Awhile back, my mother commented to me about the fact that I had stopped posting regular pregnancy updates. There really has been a few reasons for this, but the main one had to do with what I had to say. You see, this being my fourth pregnancy, I don’t have the same wide-eyed wonderment that tends to be felt by those going through it for the first time. And, this being my fourth pregnancy in FIVE YEARS, well…It wears on a girl.
And while I know how thrilled I am about the impending arrival of my daughter, most of what I had to say about being pregnant may have come off as a tad whiny. The truth is, pregnancy is frequently a pain in the butt (both literally and figuratively). When I stopped writing about it was about the time that I didn’t feel I could write about it honestly without frequently mentioning that fact.
The thing is, I also understand that a significant portion of the people who read my blog would give anything for the opportunity to experience all of the hemorrhoids (again with the literal and figurative) of pregnancy. You can’t go through four years of infertility without it leaving a permanent memory of just how desperate that desire can be, or just how annoying whiny pregnant women who don’t know how good they have it are. It’s all about perspective.
So, in what I DESPERATELY (imploringly, please, please, please God I’m begging you) HOPE is the last of my pregnancy updates, I’m going to talk a little bit about how my perspectives on pregnancy have changed over time.
I’ve Always Wanted a Big Family…
Even before our struggles with infertility, I always wanted to have a lot of kids. I just never considered how hard it would be. And it is hard. Last week, my neighbor agreed to watch my kids for me while I went to my appointment with the midwife since my mom was out of town being a politician (she’s keeping her schedule pretty clear right now, but it IS a reelection year for her…). The stars were all aligned, and I was home in under an hour and a half.
“I don’t know how you keep up with it all day, every day,” was the first thing she said to me.
I just smiled and looked around my house.
“Um, obviously, I don’t,” was the best I had to offer.
And it’s true. Lately, I’ve felt like I’m standing next to the Hoover Dam, trying to plug cracks with bubble gum. I never stop moving, but I just don’t feel like I’m making any progress.
For a long time, I have wondered how truly huge families do it. I mean, I get how you make it work when you have 16 kids and half of them are 12-years-old and up. That’s a no brainer. But I’ve wanted to ask one of those moms how she managed it all when she only had little kids.
Recently, I got my chance.
My sister-in-law is the fifth of sixteen (!!!) kids. Her parents came for a visit recently and we all went to a local museum together. As we were walking back to our cars, I asked her mom how the heck she made it all work before she had older kids to help with cooking, cleaning, and wrangling younger children.
She smiled a wise, sweet smile and said, “I’ve got nothin’.”
OK, that’s not verbatim, but it’s close enough. Basically, she told me that having five little kids was the hardest time period of her life and that it was virtually impossible to keep up with it all.
I feel like I finally made the pilgrimage to Mecca, only to find a plastic fortune-teller in a sealed phone booth.
All My Bags are Packed, I’m Ready to Go…
I have never—in any of my pregnancies—nested. Who knew that it would just take carrying another estrogen-bearer for me to finally start acting maternal. I have made it through my “To Do” list, thought of more tasks, done them, and am running out of things to burn off my nervous energy.
I have rearranged bedrooms. I have sorted baby clothes. I have picked produce from my garden. I have made a regular habit of going to the local farmer’s market (this week, I found out that “cukes” is gardener slang for cucumbers—word to yo’ Mutha Nature…fo’ shizzle). I have packed the baby’s bag for the hospital. I have made a list of things for my hospital bag (I refuse to pack that early, since no amount of nervous energy will lead me to deprive myself of makeup for a couple of weeks).
But as I have prepared for labor, I have realized just how different my perspective on what I “need” is from my first pregnancy. When I was pregnant with Wyatt, I took childbirth classes, read books, and scoured the internet for hospital bag packing lists. On the big day, I showed up with an MP3 player full of music with subliminal relaxation messages, unscented oil, lotion, essential oils, focal points, comfort objects, socks full of rice, candy to suck on, snacks for Sean, slippers, and my blankie. Honestly, people, I needed a bellhop.
A couple of weeks ago, I told Sean that this time I will be happy as long as I have my own pillow, a slushie from Sonic (I need to find out how late that place is open, just in case I need to take that into consideration when timing my departure to the hospital…), and this book:
Yes, seriously. I have always loved fractured fairytales, so the idea of fracturing classical British literature? It is taking every ounce of self-control I have not to start reading it yet. Sean thinks that I am a tremendous dork. I think that he is completely lacking in creativity and vision.
Oh, and my MP3 player? Since I haven’t taken the time to remove Sean’s playlists from my Zune, there is a good chance that I could be delivering this baby to Sammy Hagar.
Timing is Everything…
A month or two ago, Sean mentioned to me that his office mate’s soccer league was having sign-ups. Our older two having been talking about doing soccer for quite some time so, what did I think?
I thought I wanted to know when it would start, would they be in different age groups, and how many nights a weeks would this involve?
Well, they would be in different age groups. It was a two night per week commitment (each), and practice started last week. But, since we had connections, we MIGHT be able to get their practices and games on the same night. NO PROMISES.
I told Sean that he needed to decide if HE was willing to make that big of a commitment, since I was going to be dealing with a newborn, thankyouverymuch. He signed the kids up.
A few weeks later, his office mate, Brian (the league’s director), called with a proposition. If Sean agreed to be the assistant coach on Noah’s team, they could put Wyatt on Brian’s wife’s team and there would be no question that practices and games would be on the same days. As I sat listening to Sean’s side of the conversation, he agreed to the deal. Then they started talking about coach training sessions and what not.
At one point, I heard this:
“Um, that could be a problem.”
“Well, because my wife is supposed to be having a BABY that week.”
“Oh, yeah, I’m sure she’d agree to do that for you.”
I looked at my husband, smiled, and said, “Oh, he wants me to have the baby a week early? That’s fine by me!” And I gave him a big thumbs up.
Sean shook his head.
“No, he thought it might be better if you held off an extra week.”
“Adequately expressing how I feel about that,” I informed him, “would require an entirely different single-digit hand gesture.”
Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby…
It’s true—I’ve reached the point where I feel like I’d do just about anything to be one person again.
Between friends, relatives, and people that I go to church with (most of whom also fall into that “friends” category), I know SIX OTHER PEOPLE who were due within a month of me. All but one of them has now had her baby (or babies, in the case of the one with twins). The lone hold-out is due basically the same day I am. But I’m the one with the tendency to go late. Which means, Angie, that if you have your baby this week, I fully expect you to show up at church on Sunday with a pillow shoved down your dress—just in case.
And while I sat this week wondering if the intestinal bug my kids were passing around might work as well as castor oil and Who wants to share a drink with Mommy??? I know the advice I’m bound to get from my midwives:
Sex. Lots and lots of sex.
Yes, I understand the concept. It all has to do with prostaglandins and cervical ripening and what got the baby in will get the baby out…blah, blah, blah.
Whatever. There is just something very wrong about having to look at my husband with the same sort of functional equivalence as a tampon dispenser. And he’s done this enough times that he knows what’s up on that subject. I mean, honestly people—I WADDLE when I walk. And there is nothing less sexy than feeling like a duck.
This is one area where infertility and pregnancy are a whole lot alike. Whether you are desperately TRYING to get pregnant, or desperately trying to NOT BE pregnant, marital relations just aren’t the same when they are planned as a means to an end. ‘Nuff said.
Of course, I have a theory that it isn’t really the prostaglandins, anyhow. I think it has more to do with the fact that anyone who has ever needed a drink of water at JUST THE WRONG MOMENT knows that kids just don’t want to acknowledge that IT even happens. And there’s just no denying IT when you’re that close to what’s going on. Of course the baby would do anything it could to get out of there if IT is happening that frequently.
Not that my theory helps me any. After all, I don’t think that lesser measures like just making out in the kitchen would seem nearly as disgusting to the baby as it does my other kids. It may send them running, but I doubt the baby would care one way or the other.
So I have to be content with just waiting it out. At the very least, I can take comfort in the fact that my stomach is now so enormous that my butt once again has the appearance of being a normal size (I’m all about the silver linings).
See? Perspective is everything.