Health & Wellness

Baby on Board: The Final Countdown

A series on navigating pregnancy in Baltimore.

The last few weeks of pregnancy are by far the strangest. There are the obvious, physical oddities: watching the pupils of my friends’ eyes eclipse their irises whenever I turn to the side, the grunting and sighing sounds I’m apparently making every time I move, and the incredible amount of food I’m able to put away now that the baby has dropped and given my stomach the room it feels it deserves.

But the truly strange parts of being this late in the game are mental and emotional. There is simply no way to know what birth will feel like, or what seeing the baby for the first time will do to our brains. My husband and I can’t fathom how our relationship will change or what it will be like to add a new member to our decade-old gang. I trust that we’ll be good parents in terms of loving our kid and doing our best to keep him safe and healthy, but we could still really screw this up. For example, I’ve already admitted, out loud, that my feelings would be hurt if our son didn’t like Harry Potter. If that crazy thought doesn’t prove how easily this whole parenting thing can turn sour, I don’t know what else could.

Phantom literary fears aside, we’re hanging out in the pre-baby purgatory zone where everything is equally amazing and terrifying. Every sudden ache causes nervous laughter, every doctor’s appointment causes mild anxiety, and every time I see our baby’s closet full of tiny little outfits, I feel like I could burst open trying to contain how much I miss someone I still haven’t met.

To try to play it cool in these final days, I’ve found it best to distract myself with books, movies, music, and food. Here is a compilation of what I’ve been doing while waiting for this baby to decide to make some moves. If you’re super pregnant, too, I hope this offers some new ways to pass the time.


“Baby,” Devandra Banhart: When I hear this song, everything flashes forward and I imagine singing and dancing to it with my kid while he’s in that sweet spot between being old enough to remember lyrics and young enough to indulge his mother in hipster nonsense.

“This Will Be Our Year,” The Zombies: My husband has an annoying habit of sitting down at the piano every time we’re walking out the door, and this song is at the very top of his rotation. I can’t wait to introduce my son to the dance of pretending to be exasperated while secretly finding this delightful.

“Changes,” David Bowie: Turn and face the strange indeed, Mr. Bowie

“I’m Coming Out,” Diana Ross: I’ve been playing this a lot, hoping my kid will adopt it as his mantra and use it as inspiration to make his debut. Ditto for Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak.”

Fresh Air: The WYPR app is almost constantly playing on my phone, and I am eternally grateful for the “Fresh Air On Demand” feature. Terry Gross is a damn delight.


Bringing Up Bebe, Pamela Druckerman: Rob and I both read this and fully agree that it’s our ideal parenting approach and almost definitely impossible to achieve unless you are, in fact, French.

The Happiest Baby on the Block, Dr. Harvey Karp: This was recommended as a preemptive read in case your bundle of joy is also a bundle of colic. I read it, thought it seemed reasonably helpful, and then promptly forgot everything. I imagine it will make a comeback during desperate, 2 a.m. feedings.

Why Not Me?, Mindy Kaling and Sick In the Head, Judd Apatow: On the off chance that laughter is the best medicine for inducing labor.


Away We Go: This movie nails the way it feels to be on the precipice of changing from a couple to a family.

For Keeps: It makes me feel grateful to not be forced into ’80s maternity wear, but more importantly, it offers a pretty raw look at postpartum depression.

30 Rock: Because I believe in both the power of inception and Tina Fey.

Project Runway: I can’t explain my sudden obsession with this show, but I could kiss whoever put seven seasons of it on Hulu. I could also kiss Heidi Klum for hosting it, because I think she’s the only reason my husband hasn’t run over our Apple TV base with his car.


Honey Crisp apples (or “nature’s Starbursts,” if you’re my husband): Best served directly out of the fridge. Avoiding cutting them up if you’re with company—friends are far less likely to ask for a bite if you’ve been gnawing off the rind.

Marshmallows with dark chocolate: No, not a s’more. Just alternating bites of an extra-large, room temperature marshmallow and a piece of whatever dark chocolate I can scrounge up in my pantry.

Iggie’s cinque formaggi pizza: Because hot cheese and carbs are appealing whether you’ve got a person trying to get out of you or not.

Raspberry leaf tea: My understanding is that it helps tone the uterine muscles for labor. What I don’t understand is why there isn’t a tea to do that for the rest of my muscles.

I’m signing off for a few weeks to have this baby. Thanks for letting me share my experiences thus far, and I’ll be back in early winter to foist my sleep-deprived thoughts on infant care upon you.