Therese and Brian get ready to welcome their baby boy.

Therese’s Baby on Board: Nearing the end, beginning a better journey

Aside from the grumbling of my dishwasher, it’s quiet in my condo as I sit at my kitchen counter, trying to think of something cute and clever to write for my final blog before the big day. According to the dry-erase countdown on my fridge, that day is now just 11 days away. The big question at this point is: will we make it there? Or even: Will we see our due date come and go, without him making an appearance?

My head immediately shoos the second question away– we HAVE to see this kid sooner than later. Everyone has been so kind to frequently ask how I’m doing. They’ve been doing so for months now… but it’s a question I haven’t been able to dodge even more so over the last few weeks. The concern and sympathy is so kind and always appreciated. But just as my belly has grown and evolved along with our little man, my answer to that question has gone from “feeling great!” to “hanging in there!” and now, to “ugh. I’m SUPER uncomfortable, but here I am!” (wherever that might be on any given day). At this point, my filter is gone, along with my patience.

Everything I’ve read and every fellow mom, nurse and doctor I’ve spoken to tells me that’s completely normal and understandable… you’re SUPPOSED to feel this way at almost 39 weeks pregnant. Apparently it’s your body and mind’s way of getting ready for D-Day (in this case, we can say that stands for “Delivery Day.”)

After this week’s ultrasound and check-up, we’ve learned this little boy isn’t so little anymore. In fact, our doctor tells us he’s likely already around seven pounds– something that as a mom-to-be, I’m proud to hear. Maybe he’ll be over six feet tall one day! An athlete! Or maybe he’s just a chunky baby? Either way, he’s big. And me? Not so much. No wonder my strut through the news station has turned into more of a “WINK waddle” — I’m carrying a near full-sized newborn. He’s still expected to gain another half-pound per week, so stand by for the final stats. I have a feeling they’ll be impressive!

Where he got the size and length isn’t really a mystery. While I may be small, my husband is 6’1, and he has plenty of height on his side of the family– including a 6’4 “little” brother. Ever the mini one on both sides of my family, I’m happy to think that my children will at least grow above and beyond my height one day. Obviously, it’s a *little* early to call… but always fun to dream about.

Now that the days of waddling and waiting are nearing an end, I’ve found myself reflecting back on the past nine months and all that my husband and I, along with our families and friends have been through leading up until this point. We’ve been so lucky to have a support system that goes beyond our parents and siblings, and stretches to people we’ve never even met. All of YOU have been so wonderful throughout this process– writing kind notes of encouragement and keeping our growing family in your prayers, checking in to see how things are going, or even saying hi when we’re out and about. I’m so thankful for everyone who’s been kind, compassionate, worried and excited for us.

WINK ladies of past and present shower Therese and Baby with love at her shower.

One thing I’ve realized through this period of reflection is that pregnancy can really teach you some fundamental things about life. For example: I am not the center of my universe. I think I started to realize that the day I became someone’s wife. On that day, my center shifted from “me” to “we.”

But the moment we found out we were expecting (after the initial “holy cow, how are we going to do this?” moment), that “we” grew from two to three. And over time, it’s evolved to mostly “him,” our son. He’s about to be core of our earth, the axis of rotation on which our planet spins, along with the sun, moon and stars in our own little galaxy. The day I realized that it’s not about me anymore and all about him was a humbling one, and I’m sure it won’t even compare to the day we actually get to welcome him to the world and hold him in our arms.

That has to be one of life’s greatest lessons: we were not put on this earth to serve ourselves, but to simply serve others. And in the world I was brought up in, there’s no greater circle to center your life around than family.

This period of reflection has also allowed me to think of the best (and worst) moments of my pregnancy. I’ll spare you the worst (let’s try to keep it positive in these final days and hours before baby), and leave you with the best.

Therese finally gets to take advantage of a VIP parking spot before her pregnancy ends.

#3: Getting to park in the “Expectant Mother” parking spot! This took until literally this past week to accomplish. My husband and I decided to go to a later church service Sunday night, and ended up at a different church from where we are parishioners. Of course we arrived with just minutes to go before mass, and the parking lot was packed. Lo and behold, one of two available spots close to the entrance was ready and waiting for us to pull in and park: the “Expectant Mother” spot. Pathetic as it might be, this was an exciting moment for me. And I’ll take what I can get these days.

#2: Seeing Baby Boy kick from the outside for the first time. I had felt him kick plenty from the inside at this point, but I’ll never forget the day I got to actually SEE and FEEL his movement by simply putting a hand on my belly. I was even more excited to share the kicks with my husband when he got home from work that day. It was one of those awkward laugh-cry moments… mostly for me. But for him, I think it made everything that much more real. (Side note– I don’t think this kid has stopped moving ever since!)

Therese and Brian get a glimpse of Baby’s face before he makes his debut.

#1: Seeing his face… sort of. I mentioned earlier that we had an ultrasound this week, mostly to check in on how big baby is getting. While we didn’t have one of those intense 4D ultrasounds that REALLY shows you what they look like, our ultrasound technician was able to show us more of his face than we’ve ever seen before. Again, I had one of those awkward laugh-cry moments, but tried my best to contain myself as to not move the picture we were looking at on the screen. What a beautiful thing to even ALMOST see. We could make out his little nose and lips from the front, and the technician even pointed out that he already has wispy hair! I still can’t picture what seeing his face for the first time out in the world is going to be like. If he’s anything like mom and dad, we can expect a head of dark hair and a dimpled little chin. And no matter what, I’m sure he’ll be the most beautiful thing we’ve ever laid eyes on.

Until then, we’ll keep dreaming of his face (that is, if I can get any sleep these days), and continue the toughest waiting game we’ve ever played. It certainly has been a long road up until this point, and I know we have even longer ones ahead through the years. But with a baby on board, it’s sure to be a bumpy, but mostly beautiful ride.

Thank you for joining my family and I along this journey, and I hope you’ll continue to stick with us on WINK News for updates!

Reporter:Therese O'Shea
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