Are you ready for raw, honest truth? Well, here it comes. If you don’t want to see it, if you are easily offended…here is your cue to move on.
You’re still here?
Alright. Here’s today’s novel.
When I found out that I was pregnant, I had a complete hissy fit. I lost it. I threw a temper tantrum and really thought my life was ending. I cried, and I cried, and I peed on numerous sticks to only have that line get brighter each time.
Light, dark, darker!
I had always assumed my life would turn out one way, and children were not involved. I never experienced absolute panic or fear as I did the moment I saw that one little pink line come across the screen. As my husband laughed and patted my back, I thought my world was ending. I actually dreaded it so much and resented letting myself get pregnant, that even everyone’s congratulations, happy tears and pats on the back were enough to make me angry. How could this be a happy moment? My life was crashing down around me!
Of course, after a few days, I ended up coming to terms with it and even allowed myself to get partially exciting (is that the right word?) and start reading books, looking at pictures and decorate a nursery in my head. I even took my first “bump” picture (also a way to remind myself of how I looked prior to having children.)
Day after I got my positive test(s)
I started doing research on how big the baby was each week, how my body was changing, why I was feeling a certain way and how I could try to be as healthy as possible during my pregnancy. I started documenting the size of baby each week and posting them to various social media platforms as a way to encourage myself and to keep my family in-touch with my pregnancy that were living far away.
Week 8 – size of a raspberry
Week 9 – size of an olive
Week 10 – size of a strawberry
Week 11- size of a lime
I had always approached situations with a “take it by the horns and ride!” attitude, but all of a sudden, I felt like I had been tossed into the deep end with led weights on my feet. Not only was I completely overwhelmed with the idea of being pregnant, having to go into labor and have a child, but I was always experiencing a lot of changes in my personal life.
What I had once assumed I could handle, I couldn’t. And let me tell you, stress and hormones do not combine well. I had taken on too much at once, I was feeling downright depressed and anxious and I started hearing myself say “yes” to too many things. I could feel panic attacks creeping up, I would cry myself to sleep over everything from money to insurance to baby names to family to my new friend backne to birth plans to doulas to the numerous ultrasounds I had already received. When the day came that I couldn’t button my pants or fit into a bra anymore, I had an utter meltdown.
Here I was, only a few months into my pregnancy – into a season of my life that should be happy and filled with to-do lists for baby and relaxing and nesting – and all I could do was cry. I cried a lot. I wondered if post-partum had hit me in pregnancy. I felt completely overwhelmed with my life and had no clue how I was going to move forward. My husband was very aware of what was going on and kept reminding me that this stress wasn’t just altering my mood – it was altering baby’s mood, too. I needed to take a step back, reevaluate the important things in my life and just do the one thing I was having the hardest time doing – breathe.
Breathe. What a simple concept. Something that happens involuntarily, yet I had completely forgot how to do it in the past few weeks. Breathe. In. Out. In. Out. Deep breath in. Long breath out. Yoga. Meditation. The roots of what I had known. How could I forget that?
After some deep soul searching, some deep meditation, I realized I needed to let go of some things. I needed to let go of the stress I had been harboring. I took a step back from some of the responsibilities I had gathered over the past few months, which included four jobs, and reminded myself to breathe. I felt almost instantly better, knowing I could focus on being healthy and pregnant and leave some of the stressful tasks to my incredibly mild-mannered husband. Suddenly, I felt better. I felt happy to be pregnant. I felt hopeful about the future. I didn’t feel 100% about all the changes happening in my body, but I felt more at-ease.
And then the next day happened.
I woke up the day after I had eliminated numerous stresses in my life to find myself spotting. TMI WARNING – I was bleeding a brown blood that didn’t stop after just one wipe and as the day wore on, it turned pink. If you know anything about pregnancy, bleeding isn’t abnormal, but it definitely isn’t normal. Up to this point, I had a relatively normal (with a lot of vomiting) pregnancy. I immediately went back to panic-mode. How could this be? I was past the 11 week mark. My miscarriage rate was going down day by day! I sent a text to my husband, called my doctor and proceeded to lay on my back, moving as little as possible, until my appointment that afternoon.
I had done too little, too late.
Flashback to one of the most stressful days of my life this past May. I saw firsthand how stress can change my body; after a particularly traumatic and stressful day, after the fact, when I thought I had calmed down, I started my period. Off-schedule. Completely out of the blue. My body’s way of reacting was to flush itself. Now, in almost the exact same fashion, I was bleeding again, only this time – it was a little more serious than just a period.
I got to the doctor completely nervous, but got to see a big, fat healthy baby, moving and wiggling with a strong heartbeat. Doctor even commented on baby’s size. Up to this point, baby had looked like a blob, and I had affectionately nicknamed it Blog Scurti – but yesterday, it looked like a baby.
6 week ultrasound, doing a little dance move
8 week ultrasound, all I see is giant lips and a big head
11 week ultrasound of super wiggly, grainy, Halloween baby
Baby was okay, but the placenta was sitting low on my cervix and the stress had caused some bleeding. I was put on pelvic rest (look it up) until week 16 and told that whatever I do, I must keep my stress l o w. I also need a RhoGam shot, because I have RH- blood and baby’s blood and my blood could have mixed.
Let me tell you, these past few days have been an eye-opener. I learned that not only do I really want this baby, but I learned my first lesson in motherhood – I have to put my needs, my wants, my drive to prove I can succeed at all the responsibilities, aside. Now, more than ever, I need to think of the needs of this big-bellied baby bouncing happily inside of me. All the food I eat, baby eats. All the liquids I intake, baby intakes. All the exercise I get (which I can still do…yes that includes weight training you nay-sayers) baby gets. All the stress I feel, baby feels. Is it worth it to have a stressed out baby? No.
So, taking a step back, I am thankful for all the opportunities that have been presented to me in my life, including the opportunity to take on something I never assumed I would – parenthood. Taking a step back, I see now that I should have listened to my body sooner. Taking a step back, I can see how truly grateful I am for everything that has been given to me, the people that had only good intentions toward me and how stressed I may have made myself.
I am willing to take this challenge on – but first, I need to do some meditation.
You’re still here? Wow. Good for you. You read Bree’s novel. Now, go do some breathing exercises and take a step back and look at how fortunate you are!