What to expect when you are expecting a baby. Why the “professionals” think they can tell us this I do not know. I watched a movie with this title the other day and was glad to see that they covered the majority of the non glory, heart-break and joy, but not all. Not that I know all that can and does happen during different pregnancies. But I have a little more experience than some, having had 10 pregnancies, 5 children.
We have been married for 22 years this June and within our years of marriage we have had our fair share of loss. Our first pregnancy was an unexpected surprise. After a few weeks of adjusting we were thrilled that we were starting our family. We told everyone! And everyone told us to wait, don’t tell until after “the hump”, 12 weeks. Everyone said that was the safe zone…”You make it to 12 weeks everything is smooth sailing from there” is what they told us… But I was good, craving pbjs, a little round tummy, the glow, we were starting our family! At 14 weeks we lost our baby. It was devastating. I started bleeding, went into the doctors office and was told that I had lost our baby. I…… I had lost our baby. I had. Not my husband. Not the doctor. I had. I wanted to know what I had done. “Nothing,” the doctor assured me. There was nothing I did or didn’t do. “It just happens like this sometimes” the doctor told us. “Wait for 3 months before you try again, I am very sorry.” And he was. He suffered by our sides through five miscarriages. The latest at 16 weeks. We lost one more baby before our first child was born, one before our second child and two before our third child was born. Our first and second full term pregnancies were “textbook” everything went smoothly and we were blessed with two beautiful baby girls, 2 years and 3 months apart. In the next 3 years we suffered through two more heart breaking miscarriages. The last one being so completely devastating that I fell into a numb stupor, we lost this baby at 16 weeks. All had been perfect…but then it wasn’t. The doctor said it wasn’t my fault, but I couldn’t think of whose fault it could have been. I must have eaten the wrong thing. picked up something(s) too heavy, went up and down the stairs too much. Made love to my husband when I shouldn’t have…. WHAT DID I DO WRONG?! I screamed into my pillow at nights, I cried into my hands during the day, I swallowed my grief while watching our two perfect daughters play in the park or toddle across the room. We ran away for a month and had a long vacation, traveling up through Michigan into Canada and across to Niagra Falls and then back home to, then, Virginia. It was a long and renewing trip.
We became pregnant for the eighth time, a wanted, but this time unplanned, pregnancy, I was 34 years old. It started off like all the others. And at 10 weeks, I started bleeding. I was DONE. This was it, no more, I was done. No more heartbreak. But this time the doctor said it was still a viable pregnancy. I took to bed for six weeks and bled for six weeks. Laying there imagining all the horrible things that could be happening to the tiny baby growing inside of me. Our eldest was in Kindergarten and our second child was in preschool – thank the good Lord for friends. Friends who took our children to and from their different things, school and sports. At 16 weeks I went into the doctors and was given the “all clear” the Lord had brought us through and 24 weeks later we were blessed with our only son.
We had two more children with wonderful pregnancies-I loved being pregnant, my husband did too- and text-book deliveries. All of my deliveries were quick and natural. Not that I am saying that going “natural” is for everyone. We had to kick-start each of the deliveries with pitocin, which made the contractions come harder and quicker than they would have normally I guess, but it worked like a charm for me, none of my labors were longer than 5 hours from pitocin to delivery. In fact they all came so quickly that there was never anyone in the room when I crowned. We always had to run and get someone. Our last baby came so quickly, in fact, that she broke my pelvic bone on her haste to an early exit.
Some of the things I learned from our many pregnancies:
1) Don’t listen to what everyone says. Nosy ladies on the streets, people you work with, strangers who think they can hand out advice just because you are pregnant.
a) “Don’t tell anyone you are pregnant until you pass the safe “hump” of 12 weeks.” —Well, from my experience…. who wants to go through a miscarriage by yourself? Or try to hide or explain away morning sickness. Limit the number of people you tell but don’t keep it a secret.
b) “You are carrying it so high so you are having a girl!”—Bull! is what I say to that. That was only right on 2 of our 4 girls. Or this one I just loved, “You can tell you are having a boy, your ass is huge.” This from a total stranger. It was a boy, but REALLY!? Since when does being pregnant give anyone and everyone the right to comment on my body? Or to touch me without asking? It was like my being pregnant took away my rights as a human being.
c) If you are not a medical professional, specializing in pregnancies, PLEASE keep your medical opinion to yourself. A pregnant woman does not want to hear that they look like they are going to pop any day now when they are only 6 months along. Nor do they want to hear that they don’t even look pregnant when they are about to deliver either. -I was the latter. The moment my body knew it was pregnant it was showing off. With our first child I was feeling just awesome, 6 months along, protruding little belly, and someone in the elevator up to the OB/GYNs appointment told me I “looked like I was going to pop any moment now”. A friend of mine was so tiny that she didn’t protrude like I did, and she was jealous. Her last month looked like me at the end of my first trimester. She hated it.
NEW LAWs should be written stating that anyone who is pregnant should be treated like royalty. The only thing allowed to be said to pregnant women should be compliments: “you look beautiful today”, “you are just glowing”, “when are you due?…oh that soon? you don’t look like it!” . Don’t you agree?
EACH AND EVERY PREGNANT WOMAN IS BEAUTIFUL IN THEIR OWN WAY.
Most everyone experiences bad things during this amazing road of creating a unique individual. Bacne, acne, hemorrhoids, heartburn, excessive weight gain, headaches, back aches, stretch marks, swollen ankles, unrelenting cravings, Braxton hicks, leaky bladders and on and on I could go. But in the end, whether you have a pregnancy full of each of these horrible things, or none of them, it just doesn’t matter. Because you hold in your arms the sweetest gift that God can give-in my opinion.