Therese’s Baby on Board: Hatch watch 2017

Reporter: Therese O'Shea
Published: Updated:
Therese and her husband Brian are enjoying the last few weeks before baby comes, as they anxiously await his arrival. (Photo courtesy of Therese O’Shea)

If you live here in Southwest Florida, there’s a good chance you’ve been following along with one of our top stories for weeks now – the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam, featuring star eagles Harriet, M-15 and their newest eaglet family members.

Their latest developments (they laid two eggs in late November) have quickly gone viral – not just here in the Fort Myers area, but WORLDWIDE, believe it or not. People are absolutely captivated by this eagle family, their history of drama and their current affairs.

With baby fever taking over my own brain, I’ve recently found myself “oohing” and “aahing” along with the hundreds of thousands watching the Eagle Cam daily. That number, by the way, is not an exaggeration. At any given time of day this past week, I’ve seen the number of live viewers well surpass 35,000, and I know it’s gone above and beyond that plenty through the peak of the hype.

Just in case you’re playing catch-up, here’s the latest: Egg #2, now affectionately known as “E9,” hatched on New Years Eve morning. Egg #1, sadly, has not hatched, and now that it’s passed the 35-40 day mark, it is considered to be nonviable. The experts who monitor the cameras say it can be for a number of reasons, including that it was never properly fertilized. The good news is that E9 is thriving and constantly being cared for.

If you think all of this eagle talk is for the birds and I’ve already lost you, my apologies. But I have to give Harriet a nest-full of credit. That gal has had eyeballs glued on her across the world for the past month and a half – and that’s just THIS time around. I can definitely relate, as I head into the last three weeks before my due date (although Harriet has definitely gained much more of a following through the years and during her recent escapades than I have!).

Therese, her bump, and her cousin Kristen served as Matron and Maid of Honor in a New Year's Eve wedding. (Photo courtesy of Therese O'Shea)
Therese, her bump, and her cousin Kristen served as Matron and Maid of Honor in a New Year’s Eve wedding. (Photo courtesy of Therese O’Shea)

Now that we’ve survived the holiday hustle and bustle, my husband and I can finally start to calm down before things become the least calm they’ve ever been. This time of year, I typically start to feel a post-holiday let-down as I take down the Christmas tree and decorations that graced my living room for all of four weeks. This year, things are different…as they were throughout most of 2016. January 2017 has been circled on my calendar for the past eight months, as we approach one very important date – the last day of the month, when our baby boy is due to arrive. Never have I anticipated a date more.

I’m so thankful to have spent the holidays surrounded by family and friends, as we all are looking forward to adding a new member to the family. Now, it’s back to work for a few more weeks before this kid decides to make his grand entrance.

One of the most frequently asked questions I’ve received is regarding how long I plan to stay at work before the baby comes. People tend to look at me slightly confused as I respond, “pretty much until I go into labor!”

While I don’t plan to be standing on the green screen reporting on a crash as my water breaks, I do hope to continue working as long as I can before going into labor. I figure I’ll either wake up one morning feeling the excruciating pain of contractions, or go to bed uncomfortable one night before work and then have to wave the white flag and surrender to labor.

A lot of women are fortunate enough to be able to take time off from work well before their due date. As difficult as I can confirm it is to get around and muster up the energy to do a whole lot in these last few weeks, I would think that time would be incredibly valuable to have away from the office to help prep for baby.

Therese was thrilled to spend her New Year's holiday as her cousin Amy's Matron of Honor at her New Year's Eve wedding. (Photo courtesy of Therese O'Shea)
Therese was thrilled to spend her New Year’s holiday as her cousin Amy’s Matron of Honor at her New Year’s Eve wedding. (Photo courtesy of Therese O’Shea)

After talking to many of my fellow moms-to-be, I’ve learned most of us don’t get a whole lot of time to take off for maternity leave, so the time we do have is valuable. Personally, I prefer to spend the bulk of my time off WITH baby once he’s here, rather than sitting around feeling anxious and uncomfortable as we await his arrival. However, we all come from different situations, and some pregnancies are much harder than others. Whatever way you can take time away from your daily routine to prepare for your little one is valuable in itself, and whatever time you get off from the routine after they’ve arrived is even more crucial.

One milestone I’ve been looking forward to throughout my pregnancy is hitting 37 weeks, when we’ll technically be considered “full term.” That’s now just a few days away, and with that day finally within reach, I’m thrilled to say that baby could safely come any day now. Of course, I’d like him to keep baking in the oven a little longer as we get closer to our due date, but as I waddle around the newsroom and my condo, I can’t help but think “the sooner, the better!”

Another thing I’ve heard from a ton of family, friends, and even acquaintances recently is that I look like I’m “about to pop any day now!” As any pregnant woman three weeks from her due date might roll her eyes at those comments, I’ve tried to take it in stride, smile, and remind myself that it just means we have a healthy boy growing as he should be! As per my 36 week check-up, my doctor tells me my belly is measuring at 39 weeks. Now, that doesn’t mean the baby is expected to come early or that I’ll deliver a whopper of a 12-pound boy. At 5 feet, 2 inches, I don’t have much of a torso to work with to provide space for the baby, and apparently, if I were closer to average height, I would be measuring more on time. (For those of you who don’t know, at this point in pregnancy, the doctor uses a tape measure to see how many centimeters the belly measures from the pubic bone to just under the breast bone, which typically aligns with how far along you are in pregnancy).

Therese enjoying the New Year's weekend with her mom, aunt, and cousins. (Photo courtesy of Therese O'Shea)
Therese enjoying the New Year’s weekend with her mom, aunt, and cousins. (Photo courtesy of Therese O’Shea)

I’ve been measuring about two weeks ahead for the past month, which my doctor assures me doesn’t have any negative impacts on myself or the baby. We do have an ultrasound scheduled two weeks from now to get a closer look at how baby is growing, and at that point, we’ll get a much better idea of just how big he is, and how close to our due date he’ll likely come. And bonus points for mom and dad – we get to actually SEE him – a joy we haven’t experienced in about three months.

Until then, we’ll continue dreaming up what this little man looks like and getting more prepared for his big debut. With our hospital bags packed and diapers stacked, all that’s left to do is continue sitting on the egg until it hatches. The amount of kicks and jabs going on inside of me these days would make me think he’s ready to join us in the nest any day now. And hopefully, unlike E9, this little boy’s delivery won’t begin anywhere near a live camera!

More power to you, Harriet.

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