Q & A

Because I care, here are some baby/pregnancy questions that I thought I’d answer (also, today the snowstorm that has been blasting DC all weekend has turned its attention toward Boston and school let out at noon today, so I have some time. Tomorrow is predicted to be a snow day).

Getting pregnant has not changed the basic way I function; namely, approximately ten minutes after I took the pregnancy test and it came up positive, I walked down to the parking lot and tossed the test and the box into the dumpster. (No picture was taken of the test either).

Tomorrow, I’ll be eighteen weeks along, so yes, we kept it a secret for a long time. I didn’t really intend to keep it secret for that long, but when we went in at 11 weeks, they didn’t even try to find a heartbeat, so I wanted to wait until we’d actually heard one which didn’t happen until the 16 week mark.

And, and in all honesty, most major announcements are very easy for me to keep secret. I am horribly awkward at making announcements like that, and it’s much easier for me just to say nothing. The few people I did tell before last week made my heart pound and I wanted to throw up. Yes, I really am that socially awkward.

Now that I’m nearly half-way along, I feel fine. I did have about five lousy weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years, but even that wasn’t horrible and when I think about what people like Kayla and Kristi go through, I have no room to talk at all. Happily, Bart was out of town for much of it, and I could just eat cereal three times a day and go to bed early without feeling bad.

I’m just barely starting to show, but more in a “hmm, a few too many Valentine’s candies?” kind of way, rather than a “whoa, hello, baby” sort of way. And even so, I don’t think anyone would even think to ask yet, which is nice, because I have many months of school to go where I need to continue wearing dress clothing. I know many first-time moms are anxious to start showing, but I’ll take all the time I can get still wearing my regular stuff.

Merrick and I are due fairly close together – in fact, she’s 3 months to the day ahead of me. But that is happy coincidence, not the result of any kind of coordination. A few people have asked if I mind that she’s having the first grandbaby, when I’m the oldest, but frankly, I feel nothing but relief that she’s first; I am happy to not have the (all-in-my-head, I’m sure) pressure of being the very first, and I was glad our announcement was a little more low-key due to not being the first of its kind. Also, Merrick has been delightfully excited for us, rather than annoyed that we’re sharing in her spotlight (or if she has felt that way, she’s been insanely good at covering it up).

We do plan to find out the sex of the baby, and we’ve talked extensively about names for the last four and a half years. Happily, we both like the same kinds of names, although actual names themselves are far more difficult to settle on. I refuse to consider anything that has been in the top 1000 names in the Social Security database for the last 100 years, which makes things tricky, and Bart won’t agree to any names that begin with the same letter as our last name (which is tragic, since I have not one, but TWO fabulous heartbreakingly awesome names that start with that letter that got an immediate kibosh). I won’t, however, be using any of our kids names on the blog. But you can rest assured that none of our children will be named “Bart” or “Janssen,” because I do not believe in naming children after your own self.

And the question that amused me the most: “Was this planned?” Yes. But even if it wasn’t, I would never tell you so. But seriously, we’ve been married for close to five years, I’m 24 and Bart is almost 30, we’ve both completed master’s degrees, and we have stable jobs. It’s not like we’re both 18 and just got back from our honeymoon. I wonder if this question is just because I have not alluded to planning to get pregnant at all either online or in person.

This is very long. I am not blessed with the gift of brevity.

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  • Reply Jess February 10, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    I love this post so much. I am also so impressed that you threw your pregnancy test in the trash. I would never do that. But I like you all the more for the fact that you did.

  • Reply Heather February 10, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Do people keep their pregnancy tests? Why? I don't want any more urine around here than absolutely necessary.

    So sorry about the kaboshed names. That's the way it goes. Best of luck settling on a name. Much easier once you know the gender – you knock out fifty percent of the possibilities!

  • Reply karmacoy February 10, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    Congratulations! Since I just read about this, I thought I'd place my best wishes here rather than adding to your announcement post which has 111 comments!!

    Sounds like you are both ready to be parents. GREAT parents!

  • Reply Packrat February 10, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Great post. You know the rubber band trick on the waistband of your pants or skirt, don't you?

  • Reply janet February 10, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    I totally understand the reason for keeping baby names private, but given your awesome parameters (not in top 1000 for 100 years!) I can't help but be massively curious. I love thinking about baby names way more than I should admit.

    We also have a B last name and I would love to name a baby boy with a B first name but my husband has nixed that. I don't agree though – I think it sounds great (Bart's name = awesome).

    I clearly also lack brevity when it comes to the baby name topic.

  • Reply Elizabeth February 10, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Yeah, I still have my Eli pregnancy test. Weird, but I can't bring myself to throw it out.
    Ok, now I have to know the B names that you aren't allowed to use.

  • Reply Tina's Blog February 10, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    I laughed when you said you didn't like making announcements about your pregnancy. I made my husband tell pretty much everyone. It got to be almost humorous because some people I hadn't seen in so long and they would be totally blown away by how pregnant I was when they saw me. For our second child, Chris made a t-shirt for our oldest daughter that said Big Sister and had her wear it to visit the grandparents. My mom, who is usually so observant, had to be prompted before she even looked at the shirt.
    I thought I was the only one who had issues with making announcements of a personal nature that would place me as the center of attention. I totally get it!

  • Reply sam February 10, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    HOW exciting! Congrats, love! So excited for both you and Merrick! Also, I am REALLY curious about what your names will be. And I think you should let me copy your awesome two names that Bart veto-ed.

    I met Merrick at my reception. Favorite moment of the night. Hands down.

  • Reply Lindzie February 10, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    I think it's very exciting news for you guys. I think if you feel the timing is good…then it's good for what works for you! 🙂 I'm glad you are feeling better as well!

  • Reply Marie February 10, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Babies, babies! Congratulations. Your mom is going to be a busy grandma! (I've never kept a pregnancy test either, my kids are lucky I even take pictures!) 🙂

  • Reply Bean February 10, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    I like your honesty.

    Somedays I feel bad that I've whined on my blog about the difficulties of it all but then I realize it's my blog so I don't care. 🙂

    I am ecstatic for you both!!!

  • Reply RA February 10, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    I am totally intrigued about your naming parameters, since I fall within that "prefers boring names from hating my own as a child" camp. If we are nice and promise not to share the baby name on the internet, will you let us e-mail you to ask about it?

  • Reply artemisia February 10, 2010 at 7:16 pm


  • Reply Jenna February 10, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    WHAT!?!??! I have to admit to being very behind on my Google Reader browsing as I had NO idea that you were 13 weeks behind me in this adventure. Very jealous you are sharing this with your sister (mine was married in July and became convinced shortly after that she was prego, and if she actually was we would have conceived within 2 weeks of each other, but it wasn't so).

    Can you share your name finding secrets with me? Mine aren't nearly as strict as yours and I'm still struggling. Can we be secret name brainstorming email buddies? I won't share yours (or steal your favorites) if you won't do the same to mine.

    A big congrats. I'm guessing we won't be seeing any "nursery decorating" posts from you either? 🙂

  • Reply Lisa February 10, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Once you get past puking, naming is the HARDEST PART. With both my boys they were named after birth, the Bug's name was chosen the day we went home as we had NOTHING picked out at all.

    I would actually love a name more like YOURS for spawn #3, but the other two have very traditional names so it might be hard to branch away from that. (Traditional AND popular, sadly, but both spelled exactly as you'd expect. Neither of them is Braden.)

    If you buy something called a Belly Band ($17 at Target) you can wear your clothes even longer. It is a stretchy band that goes over the open waist of your pants and holds your pants up AND covers your belly, but looks like an undershirt or something.

  • Reply Janelle February 10, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    Sorry for the world's longest comment. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one lacking brevity in the baby naming department! I frequently wish I had kept my blog baby name-free, but alas, I'm not about to go back and change them all.

    I'm totally with Bart on the same first letter issue. My husband couldn't care less. But I prefer more obscure names while he prefers more standard, well known options. Oh well, that's why we compromise, right?

    And I HATE announcing pregnancies… In fact, with my first I went out to lunch with my best friend but couldn't get it out, and she heard via the grapevine later that day and totally called me on it. I felt so bad!

    Also, having babies similarly timed with your sisters is great, I highly recommend it, planned or not! 🙂

  • Reply Noelle February 10, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    I totally understand about the socially awkward announcements. I don't like spitting it out either…which is why I always do something written or sent to them to figure it out–that way I don't have to say anything. (Always meaning, twice… 😉 Congratulations I can't wait to hear more of the baby updates.

  • Reply Lindsay February 10, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    You can blog about the baby as much as you want! 🙂

    I checked the social security website numerous times before deciding on a name too. I really liked a couple names until I saw that they were in the top 500. Cohen didn't show up on that list until the year he was born, and it's already 2 or 3 hundred something. Sandler still isn't on the list, (yay!), and Hurley was in the 800s in 1949 or something, so I'm okay with that. BUT I don't watch Lost, so I didn't realize that there is a character on it with the same name. Hopefully it won't pop back up on the list anytime soon!

    You probably dont even care to know all of that and apparently I have a problem with brevity in leaving comments!

  • Reply Mary February 10, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    Hey don't knock those of us who got pregnant right after the honeymoon. 🙂 (Just teasing!) I am so beyond thrilled for you two. I keep forgetting to tell my mom you're pregnant but I know she'll be just as delighted. You and Julie were definitely two of her favorites from the trip.

  • Reply Peaceful Reader February 10, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Will you maybe post a list of possible baby name choices…I love unique names and would love to read some of your ideas.

  • Reply Carly Jane February 10, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    I still struggle with not getting (very) upset anytime I hear someone about to name their baby one of my favorite (girl) baby names. They are not all that common (or at least they weren't when I was 12 and discovered them) and I can't stand the idea of them hitting the top 100 list any time soon. Sigh. I have a feeling one of them might and it about breaks my heart. Good luck!

  • Reply Tara February 10, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    I wonder since you have such a youthful appearance if people who don't know you will look at you when your belly begins to swell and feel sorry for the poor little teenager who is pregnant.

  • Reply emandtrev February 10, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    This is a great post. Every pregnancy, woman, and family are different, so I hope you guys just enjoy *your* journey and love every minute of it!

  • Reply emandtrev February 10, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    P.S. The "was it planned?" question has to be one of my favorite where-did-your-social-graces-go of all time. Like you said, even if it wasn't, that isn't news for general consumption! 🙂

  • Reply Becca February 10, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    I'm with you with the whole "can't be in the SS top 1000 names for the past 100 years" thing. trying to convert tyler is another thing…

  • Reply Bethany February 10, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    Sure to be a beautiful baby! Congratulations!

  • Reply Sierra Robinson February 11, 2010 at 12:02 am

    Boy or girl… Your kid has got the genes to be one seriously good looking individual. Congratulations to you and Bart!

  • Reply craftyashley February 11, 2010 at 12:06 am

    I would not mind a bit if there were fun baby posts smattered in amongst the reading posts!

  • Reply Ari February 11, 2010 at 2:13 am

    I still say congratulations!

    I think that if I got pregnant (and I'm so far away from that happening right now) I would wait to tell, like you. Just for superstition tho.

    And good luck with the names!

  • Reply Melanie February 11, 2010 at 5:10 am

    Congrats! I love the way you announced it!! My only thought on baby names is that I believe you should name your kiddo the name you are ACTUALLY planning to call him/her! My husband's legal name is not his actual name he is known by to everyone, including the very people who chose his name!!! Confused?? Well, many are. Especially banks, title companies, etc. It has also been a bit of a pain owning your own business when clients prefer to write checks to the person instead of the company! Anyway, that's my thought!

  • Reply Merrick White February 11, 2010 at 6:14 am

    I think we should tell people we coordinated these babies. Why, I don't know. Just makes us sound cool.

    Also, not one bit annoyed at sharing the spotlight. I am so freaking excited we're both having babies — incase you didn't already know.

  • Reply Merrick White February 11, 2010 at 6:14 am

    p.s. Why would you ever keep your pregnancy test? That's disgusting.

  • Reply LL February 11, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    I'm so happy for you!!! CONGRATULATIONS.
    And CUTEST way to announce a pregnancy (the card) love that!

  • Reply Heather February 11, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    We are the same way with our name, which we finally decided upon! (We are keeping it hush hush until he arrives). We actually looked at the top 100 boy names and nixed them first 🙂 Although the middle name is popular, it is also a family name.

    One of my pet peeves is that people ask, "Was it planned?" Ummm…… that your business? I have had some of my students ask, but they are in high school I can cut them some slack. But grown adults? It's just rude.

  • Reply Douglas Carl February 11, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Janssen, exciting and I'm glad you went public since I have a hard time keeping a secret like this. Pregnancy was always hard on me. I gained 5 to 10 lbs. for each kid. In fact, I'm still in my second trimester. Hope you're enjoying the snow.

  • Reply Lady Susan February 11, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    I too feel the need to keep all of our potential names secret. It is really hard to find a name that 1) isn't popular–and I mean isn't in the top 600 or so for the past 20 odd years and 2) sounds good with our last name, which is short. The last thing I need is people using it or telling me their opinions on the matter.

    Also, I am tired of people asking me if we had decided on a name. I have told family and friends a billion times that we are going to have a short list of names that we take with us to the hospital and then decide when we see the baby. However, that doesn't stop them from asking every. single. time. if we have "the one" name picked out. *sigh.*

  • Reply Angela Noelle February 11, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Oh, how you answered all the questions of my heart.

    Okay, not all of them…but all of the ones that were conceived (snicker) upon reading the post with the "due date" card.

    Thank you.

  • Reply hollyhs February 12, 2010 at 4:38 am

    i am so with you on the no names in the top 1000 thing. i double checked every name we picked. 🙂 i happen to love the whole double initial thing (hello, holly hoffman and sonnet spears), but i totally agree with not naming your kids after yourself. that bugs me to no end. i'm sure your name will be awesome! i can't wait to hear…

  • Reply Melissa February 12, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Congrats! One of my friends hates sharing the baby names because people are so vocal in their opinions on the name. She always chooses wonderful names, as I'm sure you and Bart will do.

  • Reply Kelly February 14, 2010 at 6:04 am

    Names are so much fun!

    We were of the same mind as you…no popular names in the SS top names list. But then for some reason, we came across the name "Abby" and LOVED the sound of it. Even though it's been solidly in the top TEN list for a while. Oh well.

    The name suits her, anyway. 🙂

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