Pregnancy Thoughts, Finally. Part 1

Hmm. I haven’t been here for a while. In some ways I am a little sad because I did such an over the top job chronicling and expressing how I felt when I was on my pregnancy journey with the triplets, and this time I am slacking. (Heads up: This is long and you will find mistakes in my writing.)

The road to get pregnant last time was such a private thing gone public, that I think maybe that was the intension for the whole adventure. I was so peaceful in an outward way, finally learning to trust others to help me and guide me. I was at the mercy of doctors and nurses from day one of that pregnancy…waiting on calls to see if my follicles were mature enough to conceive until the end when I was told how and when I would deliver.

I have spent many hours and days and nights trying to sort all of this out. I had come to the conclusion that I needed healing from all of this. All of the pain that came with the desire for a baby and all the heaviness of what felt like an unrequited love from a child we didn’t know if we would ever meet. Furthermore, as successful and healthy as the pregnancy and delivery were – they were so off from anything I would have chosen for myself. Sitting in bed, eating fries because it’s the only thing I could get down, gaining 70 lbs, not having one thing prepared for a nursery and then giving myself over to the demands of the doctor’s timing when it came to delivery still all seem foreign.

Walking to deliver THREE babies…like a different person standing there.

So, in some ways, yes – I may need some healing from that time in my life. However, over the last almost three years, I have realized it was just what I needed – at the time. It was healing in itself, not traumatic and cruel and too challenging for the wonderful and fearfully made woman God had made me to be, for just that exact season.

I didn’t feel wonderful and fearfully made at the time.

But that is part of the lesson.

Most things in your past aren’t just in your past. They are wonderfully and fearfully part of who you are today…NOW. In this season and moment – very real and very wonderful.

I have been beating myself up a bit for not finding the time to journal/blog about this pregnancy and season of motherhood. I had envisioned surviving this 40 weeks of growing a human inside, while chasing and developing and loving three little humans on the outside, by writing and recording it all through words and pictures and funny anecdotes and sappy reflection. And let me tell you, there has been a lot of funny – and some not so funny – anecdotes and a million sappy reflections – but for some reason, I have just chosen – maybe even without knowing it – to just keep them in.

Sure, part of me is tired and that could be why I haven’t been writing. We have had our house on the market three months, I am getting bigger everyday, the kids are fast and needy and never seem tired or are overly tired all the time and we are on the brink of potty-training, which is actually them wanting to be on the potty all the time and me trying to distract them from it because I’m not ready and then there is the just trying to keep up with life as a wife and mother and all those other roles you hold so dear.

So yes, I am tired – but more than that, this time my personal matter that just isn’t as public (because let’s face it, it’s just not as interesting to get pregnant without trouble and then to be carrying only one…) feels really nice being personal. Not that I don’t love talking about this baby or that I won’t tell you anything you want to know, like my peeing issues or the stretch marks that so magically have appeared or my supernatural ability to pit out every shirt I wear.

It has just felt right to be right where I am – learning about myself, my body and the inner confidence and strength that God has blessed me with. Part of it is letting go of what others may think or say or contribute to an experience. I don’t want to say I don’t need loved ones or want the connection I had to others on my blog last time, but I do want to say I have been led, for probably the first time in 32 years, to have a really internal and sacred experience with life, my spirit and the spirit of life inside.

Talk about Namaste. The light inside me honors the light inside you, inside me. 

Again, this is not my renouncement from friendships, family and all things outward, because more than ever, I need people and am OK with wanting people. It’s just a shift I have experienced and it is one that has involved faith not sight, choosing peace not anxiety and accepting instead of seeking confirmation. I have learned my personality seeks advice and affirmation, whether it is un-solicited or sought after, and I have further learned this does not always serve me. Looking back the times that felt so scary and wrong were times that I was like a ping pong ball floating around the game, just waiting for a new person or idea or solution to bump me to the next place. This season, this pregnancy, our family and every little detail of the present has taught me to follow my gut and listen to that still voice inside. It leads me down the rabbit hole in a good way. Although it can be scary to follow faith instead of physical example or knowledge, it is also empowering and peaceful. Feeling safe that wherever you go, there you are. (Jon Kabat-Zinn)

It is trusting that little light inside … and letting it shine – without needing affirmation or redirection from anyone else. It is the continuation of letting go. And somewhere in there you have to believe you are then, letting God.

With that said, I’m ready to share a little bit about what has been brewing in my mind and heart. First of all, I had chosen not to tell many people this huge part of the story, but I feel compelled to share, since it is indeed, part of the story. At eight weeks Scott and I went in for our typical, exciting yet scary, “this is how the normal people feel in a pregnancy” ultrasound. I knew their would be a heartbeat because of my nausea. The worst thing on my mind was whether or not we should leave the next day for Punta Cana while I was eight weeks pregnant and so sick and unsure of getting to that 12 week finish line of worry and doubt. I laid down, heart beating fast, because let’s face it – no matter what, that first ultrasound is like a weird cosmic blind date … does this person really exist? Will they show up or has it been a figment of my imagination? What exactly is in there??!!

The familiar probe from last pregnancy was shoved in and my sweaty palm joined Scott’s. I am sure we were giggling and Scott was doing what he has done in every ultrasound … asking “just give us the hearbeat!?” I look up and I see black blobs. I maybe started to sweat more. I thought to myself, nothing is moving. Wait, everything is OK, isn’t it?

There was a bit of silence. Deafening silence that at the time felt new, but looking back, we had that same human nature pause of silence when we had our first ultrasound with the triplets. That time where humans are expecting something normal and something else happens and those humans, especially the one that is disclosing the information, is truly speechless and a little awkward.

Scott said it again, “Can you just show us the heartbeat?” And I said (and I know this is exactly what I said…partly to calm Scott, but mostly to distract myself from feeling. I always talk when I’m nervous or don’t want to feel real emotion), “You see a heartbeat, right? Are you just looking for it? Is it too early to see a heartbeat?”

Here’s where that weird silence hanging in the air crashes. The tech says,

“Do you mean the twins’ heartbeats?”

What. What? What.

When I wrote my story of Shock I wasn’t ready to tell the true story. Yes we were kind of shocked to be pregnant all on our own…the first month we sort of tried. But to see twins…after no medical intervention and absolutely no gut feeling was S.H.O.C.K.

That morning the two lines appeared I vividly remember Scott and I saying, “There is NO WAY there is more than one!” And then. There was. I was on my knees and felt like there wasn’t a plan after all. It must be all by chance. This isn’t right. It’s a mistake.

I cried. I cried I think harder than I ever have publicly in my whole life. I couldn’t look at the screen. The joy I had expected had been robbed by pure and utter disappointment and fear. Anger surfaced. Faith walked out the door. I wanted to quit letting go and quickly take control. I was scared we had a made a mistake. I was mad at myself for not seeing it as a blessing. I was questioning God and telling him he picked the wrong girl. I even prayed he would take it away.

I just couldn’t do this. 

Needless to say, we flew to Punta Cana the next day. I needed out. I ate saltine crackers, cried a lot and tried to figure out what van we would have to drive as a family. I watched families of four meander calmly around the resort, feeling the threat of our prison sentence of never being able to travel again. If you have ever seen Ferris Bueller and remember the scene where Cameron sits frozen and paralyzed at the pool after his dad’s car is ruined…that was pretty much me. Poor Scott…here we are to celebrate five years of marriage in paradise and all I want to do is lay around inside with the blinds closed, watching Downton Abbey seasons on our laptop.

Punta Cana. Blur.

Two weeks later, at our ten week ultrasound, we saw one gummy bear moving on the screen.

One.

And not to over refer to movies, but like Forest Gump says “That’s all I have to say about that.”

The details certainly happened and there were certainly honest and raw feelings that happened during that first trimester, the kind that go with shock and sadness and joy and loss, but all that matters is that God screamed to me in all of this – “Trust Me. Trust You. We will be just fine.” Looking back, I don’t know what I was so afraid of. Or mad about. I don’t know. Hmm.

Fast forward to 31 weeks. Journey isn’t even the right word.

I have felt so full and blessed and yet so exhausted and tapped out that there has been not a single day that I haven’t felt alive. One of my favorite things about pregnancy is the level it places you on. I don’t know if it’s because you have life inside of you or that you are so aware of taking care of yourself that you allow yourself grace – but for me, I feel like life is in living color during this time. All the emotions and states I am in are BIG. They aren’t just in passing…it’s like I’m looking every emotion and thought process in the face.

If I’m happy, I’m really happy and probably tearing up. I have had countless moments where I will catch a smile or little new word from one of the babes and I will just stare at them like I was meeting them for the first time. Or I will watch them play and pretend together, laughing or holding hands – and time literally stands still while I thank God and every lucky star that we are adding one more of them to this picture that I feel like I am watching on a big screen.

24 weeks

When I’m sad, I’m really sad. I feel scared and frozen and probably am tearing up, again. I wonder how I will find room in my heart for another baby and how my tired body will do it. I question the importance of laundry and cooking and keeping house and want to crawl in a hole and never come out.

When I’m energetic I feel like taking on the world and feel like the bump on my belly is like a shield and a beautiful addition to my physical self – so proud of every curve and change my body has experienced. I can turn the corner from seeing a double chin, wide white hips and really weird mom arms in the mirror and see the amazingly round and perfectly placed bump. I can eat healthy and give into cravings, trusting my body’s instinct to know what I need. I pray to God this pregnancy ends slowly.

When I’m tired, I am sooo tired. My whole body feels heavy and swollen and red and bumpy and hungry and bloated. Constipated (see, not afraid to share the details) and up at 4 am and then dead at 4 pm. Fat. Double chin. Arms waving at me. I see all those in the mirror and that mound in the middle with growing stretch marks is an afterthought. And then, in my bloat, I eat to feel better. And then I feel worse. And my chest burns. And I think Thank God this is my last pregnancy.

When I think about birth I get wild. I, again, tear up. I get adrenaline. I get terrified. In pre-natal yoga I look around and am in awe of this whole thing. When I am awake at 4 am with round ligament pain, I go back in my shell, deciding the baby should just never come out. It’s up and down and it’s real and raw and sometimes I love it and want to savor it for all times, and sometimes I just want sushi and a glass of red wine.

There isn’t a day that I don’t show up, learn and grow a little bit more into the person that I know I was created and woven together to be. Each day I pray to get out of the way of myself and be the mother that lets them, all four of them, be the light and the person that I had nothing to do with during the creating and forming process. That person, that light, is so much bigger than counting, the ABC’s or behaving well. It takes people life times to wake up to their true selves, I pray I get them on the right path.

And that’s when I remember I can do it. I can climb every mountain – step by step – because through this exposure to the creation of life, I am reminded, with 100% confidence the maker made me to do this. And although I questioned the idea of “meant to be” versus “chance and mistakes” in that ultrasound room at 8 weeks, I know deep down inside – if I let that little light shine – I could and can do it. I can. The mountain can be moved. If only I allow it. That is the hard part.

Which leads me to finally opening up about the “logistics,” if you will, of this pregnancy and birthing of our sweet baby. I recently read a birthing affirmation that said, “My heart knows everything it needs to know to bring this child into the world and my mind is learning.” So powerful – my heart knows and my mind is learning. Isn’t this every single day of mothering? Every single day of living?

This explains right where my heart and mind are with how I have chosen to live out the rest of this pregnancy and the vision for the birth, and in turn, how my soul and mind are being transformed in general.

The pregnancy part of this transformation is easier. I am so dedicated and committed to living in the moment, knowing this is a fast fleeting flicker of time. I’ve been here before. I know how quickly beautiful life escapes you, going from a romance to a responsibility with that first breath of life. I get scared I will miss this and feel empty, and then I get real and realize I have a gift now to be aware of every emotion, feeling and tiny movement – that I get to keep with me forever. If a book is a gift you get to keep opening, pregnancy and motherhood is a gift that never closes.

I work to choose everyday to live in the realm of mystery and wonder…just content knowing that all is as it should be. It is the greatest opportunity to learn about the things you don’t understand…everyday when I feel movement and flips, I think “God, you are real. I don’t get this but IT is real. Life must be real. I must believe…even when I don’t understand.” It feels like a baby dinosaur in there, poking at it’s shell to burst out … but the truth is, there is a spirit, a mind and a body that flow together effortlessly…with my help, but really not with my help at all. A life that will be born into this world with innocence, warmth and some desperation that is endearing.

A beautiful first breath …

Now the transformation that lives on after pregnancy…into those long days and months of reality…that may be the hard part.

And the baby’s crib arrives…its real.

 

 

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