, Blanche, you will not break my resolve. I will not be a coffee fiend. I guess I’ll just have to be ok with having a 7 a.m. Diet Coke.

Newborn Photo Shoot

March 20, 2010

Yesterday morning Blanche had her first photo shoot, and yes, she did some topless shots as well as some full nudes. They were tasteful. We had them done by a photographer who shot our wedding in 2007 and has since done friends’ weddings and babies. A chance run-in at Hot Mama reconnected her with us. Blanche was wonderful; slept when she was supposed to be sleeping, gave a few smiles, always seemed relaxed, and didn’t mind being molded into whatever position was needed. She did pee on me twice. There is a small preview of the gallery up at the photographer’s website. Check them out!

Tough Dad

March 18, 2010

I couldn’t help but think, as Kristie and I stared at our tiny daughter, how many times during her life she will be furious with us. “Don’t think about that!” Kristie snapped. So maybe I’m projecting a little bit, but there will certainly be times–many–where I’ll have to be the tough dad, and Blanche won’t like it. I’ve already baby-voice-screamed “I hate you dad!” on her behalf just so I can get used to how it sounds.

“You’ll thank me later,” I say back in my tough dad voice. Then I slam a door and crank some punk rock.

You see, I found myself at First Avenue Monday night, after scoring free tickets from the local public rock staion to see Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. Incredibly bad timing, yes, but I’d never gotten through on any radio station tenth-caller bit before, let alone been the tenth caller. When I won them, I knew the chances I wouldn’t be able to attend were decent, but luckily, we were out of the hospital, and Kristie granted me the opportunity to get out and not waste the tickets. I mean, I was on the guest list. So there I was Monday night, sitting at the rail of the balcony, looking out over a full-but-not-crammed First Ave mainroom, watching a scene that, until eight days ago, wouldn’t have tripped a wire in my non-father brain.

There they were, amid the swaying sea: a young man and woman, intoxicated with each other (and probably other things), grindin’ away–using the music as an excuse, but clearly oblivious to the beat. Doing what young people do at a concert, or a bar, or a moldy frat house basement.

Well there will be no grindin’ for my Blanche. At least not when there’s good music being played. Or until she’s at least 24. Tough dad.

That got me thinking: what else will Blanche NOT do as long as I have a say?

She won’t become a competitive downhill skier. This I discussed a few weeks ago after watching crash after horrific Olympic crash. She won’t ever possess or wear a t-shirt that says “Rub For Luck” anywhere on it, as I saw a peer wear this St. Patrick’s Day. She won’t go out with any boy named Hunter, Gunner or Stryker, no matter how charming. She won’t listen to country music. She won’t be vegan. She won’t sext.

She won’t super-size or buy a 44 oz Coke because it’s the “Best Value!” She won’t buy groceries just because they’re on sale as opposed to buying regular-priced groceries she actually wants. She won’t let an unqualified person pierce or tattoo any part of her body. She won’t dislike roller coasters. She won’t put her dirty dishes in the sink when the dishwasher’s one foot away. She won’t EVER have a bowl cut.

She’ll never do any of these things. But…if she ever does…well, words don’t hurt a tough dad. Not one who’s rehearsed.

What’s It Like?

March 16, 2010

I went back to work today, and invariably, the first thing people ask after they say congratulations is some variation of “So, what’s it like being a dad?” I try to answer them as honestly as I can: Right now, not that different from not being a dad.

Let me explain. Blanche has been very tired from her battle with jaundice. Jaundice is a common issue for “late pre-term” babies, or those born before 37 weeks. It doesn’t really present much of a long term concern, but it does make her incredibly sleepy. I’d like to give you all a crystal clear explanation of what exactly jaundice is, why it makes them look yellow, why wrapping blue light around her body helps treat it, what the percentages and numbers the doctors keep giving us mean, or how long it will take her to recover, but unfortunately I can’t. That’s highly restricted information. You know, the Hippocratic oath and all.

Kidding. I can’t because every nurse and every doctor has told us a different story. We just found out yesterday from our pediatrician that the “chart” the nurses had been referring to for three days, where she went from the 95th percentile down to between the 70th and 95th percentiles, is completely obsolete once you start treatment. Maybe the nurses wanted to give us some optimism without telling us the reasons meant nothing, or maybe the nurses didn’t know the charts no longer were in play. It’s all very confusing.

Long story longer, she sleeps. All day. All night. It is possible to nudge her awake for a minute or two, but she’s not all that interested in being awake. Or if she is, her body tells her it’s not time yet. So, I’m back at work today, because so far being a dad has been a lot like not being a dad. Hours go by without the slightest indication that a baby’s present. The only difference between yesterday and any other day, as I tried to catch up on all our DVRed TV shows, was that the stacks of magazines, dirty dishes and beer reviews written on napkins were replaced by breast pump supplies, scattered baby clothes and a file cabinet’s worth of paperwork I’ll never look at. You’d have no idea there was a baby in the house.

Thus, there hasn’t been a lot to help out with regarding the baby. I can’t pump or breast feed, and she isn’t wearing us out with irreversible bouts of crying, so anything I could do would fall under the category of “projects around the house.” Which I don’t really want to do. And Kristie’s mom, who’s staying with us for a few days, does. Or at least she pretends she does.

I’m sleeping great, by the way. Thanks for asking.

Things have been a little different for Kristie, at least from my point of view. I doubt she’d tell you any differently. While I’m doing my usual rearranging, cleaning and organizing (things I’d be doing anyway), she’s nursing, pumping and generally marveling at the mysterious (she’d say horrific) changes her body is undergoing. Her sleep has certainly suffered. I’ve offered to take on part of the feeding responsibilities during the night, but at this point there isn’t much of a supply, and waking up to pump probably doesn’t sound that appealing.

So, what is it like? It’s the best. I talk about her all day. Everything she does. How she opened one eye slightly for a split second. How she twitched when Atlas licked her toes. How she waves her arms when you change her diaper. I feel like the things that I’m feeling now have never been felt by anyone in the history of the world. No one could possibly know how amazing it feels to be a father; to be responsible for another human being. To be trusted to guide her, provide for her and raise her to be a decent person.  Nobody has EVER known how that feels! I must be the luckiest dad on the planet. That’s what it’s like.

Things Blanche Loves To Do

March 15, 2010

A proud new mama!

March 15, 2010

I know there are a few Hot Mamas out there who want to see pictures of beautiful baby Blanche and as a proud new mama all I want to do is show her off!  Nils didn’t include my favorites in his blog post, so I’m sneaking in a post of my own.  Enjoy!

-Kristie

   

Blanche Is Here!

March 14, 2010

No amount of preparation—not three years of working with children, nine months of reading, two full days of birthing class, five trips to the hospital, weekly clinic visits, Babies ‘R Us tours or countless hours of personal meditation—none of that could ever prepare a father to write this entry. There is so much to write, so much to show, and this is just the start. I promise I’ll post more pictures and share more thoughts about our four-day hospital stay–which prevented speedier posting–very soon.

Blanche Case Hoeger was born at 11:17 pm on Wednesday, March 10, 2010, and the hours surrounding that birth are at once the most memorable and blurriest of my life. I could try to describe those emotions, and I likely will, but no word captures the gravity of the experience. Luckily, I composed myself enough to realize how difficult those moments would be to depict, and took what I thought were detailed and pertinent notes on a hospital paper towel. So, I’ll give you a taste of the timeline.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010:

11:00-7:00: Kristie hits the town in an attempt to encourage Blanche’s arrival. Our doctor had sent us to the hospital after our Tuesday checkup, but we were sent home a few hours later. The contractions were long and increasingly painful, but weren’t yet changing the cervix. Kristie hoped that with trips to a few boutiques, a seafood lunch and a robust walk around the Mall of America, a cervical change would be in order. Friends later described her as being the crabbiest they’d ever seen.

7:00: Kristie arrives home, where I’m doing my usual weeknight routine: fixing a small dinner, checking the dishes and laundry, and wondering if my day was difficult enough to merit a guilt-free beer (it wasn’t this day). Kristie takes a bath, and brings with her a glass of white wine. Her MOA companion insisted a glass of wine pushed her mother into labor.

8:15: Bath over, Kristie plods back downstairs, where Nils is enjoying his favorite television show, Modern Family.

8:19: Kristie finishes her glass of wine.

8:19:30: Kristie places the empty glass on the coffee table.

8:20: Kristie’s water erupts! Membranes exploding! Gushing! Pants soaked! Towel retrieved, but not in time to save the quilt or the couch cushion from a tidal wave of baby water. New underwear, new pants, another towel. Throw the blankets in a pile. Put the cushion somewhere where Atlas won’t lick it. Pads. More pads. General chaos.

8:25: I jump in the shower. Don’t worry—a brief one! I was sweaty from running, and we were well-versed in how this works. It’s not *cliche alert!* like the movies. You have some time to gather yourselves.

8:45: Clean, packed and under control, we leave for the hospital. The drive’s fifteen minutes are the clearest and most focused of my life. I wouldn’t call it an epiphany, but this was the unmistakable moment where things became irreversibly real. There was such finality; an end to something that, until that precise moment, seems forever away. I will never forget how I felt as I plummeted down the on-ramp on to I-35; I couldn’t see the lines, didn’t feel the traffic. I saw only, at light speed, the path in front of me, on roads both asphalt and parental.

9:00: We arrive at the hospital, and though we already knew this was far different than our five previous trips, it became blatant when Kristie couldn’t make it from the car to the door. As she propped herself up against a stop sign, I jogged into the lobby and snagged a wheelchair. Kristie was in more pain than I had ever seen. During contractions, I was instructed to say nothing. (I remember being told to ‘shut up,’ but Kristie claims she only said ‘don’t talk.’ I’m probably embellishing, but it was a ‘don’t talk’ firm enough to equal ‘shut up.’) In between contractions, recovery was paramount. There was minimal conversation, limited to me asking her what I did that helped during the last contraction and what didn’t work. I didn’t mention that she was squeezing the life out of my fingers, so much that I worried circulation would never make it back to the fingertips.

9:05: In the Maternal Assessment Center, our nurse tells us tonight is finally the night, as if we weren’t already certain. She does the usual monitoring and paperwork, and I answer most of the questions while Kristie either swears her way through a contraction or begs for the epidural. She says things like “Why do people do this?” and “I don’t care what you do, I just want the epidural.” Suddenly, a fear of needles takes a far back seat to labor pain.

9:20: Finally, our nurse, the wonderful Danica (Da-NEE-ka) examines Kristie and finds that she is dilated to four centimeters. For you pregnancy rookies, ten is when we push. She had been dilated one centimeter for a few weeks, and was at two the day before. We soon get wheeled into the delivery room.

9:45-10:00: While I try to get settled into what I imagine will be a long night in and around this room, Kristie continues to beg for the painkilling magic. She barely has time in between contractions to steady her hand, sign the consent forms and position her body for the anesthesiologist. I pace around the room, offering my hand during times of pain, and trying to get out of the nurses’ way in general. It is a very quiet room.

10:00: The epidural is administered. It may take up to 20 minutes to fully set in, the doctor tells us.

10:25: Kristie is now dilated to seven centimeters. Turns out, this is like the movies! Forget the hours spent learning about birthing positions. No walking the halls to increase contractions. No shower to relax the body. No yoga ball. No bending over a chair. No squats.

10:40: We are fully dilated: ten centimeters. And without any help. The epidural is beginning to take hold, and Kristie tries to find the position that best allows her to focus her energy to combat the still painful contractions. At this point, Blanche is a birth canal luger. She wants out. But we wait for our doctor. I grab the cameras, and since I am the only one in the delivery room (the events happened way too fast for anyone to make it), I have the camera in my left hand and the video camera in my right. It gets trickier when the nurse asks me to help brace against Kristie’s leg as she pushes.

11:00: Doctor Block arrives! Time to push. She reaches in a checks for Blanche. “Hey pretty baby!” she says as the nurses tie her scrubs. Kristie gets pushing instructions from the nurses. Doctor Block inadvertently brings up “the next pregnancy,” which horrifies Kristie. “I know, that’s almost cruel of me,” Dr. Block says.

11:08: Kristie begins to push. She does four ten-second pushes, with Dr. Block kindly asking if she “has another one” after the third. “Everybody’s excited to have you here!” she says to Blanche.

11:10: Another round of pushing. Danica joins the crowd and coaches Kristie through the pushing. I am without words. Blanche isn’t thrilled about coming out, so we grab a vacuum extractor, which Dr. Block attaches to Blanche’s yet-to-emerge head.

11:14: The vacuum extractor, with the help of Kristie’s massive pushes, brings Blanche down, and after three long thrusts, Kristie says she doesn’t “have another one” in her. She is having “a muscle spasm in my butt.”

11:15: Head is out, but the shoulders are stuck. “Oh my gosh, she’s got her hands up here,” Dr. Block says. “For gosh sakes.” Blanche loves to have her hands up at her face, and as you might imagine, this makes coming out of a vagina a bit more challenging.

11:16: I try to get the birth on video tastefully. Kristie, I knew, was hesitant about me videotaping the birth in its full grotesque nature. Since she was busy, I took the liberty of ignoring her concerns. I was not about to let this moment go undocumented. Kristie’s pushes, at this point, are quite impressive. She lines up multiple consecutive ten-second thrusts, holding her breath for each. “She’s not that big,” remarks Doctor Block as she’s about to emerge.

11:17: Blanche is born! It’s now, when I see them remove her and place her on Kristie’s chest, when my voice is first heard. It’s not a word I force out, just a groan of amazement. I can’t even figure out what letters would accurately illustrate the sound. “You made us all sweat,” Dr. Block says. “But you’re awfully sweet!” I cut the umbilical cord.

Kristie was tougher and more determined during labor than I had ever seen her before.  Seeing her in that amount of pain and feeling completely helpless was incredibly difficult. All I could do was be an emotional presence and exude the most positive energy that I could (remember: no talking).  The focus she showed on that second-floor hospital bed was awe-inspiring. “I pushed a baby out!” she kept saying during our stay. It is pretty remarkable when you put it that way, and I couldn’t be more proud of her.

Two hours, 57 minutes. In less than three hours, I went from a childless, TV-watching lounger, to a father of a magical 5 pound, 14 ounce, 18.5 inch baby girl. The mere thought of that moment still overwhelms me. I imagine it always will.

Bag Check

March 8, 2010

If babies were delivered in airports, we’d have problems more serious than the roundabout punchline to the opening of this blog post, but…if babies were delivered in airports, we’d be a few hundred dollars poorer. And I’d probably have a valid and reasonable way of telling a pregnant woman she’s overreacting. When last I typed, ’twas Thursday morning and we’d made three premature hospital visits. Twelve hours later, we’d made our fourth, and my ‘pregnancy by the numbers’ suddenly was inaccurate.

What does any of this have to do with an airport. Well, if we were going to the airport and not the hospital, I would have had to check, and pay for, much of our luggage. Because having a baby has now become more than a spontaneous (but very planned) trip of excitement. Going to the hospital is now a vacation: complete with a stocked wardrobe, a full snack bar and a Radio Shack kiosk. I knew there was packing involved, but 36 weeks ago I thought a camera, pair of underwear and 20 ounce Diet Coke would cover most of the bases. Due to space restrictions and arm strength, I’ll likely be stuffing all of those things into my pants pockets come delivery day.

Here’s the full inventory. First, a suitcase (yes, a suitcase) with pajamas, loungewear, real people clothes, comfortable shoes, a few baby outfits, hair and makeup supplies, toiletries and other things buried deeper than I cared to dig. I threw a t-shirt and boxers in there, too.

There’s another bag–a carry-on, if you will–with magazines, books, an iPod, camera, video camera, requisite chargers, blankets, more baby stuff, nursing…equipment, personal care items, you get the idea.

There are two pillows. Though I fear neither of them is for me.

There’s a bag of dry food. Crackers, chips, cereal, Easy Cheese, candy. And there’s a cooler (which remains packed in our fridge) with cheese, fruit, spreads, drinks, meat, ice.

Finally, there’s a yoga ball, fully inflated and not leaving the trunk of our car.

All these things. All this preparation. All these lists. It’s crazy how prepared we are supposed to be for the few days we’ll spend in the hospital, as if in any way that preparation would make us more ready for the craziness about to be unleashed upon us. Nice sentence. If this is what we’ll need for the first two days of Blanche’s life, what are we going to need for the rest of it? How many bags? And where is the page-long checklist of things you’ll need for successful parentdom?

If I ran a hospital, I’d start charging for bags.

Bedrest, Be Ye Slayed!

March 4, 2010

‘Tis true. Bedrest, be gone with you! The magical verdict came down Tuesday from Dr. Block. No more couch. No more Gilmore Girls reruns. No more huge messes. No more CRAFTS!

It was an exciting day for sure. Since Tuesday, Kristie has gone just about everywhere we ever go: the Mall of America, IKEA, out for lunch (twice), Cub Foods. And I’ve felt less pressure than I have in the past two months. This is all very good, since Kristie expects the baby to come quite soon.

When I re-traced the days of bedrest, I counted 42 in total; six full weeks. This pregnancy has been full of numbers, now that I think of it, and here are some of the most odd:

This Pregnancy In Numbers

300+ Terbutaline pills. For the contractions. Done taking them.

237 days of pregnancy. Seems like forever ago we were unveiling the news, during a mid-August trip to Colorado

100+ Oreos, Zesta (must be Zesta) crackers, Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups, San Pellegrino Limonatas and Aranciatas. To name a few obsessions.

42 days of bedrest.

17 hats and headbands for Blanche. Kristie won’t let me count the winter hat or it’d be 18.

16 pairs of hand-made booties. You’ve seen pictures.

8 friends/family members who were/are  also pregnant during this pregnancy. Friends Ashley, Anna, Jill and Cousin Daneen have already had theirs. Other friends yet to deliver.

7 ultrasounds. One scary Voldemort face shot.

6 trips to Babies ‘R Us. This should be a post of its own. Don’t get me started.

5 straight Chef Boyardee ravioli lunches. No Lunchables, though.

3 winter coats, all different sizes

weekly spur-of-the-moment grocery store trips

frantic hospital trips

2 hours to put together the crib. Not to mention countless other hours installing car seats, putting together strollers and other gadgets, and figure out just how exactly these things fold and slide under the couch.

1 Nils-suggested dinner that sounded good to Kristie.

Along the way, there have also been countless irrational fears, mostly from mommy-to-be. Had I written them all down at the time, this post would take hours to read, but I do remember some of my favorites:

“What if she comes out and she doesn’t know we’re her mommy and daddy?”

“What if she never comes out?”

What if she’s an alien?”

“What boys names does Blanche convert to if the doctors are wrong?” (Since her name is plastered on her nursery wall, we’d have to make a quick switch to Neal, Lance, Ben, Blane or Ace perhaps.)