I knew I was pregnant. I knew it down to my bones, mostly because I was exhausted down to my bones and I was peeing every 4 seconds. We decided that I would refrain from taking anymore at home pregnancy tests for at least another week for two reasons: one, we had already spent a fair chunk of change on the 100 negative pregnancy tests over the last year, and two, we thought maybe if we waited a little longer, we would get a more accurate result. Our week of waiting lasted only until 36 hours. It was.... positive. God is faithful. I didn't know what to do. I was in disbelief. I couldn't cry -- all my tears had already been wasted on sorrow -- all I could do was scream. My husband thought I had fallen off the toilet.
We didn't know what else to do, so we drove to the hospital to buy an "I'm a Big Sister" shirt for Daisy. We let her be the one to tell our friends and family, by wearing the big announcement on her back. I'm not sure if she understood the changes coming her way, but she was pleased to momentarily be the center of attention. I do believe, though, that she knew instantly, even before I did, that I was expecting (many articles support this idea). She became quite protective of me, would no longer lay atop of me -- only right next to me, and had a much gentler demeanor about her. I, like any expectant mother, read and researched and read some more about pregnancy and childbirth. I quickly learned, that if you follow every piece of advice you hear and read, you won't be eating anything but carrots, will be terrified of absolutely everything, and will soon be diagnosing yourself with crazy diseases just because you, gasp, ate potato salad. I learned to calm myself down, check with my doctor for advice, and chose to ignore the ridiculous tales of terror and treachery that everyone thought appropriate to tell me -- seriously, for a few days I was terrified that I would give birth to a hermaphrodite. Someone please explain to me why everyone wants to tell pregnant women about every miscarriage and labor-gone-wrong story they have ever heard.
My pregnancy was pretty normal. I struggled with heartburn and all-day-long-sickness -- I refuse to call it morning sickness because that is just a bold faced lie. But, in the grand scheme of things, that was all minor. By the time I reached 19 weeks, I felt amazing. Truly amazing. It was as if my hormones were finally doing what they were supposed to be doing. I felt so fantastic that we planned a vacation to North Carolina during my 29th week. I learned later that this trend is called 'Taking a Babymoon'. Whatever it was called, it was wonderful.
29 1/2 weeks
Pregnancy changes you. Not for the obvious figure-that-resembles-a-basketball-smuggler reason. It changes you from the inside out. You suddenly become protective and curious and motherly to everything around you. You long to hold this baby you are growing, but at the same time wish to never let it out of your protective womb into the cruel world in which we live. Pregnancy changes the way people see you. I was suddenly in a new club. The "Mommy-To-Be Club" was much more enjoyable than the "Infertility Club". Strangers constantly smiled at me (and occasionally told me how miserable I looked... gee thanks). My husband became so overly protective (even banishing my feet from high-heeled shoes) that he may have just chosen to carry me everywhere, had I been blessed with a petite frame. Being incredibly independent made it quite hard to adjust to my new limitations, but I would have gone to any length to protect this little blessing.
Nursery In Progress
As you can imagine, I am not a wait and see kind of person. I couldn't understand why my doctor was so mean to make us wait until 20 weeks to learn the sex of our precious little one. Even though I just knew we were going to have a girl (mostly because I had fallen in love with a tiny red tu-tu in the window of a downtown boutique), the sonogram proved that we were going to have a very not shy boy -- I mean he was more than happy to show off his manhood. I don't think my husband could have been more excited. With tears in his eye, he smiled and said 'I told you so'. Aah, romance. We were each so excited to share the news that we argued over who got to take the sonogram photos into work first. My argument of 'I'm carrying this child so I get to' finally won.
On a snowy Monday evening, we decided to drive to a nearby to town to purchase the remaining necessary items for our little one's arrival. I was 34 weeks along and nesting like crazy, so the prospect of washing and putting away tiny clothing, opening hundreds of packages and finding the perfect place for each item sounded like my own little slice of heaven. I am so thankful for foresight. Friday morning at work I began having contractions. I called my sister (who, along with my friend Ashley, had been a wonderful source of information and support during my pregnancy) to make sure that I was, in fact, having contractions, and she said it seemed like yes, in fact, I was. I was certain this was a false alarm, ater all I still had 5 weeks until my due date, and that I would be back to work on Monday. I couldn't be in labor, I hadn't yet finished my Christmas shopping.
My husband met me at home and drove us 30 minutes to the hospital where I was monitored for several hours in the Obstetrics Observation room. An infection was diagnosed, antibiotics were given, we were sent home. We stopped for dinner, happy that our little guy wasn't quite ready to come into this world, noting that he needed to bake for several more weeks. I also mentioned how glad I was that I wouldn't have to miss my hair appointment the following day. All the while my contractions were getting stronger, but I was sure the antibiotics would kick in soon and things would slow down. They didn't. My husband began grouting our newly laid tile in our kitchen as I began cursing through each heightening contraction. At 2 a.m. we sped back to the hospital (in between contractions I left a message cancelling my hair appointment... after all it's rude to just not show up).
Labor was not progressing quickly, and I opted to use pain medication to help me rest between contractions. I had been in labor for more than 33 hours. The doctor on call (who was not my OB, but was the specialist who helped us become pregnant -- isn't life poetry sometimes?) ordered an epidural and my water to be broken. Soon it was time to push. Before our families, also known as The Worry Crew, left the room (at our request), they gathered around as my husband and I both prayed aloud.
The last picture before two became three.
Being administered oxygen.
Stay tuned for the last installment of this series -- Marriage and Motherhood: Part 4. And remember... you're In Good Company.