First Day of School for Davis and Me

In school, we measure everything in 9 week increments. There are 4 nine weeks in a school year. Today is the beginning of my 31st week, which means that I have 9 weeks to go until the birth of baby Davis.

Today was the first day of school. I had bus duty first thing this morning. My job was to hold the door open for all the eager little beings to cross from the carefree follies of summertime into the world of schedules and work and hopefully learning. I stood at my duty post and watched them enter one by one. Some of them looked at my belly and showed me a toothless grin. Some of them just walked by without even noticing I was there – they were the ones used to staying in bed until at least 10AM. One little girl, oh about first grade, looked up and declared, “You’re pregnant!” I said, “Really…how did you know?” She responded, “Cause my aunt just had a baby.” “Oh,” I said. So, either my belly gave me away or I just showed a striking resemblance to her aunt. A group of boys went by, said nothing, then one made a comment about a watermelon which was followed by giggles from the rest of the gang.

Thus the day began…

At around 9, my fifth graders came. They wanted to talk about everything. After getting notebooks and journals labled, index cards filled out, and introductions made, we journeyed to the carpet. I sat in the rocking chair and just began my speech about the baby. I told them the due date, that I would be out from mid-October until mid-January, the baby is a boy, his name is Davis, the origin of his name – anything I could think they would have a question about. Then I proceeded to tell them that if at anytime I began having contractions or there was a problem, someone would need to go to the office and get the nurse. Gilbert said, “I want to be in charge of that – I can get there fast!” So, Gilbert has been appointed as office runner. We have yet to elect an emergency phone caller because they all want to call someone in the event that I go into labor. They are hoping the baby comes right there in the room. What an amazing science lesson that would be. When I was drawing the whole baby discussion to a close, Phillip raised his hand and asked me if I was letting the baby bungee jump from the umbilical cord. Phillip had been so quiet all morning, I just was expecting that he had calmed himself over the summer. Since I didn’t have any logical response for Phillip, I dismissed them all back to their seats. Glad to know Phillip hasn’t changed too much.

My fourth graders came later and got the same baby speech. No major questions or surprises. No creative comments like the one from Phillip. A couple of girls did want to know if the baby was kicking. They wanted to feel it move. I am trying to keep my distance because if one touches my belly, they all will. As one of my “get to know you” activities, I asked each student to write down one thing we probably didn’t know about them and one thing they hoped to learn this year. After they had written down their responses, I began the conversation by telling them that they probably didn’t know that I was in gifted classes when I was their age. I also explained that this year, I hoped to learn more about how to be a mommy because I had no idea where to begin. One of my little girls immediately raised her hand and told me where I could find information about being a good mommy. She said that they actually had books about parenting at Books-A-Million and that these books would probably help me. I assured her I would go to Books-A-Million and check them out.

Anyway, my first day has come to a close and I am exhausted. I can’t imagine how I will feel come Friday afternoon. I do know that afternoon naps are inevitable, so between about 4:30 and 5:30 each day, I am permanently scheduling mandatory naptime for myself.

Center of the Universe

So this week marks the 29 week mark. I went to the doctor on Monday, spent 45 minutes between waiting in the lobby and waiting in an examining room, 5 minutes to pee in a cup, 5 minutes to check my weight and blood pressure, and 5 minutes for Dr. Bindner to ask if I had any questions, measure the height of my fundus, and listen to the baby’s heartbeat. All is still well. From now on, my appointments will happen every two weeks. That means that Davis’s arrival is quickly approaching.

Tracy and I have officially been educated about bringing baby into the world and bringing baby home with us. We spent an entire Saturday at a birthing class where our fears were confirmed… The baby pretty much has one route for exit. We watched many videos of parents who were going through the 3 stages of labor. It was very interesting to me that one couple, when the beginning stages of labor started, went out to lunch and for a walk in the park before heading to the hospital. At the hospital, in order to progress labor and deal with labor pains, the same couple went for a stroll up and down the hallways. At one point when the mom’s pain really intensified, the husband got down on the floor, on all fours, so that he could provide a table of sorts for her to lean over on. Tracy assured me that if I really needed him to do this, he would, but I have my doubts. Our instructor, Carla Wham said that we would know we were having contractions when our bellies were “Tight, Tight, Tight and Hard, Hard, Haaaard.” We wondered why she repeated this so many times. We have actually repeated this phrase many times since our class because we found it so humorous. I think it may have been important for us to remember – believe me, we won’t forget it.

After viewing an actual birth (on video of course), we also got to witness the birth of the placenta. On the night prior to going to the class, our friend Adam who has a young daughter, proceeded to desribe the placenta to us. He said that it looked like a muscadine grape that had rotted, been turned inside out and blown up about a hundred times. We were expecting the worst. But, the birth of the placenta was not even that traumatic. All in all, we survived birthing class without too many scars or surprises.

Our next class the following Tuesday was entitled Handle With Care. We watched more videos and got some hands-on experience with an extra large baby doll. Most people had baby dolls that were the size of a normal newborn, but for some reason ours was extra large. I hope that it was not an indication of what we should expect on Davis’s coming out day. Anyway, Tracy learned how to change the baby’s diaper and how to swaddle. We were then taken upstairs where the nurse actually bathed a newborn little boy, so that we would know how to carefully give our own newborn a bath.

The thing I fear the most and the thing I had the most questions about was the umbilical cord. It just looks so gross. Tracy thinks it looks like a snail. I asked the nurse if it halfway fell off, were we just supposed to leave it attached until it completely fell off. She instructed me to leave it until it completely fell off. She then told me I should keep it after it fell off. That left me a little disturbed and confused. So, I had another question – What do you mean keep it? She explained that it held valuable DNA information and that we should just place it in a zip-loc bag and put it in a fire proof box so that, heavenforbid, if we needed DNA information, we would have it readily available. Honestly, my spine crawls when I look at pictures of baby’s umbilical cords. I don’t know how I am going to make it through actually having to look at one on a daily basis. I am thinking that if I have to breast feed the baby every 2 hours, the least Tracy can do is change his diapers. Fair compromise as far as I am concerned. Once the cord falls off, I will take over.

It’s interesting, I never understood what the umbilical cord was attached to. For some reason, Tracy and I thought it was like a tether connecting Davis’s belly button to my belly button. I knew it was how he was nourished and fed, but I couldn’t figure out how that worked. I also questioned what happens to the umbilical cord once they cut it from the baby. Does the rest of it just remain inside me? Well, needless to say that after the birthing class, I now understand the umbilical cord is attached to the placenta and it comes out once the placenta is birthed. I am thankful to know that it doesn’t take up residence in my uterus after Davis is birthed. The thought of that just makes my skin crawl.

After all the classes and talk about baby virtually every waking moment, I told Tracy that I felt like I was disappearing. I felt like everyone was oblivious to my existence beyond my belly. I even told him that I thought I would just skip my morning routine of fixing my hair and putting on make up because no one would notice. All they see is my belly. It’s like that’s my whole person. I was starting to feel non-existent and depressed. I talked to Obea about it and she assured me that once the baby was born, it would get worse. I would really not exist. She even said that my family would probably only want to see us so that they could see the baby. I fully realize that this will in fact happen and I am thankful that everyone is so amazingly excited over the life that is being formed. I even expected that I would take a back seat to baby Davis, but last week the reality of it hit me head on.

A few weeks ago, Aunt Carol sent me a comic strip that said once the baby comes, you stop being the center of the universe and the baby takes over that role. I never really thought that I considered myself the center of the universe, but I am convinced we all see ourselves that way. We’re born selfish. However, I am learning, that my universe is getting ready to go through a massive implosion and when it’s all said and done, reformed and reshaped, a newer and better universe will remain.