Grief and My Pregnancy

I woke up this morning with the realization that one year ago today, while my grandma was dying from cancer, I found out I was pregnant again. It was technically my fourth pregnancy, and my second in just a handful of months. At the time, I had a seven month old baby at home, too.

I honestly didn’t know if I wanted another baby. I’d had a very early miscarriage in August of that year, which had left me feeling relief, because my youngest was still so young, but I was finding myself looking at the possibility of another baby again, and I was anxious about it. The option to not have a baby was on the table, but the decision was initially put on the back burner because I had other things to worry about. In the end, I knew I wanted the baby, but it did take me time to get there.

The next few weeks were a blur, and sometimes I feel like I got cheated out of enjoying that first trimester. I was so focused on my grandma’s health, and then my grandma’s death and learning to get through the holidays without her, that I didn’t really get to think much about the growing life inside of me. By Christmas, however, the excitement was there, although it still didn’t feel real. It didn’t really feel real to me until almost the third trimester, and it certainly felt like the shortest of my three pregnancies.

Recently, I discovered that the only things getting me through the months following my grandma’s death were my kids. The first morning after she was gone, things were hazy, and that fog didn’t lift until many weeks later. It was hard to get out of bed most mornings for a while, but I did because I had to; someone had to take care of my kids, after all.

We got through the holidays and the new year, and then I was able to enjoy and focus more on my pregnancy. My older kids had birthdays, we bought a house, we had two big trips in the spring, then I had a birthday, and the baby was born. After that, my mom got married, we went on vacation in August, and once September came around, I realized that I hadn’t thought of anything else to look forward to. I had been so focused on making it through the baby’s birth, trips, weddings, and then our yearly vacation, that I was blindsided by a feeling of emptiness. In my head, there was nothing else after that.

Anxiety is a constant in my life, but depression comes and goes, and I think I spent most of the first year after my grandma’s death trying to battle it. The only thing that kept me going was having something to always be looking ahead to, and now that those significant dates have passed, I have to find new ways to cope.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but looking back, that pregnancy was probably the best thing that could have happened to me then. It gave me something to focus on, and something to hope for, in a time when I had lost one of the most important people in my life. Life really is all about finding the silver linings, I suppose, and I found mine in my pregnancy.

This is a hard time of year for me, but I know I can make it through. I’m so thankful for how far I’ve come and for all those who have been there for me, and I’m grateful for the support I had from friends and family this past year. I’m so glad that my son is a part of my life, and truly, without that pregnancy, I don’t know if I would have pulled myself up from my depression enough to take care of myself and my older kids.

There really is a silver lining on every dark cloud if you look hard enough.

Any Day Now

Words cannot describe how incredibly tired I am.

Image result for there are 31 days in a month except the last month of pregnancyI’m due with baby number three tomorrow and it feels like he’s never going to arrive. My hips hurt badly, I’m not sleeping well, and I’m generally just really irritable.

It’s also my last baby and I feel like I should be enjoying the end of this pregnancy more, but I’m really struggling with doing that.

It’s a bittersweet thing, knowing that I’m so close to having this baby but also knowing that we aren’t intending to have more kids. I’ll be able to have my body back for the most part (minus breastfeeding, if that works out), which will be great, but this will be last of all my “firsts” with a new baby. I suppose that’s probably how every parent feels.

Counting down the days, though. This hip pain is the worst.

My Big Fat Positive

Exactly two years ago, I received confirmation that I was pregnant. I remember it like it was yesterday. At the time, I was working at a before school program for children and worked early in the morning for a couple of hours. After that, I’d go home, take a nap, and if I had class that day, go to that. (If I was feeling like it. I wasn’t exactly the greatest student the last semester or two of college, but that’s a story for another day.)

After I’d finished working that day, I stopped at the store to pick up a package of three pregnancy tests and headed on home. I didn’t think I was pregnant, but I wanted to rule out the possibility. My period was several days late, despite the fact that I was on birth control, but I figured it had to do with stress. I’d graduated college a few weeks earlier, I was desperately searching for a full-time job, I had things going on in my personal life at the time… it had to be stress. It had to be, I was so sure, but the pregnancy tests were just in case. I’d been exhausted, but I figured that was a side effect of a new medication I was taking. I had some aches and pains that I didn’t have before, but that had to be stress too. No way it was pregnancy causing all that.

I got home. I took the test. To my surprise, both little lines showed up pretty clear.

It took me two more pregnancy tests to be convinced that I was, apparently, pregnant.

may 22

You know how most women tell you how exciting and wonderful that positive test is? I’m not most women. My Facebook status from that day shows how not excited I was at the time. I was terrified. I was not ready for a child. I was barely a college graduate, I was in the middle of a pretty stressful job search, and those things in my personal life were not going to clear up themselves. I had a choice to make, and in the end, I realized that this felt exactly like what I was supposed to do with my life. That first ultrasound was a cool experience. To see that tiny little person growing inside of me on the computer screen was nothing short of amazing. It wasn’t until a week or two later that the reality of motherhood began to set in, and I began to feel connected to the little being I’d seen on that screen. I can’t say that it wasn’t hard for me to get used to the idea, but once it finally began to hit me, I knew there was nothing else I’d rather do.

It was a long nine months. The terror subsided for a while, but as I neared my due date, it began to rear its ugly head again, and I found myself having regular breakdowns because I wasn’t ready. I couldn’t have that baby, I wasn’t going to be a good mother – but the moment I held her in my arms for the first time, all that doubt and all that fear just disappeared.

I still think back to May 22, 2012, quite often, and I think about how my little girl has changed me in so many ways. Physically and emotionally, I’ve been changed forever. I’ve grown up so much in the last two years, and it’s because of her.

Thank you for coming into my life, little lady. You have no idea how much you mean to me.