In honor of Mother's Day this week, I am feeling nostalgic. Please join me as I take a trip back to those early days...days of hope and joy, and fuzzy-headed (rather large) miracles...and also stories of sadness and loss, and months of fragile hope and darkness. The jumble of emotions and stories which pave my journey to motherhood.
(Catch up on Part I of My Journey to Motherhood: Two Pink Lines)
What does everyone think when they see a really big pregnant woman?
(Oh, you know it's true.)
"Wow. She must be having twins."
"Wow. That's some kind of big baby in there."
Well. Since I don't have twins, you can draw your own conclusions...
This was taken about 1 week before I delivered. (You can tell the baby had already "dropped.")Too bad maternity clothes back then were not close-fitting like they are now. I assure you--that is one big belly under that green shirt! Oh, and not to ignore the baby daddy...how 'bout those overalls? Unfortunately...it's not the last you'll see of them!
Oh, but wait. I'm jumping ahead to far. After that day in our summer camp cabin, my husband and I decided to keep the pregnancy news to ourselves for a couple of weeks. That first week, I loved having a secret. My secret, sweet baby in my belly. The verse from the Christmas story kept resonating in my head, "And Mary pondered all these things in her heart..."
I only got to ponder for about a week. After that, I turned a pale shade of morning-sickness green.
I tried everything. My husband brought me dry Saltines to eat while still lying down first thing in the morning. I took tiny sips of icy cold Coke. I sucked on lemon drops and Lifesavers. I lay on our bed, trying not to move, or think about food.
With all the preoccupation with food and bad smells and queasiness, I knew I had to tell our news. Especially to my coworkers, who were wondering about my prolonged absences from my desk in the mornings and middle of the day.
And then I wanted to tell our families and friends. I kidded with my family one too many times about "Guess what we'll be doing in 9 months?" that they didn't believe me at first on the phone. My dad was in South Africa at the time, and I felt the need to tell him Right! Now! I found out his South African friend's e-mail address, and e-mailed a letter for him to hand to my dad. My dad's friend thought something was seriously wrong back home when my dad cried reading my e-mail. Nope, those were just happy tears for his daughter who had waited so long for a baby!
I remember telling a group of friends at Mazzio's Pizza. Now that I think about it, the place was fitting...since I would eat so much pizza during that pregnancy!
Speaking of pizza...as the months progressed, so did my belly. Especially in the 3rd trimester, my belly got HUGE. Oh, you think I am just being vain. But, seriously. My belly was B-I-G. Complete strangers came up to me, and asked if I was having twins. And I am not even kidding. There was a little white-headed Walmart employee who told me my doctor was wrong. I WAS going to have twins--just mark her words, she'd been around pregnant bellies all her life, and mine was a twins pregnant belly.
I even had a friend at church (who I actually didn't know that well at the time...), who pulled me aside to tell me, "I really hope you don't take this the wrong way..."
(I was already thinking, "Uh oh. What in the world is she going to say???")
"I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but all these little skinny girls around here barely show when they're pregnant. I love that you really LOOK pregnant."
How does one answer that? "Uhm, thank you?"
Remember, this was my first pregnancy. I had nothing to compare it to. I knew that in my last month I was very uncomfortable. Rolling over in bed required a committee meeting--to decide whether or not it was worth the effort. My husband even started sleeping on the couch--because I took up too much space in the bed, and moved around way too much.
My doctor assured me everything was fine, but that maybe I needed to lay off the snacks. I always felt a little guilty, because I was having the occasional ice cream snack at bedtime...or the pizza dinner...or the Mexican lunch... Man, the food just tasted WONDERFUL! The spicier or the sweeter, the better. Also, I turned the big 3-0 in my 3rd trimester--so, hello birthday cake and party food!
But, even though I ate every single thing I wanted, I never ate very much of it. Uh, I didn't have ROOM to eat very much. I kept telling my doctor I wasn't eating a whole lot, and my weight gains each appointment were always in the normal range.
So, it wasn't a complete shock when I had my baby, that she was on the large side. I just wasn't prepared for HOW LARGE.
Neither were the doctors or nurses prepared...
I heard the words, "Oh my WORD she's big."
"She's a giant."
"Who wants to wager how much she weighs?"
And, for the record...nobody got close to her birth weight.
...To be continued...
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