Since there isn’t a lot of baby stuff to focus on right now, I’m thinking about all the stuff we need – stuff to set up the nursery, to take care of the baby, to keep things clean and safe – the merchandise.
As it turns out, all of our friends are having babies just a few months before ours will arrive, which means no hand-me-downs. We were offered a crib from across the country, but with no real way to get it here (or back if they decide to have a second) we declined and purchased our own new crib. We’re buying a few things news, searching out garage sales, we’ve received one “grandma box” already, but with family and a lot of our friends out of town (and no one here I would expect to organize a baby shower) I have the sinking feeling we’re mostly on our own.
This terrifies me mostly because I don’t want to mess this up. I’m terrified of missing that one thing that we were supposed to have. I want to be prepared for all circumstances.
This means that I am not only looking around at nursery stuff and clothes and supplies, I am looking around the rest of the house, frustrated at all the things we have that are going to need to be replaced.
This bothers me not only because we don’t have a lot of spare cash right now, but also because I don’t know anything about the development stages of babies, so I don’t really know how long we have to hide harsh corners and secure cupboard doors, and figure out how else a baby could get into all the dangerous stuff. Hell, it’s taken me three years and the dog still surprises me with the stuff he gets into.
At the same time I’m struggling with my clothes not fitting, and the seeming impossibility of finding maternity clothes that fit me comfortably. I don’t want maternity clothes that fit tightly and show off my “bump.” I also can’t do what the lovely and annoyingly slim ladies who work in the Gap PR department (as per the Toronto Star article) and just “go up a size” in regular clothes. There is no up for me in most places.
I know that once the baby actually gets here, a lot of these worries will go away – to be replaced by completely new and potentially more important worries, but I’m a worrier, it’s what I do. I get it from my mother.
I never expected my life to go quite like this.
I never expected to be married, and having a baby. I never wanted to be a wife and a mother – and certainly not before I turned 30.
I always expected to be a career woman, to be living my life by myself, for myself, traveling the world, owning my own home.
Of course, I didn’t expect to not go right to university after high school, and I didn’t expect to start a career and fail at it and then go back to school. I certainly didn’t expect to meet a husband at university – and when I met Joe, I didn’t expect to marry him.
I really didn’t expect to have this life that I know a lot of women would have mapped out for themselves, but here I sit, with my life expanding before me.
And today I heard my baby’s heartbeat, and I cried.
I am writing this post about two and a half or three weeks before I will actually post it, because I’m not allowed to say any of this out loud until then, because then (now) I will be 12 weeks pregnant and safely out of my first trimester.
But I am writing this now because I’m am going insane. Everyone makes fun of the morning sickness, but no one tells you about the exhaustion, the hormones, the bad skin, the constant nausea that makes it very difficult to eat a variety of things, the heightened sense of smell that combines with said nausea to make life very difficult. I never knew before now that it is possible to be disgusted by just a word – I can say bacon, but if Joe says it or I read it somewhere my stomach flips.
I never knew that it was possible to be hungry and nauseous at the same time. I never knew that hormones could make laughing turn to crying without me even knowing why.
The worst part about the first trimester is that while you’re going through all this and feeling like completely crap and you’re not supposed to tell anyone. You can’t tell people that you’ve expended all your daily energy by 10 am and your can’t go out tonight. You can’t tell people that you’d appreciate it if they would stop talking about seafood because you’re going to throw up on them. You can’t explain to people why you’re acting so darn strangely.
I, of course, told my mother right away – the morning I took the test in fact. And then I took three more tests, and then we went to see my doctor and when the blood test came back we started telling a few select people. We told Joe’s parents and my Dad, we told all our siblings and a few friends. When I hit 8 weeks and we had an ultrasound to confirm my due date I told my boss, mainly because I had so many doctors’ appointments I didn’t want her to think I was dying. Telling my boss was great because she’s pregnant too. She was the first person I told who has actually had a baby, in Ottawa, recently.
The first thing she said to me: “Oh, so you must be feeling like crap right now.”
I nearly cried. She understood.
Now that I had a few people to talk to, and my mother to complain to, I just needed to hide all my symptoms from everyone else (even though two people we told, and one person we didn’t all said I looked pregnant).
I have to hide my strange eating habits, my constant desire for cold water, my avoidance of coffee, among other things, the limp I’ve developed because of problems with my sciatic nerve, and my ever-increasing trips to the bathroom. And while I knew that I would be tearing up for no reason because of hormones, I had no idea that the same hormones would cause me to fly into a rage every now and again. I also had to avoid blurting out “me too!” to my two pregnant co-workers and the two men in my office who’s wives are expecting. It was very difficult when one of those men brought his then week-old baby to visit the office. And more difficult when two friends brought their brand new baby to meet us and made some reference to Joe and my “imaginary baby.”
But even though I’ve spent the last five weeks wanting to tell people, I also have no idea how to let people know. How do you tell people something like that? Especially people that may not really care. I don’t think that many people are interested in my life and I don’t see any reason they should be. Should I just let the baby grow and say yes if they ask me?
Another thing I didn’t expect it the increased number of doctors and appointments. So far I have had: The original appointment with a blood test to confirm; An ultrasound to clarify my due date; An appointment with my endocrinologist; Another appointment with my GP to get a physical done (and five vials of blood taken, among other things).
After writing this, but before posting in I will have a second ultrasound and my first appointment with my midwife.
When things like this happen to me – when I am doing things that are life-changing – I tend to be pessimistic and think about all the years ahead and everything that could go wrong.
Right now I’m thinking about how it’s possible to even raise a child. How do you potty train? How do you teach a kid to walk and read and talk? My brain just can’t get around the idea of being responsible for someone else’s growth and development. That being said, I just started reading about breastfeeding and I have to say nature is freaking amazing. It terrifies me that on that one topic there is so much I didn’t know.
I don’t even like holding other people’s babies. I’m scared of doing something wrong or hurting them, and now day in and day out it’s going to be me and this kid and their wants and needs.
I also need to start keeping a list of all the things I need to remember to ask about and the things I want to research – like donating cord blood and finding out which car seat is the safest. I need to think about moving furniture around and setting up a nursery – and getting everything we need for the nursery and how we’re going to budget it all.
I’m also thinking about years an years from now – Where will we be living? Will we be able to afford a house once we’ve had a baby? Will we be able to travel? Will we see our families enough? Will we be able to afford daycare once I have to go back to work? How will the dog react to all this change?
Since the day we got the dog I’ve been thinking of the day that we will have to make the decision to euthanize him – and now I have to think about my kid, who will be old enough to have really bonded with him.
It is very difficult for me that so much of this is out of my control.
I want to start eating better and cooking more so my kid will eat well. I want to exercise more so that will be part of their life. I want to start saving more and spending more wisely so my kid will never struggle with debt the way I have. There are many things my mother did for me that I will do for my children. They will have books coming out of their ears. They will have their freedoms until they prove they can’t handle them. They will know that it’s good to be smart. They will have a creative outlet. They will learn to cook and do their own laudry and clean their own room before they are old enough for university. (Seriously, there was a girl in one of my Grade 13 classes who was applying to university and her mother was still cleaning her room and doing her laundry).
Yesterday I got the email from BabyCenter.ca updating me on my pregnancy this week and the first line congratulated me for making it safely through the first trimester. I cried.
Today we had our second ultrasound, and the tech put the wand-thingy on my belly and we saw the baby jump and I started laughing and tears filled my eyes and I couldn’t stop.
I think the joy part of the pregnancy has begun.