Monday, September 24, 2007

Strange Territory

The longer this month drags on, the stranger it gets. I find myself dealing with emotions and situations I have not experienced before. I am referring to, of course, the Cubs being in first place in the Central Division this late in September. Just kidding. As exciting as it is watching my beloved Chicago Cubs have a shot at the post season, I am pre-occupied with the baby growing rapidly inside my wife.

I thought that by this point in the pregnancy I would have settled down. Not true. I have become a worrier. I worry about the health of the baby. I worry about Shannon feeling okay. I worry about labor and delivery. Sometimes I lay awake at night thinking about things that could go wrong and wonder how I would handle the situation.

(Watching season three of Grey’s Anatomy on DVD probably wasn’t the wisest choice.)

Last week Shannon had a doctor’s appointment. It included another ultrasound and the results of her Glucose Tolerance Test. I took the afternoon off from work and went with her.

Driving in to the hospital parking garage I was wondering where I needed to go when the big day (or D-Day as I am now referring to it) happens. “Do I go to the Emergency Room when you are in labor?” I said. I can just picture myself flying into the drop off area on two wheels, tires squealing. “No” Shannon said. “I am pretty sure we just go to the hospital admissions desk.” I am thinking to myself “What?...I would think having a baby would surely qualify as an emergency!”. (It does in my book.)

So we are sitting in the waiting room before the doctor's appt and I am feeling a little nervous about the test results and ultrasound. I’m always afraid we will get bad news. To take my mind off of things I begin reading an article in Super Parent Quarterly or whatever the magazine was called. The article was about negotiating with your child about who is boss. It basically says that children become discouraged when parents make all of the household decisions. Occasionally you should let children be the boss. My response to that is the same as my father’s response to me. “You don’t like it? Well, when you get to be the Dad…you can make the rules” he would say. Now that I am going to be the Dad, I am not passing up my opportunity to make the rules.

Anyway, the article worked. I was distracted. Soon enough we get called back to the ultrasound room. I am excited. Maybe this time I can see what they are talking about. No such luck. The images on this ultrasound were just larger and fuzzier than the first. “The doctor will be in to see you shortly” the ultrasonographer would say.

She lied. The doctor was trying to deliver a couple of babies that day. It was back to the waiting room for us. “I hope he says nothing is wrong” was all I could think. Not even the parenting magazines could distract me this time.

After 45 minutes of watching As the World Turns on the tiny waiting room TV, we were called back again. Straight from delivering a baby, the doctor flew into the room with Shannon’s chart. (I half expected him to be covered in blood and gore like a zombie in a horror movie.) He flipped a few pages, looked at the ultrasound pictures and measured her belly. He said Shannon’s blood sugar was a borderline high in two of the four samples and suggested she meet with a gestational diabetes specialist for some diet and exercise advice. The boy is also about ½ a pound bigger than he would expect him to be at this stage. He weighs about 3 ½ pounds. Both mother and baby have good heartbeats. Shannon’s blood pressure is great. “Everything looks good,” the doctor said, “you are right on track”.

I could relax.

Of course, last night I watched In The Womb on the National Geographic Channel in High Def. Here we go again…

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Ready for Baby

Daddy's Day Out

Let me tell you about registering for the baby shower. I know that on the surface it sounds like it would be really, really fun but it wasn't. It was scarry. It was yet another glaring reminder that I don't know very much about babies.

Shannon and I have talked about doing it for weeks. I begged her to take me to Babies -R-Us, but we kept putting it off. Finally I just put my foot down. Saturday morning was it. We put on comfortable clothes and headed to the store.

We walked up to the registration counter and announced our intent. A very helpful young girl named Christi (with an i) gave us the forms to fill out and pamphlet to read. (funny isn't it? don't have to do anything to make a baby, but if you want somebody to buy him a tube of Beaudrous Butt Paste you have to fill out a form.)

Christi (with an i) went over the forms, pamphlet and program at rapid fire speed. "You neeed to do this" or "Don't do that unless" she said several times. Myself, I was distracted by a tiny monkey suit hanging on a rack next to me. "I can't wait until this kid is older so I can dress him up in crazy outfits" I was thinking. Finally she handed us a scanner, a store map and a list of suggested items.

The very first aisle set the tone for the rest of the morning. Imagine me standing there, scanner in my hand, facing a giant wall of breast pumps and breast pump accessories. Shannon is standing behind me with the list of recommendations. "Okay" she said "We need a breast pump. Which one do you think would be good?" she asked. I know that between the two of us I am the one who has devoted more time to the study of womens' breasts, but my knowledge ends with practical application. I have always just been concerned with aesthetic value. "I have no idea" was my reply to that and to many questions to follow.

We meandered through the aisles talking, reading and scanning. Eventually we made our way back to Christi (with an i) and gave her our scanner back. Feeling successful I said to Shannon, "Let's get some lunch."

On the way to the restaurant Shannon noticed in the Babies-R-Us pamphlet all of the things that the store "automatically" puts into your registry. You know, just to be helpful. Needless to say, this morning we will be going over our selections on-line. So much for being done with registering.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hooray for modern times!

I am glad that we live in such modern times. Today’s forward thinking society has allowed us to blur the lines of traditional gender roles.

I say this because growing up I learned that Dad's are never included in the time honored tradition of the “baby shower”. I was sad knowing I would miss out on the finger sandwiches, baby bottles filled with jelly beans, in-depth discussions about breast feeding and remedies for diaper rash. Oh sure, I get to accompany my wife to my new favorite stores as we register for the shower. My opinion is necessary when deciding what color the “whatchamacallit” or the “thingamajig” should be, or how may wipey things we need. I didn’t think that I would rate an invitation the actual "party".

Imagine my excitement when I learned that our joyous event would now include couples. How great is it that all of my close male friends can join me in the frivolity? I hope that I don’t cry. That would just be embarrassing.

Anyway, I am not only new to the idea of parenthood, I am also still relatively unfamiliar with the idea of men going to a baby shower. I decided to do some internet research.

It's worse than I thought. Website after website offers suggestions on how to make the men feel more included in the shower. "Make sure the father-to-be has a seat next to the expectant mother when opening the gifts", "have the men race to change the diaper on a doll" or "have the guys try to drink juice from a baby bottle as fast as they can". One webpage had a message/suggestion board with some frequently asked questions on it. I saw one headline that read "How can I throw my husband an all boys baby shower?" (I couldn't bring myself to look.) Two words don't.

I have a co-ed baby shower game...have all of the ladies put their purses in a pile and see if the men can guess which one their testecles are in.

Allright, enough of my inner caveman. In all honesty I am glad that men are more involved in the pregnancy now. I want to be a part of every aspect of my wifes pregnancy and son's birth. (Even the ones that aren't my cup of tea.)

If our friends and family want to help us celebrate our first baby...then I am glad to have them as friends and family.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Who is writing this nonsense anyway?

Because they only know my wife or don't know either of us, several people have asked for a picture of the author of this blog. Well, here you go....

Things are starting to get interesting....

Shannon went to the doctor's office last week for her glucose screening test and checkup.

The glucose screening did not go well. In fact, it did not happen. Shannon had sugar in her urine sample even before the screening. And a sugar level of 171 after a quick finger prick. (We're told it should be between 80-120.) Because of that, the doctor decided to skip it all together. ( I'm sure it's because she is sooooo sweet.)

He has scheduled her for a three hour glucose tolerance test. She will stand around for three hours drinking syrupy, sweet drinks and see how it affects her blood and body.(In other words, it is like going to a night club without the smoke and loud music.) All of this is designed to test for gestational diabetes. If it turns out to be more serious than just eating too many cookies, he will talk to us about managing the problem. That could involve anything from a more restricted diet to insulin. The doctor was not alarmed and assured her that we will cross that bridge when we come to it. He said that the rest of the checkup was good. The baby has a good heartbeat and is growing bigger. Possibly too big.

The doctor made another comment on the size of Shannon's belly and took measurements. He wants to do another ultrasound on September 20th to see if he is farther along than we first thought. I just think he is going to be a big boy like his father. I hope he sets a new world record! (If he does...I will never hear the end of it.)

The only other issue Shannon is having is with her wrists and hands. Over the last few weeks she has started to suffer from what most people refer to as carpel tunnel syndrome (however you say it or spell it.) Basically she has pain in her thumbs and wrists accompanied by some numbness in her fingertips. Like most things associated with pregnancy symptoms there isn't anything I can do to help her be more comfortable. (Stop asking it just pisses them off.)

I'm going to go into the kitchen and finish doing dishes...