Many days, weeks, and months later I woke up this morning at 5 a.m. unable to fall back asleep and found myself composing a post in my head. I’ve often thought about logging back on and writing, but today feels different. There are many potential reasons why which I will try to get to along with a long overdue update about my Combo and me.
First things first, I am officially 33 weeks pregnant. When people ask me when I’m due, which happens at least once a day and often in common places such as the grocery store, I can now say “next month”. I often reply with only that amount of specificity because 1. why do they really need to know the exact date anyways? and 2. it helps me continue to wrap my head around the very true reality that I will likely have a baby in my arms and in my home next month. February. February holds other meaning as well – one I don’t share with the random inquirers at the grocery store, but does vibrate in my heart when I think of the month – as it was the due date for my first pregnancy. Instead of looking towards the birth of my first born I could be gearing up to celebrate a two years old’s, my two year old’s, birthday. A healthy pregnancy and soon-to-be baby definitely helps heal the losses of the past, but it never completely erases them.
Combo and I are doing well. I have the usual pregnancy woes – sore hips and feet by the end of the day, never ending heartburn, breasts that have grown so big I feel so a disproportionate (brunette) Barbie doll who should struggle to stand upright, sleep that only lasts for two hours at a time at best, and the physical stamina of an 85 year old arthritic woman – but really I have no complaints. Feeling my little one twist and move inside me every day makes all of those minor discomforts wonderful. I’m constantly amazed at what my body is capable of doing. There is a reason why she is called “mother nature” as only the power of the woman can grow LIFE.
Don’t get me wrong, there have been set backs that were more than just blips on the radar. Most notably, getting diagnosed with gestational diabetes at 28 weeks in the midst of wanting to celebrate Thanksgiving with all things edible and continue straight through to the sugar gluttony of Hanukkah and Christmas. I tearfully accepted this new, unwanted reality and then got over my pity party and have changed my diet to include very little processed sugar (but still some!) ever since. I prick my finger four times a day and have weekly calls with a perinatal nurse to go over my blood sugar levels, but when I really stop and think about it I would do that for years on end if it ensured that Combo would stay healthy. What a strange, shifting mindset: when someone else’s health is more important than your own happiness.
And then there have been the high points, too. Like finding out that Combo is a boy and sharing that news with all four grandparents together at a dinner. Taking a new born care class and seeing how willingly and eagerly EJ changed the diaper on the baby doll and carefully held the fake baby through the class as we were instructed to do so. Or just this past week ordering furniture for the nursery because I couldn’t put it off any longer. After all, when the number of weeks required for delivery are more than I have remaining in my pregnancy it’s probably time to hurry up and get some furniture already.
And the thoughtful, challenging conversations about parenting choices and decisions to be made now and later for our little guy. Circumcision is rarely talked about in this blogging world. It seems to be relegated to blogs exclusively about whether or not to circumcise or immunize, but it’s a very real choice that EJ and I are grappling with right now and deserves a space here. Even with my Jewish background, I’d never given much thought to circumcision. Honestly, since I come from a family of three daughters and most of my first cousins are women, I always assumed I’d have girls and would get to side step the choice of whether or not to alter the way our baby is born. Whether or not to circumcise has since become the easy choice (we will) the more difficult one being when and by whom. In our home as part of a traditional bris by a mohel? At the hospital by an unknown pediatrician? We are still circling around and this will likely turn into a post of its own. Even if conclusions are yet to be drawn, the conversations, while sometimes tense and difficult, have helped me learn more about my husband and myself and have maintained an umbrella of exploration and honesty.
And finally, my sister had her baby last night promptly on her due date. She is two for two with babies born right on time and I’m hoping Combo will decide to follow suit. While initially hard, I’ve mostly enjoyed being pregnant at the same time as her. It’s been reassuring to have a reference point of where I could find myself just a few weeks down the road and to get her advice and empathy as our bodies grew and morphed together. I knew she was heading to the hospital at around 6 last night, but purposefully didn’t take my phone to bed thinking I would get little to no sleep waiting for an update. By my 5 a.m. waddle to the bathroom I was curious enough to check and saw the news that she had delivered a healthy baby girl at 10:45 p.m. last night. Initially relieved, I shuffled back to bed only to find I lay wakefully and thoughtfully.
Old, buried feelings surfaced – it was supposed to be me next, there will be a 10 day old baby at my shower next weekend who will inevitably demand attention that is rightfully mine, I want the attention of my parents and sisters all on me, and on and on and on. New, unforeseen feelings also rose – fear for my own labor and delivery and the unknowns that await, a heavy respect for the reality of parenting both a new born and on for life, worry that I will never live up to my own and other’s expectations. It was an odd mix and as my thoughts waffled the beginnings of this post emerged.
So now, I’m back to my old classics of counting and playing with numbers to sooth the minor OCD in me and make sense of the weeks to come: 10 more days until my baby shower, 15 more days of work until maternity leave, appointments with the midwife or doctor every 2 weeks, a niece that is 16 hours old, 7 more weeks of pregnancy, 3 pieces of furniture on their way, 4 blood sugar tests to be taken every day. The list goes on. It feels good to write and get back to words instead of numbers so I will likely be more present as the weeks move forward, if for no other reason, than to have a space for myself where these thoughts are captured.