New Baby!

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 :)

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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!

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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.May 2014 048
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! :)

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Oh, and this literally is my 900th post on this blog, in case anyone thought I was exaggerating the number! ;)

9 thoughts on “New Baby!

  1. I am a HUGE fan and subscriber to this blog. I had two empowering home births. I have shared this blog with friends. That’s why I feel surprised and a bit put off by the treatment and attitudes toward “advanced maternal age” expressed here. Of all writers, I’m usually impressed with your insightfulness AND sensitivity. BUT, having just had our second at age 40, I felt saddened by the grim prospects you raised of being older parents, and essentially getting old as the children become demanding teens and their needs and our responsibilities evolve. It might serve you to commune with other “older” (but young-at-heart and energetic in body) mothers and fathers, so you can adjust your expectations. It’s all a matter of perspective. So many women I know in NY would consider 35 just perfect for starting a family. I have friends who gave birth at 40, 41, 42, 45…. well, it stops at 45 in my experience, but still — that’s ten years from now for you! Please try to discuss advanced maternal age in a more positive light, when you can. Thank you.

    • Thanks for your feedback. I’m sorry that you perceived my comments in this light. :( I felt like I was clear that I was just exploring some of the thoughts, feelings, and experiences that have crossed my mind during an unexpected pregnancy. My remarks about my own parents parenting as “older” parents are actually based in conversations with them–my mom has expressed that the parenting years were very drawn out given the age span of their kids (26 when they had me and 37 when they had my youngest sister). My parents are wonderful and energetic and healthy and inspiring–they also had kids at home for a long span of time and in observing that, I simply did not plan to do the same with my own family. Nothing personal towards those who make other decisions, but my own sense of what felt good for me. If I was starting my family at 35 it would likely be different, but since I’ve already been parenting for ten years at this age, it feels like somewhat of an extension beyond what I had originally envisioned for myself. And, as a teenager with ten-years-younger siblings there were many things I didn’t like about the age gap and I’m surprised to now find myself repeating this structure in my current family!

      I hate the label “advanced maternal age,” which is actually why I included the term in my post–I find myself kind of laughing to have now technically entered that category myself! I think it is a very strange, dishonoring, and somewhat insulting term–I guess I should have noted that!

      I hope you will understand that my initial feelings toward my own personal experience in no way reflect my feelings towards parents of ANY age. These thoughts reflect assorted, scrambled emotions about my OWN experience. As I noted, I expect my feelings would be quite different if I was a “new parent” at 35, rather than one gearing up to do something again that I thought I had passed.

      I love for my blog to be a positive and inspiring place–I also need it to be a safe space for holding my own experiences and feelings even if they do not exactly mirror those of other women. I was concerned about sharing some of the other thoughts I also shared because of women who struggle with infertility and loss–and how dare I not be immediately over the moon about another baby?!

      However, I have always maintained the core stance that each woman has the right to define her own experience. I hope my readers are able to extend the same courtesy to me as I define my own.

      • Likewise, my feeling about weighing more than I’d like to weigh right now in no way reflects on “mothers of size.” It is a personal experience/feeling.

  2. Congrats on your pregnancy! I am glad you shared all your thoughts on what is going on. I really enjoy your blog, and I wish more people would share the ups and downs of their emotions and not only the ups. I am currently pregnant at age 37, with my first (and only) biological child (I have an 8 year old step son). It is a happy occasion for us, though we do have some concerns with being older parents. Mostly ours center around having enough energy for this, LOL. Like you, I noticed some interesting coincidences with a lost pregnancy. The most notable being that it was almost exactly a year that I became pregnant again. The due date is within a week of the former one. I wonder about this…is it the same spirit returning? Pretty metaphysical there..but I guess we’ll never really know. I love your story about the realization and how it synchronized with your being in the woods and locking eyes with a raccoon. Nature is wild, our bodies are wild, life is wild! Thanks for posting.

    • Thanks, Carrie! And, I don’t meant to sound like we’re not happy and excited–especially the further along and less nervous I get–but this one comes with a more complex array of emotions than I’ve previously experienced. I learn from every pregnancy! I learned from loss how full of grief the childbearing year can be for so many people. I’m learning from my “surprise” experience, that pregnancy isn’t always unequivocally blissful and convenient (I’d say my previous pregnancies essentially were and I probably didn’t have as much empathy as I could have for women who had more trepidation or possibly negative perceptions about their own pregnancies/family planning).

      I also almost didn’t share the raccoon story publicly, but I’m glad I did after all. :)

      Best wishes with your pregnancy!

  3. Congratulations!!! I think it is completely normal and okay to cycle through that initial moment of shock, denial, and unease when you learn about an unplanned pregnancy. I felt the same way when I found out I was pregnant with Kya but once I accepted it all was well. I think it mery means that we know motherhood is HUGE and take the responsibility seriously. I’m happy and excited for you!!

    Oh, and I think you’ll find the generational gap with siblings dissipating more and more as they become parents. I certainly have and talk to my brother multiple times a week now when we used to go months without talking outside of Facebook. He’s more settled into adulthood now that he’s a dad and we are connecting in a way we haven’t been able to before.

    Congrats again!!

  4. Molly, I’m so glad to read about your thoughts (every one of them!) about your pregnancy! When I read here that you are due in October, it took my breath away. I thought to myself, “She was pregnant too. She was pregnant herself when Zuzu died.” You were so incredibly kind to me and thoughtful during my grieving of my baby (which is certainly ongoing, although not nearly as acute as it once was. I have healed a lot the past few months, and we excited to try again towards the end of the summer. I know I will be reading your words a lot during my PAL journey/ies!). Anyways, I was just so impressed by your care for Simon and me after the loss of our child; it just meant so so SO much. And to realize now that you yourself were also pregnant with an October baby at the same time, just a couple weeks behind me…well, I’m just amazed. I imagine it must have been so scary for you to read about my experience. Reading here about how you even noticed some blood after reading it…wow….sympathy related or not, that must have been so scary. I cried reading your words about how that experience, unpleasant as I’m sure it was, brought you the assurance that you DO want this new unexpected baby desperately. It is another little piece of healing for me on my own path too. It is another little gift from me (I have received similar testimonies from other women) that makes my loss not in vain. Never “ok” but not meaningless either. I am so glad my story was able to help you overcome some of your frustration over your unplanned pregnancy (which I totally understand!) and bring you into a place of wanting this new little one to join your family. I am just so humbled and honored. Thank you for sharing this tidbit; it means a lot to me! I’m off to read your gender reveal post! :)

  5. Oh and I also wanted to say HOORAY for not apologizing for using your Doppler to check on baby as often as you want and/or for finding out the sex of your baby! Crunchy points are so overrated!!!! I’m glad you are making the choices that are right for YOU and your family, no matter how crunchy or mainstream they are!

  6. Pingback: Cousin Power! | Talk Birth

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