Swelling, Lower Back Pain, and Other Pregnancy Symptoms That Suck

For the guys out there, here’s a little insight into a couple symptoms that your lovely partner might be going through, that my wife certainly has. You know those “things they never tell you about” moments in life? This was one of them.

1) Lower Back Pain: This sucks. There’s really no way around it. My beautiful blushing bride has been, at times, reduced to the mobility of a 90 year old because of the pain she has experienced, and there really just isn’t too much I can do about it. I can help her stretch, I can get her water, and I can tell her I love her, but that’s about it. Being pregnant adds a lot of tension to the lower back, and combined with the way in witch the pelvic bones are adjusting for labor, you ladies out there need to be careful.

2) Swelling: Some swelling during pregnancy isn’t bad (if you know what I mean), but when the feet and ankles swell, it’s no fun at all. According to our OB, this can sometimes be attributed to a lack of water, anemia, or too much standing. Elevating the feet above the heart makes a big difference, as well as making sure as the lovely mama-to-be is getting plenty of Iron to make sure the anemia is at bay.

3) Braxton Hicks: Braxton Hicks Contractions are uterine contractions that start about 6 weeks into pregnancy, but your mama-to-be isn’t likely to start feeling them until much later into the pregnancy. For my wife, I think she started really feeling them at about the 21 week mark, but she didn’t know what they were at that point. What she contributed to “tightness” or “cramping” was really her body practicing for the big show. Our doula, who happens to be one of our very close friends, associated it as “muscle tonight for the uterus.” Braxton Hicks Contractions help strengthen the uterus for when it’s finally time for baby to arrive.

4) Sleeping Troubles: So, fellas, I want you to strap a basketball to your stomach, along with about 20 pounds, and then try to get comfortable in bed. Personally, that doesn’t sound like a lot of fun at all, so how about we show the women a little patience as they struggle to get to sleep, shall we? Combine the above factors with a need to pee multiple times a night, and it’s no wonder she feels tired.

So those are just a couple. There’s also the joys that come with hormones and the affect they have on the emotions, as well as the cravings that come and go. (Lately, it’s all about the chocolate lava cake. Before that? Burritos.) My point being, try to be understanding as your partner goes through these big changes. You’re going to have to man up and take care of things while she rests and takes care of your growing baby. Do the dishes, go to the store for her, help her with her shoes if she can’t bend over. Just remember, your job through this all is to be flexible when she can’t, and to make it as easy on mama-to-be as you can.

Suspended for Solidarity, Now Allowed Back

A little girl who showed an unbelievable act of compassion and solidarity for one of her friends was suspended. Please, someone explain to me what type of dense, unsympathetic person would see what she did as an action worth punishing.

Kamryn Renfro, who’s friend has been battling cancer now for 4 years, decided to shave her head in support so her friend “didn’t have to feel left out.” What a remarkable act of compassion. This is the type of action that every parent would be proud of, that shows a truly genuine heart. These are the values that every parent strives to instill in their children.

So tell me, please, what message this charter school is sending to Kamryn when it values “promoting uniformity” over compassion; when it values a dress code more than a kind hearted and well guided moral compass; when it punishes her for going out of her way to support a friend, rather than praise her tremendous action.

The real sad part of this situation is the fact that it’s a reality that our children (and adults as well) are just going to face. There are going to be people that don’t see things the same way. There will be obstacles, there will be challenges, and there will be people that quite frankly just upset us. The teachable moment here is how we encourage others to handle these situations and how we encourage them to never give up on what they believe. Instilling that persistence and confidence to not only know what is right, but to act on it, is crucial. It’s something I will always strive to model and teach my daughter.

The good news is that this story has a somewhat happy ending. The school board convened and determined that they were wrong, voting to reinstate Kamryn and lift her suspension. I’m glad to see that they reversed their mistake, but am still incredibly disheartened that the choice was made in the first place.

I pray my daughter will have the courage to always do what is right, even when facing opposition. I pray she has the compassion of this little girl, and will always keep a tender heart to the pain of others.

Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/colorado-girl-shaves-head-for-pal-with-cancer-temporarily-suspended/


Feeling the First Kick

On Friday night, an amazing thing happened. My wife and I were laying in bed, just chatting and enjoying each other’s company after a long week, and she started to feel our little one kicking. At 25 weeks pregnant, she’s been feeling the kicks get bigger, stronger and more defined over the last several weeks, but I have yet to have the opportunity to feel a kick for myself. My wife grabbed my hand, placed it on her lower stomach, and held it there.

After about 30 seconds of waiting eagerly, I felt a kick right in the tips of my fingers. It was truly incredible, feeling our growing daughter moving. It all became very, very real for me. I’ve seen our baby on ultrasound, I’ve heard the heart beat, and both of those experiences have been emotional and meaningful moments. But feeling my baby…. feeling her life, feeling her move, that’s something else. That was an eye opener and a moment that brought this reality a little closer to home.

Feeling my little baby move around and kick and squirm was just amazing. It was thrilling and exciting and exhilarating, but also made it unavoidably obvious that this pregnancy is going by really quickly. We’re only two weeks from the third trimester, which is just outstanding to me. How has this happened so fast?

That kick, that one kick, has made me realize just how close we are to meeting her. I need to assemble the crib, paint the walls, decorate, clean… there’s a lot to be done! It’s terribly exciting, but simultaneously a bit frightening. This pregnancy is moving right along. We’ll see you soon sweet girl.


Why Creating Memories is So Important

My childhood was awesome. Lets just start out by saying that. I have such fond memories of my childhood home, my neighborhood, my friends, vacations, sports, school, family…. all of it. Those memories are like a flip book of my life; those memories make up who I am. My life has been made, filled to the brim, by memories. Had I not been adopted, had my life been different, I wouldn’t be the same person I am today.

I firmly believe that the makeup of an individual is the combination of many things. Firstly, a person is built on what I believe to be their core. The core is composed of a person’s spirit; their innate and God-given personality and skills. We all come into the world with this core. It’s our inner self, our truest self to the very fiber of our being.

With a heart and a core instilled in us inherently from the moment we enter the world, the rest of a person’s makeup is composed of intangibles. We are shaped, molded, and formed by our surroundings. Our memories, our examples, our role models, our experiences, all of these factors play a part in the person we become.

So basically, I feel like having a child entering the world is going to feel a lot like being a castaway, holding one tiny little ember surrounded in tinder in the palms of my hands, doing everything I can to coax and grow that ember into a flame without snuffing it out.  Pretty scary right? But then, right after I’ve scared the crap out of myself, I realize how fantastic this experience is going to be. It’s going to be difficult, and tiring, and at times I’m probably going to want to slap my daughter silly, but there will be no love like the love I will have for her. Instead of panicking over the responsible, I settle down and think how incredible it’s going to be.

Just how this post started with my own memories, I will finish with thoughts of hers. I’ll hold on to how beautiful it will be to see my wife holding her for the first time. I’ll eagerly look forward to her first steps and her first words. I’ll look forward to any and every chance I have to make that little girl smile, and every memory her mom and I can create for her. I was lucky enough to have a great childhood with happy memories, and all I want is the same and more for my little girl.

Expecting Dads, Embrace the Registry

To many men, setting up a baby registry, shopping for bottles and diapers and sheets and cribs and bouncers and… you get the idea…. can sound like an option that simply sounds overwhelming and like a pretty big waste of time. My wife and I tackled this project last week, and, I’ll admit, it was really overwhelming at first.

After getting over the initial shock of “oh my god why are there so many different types of bottles,” I managed to calm myself down and embrace this special time with my wife. Guys, this is a BIG DEAL! Going and registering for the items that will be surrounding your little nugget of joy is incredibly special. Instead of staring at the mass wall of bottles and binkies (which seems extensively larger than it should) I focused on what these items mean.

For instance, that swaddling blanket isn’t anything special. But it’s what my daughter will be snuggled up in at night as she sleeps, and what she’ll be wearing when I pick her up to soothe her and kiss her forehead. That stroller (which like the bottles, there are way too many of) is not just an over glorified chair with wheels, but is something that will allow my wife and I to take our daughter places; something that will provide the mobility for my daughter to explore everything around her. It’s where she’ll sit when we go to the park; it’s where she’ll see clouds and trees and birds.

Focusing on the fact that we are not just laboring to chose the right item, but choosing these blankets and lamps and sheets that will play supporting roles in my daughter’s first experiences is absolutely thrilling. So, soon-to-be fathers, learn to embrace this task. Embrace it with an open heart, and imagine the memories that you and your baby making partner are creating for yourselves and the experiences you are creating for your child. It’s an incredibly special time, and it flies by. Hold on to it.