Dear Friends and Family,
Everything takes longer once you have a child. Writing a Christmas letter, for example. You sit down to write, step out for an afternoon to have a baby, and all of a sudden you’re writing a new years’ letter instead. 2012 has been an incredible year of blessing for Daniel and I, mainly defined by the birth of our son Scott on December 10. Pregnancy and early parenthood have had their challenges, but holding Scott and smelling his sweet baby smell (the perfect combination of baby shampoo and diaper ointment) make every second of it worthwhile.
The first few months of 2012 didn’t leave much of an impression on me. We had an incredibly mild winter, which was great for running, but bad for pretty much everyone else from farmers to snowboarders. In early spring everything changed. Daniel and I had been hoping to have a baby, but it wasn’t until we were sitting at the roller derby (yes, really) in April that I knew something was different. Baby Scott – who did not have a name yet and I sort of thought was going to be a girl – had transitioned from being a twinkle in my eye to a very real (if very tiny) part of our lives.
Those first few months of pregnancy were, in a word, awful. I didn’t have Kate Middleton level morning sickness, but there were some days I would have given a pinky finger to be able to check into a posh London hospital to ride out the nausea while hooked up to a San Pellegrino and caviar IV. Only in those days my tastes were more of the “spoiled 5-year old” persuasion. The only things I wanted to eat were grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken nuggets and French fries. I think the low point was when I started eating frozen burritos for breakfast. Really pregnant women get a lot of attention and help, but if the 9-months pregnant me met the 9-weeks pregnant me, she would have offered her a seat, a back rub, some Tylenol, a roll of Tums (for later), and some chicken nuggets – just in case 9-weeks’ blood sugar was a little low. There really should be designated parking spots and seating for women who haven’t told anyone they are pregnant yet.
Around the same time we had other exciting news. Daniel had a paper accepted to a computer science conference in London. Not wanting to miss this opportunity for a “babymoon”, we packed our bags and flew over for my first trip to Europe. We were there a few weeks too early for the Olympics but were able to tour the Tour of London, several museums, Westminster Abbey, and Kensington Palace, and see the queen’s birthday parade. While Daniel was attending the conference, I went to Cambridge and Stonehenge with a tour group and visited the (recreated) Globe Theater, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Greenwich (home of the prime meridian - where time starts). It was a lot of fun to take our last trip that won’t somehow revolve around mini golf, Grandma’s house, or finding a McDonalds with a play place.
Summer brought a welcome relief from the nausea of early pregnancy, but it also brought some of the hottest, driest weather on record in Wisconsin. Yeah, there are other places where the temperature routinely gets into the 100s, but those places tend to have central air conditioning. It was around that time we started to consider moving out of our little campus apartment and finding something more “family friendly” with a dishwasher, a washer and dryer, and less of a chance of the baby getting heat stroke.
August was an exciting month because at my 20-week ultrasound we found out that the baby was a boy, and in September we moved to a townhouse on the west side of Madison. In November, we finally chose a name for the baby – Ron Paul Ryan Gosling – but later discarded it for Scott Alan (Scott is Daniel’s middle name and Alan has no significance but we thought it sounded good).
All the time I was growing bigger and the baby inside me was squirming and kicking and hiccupping his way into our hearts. Unfortunately he never decided to squirm, kick, or hiccup his way into a head-down position, and my doctor decided the safest course of action was to schedule his delivery for December 10 before I actually went into labor. Daniel and I floated the idea of a 12-12-12 delivery, but my doctor wasn’t on call that day, and a nurse later told us that no C-sections were scheduled for that date.
We’ve spent the last 2.5 weeks adjusting to being the parents of the most beautiful, wonderful, cute, smart, nice-smelling baby on the planet (if I do say so myself). Sometimes I wonder if I will ever sleep, get anywhere on time, or do anything that takes more than two hours (because it’s guaranteed the baby will either poop, get hungry or both) again, but he’s absolutely the highlight of our 2012 and every year to come.