Birth of baby will bring new education

Friday, January 18, 2008 | 4:00 p.m. CST; updated 3:22 p.m. CDT, Sunday, September 7, 2008

Editor’s note: Jake Sherlock and his wife Jenny are expecting their first child in March, and they’ve chosen to share their challenges and experiences in this column. Look for it periodically here at

In about six-and-a-half weeks, Jenny and I will be brand-new parents.

Jenny’s obstetrician has scheduled her for a C-section at 7:30 a.m. March 4. The baby could still decide she wants to be born early, but right now the first Tuesday in March looks to be the day. For us, it gives a whole new meaning to the term “Super Tuesday.”

The last several ultrasounds have found our baby girl in a heads-up, or breech, position. Neither of our doctors believes she’s going to flip over this late in the pregnancy, especially since Jenny’s uterus is bicornuate.

Overall, we’ve been blessed with a smooth pregnancy. We had a big scare early on when we found out that Jenny’s uterus had a division to it, and we were warned then that there was a strong chance we’d have some kind of complication or premature birth if her uterus didn’t stretch enough to accommodate the baby’s growth.

But the uterus has apparently stretched, because Jenny has reported zero complications outside of the usual aches and pains that come with being pregnant. She never even had morning sickness.

At this point, since she’s yet to have any kind of contraction or complication short of some bleeding very early in the pregnancy — a direct result of the bicornuate uterus — our chances of carrying to term are pretty good. March 4 will be the 39th week of the pregnancy, one week ahead of our initial due date of March 11.

That also bodes well for having a second child; we hope to give our little girl a baby brother or sister down the road.

The most common question I hear now is “Are you ready?” I think we’re about as ready as any first-time parent can be.

In terms of stuff, we’re well prepared: The crib sits ready, complete with a mobile, baby blanket and stuffed animals. The dresser drawers are packed with newborn onesies, bibs and booties. The changing table is put together, and her closet is already stocked with toys, bath toys, shoes and dresses.

A lot of the great stuff we’ve gotten has come from a plethora of friends and family, and we haven’t even had our baby shower yet. The baby’s grandparents and great-grandparents have sent along a number of cute outfits, while our friends with children have been extremely generous with hand-me-downs. Thanks to all of them, we have two strollers, two car seats, numerous toys and lots and lots of clothes.

It’s in terms of emotional readiness that I say we’re as ready as we’re going to be. Jenny is definitely ready — she is the third in a family of six children, and she got plenty of experience changing diapers and such with her younger siblings.

As for me, I’m an only child. I’ve always gotten along well with babies and toddlers — some would say it’s because I’m at the same maturity level — but I’ve never actually changed a diaper, burped a baby or been left on my own to care for an infant.

I’ve also never put a baby in a car seat; I’ve never fed a baby, be it from a bottle or from a jar; and I’ve never successfully gotten a crying baby to stop crying. Usually I just hand the child back to his or her mother and let her take care of it.

There’s a lot for me left to learn. And that education starts in earnest in another six-and-half weeks. Maybe less.

Jake Sherlock is a news editor at the Columbia Missourian. E-mail him at

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