A man’s reaction to finding out he’s going to be a father varies greatly from person to person.
I’ve heard that some men laugh while others cry. Some faint while some jump with joy. Some even look for the back door.
But I think Tree’s reaction was a first. He immediately went out and bought the most expensive juicer he could find, claiming that he already had a telepathic connection with the child, and it said I needed to ingest healthy super foods right away.
And so began my regiment of fresh-made juice, vitamins, protein counted down to the gram, and an exercise routine called “Extreme Pregnancy Training,” or EPT for short. It includes two twenty-five minute walks, morning and evening, and one midday forty-five minute power walk along the beach, followed by hip-opening stretches.
What can I say. He’s excited to become a Dad. He’s even been wearing his medal. (I heart him!)
Overall I’m really enjoying life being pregnant. I didn’t experience any of the physically uncomfortable aspects that often accompany the first trimester, like morning sickness or exhaustion, but I did go on quite the emotional roller coaster ride. At first, I was very excited and relieved to be pregnant, but soon after I grew fanatic about what I should be doing (and not be doing) now that I was ‘with child.’ I began obsessively researching ectopic pregnancy, genetic defects, miscarriage, and everything else that terrified me. I compiled a list of all the possible teratogens (things that cause birth defects) that I may have touched, eaten or drank in the recent past so I could call my doctor in the U.S. and freak out.
Whereas just weeks before I was drinking wine while scoffing the invasive nature of Western medicine, now I was calling every clinic in Peru in a frantic search for a transvaginal ultrasound and full panel blood test. I was a crazy woman.
Granted, I think it’s normal for first time expectant moms with surging hormones to experience a certain amount of nervous energy, but I think my anxiety may have been exacerbated by living in a developing country. To give you an idea of our stress, first we had to figure out which prenatal tests would be suggested if we were back home and when to have them done, how to say things like ‘nuchal translucency ultrasound’ in Spanish, and then find a trusted place in Peru to have said ‘ecografia nucal’ performed. Once we got the prenatal ball rolling, we had to figure out what exactly a birth plan was (we were genuinely clueless about all things baby), and then how to make our lofty requirements (husband in the delivery room during birth, an onsite NICU, a doctor that doesn’t force c-sections) a viable reality.
After months of exerting a Herculean effort that included nothing less than visiting six clinics and two birth centers, and interviewing five doctors, three midwives, and one doula, all the way from Trujillo to Lima, we finally got it figured out just in time to enjoy our second trimester. (Click here to read about the birth plan).
Having a birth plan under my belly belt has made the second trimester much more relaxed, at least by Sprinter Life standards. Even though we spent two months on the road traveling from Huanchaco to Lima, Lima to Los Angeles, and then back to Lima and up through the Cordillera Blanca before settling back in Huanchaco for a while, we haven’t been stressed — just busy, but in a good way.
Besides having a birth plan, I also stopped reading horror novels like What To Expect While You’re Expecting and instead picked up Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman, a funny and informative book about the differing cultural perspectives on pregnancy and parenting between French and American women. As some of you may know, I went to Le Lycee Francais de Los Angeles, first through ninth grade, and am to this day an unapologetic francophile.
Check out my sister and I in our school uniforms. Note my personal addition to the blue and white sports ensemble….red socks “representing a symbol of my individuality and my belief in personal freedom.” (Trivia Quiz! Name the character and the film. Hint: It’s my second favorite movie of all time).
After reading Pamela Druckerman’s book, I was reminded why I love the French so much. There are too many reasons to enumerate in this post, but in a nutshell, my crush can be attributed to one quality: Sexiness. Basically, the French exude a calm, self-possessed grace and command combined with a simmering, epicurean joie-de-vivre. When I think back on my french teachers at Lycee, I picture them walking down the hallways in their stilettos and pencil skirts, perfect nails and blunt cut bobs, always so in control, with a cool authority…… but HOT, like underneath it all their panties were about to catch on fire. So, I decided that I too will be a sexy, self-assured French pregnant woman. Of course I’m still committed to being a good mom — the French love their children too — I’m just taking the constant “worry” out of it.
Today I trust my body, my intuition, mother nature…hell, I even trust unpasteurized cheese.
Although both my EPT coach and my commitment to having an enjoyable pregnancy require me to get 8.5 hours of sleep per night, our sleep patterns are predominately determined by the tides. When medium tide is early, I cringe when the alarm goes off at 5:45am. I much prefer the times when his “perfect tide” is mid-day, allowing us to sleep in followed by watching Jon Stewart and eating warm croissants in bed. (For the record, croissants are a french super food and anyone who tells Tree different will be hearing from me).
But, as with everything in life, the tides do change. Sometimes my way, sometimes the other.