Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I guess I don't really hate baby showers after all

The last few months have taught me a lot. I've learned a lot from books and research about being pregnant, giving birth, and raising children. I've learned that it is okay to lean on Mike when I need to, that I don't always have to be strong and stubborn. I've learned not to stress over the little things and while there is a lot that I worry about, in some ways I've gotten a lot more relaxed and laid back. I've gotten really good at peeing in a cup. But the biggest thing I think I've learned is that I have a serious jealousy issue. I've always known this but am now realizing the extent of the effect it has on me.

Sure, we all want things others have. I can't remember a time when I didn't envy those around me. Growing up it was people who had their own rooms, or pets, or brothers who weren't as difficult to live with as mine. In middle school I wanted parents who weren't as strict as mine. In high school it was people who had their own cars. As I get older the things I covet change.  But I've always sort of prided myself on my ability to turn jealousy and envy into motivation. I've been able to go out and get the a lot of the things I wanted through hard work and determination. But there are always going to be things that you can't control - wanting a different body, a relationship like that couple you know, a good job in a different field than what you studied. Or having baby.

My whole life I have always wanted kids. I've known since I was old enough to play with dolls that I've wanted to be a mother. I started nannying and babysitting at 10 and had "my kids" who I loved as if they were my own. I was a camp counselor. If I was anywhere where there were kids, I was the one playing with them or taking care of them. Apparently even in pre-school I was known as the little mother hen. Finding out as a teenager that I may have difficulty becoming pregnant was tough to take. At 21 I had surgery on my ovary and was told I probably wouldn't get pregnant which was devastating. I can actually pinpoint when my mindset started shifting towards "I'm never going to be a mom". I was hopeful at first that the doctors were wrong but the older I got and the more I had ovary issues the more I mentally blocked my maternal instinct. As friends starting having babies I found myself becoming more distant.

I would tell myself that I was making a choice to live a certain lifestyle that didn't involve kids. That I was lucky because I could work my dream job and travel and be as selfish as I wanted because it was just me. That I would be a great aunt and have pets instead of kids. Or that maybe one day I'd adopt but not until I got as much out of childless life as I could. I told myself that I hated baby showers. I still loved kids and babies but I purposely kept a distance so that I wouldn't love or attach to them the way I had "my kids" back in my nannying days. I tried to convince myself that maybe I wasn't really that maternal after all.

Being pregnant has made me realize that I really really wanted this. That as much as I was happy for my friend with kids and that I truly did love their babies, that I was putting up walls and creating distance so I wouldn't have to think about how jealous I was that they had babies and I couldn't. That baby showers weren't torture because they were dumb and boring but because I so badly wanted that for myself and didn't think it would ever happen. That it wasn't really my choice to be childless but that I was in denial about how much it upset me to accept not having a child. That I wanted to be a really great aunt to my friends' babies but that I used living far away and working crazy hours as excuses for not really being involved in their lives - that in reality I was just too jealous and didn't want to face my own anger and sadness at not having my own babies. I would dream about babies and wake up upset but I would tell myself it was anxiety and stress rather than admit it was because I so wanted that dream to come true.

I spent so many years convincing myself that I was fine with not being able to get pregnant that when it actually happened I couldn't accept it right away. I was convinced it wasn't true or that it wouldn't last or that something would go wrong. I was terrified that if I was too happy about it that it would go away. I was worried that I wouldn't be a good mother because I had suppressed those instincts for so long. It took me months to wrap my head around the fact that this was actually happening to me and get over my fears. Only in the last few months have I been able to let myself be truly happy about my pregnancy and the upcoming birth of my son. I dream about him all the time now and wake up so happy and excited to meet him. I think back to my friends' pregnancies and realize that I wasn't a very good friend to them during those times, not because I lived far away or was too busy but because I was avoiding dealing with my own jealousy and pain. 

It's amazing how clear this all is to me now when for years I really thought I was making a choice . I know now that it was a defense mechanism. It was like a lightbulb went off in my head and it all makes sense.  I still have to tell myself sometimes that yes, this is really happening and that it is okay to be happy about it and celebrate it. I am trying not to take a moment of this experience for granted because I never thought I would actually get to experience it and who knows if I will able to again. I love this little boy fiercely and am thankful every single day for him. I've worked so hard to reach other goals in my life or make other dreams come true and I still can't believe that now this one, the one I had no control over, is coming true too.  And I can't wait for my baby shower. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

musings from a deliriously tired pregnant girl

These past few weeks have been really crazy and I'm pretty burnt out on the work end of things. I still have 2 big events tomorrow, 1 Monday, and 1 Thursday so I have one more crazy week to get through and it should be smooth sailing after that. (fingers crossed!)

In the meantime lots has been happening outside of work too. Mike's uncle died and attending his viewing and service really made us think a lot about family, life, and death. There is nothing like being pregnant at a funeral to really hammer home the whole "circle of life" concept. Everyone is so sad at the loss of one life but so excited for the beginning of another. It is nice to be able to cheer people up, to be the bright spot in a tough time. I'm sure if I'd had time to sit and write during those few days I'd have a lot more, profound things to say. But it was an interesting and thought-provoking time.

During my pulled ligament fiasco we also learned that my tailbone is curved. I'd hurt it a few years ago and still have trouble sitting for long times or sitting on hard surfaces but didn't think too much of it. Apparently thought, since it curves under, the baby's head could get caught during birth. I was told that it is likely I'll need a c-section. This was really upsetting news; I have my heart set on a natural birth. We took our labor & delivery class a month ago (something else I didn't have time to sit and write about) and Mike and I agreed that I should try for a natural birth. For one, I have a high tolerance for pain and have been through a lot with all my surgeries so labor should be manageable. Also, I have a lot of drug allergies and we felt that in the middle of giving birth would be a bad time to find out I was allergic to the pain killers or epidural. I also don't agree with the side effects that can come with epidurals, or the other drugs you can end up needing when you have one. Mike didn't like the size of the needle or the fact that it would be going into my spine. So all in all we both were hoping for a natural birth. So now I have to come to terms with the chance it may not happen. Which is fine, that is how life goes. Most of my best laid plans didn't actually end up going the way I'd hoped and yet somehow things work out and life goes on. But it is still a a bummer. But I wasn't supposed to be able to get pregnant and here we are; I was supposed to get gestational diabetes and I didn't; so maybe my tailbone will magically straighten and I'll be able to give birth to our little miracle the way we want. But Mike and I both agree - however our little man needs to come into this world is fine with us as long as he is healthy.

We also have finally chosen a name: Ryder Patrick Martin. Ryder is the only first name Mike and I could agree on and since it isn't either of our first choice, it took some time to decide it was "the" name. It is unique enough for Mike and not too out there for me so Ryder it is. Patrick is my dad's name which I had my heart set on and Martin is Mike's biological father's last name and he is officially changing his last name to it (paperwork started). So our little bean has a name! His initials are RPM which Mike think is the coolest thing ever. I'm happy he is happy about the name we chose for his son. And relieved to have that off our to do list.

We are getting lots of things checked off that list and I'm starting to really love this pregnancy. The beginning was such a shock - I wanted this so much but couldn't believe it was actually real. It didn't seem real for a long time. There was one night where I woke up at 3am so convinced I had dreamt the whole thing that I took another pregnancy test, just to be sure. And the entire time I was terrified that something would happen and we'd lose our little miracle. It took months to really sink in. Then, once I was able to accept it was really happening the panic set in. I was worried about EVERYTHING. Money, my health, the baby's health, money, how I'd be able to still work, all the things to do before he came, money, giving birth, not being married, money, and just about everything else you can worry about when you realize your whole life is about to permanently change. Not to mention how crappy I felt during the first trimester, how tired I was with the iron deficiency and the crazy hours I work. Luckily Mike is amazing; he was my rock, he talked me off the ledge all the time. He stepped up and really started to show how seriously he took becoming a father and how much the baby and I meant to him. And our families collectively stepped up to provide us with all the big things we needed - nursery, car seat, stroller, etc. Now I'm at a point where I know this is really happening and we're very prepared for this little man to join our lives. I'm starting to enjoy the process of getting our home ready for his arrival. I dream about him all the time and whether I'm dreaming about giving birth or dreaming that he is here already, I'm always calm and happy. I wake up sort of disappointed that he isn't here yet. I can't wait to meet him!

Sometimes though, I'm still not mentally pregnant. I try to run around at work and do everything I normally do. I try working my same hours, running around the building on game days, taking the stairs, and generally acting like I'm not 8 months pregnant. Everyone is constantly trying to do things for me and normally I would be insulted but I'm starting to realize it is ok to accept their help. I am still me - a strong, stubborn, independent woman. Accepting help from people or admitting I even need the help doesn't change that. It is strange to let people do things for me, or even just help me out, but I am slowly coming around.

And I'm learning to trust Mike and depend on him in a way that I never thought I could depend on someone. Each failed relationship made me feel like I needed to be tough and not depend on anyone but me so that I couldn't be hurt or disappointed ever again. But the dynamic of our relationship has changed. I can tell Mike likes that I'm becoming "softer" and more lovey. And despite the fact I've been fighting against it, I'm actually starting to like being able to rely on him and letting him take care of me. Again, I pride myself on being strong and independent; I worked very hard to get where I am in life and to know that I could do it all on my own but it is so much nicer having a partner in life who is there when I need someone to share the load with. Mike is such an incredibly guy, I can't even put into words how much he's come to mean to me or how much I appreciate having him in my life. I can't imagine my life without him and I never imagined that I'd feel this way about someone - truly head over heels in love. I'm even excited at the thought of us getting married one day and I very much want to spend my life with him. I couldn't have a better man to start a family with. I am a very luck girl!

So that's enough rambling for now... hopefully it won't be weeks before I have a chance to sit and write again.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

not so super woman

Yesterday was a dumb day. For the most part this pregnancy has been pretty easy but the farther along I get, the bigger I get, the more I am reminded that I am not exactly my normal self. After walking around the mall on Sunday, working 12 hours on Monday (including 3 hours on my feet at the end of the night) and working 11 hours on Tuesday I was pretty beat. I was supposed to stay and watch the hockey game with Mike and I just couldn't do it - all I wanted was to be home, in my bed, with my aching swollen feet up on a pillow. I hardly got any sleep that night and I ended up staying home from work yesterday because everything just hurt - back, hips, feet, head. Then I rolled over in bed and felt a ripping, tearing pain in my abdomen. After spending several hours convincing myself I was being silly I finally called the doctor and they had me come in. So Mike and I spent the afternoon in the doctor's office. It was productive, we were able to knock our 28 week appointment out at the same time, but it still wasn't fun. After a not-so gentle physical exam it turns out I pulled a ligament. I'm supposed to stay off my feet for a few days and cut my work hours back to 8 hours a day moving forward.

I've been pushing myself this whole pregnancy. I worked through all the morning (code for all day) sickness. I came in late once or twice and left early once or twice but still managed to work 50 hours a week or so. During all our building renovations I've had to go up and down stairs to use a restroom and/or get water. Since I drink a lot of water, and subsequently have to pee constantly, I was doing a lot of stairs. I would tell myself it was good for me, a way to sneak in some exercise. But I was pretty much exhausted all the time. I was trying to be a trooper, to be a tough girl, prove that I could still do it all. So much for all that. I was almost in tears telling my boss today that I had to cut back. He was totally cool about, told me he knew it was coming, but I still felt like a failure. Like somehow I should be stronger than this. It has been messing with my head all day. At the same time, a part of me loves the idea of more time to relax and get ready for my little bean's arrival. And for how tired I've been, I know I need the rest. But it still makes me feel guilty, like I'm sucking at this pregnancy thing by not being able to balance everything in my life.