Instant Parent – Just Add Water

If you’ve ever talked to me and wondered “How in the world did she come up with that?” or “What in the heck is she talking about?” this post will not help answer those questions. In fact, it will probably illicit those thoughts and more from everyone who reads it. Let me be the first to warn you that what lies ahead is a post in which the miracle of child birth is compared to making a Cup O’ Noodles. Proceed with caution…

Most of us will never forget the exact moment we learned we were going to be parents. For me, it was about 4pm on a Friday in early December. 2 weeks after my missed period, 7 negative pregnancy tests, and about 3 hours before a weekend filled with boozy holiday parties. Adam had tried to reason with me that I was just stressed out – my boss had recently quit and I had some family issues going on. I agreed, but for my own sanity, I decided to take one last test before embarking on the festive weekend.

I had grown tired of shelling out big bucks for the fancy tests, so I had stocked up on some tests that I found in the $0.88 bin at Walmart – you know, the metal bin with all the generic drugs right next to the one with all the boxed theater candy. Let’s just say there were no frills included in these tests. I followed the steps, waited a few minutes, and then I saw it. That second purple line. I squinted at it, tilting the test back and forth, and holding it up to the light…just to make sure I was seeing it correctly. Could I really trust a cheapie test? But alas, it was a fact I couldn’t deny. That second purple line hadn’t been on the last one. Ho…Ly…Crap.

Adam was still at work, so I snapped a photo and sent it to him in a text message.

Guys…let me tell you…when your wife tells you you’re going to be a dad, almost anything you say is going to be better than the response I got. (And gals – maybe don’t use a text message to convey the news. This kind of thing really deserves an in-person interaction.)

The text I got back was one word: “Cool.” My bathroom mirror became a sounding board for just about every profanity in my repertoire. Cool? That’s all he can say? Seriously?! Luckily for him, my phone rang a few moments later after he had stepped out of the office and could unleash his excitement. We were both ecstatic, and in shock, and neither of us had a clue what that little purple line actually meant.

The next 40 weeks went by both fast and slow. Parts of it were a blur, while others seemed to drag on and on. As the end of the third trimester approached, we began reading up on labor, delivery, postpartum, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, anything and everything we could find related to having a baby. And while those moments of finding out I was pregnant will never be forgotten, it’s the last moments of my pregnancy that inspired this post.

Screenshot_20170328-153645

39 weeks pregnant. Using my belly as a table for my ice cream sundae lunch. Still not a parent.


Let me take you back to that Tuesday night in August of 2013. I had been to the doctor on Monday and even though my due date was that Wednesday, I was told baby wasn’t coming anytime soon. I was barely dilated and wasn’t feeling anything resembling a contraction. Adam asked to go to a friend’s house to watch baseball and hang out with the guys, his typical Tuesday evening at the time. I happily obliged, realizing this might be the last chance he would have to do that for a little while. So while he was eating jambalaya and drinking beer (more on this in a future post – I promise!), I was at home doing a load of laundry and relaxing by myself.

I went to bed a little before 10pm and Adam returned home not long after. He climbed into bed, reached over and grabbed my belly, and asked if the baby was going to come soon. I assured him it was not, and we both rolled over to go to sleep. About 10:30, he got up and went downstairs to get a glass of water and that’s when it happened. For the first time since I could remember, I peed the bed. I jumped up and ran to the hall bathroom and plopped down on the toilet (there was no grace in lowering myself to the seat at 40 weeks pregnant!). I looked down at a huge puddle of water on the floor between my legs and it hit me that my water had just broken. And just like that, Adam and I went from “being pregnant and planning for baby” to “oh crap this is really happening”. This is where the Cup-O-Noodles comparison come in – just like cooking noodles in a microwave, after the pregnancy part is over, you instantly become a parent. Just break the water and wait a few minutes (or in my case, 13 hours).

cup-o-noodles

Becoming a parent – just like Cup O’ Noodles, all you have to do is add water!


A final thought: After a long and grueling labor, none of the books and articles we read mattered. All the advice from well-meaning friends and family was pushed out of my mind. The only thing I cared about was that tiny, 7lb 15oz little boy with 10 fingers and 10 toes that was laying on my chest. In the following days, weeks, months, and years, my identity quickly and seamlessly became that of a parent. I didn’t have to practice or change myself to fill the role. There wasn’t a big “welcome to parenthood” celebration rivaling my college graduation, ushering me from being a woman and wife into the gigantic and life-changing role of being a mother. My husband quickly became the doting father, embracing his son without hesitation and vowing to give him the best childhood he can. We were parents. It happened so instantaneously that I didn’t even realize it and some days it still doesn’t seem real.

There is all kinds of advice about when to get pregnant, how to get pregnant, what to do while you’re pregnant, what child birth is like, what parenthood is like. But the piece that’s missing, what they don’t tell you, and what you wouldn’t understand even if they did is that in that moment, when the water breaks and things starts to get real in the delivery room, when you go from fantasizing about your unborn child to actually holding a tiny human in your arms…in that exact moment you ARE a parent. A mom. A dad. A family. And there’s no turning back.

And if someone could go ahead and get you a cup-o-noodles, that’d be great…because you’re most likely starving and that might be your last chance for a hot meal for the next 18 years.

First Family Photo

Our first family photo

How did you learn you were going to be a parent? And how did you tell your significant other the happy news? Leave your stories in the comments – I can’t wait to read them all!

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4 thoughts on “Instant Parent – Just Add Water

  1. WSC, your former teacher! says:

    Claire! This is brilliant! Your writing style is brilliant! The humor is spot-on! I enjoyed this ever so much!!!!! I hate to admit this….but since my oldest is 37….it’s been awhile…and I can’t remember the exact moment I found out I was expecting….isn’t that awful? My husband doesn’t remember me telling him that I was, either. We’d been married for a year and a half and weren’t trying and weren’t not trying…we decided just whenever it happened was up to fate. In typical freak-out fashion, I was probably suspecting it the minute I was late….no home preggers tests back then, so I had to go to the doc to get a test…so I’m sure my doc told me…not even sure if told me in person or had to call me. I do remember telling our parents…well his parents at least…we made this a card that was from 2/1/2 of us. They didn’t catch on right away…sigh…. I do remember lots and lots of other stuff about being preggers the first time and lots of funny stories. I even remember the time of birth…12:29 am…the wee hours…and calling everyone while I was pretty loopy from the pain drugs… My boy weighed 8 lbs and 1 oz. and the C-section didn’t scare me bc my mother-in-law had survived 8 c-sections with 8 healthy babies!! (Sadly, I can’t ever remember Anna’s birth time or her weight…don’t tell her!!! Ha!) You are also brilliant for writing about these things bc it is so sad when certain details become lost forever.. For you they will be forever preserved! I look forward to reading more of your writing…this was my first taste of your blog! Love you! 💜💚💙. Let me know on FB if you saw this!!!

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    • Wow, Mrs. C! Thank you for your kind words. I can honestly say I owe my style and love of writing to you. The lessons I learned in your class impact my life every single day. Thanks for reading and taking time to comment. 🙂

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  2. This made me giggle! it really does happen in an instant! Like, you go to the hospital and then they send you home a few days later like, ready…go! Start parenting now.

    So Isaac and I decided it was “time to start trying” or at least not preventing. Then it only took one time. Not even one cycle, just one time. We didn’t see each other for a few weeks, crossed paths for a fateful 6 hours, and then we got James! I actually found out I was pregnant after a 2-week bender of a road-trip out west with many friends and family members. As I was having a glass of wine on the porch I thought to myself on one of my last nights out west, “I might be pregnant actually. Eh, probably not.” One more glass to celebrate summer! When I got home, I realized my period hadn’t started yet and I was expecting it to start on the trip. Sure enough, I took a test and it was in fact positive. Isaac was mowing the lawn. I waved him over, showed him the test, and burst into tears. He said, “This is good news! Why are you crying?!” and hugged me. So began our adventure!

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