on being pregnant

I should preface this by providing a tiny bit of background to complement my last post, mostly directed to my old readers who may remember another post at one point in time where I discussed not having children and why I was okay with that (which I truly believe I was, at the time) … very long story summarized in 23 words: Shawn and I became friends in 1998, in 2015 we became more than friends, and in 2016 we became parents. I was 39, he was 38.

Moving right along…

I want to share my pregnancy with you in case anyone has stumbled upon my blog because you are Googling pregnancy-related symptoms. Some women are lucky and just breeze through pregnancy like it’s nothing. Others, despite a healthy pregnancy, are not so lucky and get, what I have coined, Really Weird Pregnancy-Related Symptoms – or RWPRS. Pregnancy is a MASSIVE undertaking by the body. MASSIVE! We literally grow a human FROM SCRATCH inside our bodies, from two main ingredients, in nine short months… And then a HUMAN BEING. That is HUGE! Every human being on this planet (as far as I know) all grew inside another human being. Nature is amazing!

Like, if you’re a woman who is pregnant for the first time, or thinking of getting pregnant, have this dialog with yourself for a second (you will play two roles).

Role 1: What have you been up to?
Role 2: Oh nothing, really (sips warm water with lemon slice because you read somewhere that some herbal teas could cause uterine contractions). I am just in the middle of growing a human being inside my body.

I was morning sick for six weeks, from weeks six to 12. It’s all a bit of a blur now but I will never forget how heinous the feeling was. For me, it was like feeling motion sick 24-hours-a-day and never actually throwing up. I was prescribed Diclectin to try to deal but that made my existing baby-building exhaustion feel like it quadrupled. Work, let alone things that should be done safely almost became a health hazard. I actually called 811 one night because I believed my exhaustion was actually a medical emergency. Then, really just like that, the nausea subsided around week 12 and never came back.

Shortly thereafter, I developed other pregnancy-related symptoms and kept developing new pregnancy-related symptoms on top of existing pregnancy-related symptoms pretty well for the duration of my pregnancy. They were, in order of appearance:

Round ligament pain

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome with associated pain in both wrists and hands

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome (like CTS but in feet)

Muffled hearing in my left ear (submerge head in water. listen).

Placenta Praevia (mine was classified as “minor” in that sense that it didn’t completely grow over my cervical neck)

Irritable Uterus (yes, you read that right). This is what my tummy looked like when my uterus was feeling irritated (the bandaid over my belly button was because it was sticking out a bit and when anything touched it, I nearly barfed from how terrible it felt):

Polyhydramnios (which eventually went away by my 37th week)

I started showing signs of developing pre-eclampsia in my 38th week of pregnancy by way of an increasing blood pressure. I was induced on my due-date at 40 weeks because of this.

Oh, and I’ll add Gestational Diabetes here even though I was never officially diagnosed by a medical practitioner. I basically diagnosed myself because I failed the glucose test by 0.1 point. In other words, 10.0 is a GD diagnosis, my score was 9.9. So, basically diabetes. And no, you don’t need to be a total pig/sugar addict to get GD. You just need to be yourself.

Really, during this time, my advice is to only associate with other pregnant people who, too, are suffering (or have suffered) from strange or uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms. Talk to people who are in your shoes, they’re an invaluable source of comfort. Or, if you truly are the only pregnant person on earth who is experiencing persistent, uncomfortable pregnancy-related symptoms (it can feel that way) then talk to people who empathise.

If you’re like me, and you’re intuitive, hyper-sensitive, hyper-attuned, and just completely immersed in life in general (basically a walking ball of emotion), you may feel things (physical/emotional) quite intensely and people who dismiss the magnitude of your experience, or downplay it, or make you feel like you need to “suck it up,” aren’t going to leave you feeling very good. So, bye Felicia. Seek those with bigger ears than mouths. (You’re probably thinking something so profound must be a centuries-old proverb, but, would you believe me if I told you I just made that up?!)

Find your people and complain liberally with someone who can relate and you can whine together and have conversations that go like this:

You: I know.
Friend: I know!
You: Me too!
Friend: Ugh, same.
You: Oh trust me, I know.
Friend: Love you.
You: Love you, too.
Hug.

You don’t want to be complaining to people whose pregnancies are/were easy. They will immediately recognize the desperation your crazy eyes then will be put in the very uncomfortable position of having to basically say, “I can’t say I know what you’re talking about.” Or, they will resort to frantically searching for at least one pregnancy inconvenience with which to share with you and probably come up with something like, “Oh wait, I was constipated once.”

If all else fails, hunker down and don’t share the joyless pregnancy experiences with anyone. That’s okay, too. Be just a big, basic pregnant belly on the outside. But on the inside, do just let yourself feel everything. Barring any kind of severe anxiety or panic that may require a medical professional get involved, my advice is to just let your feelings be felt – you do deserve that. Pregnancy is a very, very bd. Oh and, your body is also being flooded with more estrogen than it ever has so… well, you know what that can mean.

There are a lot of rules and instructions around pregnancy that I had to navigate and use critical thinking for. Here is a graphic rendering of my mind at this time:

It’s easy to want to be perfect when you are given the mammoth responsibility of maintaining the developing life of something that is entirely dependent on your body to survive. And for some, I know the fear of the worst case can be quite immense and heavy; especially if experienced before. So, you kind of, by default, just want to do everything right – all the time. It’s more intense at the start, and most likely limited to first pregnancies, but I found that eventually I did relax and it came mostly when I started to look pregnant. For me, that was the first discernible sign that things were still in progress.

In the face of all the above it stands to mention that I was also so in love with the reality that I was pregnant. I was so fascinated by the process and so connected to my little fetus. I spent a lot of time daydreaming, imagining, and visualising. I sang all the folk and spiritual songs my grandparents and mom used to sing to my brother and I when they would tuck us in at night. Summertime; Swing Low, Sweet Chariot; Michael Row the Boat Ashore; Mama’s Little Baby; Little Buckaroo; All the Pretty Little Horses; Hushabye; Turn Around (I have such tender memories of listening to their voices singing us to sleep, just typing this out makes me feel all snuggly. I had to list them all!), my voice sounded amazing in the shower! I would spend a lot of time gently rubbing my belly with enough pressure that, I imagined, could be felt on the inside. When I would walk Lily, I would talk about all the things I was passing by that I couldn’t wait for our baby to see, and touch, and hear. Shawn would talk to my tummy, too. Talk about his day, his excitement, or just say hello or goodnight. One thing that I really couldn’t wait to do was to hold his little feet in my hands and roll his little toes between my fingers. I have no idea why that was my most anticipated activity once he was on the outside, but it was.

You see, it’s all so much to take in and be a part of. You can’t really know unless it happens to you and everyone’s experience will feel different. There’s no guarantee it will be easy, there’s no guarantee that you will be connected, there’s no guarantee that you will like it, and there’s no guarantee that you will love it like some people do. You will like parts that others have hated and vice versa.

Pregnancy is such a unique life experience in that something that is literally connected to, and developing inside, you is so out of reach and so out of your control for nine long months. You’ll never get closer to something you can not touch.

It’s cray.

oh my goodness, how tf have you been?!

It has been four years since I last posted anything. In these last four years, I have thought of posting something approx once a month. I have also started eleven drafts that start with roughly four words then abruptly end, not even with a period, but occasionally an elipses. Mind you, this has always been the case with me and this here bloggy blog. If we were in a relationship, my blog would have broken up with me years ago.

In four years a lot can happen for some of us, for others life remains the same. For some of you, your four years of change might be coming up. In life, there really is no way of predicting something so dynamic. We can stand where we are right now and figure we have a good sense of what the next few years will look like, but we base it on what is reliable and static and what the previous few years have looked like. Work, our home, our activities, and our commitments, those tend to stay relatively regular for long periods of time so that we can, without much effort at all, look into the near future and not see much in the way of major change.

But then, there are those inevitable moments of happenstance that we all get to experience, to some varying degree, that throws everything off its axis. That’s when life picks up the pace a little and becomes exciting – for good or for bad – but it challenges us to adapt and to create a new reality.  In my experience, these things will happen when we let our guard down, loosen the reins, give up control, are ready for a change, or, my favourite, the moment we resign ourselves to the way things are.

Without jumping right into it after a four year hiatus, what I’m getting at is I have experienced a monumental change that set me off on one of the most unexpected and exciting adventures that I have experienced to date.

At 39, I became a mom.

Let’s be honest, this blog is going to take on a new form from the way it was. It would have to because I’m not the same person anymore. I don’t think I’m much different at the core of my personality, but content-wise, there will likely be more than a few discussions about baby shit. And, my experiences, going forward, will have almost everything to do with this little person I brought into this world.

I’d like to commit myself to regular blogging again because I feel like there is so much to this parenthood thing, and it’s not only babies, it’s about how we cope with, not only uncertainty, worry, and change, but the magnitute of how much personal growth is required to be a parent – especially a first-time one. It’s almost like being reborn yourself; because life and everything about who you are, who you THINK you are, is challenged.

I am ready to document and share everything I have learned so far, which is probably very little in the grand scheme of my 10-month-old son’s life, because I feel like I have benefited so much from the wisdom of those who have come before me, that it’s time for me to add to the pot and give back, too.

Here we go….!

 

 

 

 

he said in text

You really don’t have to do that today. Or, if you do, just do the garbage bags, that would be a big help. I can still go Thurs and Fri on my own. You sounded sick and grumpy and I don’t want you to overdo it on account of me. I’m serious. Just do the garbage and drop off the vacuum and I’ll be grateful. No more though, she said.

haha. As if. I would walk around the world on broken legs for you, he said.