May 21, 2009

Pregnancy: My Real Confessions

I can't sleep, and I began working on this post about six weeks ago - so it's time to finish it up and publish it.

I've made a solid effort at keeping my pregnancy experience real on this blog. To me, it's so important to be positive while also addressing all the issues that come up during such a huge life change. I certainly was not a bubbling, happy bride all the time, and I don't think I've been an over-the-top joyous pregnant woman either. I'm too realistic to be either of those.

I am about eight days away from my due date. Single digits! The end of my pregnancy is coming quickly, almost too quickly. Part of me wants to keep Charlie in for much, much longer - for the simple reason that I just don't feel ready. Our house is pretty much ready. But I look at my life's affairs and so much remains to be put in its proper place. I am definitely not the person I thought I'd be as a first-time mother. I think I always expected to feel like more of an adult and to act moreso as well. But no, I still make perverted jokes, cuss like a sailor, and sometimes listen to rap songs.

But like I've said before, I'm so excited to meet Charlie. I'm definitely nervous and anxious, but excited is a good word for how I feel overall. And strangely enough, I'm kind of ready for him to come out for the simple reason that I am tired of worrying about what's going on in utero. Charlie has drastically changed his sleeping routine in the last week and a half, and as a result, his active times are completely different from what they used to be. I used to be able to count on him being very active in the morning, but now he's pretty quiet. After months of spending early morning hours feeling him thump around, it's unnerving that he's not doing it anymore. I keep thinking about all the bad things that could possibly be happening, like cord accidents.

One thing that I've always been a little wary of admitting is how this pregnancy (and by extension, Charlie) still doesn't feel real to me in a lot of ways. One would think that having gone through the better part of a year of growing another human being would automatically make it all feel real, but the truth is, I still sometimes have a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that we will be bringing home a baby in three weeks or less (hopefully). I just can't really see it happening yet. I imagine it all the time, but I also haven't completely given myself over to the experience of having a baby. Mainly I think that's due to the fact that I am waiting for something to go wrong. There is no indication that anything will go wrong; it's just me being paranoid and waiting for that other shoe to drop. I will say that I have not been a carefree pregnant woman. Although I know I can come across that way, the truth is I do worry. A lot. I hate worrying. But I know this is only the beginning of that.

I have to admit that this whole pregnancy thing has been a really mixed bag. It's been harder both physically and emotionally than I ever could have anticipated in my wildest dreams. It has been an incredibly humbling experience. I have watched both my body and my mind transform into something unrecognizable at times. Underneath it all, I'm still me, of course, but there's an added dimension that just wasn't there before.

Perhaps this makes me shallow, but the physical changes are almost too much to bear at times. My body was not anything close to perfect when I got pregnant, but I feel almost desperate to have that body back sometimes. While I haven't gained a ton of weight, being 25+pounds heavier than I used to be has really done a number on me. I find myself staring at women in their super cute jeans wishing to be that attractive again (assuming I was even that attractive to begin with). I can't stop thinking about working out. And while I know I am pregnant, truthfully I just feel fat.

And I'm just uncomfortable. The worst does appear to be behind me, though, and my level of discomfort has drastically improved since I've been on leave. I feel extraordinarily lucky to not be miserable right now, because I know so many pregnant women who aren't even as far along as I am are just done. I mean, who wants to spend every waking moment of the last few months of their pregnancy feeling miserable?

However, I should go ahead and also acknowledge that for the most part, pregnancy has been kind to me. If you would have asked me when I was 20 weeks how my pregnancy stacked up against other women's pregnancies, I wouldn't have been able to offer a comparison, but I would have said that pregnancy hadn't been good to me. And actually, it's taken me awhile to realize, but I think I've had an absolutely normal first pregnancy.

Yes, I've had a couple of trips to the ER (one of which that turned into an overnight stay in L&D), a short trip to L&D for spotting (and several instances of spotting since) and another for monitoring, anemia related to pregnancy, sprained ribs and back muscle spasms, and the worst insomnia ever through the first half of my pregnancy. But I am so lucky. I don't have gestational diabetes or toxoplasmosis or pre-eclampsia. I am healthy, and so is Charlie. What more could I possibly ask for?

My pregnancy has been an amazing journey. I still can recall in detail the night I saw those two pink lines indicating that I had a small sack of cells growing in me. I fell in love then, admittedly. My love deepened at my first doctor's appointment on October 10, when we saw our little peanut of a guy growing with his little flickering heartbeat. My heart swelled the morning early in my pregnancy when Roy announced, "I love Bunlet!" And again and again as I saw Charlie move on the ultrasound screen for the first time and felt his tiny little kicks that eventually grew into hard jabs. I know, I know - I've written about this stuff countless times. I really am a sentimental gusher, but I can't help it. I know how lucky I am. Sometimes I feel like I don't deserve this happiness.

But for some reason, this happiness has been granted to me. And so I'm just going to go with it. I can't wait to meet Charlie. I can't wait to explore life as a mother. I have always wanted this, and for one of my lifelong dreams to be coming true at last really is more than I ever could have asked for.

So those are my real pregnancy confessions. Nothing too outrageous to be found here, I suppose. I guess it can all be boiled down to this:

1) Pregnancy is amazing, and once you experience it, you are never the same.
2) The fear and worry that one experiences during pregnancy is probably a good initiation into the world of parenthood.
3) Cankles suck.


phairhead said...

I'm really glad you shared yr experience w/ everyone. Yr about to embark on a really chaotic journey and yr gonna be great

A said...

I've been a mom for 6 years (7 if you include the pregnancy) and I still make perverted jokes and I still cuss like a sailor and I still listen to rap music on occasion. I even shake my booty too!

I never feel grown up. I expressed this to my mom once and she said "that's because you never stop growing up." Fabulous words, don't you think?

Love you Les! You are an awesome mommy!

Angie Eats Peace said...

I really appreciate your honest.

I think that, your self-awareness and your endless reflection are going to make you a terrific mom.

cowboyboot lady said...

I love your honesty. I think that because of your fear and worry, this will make you a wonderful mother. You care enough to have those feelings.

Erika said...

I love your honesty too.....You sound like how I would sound like if i were pregnant.

Brenda said...

I always love reading your pregnancy posts. It seems like time has just flown by and I can't believe you are 8 days away from your due date. You and Roy are going to be wonderful parents!

Leslie said...

Phairhead - Thanks for believing in me, yo. :)

Amanda - Yep, those are wise words, indeed. I was telling Roy how I expected to be listening to classical music and dressing very properly at this point. While I do enjoy some classical music, I'm still just kind of a kid. But mature enough to have a kid.

Angelina, cowboyboot lady, and Erika - Thank you for that - you are both awesome.

Brenda - Yeah, the time has indeed flown. I can't believe he's going to be here soon! It blows my mind day after day.

amber said...

Listening to rap music and cussing like a sailor doesn't make you any less ready to be a parent. I think you're going to be a great mom.

My husband's cousin echoed your sentiments that her pregnancy oftentimes just didn't feel real to her. I bet that many women feel that way and just don't admit to it.