Last year, I spent 9.5 months counting down the days until July 25. I have vivid memories of watching the countdown chain dwindle and marking huge milestones such as 100 days left, the last month, 2 weeks out, and the last final week. It was one of the biggest countdowns of my life. I was so excited and eagerly anticipating the arrival our our little “Squig” as we called her before she made her debut earth-side! I was filled with so many thoughts and feelings. Many of which I’ve been dying to get out of my head and on some “paper”.
This time last year was the first day of a series of strange events. Some of which I’ve shared as part of her birth story. Others, I haven’t. “Due dates mean nothing”, a phrase I said over and over to anyone that asked when I was having the baby. July 25, 2017 was a warm Tuesday here in the PNW. I was working, like normal, and dealt with the MANY annoying comments as they came often times with nothing more than a shrug. “When are you going to have that baby?” “You’re STILL working?” “Here let me lift that for you.. you’re going to pop any minute!!” The shrug acted as a less threatening way of reacting. What I really wanted to do was scream. I was so frustrated with the lack of understanding, but I also was terrified of communicating how I really felt. Terrified of peoples responses, but mostly terrified of my own feelings.
During my pregnancy I had high hopes of having an intervention free (unmedicated) birth. Ultimately, we opted to deliver in a hospital (after much debate) under the care of a midwife over a home birth or birthing center like I would have preferred. I probably let outside forces influence my head space but eventually decided delivering at the hospital was the best decision for us. I’m a hippie at heart!
I didn’t share much about my pregnancy over here. Mostly because I was nervous to put such vulnerable feelings on the Internet. Now I’m regretting not documenting more because I missed out on documenting a lot of beautiful moments.
I had a great relationship with my midwife during pregnancy. I was very honest with her, because she was
very brutally honest with me. Sometimes it was a little annoying how honest she was. She would say things to me like, “your baby is going to be late. Very late.” I often walked out of appointments asking Michael if he believed her. She started saying this around 20 weeks. How on earth could she possibly know that? I thought it was hocus pocus, but moreover I was terrified. My hopes of having an intervention free birth we’re unraveling before my eyes and I was still 20 weeks away from delivery. There are two things I did not want most a cesarean and an induction. I was willing to do anything in my power (including firing my midwife… which definitely crossed my mind a few times) to ensure these things did not happen! Disclaimer internet trolls: I realize there’s a time and place for both medical procedures! I’ve read a lot about practices in modern medicine regarding such interventions… and I didn’t want to be one of those horrifying statistics. Personal choice, I wanted my body to do what it’s SUPPOSED to do. Anything less would have left me very disappointed. I chose to advocate for my body and my baby! So let me continue..
Weeks leading up to delivery I did all of the things to induce labor. I was taking evening primrose oil (a shit load), eating dates (a shit load), walking, squatting, pumping, sexing multiple times a day for weeks…. I was hell bent on not being induced. I’m guilty as the come to falling victim of the old wives tales… pineapple, spicy food.. etc! I did it ALL. With one exception, castor oil. I’m not stupid! There, I said it! I literally did every single other method… none of which worked. Instead of countering down to July 25 I started dreading the countdown to August 5. The last day my midwife would let me go before she would induce me. Praise God! I had 2 weeks to get my shit together as I rapidly Googled how to induce labor perched up on a yoga ball with my boobs hooked up to a breast pump. I spent hours a day like this. Looking back, I don’t for a second regret pumping. It didn’t necessarily induce labor but it sure made a tremendous difference in our breastfeeding journey. I can’t wait to share more about that!
So leading up to this day a year ago, I was happy, comfortable, content, and really excited! I did get swollen a number of times, and at the end of a long work day (I stood on my feet all day) I was pretty tired. But for the most part I really did love being pregnant.
There were a few things I’ve never shared. A few weeks before my due date I went in for a routine appointment. I had always measured small during check ups but this one was the measurement that caused a major scare. My belly was measuring 2 weeks delayed and my midwife was concerned because my placenta was showing signs of age. It was terrifying to think that something could be wrong with the baby. Her concern was that baby was not growing. They sent me for an “emergency” ultrasound at the hospital to get a better picture of the placenta and to measure the baby. I had an issue with ultrasound (and prenatal massages… lame right?) that they made me feel like I was going to pass out. It was something about laying in certain a position that cut off blood flow to my brain. It happened every time I got an ultrasound, but this one was extreme. I was incredibly anxious, worried, and concerned… and on top of my emotional state my physical state was being threatened too. The ultrasound technician was very patient with me. I was embarrassed. I felt so sick. I still can’t believe I didn’t fully pass out (I might have).
We eventually got the results of the ultrasound after very nervously waiting… to find out that not only was the baby growing… she was estimated to weigh OVER 8 LBS! Holy. Cow. I refused to believe this was true. (Spoiler alert: she was 9lbs on the dot when she was born!).
Anyway, I say all of this because a year ago right around my due date I remember people commenting how small I was. How they were shocked I was as far along I was and that they couldn’t believe I was so “little”. Note: I don’t think I’m little. They were referencing my (what felt to me as giant) belly. This happened all the time. I know there is zero malice or ill intent in those comments. In fact, people probably thought they were complimenting me. It seems like a compliment. However as we waited for results confirming the health of my baby, these comments felt like salt in the wound. Like stabs straight to the heart. It was all because I was worried about the health of the baby and that reminded me of the possibility that she was not healthy. (Spoiler alert number 2: she’s definitely healthy!)
Anyway, we go through a lot as women approaching our due dates. There are a lot of feelings of excitement and nervousness.. and anticipation! Oh the anticipation! Michael and I celebrated my due date by preparing some of her clothes, tidying up her room, eating
dessert dates and pineapple and bouncing on a yoga ball while hooked up to a pump!
A year ago I was so excited about the phase of life we were entering. It’s funny, when you’re about to have a baby people tell you “you’ll never know love like this!” Or “it’s so crazy how much you’ll love that person”. Looking back, I think I did know! I had been carrying her for 9 (+++) months and I knew her! I knew I loved her from the very beginning. A lot is different , and yet… nothing at all has changed.
Maryn, I’m glad the countdown to your birthday is one I can enjoy tequila with! I love you baby girl, the countdown is on!