Saturday, January 26, 2013

Reflecting on the past year...

Today is January 26th.

A year ago today, I found out I was pregnant, for the very first time in my life. I was pregnant for seven weeks, until my pregnancy ended in miscarriage, and I haven't been pregnant since (though it hasn't been for a lack of trying!)

I can't believe it's been a whole year since that happened. It seemed like, my whole life changed from that moment. Even though I didn't deliver a full term baby, I still felt like my life had changed a lot from that pregnancy. I suddenly became one of those people who had actually gotten to experience what it was like to be pregnant. I got to feel the symptoms of pregnancy. And also the many fears that go with it. In a way, it was like I actually did get to be a Mom. Even though it was short... once you realize there is a little life growing inside of you, it all becomes very real. You aren't just thinking about being a Mom anymore... you ARE one. You are now responsible for this little embryo inside of you, and you have to take good care of yourself and nurture this little life the best you can... because the plan is, it's supposed to be a part of you for the rest of your life. 

I was excited and nervous and scared and more than anything... overwhelmed, imagining how my life was going to completely change, and I was going to have to kick things into high gear to prepare for a baby. I spent the entire 4 weeks of knowing that I was pregnant, going online and looking up symptoms of pregnancy, and different health insurance plans (my husband is a contractor and makes good money but he opted for a higher hourly wage over health insurance). 

The whole thing taught me this more than anything: I am a total worrywart.  I worry about EVERYTHING. Which makes me worry even more about becoming a parent. I will be honest here. I feel like I shouldn't be admitting this "out loud" but I'm just going to do it.....

I was a pretty sad pregnant person. I am NOT saying I don't want to become pregnant again, because for whatever crazy reason, I still do. But I think I am trying to look at the bright side of the fact that it hasn't happened again, since then. I am 44 years old. And although I've been taking pretty damn good care of my health and taking CoEnzyme Q10 to improve my egg quality and taking fertility herbs and supplements galore... I realize that some things are still just not up to me, and it may never happen again. Some people try every single thing they can think of, to have a baby, and it just doesn't happen. And, unlike Giuliana Rancic, Nicole Kidman and Sarah Jessica Parker... hiring a surrogate is just not an option for me!

I think that, if you could rate a person's desire to have a baby, on a scale of 1-10... "10" being someone who wants a baby more than anything in life, and a "1" being, someone who has never wanted a kid in their entire life... I'd be at about an 8.5 right now. I'd say last month I was probably at about a 9.5... and it was making me crazy. I've gone down a slight notch, and am feeling a lot better. It's not that I don't want a kid, but I am just feeling a lot less pressure, and I'm not letting it drive me nuts. I think 8.5 is a safe place to be, because I still really want a kid, and yet I'm leaving some room for the possibility that, given my age, things could genuinely be out of my control at this point.

I remember when I was in my 30's, I had a friend who was telling me about a couple of her friends who were in their mid-40's, still trying to have a baby, and I was like, good luck with that! To me, it sounded impossible... and now here I am, in that same position. It's like, when you're young and go to a club and you see people in their late 30's and 40's there and you think, what in the world are they doing there? They must be delusional!  Don't they realize how old they are???  And now I guess karma is biting me in the ass, for thinking those things.

Yep, karma's a bitch all right.

For the entire time I was pregnant, I was kind of miserable and whiny. Though I think this was largely because I suddenly stopped ALL caffeine intake, AND exercise, at the same time. Now I didn't have either of those things I usually rely on, to pull me out of a depressed mood in the dead of winter. Then add a slightly nauseous feeling to that, and pretty bad back pain, and... I was just not a happy girl. Even though I never really had bad morning sickness, I just couldn't seem to get to a place where I felt good. There was always this kind of "bleah" taste in my mouth that just wouldn't go away. I became obsessed with food, wanting SOMETHING to just taste good again, but it never really did (I feel selfish admitting this but it's true). And I hated feeling sick and fatigued, because I'm used to feeling pretty damn good and energetic throughout the day. And then I worried a lot. I worried about having an ectopic pregnancy. I worried about health insurance. I worried about money. And most of all... I worried about how much my life was going to change. Permanently.

I feel like, I was pretty self centered while I was pregnant. I mean, on one hand, I think it was pretty good of me to give up caffeine and try to eat extra healthy and I even sang songs to the baby and talked to it. I wanted it to be happy and strong and healthy. And yet... I just hated how crappy and anxious and worried I felt! 

My mother says that there is a genetic tendency in our family, to want to be alone.... and I know I am no exception. Oh my God I can't believe I just said that out loud. For some reason I feel this crazy, huge sense of relief in saying this. I feel like someone who just came out of the closet! But there, I said it. It's true. I like being alone. Not all the time, but... I have always craved a balance of being alone (about 2/3 of the time), with being with people (about 1/3 of the time... or less). I know it sounds crazy to say that when I'm married, but... my husband is gone at work most of the day, and then when he comes home at night, I'm on my laptop and he's watching TV, and we get to connect before we go to bed. Yes, we do talk, and we do spend some quality time together. I really, really love him. 

But I also really, really like being alone. I CHERISH my "alone time" in the house while he's at work. 

I know there are some women out there who want to have a baby, so that they will have a companion, and never be alone.  Well, I am definitely not one of those people.

So the thought of having a baby around me, ALL THE TIME, like, 24 hours a day, kind of scared the crap out of me. Like I said, I feel like someone coming out of the closet, saying this. Scared as shit, but also, feeling a huge sense of relief in saying it. 

When I was about 5 weeks pregnant, I spent a couple of days with my niece - my brother's daughter - who is just about 1 year old. My brother was moving out of the state, and I was helping him get packed up and ready to leave. My niece was at that really cute baby stage, so you'd think I would have wanted to dote on her and hug her and kiss her and spend ever second I could with her, knowing I was barely going to get to see her, once they moved. After all, she is my neice, and she was moving out of the state!

But suddenly, all I could think was, "Oh my God. I'm going to have one of these.... I'm going to have a REAL BABY. And it's not like, this temporary thing. I'm going to have a baby attached to my hip, all the time, every day of the week, every week of the month, every month of the year, every year for the next 18 years." I was basically freaking out inside. My brother asked me if I could watch her for a while while they were packing. I said sure. And I took her outside and we just kind of strolled around the perimeter of the apartment complex where they lived, and... I just couldn't block those thoughts out of my head:  Oh my God, how am I going to handle this, all day, every day. When am I ever going to get time to myself again? I know... it sounds horrible to say this. But I have to be honest... that is exactly what I was thinking. The half an hour I spent watching her, by myself, felt like an eternity.

I do realize that pregnancy hormones could have had something to do with it. I had never been so freaked out and worried, about every single little thing imaginable, as when I was pregnant.  And I really do think that, if I hadn't been pregnant, I would have really cherished that time with my niece a lot more. She is sooo cute. I am convinced that, if I wasn't pregnant, I would have had that kind of "longing" feeling you get, for a baby, when you hit your 30's and your clock starts ticking and every baby looks like the cutest baby in the whole world.  It's that "dreamy" feeling you have, when you are simply wishing for something, without actually having a freaking clue of what it would really be like! It's like Mother Nature's way of tricking you into having a baby. It's only when you have one on the way that you get that actual dose of what it would really be like... like a shot in the arm. Now the reality is in your system and there's no denying it!

I know there are people out there who just plain KNOW they do not want kids. I know three people who have ALWAYS known, they do not want kids. For whatever reason, they can just feel it in their gut somehow. I almost wish I could be one of those people, because it would make my life so much simpler! I could skip the whole scenario of having to worry about a child for the rest of my life. Not just when they're a child, but even as an adult. 

When I told my aunt and one of my best friends that I was pregnant, they were so happy and excited for me. They actually screamed. And then when I told them about my miscarriage, I know they felt bad. My friend who has two kids herself told me that of all the people she knew, she thought I deserved to have a kid more than anyone. We had been roommates in our 20's, and then she moved across the country and stayed in touch over the phone over the phone and now via email and facebook. She is one of my best friends ever. And I take it as the highest compliment that she would have said that.  I've had other people tell me over the years, that they think I would make a great mom. When you get into your 30's it becomes like, the ultimate compliment, because when your clock is ticking and you find yourself really wanting a baby, it just becomes so much more valuable to hear that. 

But one more thing that my friend said was, that she knows I value my alone time, more than anyone she knows. It's a pretty funny combination of things, to hear someone say they think you deserve a kid more than anyone they know, but they also know you like being alone more than anyone they know! And having a baby will FOREVER CHANGE THAT. 

I am on day 29 of my cycle, and I know that I'm probably about to get my period any day now. I'm not feeling any particular symptoms of pregnancy - at least, not the ones I felt last year, before I found out. No lower back pain (well, not like last year), no crabbiness, no fatigue, and minimal "boob pain." I've probably been drinking too much caffeine, so maybe a pregnancy just couldn't "stick" this time. It's not like I've had a ton... never more than 100 mg per day (usually just 40). But who knows what your body really can handle when you're in your 40's and TTC. 

The day I found out I was pregnant, I told a different girl friend - who had also been trying to conceive (she already has one daughter), about my condition. I didn't tell a lot of people, but I told her because we talked so much about trying to have a baby for the last 3 years (and I knew she would be happy for me because she knew how hard I'd been trying, and she wouldn't feel jealous because she already HAD a child). We met up for coffee at Starbucks the evening I found out, and for some reason, she insisted on buying me little presents in the store. It was really cute and sweet - like her little baby shower to me, where she showered me with decaf chai and little gifts. 

For some reason she really wanted to get me the Coldplay CD they had there in the store. I thought it was kind of funny and cute and odd and insisted she didn't need to get it for me, but for some reason she really wanted to - even though she had never heard it before. Add now I am so glad she did. Because I listened to it a lot while I was pregnant, and now when I listen to it, it brings back a flood of emotion and - if you can believe it - fond memories for me. Like how every time I listen to "Home" by Phillip Phillips, I will think of the Olympics... Every time I hear "Paradise" by Coldplay, I will go back to January and February of 2012 and feel pregnant all over again. I know, I said I was miserable and scared. But I was also full of excitement and hope, and pure raw emotion. And I still have hope, that it could happen again.  And listening to this song takes me back to that moment in time, and actually makes me feel really good. 

Despite all the pain and fear that went along with being pregnant, I think the most beautiful thing was, just knowing I was able to create a life. I was finally able to do it, and do it with a man I really loved. Yes, things are rocky sometimes, but I really, really love him. And there are few more beautiful things than being able to create a child with someone you are in love with. And there was that anticipation and excitement of knowing that I was creating this brand new person, and it was my responsibility to take care of this person and help them become a good, productive member of society who helped make the world a better place. See, maybe that's why I felt so much anxiety. I take the whole parenting thing pretty seriously. I want to be an attentive, hands on parent who helps to make my child into a good, productive human being. I know that any new child brought into this world will consume a HUGE amount of natural resources - gas, electricity, water, food.... It's HUGE. So I look at it like, I'd better raise a pretty damn good person in order to justify all that consumption.

Reading this, I can see how I was giving myself so much anxiety! There is a great big part of me that is wondering if I can even handle parenthood at all, and then another part of me that wants to do everything perfectly. 

I am still hopeful that it will happen again. I think I would be a lot more prepared, and careful this time. I will expect to be worried. I'll expect to feel nauseous, and expect for nothing to taste good. I'll expect to be scared, and freaked out, and worried the entire time. But despite knowing all of this... I figure that if I still want to have a kid... I must really, genuinely want one.

Like I said, I know it's not up to me. I really do think it's up to a higher power at this point. True, I have to do a lot of the work on my end, but... after that, I need to let go, and let God.

So we'll see what happens in this next year. The main thing I need to do is keep moving forward with my life, try to work as hard as I can to be successful, and just hope and pray that everything will work out, in the grand scheme of things, the way that it is supposed to.


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