Why Pregnancy is Temporary Purgatory : Part One
On March 21st of 2011, sometime around 7 AM, I sent a text message to Captain Laser Pants that read, “We should probably talk.” Attached to this message was a picture of a pregnancy test that had two very strong pink lines. So much for a September wedding and a curve hugging wedding gown.
You’re probably thinking something along the lines of, “What a terrible way to tell him!” I told him via text with good reason. He was sitting in class and I was getting ready for work. The night before he had asked me to tell him the results as soon as I knew, whether or not he was in class. We both moved through that Monday in a complete fog.
Captain Laser Pants proposed on February 17th. I think it was because I bought him car parts for Valentine’s Day, but he says it was because he actually loves me and knew for a long time he was going to ask. From February 20th on, I was planning a beautiful, budget friendly wedding for September. By March 11th, the entire wedding was already planned- caterer was booked, menu was planned, dress was commissioned, venue was selected and contracted, my bridesmatrons were on board, guest list was done, invitations were about to be pressed, flowers were chosen… You get the point. While I was never a “marriage and babies and happily ever after” kind of gal, I was (and still am) head over heels for CLP and couldn’t wait to tell the world I was his wife. So, on March 21st, after a sneaking suspicion had crept into the previous weeks, my plans (which I hate to have interrupted) came to a screeching halt.
Brief back story: I was told in Minnesota in 2008 that I would have a difficult time conceiving without fertility assistance due to endometriosis and elevated fertility hormone stimulator. I was torn when I got the news- part of me never wanted children, and part of me wanted the option if I ever changed my mind. I took the news and kept it quiet for several months, telling only my sisters and close friends long after the doctor gave the word. Needless to say, Captain Laser Pants and I were operating under a false impression.
Fast forward to 2011: I had a job that I enjoyed and paid me well for it, I had an apartment in a fun part of Atlanta, I loved my friends, my fiancé, my dogs and my lifestyle. Saturday mornings I took them to Piedmont Park for a walk, grabbed a Starbucks, and made plans for the nights. I thoroughly enjoyed flashing my engagement ring and watching people’s reactions when we went out. I loved showing off pictures of me in my wedding dress (cause, I can say this now, I looked really hot in it). Life was fun, and in no way did the abstract concept of a child fit into it. I was devestated. CLP stayed positive, “At least we know you can have a baby now,” which didn’t help my dismal outlook. Telling my parents was difficult. Canceling the wedding was worse. And this was all before the horror that is the first trimester set into place.
I started getting tired, nay, exhausted, after a full nine hours of sleep (dear God, what I wouldn’t give for nine hours of sleep now). I could barely keep my eyes open, let alone respond intelligently to my demanding boss. My work started slipping. Then crippling nausea set in. I couldn’t stomach the idea of Sprite and crackers, keep my eyes open, or keep my breakfast down. In early April I told my boss the “good” news and started taking half sick-days. On top of this, I had horrible allergies, and couldn’t take anything for fear of destroying my tiny baby’s brains. There were days that only one thing (usually Jimmy John’s Beach Club sandwich) sounded appealing, and if I didn’t eat that one thing, I would die. One horrible day that thing was KFC fried chicken, for which I paid dearly that evening. CLP stood on the sidelines in horror- he was going through a difficult semester and had a full workload, so there were weeks where I had all three dogs in my apartment by myself. Reason number 5,478 to be married before having kids- being pregnant and living alone is a nightmare. We had to get married earlier than planned. When we heard his heartbeat for the first time, reality struck a chord- we were a family.
I found out I had partial placenta previa at the end of my first trimester, and for the the first time, forgot about myself for a while and feared for Fletcher’s life. For the record, we have been calling him Fletcher Fox since I was six weeks pregnant. The name came about organically and stuck. The placenta previa resolved at the very end of my first trimester.
We moved in together shortly after we were married, watched as the first trimester fatigue faded slowly, and eventually the “morning” sickness went away. We took our honeymoon after the second trimester started, and most of the first trimester woes, except for the one relating to being pregnant, drifted into the ocean.
In the Summer of 2008, I told my sisters I was told I couldn’t have children. They wisely told me that when I was with the one, God would give us the gift of a baby. The timing wasn’t what I had planned, but then again, my planning usually sucks in comparison to God’s. Captain Laser Pants’ acceptance of our life change was significantly more graceful than mine, and my acceptance would take a much longer time to come to fruition. We are given nine months to adjust to the idea of raising a person, something monumentally unselfish, so we can be prepared to take on this huge responsibility. I had a difficult time wrapping my head around what was happening inside my body and what was happening to the life I loved living; thinking about the life for which I was now responsible was wholly overwhelming. Would I be a good mother? Would I be a good wife? Would CLP still think I was hot? What happens when Fletch asks about drugs, or sex, or wants to go to prom, or punches some kid for bullying another? Will I be a fun mom, a scary mom, a smart mom, or a crappy mom? I was so busy internalizing my fears that I was at risk of shutting myself off from the very man I most adore. I told him that if he couldn’t handle this, I was capable of doing this parenting thing by myself. When I showed him the door and offered him an out, he laughed at me sweetly and reminded me that he had proposed before we conceived, and that he wanted a family with me all along, regardless of the timing. I realized I was crazy, that I loved him, and that I had to protect our relationship at all cost.
Once I hit my stride in my second trimester, I started seeing a counselor who specialized in guiding women through the journey of motherhood. She was phenomenal in helping me reroute my thoughts and emotions, but she couldn’t touch my obsession with my appearance or the nagging selfish desire to run away from everything.
Coming Soon: Why Pregnancy is Temporary Purgatory: Part Two