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What Happened?

January 31, 2013 by  
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by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

Your body changes when you’re pregnant, but it ain’t all bad. The other day, I was wondering what happened to my boobs. Actually, I knew where they were—somewhere near my navel. Like birthday balloons the day after all the helium has seeped out. But somewhere about month six, those God-given milk-makers take on a shape like never before. Socks, tissues, and oranges stuffed into your bra can’t hold a candle to the real deal. I never measured the actual circumference of them before or during pregnancy, but I can tell you those suckers can stretch. Two bra sizes easily.

“You have such a glow about you!” I never heard that until I was pregnant. Except the time I had neon clothes under a strobe light at a nightclub. But it was true. My skin was different. It actually looked good. I foolishly assumed the glow of being with child was just from being happy. Sadly, I didn’t gain a lot of happy just being pregnant. Weight, yes. Mounds of happy? Not really. My skin looked shiny. Upon closer examination, I was pretty sure it was just oily skin.

It’s been nine years since I had our second child. Suspiciously, it’s also been nine years since my hair had the thickness, curl, and body I like. My hair grew quickly. Now it has an attitude. It grows when it wants to. If it wants to. When I was pregnant, my hair grew the same way all over my head. Now it comes in zones—okay, so-so, and angry. One side never gets as long as the other, and the curl isn’t even curly. It’s a combo of Bozo the Clown, a wet poodle, and dry angel hair pasta.

I’ve got stretch marks in places where I didn’t know you could get stretch marks, one foot is larger than the other, and I’m sporting a mid-section that is the reason high-waisted Mom jeans sell so well. But really, what else would you expect to happen after housing a bowling ball for almost a year?

And Today’s Feature Will Be

January 28, 2013 by  
Filed under Julie Davidson

by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

Baby showers are the first party for mom and baby. And not bad for a guest of honor that hasn’t arrived.

But if traditional baby showers aren’t exciting enough, brace yourself for the latest trend—ultrasound parties. In the comfort of your own home. It used to be come on by and gather around the big-screen TV. Now? Gather around the big-bellied mama.

Did you ever have the window or carpet guy stop in to demo his company’s demo kit? Well, these parties involve someone stopping by—a traveling ultrasound tech. And their demo kit is complete with a mobile ultrasound machine.

Yes, that’s right. You will find out the gender of your child at the same time as a room full of people. Maybe not the best choice for someone who cherishes privacy. They’ll be staring at your belly and studying your reaction. Keep in mind-everyone’s cell phone has a camera on it.

Mind you, it’ll be your friends at this unique gathering. But think about how out of hand that could get. Between the chips and dip, your girlfriends are placing bets on whether it’s a girl or boy. They’ll be clamoring around that ultrasound machine, shouting out wagers. “I put 50 bucks on it that you’re having a girl!” Suddenly your living room resembles the floor or the New York Stock Exchange. But instead of stocks rising, it’s just your blood pressure.

Adding alcohol could make it even more colorful. Their comments could get a bit too honest. “Oh darn! Boys are so much harder in the early years!” “Wow, didn’t you say you wanted a boy?” “Guess I can’t give you any hand-me-downs this time.”

And imagine what happens when you see you’re having twins. Perhaps the utter look of shock on your face will be enough to get people passing a hat around and dropping in cash.

The truth is, life should be a celebration. Starting early isn’t bad, but maybe a few guests wouldn’t mind staying for the after-party, like anytime from birth through the first year. You know, for cleanup duty and stuff.

The Science of Life

January 10, 2013 by  
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by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

Are you a baker? I’m not. But I do know that you have to get the timing right. Cakes, cookies, muffins—there’s a science to it. And there’s a whole lotta’ science to pregnancy too. Like the fact that the baby ideally should stay inside the mom until 39 weeks. So it’s totally normal to get nervous from day one about miscarrying.

I kept thinking things like, If I can make it a few more days, that’ll be a week. A few more weeks, and that’ll be a month. And after a few months, I should be good. And then you start doing things that you’re sure will keep the baby in there. I stopped putting chemicals in my hair. And hit the treadmill—until I broke it. I even ate broccoli, which is quite possibly the most unattractive and foul-tasting vegetable there is. No cigarettes, soda, or alcohol. And I still had a miscarriage.

Maybe you saw the movie The Odd Life of Timothy Green. The couple in the movie is unable to conceive. Just before they succumb to the fact that they will not physically bear children, they write down all the characteristics their dream child would have. Then they bury that list in their garden. That should have been the end of it, but well, it’s a movie, and you have to get your 10 buck’s worth, so there’s more. Like a kid who shows up covered in mud and sprouting small leaves on him. Some people grow turnips—they grew a kid.

So the couple gets attached to the kid. And—spoiler alert—slowly his leaves turn brown and he disappears. The couple is devastated. If you see the film, you can see a parallel between that and a lot of the more difficult times you’ll endure in life. Including a miscarriage. And it’s not my intention to tell you that such an event is no big deal. I curled up in bed, couldn’t look at anyone who was pregnant, and kicked back a few cocktails. Wallowing in self-pity became a full-time job.

At some point, I started to come out of my funk. I realized I hadn’t done anything to cause the miscarriage. As in the movie, you see that some of life’s most traumatic situations are a function of science and not a failure of ours. Burning the cookies? That one’s on us.

 

How’s Your Schedule Look?

December 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Julie Davidson

By Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

First her boobs were too big. People wanted to know what size they were, and if they were real. If only someone had told her that Chicken of the Sea was in fact tuna and not chicken, she would have avoided public scrutiny on that one. But who had time to dwell on that when there was a marriage, a divorce, a new relationship, and eventually a baby to gossip about.

The life and times of celebrities. This time I’m referring to Jessica Simpson. She’s blonde. She’s pretty. And she lives under a microscope. After she gave birth to her first child that microscope narrowed in on her weight gain. The media wouldn’t let up about her weight. Then she signed with Weight Watchers. Great. Now she could make a gazillion more dollars, shed a few pounds, and maybe get a few star-gazing vultures off her back. But then,.seven months after she gave birth to her baby girl, it was rumored that was preggers again. You could almost hear the collective gasp across the country. Here we go again.

And this is where terms like “oops baby” and “surprise child” come into play.  “Oops” is dropping your keys in the toilet. A “surprise” is finding them in the drain pipe. But why do we have the terms anyway? If you have intercourse, then you gotta know it could happen.

It comes down to “it” happened, but not according to the schedule you thought. Big deal. You’ll have baby pushers riding your butt from the moment you say “I do.” Those are the people that apparently have nothing better to do than ask you when you’re having kids. Every chance they get. The same ones that will not be offering free babysitting once the kid is born. For them your timing is all off. If you have a baby too soon, they say you didn’t have a chance to know your partner. If you wait too long, they say you’re too old.

You can’t always do things on a perfect schedule. If you have a child earlier than what you had in mind, go ahead and consider it unscheduled. If you have babies later than you thought, you could call it an adjusted schedule. If you have kids more than a few years apart, just see it as a full schedule. And when you have ‘em super close. That is a very tight schedule.

 

A Party to Remember

December 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Julie Davidson

by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

There are times when you feel like an outsider. Clearly, you have lost your flock.

Ever go to a dog park, but you don’t have a dog? Don’t be shocked to see people happy to see their Fido smelling Sparky’s butt! Seriously?

How about one of those candle parties? You prefer electricity. A room full of women bursting with excitement over the various scents. You just keep thinking they’re decorative fire hazards.

Or a Mary Kay party. Most of the ladies are giddy about the new line for the season. You just wonder if you still have to mix water with it to use it. That and how much of it will it take to make you look like the model on the cover of the brochure.

And even though you may have always wanted children and enjoy being around them, until you’re pregnant, you’re not truly an insider. But going to a baby shower will get you a little closer. However, it’s sort of a different world. Kind of like being a bridesmaid. Once you do it, you’ll be in the know.

The carefully crafted invitation is so cute it makes you want to get pregnant. It includes every pastel color imaginable, with graphics of baby bottles, the alphabet, diapers, and little angels. Seriously, why aren’t invitations for adult parties that adorable? At best, we send out an e-mail with a colon and half a parentheses to make a smiley face.

Yep, a party for someone who isn’t even born yet! They have yet to make it to the outside. But fetus shower doesn’t have such a nice ring to it. And it may seem like baby showers are over the edge. The balloons six blocks away directing traffic to the shower destination. More balloons lining the entrance of the actual party place. Cake shaped like a building block, melons cut into the shape of pacifiers, and mini baby bottles filled with candy.

And inevitably, games will be played. No one likes them. But everyone plays them.

The mood is light. People are genuinely happy to be there. It isn’t just the spiked punch—they really want to wish you well. No one goes to the showers for the games. Food maybe. Games not so much.

And the guest list includes all your favorites. From Godmothers to co-workers to college roommates—they might all be there. Think about that. When else would all those people be together with you? As a living person. Not even a Lady Gaga show, a weekend in Vegas, or a bachelorette party would do it. Well, unless your Godmother is really hip.

 

Belly of the Beast

December 6, 2012 by  
Filed under Julie Davidson

by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

Jumping, touching your toes, and sitting up. For the most part, those are things that are easy to do. At least two of the three are included on those awful physical fitness tests we endured in grade school. You know: The ones you dreaded because the entire class watched. That’s okay, because if you passed all the gazillion mini boot camp drills, you got your name written on a cheesy pre-printed certificate.

When you really think about the transition your body goes through during pregnancy, on one hand, it’s amazing. On the other hand, it’s frightening. It takes less than 10 months for your body to transform another being from a tiny dot to a full-fledged human. Not an alien. A real human.

During that journey, your body won’t function the same as it once did. Consider how long it usually takes you to sit up. Pre-pregnancy, probably less than three seconds. To get an idea of how long that takes during pregnancy, go back to a time you were curious about ladybugs and beetles.

So there you are, watching a bug climb up a stick or across the lawn. He was just minding his own business. Doing bug stuff. And then suddenly you had the genius idea to see what happens if you turn the bug onto his back. His little legs and antennae flail around trying to grasp the ground that you took away. How many times can you recall a bug flipping back over to its rightful position? Well in a less insecty kind of way, it’s the same when you have a bulging belly.

Along the same lines, by the 7th or 8th month, you have a difficult time jumping. Which isn’t that bad. Jumping jacks are a distant memory, and if something excites you, you can always clap your hands.

Later in your pregnancy, you give up all hope of touching your toes. Don’t worry, if you are concerned that they’re still there, wiggle them. It’s almost hilarious tying to bend down that far. It’s reminiscent of a Weeble Wobble.

Sitting up? If you are already in an upright position, you’re fine. But if you’re lying down, you’re about as good as a ladybug on its back.

Who Needs to Know

December 6, 2012 by  
Filed under Julie Davidson

by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

Once you get pregnant, you gotta figure out who you tell. Once upon a time, you swore by the same rule as winning the lottery. Tell no one and get an attorney. But the reality is that just when you think no one besides you and the baby’s father needs to know, the list of people you realize you really have to tell begins to form.

Your best friend from high school needs to know because, well she knows everything. You can’t withhold something like pregnancy. It’s totally against the rules. And you might want to tell your best friend from college. She saw you through three different apartments, two breakups, and one change of your major. Your in-laws have asked you for two years when you plan on giving them grandchildren. Perhaps if you tell them, they’ll be shocked into being quiet. Maybe it’s okay to let your cubicle-mate at work in on the information too. Because when fatigue, mood swings, and bizarre food cravings kick in, he’ll understand you’re not being the usual strange you.  You’re being  the pregnant strange you. And what the heck, for good measure (and because you can’t keep your trap completely shut) you add on the neighbor, the banker, and the mail carrier. Yep, no one needs to know.

Pregnancy can be one of those things that you kind of want to keep to yourself. Like telling people who you voted for or how much money you make. Or what your GPA was in college. There’s so much coming at you, it would be nice to dissect some of it before the masses chime in with their unsolicited advice, comments, and suggestions, such as:

“Are you going to stay at home with the baby?”

“Please don’t post every picture you take of the kid on Facebook!”

“You aren’t going to be using the break room to pump in are you?”

“Seriously, you should try labor without any medication.”

It’s like a snowball of all verbal assaults headed your way.

Speaking of the swarm, can you imagine how Catharine, Duchess of Cambridge must have felt? She‘s not out of the first trimester yet and anyone with a smart phone, laptop, or a television knows she and Prince William are expecting. To make matters worse, she was hospitalized with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Acute morning sickness. And now the whole world is watching. And speculating. And judging. Yeah, that’s gotta make that puking a whole lot easier to deal with.

So you tell a few people. And then a few more. You’re just excited. After all, it’s much more fun discussing your pregnancy than your college GPA.

 

Naming Rights

December 3, 2012 by  
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by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

Names are important. Buildings, dogs, and really big storms have them. And as a person, you kind of need one so people can call you something. You can’t go a whole lifetime with people saying, “Hey you!”

Who didn’t fill up a Mead notebook or stacks of loose-leaf paper practicing writing the name of your first love? Over and over. And then when you were sure it was true love, you wrote your first name with his last. It just flowed.

That’s sort of the same excitement you have when you think of names for your baby. Names for girls. Names for boys. First. Middle. Last. You want to get the name right, but just the same you want a name that fits your kid. Therein lies the problem: You haven’t met your kid yet. You can ooh and ahh over those ultrasound pictures all you want, but they don’t give you a clue about your child’s personality. At best you can find out if he’s a thumb sucker. What kind of name goes with that? So you muddle through trying to figure out if William is going to work or should you go with Brandon instead? Maybe you’ll name your daughter Isabella, but call her Bella for short.

When I was pregnant, I thought the name Malcolm was good. Didn’t even make it to the top 10 list because it reminded my husband of Malcolm Jamaal Warner from The Cosby Show. So? He was a successful child actor.

Reese was great. Well, at least until it wasn’t. Suddenly little baby Reese’s started popping up everywhere.

Niles sounded nice. Problem there? My husband met a rather naughty boy with that name. Plus, that was the name of the brother from the TV show Frasier. Suddenly, “Hey you” was sounding pretty good!

Somehow we settled on Miles for our oldest son. So did a lot of people that year. That’s like buying a car and feeling kinda cool because you think you’re the only one with that car. Then everywhere you go, you see the same minivan you have. Sure, you might see different colors, but it’s the same van!

When I was pregnant with our younger son, my husband and I couldn’t settle on another “M” name for our youngest, so we made up a name: Maxon. Ninety percent of people get it wrong, so he goes by Max for short. To date there are five other Max’s at his school. Sadly for him it’s one of the most popular dog names. If we open the door and call out, “Max!” half a dozen kids and two dogs might show up. I’m pretty sure that might be why he said he’s changing his name when he turns 18.

And perhaps this might be the worst comparison, but you know how puppies grow into their paws? Kids, will grow into their names. Come to think of it, they’ll do some amazing things for treats too.

Seriously, have fun choosing your baby’s name. But this time, maybe keep the name of your first crush of the list. Unless of course he’s your baby’s father. Parenthood is awkward enough.

A Dad’s View

November 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Julie Davidson

by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

We’ve all heard tall tales passed down from generations past.  Stories that are so old we can’t possibly verify their authenticity.  So outrageous we’re sure they can’t be authentic.  You know the story of how your grandparents had to walk a mile to school.  Barefoot and through the snow. Your parents studied tirelessly into the night.  By candlelight.  An uncle shot the biggest buck in a tri state area.  When he was 10 years old. A cousin spotted Big Foot.  Alone.

Childbirth is fodder for stories.  We women could talk for hours about birthing experiences: from the intensity of the labor pains to the never ending pushing. It took me until I had kids to realize that all that pain, discomfort, and anxiety molds into a distant memory.  Well sure we can recall a good story over cocktails or in the presence of our gal pals.  But for the most part once we inhale that brand new baby smell, we’re suckers.  Oh that wasn’t so bad, we say to ourselves.

But do you ever wonder what men go through during the actual birth?  Okay, some guys may be joking around with the hospital staff, taking more video than necessary on his cell phone, and playing with those rubber gloves, but baby birthing is big kid stuff and for some men, the experience stays with them. Not always in a good yeah-I-was-there-for-the-whole-birth-and-cut-the-cord-and-everything kind of way.

Martin Daubney form England recalled how seeing his wife labor for three days before eventually succumbing to a C-section made him not want to have sex with her.  For over a year.  Say what?????

He explained, “I felt guilty; I had made her pregnant, so surely I was to blame. That’s what made me terrified of love-making — I didn’t want to put her through that trauma again.”
Over a year? Okay, I had to ask my husband if he saw me (or rather my girl parts) differently because of watching our kids being born.

“No dear,” he said. “I wasn’t even looking at it like that.  It was more of a clinical thing for me.”

He was excited that my doctor saved the after birth for him to see the after from our youngest son’s birth. Yep.  Dude had a little science sidebar going on.

As of writing this, men cannot give birth.  Okay, there was that one guy that Oprah interviewed.  So it’s nice that there is some type of sympathy for what labor does to our bodies.  And 36 hours of labor is a very long time.  But man, so is a year without sex.

You Want Kids, Right?

November 26, 2012 by  
Filed under Julie Davidson

by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

I never got a chance to speed date. When I first heard about it, I thought it sounded so rushed. How well can you get to know someone in 15 minutes? But then the more I thought about it, it seemed very efficient. Think about it. Why date someone for several months and find out things in slow motion when in less than a half hour you can get to the nitty gritty. You could potentially save time, money, and heartbreak just by being in the know.

With speed dating, you can have a list of prepared questions to ask each potential mate:

Describe your personality.

What type of work do you do?

How do you spend your spare time?

Do you want kids? If so, how many, what gender, what names, and how soon would you like to start?

Now there’s a chance, that you will scare away men like the plague. But for the handful that hang around, you’ll know where they stand on things.

Charles and I didn’t speed date. But we did date fast. We got engaged three months after we began dating. Within the first couple weeks of dating, we were talking about having kids. It was at an Arby’s restaurant. Between the curly fries, soda, and roast beef sandwiches, we shared what we hoped our future family looked like.

Luckily we were in total agreement. Still, I had to be prepared. It doesn’t always turn out that way. It’s one thing if one of you doesn’t like seafood. You get anchovies on half the pizza. Or only one person likes to workout. They can get a membership at the Y. But really, what happens if you think you have Mr. Right and he doesn’t want kids? At all. Not one. Not a half of one. Baby butts, gummy smiles, and chubby cheeks don’t do it for him. That could be an issue. People easily change their mind on whether or not they want a house with three or four bedrooms. You can take bath towels back if you can’t agree on the color. But kids? I’ve had two, and I have yet to figure out a way to get them back in.

15 minutes. Or 15 months. Some conversations just have to happen. And while you’re putting yourself out there, you might as well get his take on diapers, middle of the night feedings, and housecleaning But maybe do it at a restaurant. That way if you don’t get the answers you were hoping for, at least you’ll get a dinner out of it.

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