Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Highs and Lows of Growing a Human: 1st Trimester Edition

For a split second, I thought I might try to compare growing a human to growing a garden. Then, that split second was over and I cringed. Nope, not gonna do it. Wouldn't be prudent. It would be worse than comparing having a dog to raising a child. Yes, there are highs and lows in gardening, and extreme highs and lows in pregnancy, but that's where I'm going to stop the comparison. This is a gardening blog, and I'm growing a human. I'll let you know how growing a garden while growing a human goes when Spring comes along. Fair? Okay. For now, let's talk about that roller-coaster ride we call life...while creating and growing life.

I thought standing in the garage with my hands full after work and puking macerated oranges into my dirty smoothie cup was going to be my big "low." But then, after three weeks of suffering through debilitating headaches and migraines, there was that night when Patrick  informed me, "you just aspirated on your own vomit" through a crack in the bathroom door. Even worse, I couldn't get out my response of "Who else's vomit would I be choking on, smart ass?" And then, right when I thought I was emerging from the pukey fog of the 1st trimester, I found myself shoveling a pile of vomit out of the bathroom sink with a paper plate (I couldn't make it to the toilet, just two feet away).

These were just a few of my 1st trimester lows.
This baby better be good.
Let's be perfectly honest, the knowledge that I was finally going to become a mother and see Patrick become a father didn't make the migraines, vomiting, nausea, constant dry heaving and extreme exhaustion any easier or more welcome. I don't care how badly you want to be a mom, feeling like complete shit every day really sucks.

Oh, and if you're not trying to keep your food down or battle an epic headache, there's the anxiety to keep you busy. Am I screwing this up? Am I doing everything I can? Will I be a good mom? Will the baby be healthy? Will I have the kind of birth I want? Every twinge, cramp or sickness spells possible trouble in the mind of most pregnant moms. Is it Listeria? Flu? Oh god, is it a miscarriage?
11 weeks
The possibility for miscarriage in the 1st trimester is high, and the main reason for anxiety during those fragile first three months. It's also why there's a socially accepted rule that you don't tell anyone you're pregnant until after week 12, when the possibility declines sharply. But I'm not that into rules, especially that one. For me personally -- and I want to make it clear that I know it's not the same for every woman -- I didn't think I'd want to go through the grief and healing process after a miscarriage in secret. I would want my closest friends and family to know what I was going through. Plus, you usually feel the worst during the 1st trimester, and somehow that's when you're not supposed to talk to anyone about it? That didn't make sense to me. Furthermore, keeping a pregnancy a secret involves a lot of lying and/or evading. I'm no good at either. Not to mention that pregnancy is a huge life event that practically begs to be blurted out any time you talk to anyone. Clearly, I'm not a fan of the "12 week rule" at all.
12+4 weeks
So, we told some select people as soon as the opportunity arose. And I'm so, so happy we did. I had a sister-in-law and a few close friends to talk/complain to and who I knew would be incredibly supportive of me if things didn't work out. Then, when I was 9 weeks along, we told my family in person over Thanksgiving. That was one of the major highs of my 1st trimester. They were thrilled.
Two more grandbabies to add to the Cross family!

I got to sit and talk pregnancy with my sister, who is due in March, and order my 1st maternity clothes with her input. I got to enjoy "baby hugs" from my sweet little niece and hear her chant "Go Emily's baby" as we sat in the living room before bedtime. When my oldest niece asked "is there a baby in your belly?" I could tell her "yes" and watch her big smile spread across her face. I still get to tell people about how my nephew said "I have a baby in my belly, too" after he heard the news.  I get to ask about what baby hand-me-downs I might get from my oldest sister. Memories like these bring me so much joy.

One night when I couldn't get back to sleep after another middle-of-the night bathroom run, I looked at Patrick beside me and felt the intense love of a mother and a wife. Before ever seeing or touching our child, I could feel the overwhelming unconditional love well up inside of me. Love for our child and my husband and our little family. I was imagining embracing our child with overflowing love, knowing that I'm its one and only mother, here to nourish, protect and teach it.
These were just a few of the 1st trimester highs.
13+5 weeks

Now, at 14 weeks, I'm starting the next chapter of my pregnancy. The nausea is abating, the headaches are getting fewer and I can sometimes manage to stay up past 9pm. We're clearing out what used to be the office and making plans for the baby's room. Now, pregnancy starts to get fun!

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