Alexandra (Alex) Anne was born last Monday, February 25. We have now entered into the realm of sleepless nights, endless diapers and gas pains!
Alexandra (Alex) Anne was born last Monday, February 25. We have now entered into the realm of sleepless nights, endless diapers and gas pains!
(Note: This is a description of my experiences. My experiences are no way meant to be used as a substitute for appropriate dialogue with a medical professional or for substitution of medical treatment..)
Last week I got my first taste of what it means to be a woman of ‘advanced maternal age’ (the term the doctors use in my file) on the verge of childbirth.Yes, I admit that I have gestational diabetes, but I have been very conscientious about observing my dietary restrictions, working out and taking care of myself. Both my overall weight gain and Alex’s weight are healthy and normal and I am truly aware of the issues that I face given my age and genetics. But, I also know that I am a healthy person in general who, pre-pregnancy, watched out for what I ate, avoided additives in my food, used all natural cleaners and body soaps. Awareness has been the key to my life — my whole life. I’ve been aware of how I should eat, exercise and take care of myself since I was little.
This, though, was put to the test the other day.
I have always known that I have a lot of anxiety about going to the doctor’s. When I was little I often had my blood drawn. Not with the small disposable needles, but with huge horse needles. In fact, my mom remembers me being strapped down to a table when I was 18 months old and having blood taken from my neck. Not a great way to instill trust in someone with a white coat, if you ask me. I also remember a nurse chasing me with a needle when I got my mumps vaccine. She was truly scary. I ran under a chair and hid. My mom had no idea what to do, and obviously this nurse had no bedside manner.
These are memories that are ingrained in my subconscious.
Until I got pregnant I so seldom went to the doctor that my anxiety wasn’t an issue. In fact, up until 3 weeks ago, it only manifested in my slightly elevated glucose levels the morning of my doctor’s appointments. Now that I have to see the doctor once or twice a week, though, I’ve gotten worse.It first began the visit after my first pelvic exam. The doctor came in all excited and worried asking me if I had a host of symptoms for preclampsia. Knowing that I didn’t and that my blood pressure is generally really good, I said no. Even so, there was a frenzy of activity. A few minutes later my blood pressure was checked again and it was fine.
Unfortunately, a pattern had been established.
This has happened every visit since then. Last week it precipitated a visit to the hospital with talks of emergency induction.I went to the hospital knowing full well that my BP would be lower soon (even saying this to the doctor). While our hospital is really nice and comfortable, it did mean lying on my side in a truly uncomfortable position, watching bad TV, not having anything to drink (on a day that was over 80 degrees) or eat (shooting off my glucose levels), and not being able to properly elevate my feet (to allow the heat & gravity-induced edema to go down).
I was glad to go for a trial run, but since the doctor couldn’t be paged for a good 3 hours, it wound up being more trouble than it was worth to me. And, of course, my BP was normal.
The day after this I got to thinking. I know that my doctor is just doing her job and being cautious, but can’t she see the pattern? Do they not discuss white coat hypertension in medical school? Is it not obvious that my BP goes down after my exam?No, instead she focuses on my initial BP readings, saying that they are dangerously high. Well, being anxious will make anyone’s BP spike. The key is whether or not it falls back to more normal levels.
I then had to go back on Friday. I was so upset about being packed off unnecessarily to the hospital again. The first visit was great as a trial run, but it took me two days to recover from the experience of almost being forced into induction, missing my oh-too-few and precious calories and trying to get my glucose levels back on track. Deep within myself I knew that another visit to the hospital unnecessarily would do nothing for me or for the kiddo.I then started to do some research and found out a lot of interesting information about white coat hypertension.
One study in JAMA talks about how white coat hypertensives tend to have more surgical births. Another source I found describes how it may be more prevalent in pregnant women than most doctors think. Not surprising given the personal nature of the examinations we go through.
So, on Friday I refused to go to the hospital.
Instead the day before I bought a BP monitor and started monitoring my BP along with my glucose. I noticed that right after my doctor’s visit my BP was little high, but within 24 hours, it was fine. My labwork all along has been fine — a strong indication to me that my levels reflect my inner fear of doctors more than my true BP.
The doctor wasn’t happy with my decision and I get the feeling that no one ever challenges her. That few people out there are aware of white coat hypertension and will instead allow the doctor to induce unnecessarily. The JAMA article talks about how 42% of the women with white coat hypertension wind up with surgical births. I wonder how many of those surgeries were truly necessary and how many were done simply because there was no awareness on both the part of the patient and doctor that some women experience acute anxiety during doctor’s visits at this point in their pregnancies?
Both Doug and I are aware of our decision, but it was a decision we made after much research and discussion. We know that if Alex’s health is an issue that there will be a possibility of induction and/or surgical birth, but we’d rather enter into such a situation educated, aware and accepting of it instead of from a place of fear and lack of understanding. But there are a few questions that I keep asking myself…
How can my doctor not see the pattern of my BP values?
Why doesn’t she ask me what’s going on emotionally to trigger this and make note of it in my file? (I always have to repeat that I have had this condition since I was little…)
How many other women go through this without question and wind up on the operating table?
How come there isn’t more information about how this condition affects pregnant women?
The other day I stayed true to my ideals. But, it was draining… I just don’t know if I’ll still have the energy to do so with my next visit. Precious energy that should be funneled into preparing emotionally, psychologically, spiritually and physically for Alex’s entrance into this world.
Technorati Tags: Pregnancy,White Coat Hypertension
One of Doug’s coworkers gave us a sling for Alex, which is great, because we’ve been sling shopping and have been daunted by the various choices out there.
So, wanting to make certain I had the thing put together right (they can be quite complex if your hormonal brain is not able to process anything!), I tried the sling out. I used it first with the Abominable Snowman stuffed animal Doug bought for Alex since it’s just about the size of a newborn. While it worked, I discovered that it wasn’t really a good substitute for a squirmy kid. Then I hit upon an idea…
Use Machan the cat.
Machan loves it when I pick her up and is exactly the same weight as a newborn. I put her in the sling and she loved it! She stayed in it purring for a good 40 minutes or more and even let me put her in again later so that Doug could take a picture.
I think this baby is gonna be a little sad when kiddo comes along!
Okay. I was warned. People will ask and say really annoying things while you’re pregnant. It’s like the bigger my belly gets the more people think they have carte blanch to say whatever they like. (And from what I hear it gets worse with child-rearing — sigh!)
But I have to say that there is one question that is super amazing annoying, and it’s the first question that most people here in LA ask.
“So, do you have the baby’s room decorated yet?“
Room? Are these people crazy? Do they not read the LA Times? Do they not realize that in LA we have had an affordable housing shortage for at least the past 7 or 8 years? Not just that, but are they not aware of the idea of attachment parenting and how awful it would be for a little one who’s been nice and cozy in her mama’s belly for 9 months to be all alone in her own room!
My response to this question is…
“Well, um… we have the baby’s corner set up.”
For that’s how it is here in LA.
I never really thought I’d write a post like this — mostly because of my post-modernist feminist tendencies. But one thing I’ve noticed while being pregnant is the dirth of information aimed at expectant partners. I mean, no one else really ever asks Doug how he’s feeling, it’s always all about me. (Which, I admit truthfully is fun and — especially when I’m feeling funky, warranted — but still, it would be nice if others took a greater interest in this whole thing from his perspective too.)
See, all the books I’ve read and most of my friends have said that the partner’s job is to completely support his/her pregnant partner.
But here’s the rub, if you’re in a relationship, it takes two to go through this together in a healthy way.
We both talk about this a bit. When we found out we were expecting, I made it a point to look for books that would be interesting for Doug to read, but from a male perspective. I mean, face it, it’s totally weird seeing your wife/partner go up and down the hormonal scale, go off her food (making romantic dinners out passe since she’s too sick to even think about eating anything) and see such massive physical changes happen over the course of just a few months. (Not to even mention the sporadic and often waning desires for intimacy…) As women most of us talk these things over with girlfriends, moms, people in our prenatal classes.
But who do the guys turn to?
Yes, now there are a few books out there that address these issues. But, it’s often from a really stereotypically male point of view, peppered with cartoons about missing the latest game and such. Luckily there are blogs that touch on these issues (like New Father Blog), but you have to hunt for them. Male/female differences aside, I still think that it’s important these days to recognize and really acknowledge our partners — particularly since women recently have put men into the primary position of being our main support person not just during pregnancy but during the birthing process as well.
We expect a lot from our guys these days and, at least from the perspective of childbirth in western countries, there’s little or no schema for men to hold onto. Historically they’ve not been a part of this whole process, and now we expect so much for them without giving them the same kind of positive support we give women. Just think about it, how many books on pregnancy and childbirth are aimed at women? How many classes are offered that are just for guys?
Parenting is hard, there’s no doubt about it. But, in our nuclear families, it’s really important for expecting moms to take a few moments and realize that their partners may be going through a lot too — they just might not be articulating it in the same way. Sure, there are many days when I feel that Doug should tend to me, but I’m always conscious of the fact that there are times when he really needs some TLC too. My changes are so much more apparent than his are, but it doesn’t mean that he isn’t going through things that are just as intense.
So, for you expecting moms out there, I hope this post starts a greater dialogue with you and your partner about how you both can support each other. Your partner may be giving more during this time, but in truth, it’s about both of you. For expectant dads, I hope that this generates more blogs and discussion about how you all can network and help one another in a way that works best for you.
God, how did this happen? I used to be a pesco-ovo-sometimes lacto vegetarian and now…
I’m eating Korean BBQ like there’s no tomorrow!
I guess I always intuitively knew that when I got pregnant my ideas about diet and what my body needs would change. I’ve tried being vegan, was hoping to make most of my vegetarian diet (keeping wild-caught fish in because of the benefits to my hereditary high cholesterol) raw this year, but that all has changed.
This topic comes up with some of my friends who were vegetarian (or mostly vegetarian) and then become pregnant. What does a person do?
I have to say I have a few friends/acquaintances who remained on a strict vegetarian diet throughout their whole pregnancy. This is really admirable. But a lot of them are like me — there is just something inside of me that needs meat. So much so that it’s very rare that I’ll get that “my god, I’m eating meat” feeling. In fact, yesterday at lunch was the first time I’ve had that feeling in a while. This quickly went away after Doug and I decided to go to Korean BBQ last night.
At first it wasn’t easy going back to meat. I really try to still keep as much of my protein based on eggs, beans, nuts and grains. But, with gestational diabetes that’s been hard because of the carb load beans, nuts and grains tend to have.
I think a few of my friends felt guilty at first eating meat. I know I felt strange, but not really guilty. Just less healthy. I initially gave up meat for health reasons 9 years ago (high fat content, BGH, method of killing). I don’t necessarily feel badly for going back to meat in term of eating an animal, it’s more in terms of what other things I’m putting into my body and the heaviness it makes me feel after a meal.
But, such is life. I think that there are definitely times when some of us need to revisit our diets and take an open view of what we need to eat but to do so with greater awareness. Honestly I would rather not have the craving for a huge hamburger, but when I do, I know that it’s not an everyday thing and that my first priority is to listen to my body and see what it (and of course, kiddo) truly needs. Sometimes it’s just a bunch of nice leafy green veggies with some nuts and avocado, but other times it’s a big hamburger loaded with dijon mustard.
I was really lucky — when I first got pregnant I had no health insurance. Now, you might think that is a bad thing, but here in Pasadena, we have an amazing free clinic system (sadly not as accessible for those not expecting), and there is a lot of support for mothers-to-be.
Unlike with PPO or HMO doctors, on my first clinic visit I was screened for everything right away — including for gestational diabetes (GDM). Every patient also saw a nutritionist (who was extremely well-trained and teaches/researches at colleges locally) regardless of her background. It was because of this early screening that I knew I had pregnancy-related glucose intolerance before the end of my first trimester and was given the tools to manage it easily.
Unfortunately, most pregnant women are not screened for this disease early — the average screening takes place at 28 weeks — already 7 months into term. What this means is that if someone has actually had this problem since the onset of her pregnancy, she has to change her eating and exercise habits (not to mention learning how to test her glucose or even use insulin) during a time when her body is starting to get more unwieldy and when she may have established a routine that gives into her cravings. This really makes it harder to modify an already set pattern.
When I became pregnant, I suspected that I had GDM because of my age and family history. Some of the signs to watch out for include:
These are 4 of the risk factors that were relevant in my case (quite a lot, when you think of it!). Here are a few others:
So, it was a good thing I took that god-awful screening test early!
While it’s been a pain during the past 5 or so months eating low-carb and trying to satisfy my pregnancy cravings, this whole process has been made easier by the fact that I am now acclimated to my diet. It really helps, especially now that I’m only 7 weeks away from my due date and am starting to feel bigger and more hormonal. It also means that Alex’s and my weight have been kept in check and that we both are normal in terms of weight gain.
So, for any of you who are pregnant or who are expecting to become pregnant and two or more of these risk factors describe you, you might want to encourage your doctor to check you early. I find it hard to believe that GDM in many women only shows up late — I think that those of us who are predisposed to getting it do get it early. Even if the test shows normal glucose levels early on, you can always retest at week 28 when the placenta starts producing more glucose. Personally I’ve found that since I’ve been watching my diet for so long, my glucose levels have stabilized and are actually lower than they were at the beginning of my second trimester.
Living with GDM is not a cake walk (umm… cake…). But learning to live with it early on definitely paves the way for a healthier pregnancy, birthing experience, and ultimately healthier baby.
Technorati Tags: gestational diabetes, pregnancy
It’s become a running joke between Doug and me that one of these days I’ll start putting whipped cream on my main course. I guess in a way, though, Doug’s lucky. Remember the cliché about the pregnant woman who sends her husband out at 2 in the morning to get ice cream, dill pickles and sardines? I want none of that (although I’m never one to turn down dill pickles, but that’s something else all together).
I just want whipped cream.
I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s the frothy feeling of the white creamy tufts that come swirling so neatly out of the can melting in my mouth. It could be the sensation of slightly fatty sweetness as it hits my tongue. But, if I don’t have whipped cream (light or non-fat, of course) at least once a day I start to suffer what may actually be defined as acute withdrawal systems.
[And, it’s not just whipped cream. I also long for peanut butter and dark chocolate too. Although not all of them together – or at least not always -- for one can’t really have peanut butter without it being dipped lusciously in chocolate!]
I’ve always loved whipped cream but have never really made it a staple in my diet before. Having to watch my carbs, though, has made me feel really unsatisfied each time I eat a meal. I am a whole grains type of person with a mostly vegetarian diet who has been reduced to eating just a few starchy carbs a day and a lot more meat products.
My body’s gone into a small revolt in the process.
Turns out, though, that whipped cream, while having little nutritional value, is super low in carbs. So, not only does it make me feel good, but it doesn’t spike my blood sugar at all.
I don’t know what it is, but whenever I put it on my food (or in my decaf – that’s a must too!) I instantly feel full, sated. Happiness fills not just my tummy, but my entire being.
In spite of Doug’s jokes, though, I think for now, it might just be easier to treat whipped cream as just a side dish — a little dollop straight out of the can is often just right!
It all began with my dad calling me plump and juicy when I was little. Until I hit puberty, I was chubby (unlike most of the other girls who seemed to lose their baby fat once they hit third grade). Then, the opposite happened – at age 13 all those curves melted away (except for my hips) and I was the short, flat-chested girl with straight lines. Then, instead of saying how nice I looked my dad would say “You look like a boy. You’re not supposed to see ribs on a girl!”
These conflicting messages ensured that I would probably never be comfortable inside of my own body. How I longed for the day when I thought things would change and that I would feel happy to be whatever shape I was.
This has yet to happen.
Even pregnant, the body image issues I have battled all my life seem to magically rear their ugly heads (or in my case, hips!). I always thought that it would be so wonderful to have a socially-approved-of-belly and that I wouldn’t have to worry about how much I weighed or how big I was.
This still has yet to happen.
Maybe it is because I got pregnant just before getting married and my fears of showing in my dress (which I of course, did – I was showing quite early). Maybe it was because we wanted to wait to tell people we were expecting until after the wedding. Whatever it was for the first 3 months of my pregnancy I felt heavy, fat and bloated.
Something inside of me, though, told me that my issues would probably pass once I hit the second trimester. Showing would be wonderful. This would’ve been the case if I hadn’t of had gestational diabetes and had to go see the dietician (who just so happens to be a very small middle-aged Chinese lady with a slight build).
Our conversation went something like this:
Her: Oh, you are overweight.
Me: I know I’ve gained weight in the past few years because of stress, but I’m well within the parameters for my height.
Her (checking off the Overweight box on my intake form): Oh no. You are overweight. I am the same height, and even though I have smaller bones, you should weigh 120 lbs. pre-pregnancy.
Me: I have weighed that much before. I was anorexic and size 3 clothes hung on me. I’m not genetically wired to weigh that little.
Her (ignoring my comment about an eating disorder): That is your ideal weight.
This is a medical professional? Every time I go into this office to have my glucose levels evaluated, it’s a similar conversation. I’m almost in my sixth month, and have only gained about 5-6 pounds so far. How on earth — if all my pregnancy books say I should have gained about 11 — can that be too much?
I also love the fact that her scale magically reads my weight as being 2 lbs. heavier than my OBGYN’s. I had an appointment with both of them the same day – the dietician being right after the doctor. I asked her how I could’ve gained 2 lbs. in the course of an hour. Part of me wonders if their scale is off just to be able to lord their non-pregnant, genetically-predispositioned-to-be-thin figures over me and make their patients feel bad.
There is little positive about these visits.
Trying to ignore this does take some energy and hard work, though.
In truth, I unless I have an appointment with these nurses, I feel happy with my belly and size. I am eating well and exercising. I know that I’m carrying high and that my belly will show a little more than some other women.
And that’s just the way it is.
Technorati Tags: Pregnancy
So, in a previous post I put up some of my earlier attempts at making a sweater. Even though I used to make sweaters and make up my own patterns, something has shifted within recent years since I once again picked up knitting (I took a 6-7 year hiatus from crochet and knitting at one point in time)…
I bought a pattern book, The Yarn Girls Guide to Simple Knits.
Maybe it was the allure of the lavender-colored bulky yarn on the cover or the wide range of sweater types they have patterns for, but I thought about, lusted and saved for this book for a couple of months a few years ago.
I have been unable to think up my own sweater patterns since.
It’s not that I don’t have ideas, it’s just that I realized that in terms of technique I had gone as far as I could go. Straight lines and whipstitched seams are fine for a while, but I knew I had to tackle raglan and set-in sleeves as well as invisible seaming at some point. I also knew that I had to learn about the different shapes and styles out there to expand my understanding of sweater construction. Even so…
Almost every sweater I have made from a pattern since then hasn’t really turned out as well as I would have hoped. There is just something about trial and error and going with the flow that appeals to my sense of sweater-making. The good thing, though, is that because I am inherently lazy, I am finding new ways to seam, make things in the round, pick up stitches, and work raglans top-down.
So that maybe some day my sweater-making mojo will come back with some fun and innovative ways of doing things.
On another note, I notice that a lot of people I know are afraid to make sweaters. It might be the fact that it’s such a large project or that the seaming is daunting. I say start making sweaters as soon as you can. You can always knit them straight and seam using whip stitch for your first attempt or, if the sweater is bulky, use embroidery thread and crochet the seams together.
Another way to learn about sweaters, design and construction, is to make baby sweaters. Most of us have little ones we want to knit for, and a baby sweater is a small investment in terms of time, yarn, and energy. It’s really motivating to have a completed project in hand without worrying about being completely perfect. (I mean, is the baby or his/her parents really going to care that you haven’t seamed perfectly?)
With this in mind, I decided to tackle my ultimate least favorite aspect of sweater-making these days — mattress stitch seaming, (How I truly pine for those days of whipstitch ignorance!) and decided to make a sweater for my little one-to-be, Alex.
It’s a basic pattern from Simple Knits for Cherished Babies. (A book which I have to say has a bit of an unrealistic view of babies — most of the patterns call for cashmere blend yarn — can you imagine handwashing sweaters all the time what with the ever-present mishaps kids have???) It was a great way for me to practice seaming and other things that I have avoided mastering.
So, for all you sweater-phobes out there, I totally recommend that you start off simple (cardigans are really fun, but also a basic drop sleeve pullover can be a great way to start.) If you don’t have a baby to knit for, there are so many charities that accept baby sweaters to give to preemies and underprivileged kids in hospitals such as Stitches from the Heart.
Oh, and as an aside, when I was sewing in ends for this at SnB the other night, everyone was commenting on how tiny this sweater was (newborn size). But my thought was, “Wow, something with shoulders that big has to somehow get out from inside of me!”
As with most things, I guess, size is relative.
Technorati Tags: Knitting
So this is another piece I wrote a bit ago about telling Doug we were expecting. He has been after me to post it…
Here are just a few scenarios I pictured when I was younger that I might one day use in the future telling the news to my partner/husband that we were expecting (reminiscent of the Hallmark Channel/Hollywood-esque cliché).
Knitting baby booties and having the husband look up at me and ask what the booties are for. I give him a knowing glance with a sly grin and say, “Well, dear…”
Interior. Evening. Tall taper candles are lit on the table, three-course dinner is waiting to be served. Husband walks into the apartment.
Husband: Wow, this looks incredible! What’s the occasion?
Wife: Oh nothing, this is just a little something I put together to show how much I love you.
Conversation and banter continue throughout dinner. Dessert is brought out. The wife takes her husband’s hand and says.
Wife: Honey, I have something special to tell you.
Husband: What is it, did you get the new promotion at work?
Wife: No, dear, this is something much more wonderful. (She smiles coyly, looking at him with loving eyes.)
Husband: I can’t imagine what it is. Can you give me a hint?
The wife glances shyly down at her abdomen. Smiles and says…
Wife: You’re going to be a father, we’re expecting!
After a brief moment of shock, the husband jumps up, sweeps his wife into his arms and carries her off into the bedroom.
Okay, in truth I actually never envisioned myself doing or saying any of these things. First off, scenario number one would never work because I’m constantly knitting baby booties, afghans, hats and toys for friends’ and relatives’ babies. The second scenario is just far too cheesy, but one of the books I’m reading actually suggests something like this. Not only would it involve keeping the pregnancy a secret for a bit of time (impossible for me) but it would also mean that I’d have to somehow explain how I would be serving a wonderful dinner complete with meat (which, up until I became pregnant was pretty much a non-existent entity in my diet) but without wine. (Just tell me how a wine lover would explain that one without giving up the game??).
Oh how reality is so totally different!
Here’s what really happened. So far gone from the romantic notions of ‘breaking the news’.
Interior. Hot humid day. Fans blowing in the background. Katie is in the bedroom looking up information on the internet about pregnancy, eyes swollen. Doug enters living room.
Doug: Hey, I’m home!
Katie doesn’t answer.
Doug places mail on the table. Starts walking toward the bedroom. Katie comes out of the bedroom. Doug looks at her red face – obviously something is wrong.
Doug (concerned): Hey sweetie, what’s the matter?
Katie: I… Well… (She gulps for air). Um…
They are standing on opposite sides of the room. Doug moves closer.
Katie: Um… You know how I said I was feeling really terrible the past couple of weeks?
Katie: Well… After meeting you for ice cream this afternoon, I went ahead and got a pregnancy test, just in case. And…
Katie breaks into sobs, moves, heaving and crying to the sofa. She seems inconsolable.
Katie: I… I…took the test.
Doug: Oh, you should have waited for me!
Katie: I just wanted to do this alone. So, I took the test… and… (sobs and gasps for air) It’s positive!
Silence. Doug wraps his arms around Katie.
Doug: It’s okay.
Katie: You don’t understand, I feel so guilty. Like it’s my fault this has happened right now! I know we were planning this for later, but… now, just before the wedding???
Doug: Oh sweetie! It’s okay. Maybe this was in God’s plan for us.
It may not have been the most romantic moment in the world, what with red and bloated eyes and tears running down my face. But this was how it happened. No candles, no knitting, just the two of us holding each other on the sofa, awaiting the next challenges this news would bring.
Technorati Tags: pregnancy
This blog post is pretty personal. I originally wrote it a couple of months ago…
I’m a scaredy cat.
Even though I’m the sort of person who can readily hop on a plane and travel the world without so much as a few pages copied from a guidebook (and sometimes not even that much), I’m just, deep, down at heart, a chicken. If something seems too daunting, I don’t dive into it – I avoid it.
So, I probably would’ve known about this whole thing earlier. All the signs were there. I had a feeling inside of me that there was something going on that was unusual, but instead of being proactive, I put things off, hoping against all hope that whatever my intuition was telling me was misguided.
I should’ve known better – my intuition is always right…
I notice the first signs while I’m teaching. Extreme tiredness and grumpiness. Nothing out of the ordinary for me, since my PMS symptoms are usually really strong. I debate whether or not to go back on the pill because this one time I feel so bad, I think I’ll scream and I don’t want to have to deal with this right before the wedding. Between working and moving, my schedule has been thrown completely off and all I want is for my cycle to end.
and I wait….
This is strange for me – unless I’m stressed (which I am, though), I’m like a clock. I know the moving, wedding planning, and working is getting to me, but this much?
Something inside of me tells me that things in my body are different. For a week I wake up in the middle of the night, heart beating wildly, unable to sleep. It feels like there is an unknown entity taking over my body – visions of horror movies unleashing their vise-like hold on my psyche.
What if, I ask Doug the day after one of these episodes, I’m…well…you know…pregnant?
It wouldn’t be the end of the world, he says. It might be in God’s plan for us.
The thought lingers in my mind for a good week. I keep pushing it away because I did have some mild cramps and some bleeding. I am just about ready to go to get my pill prescription refilled when I decide to go ahead and take a test just in case.
It reminds me of being a teenager all over again.
Walking in the drugstore the same nervousness grips me like when I was 17 and considering sleeping with my boyfriend. Back then I knew that I wasn’t really ready (and, we ultimately didn’t because of my then strong religious beliefs and the fact that I didn’t love him), but at the time I thought it would be wise to have some protection on hand just in case.
As I walked down the aisle those 20-odd years ago, I remember being totally overwhelmed at whatever lay ahead of me. As fate would have it, I ran into a high school friend, chickened out and bought something simple like gum instead.
This day in the drugstore seems no different, except I muster up my courage and go through with the purchase. I throw the box in the back of the car and head over to one of my favorite cafes to write.
When I get home, I look at the box, fear once again rearing its head. Hands shaking, not certain if I can go through with this.
But of course after a few deep breaths I do. It feels like the first time I went scuba-diving in Hawaii where I had to end my dive early because I started hyperventilating. I am confined within the 16 square foot space of my bathroom, the pressure inside of me reminiscent of the weight of the water on that particular dive, pushing me down, closing me in. I’m unable to do much but wait.
The box says to wait 5 minutes, but the answer appears almost immediately. First one blue line in the left window and then a minute later another line in the right.
There’s got to be some sort of mistake, I think to myself. This can’t be real. Maybe the test is wrong. (Being the thrifty person that I am, I had gotten the generic brand, after all).
But it is there, clear as day. I am pregnant.
Even though this is something I’ve always wanted, I’m not ready. I’m terrified and start sobbing uncontrollably.