Monday, August 27, 2012

The One Where my Gut Reaction Was "Oh my Everlasting Hell"

I sit on the exam table and lay back, apprehensive. This is my third time, and while I've done this already for various reasons - to get a correct size/date, for genetic screening - I personally am here for just one reason: to see the heart beating. My baby is not yet big enough for me to feel him/her moving, and so all I have to confirm that this is real and s/he is o.k. and growing is this, the sonograms that show me a beating heart.

It's been the same every time: I'm a ball of nerves as I lift my shirt and the technician preps. The anxiety feels like an elephant sitting on my chest. By the time the wand is on my belly and the tech is trying to locate the baby, I feel like I'm going to explode.

And then, there it is: an almost completely human form, and there, in the spot I've already trained myself to zero in on, is a tiny white flapping thing. The heart. It's beating just fine, and instantly, I choke up, the tears flowing as the anxiety becomes an overwhelming feeling of gratitude that everything is o.k. Despite myself, my own constant self-warnings to hold back, to be cautious, there I am, my heart squeezing tightly over the love I feel for this creature that will soon enough be my second child.

I vacillate still between amazement and disbelief and excitement and even dread. I got pregnant right after my ovary exploded, which is where the amazement and disbelief come in. On the heels of that incident, Jevo and I had a talk about how having a baby might be more complicated and take longer than we'd hoped for. Up to that moment, we'd both wanted to have one in the next two years. But with that happening, we both acknowledged that it might not be easy or happen at all, and though we agreed on nothing specific, we each felt that maybe we should start trying sooner. Inside, though, I was preparing for the worst, and in hindsight, I fully believed it was indeed going to be very difficult, if not impossible, for me to get pregnant. I had somehow come to accept that as fact, not simply a possibility.

So when a month later we conceived (though we weren't actually trying yet), I was floored. We spent more than a week taking tests and wondering if it wasn't just a fluke - until symptoms kicked in and we could no longer deny that incredibly obvious blue positive line. 

I spent the early weeks resisting the reality of this, not wanting to hope or be happy in case the pregnancy could not hold. Then I was caught up in the wedding as I dealt with nausea and achy boobs. The day before we married we had our first sonogram and saw that teeny, tiny flippity-flappity heart, and I think at that moment we both realized just how enormous everything - our finding each other, marrying, the baby, our future - really was. My honeymoon was a godsend because I got to sleep as much as I wanted. By the time we'd returned, within a week, I had to give in to maternity pants because my regular ones were no longer comfortable, and I felt terrible that I was there so quickly. With Max, I was about 14 or 15 weeks before I had to give up my regular pants. Then there's been us telling everyone, from bosses to colleagues and employees to extended family and friends to ex-husbands to Facebook. These last two weeks cravings and mood swings have dominated my life, and it feels like an insane roller coaster that I'd happily get off of and just curl up into a ball in my mammoth body pillow and sleep my life away. That's all I want, really, lots of bread and sleep.

And so it's been, this whirlwind of things happening and my reacting to them while trying not to lose it. I haven't yet been able to fully wrap my head around all this, the fact that I am actually pregnant and will be a mother of two, or what my body is going through and what lies ahead, or what it will be like to have a baby again, or what kind of identity crisis this will bring on, etc. I feel the excitement of being pregnant and having this baby with the man I love so deeply and how happy my son is and all the great things that await us, and then I feel dread at the thought of how big I'm going to get (it's true, you do show sooner the second time, and at this rate, I wonder if I'll get as big as a house), the labor, the sleepless nights, the loss of the relative freedom I've attained, how Max will adjust to it all, how it'll affect my career, and on and on and on. For every beautiful thing that makes me swoon, there is something else that makes me cringe.

All natural, I suppose. My hormones are killing me and I'm at least aware of it enough to know that my feelings will be all over the place for a good while and I should just take it in stride. And I can, I know I can, and I will... as long as no one stands in the way of my bread and my sleep.

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Posted by Tere @ 8/27/2012   | | | links to this post

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Wedded: The Play-by-Play

I wasn't at all nervous until I was standing in the semi-hidden hallway, clutching my son's hand, and my song started. With the opening notes, my stomach flip-flopped and I thought, oh shit, it's really happening. It felt like my happiness would burst through me at the same time I feared forgetting my vows (the ones I didn't write down because every time I tried to, I'd get too emotional and incoherent and had therefore decided to blurt out when the moment came).

As I turned the corner and saw my family and friends, I felt better and instantly overwhelmed. When I saw him, way up at the front, it's like everything fell away from me. I couldn't hear the song, couldn't focus on the individual faces around me or their smiles and murmurs and flashing cameras. There was him, there was us walking toward him, and I didn't have any awareness of anything else.

It looked something like this: 

Unsurprisingly, everything is blur. I remember snippets but mainly only have a sense of how intensely happy I felt, mixed with a certain slight incredulity that this was all really real and happening to me and this was it and all that stuff.

The celebration itself was exactly as we'd planned it - simple and pretty and sweet. We wrote out our entire ceremony, so it was heavy on the personal and heartfelt (but short - neither one of us can stand long, overdrawn affairs). My nieces and nephews walked down the aisle to Madonna's True Blue, while Max and I walked to Switchfoot's Your Love is a Song. The reading was actually the lyrics to a Bruce Springsteen song (If I Should Fall Behind) that very early on he dedicated to me and that means a great deal to him in terms of our relationship. We shared our vows - each of us, unbeknownst to the other, having aimed for humor and sweetness - and promised "utter obedience" to the other as we slipped our rings on each other's fingers (we were half-kidding with that). My dad read a moving, hilarious poem he wrote for the occasion, there was lots of kissing, and that was that: husband and wife. The three of us walked back up the aisle to Andy Kim's Rock Me Gently (another song he says reminds him of me/us).

The officiant (my husband's best friend) is saying something, and we're all googly-eyed with each other:

Next up was brunch, where the only traditional thing we did was the first dance (to Firehouse's Love of a Lifetime). It was a late morning/early afternoon of yummy food, mimosas, good music and lots and lots of talking and laughter. Like I said, everything we wanted.

Officially a family, and positively elated:

Life is picking up where we left it, but it feels different. I'm not sure I can explain it - it's like there's an added depth to everything. The last two weeks have been a whirl of honeymooning; getting back home and therefore back to parenting, work and the daily routine; and us vacillating between giddiness and moments where one of us will utter "I can't believe we're married." We did this for a number of personal reasons and have spent the last months (since getting engaged in April) feeling excited and thrilled - and even so, now that we're here, that feeling has doubled, and I'm surprised to feel so surprised by it. It's a place where life, part 1 and life, part 2 collide, where my past experience with marriage is practically opposite of all this relationship has been, and my brain needs a bit to sort it out. I expected this of us, of our move toward marriage, and am idiotically surprised anyway.

In the end I just feel very aware that I'm living days that are important in my life story, days I have to stop and notice everything about and feel the gratitude. We will have challenges and hard days and unknowns that I can't even guess at. So these days we're living now are the ones that will fortify us for those that lie ahead. 

Of the day we married itself, it was all we wanted, and more. It was a beautiful beginning.

(Note: Pics stolen from friends and family. You know who you are; let me know if you want credit.)

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Posted by Tere @ 8/05/2012   | | | links to this post