Thursday, October 28, 2010

Week 20 - The Big Reveal

I know I should have been happy enough to have a healthy baby that I didn't even need to know the gender. I am painfully aware of the fact that many women my age want children but can't have them without the help of fertility treatments, if they're lucky enough to have them at all. And so yes, I felt guilty admitting that I had an opinion on the gender of my unborn child. But dammit, after 8 years raising three strong-willed, melodramatic, girly-girls,8 years of arguing about whether they could wear the same dress five days in a row, 8 years of trying to brush through three thick heads of hair, 8 years of princesses and pink and Hannah Montana, I wanted a boy.

Interestingly enough, my husband claimed he would be happy either way. He said he knew how to do girls, was content to just go on ahead and do another one. Was, in fact, tired of getting his hopes up only to have them dashed (as we both had the past couple of times) and expected a girl. I, on the other hand, was not giving up without a fight. First, there was the dream. For those of you who don't remember, check out my blog titled, "The Psychic Sister." Then, there was the fact that this pregnancy felt so different from the others - no tell-tale metallic taste in my mouth, no sweets cravings, no crappy skin breakouts. On the contrary, this was the first pregnancy where people (including my husband) were telling me I was "glowing." I had never experienced that before and assumed it was a cockamamie myth some guy had concocted to get women to get pregnant despite the weight gain, stretchmarks and painful labor. But sure enough, here was my frightfully honest husband telling me I looked like I was constantly bathed in soft lighting. I even tried the old strand of hair tied to a wedding band, and it went back and forth, just like it should for a boy. I was convinced.

All that being said, I was still not patient enough to wait nine months. I hadn't been with any of my other pregnancies, why start now? I did want it to be special, though, this being our last time. I convinced my husband that it would be a good idea for us to have the ultrasound technician seal our baby's gender in an envelope, and we would then open it over a lovely, romantic dinner. Flash forward to this past Thursday. Our ultrasound technician did exactly that, and then handed the envelope over to my husband, who promptly hid it so I wouldn't be able to ruin the surprise (I'm not THAT impatient...but still, better safe than sorry, I suppose).

That night, on our way to dinner, I was already getting phone calls and texts from people wondering if we had done our Big Reveal. (I mentioned we have had three daughters in the past 8 years, didn't I?) So, we sit down to a lovely dinner at Ristorante San Marco in Ambler, PA. (I highly recommend it if you're a fan of Italian and happen to be in the area.) I'm ready to bust out the envelope and here is my husband, reading the menu like it's date night. Needless to say, I told him that he needed to fork it over. "I'm a trained actress," I explained. "I can keep a poker face."

It was hard, though, I must admit. After months of praying for a boy, months of talking myself down from the ledge in case it wasn't a boy, even apologizing to my unborn baby for having such a strong opinion on what his/her gender should be, I wasn't prepared for how happy I would be to see the little ultrasound picture the technician had put in the envelope, annotated with the words, "I have a peepee, Mom! I'm a boy!" (Yes, that's really what it said.)
As for my husband, who was fine either way and entirely prepared for another girl, well I think I saw tears well up in his eyes. I know there are folks who will think this blog is slightly sexist. Maybe not. I hope not. We have three beautiful daughters and we love them all to pieces. But we are very much looking forward to seeing what it's like to raise a son, and our whole family is completely overwhelmed with joy and gratitude that we're going to get to do exactly that.

And as I brushed my daughters' hair the next day, I have to admit I was relieved to know that there wouldn't be another head added to the mix, waiting for me to tackle its tangles. If there had been, I would have been up to the challenge, but I am going to relish every new facet of life this little baby boy is going to bring. Until next time!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Week 17...The Brawn

So, last week I promised we would talk about The Brawn. It probably won't surprise anyone to hear that my focus couldn't be any farther from that. I'm not the slightest bit interested in gracing the cover of any magazines bearing my pregnant belly, a la Demi Moore and Vanity Fair. My relationship with exercise has changed, much in the way my relationship with my weight has changed, with this pregnancy.

I am exercising regularly again. I made a commitment to myself that I would slog through a two-mile run at least 4 days out of the week, however clumsily, and then tack some weight training onto the end. Yesterday, the whole thing took me a half hour. Today, I was at the gym for over an hour and actually felt some soreness in my muscles. It felt good. And I realize that feeling good is what exercise is all about right now. I could use whatever endorphins I can get, basically. And after I exercise, I feel all glowy and beautiful. Why wouldn't I do something that makes me feel like that?

I guess I want to share this stuff with you guys because it applies whether you are pregnant or not. You're beautiful if you say you are, if you feel like you are, if you strut like you are. Similarly, whether you are pregnant or not, you will benefit from making the time to exercise. Hell, I'm working 60-70 hours a week right now, holding down the fort with three kids and have one on the way, and I'm finding time to work out - even if it's just for a half hour - not because I'm trying to lose weight (clearly) but because I know it will make me feel good. And I'm not leaving that to anyone else but me. So, if I know there's a guaranteed way to get my day started off right (or finished off right), I'm damned sure going to do it. And if I don't, and I feel all yucky and bloated and blah, I have no one to blame but myself.

Give it a try. You make time to shower, to brush your teeth, to help your kids with their homework, to make dinner, whatever it is you've decided is a priority. Get yourself back on that list and see how much more you get out of every single day when you add a half hour of exercise. You'll be surprised how much more you can do when you've got an extra spring in your step.

OK, nuff said. Don't mean to preach. Now I have to keep working out so I don't look like a hypocrite. Or a hippo. Tee hee. Is anyone reading this, anyway?

Good night, all...