Pregnancy. It's an elusive thing. You don't know when it's going to pop up, or if it will pop up, you don't know what it will do to your body, or what it will produce (although as long as it's human, you're probably doing okay), but most of all, you don't know what lessons it is going to throw at you.
In terms of the generic pregnancy timeline, #thelove and I had a textbook beginning. As with all couples who decide to try for a family, we didn't know how long it might take to fall pregnant. It's such a question mark- even doctors can't answer that question.
Turns out neither of us needed to worry, because we were blessed enough to fall pregnant the second try. I'm quite in tune with my body, so I felt a change happen- although when I peed on the stick, and that oh-so-faint pink line showed up, my original plans of preparing some sort of surprise for #thelove and getting it on camera when I told him we were pregnant just disappeared, and I walked back into our bedroom with the stick still in my hand, and said to him (whilst lying in bed first thing in the morning), "umm, I think I'm pregnant"..... The shock was very real.
I've been dreaming of having babies for as long as I can remember. As the oldest child of three, I grew up with younger siblings, and was a bossy, yet protective older sister. I loved babies, and through my teenage years I both babysat and helped run creches at our local church. I nannied in my late teens into my twenties, and dreamt of one day beginning a family of my own with my future prince charming. But you know what? Within about 24-48 hours of confirming that I was indeed pregnant, I felt part of my world fall down.
All of a sudden, that dream- which can be controlled and rewritten and replayed in my head any which way I please- had become a very real reality, that couldn't be taken back (I was ironically reminded of the saying 'be careful what you wish for'). Was it exactly what we had hoped to happen? Was it what I had dreamt of all of my consciously female life? Of course. But now, it was REAL. Real body changes, real life changes, real responsibility changes. And for the queen of control, it became a big thing to deal with.
Since being pregnant, I've come across a lot of articles about the things you are never told before you become pregnant. And I'd like to say, if you are thinking about having a baby, do yourself a giant favour and read those articles. But don't just read them, BELIEVE THEM. Because they are NOT LYING. The first few weeks I discovered that my IBS was nothing compared to what pregnancy hormones do to your gut. Bloating? HELLO! I had had my IBS under pretty good control before being pregnant, but pregnancy threw everything out the window. It was in full force, and unfortunately, is still not back on track yet. Sigh.
Nausea is real, too. I have been very lucky- I never threw up (touch wood, we're not done yet), and it did thankfully taper off as second trimester hit, so I did manage to avoid that demon that is hyperemesis gravidarum, but as someone who is sensitive in the stomach region already, even the smallest hint of nausea is enough to turn me dramatic. I was off a stackload of foods, and the mere whiff of meat cooking was enough to send me dry heaving from the room. I didn't enjoy it, and I won't lie- there were moments where I almost wished it would all just be over. I really don't know how women do this more than once, even now. Like, seriously.
Our first appointment with our obstetrician was a moment I'll never forget though. The long wait between peeing on a stick, and seeing your doctor for the first time is a surprisingly edgy time- thoughts of 'what if the test was wrong?' or 'what if it didn't stick?' are prominent. Unfortunately, I've known too many women who have experienced miscarriage to have gone in blithely ignorant of all possibilities. But there was a little jellybean on the screen, perfect size, and a heartbeat to match. I burst into tears.
And seeing her grow each time we go in has sometimes been what has kept me going. You see, from the moment a woman finds out she's pregnant, her life has changed forever. For everyone around her, life doesn't change until the baby arrives, but for the one who is pregnant, her physical, emotional, and mental state is suddenly a whole new playing field. I'm hell bent on perfectionism and being in control of my life, and all of a sudden, I have had to embrace letting go, and trusting my body- and whatever infinite wisdom is out there- to do what it needs to do, and not hold onto a 'perfect vision'. Harder than you might think.
Coming to terms with the physical changes has been the hardest. There are parts of my body doing things I never imagined they would do. Hormone levels are crazy, the foods and medications and activities you aren't allowed near are INSANE, and yet, you're supposed to continue being normal in your everyday life? How?!!
Emotionally, hormones have been the driving factor for the most part. I don't think I've been crazy pregnant lady- if I have, then #thelove is being very kind and telling me otherwise- but there are days where spontaneous bouts of crying just happen for no reason, or frustration at inanimate objects turn me into an angry yelling lady, and the day that I tried (unsuccessfully) to catch the rabbit to take him to the vet- which he avoided me like a ninja- reduced me to a blubbering, frazzled, shaky mess.
Mentally, I think the second half of pregnancy is going to be where this kicks in the most. To begin, it was coming to terms with having transitioned from young woman to woman-becoming-a-mother, and then the realisation that someone is going to be needing me 24 hours a day. I'm obviously yet to know where it's going, but knowing myself, the practicalities of dealing with a newborn- and then a child for the rest of my freaking life- are going to weigh on me like never before. If pregnancy has been the opposite of the fairytale I expected, I think motherhood might just knock me face first in the mud.
So, halfway. Baby moves- I felt her first flutters at 17 weeks, and now, she is strong and making that space her own. She's growing well (yay, baby girl!). I am..... well, I am still going. Some days I'm not sure. My body is feeling the strain already (did I mention my gut hates me?), my back hurts, my front is stretching and sore, things are expanding, and baby brain IS VERY REAL. I 100% stood in front of the oven one day, wondering why it was taking so long to grill my bagel, only to discover after almost 15 minutes that I'd turned the actual oven on instead of the grill, and all it was doing was drying the blasted thing out until it resembled cardboard. Or getting confused between a newsagency and a post office, and forgetting that I'd taken hubby's car instead of my own and wondering where I've parked the car...... Sigh.
I won't lie. I'm nervous. I'm nervous about baby being healthy. I'm nervous about being able to withstand the pressure and sleep deprivation a newborn brings. I'm nervous about ensuring #thelove and I keep our relationship strong and working through communication. I'm nervous about dealing with unwanted advice, and an overload of unnecessary toys and clothes from well-meaning drop-in guests. I'm nervous about feeding my baby, and giving her a start to life that will propel her into all she can dream of being. I'm nervous about not sleeping (did I mention that already?). I'm even nervous about forgetting everything I learn when it's time to actually have her. And I'm nervous about how much further my body has to go before we get to the end.
All I can do is my best. It's not perfect, and I'm not perfect, but the miracle of life is perfect, and through all of my panicking and stressing and not sleeping (again, did I mention sleep? I miss it), I know deep down that it is amazing, and it will all be worth it, when she's sleeping (hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha).
I just keep remembering something my Mum once told me- she reckoned babies are cute so that we put up with everything that comes with them. That if they came out fully grown, we'd run away from it all.