Snapshots: From a raspberry to toddlerhood

This post is in response to the weekly Discover challenge, Snapshots:

Get inspired by Andrea Jarrell’s post “A Roar for the Ages,” and tell a broad story using a series of short, focused scenes.

We are all sitting around the table at my parent’s house: my parents, brother, sister-in-law, husband and I. We have finished dinner and are chatting, when my husband asks “What time does Shoppers [Drugmart] close? Does anyone know?”. This question, seemingly out of the blue, ends up being how we break the news to our family that we are pregnant! My husband, never the best at keeping secrets, has inadvertently revealed to the family that the reason for the evening Shoppers trip is to purchase a pregnancy test. Our family is over the moon with our surprise … and even more so when we text them all later that evening to reveal the results of the pregnancy test!

Week 8 of our pregnancy. We have been reading the baby app every morning together, learning about the incredible stages of baby’s development. I still can’t quite believe that I have a little human growing inside of my belly! We most look forward to the weekend update, where baby’s size is compared to a fruit. This week baby is the size of a raspberry. My husband has already posted this on Facebook, and we are headed to the grocery store this afternoon to buy a raspberry for our weekly photo shoot: I will pose with a sign saying “Week 8: Raspberry”, and my husband will pose holding the raspberry! We are hoping to make a collage of these weekly photos at the end of all of this. Baby will later be compared to many other different fruit, but the nickname Little Raspberry will stick.

It’s New Year’s Eve. We have decided to spend a quiet New Year’s Eve with my parents. In Colombia, where my husband is from, New Year’s Eve is a family holiday – almost more so than Christmas. You can miss Christmas if you must … but you’d better be home for New Years! After an incredible meal at my parents, we all settle in to watch a movie together. It was during this movie, on New Years Eve, that I first felt baby kick! At first I wasn’t quite sure what I’d felt, and thought maybe it was just my stomach processing the rich food we’d eaten. But then I felt it again, and called out to my husband to put his hand on my tummy! Unfortunately, it was too early for him to feel the kick – but it was still a magical evening.

My Mom and I are upstairs in the Sears mall, roaming the baby department. I am clutching a list of baby supplies that a friend has made for me. She’s narrowed it down to just the essentials, and the brands that she found worked well for their family. I am so grateful for this list, as I wander through aisle upon aisle of baby gear. Today we are looking for a crib, and we have already checked out the options at Toys R Us as a comparison. My husband and I have decided to keep the gender of our baby a surprise – something that my husband has found extremely difficult, given this is not a tradition in Colombia. Although we are confident in our choice, and love that it is a mystery to all of us … it does make shopping a little bit more complicated. For some reason, choosing the right crib seems monumental. Maybe because it’s one of the more expensive purchases? Because baby will be spending every night in this crib? And if we get one that converts into a toddler bed, it could be every night for many years to come? Is that a good idea, or will he/she want a normal sized bed at that point? Is white truly a gender neutral color, or is it something that a girl would like more than a boy? I have no idea what it is exactly, but I am stressing over this decision. Perhaps it’s just pregnancy hormones. I think it’s best to sleep on this one …

Sleeping is getting more and more difficult as baby gets larger and larger. A raspberry was no problem to accommodate; even a navel orange was possible. But a cauliflower? A cabbage? That’s a different story all together. I am finding it more challenging to find a comfortable position at night, tossing and turning trying to maneuver my belly into a position that allows me to sleep. In unrelated news, my husband seems to be having difficulties staying asleep at night as well! One evening after work, I come home and find a package on our doorstep. It’s a pregnancy body pillow, and my best friend had picked it up for me. Best. Gift. Ever. This pillow is incredible. It is extremely long and can be molded into any position. Even though it takes up over two thirds of the bed, I’m pretty sure my husband is in support of this gift as well.

It’s Valentines Day. Our last Valentines Day as a couple, before we become parents. We aren’t celebrating with a romantic dinner out. We are at the hospital, at our fourth and final Prenatal class. The class has been really good though, and answered a lot of our questions about labour and birth. I think my husband in particular has learned more than he bargained for! I remember when we were headed to our first class, I suggested that we stop and grab some dinner on the way. He replied “how come? Can’t we just grab something to eat after the class?”. I said “well, I guess so, but I know I’ll be pretty hungry by then, won’t you?” Turns out that my husband thought that the class was 1 hour each week … not 3!

Baby is due in another 10 days. The last trimester seems to have gone by so quickly. Baby was a watermelon last week, and I’m sure feeling it! It’s about 11:30pm and I am getting ready for bed. I’m brushing my teeth in the bathroom, and out of nowhere, my water breaks. I had actually been really worried about this happening when I was out and about somewhere, and having to handle this in public. Because of that fear, I read about water breaking, and learned that it’s quite unusual for the water to break naturally, at home, or at the grocery store (like in the movies)! Something like 15 percent of women. After reading that, I relaxed. And now here we are! And baby isn’t due for another 10 days. Even though we learned about packing your hospital bag over 3 months ago in our prenatal course, I still haven’t finished packing. I’m not ready! I’m supposed to have another 10 days! Plus, really good friends of ours are in Hawaii until May 10th, and I am under strict instructions not to have this baby until they are back home.

Despite not feeling ready, this baby is coming! Our bag is packed, and we made it through the night at home. It’s time to head into the hospital. My husband’s family created a What’s App group just for this, and he’s been writing back and forth to them with real-time updates. My Mom is meeting us at the hospital, as well as my best friend.

Baby E finally arrived at 11:36pm! For some reason, we were convinced that baby was a boy all this time. When she was born, the doctor said “It’s a …” and paused for my husband to fill in the rest. There was quite a long pause before he announced that Baby E is a girl. He really was convinced that she was a boy! Once she arrived, my husband went out to the waiting area to share the news with my Mom, best friend, brother, and sister-in-law (and the rest of the family that was at home). We brought them in for their first snuggles with our little one.

It’s Mother’s Day. My first. Today is the day that we get to take Baby E home. It seems a bit surreal to us. We are incredibly nervous about buckling her into the car seat correctly, and ask the nurse to check our work. Are we really being allowed to walk out the front doors with this tiny little human in our care? The nurse had a look at my bracelet, and checked this against Baby E’s to make sure we matched. She looked up at my husband, and said “I don’t need to check you. It’s obvious she’s yours”. This would be the first of many, many comments about how much our daughter looks like her Daddy. The first time that someone finally said they thought she looked like me, I’m pretty sure I asked if I could get it in writing!

Today Baby E said something that made my heart melt. She is two and a half years old, and has been chatting a lot lately. She was sad about something today, and so we said “let’s think of something happy. What makes you happy?” Without hesitation, she responded “Mama and Daddy”. My heart melted, and tears filled my eyes immediately. This little girl has brought so much happiness and love to our family. Sometimes when I look at her, singing softly to herself in the car, or sleeping soundly in her bed … I am overcome with emotion and love. She is the best thing to ever happen to us and I feel so fortunate to be her mother.

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