I can’t believe it’s already been weeks since my last real blog entry. Do you remember being a kid and looking forward to something like two days away? It felt like you could feel every minute and every second and that those two days were never going to pass.
Nowadays, months pass at the blink of an eye. It’s kind of scary how fast time goes.
I’ve been kind of reluctant to post at length about my pregnancy in the third trimester, because I feel like I’ve been whining and whinging entirely too much already, in person and on Twitter. Also, it’s not like I didn’t want to get pregnant and start a family! I didn’t just enter this phase of life because it seemed like it was the next thing to do; I did because I consciously and purposefully wanted this to happen, for us to have a family.
And so complaining about it feels akin to deciding I want to have a leg removed then complaining later that I can’t walk very well anymore. I know it’s different, but it’s also in some ways the same.
Am I looking forward to motherhood? Yes, most definitely. Am I super-excited for this child-to-be? Without a smidgen of doubt. Did I know there would be difficulties that came with pregnancy? Yes, yes indeed. Do I know there will be both lots of good and lots of bad that comes with taking on such a huge responsibility for someone who will depend on me for decades? Yes, although not all the details.
So let there be no doubt, I have my eyes open about this. It won’t be all sunshine and roses. It’ll be hard. It’ll be, at times, heartwrenching. From what I hear, at times, I will feel the most helpless and worthless I have ever felt. Yet I know I want this, and I eagerly look forward to welcoming our child into the world and knowing he will change our lives forever.
So why all the complaints? How dare I? I knew about the awkwardness, the trouble sleeping, the swollen joints and limbs and such, right?
Yet, the things that have been hardest have been things I hadn’t really known the details of. For instance, I knew many people had swollen legs and feet during pregnancy, my own sister included. But I hadn’t known how that would feel, that it would make the joints feel arthritic. I think bracing for that expectation would have helped when it happened. Same for nausea… While I’ve always had issues with carsickness (and my pregnancy nausea felt a lot like this), I hadn’t realized that when things are bad, it’ll constantly feel like the 2 minutes or less right before you actually run to the bathroom to barf, up to the actual moment of barfing.
I also hadn’t realized why bending over and reaching things on the ground would be hard. I think I always imagined it would be like when someone has a large gut, but in many ways, it’s very different. What you have is a giant, very tight & firm ball of water that is pushed deeply into your torso, displacing your organs from their normal places. This means that bending requires that you shove this ball, which feels far more like a fully inflated basketball than something like a beachball, further toward your internal organs in the inner side and into your ribcage on the top side. My ribcage is already pulled apart, with the ribs sort of digging into the sides of the ball. I can only really bend about 15 degrees before hitting extreme discomfort in the organs and ribs, and another 15 degrees before it REALLY FREAKING hurts. It’s then another 10 or 15 degrees before I actually can’t go anymore without breaking a rib or tearing muscle. So to put on shoes, I have to kind of squat while standing, pick up a shoe with one hand, lift up the opposite side foot, and swing my shoe toward my foot and hope it hooks.
It’s humiliating and painful.
I hadn’t anticipated how humiliating things like that would feel. At times, it makes me laugh, but at times, I feel so ridiculously helpless and dependent. I am clumsy and helpless and look quite ridiculous.
It’s funny, because I don’t find the shape of other pregnant women ridiculous, but I hate seeing myself.
I hate the shooting, sharp pain in my hip and pelvis when I get up from lying or sitting down. My hip joint pops loudly, accompanied by pain so intense I often see stars. And apparently, this is normal. 😐
Today, a coworker said that when you read someone’s wedding vows w/o the context of personally being involved in their relationship, it’s hard not to have it sound utterly cheesy and corny, no matter how well they tried to express themselves. I think, for me, hearing about other people’s pregnancy experiences hadn’t really struck home.
The other really stupid thing that I’ve gotten really upset about is that my hands and feet are so swollen. Yes, I’ve mentioned the pain, and it’s debilitating at times. My hands suck in particular because I can’t use my pectoral muscles to help me get up or do any normal movements I want to engage in on a minute by minute basis, so I need to assist myself with hands, but they are already in pain. My feet & legs hurt so much from the plane ride that I wanted to cry the entire ride back from Hawaii.
And, of course, I need my hands to type for work and things like this. Luckily, typing isn’t terrible because my fingers are sort of clawed into position by the swelling anyway, so thank goodness for small favors.
Anyway, the real reason for being so upset at the hands and feet is this: I’ve always been vain about them. While, objectively, I know they are not the best looking hands & feet on earth, I’ve always thought they looked nice and cute/elegant. I don’t have the nicest eyes, hair, mouth, figure, whatever. But I do have nice hands and feet. Or I did.
Now when I look at them, they are so hideously deformed that on top of feeling stupid and clumsy and ridiculous, I don’t have this small vanity to make me feel like something special.
I know. It’s utterly stupid. But there it is. It upsets me to the point of crying at times. Like I am doing now.
I also cried when I saw how bad my stretch marks look. And when I realized that the changes to the… uh.. mammary region can be quite hideous and happens during pregnancy, not when you breastfeed. I wish I had known, just to be able to brace for these permanent changes.
I know a lot of this is hormones. I know I’m stressed because there is so much to finish up work-wise before I go on leave. I know I have a lot on my mind. I know I’m under physical duress.
Yet. Yet. Yet, I feel like crap and like wallowing in self-pity.
Which I hate.
At the same time, there is so much going for me. Our kid is healthy, as healthy as we can know while he is still inside the womb! This, more than anything else, is the best thing right now.
Our family & friends & coworkers are so supportive and cool, not just regarding the pregnancy, but as people I love in our lives, people I can count on. My work is putting very little pressure on me regarding the return date from my leave that I proposed. And at the same time, I know they would take me back in an instant, no matter when I come back, earlier or later. And they’ve already said that they’d be open to a flexible schedule when coming back. How much luckier could I get?
And today, our coworkers threw us a surprise baby shower! I can’t believe how thoughtful each note in the card and each carefully chosen gift was. I am truly, truly blessed to be among such good people.
Seppo is truly the best husband I could imagine. He is patient, kind, giving, and loving. All throughout the pregnancy, he’s really stepped up where I couldn’t pull my weight, he’s been a shoulder to cry on, and he’s been strong where I’ve been weak. He’s going to be such an amazing father. Our kid is going to be so lucky! He makes me laugh when I need it, holds me close when I need it, and buys me ice cream when I want it. 🙂
Many of our friends have recently had children or are expecting. This is yet another way in which we are incredibly lucky. Because many of us are making the transition together, there is a lot of sharing of woes and good times. And a feeling that we are building a big family.
Despite all my stupid grumblings, nothing is seriously wrong with me. Even though I had tested with quite low progesterone levels in the past, it was fine when I actually got pregnant. I had braced with the fear of miscarriage, knowing my sister had one quite late in her pregnancy, and that my mom had multiple pregnancies that she never spoke to us about (I believe there were at least one abortion and one miscarriage, but there are also two more she won’t talk about). All our tests went extraordinarily well. I didn’t get gestational diabetes. I have great blood pressure, which is a fairly good indicator that I don’t have preeclampsia. I have a great doctor that takes time to answer all our little questions.
All this is amazingly wonderful. I can’t believe we dodged pretty much every major bullet. In the end, all I have are various discomforts and some emotional distress, but nothing that is actually terrible and/or won’t pass.
I know these fleeting moments of self-pity have passed in the past. And this one, too, shall pass. I think it’ll be a lot better once I stop going to work, because it’ll be one fewer source of stress.