Meet Nicole, whose baby girl (Lily) shares the same June 1 due date as my Henry.
Nicole is a teacher in Upstate New York. She used to work with my best friend Ro and my sister Heelya. I actually met her for the first time last July at Ro’s wedding in Buffalo. Joe and I were tearing up the dance floor when this beautiful, leggy blonde came up to us, introduced herself and said she was an avid Lance reader.
She then asked someone to take this picture.
Two months later, presumably on the same date in September, Nicole and I got ourselves knocked up. For months we’ve shared our pregnancy ups and downs via Facebook, congratulating one another on our shared fetal progress.
I recently grilled her for The Lance. The resulting Q&A touches on such heavy-hitting topics as belly-touching, Zumba workouts, sushi and Marge Simpson.
Thanks for the candor, Nicole!
This is the question I get asked most frequently: How are you feeling? Be honest.
Tired and like a fat cow! And that is the answer that I give most people when they ask. If they know me, they understand. If they don’t, then they usually look at me like I’m crazy because they were probably expecting a nice “good”. Other than that, I feel great. I was just a bridesmaid in a wedding on Friday at 36 weeks pregnant. It was a long and painful day but I had a lot of fun. The next day I thought I would need to relax but I ran errands and cleaned my entire house. I worked in the front garden all day on Mother’s Day. I think I’m in the nesting stage.
Where do you stand on the whole strangers-touching-your-belly thing? I’m surprisingly cool with it. Have you had any awkward look-but-don’t-touch moments?
It really depends. In the beginning, I really didn’t like when ANYBODY except my husband touched my belly. I was barely big enough for people to really know I was pregnant. Basically they were just touching a bloated belly and that made me uncomfortable. Now that my belly is pretty out there, I’m subconsciously very protective of it. I’ve noticed that when I catch people looking at my belly or mentioning it, my hands automatically cover it. I think that keeps people away. I don’t mind when people I know touch it, especially when she’s moving. I’ve grabbed some of my friends’ hands and placed them on my belly without asking how THEY feel about it! Lily makes such big movements now that people can actually see her move without even needing to touch my belly. One of my students witnessed it and then said, “No offense, but have you ever seen the movie Aliens?”
This is the second question I get asked the most: Have you had any weird cravings?
I get asked that a lot too and I don’t! I really haven’t changed my diet at all except I try to eat a little more healthy. They say to only take in an extra 300 calories a day. That is a surprisingly small amount of food! I still eat my cookies and ice cream, but I don’t feel guilty doing so anymore!
In the spirit of airing pregnancy confessions, have you broken any sacred commandments?
People were very concerned when I continued going to Zumba. I was told all sorts of crazy things about shaken baby syndrome and the need to keep off of my feet. I did eventually stop going but mostly because it’s hard to shake your rump when there’s a bowling ball under your shirt. I sometimes still do it on the Wii at home.
A few times, I’ve taken the first sip of my husband’s beer. I swish it around my mouth and think about how nice it would be to have a drink. The funny thing is, I hardly ever drank before I got pregnant! Honestly, the last time I had a drink was at Rose’s wedding and that was early July. I don’t even remember when before then!
Oh, and I eat sushi. But I only like the veggie one, so I don’t think I’m breaking any rules on that!
I don’t know if this is breaking any rules, but I did get a spray tan for the wedding I was in. Everybody else in the wedding party had nice color so I wanted to match all of them.
What’s the best motherhood advice you’ve received thus far?
I’ve been told that the nine months of pregnancy go in slow-motion and from the moment of the child’s birth, the rest of your life goes in fast-forward. I need to enjoy each stage of pregnancy and life after. I just asked my husband for a new expensive camera with a great lens for Mother’s Day. I want to be able to capture every moment that I can with quality pictures. We’re still looking for one that I like.
Also, I’ve been told I need to let the little things go. If I spend my life fixing the little things, I’m going to miss out on the big stuff. Really, does it matter if all of my books are perfectly aligned on the shelf? Speaking of my bookshelf, I had my nieces, Emery and Kaelyn, over a few weeks ago and Emery “read” a book and put it back wrong. I saw it and didn’t fix it right away, so I guess I’m starting to let things go. The book is actually still sitting in the same place she left it!
As far as labor goes, what’s freaking you out the most?
I REALLY do not want a C-section! I don’t know what makes me more afraid of it: the medicine necessary for the surgery or the scar after. I’m somewhat of a control freak and that includes needing to be in control of my body and mind. I can’t even let myself relax enough to enjoy yoga. I’m hoping I’ll have a smooth (and quick) labor and delivery.
My cousin Carrie keeps telling me that right when you’re in so much pain, where you can feel your head turning around on your neck, you’re almost done and to just push through. I’m not really nervous about the labor. Plenty of women have done it before me and survived.
How would you describe your husband’s behavior these last 37 weeks?
He is very excited! At times, he wonders how somebody has let him become a father! He will be a wonderful dad. He read that I needed to increase my water intake so he has been following me around forcing me to chug bottles of water. He was in Oklahoma for Air Traffic Control training for five weeks and I got almost hourly text messages and phone calls reminding me to drink. I think we’re going to give birth to an Olympic swimmer!
He really wanted to have a boy first because he is a man’s man. It took him about 15 seconds to get used to the idea that he would be having a little girl. He talks about her like she’s already here and this whole experience has strengthened our relationship. My love for him has grown deeper. I can’t imagine going through this without him. With the exception of when he was in Oklahoma, he has been to every doctor’s appointment. He is so understanding of all of the physical and emotional changes that have occurred. He makes light of situations and can always make me laugh even when I don’t want to.
A (childless) friend recently asked me to rate pregnancy on a “hassle scale” from 1 to 10. Where would you rate yours?
Oh I hate rating scales! My husband always wants me to rate different things and I always feel guilty rating something negatively. I miss hardcore workouts at the gym. I miss fitting into clothing. I miss being able to breathe. I miss sleeping on my stomach. I miss being able to easily bend over to pick something off the floor. I always underestimate the size of my belly and bump it into walls and tables.
At the same time, I feel so lucky to have this opportunity. We had a bit of a struggle getting pregnant, but beyond that I’ve had a perfectly healthy and smooth pregnancy. It can be a pain in the fanny, but there are so many worse things that I could be dealing with.
What has pleasantly surprised you about pregnancy?
People like to do things for me. Even strangers. At school, I am not allowed to lift a finger or stand on a chair. I still do it and get yelled at for it! I work with students with a lot of behavior problems and the bigger my belly gets, the better behaved they are. I’m really thinking of working with a pillow under my shirt for the rest of my career!
The last few times I went grocery shopping I was asked if I needed help getting my food to the car. It’s nice to be cared for but I’m healthy enough to do it myself so I don’t take the help.
Our babies are going to be Geminis! What personality traits do you hope your daughter inherits from your husband? What personality traits do you hope she inherits from you?
This question would be so much easier to answer if you asked what personality traits do you hope your daughter DOES NOT inherit from your husband and from me! We are both very stubborn people and I know that I will have a challenging daughter.
Hopefully she will inherit Ed’s ability to absorb and use knowledge. He is also a very caring person. I have no physical coordination so hopefully she gets her father’s athletic ability. I think he will teach her coordination if she isn’t born with it.
Hopefully she will like to explore and learn like me. It would be nice if she inherits a portion of my perfectionism, but is able to go with the flow a little better than me.
Which TV mom do you think you’re parenting style will resemble most? a.) Roseanne Conner b.) Peg Bundy c.) Claire Huxtable d.) Marge Simpson e.) Lucy Ricardo
The only TV mom that I’m really familiar with off of this list is Marge Simpson. I guess she loves her kids, but she obviously has some issues! I would never let my husband or kids get away with half of what she does.
OK. Last question: Are you using your belly as a table? I’ve just recently begun to use mine to set plates of food on. If Henry isn’t kicking too much, I can rest a cup of milk on it. Tell me, how do you look at your stomach these days? With shock and awe? Defeat? Respect? I know some womens’ belly buttons pop. Mine disappeared. Joe likes to do what we call his “belly button voice.” He’ll pretend to “talk” it in this squeaky voice that’s always gasping for air.
My belly doesn’t come out enough to use it as a table. I think because I’m so tall, she just spreads out with the extra room between my ribs and pelvis. The doctor told me that I hide her well because according to the sonogram, she’s measuring a little bit big but my stomach is measuring a little bit small on the outside. Even though I am measuring small, I can’t believe how big my stomach has gotten! I love pulling my shirt up while I’m sitting down in the evening and watching it move. She moves around a lot during that time.
My belly button has not popped and I don’t think that it’s going to either. It’s kind of just getting less and less deep. Eventually I think it will just be flat with my belly. I hate having my belly button touched, especially having fingers shoved into it. The fact that some of my skin that was tucked safely inside my belly button is now exposed totally freaks me out! As much as I find it fascinating to see the changes by body has gone through, I’m ready to have it back. Hopefully it will not suffer too much permanent damage. So far, I think I’m in the clear.