Category Archives: Baby

A (Pre) Baby Story: Onesies Galore


When I arrived in Florida last Monday night, I knew immediately the original plan of waiting almost two weeks to spill the coffee bean to my parents and brother was not going to happen. In the span of 14 hours, I had to turn down a second cup of coffee and finagle a vague text response to a proposed wine drinking/football watching party. People know me. My brother’s signature Alvarez raised eyebrow at my “no thanks” to coffee was proof positive the news was coming out soon.

I hated that Clayton wasn’t going to be there, but I was more worried about people finding out while randomly eating dinner or grocery shopping, with no fanfare. One more pass on booze or caffeine, and someone was going to call me out right then and there. Thankfully, we have iphones. And they are magic.

On Wednesday night, with Clayton tucked secretly away on FaceTime under a stack onesies, the plan was in motion. I’d been carrying my phone out into the kitchen, then u-turning back to the bedroom over and over again for about 10 minutes, waiting for my mom to wake up. Finally, I turned the corner to the kitchen, and she was standing there. I rushed back to the room to grab the necessary onesies and debated this whole idea. Not just telling them, but being pregnant. It suddenly seemed RIDICULOUS that I could be having a baby.

Obviously, the wrong time for that whole conversation. I swallowed that terror down in a lump and headed with my stack of onesies into the kitchen. I breezed by my parents, mom still trying to wake up and dad busily preparing dinner, to fetch my brother from the patio. He was seriously getting into a cigar and studying, so I was just hoping he’d play nice.

“Tony, come see what I made for Leah’s shower.”

“Now?” Pointing with this eyes to the fat cigar, propped up legs and school book. “Can’t I see them later?”

“No. I want to show you while I show mom and dad.”

And Tony, not known for his interest in party planning or iron-on fabric décor, came inside to humor me.

So I began displaying the onesies I’d made for my best friend’s shower, one by one. Sure, they were adorable, but the boys were definitely counting the seconds until this little show and tell was over.

As I got to the bottom of the pile, the second to last onesie had “01” on the front, like a tiny jersey.

“Wait,” I said. “This isn’t for Leah’s baby.” And I turned it over and “Noa” was on the back. Tony smiled. And my mom stared blankly at me like I’d just offered her a helping of green beans.

I tried to hold the onesie more determinedly in her direction. Nothing. Glass eyes.

My brother said something, and I think that helped clue her in.

“What are you telling me?” She asked, not thinking this game was very funny.

“It’s for MY baby!”

And then she understood. And there were smiles to spare. And the future Uncle Tony got his own little surprise that was hopefully worth the cigar he never did finish. 

Clayton was there in spirit and in iphone.

And I could finally stop making excuses for why that merlot was not appealing and beg someone to make me a flippin’ cup of decaf.




A (Pre) Baby Story: Is she or isn’t she? The conclusion.

She is.

Wait, did I just give away the ending?


As it turns out, those digital tests are not the gold standard in accurately detecting a barely begun new life up in there. So I went back to the lines. And the lines didn’t lie. Three times. And the next day, they still agreed. And three days later, well, you get the idea.

We’re kind of all over the place right now. But all over the place, unfortunately, does not include the sushi counter or beer freezer at the grocery store any more. Small price, friends.

We are on pins and needles waiting to see if our little coffee bean sticks.

coffee can2  coffee can

inside coffee can

bean brewin

A (Pre) Baby Story: Is she or isn’t she?


The truth is, I may have taken 5 pregnancy tests in the last month. I really thought I was more patient than this. Um. I’m not. Any stray nausea or cramps, and I was convinced the bean had started sprouting.

After an embarrassing number of used tests showed up in the trash can, and after five too many indignant looks from my husband, I swore I was going to wait until there was a legitimate reason to take another test.

But then I woke up today and had a feelin’. You know, just a sneaking suspicion. And that last remaining linear prego predictor beckoned me from its already-opened box: “Pee on me, Natalie! You know you have to pee anyway, what’s it going to hurt?”

Nothing, I figured. So I did. I peed on another stupid stick. And four minutes later, that singular, heavy, solid pink line was glaring back at me, just like every other time. But next to it, if I tilted my head just so and finagled the stick into the perfect lighting, a whisper of a hint of a shadow of another pink line became visible.

Am I making this up? Am I certifiable? My fake baby is being born to a crazy lady!

So, I stopped breathing, obvi. Then regained consciousness. And then I hen-pecked something onto a Word document to finish whatever writing project was on the screen (not my best work, clearly), walked around my apartment in hazy circles putting Bryson up and getting the essentials, forgot what I was looking for about seven times, and finally made it out the door. There’s a chance it was left wide open. I can’t even tell you at this point.

I made it to CVS in search of a confirmation pregnancy test and realized I wasn’t wearing my wedding rings. This strangely made me sad, like I was taking Clayton out of this experience, and like I needed to come up with a great line to tell the cashier that would unmistakably indicate my marital status.

“Boy, is my HUSBAND going to freak!”

“Want to join the due date pool my HUSBAND started?”

“My HUSBAND is going to need a new drinking partner. What are you doing later?”

I also could not bring myself to purchase only pregnancy tests. So I wandered around the cards section, picked up two thank you cards that I would later force Clayton to send to potential employers as a nice suck up gesture, casually swiped a digital pee test and got out of there without a word uttered. Though I did get lost in pretending to read the “People” magazine while my mind darted in and out of the next 18 years of our lives, and the cashier had to verbally snap her fingers in front of my face a few times.

On the way out, the world’s slowest senior citizen was trying to navigate the curb directly in the path to my car. I hesitated for half a thousandth of a second and took my spry, lithe limbs up on the median and dodged her like a champ. I then narrowly missed her as I floored it out of the parking lot. What? Knowing if there is or is not a mildly-formed alien in your uterus justifies potential manslaughter. I read it. In a book.

I rush home, barely able to contain my heartbeat, palm sweat or anticipatory urine stream.

I tear open the box, thank God there are big, hand-drawn instructions to accompany all that fine print I will read later, and get on with it.

Then I wait. The world rotates six times around the sun, and then it’s time to check.

As clear as my well-hydrated urine, the results seem to mock me:

Not Pregnant

Okay, what the hell, pee sticks? I’m done trusting you with this life-altering moment. So I made an appointment with the highly respected Dr. Google Search. And man, do women (*neon arrow pointing at my head*) go cuh-razy over those tiny little foil-wrapped sticks. Forum after forum and paragraph of TMI after paragraph of TMI later, I discovered those little buggers can be all kinds of screwy.

You can be pregnant and they say you’re not. You can be not pregnant and they say you are with phantom ghost lines. Lines can pop up and redefine your life, change their mind, and run away. You can see ampersands and a treble clef, but no plus sign.

What is the deal?!

At this point, I still don’t know my deal. The more I realize how BIG of a deal this afternoon could have been, the less I am obsessed with knowing for sure. Maybe that sounds like the opposite of what I should feel, but it’s all I have to keep me slightly calmer and a little less likely to enforce a Why-Weren’t-You-Here-For-All-This-Crazy? strangle hold on my husband when he comes home.  

And maybe I’ll save the peeing on yet another stick for tomorrow or the day after.

A (Pre) Baby Story, Part 2


I am currently sucking the very last drop of coffee out of my third (gigantic) cup this morning. It has me a little worried about my ability to “cut back,” which the doc recommended if Clayton and I were thinking about having a baby.

There are lots of varying opinions I’ve come across, but the latest I heard was from my own doctor and my pregnant best friend—a little bit of caffeine won’t hurt you or your little one during pregnancy.

But I don’t think I’ve ever had a phase where I only had a cup of coffee every few days. That’s just silly. Kind of like going decaf. My knocked up best friend, impressively pragmatic, told me, “When I want a cup of coffee, I have one.” My problem, I fear, is that as soon as I tell myself it’s time to cut back, I will want that coffee every thirty minutes.

And the headaches. Oh, the headaches.

This is so outrageously shallow, I probably won’t even publish it. But I’m trying to capture a lot of the honest, even ridiculous, thoughts that are swirling through my head as we begin this journey. Of course there are more serious, too-scary-to-talk-about-now thoughts trickling in, too. A whole host of worries will grip my mind if I let them—not being able to conceive for a long time, not being able to conceive at all, a dangerous delivery, and thoughts about unspeakably terrible problems with our tiny new baby that I refuse to put into words. Weirdly, I already love that mini muffin in a faraway, dreamy way. 

For now, though, I’d rather worry about caffeine.


Good news for the peanut: coffee became repulsive at week 8.

Baby – 1, Mama – 0.

A (Pre) Baby Story, Part 1


On Monday of this week, which was September 12, I had an appointment at the lady doctor. I don’t know if the fact that I still can’t say “gynecologist” without blushing means that perhaps I’m not quite ready for this next undertaking, but I’m not going to dwell on that. We all know I’m a 12-year old boy at heart, so no shock there.

In addition to the usual humiliating, awkward necessities of that annual appointment, I felt like I had carried a physical object into that exam room that I needed to pass off to the doctor. After the business end of the exam was finished and she was scribbling something about my awesome ladyjunk into my file, I told her,

“And we are going to try and have a baby soon.”

This was the first time I’d told anyone except my husband, out loud, this plan. I don’t know what I expected; I suppose the fact that I didn’t have to lend her my inhaler to steady her breathing means that it was a more favorable reaction than Clayton’s. Maybe I was hoping it was like being in a bridal shop when you bring all your girlfriends and decide on the dress. There’s champagne and toasting and hugging…and high-fiving, if you’re me. But the doctor barely looked up from her notes. I guess my hoo-ha really is pretty awesome. Or she was still gnawing on the fact that I was a Florida State grad and she graduated from the University of Florida.

Or maybe the world itself actually doesn’t stop rotating when you embrace the next phase of life, no matter how momentous it seems to your tiny family of two. Even without a congratulatory party or balloons popping out from under the stirrups in that exam room, this is a very, very big step. One that still seems daunting, and maybe even impossible, and a little banananuts. Later that day, I quite literally stopped in my tracks on a run simply imagining the possibility of Clayton and I being parents in less than a year. 

I’m still wavering, and I know my husband is, too. When we roll out of bed at 10:30 on Saturday morning, when we stay up until midnight watching football and when we decide on Thursday to take a trip that weekend, we know in our heads this is a lifestyle that will slip away, replaced with an infinite amount of stress, crashing before the evening news and middle-of-the-night screaming. And we are big fans of our current carefree life. So, we certainly aren’t rushing. We just aren’t preventing. And that haughty ubermom Mother Nature will conspire with a bigger-than-our-plans God to decide when it’s the right time for Baby Noa to join our family.

But can I level with you? I just discovered the magic that is Sam Adams’ Octoberfest mixed with college football. I really hope this nugget waits until after bowl season. 


Spoiler Alert: It didn’t.