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Friday, June 24, 2011

Classical Tunes

At 25 weeks they say babies have fully functioning auditory systems (aka they can hear). I was sitting in bed listening to my ipad when I read this. Kiana said that Ella was kicking (she always kicks around 11pm) so I decided to put this to the test. I dialed up some classical tunes and let Ella listen to some Beethoven and Mozart.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Worry #1: Will I be a Great Father?

I met Kiana a week after my 26th birthday, ironically it was also a week after HER birthday too. I thought it was crazy she was born on September 29th and me on the 30th. Actually, if I had come out an hour sooner we would have the exact same birthday. For years we've shared the birthday spotlight (for the record, Kiana doesn't like sharing the birthday spotlight), so imagine the shock of finding out Ella is due on September 25th! Amazing luck...an all September family, hopefully...

I always thought I would be a father earlier than at 30. I grew up in a big, multi-generational family. Upstairs lived my Mom, Dad, sister and myself. Downstairs lived my Grandma (Nana) and Great Grandma (Nannie). Breakfasts were big. Dinners were big. Holidays were huge. It was all family, all the time. No matter how hard I try, I can't remember a single negative memory all up until leaving for college. Not one bit of anger, resentment or disappointment. Just love, support, accomplishment and celebration. I think about my Dad growing up and I can't remember a single time being disappointed by him. I feel like I have tough shoes to fill. (For the record he wore size 15's)

Even though I WANTED to be a father earlier than 30, I know that I wasn't prepared to be the father I would have wanted to be, needed to be, had I become one earlier than now. I had a great dad and realize that being a great dad can't be easy. Knowing the things I worry about as the man of my house, as a husband, I can only imagine the things my dad must have worried about caring for the large family I was raised in while being a lifelong entrepreneur. This process can be very stressful. If men aren't talking about it, they are sure thinking about it. I believe all of us men must go through this mental stage upon finding out we are going to have a child.

At 25, 26 and 27 I was still figuring out what kind of man I was going to be. At 28, 29 and even still today, I'm trying to make sure I understand what kind of husband I want to be. I think I have it figured out, but I'm still making mistakes. I've spent most of 30 trying to figure out what kind of father I want to be, can be, will be. My time has come and I know I'm ready to step up and be a great dad. You see, I would have had to devote many of the aforementioned years to being a father-in-training, man-in-training and husband-in-training all at once had Ella decided to join us a few years ago. I think too few men understand the substantial responsibility they are going to inherit by bringing a child into the world.

Being a father is a great responsibility. I know that now. I have to be the protector and provider of another human life. It's not a "let's just wing it" process. Kiana has made me realize this more and and more everyday. She has instilled patience and preparation into my world. Given me awareness. None of which existed in my previous ready, fire, aim life prior to her. She has equipped me with a wide angle lens. Because of her I will be a better father to Ella. I always thought I would be a father earlier than at 30, but I'm sure glad it's happening now.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Look Back: Finding Out

As I look down at my stomach and realize that my belly button is almost completely flat now, it's hard to believe that I was once pregnant and still at my normal size and weight!

I am not usually one of those people who have great intuition about things, but all through January, I had a strong inkling that I would be missing my period that month. As the time drew near and a few days had past from its due date, I figured it was time to take a pregnancy test.

In the grocery store across from our house, I remember looking at my options...most will tell you if you're pregnant or not with lines and then a couple of brands offer the digital readout: "pregnant" or "not pregnant" (as Philip mentioned in the previous post). While there's much joking about how it's difficult to read the tests on tv and in the movies, I figured you really had to be an idiot if you couldn't tell by the lines. They were quite a few dollars cheaper, so I bought the non-digital test.

It's strange how when you do have a feeling of intuition, of already knowing something or what an outcome will be, how calm you feel. I felt secure in knowing that I would see a cross on the test (indicating I was pregnant), because I felt like I already knew anyway.

As Philip and his sister, Vicky, who was living with us at the time, made dinner in the kitchen downstairs, I slipped past them with my grocery bag and headed upstairs to the bathroom.

While the test's instructions tell you it can take a few minutes for it to produce the results, my pants were barely zipped back up when I saw the two lines intersecting. The horizontal intersecting line (the vertical is used as the control) was extremely faint, though. As I read the instructions thoroughly again, scanning for any mention of the light or darkness of the line, I knew in that moment that this is why women opt for the digital tests! I was officially one of the idiots.

Luckily, the instructions mention that the faintness of the line does not matter and I felt very confident the test was accurate, especially since I wasn't taking it for early detection.

I calmly waited through dinner and the rest of the evening to tell Philip. I had no idea what to say!

As I got into our bed for the night, I said, "I have something to show you. I don't really know how to do this, so, here," and handed him the test from behind my back.

Since Philip and I have talked about having children many times and even talked about the timing of having them, I knew he would be very excited and he was. I don't think he really knew how to react, though. He just smiled really big and he face turned a little red, but didn't even move to hug me! I told him that was probably the appropriate thing to do, so eventually he did.

Incredulity swept over - we were both so aware, yet so in disbelief that this little plastic thing was telling us our lives were about to change. I mentioned that the test was a 2-pack and he urged I take the 2nd test in the morning just to make sure. 


I was not surprised to see the same result in the morning. Plus sign = pregnant.

Philip, still in a state of happy shock, researched online and found out about the digital tests. I think he was intrigued at the fact that the stick would actually read the word "pregnant" on it. While running errands the following day, he insisted we buy one. I told him it would be a waste of money (they're not cheap!), but for some reason, seeing the word was apparently going to make him 100% believe it.

I took the test when we got home, my 3rd in 3 days. "Pregnant."

"Do you believe it now?!" I said, holding out the test for him to see. And so then it was true.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Father is Born

Hello to all the future fathers out there! This is my first post on EllaPearl.com. I will be writing every so often to bring you a male view of the journey through pregnancy and my road to becoming a father.

My wife, who will henceforth be known to the blogger/pregger/future mommy/daddy-sphere as Kiana, was secretly writing (for a week) about our pregnancy. How dare her, I know. Hold on, did I just say "our" pregnancy? Our pregnancy? I can say that right? It sounds weird because I'm not the one with the baby growing inside me, but it's true. As I've quickly learned over the last few months pregnancy is most definitely a WE thing, not a me and then you thing. Guys, take note.

My first impressions, as a typical male, on what it would be like to go through this process went wildly different than I first imagined. There are so many important decisions to make that require both husband and wife. When we were planning our wedding I could get away with leaving Kiana to pick out the table clothes, decor and photographer and not get put in the penalty box for my lack of involvement. I could make it up in other areas, like picking out the music or choosing the fine adult beverages we were going to offer our guests. You know, manly man stuff.

With a pregnancy you have to stay involved and stay supportive. There is no where to hide and no room to delegate. Thankfully I'm too excited to even think about anything else besides getting the chance to hold my daughter in my arms for the first time. We're pregnant. Ella is on her way. I couldn't be more happy about becoming a father.

I remember when Kiana told me she was pregnant. She comes out showing me this little plastic thingamabobber and says "look". It was a confusing blue line that indicated we were pregnant, I think. So I told her to do it again. Not because I wasn't excited, but because we were both confused. Trust and verify :) So the next day the confusing blue line showed up indicating we were pregnant, again. I was very excited, but in a I'm not sure if I'm buying what you're selling kind of way. Determined to get some real medical confirmation we head off to Target to get one of the tests that says, literally says, on the stick "pregnant" if you are pregnant. If this little stick, one I picked out for its obvious medical supremacy over the confusing blue line one, was going to tell me that we were pregnant then I was going to be sold.

A while later I was outside working around the house and out comes Kiana smiling. She hands me the stick and guess what? There it was in plain English spelled out for the simplest of simpletons, PREGNANT! Joy, love, happiness and excitement all wrapped into one giant feeling. I'm going to be a father. And so the journey begins.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

25 Weeks

I'm in the middle of week 25, on day 4.

I've been telling Philip to put his hands on my stomach and wait to feel Ella kick. He loses patience after about 90 seconds and she kicks right when he leaves. Of course.

Last night, he put his ear to my belly (even though he knows he won't hear anything yet!), said "Hello? Are you in there?" and she kicked. Hard. And he felt it...with his ear. So the first time Philip felt his daughter in his wife's belly was with his ear and not his hands. Classic.

He looked at me and said "That was hard!" before putting his ear back (still, instead of his hands - I guess stick with what you know). He felt her kick a few more times - it was around 10:30 p.m. and she's always awake and pretty active around 11 p.m. so it was perfect timing for him to feel.

Although Philip has seemed more excited to hear Ella with our prenatal listening set (which hasn't happened yet since she's still a little too small), he seemed pretty happy to feel her moving.

Some pregnancy notes:
  • Ella seems to have somewhat of a routine - she's always up, as I mentioned, around 11 p.m. I'm trying to figure out any other patterns throughout the day, but they seem random at this point.
  • She also doesn't seem to like it if I squish her while leaning forward and sitting. She starts punching/kicking so that I'll sit back, sometimes at a backwards incline and then calms down immediately. You'd figure she's not big enough to care yet!
  • My feet get swollen on and off - there's no rhyme or reason to it. I just dread the day they don't get un-swollen again which I'm sure is possible.
  • At 24 weeks the doctor measured the size of my stomach for the first time: 23 cm.
Here is Miss. Ella Pearl at our first doctor visit at 8 weeks:

We made copies of the print out the doctor gave us, taped them inside cards and told our good friends at a dinner at our house that we were pregnant.








And here she is at 18 weeks when we went in just for a gender ultrasound to find out if she was a little girl or boy:

In the left two photos, you can see her hand up at her forehead in a 'damsel in distress' position.

She grew so much in 10 weeks!

Monday, June 13, 2011

24 Weeks

It's been over a year since I last blogged. That post was a recap of my and Philip's 1st year anniversary. Now we've been married for a little over 2 years and are pregnant with our first child.

I'm 24 weeks pregnant, on day 6.

Our girl, Ella, weighed in at 1.3 lbs. at 22 weeks. These days she's roughly the size of a papaya. I've been feeling light kicks for about 5 or 6 weeks, but just this week those kicks (or punches?) have been getting a bit stronger. This gives me slight fear to how strong those kicks may be in the next coming months...

While I was not sick or nauseous during my 1st trimester, I was fatigued. Now, thankfully, my energy is back to normal and I'm experiencing the traditionally more easy-going 2nd trimester.

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I wrote the above a couple days ago before getting the blog completely set up. Today is actually 25 weeks, day 2.

I will write a separate 25 weeks post, but am glad I've gotten this blog up and running. You'll likely see some creative changes as I settle in and (to be truthful and set expectations) inconsistent posts. As I was pulled into the blog world during my wedding, I felt it was all-consuming. I've felt much freer and less attached to the computer (especially since I'm on one all day for work as well) in the last year, so I'd like to keep this blog fun and casual and truly for personal purposes.

Please come back and read up, though, as I chronicle this first pregnancy - I will also consider keeping it up after Ella is born...only time will tell...

Welcome!