Tuesday, July 5, 2011

floating with contractions through the river of denial

{here is my denial face.  
i am thinking about eating chocolate on a tropical island somewhere.
it's where i always go.}

when i am pregnant, i am not the type of mother to bond with my children while they are in the womb.  i don't read to them, sing to them, or put headphones on my bare belly playing classical music.  in fact, i have a difficult time even calling them by the name we've picked out for them, or addressing them as "he" or "she."  i usually find myself addressing the baby as "it" and then ben will correct me with a, "you mean, she?"  and then i say, "oh, right. yeah. she."

i don't know why i am this way, but i have to say i don't think it's necessarily a good thing.  i think it says something about my mental state while i'm pregnant....i'm not sure what that is, but it says something, i think.

i know it isn't a new thing, or just related to this pregnancy because i wrote about it when i was 32 weeks pregnant with leah.

mainly i've realized that it's a huge state of denial.  so much so, in fact, that when i actually come to the laboring part of pregnancy and the child pops out, a voice inside my brain seems to scream,


and then i'm handed this tiny being and i am completely overwhelmed.

but, in the end it always turns out okay.  i take it one day at a time and eventually realize that i am the mother of this baby and i did carry he or she in my uterus for 9 months.

i think with this pregnancy in particular i have found myself in such a state of denial.  probably because most of the time i felt i was just coping with what was going on in our lives outside of being pregnant.  one thing after the other seemed to hit for about 7 1/2 months, and it came in waves.  just long enough for me to struggle to the surface and get my bearings before another wave took me under for a week or two....or three.

so when we moved into this new house and started to get settled, and worked in somewhat of a summer routine, i took a breather and really relaxed.  things were simple and quiet again.  {aside from my children, who absolutely love to hear the sound of their own voices at a volume that could probably shatter glass}

until about two weeks ago.  i woke up at 1 a.m. one night, clutching my stomach.  and realized i was doing lamaze breathing without even trying.  it was a contraction, but harder than the normal braxton hicks contractions that i had been having since i was about 5 or 6 months along.  it started in my lower abdomen and wrapped around to my back.  my face felt like it was on fire and i had to concentrate to get through it.  after a minute or so it was over, so i lay back down.  just as i was getting back to sleep, another one started.  i was laying on my side and once it started, i couldn't move, so i just held onto my stomach again, and got through it.  a few minutes later another came.  and then another.  i changed sides, but they didn't stop.  i got up and walked around, went and sat down on the couch.  they didn't stop.

at this point, i was only about 35 weeks along.  and with both of my other two kids, my body had not been cooperative at all when it came to "getting ready" for labor before my due date.  i never dilated on my own, didn't "drop" {don't you love that term?}, wasn't effaced....nothing.  both kids i had under strange circumstances.  so i wasn't quite sure what was going on here.  but i have felt contractions before--real contractions--and these felt pretty similar to them. 

i started to time each one....they were 5 or at the most 6 minutes apart on the dot.  they were not irregular, they were like clockwork.  of course, my "birthing coach" was still snoring soundly in bed at this point and i didn't want to wake him up unless i knew something was going on.  because to be honest, he's kind of grumpy when he's woken up out of sleep.  it's one of the only times that i can say i am more pleasant than him.  when i'm woken up, i pop out of sleep and my brain jumps into place and i'm tired, but good to go.  ben is not only grumpy, but disoriented and confused and usually starts rambling nonsense with his eyebrows scrunched together like he's in an extreme amount of pain, and you {the waker of the wakee} are the cause of it.  so sometimes, it's more trouble than it's worth to wake him up.

i researched the signs of pre-term labor and it looked like i had a majority of the symptoms.  that's when i started to get nervous.  but aside from denial, i also have another problem when it comes to pregnancy and labor:  i just don't trust myself. 

i always talk myself out of things....telling myself i'm paranoid or overreacting or just anxious.  not only that, but it was about 3 a.m. during this point in the game and i knew that i was going to have to wake up a household in order to take myself into the hospital.  and was i really sure that this was labor?

so, i waited it out. 

the contractions went steady until about 5 a.m., when they finally ceased and i could go to sleep.  i woke back up at 7:30, explained to ben what had happened, helped him get the kids ready for church, and went back to sleep because i was so exhausted. 

but i think that was the moment for me.  going from the somewhat comfortable state of pretending my stomach was just growing abnormally large due to icecream, into sudden, consistent contractions woke me up out of my denial with a jolt. 

when ben came home from church he immediately said, 

"so. do we have anything ready for this baby to come?  because maybe we should start thinking about that now.  i know you like to pretend that we still have 3 more months to go, but i'm pretty sure we don't."

and i realized he was right.  i had nothing ready....i hadn't washed any newborn clothes, the bassinette was out in the garage and desperately needing to be washed too, didn't have any newborn diapers, the carseat was also somewhere in the garage, writing out emergency phone numbers and directions for the baby-sitter if i should happen to go into labor in the middle of the night, i didn't have my things packed....and the most embarrassing part??  i didn't even know where the hospital is that i'm delivering at.  now i did know the name of the hospital.  and the general place that it's located.  but that was about it.

so, that next week i tried to wrap my mind around the realization. 

it didn't necessarily work, as far as my mental state.  but things are physically ready now.  mostly anyway.  bassinette, car seat, directions & emergency stuff for the baby-sitter, clothes for the baby, clothes for me.  and i actually drove past the hospital.

go me.

as far as the contractions?  they keep coming.  for a week it was almost every night, at the same time, from 1am-4am.  non-stop, consistent, every 4 minutes.  now it happens every couple of nights.  but every night it happens i talk myself out of doing anything about it.  i have found that a 20 minute, hot shower helps things calm down.

i asked my doctor at the last appointment why it was happening.  and i guess it boils down to my body actually "getting itself ready" this time.  boy, that would be a nice change, to maybe be able to labor at home a little bit when it's the real deal.  though it's a trade-off.  i now know why most women are seriously miserable by the end of their pregnancy.  i've never felt this way before, that i want to just get it over with!  the last two times i've been more worried about labor & then the anxiety of adjusting to life with a newborn that i want to be pregnant for as long as possible.  

i did ask my doctor how i would know the difference between this labor-prep-stuff and real labor.  

his answer?  "you'll just know."

to which i replied, "well i just want you to know that i am the type of person to talk myself out of things.  i tell myself i'm paranoid and to just calm down.  so i'm hoping that i really will 'just know' because otherwise i'm going to find myself at home, boiling hot water and grabbing salad tongs to deliver my own child because i've waited too long.  and to be honest, if that happens?  i'm going to collect the money for the self-delivery."

and then my doctor, who i have never seen laugh before, gave me a little chuckle.  if only he knew i wasn't joking.

so the strader home is ready for baby june.  but is my brain ready for it? .....i mean, her?

not yet, but i'm working on that.  i will admit now that just yesterday as i was eating my morning greek yogurt i looked at the expiration date and realized that the yogurt i was eating would be going bad before ben and i would be the parents of 3 children.  THREE CHILDREN!  what is happening here?!?

i almost passed out.

whether i want to admit it to myself or not, i am actually pregnant.  and there is a baby coming, and soon.

just curious, has anyone else felt this way???  and don't say yes just to make me feel better, or less crazy.  i already know i'm a nut job.  :)


Pam said...

YES!!! YES!! I was 37 weeks with Ava and had NOTHING ready. My friend called and was asking what I was doing to prepare. When I laughed her off she was like, "Pam, you do know you are having this baby, right?" And that woke me up. You are going to be a great mother of 3!

ClancyPants said...

Yes... read some of my sparse blog posts when I was pregnant, if you don't remember. I was in total and complete denial and it happened anyway. Go figure.

:) Good LUCK!!!!

Tiff said...

SALAD TONGS! HAHAHA! You will be great-I can't wait until she's here so I can read the birth story :)

Rachel Holloway said...

TOTALLY UNDERSTAND!~ With Spencer it seriously took me 8 1/2 months to stop whining about having another baby and actually put 2 cents in on the name issue--somehow I thought if he didn't have a name he wouldn't be born! lol.

And you know what? I never had any progress towards labor. I am pretty sure the Dr. told me once I was at a 1/2 cm dilated, just so I wouldn't feel stupid for asking. I felt even MORE stupid for asking. Never dropped. Never really had contractions ahead. ALWAYS was induced. sigh.

I feel so opposite from every other child -bearing woman...from the birthing, to the fact that I never have torn when delivering. Not complaining about that one, just saying.

You'll be a fantastic mom! (and for what it's worth, I didn't see the hospital I was delivering at until 2 weeks before. No worries, my friend!)

Rachel Chick said...

You're going to do great, Lynsey. Don't stress. You're already more prepared than you have been with your other kids. :) And you know what? If you do it all on your own and baby June is born in the car, everything is still going to be okay. You're not sick or ill, you're pregnant. :) It's a pretty normal process.

I've found that I tend to think less about being pregnant with each subsequent baby. Not because I don't care about them or something, but because life just gets progressively busier. And I don't think there's any good way to wrap your mind around the fact that there's going to be a new person in the world - IN YOUR FAMILY - before they actually come. Because the way that you are now, seems like the way it's always been and will be. Can you imagine that Nels and I - those two kids that you first met in college all twitterpated and stupid - are going to be responsible for FIVE children?? In the near future???? Neither can I.

And may I suggest a book to read? It seems kind of silly - because you already have two kids - but I have four AND I read it last time I was pregnant and I still enjoyed it this time around. It's called "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" by Ina May Gaskin, a midwife. It's helped me to feel a little more prepared for labor, if nothing else. And in the second half of the book, she definitely has some good information.

amandamenghini said...

Is anyone ever REALLY ready for a baby? I always thought it was so strange when I was very pregnant and people would ask, "So, are you ready?" Like should I be going to fry's with my two kids holding a bag of potatoes to train for the day when I will have to do it with three kids? Am I walking around my upstairs holding those potatoes and rocking them in the middle of the night to prepare? I'm pretty sure there is no real way to prepare ever. And even if you think you are, the kid that pops out will have their own attitude and personality and will show you just how unprepared you really are.

And there are still days when I am standing in line at target and look over at my cart and think, "These children are all MINE? Seriously?"

But it is still good to know where the hospital is before hand :) Good luck! Hopefully all these contractions will make it so you have 1 push and that little girl is here!

amandamenghini said...

oh, and for the record, I find it sort of creepy when people spend the entire pregnancy calling their baby by name. They would say, "In Joe's room we are painting green." And I would sit there thinking, "Joe? Joe? Who the heck is joe?" I always called it 'the baby' through all of my three pregnancies.