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The Best Babysitter

September 30th, 2002- UVRMC, Provo, UT

It's official. I'm not pregnant. But, like, half of the women on Aaron's side of the family are. Okay... more like 5 of them are. All due within 3-4 months of each other, with most of the babies due in December and January. And typically, babies are born in sets of three on that side of the family... so we're waiting for one more announcement.

It won't be from me.

While I am SO EXCITED for all of them... I really, truly am... and a little bit jealous... really and truly... I am also relieved that it's not me making an announcement. Cause I am so done having babies... especially when I feel like I still have 3 of them... and in reality, I still have one very sweet and monstrous baby boy who makes a great caboose.

And right about now I have a handful of friends who are due any day... any week... last week... 2 days ago... who are hating life. Happy to be giving birth at any given moment, or with the doctors scheduled permission. But painfully and anxiously running out of human hotel space, and patience. And thinking about them reminds me of just how cruel those last few days can be before the BIG arrival.

Like the questions...

"How are you feeling?"
"How much longer?"
"Are you done yet?"
"You're still pregnant?"
"Do you know what you're naming him?"
"When are you due again?"

Or the uncomplimentary comments...

"You look like you're about to pop!"
"You look ready!"
"You look huge!"
"You look tired"

"You look huge and tired!"

And hearing all of those (plus more) comments from people at church was enough to make me think about going inactive. (I didn't just in case you were wondering.)

But once you've delivered, and adjusted, and life has calmed down... and your baby is almost 22 months... it's easy to remember when you were 9 months pregnant and ready to burst. The anticipation... how it will happen... when it will happen... where will you be when it happens... the drive to the hospital... the epidural... the fun times hanging out with your husband while you wait for your body to do it's thing... talking about names... chewing on ice chips... wondering what he will look like... how much will he weigh... will he have hair (or in my case, how much hair will he have)... the pushing... the sweat... the amazingly satisfying deep breath once he's out... the relief... the tears... and instant love.

The first moments of welcoming him to the family. Inspecting every little finger and toe. Tracing little ears, lips, and nose. Hearing his little cry... in his own, little voice. Introducing yourself for the first time...

"Hi... I'm your mommy... I'm so glad you're finally here. And this is your daddy. You look just like him."

Holding, kissing, snuggling, feeding, touching, loving, praying, thanking. Wishing you could stop time to really enjoy the moment, because you know as tired as you are, you can't really enjoy the moment like you want to.

Worrying about feeding, sleeping, scheduling, driving home in the car (at a steady 25 mph) taking side streets and all, pooping, peeing, the crusty umbilical cord piece thing falling off, the circumcision recovery, wiping those parts correctly, blow-outs, spit up, projectile spit up, sitting straight up in bed as he sleeps peacefully at 3 am because you are unable to take your eyes off that perfect, little face, and then getting out of bed to put your finger under his nose to make sure he's still breathing because he never sleeps this long. Oh, the worry.

Oh the joy!

But like a friend once told me- the belly is the best babysitter. And as wonderful as the anticipation and the first meeting is, she is totally right.


Anonymous said…
Mandee, I know we've never met, but what a great description of pregnancy! It brought back all kinds of memories! The good the bad, the sleepless...and the joyous. But the joy is the just the best!
Wendy said…
Very well said!!! It is so weird to think our babies are almost two. There is nothing more taxing or more rewarding than being a mom. I just have to remind myself of that on days when it just feels hard.
grandma jojo said…
my heart stopped when i saw this picture - it started on it's own when i saw the date below it. phew. i thought being alone for the long weekend had taken it's toll. whew!
meg said…
You have an enormous talent for writing. It was like watching a great movie or commercial that I can't help but get emotional over. I love being pregnant {after I'm done throwing up for 3 months} and meeting a new little face. You brought this to memory today and got a smile, and a tear, out of me. Oh, and I can't help but wonder why in your picture of labor day, you don't look puffy or swollen or tired or anything? So not fair!
Mandee said…
Grandma Jojo- if there had been a hospital bed available to me after my long weekend, I would have been in it.

And Megan... the puffines is there. I promise.
Mandee said…
sorry... puffiness.
Very true about meeting the baby for the first time! I will never forget each of my two sons, either. Also, I remember the smell after giving them a bath, watching them laughing, etc.

Another thing I have heard the comments while I was pregnant, for example, "You are walking like a duck." I then told him that I would call his wife who was also pregnant at that time. He pleaded and apologized me :_0

While I was carrying my older son, I have been asked, "Aren't you sure you re not having twins?" I was HUGE! With my younger son, my body figure was like a basketball, and was like it was going to drop in any minute while I was teaching :-)

But your best friend was right about the best babysitter is the belly. It reminds me the tingles from the son's hands or feet. They still have the same habit. You might want to rewind your feeling of each child you were carrying, and then ask yourself a question, "Did they still behave the same?" That includes sucking their thumbs/fingers when you look from their x-ray or their sleeping position.
Monica said…
Wow Mandee! You never cease to amaze me. Totally made me cry. My baby is seven and I'm done and have had all those feelings you described so well. My babies were early and that was not fun. Motherhood is hard. Period. But so worth it!
Neva said…
Sweet picture of you Mandry
Deby said…
You have such a beautiful way with words. And although I remember the excitement and the anticipation of having my three - I am still so glad that I am not one of those family members with anything to announce.

I do love the picture of you in the hospital. You just can't help but be cute.
Mandee said…
You guys are nice to compliment my photo. I have to say, that's the beauty of an epidural... it's probably the most tense moment I had during my labor with Max.

Now, the pictures of me when I was in labor with Jack... and the epidural only worked on one side... those are ugly!
Sara said…
This was a great post Mandee. I love your writing style. It got me a little teary eyed in remembering my pregnancies. I'll probably be the next one to announce but don't hold your breath.. it won't be anytime too soon.
k8shoe said…
Mandee, you are so cute! When are you going to write a book?

P.S. I didn't know that was you in the picture until I read the comments.
Alifinale said…
The belly may be the best babysitter...but it is surely the most uncomfortable clausterphobic heartburning babysitter I have ever had. Thanks for this is making me excited to have a tiny all over again. Projectile spit up and poop and all.
Kim Simpson said…
You have summed up every last thought I have had over the last miserable 2 weeks. The last few days I have thought seriously about the belly is the best babysitter thought. Although I know it to be so true, when I bent over to pick up one of my sisters twins and my bra broke, I realized my belly is done. It does make me nervous to know that I only have 3 more nights of baby free worry left.
Gonzalez said…
AMEN is all I have to say! It is fun to remember those days, but I am completely and totally done with having babies! I don't think I have many pics of me being pregnant since I gain 75 with each kid and never seem to lose it before the next one comes!
rabidrunner said…
Wow. All these years I thought know one ever listened to me! Thanks for listening Mandee!
Em said…
Mandee I really don't know how you do it you are such a great writer it makes me a little bit baby hungry...I said LITTLE thanks for the thoughts. BTW its official I have a blog.
katherine said…
Its only been three months, but it feels like forever ago that I was right there, except for the epidural and the pictures are not pretty! She is so cute and so much fun, but I miss the quiet days and being able to go anywhere quickly. Great post!
Heather said…
You do have a way with words - but your words are causing me anxiety! It has been 6 years since I have had a baby - and just this past year have I enjoyed the "go anywhere quickly" (by myself!)like Katherine said. Am I crazy or what? All of my kids are in school and my days are for ME! In January I guess I will be sharing those days with a crying, peeing, pooping litle bundle of joy!

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