Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Birth Story No.2, Pt. 1

When Valerie was 3, I was somewhat ready to go ahead with another pregnancy. And it took three months to get pregnant with Andrew, unlike conceiving Valerie on the first try. So, as you can imagine, I was worried it would never happen. It makes me laugh now, but that's how I felt at the time. Then, a couple of weeks after a bout of nausea that didn't even occur to me as pregnancy-related, I took a pregnancy test and found out Tom and I had made another baby!

We were so excited, but I was also worried that the anxiety would kick in again, like the first time. And I was terrified, behind my thin facade of optimism that the baby wouldn't go to term. But this time around, I had decided to trust my OB, and that was a great comfort, just making the decision to trust. He didn't see any reason to label me high risk, and besides a couple of small details, there was nothing special for me to do. So, I relaxed a bit. And that really became the theme for my second pregnancy, at least mentally.

Tom and I decided to tell Valerie right away, and not wait the usual 12 weeks, to make sure the pregnancy was well established. We figured that if anything unfortunate were to happen, she would pretty much be aware of it, and that we would face whatever was to come as a family.

Of course, I cried as we told her Mommy was going to have another baby. Her first question: Is it a boy or a girl? Of course, we didn't know. Of course, she wanted a girl. Even after we found out at 20 weeks that "it" was a boy, Valerie still called Andrew a girl until the day he was born.

Andrew did go to term, to 38 1/2 weeks. But unlike my first pregnancy--which was virtually uneventful, until the totally unexpected final event--those were not the most pleasant of weeks. I grew to understand the remark my first OB had made to me about not having to experience the last uncomfortable weeks of pregnancy because Valerie came so early.

Here is my laundry list of unpleasant symptoms:

Morning sickness. I had about 2 weeks with the first pregnancy, but more like 12 weeks with the second. No vomiting, thankfully, but I didn't dare go anywhere, not even to bed, without a baggie of oyster crackers within reach.

Ligamentous pain. Every time I moved after being in one position for any extended length of time, the ligaments around my pelvic bones screamed at me.

The-Symptom-That-Must-Not-Be-Named. This was the worst, and totally new for me. I even had to eat Christmas dinner standing up. But I did get to take a lot of nice hot baths (alone!). I'd really like to write more about it, but I won't. Contact me if you'd like all the gory details.

Elevated Blood Pressure. This happened at about week 33. It worried me, but as you'll remember, I had decided to trust my OB. He said I just needed to lie down for an hour each afternoon, and take it easy. So, I did.

Valerie didn't like that I had to lay on the couch and rest, but she got used to it. It was so much fun watching her watching my belly grow. She would sing to the baby and kiss my belly, and make all sorts of fun plans for what she was going to do with "her". The first time Valerie felt the baby kick she was so surprised!

She and Tom went with me to nearly all my OB check-ups. Valerie always had a "question" for the doctor. Including, could she hold the baby upside down? No, he replied, he didn't think that would be a very good idea. We took her to a Big Kid and the Baby class at the hospital and watched with pride as she learned to change a babydoll's diaper and also to remind me to eat good food because whatever I ate, the baby ate through the umbilical cord.

As the weeks counted down, I was becoming extremely aware of how all our lives were going to change. I was mindful of the time Valerie and I spent together, and I was quietly beginning to mourn what would be the loss of the delightful experience of her as our only child. Tom kept reminding me how wonderful it was to be giving her a little brother, and how wonderful for Andrew to have her in return. I knew he was right, but I couldn't help feeling overwhelmed.

Week 34 come and went and I knew Andrew could come at any minute, as Valerie had. And, honestly, I was ready to be done being pregnant! But he held out for 4 1/2 more weeks, right until the night before Tom was scheduled to go out-of-town on business.

For Pt. 2, please read Thursday's post!

1 comment:

  1. I love this Sara, both sides of life, both have pain and both have beauty. At birth we easily open the gifts - with the wonderful baby. Funny, at death we often don't open the gifts... but you opened some in "Passing Clouds". Thank you.