The Push Present: because there’s no better way to say ‘thank you for pushing out this baby’ than a $10,000 designer bag

There’s a lot of things about this whole pregnancy business I’m still trying to wrap my head around.

my-vagoo-stretches-how-many-centimetres-9fc76

Terrifying and gross physiological processes aside, one of the most fascinating elements for me so far has to be a recently discovered custom that is somehow inexplicably tied to giving birth: the Push Present.

A practice that I can only assume has been made popular in recent years by the implicitly materialistic Hollywood celebrity scene, my understanding (or lack thereof) of the Push Present is as follows:

bitstrip

All right, listen. I’m not a total beatnik.

I consume things too, albeit at a slightly slower rate than your average Hollywood baby mama. I love my iPhone and my Macbook. I don’t own an iPad, but would welcome the opportunity to. I tried Apple TV once, but ultimately rejected everything it stood for.

But has it really come to this?

Have a baby, get an elaborate gift?

Doesn’t it seem like another desperate attempt to equate love and pride with consumerism and consumption?

love

Up until very recently, I had no idea the Push Present was even a thing.

And I wasn’t the only one.

This is the father of my unborn child’s reaction the exact moment I asked him if he knew what a Push Present was:

confused dad

Note the genuine look of pure, unadulterated bewilderment.

If we were celebrities (LOL), we’d be in the minority. A quick–and frankly, infuriating–Google search placed me at the doorstep of a compilation of Push Presents bestowed upon celebrity mothers upon the delivery of the next generation of spoiled, entitled debutantes. Here is a small sample:

  • Beyoncé Knowles: a gargantuan, $35,000 Tanzanite ring the size of a kidney stone, probably
  • Jessica Simpson: a $30,000 collection of platinum bracelets and matching necklace with a “huge” amethyst
  • Mariah Carey: a $12,000 diamond-encrusted nameplate featuring her childrens’ names
  • Kristin Cavallari: a $10,000 Hermès bag

I know I sound preachy and judgmental. I guess I’ve just been struggling to understand the Push Present’s raison d’être. 

But here’s the thing–and it’s an important distinction in trying to understand this phenomenon.

I am not Beyoncé Knowles.

b

And mercifully, I am not part of her world.

I am just your run-of-the-mill pregnant girl, sitting in front a computer, asking for nothing in return other than some good drugs and maybe a cold, refreshing beer in the postpartum.

I don’t expect–nor ever have–a Tiffany & Co. box on the eve of my delivery. I don’t need an amethyst (mostly because I don’t even know what the hell that is). And don’t hand me a Hermès bag unless you’re 100% clear on how to pronounce it.

All I want is a healthy baby.

That’s the Push Present I want.

And a beer.

Oh god, and an ice cold beer.

beer

I’ll see you soon, my sweet.

Happy first day of maternity leave, now get your fat ass to the hospital

I’ve been looking forward to being a lady of leisure for a while.

fuck-this-shit-im-going-on-maternity-leave-b6e42

Smell ya later, wage slavery

Since the tender age of 15, I’ve been employed in some capacity. Whether it was napping in the corner in the kid’s section putting away books for the public library, hungover customer service at Canadian Tire, or pushing paper for one of Canada’s fine post-secondary institutions–I’ve been a complacent little worker bee, especially these last few years–mindlessly plugging away at paying off those pesky student loans.

Even when I was laid off, I was never unemployed for much longer than a few weeks. So you can imagine my excitement when I realized that this blessed country of mine allows for a full year of paid maternity leave.

matern

Canada rocks. You suck, America.

Today is my first official day of maternity leave, and I can’t express enough how good it felt rolling out of bed this morning at a cool 9:30am.

What felt even better was, in chronological order:

  • taking a long, hot shower without worrying about the time
  • pulling on a pair of sexy sweat pants instead of tight, uncomfortable work clothes
  • leisurely blowdrying my hair, gleefully skipping makeup time
  • snuggling my cats, mostly against their will
  • eating a large, carbohydrate-laden breakfast complete with a healthy dose of Nutella

But what really topped it all off was getting a spot at the spa for a relaxing prenatal massage later this afternoon.

everythings_coming_up_milhouse-52415

Things were off to a great start.

And then my obstetrician told me to get my fat, disgusting pregnant body to the hospital.

At my routine appointment this morning, the baby’s heartbeat was high, and staying high. As a precaution, my OB ordered something called a nonstress test, which essentially means I sit hooked up to a monitor in labour and delivery for an hour or so to make sure that the womb party isn’t getting too out of hand.

Not my favourite way to spend an afternoon

Not an ideal way to spend an afternoon

After a quick jaunt to a ward I hope to not see/think about again for another three weeks, I’m happy to report that little dude’s ticker is just fine, and we’re both home now awaiting our massage, and making our way through 170 pieces of discounted Halloween candy.

IT'S FOR THE BABY

It’s for the baby, get off my case.

 

Instead of taking another selfie, I’m taking this creepy doll to breastfeeding class

I share an office with a doll.

IMG_8099

“Kill me.”

Now hear me out.

I also share an office part-time with a Registered Nurse, who happens to be a lactation consultant (score for me!). I can only assume that she uses this doll for training purposes in our medical clinic (why else would it even be here?), but mostly it just sits on the shelf behind me and plots my demise.

This morning, in one of my countless attempts to procrastinate, I took the liberty of inspecting the doll further. The name on the back of its neck reads Berenguer, which, according to Google, is a line of Spanish-made collectibles, like the one below.

This makes me uncomfortable

This makes me uncomfortable

Dolls are typically for young girls (and boys) to play with, but sometimes weird adults get a hold of them and add a new layer of creepy to the baby doll experience that you never knew existed. Lifelike, anatomically correct dolls such as these are sometimes referred to as ‘reborn’ dolls. I’ve come across them in the past and was shocked to find out how popular they were. If you’re feeling brave, a Google or YouTube search will give you easy access to this baffling phenomenon.

Maybe I’m being a little narrow-minded by calling it creepy and baffling, so I encourage you to also watch this YouTube video and judge for yourself:

Speaking of weird and creepy, to combat abject boredom at work, there have been at least two documented cases of me and my office mate engaged in a selfie photoshoot.

This one:

I'm not even embarrassed

I’m not even that embarrassed

and this most recent one:

I'm going to get fired, aren't I?

I’m going to get fired, aren’t I?

Tonight is Breastfeeding Night at my prenatal class, and we were all encouraged to bring a doll or stuffed animal to practice. This baby is going to get put to some actual, practical use!

Please pray for its terrifying soul.

3D ultrasounds: creepy or cute? I spend $200 to find out

If I’ve heard anything this pregnancy more than “This baby is going to change your life for the better”, and “Nah dude, your life is over”, it’s “When I was pregnant, we didn’t even have ultrasounds!”

When-I-was-your-age

Apparently this means that my generation was born in the late Mesozoic Era, because these days, ultrasounds happen more frequently than me getting up at night to empty my bladder (last night’s count was five, by the way).

By the time my son is born, I will have had five ultrasounds–including the latest elected one–in 3D.

It may shock you to hear that at 31 (gross, I’m 31), I am not the first woman of my generation to produce a child. As a result, I’m already very familiar with this technology. Patented in 1987, 3D ultrasounds have become more and more popular mostly in the last decade, with private clinics popping up everywhere, charging (mostly) first-time parents (and up to six guests!) an arm and a leg for half an hour of 3D womb watching.

However, not everyone chooses to have a 3D ultrasound, and for good reason.

The going rate for these sessions can range anywhere from $150-$250 for up to 30 minutes of three dimensional fetus voyeurism, with “extras” (DVD recordings, printed photos and kitschy keepsakes) that can easily add up to at least half of that total.

Also, 3D images of an unborn baby may not be for everyone.

3d

Truthfully, before this whole knocked-up business, 3D ultrasounds kind of weirded me out. Let’s be honest–it is kind of weird. These children aren’t even born yet, and here we are, piled into a cozy room filled with couches and big screen TVs, clambering to see its parts like it’s some sort of bizarre creature on display at the circus.

Why can’t we wait a couple more months and see the real thing?

I’m chalking it up to our culture of want–our generation’s desire to have everything now. Instant gratification. Technology in the palm of our hand.

But technology is far from perfect. The 3D ultrasound is a fantastic example of this. Sure, it’s certainly more detailed than your standard black-and-white sonogram, but it’s not quite live (you’ll have to pay 4D prices for that!), the colour is a little off-putting, and images often appear distorted.

Here’s an example of my son with a giant hole in his face.

3DMIRACLES_67_zps0ee969cf

And here’s his spot-on impression of Jabba the Hutt.

jabba

But at the end of the day–and here’s the part where I get cliché and sentimental so bear with me–I’m grateful for the experience.

Not only was I able to share the first images of my son with close friends and family members, I also got to see him in stunning detail for the first time.

Sure, not every picture was a winner.

Yes, my wallet–already stretched way too thin in preparation for his arrival–is a little lighter today.

But he’s got 10 perfect fingers and toes. He’s starting to get a little chubby. He already has hair (which really puts my ongoing, irrational fear of having a bald baby to rest), and he’s definitely still a boy.

Most importantly, he has my nose. And I see my dad in every little facial expression he makes.

So if you still think all of that is totally creepy, remember that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West got a 3D printout of their fetus in utero, so go suck an egg.

Five of my favourite images that don't look like total crap.

Five of my favourite images that don’t look like total crap.

 

Celebrating the fact that I don’t have gestational diabetes with a chocolate donut

Come to me my sweet

You learn a lot on the fly as a first-time pregnant person, and run into a few surprises along the way, too.

So far, my favourites (in the form of catchy blog titles) are:

  • So You Sneezed and a Little Bit of Pee Trickled Down Your Leg in Public: Now What?
  • Why Do My Breasts Look Like a County Road Map?

and my personal favourite

  • What Does My Vagina Look Like Again?

Sure, it’s all fun and games and hilarious fantasy blogs until you realize that you also are in for a literal crap ton of tests, including, but not limited to: frequent blood and urine, chromosomal abnormality screening and:

(Gestational diabetes.)

According to The Canadian Diabetes Association, gestational diabetes (GD) occurs when your fat, disgusting pregnant body can’t produce enough insulin to handle the effects of the growing baby and changing hormone levels. If your fat, disgusting pregnant body cannot produce enough insulin, your blood glucose levels will rise, which can be a health risk to both you and your baby.

Having GD typically results in a large baby at birth (think: watermelon passing through keyhole), and a chance that both you and your baby will develop type 2 diabetes (think: Here Comes Honey Boo Boo) in the future. GD can be managed through diet, and mercifully goes away after birth.

Most pregnant women only need to take one GD test between week 26 and 28 of pregnancy, however, if your fat, disgusting pregnant body–like mine, for example–refuses to cooperate and you fail that test, you must take one more, sometimes two.

After a couple days of chomping at the bit and eating a lot of croissants in protest, I’m happy to report that I do not have gestational diabetes. However, I’m fairly borderline, so I guess that means I need to stop eating bags of Sour Patch Kids for dinner.