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Carpe Baby!

Eyes and hearts open to joy and challenges of expanding family

I sit here balancing my laptop on a belly carrying a full-grown baby. She is scheduled to come into the world in three weeks. She doesn’t yet have a name but from what I can sense, she does not have a care in the world. I love her so much, my heart kind of hurts.

I am as uncomfortable as I’ve, perhaps, ever been in my life. I can’t breathe, I can’t bend over, I snore so loud at night that my husband has moved into the guest room.

It also seems that anxiety has taken over my household earlier our third time around. My husband and I husband are irritable. We know what is about to go down in our house, i.e.: no sleep, boobs everywhere, mess, piles of laundry, empty cupboards, house guests that are there to help but end up making us feel claustrophobic, and two little boys that will be very naughty while they figure out the new rhythm of our household.

We have eyes wide open and it is making us grumble.

Baby though, baby is perfect. I poke at her and she pokes back. She has a closet full of some of the most adorable clothes available on this earth and I make that squealing noise when I open it. My oldest calls her Pikachu and my youngest (for three more weeks) pats my belly and laughs.

While my first instinct is to reprimand myself for grumbling, and remind myself that I dreamed and wished for this baby girl and that thousands of other parents are currently dreaming and wishing for their own baby, I am choosing to just lean in.

A cousin of mine tried for nine years to have a baby. She did all of the things and had so much heartache. Then, she and her husband, in a miraculous turn of events, adopted the most perfect little boy. I have never seen so much love coming from a mother and father as I did from those two. I met their boy when he was about three months old. When I held him for the first time, I couldn’t help but cry as I looked up and saw my cousin’s eyes shining with pride as she introduced him to me.

She and her husband had a saying they would repeat all of the time, “Carpe Baby”! They were determined to enjoy every second of that baby’s life, even the bad seconds. One day I got a call from her and she was crying. Her beautiful baby wouldn’t stop crying, he had a bum rash, he wouldn’t eat, she had a migraine and they both hadn’t slept for days. She sobbed that she was trying to carpe baby but it was just too hard. She felt guilty. She felt like a failure.

Can we all admit it? Newborn babies take so much work. That is how it is meant to be. We are supposed to pour our hearts and souls into keeping these little people alive, hard as it may be, because it bonds us to them. We invest, we sacrifice and we fall in love. The process is beautiful and very messy.

I am thinking about my cousin and that moment today. There are no words to express how much I want to smother this baby with kisses, to meet her and know her. I’m also so annoyed that I can’t breathe or sleep or bend over. To feel both things so passionately and simultaneously is disconcerting. It is the weirdness of being a parent.

So, I will continue buying adorable clothes and beaming every time I remember that I get a baby girl and I will also continue complaining to my mom about how bad I feel. I have the capacity for both. And, maybe if I give myself permission to feel both, I can get to the good stuff faster.

Written by Betsy Ryan

Betsy Ryan

Betsy Ryan resides in Watford City and is a recent transplant to Western North Dakota. She is learning to navigate her new landscape along with her husband and their two boys. Betsy writes for the McKenzie County Farmer and also shares her experiences in North Dakota on her blog,

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