All posts by Sara Romenesko

About Sara Romenesko

I simply adore this life I've been given. My hobbies include watching trashy tv, loving America, scaring the shit out of my husband, and over-sharing the details of my life.

Baby Romenesko Post 17: The Nursery

I was so looking forward to deciding on decorations for the baby’s room.  Of course I had imagined what I wanted the baby’s room to look like the very first time we toured our house before we got pregnant, but once I got that positive pregnancy test, I could take action!

If you recall from our house tour (I just looked at this post for the first time in years to get the link up… I’m going to have to do an updated house tour post!  Perfect motivation to deep clean the house!  The bare walls!  The mismatched furniture!  How the heck did we live like this???  For you Instagrammers, if you look up the hashtag #romeneskohousetour there are a few pictures of what our house looks like today), when we first moved into our house, we had a Packer room and a Brewer room.  Pete claimed the Packer room as his own, so we transformed the Brewer room from a “I don’t know where to put this, so throw it in there” room to a guest room.

Spare Room 1

image (4)It was so nice having a guest room that had a bed in it, instead of guests having to sleep on an air mattress or in the living room or something.  I decided that our home would never go without a guest room, especially because we live far enough away from our families, that if someone comes to visit, they will be spending the night.

In January, we cleaned out the guest room to start making way for the baby.  We moved the guest bed into the Packer room.  Pete’s computer stuff is still in there, so now we’re motivated to get the basement finished to have a guest room again.

It was SO EXCITING seeing the room completely empty, knowing that we were customizing it for our little special someone!Spare Room 2Since we didn’t know the baby’s gender, we needed a gender-neutral nursery.  To be honest with you, even if we did know the gender, we probably would have gone with something gender-neutral because Pete and I both despise painting, so having to switch colors more than once in 100 years is a lot for us.

Stripes are very in right now, so we did big stripes on one wall.  We went wild with tan and cream.

We didn’t want a specific theme for the baby’s room, like animals or anything.  Instead, I focused on bright colors and books, since Pete and I are both avid readers.  You guys.  I LOVED DECORATING THE BABY’S ROOM.

Most of the decorations didn’t get done until I was on maternity leave because we were waiting for the dresser to get delivered.  Since it was one of the central points of the room, I wanted to have the dresser before hanging anything on the walls.  Ugh, it was so fun.

Here it is!!



DSC_0271I got the alphabet from Etsy, and B made the bookshelves.  We painted the shelves and the alphabet the same cream color as the stripes that are on the opposite wall.  For the Vanderstappen shower, Jenna had everyone bring a book for the baby, so our bookshelves were full before baby Daniel arrived, and it made my heart so, so happy.

DSC_0276My sisters, Marty’s girlfriend, and cousin Kelly went in on the bedding for us as a shower gift.  We ordered it from Etsy.  The woman that we worked with was fabulous.  For no extra cost, you can tell her what fabrics you want for each thing (bumper, crib sheet, etc.) and she’ll customize it for you.  So wonderful!

DSC_0002 (2)The map is from TJ Maxx Home Goods, but I ACTUALLY got it from my friend Amy.  I had a vision of what I wanted on the wall above Daniel’s crib, and I had FINALLY found a picture on Pinterest of the PERFECT wall hanging.  In addition to promoting reading at an early age, Pete and I really want to encourage travel and learning  about and appreciating other cultures.

My mission was to find this map somewhere… But I didn’t know where.  The same evening that I finally found the wall hanging on Pinterest, Pete and I went to our friends’ house.  As Amy was giving me a tour of their beautiful home, she opened a closet and there it was!  She had purchased the map months ago and decided she didn’t want it.  But she didn’t have the receipt so never returned it.  Fate!  I bought it from her, and it is just perfect in Daniel’s room.

DSC_0269I’ve never been a huge fan of the built in desks in the kids’ rooms in our house (it makes it hard to arrange furniture – there are only like, 2 options for where we can put beds, dressers, etc.), but we definitely put it to use in Daniel’s room!  Perfect for diaper/wipe storage.  Also perfect for…DSC_0006 (2)THE BABY KEURIG.  Officially the Baby Brezza Formula Pro, but it’s essentially a Keurig machine for formula.  One of the most unnecessary inventions of all time, but you guys.  I LOVE THIS THING.  You push two buttons.  First, you choose the number of ounces that you want.  Then you push start.  In about 30 seconds, a bottle is made that is the perfect temperature and already mixed, so there is no shaking involved.  Since we have this set up in Daniel’s room, I put two bottles on the desk before bed, and then at the early morning feeding all I have to do is walk across the hall, and everything is right there.  Fabulous!

There are just a couple more additions that the room will have before it’s absolute perfection.  Peter’s mom is making us curtains, so I’m excited to see how those look.  In the closet, the shelving in there is really annoying and inconvenient, so we bought a closet organizing system from Ikea to put in there.  Now to find the time to do it….



Baby Romenesko Post 16: Sudden Reality

Written May 2. 36.5 weeks.  Updated May 4.

You guys, I’m swollen.  Like, only have one pair of sandals left that fit swollen.  Like, can’t wear ANY of my rings because my fingers are such sausages swollen.  Blah.

At my 34 week appointment, my doctor was slightly concerned about all of my swelling, because it came on REALLY fast.  My hands have been kind of swollen since mid-February (that’s when I had to stop wearing my wedding ring 😦 ), but it felt like literally overnight my hands were REALLY swollen and my feet and ankles were unreal!  My blood pressure was still fine though, so she wasn’t overly concerned.  Buuuuuut she was like “hmmmmm” enough to schedule an ultrasound for my next appointment at 36 weeks.

Pete had a work trip scheduled to India for the last week of April, which was causing anxiety for both of us, especially with the not-quite-routine ultrasound scheduled for while he was on the other side of the world.  My mom said that she would come up to go to the appointment with me, which was just fabulous.  I wanted her there just in case something wasn’t quite right.  Pete wanted her there because he was “preeeeeeeetty nervous!”

On Wednesday morning, my mom and I went to the clinic for the ultrasound and appointment.  It was so wonderful being able to see the baby again after 16 weeks!  A very different picture this time, because there is a lot of baby in there!  It actually made it kind of hard to make things out, but it was still fabulous.

baby toes1

The ultrasound technician took the head measurement first.  I could see all of the numbers on the screen.  I gasped.  “Excuse me, am I seeing that right?  Does it say that the head is measuring at 39 weeks??”  The tech laughed and said, “Yep!”  I just about fainted.

She moved on to the waist and other body parts, and guess what.  Our baby has a big ass head.  The rest of the body is measuring right at 36 weeks.  I immediately began sweating.  Genetics work… Baby got Dad’s huge head.

Next was the consult with the doctor.  Everything with the baby looks great, which is just so wonderful.  The little bugger is already weighing in at a little over 6 pounds!  The doctor didn’t say anything about the head.  So I asked if it’s concerning at all that the head is measuring 3 weeks ahead of the rest of the body.  Doctor’s response?  A laugh.  “Nope!  Your baby just has a good sized melon!”  Exact words.

Single ladies: when selecting the person that you’ll fall madly in love with and you’ll eventually want to father your children, make sure you check their head size.  Unfortunately, this thought didn’t occur to me until AFTER I was pregnant.  It would have been a game changer, that’s for sure.

When they took my blood pressure, it was high, which was slightly concerning to the doctor.  At this point, I have mild preeclampsia, but it’s nothing to get anxiety about, especially because I have to do my best to keep my blood pressure down, which was REALLY easy when Pete was halfway around the world and I have what is essentially a ticking time bomb whose fuse is getting really short really fast.

Oh, also, the baby is like, really ready to make his or her entry into the world.  The doctor worded this in a couple of different ways:

– “I hope you make it to 37 weeks!” (FYI 37 weeks is NEXT WEEK THURSDAY.)
– “The baby is definitely going to come early.”
– “The baby will most likely come 1-2 weeks early.”
– “There are two things you need to do in the next two days: pack your hospital bag and put your car seat in the car.”

My main concern was that the baby would wait until after Pete got home from India – Friday evening at 5.  If the baby could hold out until then, I would be juuuuuuust fine.  (Spoiler: the baby waited and is still incubating.)

Because of the high blood pressure, the doctor put me on partial bed rest, so I’m only working in the mornings, and in the afternoons I’m sitting in the living room with my feet up, thinking of all of the things that I’d rather be doing than relaxing.  Like, I don’t know, getting the baby’s room ready.  Or cleaning our mess of a house.  But instead, I sit.

Obviously Pete knew about my doctor’s appointment when he was in India.  I didn’t want to freak him out completely when he was on the other side of the world and tell him that it sounds like our baby is going to come next week.  So, I sugar coated.

“The baby has your big head!! … Everything looks great! … Yeah, the doctor thinks the baby will probably come early … Oh, she’s a teeeeeeeny bit concerned about my blood pressure, so I’m only working half days…”

Friday night at 5:30 when Pete got home, I had never been happier to see him.  Obviously it’s my wild hormones, but for the first time ever, I cried when he got home.  Such bliss to have him back not only in America but in our house.  He told me all about his trip to India – he was REALLY happy to be home! – and then I filled him in on the doctor’s appointment.

I’m pretty sure he went into shock.  After being awake for almost 48 hours, he went into full-on dad mode.  He got the car seat into the Explorer and then made a list of things to do before the baby comes, including cleaning the garage so I don’t break my neck carrying a baby in a car seat to the car.

So now… we wait!  Whether we meet the baby in 1 week or 4, I can’t believe we’re really getting ready to meet the baby!!

Update – written May 4.

Over the weekend, I had a pretty consistent headache, which was one of the triggers that the doctor told me to call in for.  They scheduled a blood pressure check for Monday afternoon.

When I went in on Monday, Pete didn’t come, because it was supposed to be a quick in and out thing.  Well.  They took my BP three times, and three times it was really high.  The nurse talked to the doctor that was in the clinic and came back to the room.

Nurse: He wants you to head over to labor and delivery.
Sara: … What?
Nurse: … You need to go to the hospital.  Are you ok to drive?
Sara: … Yeah?
Nurse: … Do you need to call someone?
Sara: No, no I’m fine.  Am I having this baby today??
Nurse: Probably!
Sara: I’m having a baby today!!!

I called Pete, and he left the office to head over to the hospital.  I also called my mom and dad to update them, and tell them that we would let them know if it was baby day.

At the hospital, they put me in a room and I had to get all ready to like, have a baby.  They put me on IV fluids – and had a hell of a time finding a vein because of my ungodly swollen hands – and started monitoring my BP.  Pete kind of paced around, sent some emails… I watched tv and was basically in shock.

After a few hours of being monitored and several people coming in and saying “You might have the baby today!” and then “We might have you incubate a while longer!”, they finally sent us home.  I was put on full bed rest and told to go to the clinic every day for a BP check.

So!  Here I sit!  I thought that today was baby day, but nope, we still are going to wait.  I’m very paranoid about all of the kicks and movements that I feel, about any “off” feeling I have with my body, and that I’m going to like, have a baby in our bathtub in the middle of the night.

So!  Let’s hope this little baby hangs on for at least a few more days!


Motherhood.  It’s exhaustingly wonderful, isn’t it?

I was so unprepared for the immediate impact that this sweet boy would have on my heart.

Photo by Susan Huntington

People told me that I would learn a whole new type of love when I had a baby.  I didn’t know what to expect when I met Daniel, but it was like my whole body was overcome with this tidal wave of glitter and rainbows and all things magic.  I’m suddenly looking at life through these lenses that give everything on this already fabulous world a whole new sparkle and shine.

Photo by Susan Huntington

Well, something like that anyways.

On May 7 at 10:09 PM, my life changed in a way that I never could have imagined.  I can never go back to what it was before 10:09, and I never want to.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved (almost) every second of life pre-Daniel, but, though I sometimes had my doubts, I didn’t realize how ready Peter and I were for the next chapter in our life together.

I mean, let’s get serious.  How did we ever live without monster feet in our lives?


Without these pouty lips?


Without this guppy face??

IMG_0673I knew that motherhood would be an emotional rollercoaster.  With Daniel being in the NICU for his first 10 days, I felt higher highs and lower lows in a shorter period of time than I was expecting.  Guys, I cried a lot.  Without Pete, I would have been a much more visible mess than I was.

When Daniel got moved to the NICU, it was hard.  In that moment, I thought that it wouldn’t get any more difficult for me; that the tears I cried from there forward would be happy ones because Daniel was making progress or we were going to be on our way home.  In that moment, nothing could be worse than seeing my baby being stuck for an IV and hooked up to machines.

How naive of me.

On Mother’s Day, I had my first big breakdown.  It was clear on that day that Daniel wouldn’t be going home on Monday or Tuesday – the original “probably” date that the doctor gave us.  Because Pete and I hadn’t planned on being in the hospital for more than two nights, on Sunday afternoon we went home to get more clothes.

My first Mother’s Day
Daniel’s first Mother’s Day craft, with a little help from his nurse friends.

I cried when we left the hospital, because it felt so wrong leaving Daniel behind.  When we got to our house, I started REALLY crying.  When they visited, my mom and Jenna had gone shopping to get clothes for Daniel that they had washed, folded, and put in his room; they cleaned the entire house; and they set up some of the things we would need for when we got home.

His swing and Pack-n-Play were set up in the living room.  His cradle, the one that all 6 of my siblings and I used when we were babies, was set up in our bedroom.  They organized his bedroom so that it would be just perfect for him when he got home.

IMG_0953I walked through house crying for two reasons.  The first was that I couldn’t believe all that my mom and Jenna had done while they were here.  The love I felt from them was overwhelming.

The second was that, despite how wonderful it was to have all of these things ready for Daniel, it was one glaring reminder of what was supposed to be.  A reminder of what was missing.  And it made me so, so sad.

Monday night was my biggest breakdown.  The first few days, Daniel made all kinds of progress in the NICU, and then Monday, the amount he ate decreased from the 2 pm feeding to the 5 pm, and then at 8 pm he didn’t want to eat at all.  He started spitting up bile, so by then it was clear something wasn’t right.

The nurse that we had was amazing (of course!), and explained different options for Daniel, and we ended up going the route of a feeding tube.  Derek, our nurse, made sure to tell us that this was the best option because it would help Daniel get over the hump.  It was NOT a step backwards, just a little help to get us going in the right direction again.  Despite Derek’s reassurances, I walked back to our hotel room fighting back tears.


As soon as we got off the elevator, I started sobbing, because I felt like it was just unfair.  This wasn’t how it was supposed to be.  We weren’t supposed to be sleeping in a hotel.  We weren’t supposed to be separated from our baby.  I felt like I had done something wrong because I was his mother, and the care that I had to offer Daniel just wasn’t enough.  I had never felt more discouraged.  Despite knowing that the NICU was the best place for Daniel, I wanted him home SO BADLY that my entire body ached.  I had my heart set on going home on Wednesday.  I shouldn’t have done that, but I was trying to be optimistic, so I thought that hoping for Wednesday was the right thing to do.  I ended up getting my hopes up so high that it ended up being a really, really hard crash down.

Peter let me cry on his shoulder, rubbing my back and telling me that it was going to be ok.  He reassured me that I was a good mom.  Pete is my rock, and I can’t imagine riding this rollercoaster with anyone except him by my side.  He is the perfect life partner.

When we went back down for the 11 pm feeding, I was still feeling very sorry for myself.  I was trying to be positive, but it was so hard.  I could hardly look at Daniel without feeling like a failure and being mad at, well, the universe.


While we were with Daniel that night, a little boy got moved into the bed next to him.  This little boy’s mom only held her baby for about 30 seconds before he got whisked away to the NICU, and she wouldn’t be able to visit him in the NICU until Wednesday evening.  Remember, it was Monday.

That was a really big God moment for me.  Here I was sobbing to the point of gasping for air because we weren’t home with our boy, when another brand new mom just like me couldn’t even hold her baby.  I could hold Daniel.  I could snuggle his cheeks and kiss his toes.  I could visit him anytime I wanted.  I could feed him, burp him, soothe him.  And yet, I was sobbing.  I had never felt so selfish.

Talk about humbling.

Throughout the rest of the week, Jenna had reached out to other moms who prayed for not only Daniel, but also for me.  Other mothers who knew that my heart was aching because I couldn’t help my boy.  Other mothers who knew the prayers that I needed to give me strength and encouragement.  And they worked.

Motherhood is exhaustingly wonderful.  It is divinely frustrating.

Sometimes, I’m crying at 3 in the morning along with Daniel because he just won’t go back to sleep.  Sometimes, I get teared up just looking at the miracle that is our son.  Sometimes, I find myself spending all day cuddling with Daniel, wondering where the day went, and how I lived without him.

I’ve finally found my purpose in life, the reason I was put on this earth.

It’s to be a mother.

Photo by Susan Huntington


Daniel was admitted to the NICU when he was about 17 hours old.  Throughout his first day of life, Daniel wasn’t interested in eating at all, his legs and arms would get dark purple after being swaddled up, he wasn’t super responsive to things he should be responsive to (for example, he got pricked for a glucose test and didn’t even flinch), and he was soooooo sleepy.

Little pookie.

The NICU was was the best place for him, but it was really hard for me to have him wheeled down there and admitted.  I hadn’t even known this little person for 24 hours, and he already had such an impact on my heart.  Seeing him not even flinch when they had to try to get him an IV three different times was heartbreaking, and really obvious that something really wasn’t right with our little guy.  It just broke my heart not having him in the same room as Peter and me, so I had to keep telling myself that he was in the best place between tears.

After only a few hours on IV fluids, he started getting more pink and less purple, and he was more awake than he had been since he was first born.  I didn’t see this though; Pete reported back to me.  I felt like a horrible mom, because I couldn’t stand to be in NICU looking at him and feeling so helpless.  I was tired and sore, so I used that as my excuse to just stay in my hospital room by myself.  I was very sad and pitiful, to be honest with you.


The next day, I woke up with a new attitude.  I was feeling optimistic and grateful that our nurse in labor and delivery was relentlessly calling the NICU every hour, consulting with other nurses, and calling Daniel’s pediatrician until Daniel was admitted to the NICU.  My lactation nurse was just as persistent, coming in to check on Daniel throughout the day on Friday, and working with the other nurse to try to figure out what was going on in that little body.  Just a few hours there, and he was a completely different baby.  I realized later that we never got a picture of those two nurses, but we will be forever grateful.

The worst part about the NICU was that I couldn’t be with my baby 24/7.


The best part about the NICU was the nurses that work there.  The doctors were fabulous too, but the nurses were with Daniel around the clock, and that means that they got to spend a hefty amount of time with Peter and I too.

We had the same day nurse for Daniel’s first two and a half days in the NICU, and then the same night nurse for the first three nights.  Having this consistency right away was really helpful to me on an emotional level, because it let me connect to Daniel’s caregivers right away.  I found that it was harder to make a connection with the nurses if they were only there for one shift and then off for a few days, especially if it was overnight when I went down to the NICU in a complete daze to nurse, pump, pray, and then return to our hotel room.


God had a plan when Daniel was placed in bed 17 in the NICU on that Friday afternoon.  The first nurse – J – that we had for Daniel’s first weekend there was just the person that I didn’t know that I needed.  Not only was she an amazing caregiver for my sweet boy, but she had a way of working with Peter and I that put us both immediately at ease – explaining what was going on in terms that we understood, reassuring us that the NICU was the best place for Daniel to be, and helping us make the best decisions for him.

J was also very personable – getting to know us, and letting us get to know her.  Sharing her opinion when we asked for it, and always being very upfront with us.  I immediately trusted her opinion, and found myself wishing she was there to consult with when decisions had to be made and she wasn’t working.


Those first few days in the NICU, I was working hard to get Daniel to try to nurse.  Mother’s Day was the first time that he actually made an effort, so naturally I started to cry.  When I looked up at J, she had tears in her eyes too, as she said, “The perfect Mother’s Day gift.”  And it really was.  Sharing that moment with someone who understood how special it was made it that much better.  Seriously, she was amazing.

Drunk on milk. This picture really cracks me up.

At the end of each nurse’s shift during Daniel’s stay at the NICU, I would ask when they would be back.  If it was more than 2 days later, I would say, “It’s nothing against you, but I sincerely hope that we don’t see you again.”  Because if we didn’t see them again, it was because we were able to go HOME.  For quite a few of the nurses, we ended up seeing them again.  But for others, we didn’t.

Peter’s all-time favorite face that Daniel makes.

When we left the NICU and were able to go HOME, it was SUCH a happy day.  Having Daniel unhooked from all of the cords and machines was amazing.  Being able to cuddle him and move more than 2 feet from his bed was fantastic.


A lot of parents had shared with me that when they first brought their brand new baby home, they looked at each other and said, “Now what?”


Pete and I didn’t have that.  We brought him home, and picked him up, and loved not hearing any beeps.

It was definitely one of the top 5 moments of my life, finally being at home, with our perfect little family.


Thank you to all who prayed for Daniel, Peter and I while we were in the NICU with him.  Words can’t describe our gratitude.

And also a huge thank you to all of the nurses that cared for Daniel during his time in the NICU.  You’ve impacted our lives in a way that you’ll never know, and we are eternally grateful.

Just a few of the wonderful people who cared for our little fella.

Hello, World.

He’s here!


You guys.  I birthed a child.  A stunningly handsome baby boy.

I’m so excited to introduce him into this wonderful world that it’s not even funny.

Daniel Martin Romenesko was born at 10:09 PM on Thursday, May 7.



I’m biased, I know.  But seriously.



He came 3 weeks early, but still weighed 7 pounds on the nose and is 20 inches long.  When they told me how much he weighed, I was thought “OMG how big would he have been 3 weeks from now if he made it to his due date??”  Glad we don’t have to find that out.

So much has happened in the last 2 weeks both leading up to and following Daniel’s birth (how much do we love that we can say DANIEL instead of Baby Romenesko??) that I’m not quite sure where to begin!

The labor?
The bed rest?
The delivery?
The going to the doctor on Thursday morning for a regular appointment and being told that I was being induced Thursday afternoon?
The genesis of his name?
Meeting his grandparents?
My first Mother’s Day?

Here’s a brief run-down of the events that happened in the last week leading up to Daniel’s birth.

  • At my 36 week appointment (April 29), when Pete was in India (THIS wasn’t stressful at ALL), I had high blood pressure, which resulted in being put on partial bed rest (only working in the morning) because we didn’t want it to turn into preeclampsia.  I also learned that the baby would most likely come in the next 1-2 weeks.
  • The following Monday (May 4) when I went in to have my blood pressure checked, my BP was high enough that they sent me over to labor and delivery, and Peter and I thought I would be induced to have the baby that day.  After monitoring me for the afternoon, they decided to put me on full bed rest until the baby came, since I wasn’t quite full term (37 weeks) yet.  (I have a draft post finished about this that I didn’t post because I wanted to have material to get through the last weeks of my pregnancy.  That plan back-fired.  I’ll get this posted at some point in the next few weeks.)
  • At my doctor’s appointment on May 7, my regular check-up, I was officially 37 weeks pregnant.  Full-term.  I had enough symptoms at this point to qualify as “mild preeclampsia”, so at around 9:30 am Pete and I were told to go home, get our bags, and come back to the hospital at noon because guess what.  It’s baby day.  I was induced at 1 pm.

So!  Here I am now with a baby!  I’m a mom!  Pete’s a dad!  We’re still in shock!



Daniel was admitted to the NICU on Friday afternoon because he wasn’t overly interested in eating, was suuuuuuuuper sleepy, and wasn’t very responsive to things that babies should respond to (example: he got poked for a glucose test and didn’t even flinch).


We’re on day 5 in the NICU now, and he’s doing much better!  Finally is drinking from a bottle and trying his best to nurse (They say nursing is a “basic instinct”.  Not so basic for my little fella.).  He’s a completely different kid than when he was first admitted.  We’re so happy that he’s in a place where he is getting the extra little help that he needs… But we’re sooo ready to bring our baby home!


Pete and I are staying in the hospital hotel so that I can still get up every three hours (Motherhood!  I’m a mother!) to go down and feed Daniel.  We’re not quite sure how long we’ll be here yet, but your prayers and positive energy are SO APPRECIATED right now.

We call this his smoldering gaze. Lookout, ladies.

After two feedings in a row last night when he wasn’t drinking anything, they put a feeding tube in his nose.  Now, he’ll alternate feedings between bottle and nursing, and then he’ll get the rest through the tube.  Our little man is kind of lazy…. But we’ve been REALLY pressuring him to do well.  You know, just to get him ready for a life of parental pressure to be the best at EVERYTHING.

This morning was also a big morning because he got his IV taken out, and they also are taking him out from under the jaundice light.  Baby steps.  Literally.


OBVIOUSLY many more photos of the most adorable baby on Earth to come, along with more stories about our life with him.

Sigh.  You guys.  We’re parents.

Our first family photo.

Baby Romenesko Post 15: Labor, Birth, and Beyond

34.5 weeks. 

Before I tell you all about how we are ready to be parents because we took baby class, I need to say thank you.  THANK YOU.  I was really nervous about publishing my last blog post about my panic attack because I was feeling very vulnerable and like we just are not ready to be parents, etc. etc. The positive and supportive responses I got from everyone were overwhelming and so wonderful and made me feel so much better.  You’re all awesome.

On Saturday, Pete and I attended our “Labor, Birth, and Beyond” class, and now we’re ready to be parents.

Just kidding, it was pretty terrifying all around.

Growing up on a farm, I learned at a really early age about life (and death, but let’s stick to life here).  On a farm, life starts when a calf pushes a cow out of her butt.  We then had to learn the difference between the place where poop comes out and the place where a calf comes out.  Anyway, sometimes the calf needed help coming out, so Dad would have to pull the calf by the legs and help the cow.  Now, we were told growing up that this was the miracle of life and yes, it was bloody and goopy, but it didn’t hurt the cow.  Sometimes a dad needs to tell that to his kids when they are seeing a live birth and wondering why the cow is making noises that sound like “JESUS GET THIS THING OUT OF ME BEFORE I KEEL OVER DEAD”.

After the calf was born, there was something else that had to come out of the cow that was this really gross looking blood and guts and slimy and nasty thing.  This was called “the cleanings”, and even though I had no idea what the purpose of this grotesque thing was, I knew that if it didn’t come out it was an even bigger mess and caused some big problems.  I also knew that the cleanings had to be put in the manure spreader because if they weren’t, the dog would get them and eat them.

Aren’t you jealous that you didn’t grow up on a farm?

Now, I’m not telling you all of this fascinating information that I learned at the ripe old age of 6 to show you how cultured I am.  I’m sharing it with you so that you know that I have seen live births before.  I know the science of it.  Keyword: science.

Watching three ten-minute videos of women pushing babies out of their vaginas was a completely different experience.  I mean, at one point I was thinking “Would I rather be WATCHING this happening, or FEELING this happening?” and definitely thinking that I was glad I didn’t have to watch it happen.  Because.  It was traumatizing.  And no one was saying “Oh, it’s the miracle of life and even though it looks God-awful painful and gross, it doesn’t even hurt!”  Uh-uh.  None of that.  No more farm lies to protect the women who were around 6 weeks away from pushing a baby out of their loins.

In the first video that we watched, the dad CAUGHT THE BABY immediately after it was birthed.  I looked over at Pete with big eyes to be met with even bigger eyes and a whiter face.  He shook his head and said with conviction, “Nope.  No way.”  I mean, WHY WOULD THEY EVEN SHOW THAT TO US.  Poor dads.

The third video we watched was a woman who didn’t have any medication during her labor at all.  Au natural.  This time, I was the one with bigger eyes and a whiter face and said, “There is no way in hell.”  GIVE ME THOSE MEDS.

It was really interesting because at one point the RN teaching the class asked if any of us had birth plans aka who in the class wanted the magic juice to ease some of the pain.  My hand went up right away because I have zero shame in admitting that I will need drugs because I am a real wimp.  As I was looking around the room, I noticed that the other women were looking around the room first, THEN raising their hands.

I don’t know at what point women in our society began “shaming” other women who decided they wanted an epidural, but let me tell you what.  There is no shame in needing a little somethin’-somethin’.  The majority of women who speak openly about their labor and delivery experience are the ones who didn’t have any medication, or did a water birth or something like that.  DO NOT get me wrong – more power to you if you can handle a human making its way out of your body with no medication.  I’m serious here – that is awesome.

However, I firmly believe that it is equally awesome if you have some sort of relief from the pain because let’s face it – every woman who gives birth to another human being is SO FABULOUS because look at what your body just did!  Your body incubated a PERSON for (around) FORTY WEEKS!  Your body literally created another life, nurtured it, and then birthed it out of a 10 centimeter hole.  10 centimeters is NOT THAT BIG.

And that’s not the end of it!  Your body then knows exactly when to release the right hormones so that you can produce the nourishment for you baby, shrink your uterus back to normal size and ALLOW YOU TO FUNCTION NORMALLY IN SOCIETY.  Take a second and think about this, you guys.  It really is fascinating.

SO ANYWAYS.  Women!  No shame in needing a little magic to ease the delivery!  And don’t let anyone else let you think otherwise!  I also learned in baby class that over 50% of women have some sort of medication during their labor and delivery, but the statistics are kind of complicated because age, race, and education level all play a part in that (isn’t that so interesting??).

BUT, I digress.

The first couple hours of the class went through the different stages of labor.  I really, really appreciated the RN who taught the class because she was just so honest, saying things like “Oh, at this part, it’s REALLY going to hurt” and “Nurses call this stage ‘the f-bomb hour'”.  Just FYI “f-bomb hour” is where you are dilating from 7 to 10 centimeters right before you start pushing.  According to the RN, if you make it past this point without going completely insane from the pain, you are pretty well set to deliver the child, even though things will stretch and tear and be all around terrifying.

You’re welcome.

Peter was pretty stoic during the whole class.  He is a really good learner, and I have no doubt that he will be just fine helping me through the agonizingly painful hell journey to welcome our child into the world.  He didn’t have a hard time breathing or anything, but his eyes got pretty big when he saw how little 10 cm dilated is and realized that I had to push a baby through that.

One of the parts that I was kind of “yeesh” about was when I learned that immediately after delivering the baby, the baby would be placed on a warm blanket on my chest.  You guys.  Babies are kind of scary when they’re born (even the nurse said this, so I am not feeling as bad saying it after seeing the live birth video).  They are like, bluish purple and covered in gook and look like something from another planet.  The thought of having that up in my face before it is pink and snuggly made me a little queasy, but my friend told me that it would be different when it’s my own child.

Let’s hope she’s right.

I also learned that when I pushed out the cleanings, or more scientifically known as the placenta, it would feel like nothing compared to pushing out the baby, and I would be in such La La Baby Land that I wouldn’t even care what was happening down there.  I would start to care, however, when the nurse had to “massage” my stomach to be like “Hey, uterus!  Nothing’s left in there!  Start cramping up, expelling the leftovers, and shrinking back to normal size!”  The nurse was very honest and said, “You really won’t like me when I do that, but I honestly don’t care.”  My kind of woman.

After the class, Pete and I got to tour the maternity floor of the hospital and were really happy with the “delivery suites”.  All the action takes place in one room, and then you stay in that room with the baby for the rest of your hospital stay, which I think is really nice.  All of the rooms have a window, which I also really appreciate.   Although, maybe it’s not the best idea to have a window in there if at any point I want to either jump out of it, or push Peter out of it.  We’ll see.

When we left, Pete and I were in the car chatting, and I told him that during the labor and delivery, I might say some really mean things to him.  I told him that as I was saying those mean things, I wanted him to remember that I truly did love him because if I didn’t love him I wouldn’t have wanted his child.

He said, “Oh yeah, I’m expecting you to be like, really mean in there.”

Well what the hell is that supposed to mean??  No backpedaling from that one, sir.  He tried and failed, so I made him buy me an ice cream.

SO!  Here’s to thinking about the video of a woman whom I’ve never met, but know more intimately than I know any other woman, birthing a child for the next 5.5 weeks.  I mean, maybe I’ll feel differently after I’ve given birth to the most perfect human being on earth (Let’s get serious, how can it NOT be with the genetics that Peter and I are giving it!?) but right now… That is some scary shit.

(Aren’t you so excited to read about MY OWN child birth experience after reading about what I took away from baby class??)

Baby Romenesko Post 14: Panic

33.5 weeks.  6.5 weeks to go.

People keep asking me if our future getting more real, but it’s kind of weird, because as we edge closer and closer to D-Day, the whole “we’re having a baby” thing is getting more UNreal.  Like.  “Wow, I can’t believe this is happening.  I REALLY can’t believe this is happening!”

Last week was a rough one.  Not everything about pregnancy is glitter and sprinkles, and I was definitely feeling that last week.  My body is getting sore, I’m not sleeping the best (heartburn and bathroom breaks), and it’s becoming more challenging to get comfortable.  I’m not constantly UNcomfortable, it just takes more of an effort to get in a comfortable position.  When I have been sitting for more than 3 seconds, it takes longer than usual to get up and moving.  My fingers are like sausages, and my feet are pudgy.

I knew all of these things would come, I really did.  But all of a sudden this last week, I was completely overwhelmed by all of it.  On Wednesday, I honestly found myself thinking, “Can I do this for 7 more weeks?”  And then I got really scared that I was having those thoughts.

On Monday, I got an email that the dresser/changing table that we ordered in the middle of February was out of stock and isn’t going to be delivered until THE BEGINNING OF AUGUST.

The. Beginning. Of. AUGUST.

Let me remind you right now that my due date is May 28.

I’m sure you can guess where this is going.  Before I go on, I KNOW that everything will be alright.  I KNOW that we don’t NEED a dresser/changing table.  But, as I’ve mentioned before, I am a planner.  I like to have my ducks in a row.  I had a vision of a complete nursery with things on the walls and onesies in the drawers that was going to be JUST PERFECT for our little baby when we came home from the hospital.

And with one email, I felt like all of that got taken away from me.  I suddenly felt like the few things that I can control – decorating a nursery for one – got taken away from me because of unforeseen circumstances.

And that led to a complete meltdown.

Now, I have had meltdowns before.  But this was different.  I think that it was a minor panic attack.  All of a sudden I was just completely overwhelmed and feeling like we are going to be utterly unprepared for this baby to come.  And then, I was terrified.

Wednesday night over dinner (the same day that I was starting to wonder if I could handle 7 more weeks of pregnancy), I decided to try to talk to Peter about it.  It was really hard for me to put into words what I was feeling, and he sat and listened to me stammer and stutter try to express my fears and panic.

And then he did what any loving husband would do.  He said, “Sara, it’s going to be alright.  You are going to be great.  WE are going to be great.  Everything will be just fine.”

And I did what any hormonal, emotional, first-time pregnant lady would do.

I got mad.  I got REALLY mad.  In less than half a second, my tears went from sad and scared to hot and angry.  And then I got even madder because I was so annoyed with myself for being so mad at Peter, who didn’t do anything wrong.  Pete, who didn’t know that I was getting so mad, kept reassuring me that we would be ok.

I got up from the kitchen table, and started cleaning my dinner plate off in the sink, saying “Never mind.  I know it’s stupid.  I wish I wouldn’t have said anything.”  He kept talking, soothing, encouraging.

I slammed my dinner plate into the sink and yelled through hot tears, “PETER.  PLEASE.”  And he just stared at me, confused and hurt.  I started crying harder and walked away.  As I was walking down the hallway, the light was on in the baby’s room.  Looking into the baby’s room to turn off the light, I started feeling short of breath and panicky.  I turned off the light and shut the door – a door that hadn’t been shut since early January when the room was painted – because that room was just one big, fat reminder of how unprepared I was to have a baby.

Needing to close that door was horrifying.  At almost the flip of a switch, my favorite room in the house, the room that I could stand in for hours, was a room that I couldn’t even look at.

I cried in our room for a while, and then Pete came in.  I looked at him and said, “I don’t want to talk about it.”  He said that was fine, gave me a hug, and left me alone.

You guys, it was such a sad night.  I was feeling so sorry for myself, and I was still panicky that we weren’t ready to have a baby, but ready or not, baby is coming.

I slept horribly, and still wasn’t ready to talk about anything the next morning as Peter and I were getting ready for work.  The entire day after my little attack, I was in a weird mood and couldn’t even think about the night before without getting teared up and short of breath.

Finally, after work that day, I was able to apologize to Peter for being so neurotic.  The whole thing of my meltdown was that I was SO ANNOYED with myself.  Because I KNOW that everything will be fine.  I KNOW that we will be alright.  It was a very frustrating experience all around.

Yesterday, the gliding chair came.  I opened up the baby’s room door again and opened the window to let in the cool breeze.  Pete put the glider together as I cleaned the kitchen, wondering if I would be able to sit in the chair after it was assembled.

I was.

After three days of weirdness and getting over my panic, I am feeling pretty back to normal.  More excited than scared.  And I’m glad that I feel like that again.  Because the panic, it’s just not me.

ANYWAYS.  That was heavy!  Let’s get happy again and look at how nice the new glider looks in the nursery!

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The glider really is just perfect for snuggling a brand new baby.  I’m smiling just thinking about it.

PS: Writing this post, I’m realizing what an impact dressers have had on my life.  Remember when we bought a house, and it all started with a dresser??  I’m going to ban any more dresser talk from now until eternity.