Tuesday, March 29, 2016

So what are we doing here?

It's the 21st century after all, if I never wanted children... what the hell am I doing having a baby?

Fair point. Well made.

The answer is, of course, that I changed my mind about the whole kid having thing. Though of course, don't get me wrong, the idea still terrifies me at times.

I was the person who for years said, "I will never have children. I don't particularly like them and I don't feel particularly maternal and I don't yearn to have a child. I firmly believe that humans can lead perfectly fulfilling lives without children."

And now you're expecting me to say, "but then my biological clock started ticking and suddenly I couldn't think of anything but babies!"

But actually, that's not how it happened at all.

I still don't particularly like most people's kids. I still don't feel particularly maternal. I still don't yearn to have a child. I still VERY firmly believe that humans can lead completely fulfilling lives without children. None of that really changed.

Leading us back to the initial question: what the hell am I doing having a baby?

Well, a couple of things... For one, I married a man who had always wanted kids, and who will be a wonderful father. That alone, however, is not sufficient reason for me to change my stance on procreating.

For another, I spent a few years living amongst friends who had children, but who still managed to be people with identities outside of parenthood. People who continued to accomplish things that mattered to them outside of raising kids and who traveled and adventured with kids in tow.

For yet another, my brother (closest to me in age and perhaps even more reluctant to procreate than I ever was) had a baby, and that baby was adorable and awesome. This changed a few things for me. It made me realize that I like some babies (and a couple of close friends' babies helped with this as well) and that if my brother, who never really wanted kids, found it fulfilling and worthwhile (which he does) then I probably would too.

Finally, the thing that clinched it was that I thought about it for a very long time and analyzed my reasons for not wanting kids. Lots of them were solid. But the strongest one was that I simply didn't want to be a "mom." Yet the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it wasn't that I didn't want to be a "mom" in the sense of producing offspring and teaching them about the world. A number of aspects of that appealed to me (which is why I enjoyed teaching for so many years). What I shied away from was adopting the identity of "mom." I didn't want to be "mom" before I was "Virginia" "writer" "adventurer" "world traveler" "athlete" etc. I didn't want mom to become my sole identity.

So what finally made me decide the whole thing might be ok, was realizing that it was up to me how much of my identity I hand over to motherhood. I could hand over as much or as little as I wanted, be damned what society expects, and there was no right answer. Some women embrace "mom" as their first and foremost identity and that's great. Others simply add it to a long list of identifiers and let it play an equal part and that's great too. There is no right or wrong way to do it. There is only the way that you do it.

Don't get me wrong. I know that this whole thing is going to turn my world on its head, and do so in ways I cannot, at this moment, imagine. However, I also know, because I've seen it done, that when the dust settles it will be up to me how much of myself I give over to the identity of "mom" and that whatever I choose will be the right amount.

Well damn.

I got all philosophical on us.

Point is, welcome to a blog written by a woman who is currently pregnant (15 weeks as of the writing of this post) and who never really planned to be here. I know lots of pregnant ladies have been dying to be moms since they were little girls. This is not that kind of blog. I know lots of pregnant ladies used to shun motherhood, but now embrace it wholeheartedly. This isn't that kind of blog either.

This one is for the ladies who never really wanted to have kids, and still aren't sure it's the right move, but have decided, "ah... fuck it. Why not?"

Welcome ladies.* Come on in. Let's talk.

*Audience members of all genders and sexualities are welcome here. I'm just assuming the majority of the audience will be fellow pregnant women, but don't let my assumptions stop you, come on in!

Since this is an intro post, here's a photo of me. 

Meet my dog Artemis (the same one from the above picture). She's my four legged fur child. I am worried about whether I will love her more or less than my human child. I'm not sure which option disturbs me more...

Friday, March 25, 2016

Week 15

Ok. This is finally feeling real. We've told everyone. We even made a Facebook announcement. I still don't really feel "pregnant" but I don't feel normal either.

On the other hand, my symptoms made an unwelcome visit the other day and I spent Thursday and Friday out of commission and on the couch with nausea and fatigue. Fuck you very much, first trimester symptoms, we are in the SECOND trimester now. You may GO HOME.

Mostly though, I've felt more energetic. I've been getting work done. I've had enough energy to walk the dog and STILL DO OTHER THINGS!

There was a long portion of the first trimester where I just felt completely wiped. I felt as though I had zero creative ability left, as though getting off the couch and walking the dog were the most challenging thing I was capable of. And thank goodness for my dog. Without Artemis I think I would resemble an over large slug at this point. It was the feelings of guilt at not walking her that got me moving every day, and once I was out in the fresh air it was (usually) easy enough to decide to take her for a few miles of walking instead of just laying on the couch. Of course, once I got home I felt like I couldn't do anything else, but those walks were as good for me and Speck as they were for her.

Oh yeah. I call this thing in my abdomen Speck. I have since the first week, when it was literally no larger than a speck. I like it as a nickname. Hubby is less sold on the idea, but I managed to get him on board by offering up nicknames I knew he would hate. When he said he did't like Speck I said, "Well alright then, how about Wyvern? It looks like a baby dragon at this stage anyway." He did not like Wyvern. I called it Wyvern for all of a day and he decided he liked Speck just fine. Teehee. I'm not evil, I'm just pregnant.

I feel like there are so many things I've missed in catching this blog up to speed. I'm creating all of these entries this on the same day to start the blog off at Week 15. There are little details that I'm leaving out because of this, and I feel that they're important.

For example, I've questioned this decision so many times in the past 15 weeks I've lost count. Really? Was this a good idea? REALLY? Especially when I've felt sick.... but sometimes just when I've heard babies crying nearby. Our lives are going to be sooooo different if this works out.

Also, genetic testing. That's a thing that you can do. A thing to worry about. A thing that's scary and reassuring all at once. We're in the middle of that right now. I'm going for more bloodwork tomorrow. All just pre-emptive. Nothing has suggested we need it except for one tiny piece of family history. Everything should be fine.

And now it's time to start thinking about birth and how we want to do that. I wanted a midwife but couldn't get one because Manitoba has nowhere near enough to meet demand. That's a bummer, and now I have to seek out other options. Not a big deal (and we're super lucky to even have options) but one more thing to research, one more thing to decide.

Really? This seemed like a good idea? Really?

Oh the second guessing. Things feel more real now, now that everyone knows. The imposter syndrome is fading, but it flares up occasionally. Other women look more pregnant than I do. Other women have more symptoms than I do. I can't really be pregnant because I just went backpacking and felt fine even though it was the desert and it was hot out and I haven't backpacked in months...

Then we hear the heartbeat on Friday. The last day of week 15 and we got to hear the heartbeat, both me and hubby, with the doppler stethoscope and it was real. It wasn't my heartbeat, mine is slow. This was fast. 136bpm. Not that fast for a fetus, but damned fast compared to an adult. Speck has a heartbeat. Speck is no longer a speck. Speck is alive and well and having a hearbeat.


But I'm still not convinced that I look it... (And yeah I totally posted pictures of me in a bra on the internet. I mean... I'm pregnant and that bra covers more than most bathing suits so... meh. The fucks I give are zero.) ;-)

**This is the first post in this blog written in real time. All subsequent weeks (16 and onwards) will be written as they occur. All the ones preceding this were written from memory to the best of my ability. If you think I've missed something, or have any questions, or just want to chime in and say "ME TOO!" or "YOU'RE CRAZY" please comment! Thanks for joining me on this crazy ride. Come back for more at the end of week 16!**

Friday, March 18, 2016

Week 14

In which we tell more of our friends and then go tell our friends and family in Arizona IN PERSON!

So hubby was feeling better over the weekend and we managed to tell a few more close friends in person in Winnipeg. It's been a lot of fun to tell people and makes the whole thing seem far more real, and celebratory. 

Then we headed to Arizona and told a bunch of our close friends and family down there, which was extra awesome since we often only get to catch up with them via video chat. 

In addition, I feel amazing this week and had enough energy to go for a two day, twenty mile backpack in the Superstition Mountains with one of my favorite people in the world! It was a gorgeous trip and we had a wonderful time getting away from civilization and soaking up sun, warmth, and some quality time with mother nature.

While I was doing that, hubby was catching up with many of his musical compatriots in Phoenix and practicing up for the Highland Games, where he and a few friends played a bunch of Scottish tunes all weekend. 

I made it back to civilization in time for the games and managed to sneak a few pictures of the bagpipes and drums for your viewing pleasure.

Sadly, the week 14 picture never happened because we were busy busy traveling bees.

Forgive my goofy grin, but I just managed to backpack 14 weeks pregnant and am tired enough to fall asleep standing up.


And drums

Friday, March 11, 2016

Week 13

So it's probably a toss up between my mom and my sister as to who had the most emotional, balls to the wall enthusiastic response to hearing we're pregnant. Sadly, this week, the husband is laid flat with a nasty chest infection and I have just enough energy to take care of him and myself, and the dog. After that, napping is a must. So there are lots of family naps this week. We're trying to tell close friends in person this week so that we can get an internet friendly announcement going, but having hubby knocked on his butt is delaying that.

No worries. At least I have energy, and my nausea is super sporadic and fleeting.

We want to tell as many people as we can before we leave for Phoenix next week. Things are starting to feel more real now that we've told our families. Both his folks and mine are really excited and that's making me more excited. It's nice to feel a bit excited. It's also nice to think we might be getting out of the "a miscarriage could happen at any moment" woods. Each day drops our statistical likelihood of miscarriage.

To be completely practical, something could go wrong at any moment in a pregnancy. We're well aware. But there has to be some point when you can start to sit back and enjoy it. I think that time is coming soon. I still don't really feel pregnant (although I do still have to pee all the time and my boob soreness is kicking it up a notch this week) but I'm starting to let my brain accept the idea. And I might be starting to look pregnant. I mean, at least to me, but only a tiny bit.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Week 12

Adventures in telling family, taking more antibiotics, skating on the river, and canine photography...

First Artemis and I spent a lot of time on the river in what we suspect will be the last week of skating before everything melts. Then we got called in to follow up with our UTI and they found more bacteria... and then I broke a skate on the last skate of the season.

At least the bump picture still got taken.

Things still don't feel real but we're telling family on Friday anyway. That should be fun and we're excited to not have to hide it any more.

Please look at these pretty pictures.

What can I say? I like to take photos of my dog in the snow/on the ice.

I totally snapped my skate mid stride. It is no longer functional as a skate.

Like really, not at all.

It's weird to get to week 12 and not feel like I'm pregnant, or look like I'm pregnant. 

Only apparently that's not weird at all. Symptoms are supposed to ease off and you head into the second trimester and it's not uncommon not to show until way later with one's first pregnancy. 

So be it.

Meanwhile, yes, telling family is awesome. Everyone is really excited, fairly surprised, and VERY HAPPY.

This is a huge benefit to being someone who said she would never have children. My family totally believed me (and well they should have, I meant it) and they are now totally surprised, but in the best possible way.

Oh, and I find myself unbuttoning the top button of my pants at night. Anyone else?