The reason that IF is so big is that I despise being pregnant. I know, I know, string me up now. You'll say, "But, pregnancy is so special! It's such a wonderful season! Savor it!" All of those things are true, and I know them in my head, but pregnancy MESSED WITH MY HEAD. Well, at least it did in the end. Maybe this is going to turn into a pregnancy story? This might have just become a two-part post (goes back to change title).
Eric and I have been pretty open with friends and family (so why not the internet at large?) about losing our first baby. Last summer (summer 2013), we were SO excited to find that we were expecting, and it was EXACTLY when we had hoped. I was hoping to go back to work, but I do get 3ish months of maternity leave, making March the ideal time to have a baby. Win! A week or two later, I headed back for the first day of school. It was a fantastic day! I was sure it was going to be a fantastic year (cue foreboding music)! And then the next day... it was all over. I wasn't quite sure, so I had to add insult to injury, and miss the second day at school so that I could go to the doctor to have my blood drawn and confirm: miscarriage.
Since I'm not one of those girls who has wanted babies since childhood, I was SHOCKED at how quickly I had become attached to the thought of our child. And losing him or her was horrific. Anyone who has been unfortunate enough to go through this once or more knows the pain I'm talking about. You can't believe it's all over. You wonder, was it a boy or girl? What happened? Was it my fault? Am I broken? Will I ever be able to do this? And then you have to go back to work the next day. And seeing as how I worked in a school full of beautiful children (some of whom will read this), it was next to impossible. I would excuse myself from my classroom to cry MULTIPLE times a day. But my dad once told me wisely, that grief is like a paper tiger, it looks awful and frightening and large, but in reality, it's only made of paper, so run straight at it and you will bust right through. This point of view doesn't make grief easier, but it steels you for what you're going to face. So, I let all of those feelings wash over me whenever they did. I embraced them, cried about them, prayed over them, and in time, I began to cry less, and I started to smile (not the fake one) again...
Fast forward to December when, overjoyed, we once again saw two little pink lines on the pregnancy test. In my head I was SO excited. But also PETRIFIED. Once you lose a baby, you don't forget that it can happen at any time. And in some ways this was good. I knew that short of any ridiculous behavior (taking up smoking, starting a drug habit, getting drunk), there was basically nothing I could do for or against this pregnancy. God is in control. But instead of finding PEACE in that I became STOIC. The two are not equals. Peace would allow you to enjoy the season you're in for what it is. Stoicism removes any emotion about it whatsoever - it's robbery of joy.
We can add to this constant fear about losing the pregnancy a crippling case of morning sickness for which I was nearly hospitalized and suffered from until 23 weeks, and the most stress-inducing employment situation I have EVER had the
I will say one thing about my understanding of pregnancy... It's very freeing. *DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a doctor, I am NOT dispensing medical advice, I am NOT saying this should be what you do just because it was right for me. Haters gonna hate, and that's fine, but please don't do it in my comments, KThanksBye* And by freeing, I mean that I didn't feel like I had to follow every silly stipulation that anyone has ever dreamed up. I ate sushi (from legit places - no gas stations, ha!) probably 12 to 15 times. And it was delicious. I had the occasional single glass of wine. And I enjoyed it. Later on, when I was less sick, I ran 5 miles every day. I did NOT enjoy that as much ;) I traveled across the world in my third trimester. And I wouldn't trade that wonderful trip for anything. I didn't read a single baby book (with the exception of BabyWise - highly recommend it!) or anything about pregnancy. And I am SO GLAD. I had a stressful enough pregnancy without thinking about every tiny thing that I could do to mess it up (when in actuality, I think most of that is bogus anyway).
At the end, I found pregnancy very mentally challenging. I would say I had PRE-partum depression. I felt like all I was was an incubator, a job-less incubator whose only purpose was to take care of the little alien who was inside me. Just being honest. I KNEW that wasn't true, but it sure FELT true.
This brings me to week 38.5 (out of 40, for those of you who aren't as familiar with pregnancy). I was pretty much at my wits end. Thankfully I had planned for that afternoon to go and get a pedicure (manna for the soul), with a friend who was getting married later that week. That morning was the "Storm of the Century," to quote Channel 12 News (oh Arizonans and rain...). It was Tuesday Aug 19, did I mention that yet? I had my 38 week check up that day, and I can remember asking my doctor if there was anything I could do to speed things along. He told me about all the rumors out there and said I was welcome to try them (with the exception of castor oil - ew!), but that no medical research had ever substantiated any of those claims. So, I went home to await my pedicure, sad, but still trying to be hopeful that I wouldn't have to do this much longer.
After a delightful pedicure and a coffee with my friend, Sam, I was once again at home, waiting for Eric to come home from work so we could juice our fruits and veggies for dinner, and then the first contraction....
Part 2 coming soon!