Fear seems to be a reoccurring theme with me. I’m not sure if the pregnancy induced insomnia makes me crazy on the inside or if it’s just that I have the time to dwell on the crazy I have already got. No reason to spend hours dissecting that question, which came first the insomnia or the worrying. Either way, I don’t sleep lately. I just worry.
I worry about small things. Will it break my heart to know that we have all of our books in boxes in the attic until we get around to having built-ins somewhere? Will I be able to stand not painting the kitchen cabinets right away? Should I go ahead and buy that shower curtain now before it is sold out? Will Emily like her new teacher as much as she likes this kindergarten?
I worry about medium-sized vanity related things. Will my ass keep getting bigger at the same rate as my stomach? Will I “bounce back” from this pregnancy like I did with Emily? (It should be noted it was about six months before our wedding that I started feeling good about me again, in my own skin, so yeah, bouncing back took five years.) Can people that you talk to smell your heartburn? Because for fuck’s sake, I feel like a dragon. Will I get “the spread?” The third trimester face where you look like someone punched you square in the nose. Am I the only person in the world that thinks these “Skinny Jeans” maternity jeans actually make me look skinnier or do I actually look like a weeble wobble?
I can cope with the small and the medium worries. It’s the big worries that make me climb back in bed with MQD at 2 am after tossing and turning on the couch. Crying and shh-ing myself. “I’m ok, I’m ok, can you just give me a hug?” He wakes enough to ask me what is wrong. “Nothing, nothing is wrong, I’m just so scared.” He rolls on to his back and I put my head on his chest. I feel better momentarily.
The big worries I don’t talk about so much. They aren’t funny like my fear I’d shit my pants. They aren’t fears that are really wrapped up in a blanket of Hope like my fears surrounding not being any good at being married. They are Big Things that scare me.
A natural unmedicated birth was my intent with Emily. Circumstances surrounding Emily’s birth were not perfect. I’d not suggest delivering where you work if you are the kind of person that says “Oh, no I am fine” when a waiter offers you a glass of water because you hate inconveniencing anyone. My midwife had an emergency arise with one of her children days before I went in to labor. Em was delivered by my least favorite doctor. He is kind enough, but impatient and disinterested in anyone’s Birth Plan. His routine episiotomy was the most painful part of my delivery and recovery. Not that it was required. Emily looked as much like a pencil at birth as she does now. Needless to say, my birth experience was not as I had pictured it.
But I had a beautiful perfectly healthy baby. A baby that never had a cold in her first year of life. She had her first ear infection at almost three years old. She breastfed like a dream. She taught me how to be a mother. I loved her from the second I had her in my arms. And I was fearless.
This time we are preparing for our delivery differently. I will obviously not be giving birth at work at the construction company. We have chosen a wonderful birth center. With a large staff of capable midwives. I am confident that any one of them could hold my hand and guide me through this. I am reasonably certain that a natural delivery is within my reach.
MQD is a thinker. I am certain by the time mid December rolls around he will be able to tell you the top five signs of transition in labor. The bedside table will soon feature Husband Coached Childbirth, Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way, and Penny Simkin’s The Birth Partner. We will work through the Bradley workbook together and our birth class begins in November. I will be supported by a knowledgeable man that believes in me. I am both scared and excited about this challenge.
As is my custom I am afraid that I will get exactly the labor and delivery I am preparing for. I have no illusions that I will deliver in a bed of lavender while silent tears roll down my flushed cheeks. I am loud and messy and ornery. I will cry and claim that I can’t possibly go on, I suspect. And MQD will tell me that I can. That I am not alone. That we have prepared for this day and that each contraction brings us closer to this new baby.
And what if in exchange for this delivery the Universe will shortchange my baby? I’m not sure how it is that I don’t believe in God or Fate and yet I can be so certain in the middle of the night that my Luck will run out. I have been so very, very lucky in the last year. One thing after another has gone our way. From finding MQD, to our wedding, to our speedy and healthy pregnancy to our new home. How long can I expect my Luck to hold out?
The other day my boss finally asked me what my plans were after the baby is born. And I could feel my face get hot and my eyes well up. “I don’t know.” And it was quiet until I continued. “I want to work from home, if the baby is healthy… but I just won’t know until…..”
At 25 weeks pregnant our baby is already the baby I will deliver in a few short months. Ultrasounds show that we have nothing to worry about. We are expecting a healthy baby. I try and tell myself that this baby was conceived long before we found our house so if I am piling things up on the Good Luck side of the see-saw I can’t put the house on there. Perhaps Healthy Baby is already there and I should worry about something else.
But I can’t help it. I am a mother. A good mother. But what if it is only because I was Lucky enough to have a healthy, happy, funny kid that likes to organize her room and delights in making others happy. What if I am not a Good Mother? What if I only have a Good Kid? And so I worry.
I worry our baby won’t be healthy. I worry I won’t know how to parent a baby that isn’t Emily. That the universe gave me Emily because of what I had on my horizon. I had other struggles to contend with. But now? Now when everything is so very peaceful. What if I don’t get so Lucky again?
Or maybe I will have a healthy baby. Because the Universe knows that my see-saw will tip soon enough towards Unlucky. With each bitchy remark that passes my lips in the morning as we race to get ready for school I want to turn back around and plead “Please, please don’t leave me, I love you, I am sorry” as if maybe my marriage is not as rock steady as I pretend. I hang up the phone after talking to my mom who has recently lost her father and I think I don’t know how I would keep putting one foot in front of the other without my parents. What if I focus so much energy on this baby being healthy that something else sneaks up and breaks my heart? Something I was not ready for at all?
As is usually the case I have answered my original question about the chicken and the egg. The worrying or the insomnia. Once I write it all down I can see that this is a whole lot of crazy. I am tired. I have heartburn. But everything is okay. Even if I buy in to my See-saw of Luck Life Plan the fact is I have more than paid my dues for a few years. I deserve this Good Luck. This happy marriage, this wonderful daughter, this wonderful home. It’s time.
Everything is going to be fine. And even if it is not perfect, it will be okay. Deep breath.
In the meantime I will watch DVR’ed fall season television premieres and sew baby blankets in the middle of the night. Because I think I am about done worrying.
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^ ITA with Paige. I usually do though.
You will be able to do this. I think it’s more common than not to have these kinds of worries/fears when approaching a task you have dreamed of and planned for so carefully.
And what if this baby is so different than Em? You are in a better place to handle a different experience, whatever that may be. It’s true. I don’t have to know you personally to tell you that no matter what comes rolling down the pike, your family will get through it. And in that I am including what Paige called the “whole continuum of goodness and shit between absolute perfect and catastrophic tragedy.” There doesn’t have to be a see-saw of Lucky and Unlucky, though I completely understand where you are coming from and have certainly shared that worry myself.
Sometimes the things we are worried about do happen and you know what? You get through it. Not that I’m wishing you ill or that I think your karmic pendulum is overdue for a swing in the other direction or anything. I’m just saying that while you’re worrying (because I think we all know you won’t stop) it might make you feel better to occasionally think that even if everything isn’t as perfect as it could be you are still strong enough to deal with whatever comes your way and you have some pretty amazing people in your life to help you with it. And that there is a whole continuum of goodness and shit between absolute perfection and catastrophic tragedy. Chances are you won’t fall on either extreme and you’ll almost always be able to say, “it could be worse.”
Says the girl that’s afraid to have another baby because she thinks she couldn’t live through another one like this last one. I’m not a total hypocrite, I promise.
Aww your mama is very wise <3
I had a lot of the same fears. I had a whole lot of awesome come to me really really fast (my health was restored, I found true love, S was born) and so during my entire pregnancy with LP I was terrified that there could be something wrong with her because of it. I totally get you in this post. But your little bean is fine. Lil D is gonna come out screaming healthy just like LP did. xoxo
I will be a lucky girl if I have a babe as happy and healthy as LP. :)
I’ve been around for three births (which I found very tiring, with all the standing up I had to do…while my wife was lying down for it all).
My earnest advice to all budding parents, especially those who talk about “natural childbirth” is that, in nature, the death rate is waaayyy higher than it is using all the unnatural things we do these days. As important as keeping the new baby alive though, at least in my humble opinion, is pain relief. Specifically: the wonderful EPIDURAL.
But this is just my opinion. Feel free to ignore me. I’ll know if you do. I’ll be able to hear your screams from here; you’re only a few states away… :)
On an unrelated and less controversial note, I thought this was a very touching and insightful post. From the link to “Cha cha cha!” and all the memories that came flooding back (of a second-hand nature, but THANKS anyway!), it reminds me that getting from “Let’s do it, let’s have a baby” to sending John/Jane off to their first day at school is not quite so simple as in the movies… :)
I appreciate your point of view, I do. And to be honest, my desire for a natural birth are less hippy dippy and more goal oriented. I know my body is capable of this, and I want to experience it. I think there is a parallel to be drawn to the weary marathon runner, toenails falling off, nipples bleeding and smiling. :)
(Marathon runners have bleeding nipples? Uggh!!)
You’re very determined and that’s a great thing, so please don’t let me dissuade you at all. Can we compromise? Perhaps you can buy some ear plugs for your nearest and dearest…
OK, I’m just kidding. Totally serious now. I both admire your determination and respect your decision. The determination won’t just pay off in terms of this delivery, but in many other aspects of your life. Ignore me. Go for it!
The worry gene skipped a generation. Your gramma Marge is a worrier…she worries if thing go well, and if they don’t. She worries that I will not available to help her with whatever she needs an that if/when I do I’ll resent her for it. She worries what the neighbors think, and the checker at the grocery store. She worries that her hair is too straight … or that it’s too curly if she just had it permed. She doesn’t like it when I say, “dont worry about that, Mom” to her and quickly replies, “Oh, I’m not worried about it.” But she is — it’s her nature, just like it’s yours. It’s just her way of looking at the world. And you got the gene.
Nice thing? It seems to skip a generation. So your children won’t get it. They will be brave and happy and worriless. It’s not fear, Kelly. Because it’s just the worry gene. And Luck? Not that either — it’s WORK, and nobody has worked harder to get to where she is right now, right smack in the middle of Finally Rightsville, than you have, kiddo. Deserve all the good things that are coming your way? You bet your ass you do! I can’t wait to meet this new baby…Emily squared. Get ready. But don’t worry about it…
So you mean to tell me at the ripe old age of 35 I am not even turning in to my own mother but my grandmother? :) Love you.