Gin & Zin

Pregnant with her first. ~Interview with Annika~

~Meet Annika~

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Who are you?

I’m a 32 year old, soon to be first time mom, due with our baby girl at the end of December. My husband and I have been married for two years and we live in the Bay Area, where we practice parenting on our two cats.

How do you love to spend your time?

I work as a Recruiter by day, and in my free time I love cooking, yoga, hiking, and (when I’m not pregnant) a big glasses of red wine. I also love to travel and have visions of us taking our baby on trips around the world (babies are small, how hard can it be?), while my husband is convinced that we are not leaving the state until she’s 12.

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What are you looking forward to doing with your baby?

The vision that stands out to me is just holding her and looking down at her tiny, perfect little face. Sometimes I think about all the “firsts” – her first smile, laugh, her first time at the beach, first taste of real food, her first words (fingers are crossed for “Mama”), but at this point when she’s just a tiny baby in my belly, I really just want to hold her.

Tell us a little bit about your journey to getting pregnant.

It was definitely a planned pregnancy. We knew that we wanted to be married for at least two years, and we knew that having a baby in our 500 square foot, 1 bedroom in SF was not going to work. We went to Paris and Spain, which had been on our list of “must dos before baby,” and found a two-bedroom place in Berkeley. When we finally decided that it was time to try, I was excited when I didn’t get my period at the end of the month. I must be pregnant, right?! But then all the tests were negative…and my period never came. One month turned into two, which turned into three, which turned into four. I was clearly not ovulating, which is a problem if you want to have a baby. I worried about what the heck was going on with my body. Was this just a fluke, or was I getting my first glimpse at the terrifying prospect of infertility? I quickly learned that questions like, “Are you pregnant? When are you guys going to have kids? What’s the hold up?” are not questions I will ever ask anyone again. I also found myself assuming that everyone else’s path to pregnancy is probably easy and direct, which I know is nowhere near the truth. Everyone is excited to share the news that they are having a baby, but the journey there tends to get swept under the rug. When my cycle finally came back after 117 days, my husband and I were so overjoyed that he over shared with more than one person at a family wedding. I am so grateful that what seemed like a difficult four months was in reality a very short period of time. The fear of the unknown is not fun to experience, but it gave me an appreciation and level of gratitude that I didn’t know before. I know that so many women go through agonizing months and years trying to conceive or adopt, and I realize that my experience was a minuscule price to pay.

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What was it like looking down at the positive sign? How did your partner react?

It was surreal! After months of waiting on my body to be able to even try for a baby, I was just hoping that I wasn’t looking at another 117 day cycle. I definitely wasn’t expecting to get a positive on that first month. But the line was there, pale and pink. I wish I had a better story, but honestly I just wandered out of the bathroom with a dazed look on my face and told Joaquin that I thought the test was positive. He was too busy watching Game of Thrones and didn’t even hear me! We hugged in disbelief and it was time for me to start wrapping my head around the idea of being a mom.

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What has surprised you most about your pregnancy? What about your partner?

The worry that comes with being a parent – it starts immediately! Is this pain normal? Am I going to miscarry? Should I call the doctor, or am I overreacting? Is the baby still alive in there? It’s not, I can tell! I know, I’ll buy an at home doppler, then I can hear the heartbeat whenever I want. Crap, I forgot my pre-natal vitamins this morning and I know the baby needs folate. But I just read a study that says too much folate causes Autism. Is it really that bad if I have some non-organic chicken with my salad today, or just a little bad? Wait, don’t stress out. Stress isn’t good for the baby. It dawned on me that this worry is never going to go away – it’s just the beginning!

I’ve really enjoyed my husband’s excitement at being a dad. He sings to my belly and talks about all the things he wants to do with her when she’s older. He also hasn’t spent a lot of time around babies, so some of his comments have been pretty entertaining. I mentioned baby proofing to him the other day, and he said, “Yeah, but we don’t have to worry about that until the baby is like, what…two? When she’s actually walking around?” 

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What are the things you spend the most time thinking about?

I’ve recently become a money hoarder. I think it must be related to nesting. All of a sudden, I can’t make a big purchase without a coupon or promo code! And a gift card plus a promo code and free shipping – well, that would be like the best day ever. Last week I found myself going back to the grocery store to indignantly point out that they charged me $1.29 per pound for organic broccoli instead of $0.69 for the special organic broccoli that I specifically selected. Who is this crazy miser??? 

I also spend a lot of time worrying about childcare. Since we’re in the Bay Area, perhaps it’s best that I’ve been hoarding money, because at the prices I’ve been seeing, we’re going to need every cent of it.

What has been your favorite part of the pregnancy so far? What parts could you do without?

I’ve been really lucky to have somewhat of a unicorn pregnancy (knock on wood!). I have the typical aches and pains, but in general have managed to avoid anything serious or scary. I love feeling the baby kick, and my baby bump is a fun accessory to every outfit. My husband also spoils me by making me breakfast every morning, rubbing me feet, giving me back massages, and just in general making sure I’m comfortable. It’s going to be a rough transition to have to do housework again someday! As far as what I could do without – this constantly being sober business gets a little old, and I am really, really, really sick of having to pee all the time.

What are your feelings about the birth? More excited or scared? How do you envision it going? Or let’s say…how do you hope it will go?

I am clinging to my early days of pregnancy when I would think, “Well, that’s a long way off. I don’t have to worry about that now.” It’s starting to creep into my consciousness more and more these days. I hope that I can be strong and focused and that I won’t fall apart. It’s a strange concept, because on the one hand you hear that it’s the hardest thing ever to go through and that the pain is out of control – and yet every woman I know with children has come out on the other side, so it must be doable…right? It doesn’t help that my own mother never had any more kids because she said it hurt too much. So I guess I am a bit scared.

Where does your mind go when you think about bringing your baby home? Any nervousness? What do you think you will be good at?

I’m really looking forward to being at home with my husband and our baby, cuddling, breast feeding, and (so I hear) not sleeping. I know myself to be a calm, patient person, so I think that I will be good at handling curve balls and frustrating moments. Although I have been nervous at time, for the most part I am really looking forward to it. I’ve always loved kids and babies, and so I am excited about the prospect of having one – like I actually get to keep her forever! Or, at least, until she turns 18.

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Annika, congrats on this amazing journey and thank you so much for sharing with us!! We wish you a comfortable 3rd trimester and speedy labor. =)

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