The wine tasted a little funny. Not bad. Just wrong, somehow. I was warm and tired, and instantly I just knew I was pregnant. Even though I hadn’t missed my period yet. Even though I wasn’t nauseous or sore. I knew.
So I did what I often do when I’m on the cusp of something huge; I tried to talk myself out of it.
I spent hours dithering over whether or not to go out and buy a pregnancy test. I’d taken them before, in recent months, when I’d convinced myself that I felt nauseous, or fatigued, or any of the other entirely vague symptoms that can indicate early pregnancy. And all of them had turned out to be negative, and I was never really surprised.
In the end, I knew I was pregnant this time. I just knew. So David and I piled into the car and drove down to CVS to buy a test (digital; I was not about to panic over whether a line was faint or not really present, thanks), all the while I kept up a constant stream of chatter about how I was putting us through all this for nothing, because I probably wasn’t even pregnant.
But I was.
Once we had the test in our possession, I felt better. I also waited at least two hours before taking it, much to David’s dismay. Instead I left the test in my bag, put on my pajamas, and got on the couch to read. I read for a long time. Finally, David nudged me and asked if I would please, please go take the test so that we could go to sleep already. So I did, and it turned positive almost immediately.
Shaking, I capped it, washed my hands, and carried it wordlessly out to David and shoved it in his hands.
The first words out of his mouth were, “I can see your pee.”
Then we cried and laughed and kissed and were deliriously happy for the next two weeks.
At which point my symptoms kicked in, and pretty much everything since then has sucked.
I despise being pregnant. It is nothing like I imagined it would be. I feel so angry and sick and sad. And ashamed of myself. Because we want this little baby so very, very much. We will love this baby so fully and fiercely when he or she gets here. And yet I am so furious about everything that’s happening to me right now. I don’t know how to hold such powerful and conflicting feelings inside of me simultaneously.
Today I hit 13 weeks, which is considered the second trimester by almost everyone (if you’re one of those people who claim the switch doesn’t happen until 14 weeks, don’t talk to me).
I am still sick. I have been sick for seven straight weeks now. My best friend has a chronic illness. She’s been some level of “sick” every day of her life since she was about 12 years old. Although she experiences discomfort or pain almost constantly she’s learned to adapt, and she has a fulfilling, adventurous, amazing life. And even though I know she doesn’t mind, that she would never dream of comparing the two situations, I feel like a jerk when I complain to her about how pregnancy is destroying me. How I am sick every day, and can barely leave my bed, and can’t remember what it’s like to feel normal. Compared to some women, I’m not even that sick. I have never needed to be hospitalized for dehydration. I have so far resisted prescription medication, though it’s been offered to me (and at this point, honestly, I’m probably going to give in). Intellectually I understand that there’s the possibility that it could be so much worse.
It helps that I have an amazing support system. David is incredible. He comes to every prenatal appointment with me, holds my hand and never, ever laughs at me when I cry while getting blood drawn. He runs all the errands, does all the chores, brings me food (assuming I can actually eat) and glasses of water and hands me things that are on the far end of the coffee table when I am lying on the couch in agony and cannot fathom leaning forward to reach for them myself. He reads aloud to me until I fall asleep, rubs my back, leaves me little love notes around the house to cheer me up. He tells me I am doing a great job. He acknowledges that my pain and fears and sadnesses are real. He makes me laugh even on the hardest days. He reminds me–simply by his constant, generous presence–why I wanted to have a baby in the first place. And I could not ever imagine doing this without him.
But there is an element beyond just the physical, for me. At my last appointment, my midwife asked how I was handling things, emotionally.
“It’s been…rough,” I admitted. And then tears just started leaking out of my eyes. I have been crying a lot since getting pregnant. Several times a day, often inexplicably. I feel a lot of stress and anxiety about leaving my apartment and seeing people who are not David. I get nervous that I am going to start feeling horrifically sick in public, and will start lashing out at people if they try to help me. I have no reason to think this is going to happen. I’m not usually the lashing out type. But at the same time I feel lonely. And just sad. Really sad, a lot of the time, with a large dose of frustration. And while there’s something to be said for the fact that my hormones are 100% haywire right now, I am also just having a hard time coping with all the rapid changes going on in my body and in my life. So my lovely midwife referred me to a therapist, and I have my first meeting next week. This, more than anything else, has actually made me feel better.
I am not a monster. I am freaking the hell out, but that’s because I’m pregnant and that’s actually really chaotic and enormous and a lot to deal with. I am inundated with a lot of complicated feelings, and I need to sit down with someone who can help me sort that stuff out. I think until my midwife responded to me as though the way I’m feeling is 100% ok, and understandable, I believed that there was something deeply, fundamentally wrong with me. I am not a glowing, benevolent, serene pregnant woman. I am a weepy, terrified, pukey pregnant woman. Apparently that is actually totally fine. I wish someone had told me that months ago.
Real talk: while I think therapy is going to help me tremendously as far as sorting out the way I’m feeling, I don’t expect to miraculously begin loving the experience of being pregnant. It’s weird and uncomfortable. I’m only 1/3 of the way through, and already it has lasted way too long for me. I pretty much expect that I will continue to hate the whole thing (heartbeat via doppler and seeing the ultrasound was magical and amazing and the only exceptions I’ve found so far. But as soon as the screen went dark and the picture faded, the magic was over and the misery was back). But at least I no longer feel like something’s wrong with me for not enjoying myself.
Anyway, that’s why the blog’s been dark for so long. Family and friends and the internet have known about the pregnancy for a while, now, but I just couldn’t summon the energy or the courage to write anything. With any luck, this will get me back into the swing of things.
(If you’re a woman who loathed being pregnant, I would love to hear about it. Solidarity! If you’re a woman who loved being pregnant, I envy and admire you. Yay for all pregnant women!)