On Being Pregnant

11 May

Some women really love being pregnant. I wasn’t one of those women.

I remember one of my coworkers telling me how she never felt better than during the months leading up to her delivery. She wasn’t sick even one day. She had a certain glow. People told her how beautiful she looked. She even suggested that she missed the feeling of being pregnant.

I definitely couldn’t relate.

I was a gigantic pregnant. I really mean it. In fact every month that I visited my doctor, she lectured me on the weight that I was gaining. Every month! At the end of my first trimester I read that the average weight gain should be around 3-5 pounds. I had gained ten. At six months she told me I had gained enough weight for the entire pregnancy. I was convinced she was wrong. I also read you were supposed to gain a pound a week. A week? Are you sure they didn’t mean a day? They must have meant a day.

One particular day at work I barged into friend’s  office and complained that I couldn’t stay at work anymore. I had to go home.  No, I wasn’t sick. No, nothing was wrong with the baby. I had to confess the truth:  “I…I think it’s my pants. They’re just too tight. I can’t breath!!” After laughing at me, lecturing me for thinking I could get away with wearing my normal clothes, and assuring me that no, nothing was wrong with the baby, she insisted that she cover my appointments for an hour so that I could go to the maternity store to buy pants that actually fit.  I still can’t fit into those jeans.

I was also incredibly sick. I don’t mean a little sick…I mean “pull over on the side of the highway” sick. People tried giving me all sorts of helpful suggestions to avoid the morning sickness (a painfully misleading term…who said anything about it being restricted to the morning?) Some told me to try crackers. Cereal. Icecream cones. Make sure you don’t eat too much at once. Make sure you never let yourself feel hungry. Nothing worked. Then my friend suggested that I tried sucking on sour candies. She said that it would make me feel better. So one day as we were driving I asked Shady to stop at a gas station, and we bought every bag of sour candy we could find. It made me feel soooo much better. The next day, I declared that I wanted NOTHING to do with sour candy. I closed my eyes as I passed them to him. “Don’t let me look at them. Don’t let me think of them. I never want to see those again.”

I guess I was slightly dramatic.

Besides being huge and incredibly sick, I was constantly hot. I would look around at people wearing long sleeves and wonder if they were okay. Surely there was something wrong with their body temperature.  And besides being hot, I was uncomfortable. Hot and uncomfortable are too really bad companions. One Sunday I announced to Shady that I just couldn’t go to church that day. Why you ask? I just couldn’t face the chairs. They were so uncomfortable. How could anyone concentrate on anything important when sitting in one of those chairs?  I really couldn’t do it. So Shady did what any loving husband would do….week after week he would haul our dining room chair to church. It didn’t help that since he was responsible for running the sound system that  we had to sit right at the very front where everyone could see my clear display of being high maintenance. I’m sure they wondered who the guest of honour was who got to sit on the big comfy chair.

On the day that I finally thought I was going into labour, I called the hospital in the middle of the night to see if they thought I should come in. The nurse informed me that what I was experiencing sounded like false labour, and that I should take a Tylenol and try to get some rest. False labour? A Tylenol? I didn’t like her answer, so I decided I was calling another hospital. Sure enough they refused to help me; they said they only dealt with patients assigned to their hospital. That was just as useful as being told to take a Tylenol, so that’s when I called Tele-health. I was ready to call everyone on my street until someone told me that yes, this was the moment, come on into the hospital and we’ll take this precious baby out of you, NOW.

Unfortunately that didn’t happen for four additional days. FOUR days of contractions! I’ve heard of one day, two days, maybe even three, but FOUR.  Surely there are medals out there for women who’ve gone through that. And if there isn’t I should inaugurate one. I’ll call it the “Contraction Extraordinaire” award…and I’ll engrave my name on it, and award it to myself.

And by the way, people say you forget the pain of your delivery. People are wrong.

I’m pretty sure I remember thinking that once I delivered,  the difficult part would be in the past. My mother had offered to come over around dinner time for the first few weeks so that she could prepare meals for us. I remember agreeing, but I’m not sure I was convinced that it was really necessary. I mean really, couldn’t I just do it while Amanda was napping? It wasn’t long before we discovered that having our mothers over at dinner time wasn’t nearly enough…I think that realization came after one short night. It was our first night at home. We went to “sleep” at 10:00. We “woke up” at 7:00. In reality Amanda had cried the entire time and I slept for one tiny little hour. I begged Shady to call our mothers. “Shady, wake up! Call your mother. Call my mother. Tell them we don’t know what we’re doing. We need them to come over right now!”

Half an hour later they arrived with bags full of supplies and insisted that we go to sleep and let them take care of things. We woke up a few hours later. The kitchen was fully stocked. Amanda was fast asleep. They sat drinking tea. They had it all under control, and it was obvious that I had a lot to learn from these godly women of experience.

As I write this, eight month old Amanda lies beside me fast asleep. All warm and cozy in her cute little sleeper, tucked under her furry blanket. Her fingers playing in the air while she lay sleeping. Her soft breath gently moving the blanket up and down. I can’t wait for her to wake up so I can receive the smile she gives me when she sees my face.

I think I can honestly say that Shady and I didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into. But what a privilege, what a blessing, what a source of joy!  Every pound gained, every side of the road experience, every sour candy that made me nauseous, every Sunday morning hauling our dining room chair to church, and every last contraction is worth the gift that comes from motherhood.

It is oh so worth it!

Happy Mother’s Day!

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