Some thoughts on starting a family

I apologize in advance for this being a jumble of thoughts, but well, here goes:

You have no idea what a great relief it is to me to finally feel comfortable saying I am going to have a baby. (Or maybe you do.) The past few months have felt like years. If you decide, like we did, that you want to surprise your friends and family with this news, you have to deal with the consequences of being alone with that information. The loneliest time is definitely when you are trying and it’s not working. In the end, it only took us a few months to conceive. But during those months we didn’t have any idea if things were normal or if there was any reason it wasn’t working. I was really naive going into the process. I guess after so many years of trying as hard as I could not to get pregnant, I just assumed it would happen right away. Even though I had read plenty of articles saying it most likely wouldn’t, I still thought it would.

The days of waiting to take a test were excruciating. And I finally understood the pain of seeing just one blue line. Not knowing if I was just starting down a long infertility journey made me instantly sympathize with those who had. There is no pain quite like it. Reading Holly Finn’s The Baby Chase just broke my heart. I think those days of waiting seemed much longer because we have come to a real baby boom among our friends and family. At the same time as you are staring at that one blue line, it seems like yet another person is announcing their pregnancy or newborn on Facebook. How can you not want to be a part of all of that joy?

Our decision to have a baby now was a pretty easy one. Once we moved, we were totally overwhelmed with getting settled in California, so we didn’t even think about it then. It wasn’t until early this year when my business got to a place where I had wanted it to be for a long time that it really felt like the right time. Mike was 100% on board (and will make the most incredible father, by the way). But it was strange for me — once I got to the jumping off point I got a little tentative. I felt like if I had the option physically, I would rather wait longer, until I really felt like my business was successful and we were a little more stable. And then I was a little upset that I felt like I didn’t have a choice. If we wanted to have as good a chance as possible of having potentially more than one healthy baby, we needed to start sooner rather than later. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I went into it with a mix of feelings. But once we were trying, all I wanted was that second blue line. I really couldn’t believe it when I finally got it. It was so faint I thought it might be wrong. So I took another test. Still 2 blue lines.

Then came the next thing I was clueless about. I called the ob/gyn, expecting them to have me come in for a blood test or some kind of confirmation. But they said they don’t do that and to just make my first prenatal appointment. I would have to be at least 8 weeks for that. I was like what?! You expect me to wait 4 more weeks to make sure this is really real? And let me tell you, those were four more painfully long weeks. It was also just disappointing. You have so many questions in the beginning about what you’re supposed to do or not do, what’s safe to eat and drink, what to do if something goes wrong, etc. And the first trimester is really key for baby development, so you don’t want to screw up in those first weeks. But I guess you have to take to Google to get your questions answered.

Another beef, which I’m guessing a lot of people can relate to: Our insurance says that it covers all prenatal visits. But when we got to the first appointment, which seemed pretty darn prenatal to me, they told us that this was a confirmation visit and that we’d have to pay the copay. And the next visit we’d have to pay too. WTF? Still trying to resolve that one.

While this was going on I was seeing a lot of conversations online about how little maternity leave women are getting. And how even if they get leave time, a lot of them have to take a pay cut during that time. That just makes my blood boil. We pay so much lip service in this country to how family is the most important thing. But really when it comes down to it, we force people to make work a priority. I am lucky that I have the flexibility in my career to work or not work as many weeks as I need and can afford. But between not getting paid time off and devoting whole paychecks to daycare, I think young families have a lot of struggles they shouldn’t have to have.

I’m also envious of other countries where choosing a midwife or a home birth is completely culturally accepted and paid for, rather than a controversial hippie thing to do. Thankfully, that does seem to be changing, but it still seems like going off the obgyn/hospital birth path is something you have to really seek out, rather than just another normal option. We still haven’t decided what we’re going to do yet. But based on our experience so far, I think we will look for a midwife to deliver the baby, most likely in a hospital. But I’d love to hear about what other people did, and how they felt about it. I feel like running in the yoga/Nia circles I did for so long, I met a lot of women who said that they had a traditional hospital birth the first time and had a bad experience. But when they chose something more natural the second time, they were much happier. So I want to consider that. But I’ve heard plenty of people who were just as happy with an epidural or a C-section, so it’s hard to say what is better.

On a more positive note, I love that it’s possible now to see the baby on an ultrasound when it’s only 8 weeks. It really moves you to see that little gummi bear in there with the tiniest little heart beating. I could watch that all day long. The second ultrasound was even better because the baby finally looked more like a baby, and you could see its little arms and legs kicking.


Baby Corey, 12 weeks.

I always thought I would be happy if it took a while to start showing, but now I can’t wait to have more belly so I can really feel like there’s a baby in there. Even though I know it’s moving, I still can’t see or feel anything, so sometimes it’s hard for the experience to seem real. I’m sure I will take all that back once I am huge, but that’s how I feel right now. My belly is definitely bigger, but more in a plumpy sort of way than a pregnant way.

And as I said before, I was just not expecting the first trimester to be so intense. You really start feeling the changes in your body right away (or at least I did). The nausea/fatigue is like an overwhelming fog that saps your motivation to do anything. I don’t know how people do it with really demanding jobs or other little ones to raise. I think you must just power through it, distracted by everything else in your life. The last two months have been super slow, sales-wise, so that’s kind of made it easier to focus on how bad I feel rather than what I need to get done. Hopefully things will start picking up more come fall.

On the plus side I have been feeling so much better the last few days. I’m getting my energy back, and I feel motivated to get back into my old routines again. I can eat meals at normal times, and now I’m starting to feel extra hungry. I’ve really been craving fruit, especially melon the last few weeks. I think it’s because I haven’t been getting enough water, so I’m getting it through fruit. I cannot get enough melon!

Oh, and I have definitely been having weird pregnancy dreams, but they’re not what I thought they would be. Instead of being like nightmares, they’re more like these weird storylines that I may or may not be involved in. They play out very organized, like movies. It’s hard to explain, but it’s different than how I dreamed before.

Well, I think that’s everything that’s been swirling around my mind the past few months. It feels like we’re getting to the fun part of this, making lists of things we need and scanning baby boards on Pinterest. It’s overwhelming, but so exciting at the same time.

Comments

  1. 1

    Margaret says

    Congratulations on your pregnancy! How exciting! I thought the first trimester went so slowly, too, and especially deciding to wait until 12 weeks to share news with anybody made every week feel like an eternity. I was famished continuously from the moment of conception, too, so that was all-consuming. We chose a hospital birth with a midwife and loved that experience. Bradley Method classes were a tremendous help to prepare for a natural birth. We didn’t feel the childbirth classes offered by the hospital would be sufficient. Not sure what they are like in CA, but the hospital classes in IA are not very in-depth for the natural route. We didn’t have a doula, as many recommend if going natural, but I stayed at home as long as possible during labor — once in the hospital everything went quickly since I was already 8 cm when we arrived. Our nurse embraced natural birth and the midwife didn’t have any other patients that night, so it worked out well. Congrats again and enjoy the remainder of your pregnancy. It is such a special time, one you will never forget!