While we were originally going to wait until after our ultrasound appointment on May 22 to officially Facebook-and-blog announce my pregnancy, when I visited my sister-in-law and brother in Kansas when I was 15 weeks along, we took some cute “cousins meet” pictures and decided to toss one of them on Facebook after all :)
This is my 900th post on my blog and I thought it would be a perfect opportunity for a pregnancy update. I’ve been saving little notes of things I want to say and so forth, but time keeps on slippin, slippin, slippin and now I’m 17 weeks pregnant and still have written anything about it!
I’m due October 27th. We actually weren’t planning to have any more children, but now we are, and it is amazing to me how quickly the family opens up to make room for a new person. The kids are very excited and we plan to find out whether the new baby is a sister or a brother on May 22nd. I was surprised to learn how many “scars” I retain from my past pregnancy losses and I find myself more anxious than I’d like to feel every day about the baby. This anxiety increased exponentially as I drew closer and closer to the point in pregnancy to when we lost our tiny son Noah in 2009. After I passed 15 weeks, I did, in fact, breathe easier, but there are still multiple times a day in which I think things like, “what if it’s heart stopped since yesterday?!” I thought since I did have a post-loss successful pregnancy AND because this pregnancy was a surprise that I’d feel more casual or relaxed about it instead of daily having, “I hope the baby is still alive!” thoughts, but apparently this is just what pregnancy feels like for me now.
At first I felt very shocked to be pregnant and I was upset about assorted things like these:
- older than I’d like to be (35! Isn’t that “advanced maternal age”? Sheesh!)
- weigh more than I ever have starting out a pregnancy (though, now at 17 weeks I’ve only gained two pounds, so this one wasn’t so bad after all)
- bigger age gaps between kids than I want—in my own family of origin I didn’t really like having my siblings be nine and eleven years younger than me, it felt like a generational gap that has been hard for us to bridge in adulthood (though, now that my brother and his wife are having a baby and I am having one after them, we actually have a lot of life cycle stuff in common at last after all!). Now, Lann will be eleven before this baby is born and technically will be older than this baby than I am than my youngest sister.
- on the same note, having watched my parents parent as “older” parents I noticed that it dragged on for a really, really long time—and their time having teenagers and having grandchildren overlapped in a way that seemed like it would be kind of not the funnest. I had my first baby when I was 24 and had been married for 5 years already, but my teenage siblings were still at home, so my parents went from having their own kids at home to having little grandchildren chaotically stumbling through the house to visit without ever having a “down time” where they were truly on their own. However, I also realize that after you have kids, you will never really ever be on your own again. Kids still seem to need their parents pretty much forever. I still need mine. My mom still needs her mom (even though she is gone now). Not in a sense of dependency, but in a sense of relationship.
- feeling really quite done with parenting small children and ready to move on to having only bigger kids
- not wanting to experience a clitoral tear again—I really, really feel like I’ve paid a pretty high body price for my existing kids and I felt like I was pretty done sacrificing that part of my body!
- feeling very “distant” and far away from pregnancy/birth. I’d mentally closed that chapter of my life already.
- having given away my maternity clothes and a lot of my baby stuff already
- being a little embarrassed to have had a “surprise”—that is just not ME to have a surprise baby. My other kids were uber-planned-out tiny people!
- not wanting to start over with toting a baby + caregiver to class with me while I teach
- worried about being the primary wage-earner now that we took the leap into Mark being home with the rest of us (though our etsy shop has gratifyingly become a viable second income!). I won’t be able to teach in the fall session when the baby is due and then I always have an unpaid month off from Dec-Jan, which means we’re looking at an October-February period of relying only on me teaching a single online class for our primary source of income?! Yikes! Better start sculpting more birth art, pronto, Molly dear!
However, then these things happened too:
- months before knowing I was pregnant Alaina started talking about her little sister “Lily.” AND, the boys started to say, “we think you should have another baby after all, mom!”
- I watched the kids running up the driveway flying a kite (I have had previous driveway revelations!) and suddenly realized our family looked very small and like someone was missing.
- a friend experienced a traumatic miscarriage at 11 weeks. I was just a little behind her in pregnancy at the time and immediately after I read her story, I went to the bathroom and there was some blood (not much and just brownish). While I now think it may actually have been “sympathy” spotting OR somehow a stored body-memory from my own miscarriages (or, just a coincidence), I knew in that moment that I want my new baby so much. I wasn’t upset about being pregnant after all, I really, really want this baby to join us.
Returning to the scars of pregnancy loss, for whatever reason from 4-15 weeks of this pregnancy, it was truly like my pregnancy with Noah was the only other pregnancy experience I could remember. It was weird. AND, what was also weird was how many overlapping “re-do” moments I experienced:
At 13 weeks I started to have symptoms of a UTI (same thing happened with Alaina at 13 weeks). My first ever UTI was during my pregnancy with Noah and what sent me to the doctor to find out he had no heartbeat. I have never stopped wondering if that UTI is why my baby died.
At 14w2d with this pregnancy I had a consultation with a prospective midwife. At 14w2d with Noah I had a midwife consultation too (and felt “scarred” from that experience too as it was a pretty unpleasant consultation AND I started to have a headache/cramping right after it). This midwife was very nice and we had a delightful consultation and a quick bond.
On May 1st, I went to the paint-your-own pottery place for my birthday because I really wanted to paint a “water bearer” figure I saw there earlier this year. As I painted with my friend, I realized I might not be going to finish it before they closed. I clearly remembered that the last time I painted anything there I was pregnant with Noah and talking with friends about pregnancy and birth. I didn’t finish that day and after he died, I could NEVER go back into that place to finish painting my plate (they sold it to different owners and it moved to a different building, so now I can go back, but not without remembering). Another friend went back and finished it for me (I will never forget that either. I don’t know sometimes if people realize how small, unusual, helpful things like that can have a big impact on a grieving mama). I use the plate, but I never forgot. This time I couldn’t not finish. It would be like a horrible déjà vu. I painted and painted, my friend wanted to leave (long drive, but she rode with me and thus was trapped!), we passed closing time, but I was almost done. So, I apologized to my friend and to the store owner and I stayed and finished it anyway. (My poor friend!) There was NO way I was going to leave that store without finishing my project…again.
On my birthday this year I was 14w5d pregnant. My miscarriage with Noah happened at 14w5d AND I was due on my birthday (2010 though).
For my birthday dinner, my mom made stroganoff (at my request) and it was only after I was sitting there happily eating it that I realized that is what I’d asked her to make after Noah too.
And, in one other weird overlap, his pregnancy and this current one are the only two I’ve ever been sick with. WHY?! This bothered me for weeks. Oh well, it has passed now and I’m still pregnant this time and the baby still has a very good heartbeat. I have an anterior placenta this time, so I don’t feel as much movement as I usually do by this time with other pregnancies, so I’m still relying on “life status updates” from my trusty Doppler. (I don’t even feel like apologizing or rationalizing my use of it. I’m desperately glad I have one. No regrets.)
(This may be the weirdest, illogical, many-thoughts-pregnancy-update post ever!)
Another thing I’m not interested in rationalizing or justifying is that I really, really like finding out the sex of the baby before birth. I am SO looking forward to our ultrasound this week. I can’t wait! I’m almost obsessed with it. In six pregnancies, I’ve only ever been right in my intuition about the sex once (I was really, really right though!). So, since this time I feel like it is a girl, I’m expecting it probably really is a boy (so, wait! Is that my “intuition,” which would really mean this IS a girl? LOL! ). Alaina is 100% certain it is a girl. She actually gets kind of mad when I say it might be a boy. She’s been saying it was a girl since before she knew I was actually pregnant (and, yes, if it is a girl, “Lily” is in the running for her name! It wasn’t on my radar before Alaina started saying it). Right before I found out I was pregnant, I went down to my place in the woods. I was upset with life in general—my kids were driving me NUTS, I was NOT having a good day. I was kind of talk-ranting to myself, including a mention of how nice it was that we weren’t going to have any more kids because I was SO DANG DONE. And…then I knew. I’m pregnant. I looked up and my eyes met the eyes of a raccoon sitting in the tree. Too weird. I’ve never before come eye to eye with a raccoon in the woods before! We stared and stared at each other. After I broke eye contact, I thought, I’m totally pregnant and it is totally a girl. I went inside and took an expired pregnancy test and it was positive (I bought a real one and took it in the movie theater bathroom at The Lego Movie a couple of days later). Here we go! :)
Oh, and this literally is my 900th post on this blog, in case anyone thought I was exaggerating the number! ;)