We reached another milestone in our road to parenthood, as today is exactly one month from the expected due date of August 5!
While my recent lack of blogging might make it seem as if nothing newsworthy has been happening, that is far from the truth. As we blow through the third trimester and now find ourselves at Week 35, there is plenty to report. Let’s catch you up!
A Thumping Baby Bump
For a couple months now, Theresa has been able to feel our baby girl rearranging the furniture in her spacious uterine penthouse. Eventually, I was also able to start feeling the bumps-within-the-baby-bump, as our daughter seems to already enjoy staying up past our bedtime and frequently starts her dance parties just as Theresa is settling down for the night.
But I never get tired of feeling her kick and jump and roll against the weight of my hand. It adds a tactile dimension to a relationship that for me has thus far been less tangible. I know she’s in there, but sometimes it’s still easy for me to forget. I’m not morning sick. I’m not growing wider1 and having more difficulty moving around. And until recently, there was no outward physical response to prove the existence of the life I knew I had helped to create.
But now our little martian is eagerly responding to all of the messages I’ve been faithfully sending out into space by rubbing the outside of her home while bending down to talk to her, face-to-fetal face. Now I’m like Winnie the Pooh asking Rabbit if he’s home. We’re not seeing Rabbit yet, but there’s somebody in there yelling back. It’s so much fun to press on Theresa’s belly and have the baby kick back! It also makes me wonder anew what the heck she is doing in there to pass the time. The pregnancy app told us that she has her eyes open now, so I guess that provides some excitement for her. Otherwise, I imagine she’s always just rolling around in there waiting for me to start the next game of Marco-Polo Poking.
Not Naming Names
Yes, Theresa and I have unofficially2 settled on a name. No, we are not going to tell you what it is, even though that has now become the number one question we get. With my immediate family’s probing questions about our choice, the security around our baby’s name rivals that of Rumpelstiltsken. Since Theresa and I frequently refer to her by name when we’re by ourselves, it takes a lot of concentration to not accidentally use it in public.
Our nieces have continued to refer to her as Ellie, which is simultaneously cute and eye roll-inducing when combined with our last name. At this point no matter what we name her, I’m pretty sure she’s going to have to answer to Ellie whenever she finds herself beyond Illinois state lines.
I’m excited to keep one last part of this pregnancy a secret though, as right now only Theresa and I can call her by name. Once she’s born, everyone can agree that it’s a great name, rather than if I spilled the beans right now and you were tempted to tell me about three other names that you think sound a lot better. It’s hard to argue with someone’s name when they’re already in front of you with a given name. I’ll bet it’s even harder when that person is a beautiful newborn baby girl.
Now that we are one month out from the baby’s arrival, her presence is far more visible around our house. The nursery is fairly complete, with a plush rug, a comfortable glider, a baby swing, a stack of diaper boxes, drawers and drawers of baby clothes, a stroller with a removable car seat and several handmade quilts.
While we haven’t quite started any nesting tendencies yet, we are both going out of our minds with excitement about meeting our baby girl. It feels a little bit like we’re about to go on vacation and we’ve already packed our bags a month before the trip.3
Speaking of vacation, my employer recently changed their paternity leave policy such that I will now receive 12 weeks of paid time off. It’s still unbelievable to me that I have received such an awesome gift, as I previously would have received one week and was planning to take one more week of PTO. The reality of having that much time to spend with my new family and establish a routine is a tremendous blessing that will go a long way toward making the transition to this new stage of life less bumpy. I’m so proud to work for an organization that values family life, and so excited to have the quality time to get to know my daughter and learn how to be a dad.4
Several of the parents-to-be who were sharing this pregnancy journey with us seem to be having their babies right about now, which makes us anticipate our blessed event even more. That said, we are also enjoying the last gasps of life as a carefree couple who can sleep in on a weekend, go out to eat whenever we want and generally not have to worry about meeting all the needs of a rather helpless human being. The seismic change that is implied by all of the new baby furniture and clothing is something that I’m not sure we will ever comprehend until we’re in the midst of it and finally home with our bundle of joy. I guess we’ve officially got one month to stock up on sleep.