Sunday, July 29, 2007

Okay, some questions

Another blogger (I have no idea how to insert links to other people's blogs!) suggested that I post some of my concerns/questions here. This is my second attempt to respond to that suggestion. This may be a long entry- I'm sort of thinking and trying to figure things out as I type.

I asked Daniel what his main fears are, and they're "big picture" guy fears. Providing for his family, the baby's health, his ability to support me during childbirth and his general fear of seeing me in pain and not be able to do anything about it. I honestly think he may have the tougher part to play in the whole birth process. Standing by helplessly has got to be terrifying.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not even entirely sure that I can "vocalize" my fears into coherent sentences on this blog. Right now I'm not too concerned about anything in specific- we've had the childbirth classes and the parenting classes and the CPR class, so, in theory, I know what to generally expect from the birth and recovery, and I know there will be people around to help with breastfeeding if that doesn't go well. And I think I can figure out diapers and bathing and things like that.

I think my main, rather overwhelming, emotion right now is just the feeling of fear of finding myself again as a person, once I become a mom, and being a good mother. I'm 30 years old, I've traveled the world, lived overseas, have a master's degree and a job in a fairly demanding field. I've always been pretty good at things I do (with the exception of anything sport or outdoors related), and things have come pretty easily to me. But less than a week from now, I'm going to be a mom. And none of those other things that I've accomplished in life will matter. I'm going to be stepping into a job that I didn't go to school for, that I have no instruction manual for. And God has some pretty high expectations of Daniel and I as parents. We have to guide this baby not only in his physical life, but raise him to be someone who loves the Lord and follows Him.

We are really blessed to have a great church at which there has been a gigantic baby boom lately, so we're not going through this alone. I have a wonderfully supportive family that will encourage us and help us in raising the baby right. But in the end, it's not anyone's kid but God's, Daniel's and mine, and it's up to us to try not to screw him up too much.

I'm scared that I'm going to lose myself and my identity, and if I do that, how can I raise this kid properly. How can I be a good wife to Daniel if I don't know who I am anymore.

And, on a more shallow note, I'm concerned about the yuckiness of childbirth and the pain of feeding and all of the bodily fluids (mine and Lucky's) that I'm going to have to deal with for the next while. I don't like being dirty. I wear makeup everyday (in Seattle!) and fix my hair to run to the grocery store on the corner. I wear skirts and heels and pearls. I don't like dirt or snot or any of those things. Granted, I was an EMT and worked on an ambulance in college, so I have dealt with lots of yucky things, but it was always for a short time each week. This is long-term.

The pain of childbirth and the recovery also worries me a bit. I was having painful Braxton-Hicks for the first time yesterday, and they about kicked my butt. And those are like a -3 on the pain scale of 1-10, I know.

So, if anyone out there has any stories or suggestions or comments on my long rambling post, I'd love to hear them. I know in my heart that we will be fine. I know that God blessed us with this child and He's going to be there with us if we remember to turn to Him and keep Him as the head of our household. I know that I will gain strength and confidence as a mother and that Daniel and I will learn to make and stand up for the decisions that are right for our family. But it's still a scary week- just waiting for next weekend to arrive. I think that, as with most things, the anticipation is often worse than the actual event. And I know that I'm forgetting to factor in a big thing- the love that I'm going to feel for this little pooping, peeing, vomiting, crying creature. It's hard to wrap my brain around that now, to be honest. Right now I'm very fond of Lucky, but it's hard to truly, deeply love someone whom you've never met, and whose main past-time is headbutting your cervix. :)

20 comments:

Karen said...

This is so great! I love the last line. I put my post up directing people here. Would you feel comfortable turning your comment moderation off for this particular post? It seems that people like to see what others have said, it gives them ideas to respond to and it can become conversational. Just a thought.

Hope you get lots of feedback! You're in my thoughts and prayers!

madamspud169 said...

To Daniel - My hubby says he had those fears / worries too but as long as he knows I knew / know he's there's for me then he knew he was doing right. Yes, the childbirth bit was difficult (he said gross actually) but once you hold that baby you just know it was all worth it.
I want to say that as long as you are there so your wife can scream at you & tell you it's all your fault & maybe even squeeze all the blood out of your hand then you're doing everything you can & once it's over your wife won't even remember her threats lol

You don't lose yourself once you become a mom instead you change & being known as a mom is the best thing in the world. Instead of losing bits of yourself you gain new, even better bits. I was 31 when I had my first, I'd worked & lived abroad for years but I didn't vanish when I had my son I just adapted & became "more"


Raising your child will be the best job you've ever had & no, there is no manual but most of your thoughts, feeling & knowledge will come in handy in ways you didn't expect.
As long as you raise him to have good morals, ethics & faith & to be considerate to others you will have done better than many mothers seem to do nowadays.

It sounds like you have a good, strong group of people around you & you will be flooded with offers of help & advice, so flooded it will almost be coming out of your ears. Take up the offers of help & advice you are offered it not only helps you but will set up good foundations & relationships for your child.

You won't lose yourself you'll be different but in a good way & your marriage & friendships throughout the family & community will be more enriched also.

The whole yuckyness thing wont bother you in the least, that will change once you have your baby in your arms. Dirty diapers, vomit strewn bibs even bogies won't bother you & you will touch any of it if it will make your child happier. I know you won't believe that but you will it's an automatic thing.

I don't know about the pain in childbirth bit as I had a c-section although not before I got some good threats out lol

I hope some of this helps it's probably a bit of a ramble

Sheryl said...

I don't know if I have anything to add that hasn't already been said, except that I remember feeling every single fear you've expressed. Especially the fear of losing myself. Before kids, I was a professional too, and my identity was primarily found in the work I did OUTSIDE the home. It terrified me to think of myself as "just a wife and mother." Nearly eight years later, I can tell you that being "Jeff's wife" and mommy to three of the sweetest kids on the planet are THE two best titles I can imagine holding. If I NEVER hold another professional position outside the home again, it will not disappoint me in the least. Being a professional wife and mother bring such sweet rewards that I could have never imagined when I was sitting where you are right now.

My strongest pieces of advice are this:

1. Don't neglect your relationship with Daniel. In the beginning, most couples say they won't, but it requires a great deal of commitment to actually leave the baby for a few hours occasionally (once a week is really ideal) and really give each other some undivided attention. It's an investment that will pay huge dividends in the long run.

2. Don't neglect your relationships with your girlfriends. Again, it will be tough sometimes to leave the baby with Daddy so you can have a girls' night out, but it will be your women friends who understand more than anyone else how this new man in your life changes EVERYTHING. They will completely "get" the hormone craziness as your body gets back to an un-pregnant state. They will affirm you and support you and give you tons of advice along the way that you someday will pass along to other new moms.

3. And, most importantly, don't neglect your relationship with God. The Holy Spirit will guide you and Daniel in all truth and will lead you in becoming the great parents you desire to be. Isaiah 40:11 says, "he gently leads those that have young."

Go into this new chapter of your life with confidence and faith. It's the start of an amazing journey you both are going to LOVE.

Sorry this is so long. I hope you get the answers you are looking for.

Prayers for a very restful week and an uncomplicated delivery!

lifeinsuburbia said...

HI! I'm a cousin of Karens. You are ahead of the game I think. when I had my first 5 years ago, I was blissfully in the dark.

Honestly? Childbirth is painful. It really hurts. But, once you push the little bugger out, it's over! You would do it again in a heartbeat!

Recovery- It also hurts. Buy the spray stuff that numbs you 'down there' it was a life saver!

I'll be checking back to see when you have the little baby! Good luck!

Morning Glory said...

Hi Carrie, I'm Karen's mom and my parenting began 34 years ago. The thing I notice the most about young mothers now compared to when I was 23 and pregnant, is that they have preconceived ideas of what they should be as a mother. I was rather ignorant of how it all should be done because my mother died before I had my first, so it really was trial and error. My best picks for advice, in hindsight, of course, would be:

1. Allow the baby to fit INTO your life with your husband. Don't expect to stop your own life and only have time for baby.

2. Never, ever neglect your time spent alone with your husband. You need the time that can be focused on just the two of you, even if it's just a trip out to get a coffee. That leads to #3 --

3. Get a babysitter on a regular basis. Your baby will not be harmed or feel neglected by being held and loved by others while you find time for the two of you.

4. Allow for Plan B. Being flexible will save you a lot of stress. If cloth diapering doesn't work, use disposable. If breastfeeding is so miserable that it takes the joy out of feeding your baby, use a bottle. If Baby takes a nap in its swing or stroller, rather than its bed, that's ok. Just hold the rules lightly.

I didn't do it perfectly, by any means, and I wish I had had a manual to help me along, but we don't get one. Just enjoy that baby and hold it, rock it, snuggle it, make body contact. It won't spoil them when they're that tiny.

Good luck from a Grandma, and I'm sorry this is so long.

Pam said...

Hey! I'm a friend of Karen's. We went to highschool together and reconnected through our Sunday School group years later. Of course then my husband and I moved away and now we stay connected through the wonderful world of blogging:)

Let me just say that I too cannot stand boogers and poop and vomit - from other children or people for that matter. I'm a sympathy vomiter!

But when it's your own child's snotty nose that you have to wipe because he has a cold and it's your own baby's spit up that you are cleaning up and when you are changing your own baby's tiny little diaper it's suddenly ok - because it's your baby and you would do anything for your baby. You'll be fine in this area:)

Second thing - all modesty and dignity takes a flying leap out of your hospital room window when you are in labor. And you know what, that's ok too because all you need to focus on is you and having a baby. Let the doctor and the nurses worry about everything else. That's their job, that's what they do. They are there to take care of you and trust me - they have seen it all before:)

Ok last thing - we all know everything looks great on paper, but sometimes things don't go according to plan so just go with the flow. If you wind up needing pain meds, take them and don't feel bad about it! If you were totally against a pacifier but wind up reaching for one out of desperation that's totally fine! If breastfeeding doesn't go perfectly or it's just not your thing, don't ever feel bad about that either. There will always be hiccups in even the most well thought out plans but if you know in advance that they will come up at some point in time then it just makes everything easier to deal with.

A new baby!!!! It's all so exciting and it sounds like you have an amazing support group of friends and family. Congratulations!

Julie said...

You've gotten really great comments here and every one of them is right on the money.

Childbirth is weird and painful, but beautiful. It's not honestly as icky as you might think. At least I don't remember much ickiness. And really, it's like our own little battle. In a week you'll be recounting your labor story in minute by minute detail over and over like you survived a war. All mom's do it :-)

Recovery can be painful in parts. Someone suggested the numbing spray - great idea. Also take a sitz bath twice a day for the first week. Just fill the bathtub with like 3-4 inches of lukewarm water and sit in it for 10 minutes. World of difference. Don't be afraid to ask for pain meds if you need them or Advil if that works.

Breastfeeding can be hard. I think somehow we think our babies will automatically know what to do and we'll know what to do and it will all be like a beautiful picture. Not necessarily true. I had to have lots of help from the lactation consultant in the hospital with #1 and it was still not "easy" for the first few weeks. But then we found our rhythm and it was fine. Number 2 nursed a total of 2 times, despite lots of money spent on lactation consultants. I was driving myself insane and so I gave up, pumped and she got breastmilk in a bottle. She survived :-)

Be flexible - DEFINITELY. And ask for help. Find a group of other mom's who have young ones and find out what works for them in different situations. Try stuff. Every child is different. On the other hand, don't let anyone tell you that their way is THE way and you're doing it wrong. It's your kid, you know Lucky best.

Trust me you will use every bit of those life experiences you've had to raise your kid. The older they get the smarter you need to be. My 7 yr old stumps me, constantly!

Make a date night with your husband once a week. If you can't find a babysitter just cuddle w/ a movie, turn the phone off, etc.

Accept help - people want to bring a meal, let them. Someone wants to babysitt for free, let them (well unless their a psycho). People wouldn't volunteer to help if they didn't mean it.

Wow, this is really long. I'll wrap up now. Best of luck. You will do great!

BJ said...

Carrie, first of all, congratulations! A new baby is such a sacred and precious thing to behold. The closest we'll be to Heaven while living, I think!

I see you've had lots of advice in the practical side of things. I was thinking more about your concern that you'll "lose yourself." I firmly believe that this is a concept that has been overstated and focused on in our society. The reality is, you are about to be a totally different person forever. You will never again find the person you've been until becoming a mother. However, this is not to be feared - it is to be embraced! I am thirty years old, and a mother of five. I used to have this same fear. I often feel like I don't know which way is up, but I no longer struggle with finding myself in the middle of it. I KNOW who I am - and the greater part of that is "mother." Again, our society dishonors this most precious calling, and so even we as Christians have fallen into the mentality that somehow I will be negatively affected in my personality or interests or pursuits by this new life. I won't pretend it doesn't change anything, and that's it's all easy, but I encourage you to anticipate with joy "losing" yourself in this new chapter. It WILL be a large part of who you are until the day you die. Embrace it. It's wonderful!

Karen said...

I like to think that rather than losing myself, it's more of a redefining of myself. A redefinition of self in a role that cannot be compared to anything else you do in life.

I think I've said this to you before, but you will be amazed at the depth of which you will find yourself capable of giving, loving, and sacrificing for this sweet child. You will view everything on earth from a different perspective.

BJ is right, it's not easy. It's really hard on many days, but the love! Oh the love! Love that makes you use your own shirt to wipe boogers. Love that makes your heart break when you catch vomit down your neck not because it reeks but because your sweet child is so ill and you feel helpless. Love that would compel you to jump in front of a moving bus to protect your child. All these things done without a second thought.

That's some serious love. And you are capable of it all. Yield to it, revel in it, give it freely and the rest sort of just falls into place.

Aunt Murry said...

Best I can say is take one day at a time. Enjoy the babiness because before you know it Baby will be graduating. There is no book that can tell you how to love your child. Just listen and your baby will thell you what it needs. Blessed be you and your family!

Chad, Bridgette, Emme, & Levi said...

Carrie, Congratulations on your upcoming blessing! I have not much to add to all of these so-true comments, but just to re-iterate....be flexible! I'm sure you have read books on child rearing and how to get baby to sleep, feeding routines, etc....but remember, it doesn't always work out great at the end of the day, but THAT'S OK.. It's a goal that you can try to attain to. Don't worry! The baby will survive. :) He is just trying to figure things out, just like you are! He doesn't know anything different!:)

Another thing is make friends with other moms that are in your same stage of babyness! That helps a lot with asking questions, bouncing ideas off each other, etc. Someone to call if you've had a rough night! It will save your sanity to think, "Hey I'm not the only one going through this!"

Remember, trust your instinct. You are the mom! You get to make the decisions!:) And you will do great I'm sure.

Bridgette

ps. on a more shallow note, try to get showered and dressed every day! It will help you feel refreshed and ready to face the world!:) Good luck.

kate said...

I have a thousand things I could say about this subject, but I'll try to be brief and hit the big ones!

Childbirth: painful, kind of gross, but totally awesome. Take the meds if you need them, it will make the experience MUCH more pleasant for everyone involved! You will be amazed at what your body can do, and afterward you will be so proud of yourself...as you should be!!

After the birth: Rest as much as you can. Take help when it is offered. Eat takeout. Snuggle your babe.

As for the pain "down there" I did not have a terribly hard time with it. I think they gave me ibuprofin in the hospital and then I took tylenol at home. Yes, it burns and stings, but it heals very quickly.

Breastfeeding is great if you can do it. Do not be afraid to ask the nurses in the hospital for help if you need it. I waited until my baby and I were both frantic and I felt like a failure because it just wasn't working, but after I got help and calmed down, we were fine. My daughter nursed like a champ once we got help.

And I really, truly must second the suggestion that you shower and put on some clean clothes every day. It will make you feel SO MUCH BETTER, even when you are getting no sleep. Do not be afraid to put your baby down for a few minutes to care for yourself. I did this, and even though she sometimes cried a bit in the pack 'n play, it was worth it to me.

And finally, if you don't want a million visitors right away, for your own sanity be honest about it. If you need to, just tell people (or have your husband tell people) you are not accepting visitors in the first week or two at home. You need the time to bond as a family and get to know the newest addition.

Congratulations! God bless, and best wishes for a smooth delivery!

Terina said...

my first bit of advice is to make sure you are prepared for an emergency c-section. they can happen to anyone, and it is good to know what goes on during one of those, and what the recovery is. i have had two emergency ones, and because i was at 7 centimeters the first time, and then fully dialated and pushing the second, it was a painful recovery as both parts had been used.
you will soon realize that even though wearing makeup and doing our hair every day is a very good thing, sometimes it gets left behind on the not-so-important list of things. because your sleep and your sanity are going to come first.
if you nurse, get a pump. and also just get used to having yucky shirts. don't get really nice nursing shirts or don't care about them because they will get spit up on, snot, and occasionally numbers 1 and 2. fortunately, it isn't for forever. just keep that in mind when you get frustrated with all of those things. and remember you can reward yourself with new clothes after that part of having a baby is over. if you do nurse, get the lansinoh nursing pads. they are the absolute bestest of the best. you can get them at walmart or target.
once your little one is old enough, (i know someone suggested this, but i'm going to add a little) go out once a week without the baby. if you can get a regular babysitter, that always guarantees some time with just the two of you. and even if your husband is busy with work or out of town, that gives you some time, to be by yourself. it is totally worth it.
the ickyness of childbirth is icky. i have a hard time with bodily fluids myself, and the last thing i wanted was to have some of mine coming out uncontrolled. just as soon as you can walk, take a shower. remember a razor, and you may want to bring your own towel. and maybe your robe. i remember being very embarrassed when the nurses had to come in and help me off of the toilet because i couldn't stand up on my own. just remember, this is their job, and they are there to help you, so don't be embarrassed. they are used to it.
you'll get through it, and then you'll have a little baby. it is great. and remember, you won't be losing yourself, you will be finding a part of yourself that you didn't know you had, and it will become part of who you are. you will always be who you are right now, and it does take some work to keep that person, but just let motherhood and who you already are come together. it will work.
i think that is all i have when it comes to words of wisdom. you will do great. make sure you have lots of pain meds, and a boppy or something to blow up on that you can sit on until you have healed. and if you have a c-section, boppys are great for keeping that little person off of your incision
ok, i'm really done now!!

Brooke H. said...

I've popped over from Karen's blog! I just wanted to very quickly address your husband's fear about feeling helpless during the birth, and watching you go through the pain of it all. My husband had those same fears, and I would very highly recommend having someone else in addition to your husband in the labor/delivery room with you, preferably a woman experienced in the ways of childbirth. I had a doula, but any female friend or relative who has been through it all will work as well. My husband was helped immeasurably by this. My labor was very long, so it was especially helpful when he could take naps, go eat, etc., and still have someone with me. Anyway, all your fears are valid, but the minute they put that little bundle in your arms, they won't matter as much as the tremendous new love you feel. Oh, but snot's always gross, no two ways around it.

Occidental Girl said...

They say having a baby will change everything, and they're right. In a good way.

Childbirth hurts more than you think it will, but once the head is out, you're home free!

The moment you are handed your son or daughter, comes the most profound sense of responsibility you will ever have in your life ever. Also, most profound sense of pride.

Mostly, it's going to be okay. All those things you wonder about, you will figure out. You've gotten yourself through school and traveled so you know how to take care of things. Besides, you can ask any mom for help. We're always glad to give advice! (Oops, watch out on that one. Too much of a good thing and all...)

Again, it's going to be okay. Even when it's not, it will be. You'll see. Good luck to you.

Tara said...

Hi! My name is Tara and I know Karen from her blog.

I'm a 25 year old mom of a 21 month old girl and 3 month old boy. I don't know how much wisdom I have but here it goes.

Having kids has been one of the best things that has happened to me. They totally change your life and it's wonderful. I won't lie, the first few months can be a bit icky adjusting to having a baby in the house, not sleeping, and recovering from birth but you will make it through I promise!

Just say YES to help. We have no family around us at all so there is hardly ever a break. Take advantage of the offers you get for help.

Do something you love every day even if it's for 5 minutes. I've started putting my books in the bathroom for a quick read when I'm...you know. It may not seem like much, but it really makes a difference in my day.

One of the best parts of being a mom is the surprises you get every day. Even on the long trying days that seem to have no end, all of a sudden your little one will look at you and smile, or give you a hug/kiss, or say a word for the first time and it makes all of the bad go away. You'll do great! I'll be praying for you.

Qtpies7 said...

The fact is it is already too late, lol. You are going to go through the icky stuff, you are NOT going to die dealing with it, even if it is even half as bad as my 6th child, lol. It will be there, and your love for Lucky will be bigger than the snot and poop and puke. It just WILL be bigger.
Braxton Hicks can be worse than labor, or it can be milder. You will not know what to expect until you are there. For each child it is different. You can't be any more prepared than you are! It stinks going through it, but you will FORGET it before you have even passed the placenta!
You will not lose your identity. You will become someone new. You are someone new! You are a mom, but you are not "A" mom, you are "THE" mom to Lucky. Its unique and you. You won't care about the other stuff. You can work to keep touch with all that stuff, but you will soon not care about it.
The best thing about parenting is that you get to make it up as you go, you get to be the mom you want to be, you don't have to follow a manual, so you don't have to compare yourself to others!
You are Lucky's mom, NOT Fred's mom. See? Its easy! There is no other mom to Lucky to compare to, so how can you go wrong? God put Lucky with you, and that is the perfect place. You will do great! And fears mean that you WILL do great. I still had fears with my 7th baby, really.

Anonymous said...

I think first babies provide the most joy, sleep deprivation, and worries! :) I just set our 4th down (she's almost 2 1/2 months) so I can type, it's hard to type one-handed but you can do it! Becky Freeman wrote a book Peanut Butter Kisses and Mud Pie Hugs, she talks about baby's breath going past her ear - it's so sweet. Motherhood does/will change you but it's like combining chocolate pudding and whipped topping to make mousse, slowly it just melds together as you mix it. Slowly over time you morph into "mom", but really it's one "role" that you posess (probably your MAJOR role or so it seems, as others mentioned keeping God first and your husband second is the correct priority-order!).

If it's important to you, you need to work it in (like makeup, etc) but might find a way to do it faster (lots of magazines give tips for 5-minute makeup). Give dad some time with baby, this allows you to maybe take a shower or stretch your legs/arms or check some blogs. Allow him to change the "blow-out" diapers! :) Yes, it happens. I've found with our latest that listening for the sound and not allowing her diaper to get too full help from her blowing-out. Be ready to do lots of laundry, keep spare clothes for yourself and baby. Burping her a lot helps her from spitting up. I *LOVE* Huggies baby wipes, they're thick and really moist, and they're the best for cleaning up spit-up. They seem to magically take the smell away. (Great for clothes, furniture, everything.) Keep a kleenex in your pocket, tucked into your waist or wrist, and a packet in the diaper bag - you'll be ready to wipe at any time! I don't care for vomit (just like anyone else) but you just clean it up and take care of your child - you'll be amazed sometimes at what you can handle. Thankfully, most things can be replaced or washed pretty easily these days. If your child gets attached to a certain lovey or blanket, buy another 1 or 2 or 3 (you can switch out and wash the other)!!

For raising children, we depend on God every day. I think the best book is Shepherding a Child's Heart. Personally, I think it's never too early to read it. Read it together, read it together again next year and the next and the next. :) For you, The Excellent Wife is a wonderful book though it can probably wait a year - it lays out the priorities I mentioned before (God, husband, family).

I encourage you go get out of the house, it may take longer than you planned and things may not go well but I think new mothers can sometimes isolate themselves. Babies are actually great to take to restaurants because usually the car ride will put them to sleep and you can enjoy dinner with your husband.

I can't comment much on labor, I've had 4 c-sections. If you need the medicine, take it, but realize not one thing works the same in every person.

Sorry so long, passionate subject of mine! :)

Jennifer

P.S. gas drops are a lifesaver! (buy generic, you'll save lots of money)

The Daring One said...

So much of parenting is so much more natural than all the books and magazines would lead you to believe. At one point my midwife told me to STOP READING. I was fighting the baby's natural rhythms with things I'd read in books. You have the built in instincts to be a good mother so follow them. Of course read good things but then just follow your instincts.

Don't worry about taking a cute nighty to the hospital. You'll be much more comfortable in the gown. Snag a stack of those big blue bed pads as you're leaving (you may need to ask a nurse) so you can keep your bed clean at home. I'll let you know if I think of more.

kyouell said...

I'm here late (from Karen Trade-Off); still getting caught up after being away from my computer for vacation. Congrats on the baby who I can see by your sidebar is here now. I still have something to say though. :-)

1) Have you seen The Shape of a Mother (http://theshapeofamother.com/)? They did a Things I Wish I Knew post http://theshapeofamother.com/2007/07/1-every-one-told-me.php) and maybe that will have some gems that haven't been left here.

2) You never know how the things you have trained for in your career will come into play as a mom. I'm a Sign Language Interpreter and neither of our children are deaf so you would think that my training is moot, yet it is not. My son (our oldest) has Down syndrome and it's amazing how much of my training I can use -- aside from using ASL with him -- it's just that now I'm the mom in the scenario instead of the interpreter. Perhaps your bean-counting skills won't come in handy until you are talking about how many Cheerios Lucky has on his or her high chair tray, but there will come a day when you use those skills as a mom too. And that kind of ties into the "redefining of myself" that Karen and others talked about.

3) You can get those big pads that Daring Young Mom was talking about at Longs or Rite-Aid or Target, and I'm sure more places too. I have a changing table from Ikea (I'd link but it's discontinued). None of the retail changing pads worked on it so my mom made me one from a thick piece of foam and 2 covers from extra receiving blankets we had. I put one of those pads between the foam and the cover just in case of accidents. So, yeah, snag some from the hospital, but when they run out get more because they are *handy*.

4) Congrats again! I'm off to read more!