Monday, August 15, 2016

38 Week Reflections

Ever since I started writing about my random life shenanigans (THREE whole years ago now!), but especially during the past nine months, I have had a lot of people tell me that reading about my experiences has helped them deal with their own. I write to cope with my own shit, but I post publicly in the hopes that, maybe, someone out there could benefit from knowing that they aren't alone in how they are feeling.

Having a kid is something I never, ever imagined for myself, and at 38 weeks pregnant, the experience is feeling more surreal than ever. The past nine months have gone by in the blink of an eye. I don't think anyone is ever REALLY READY to give birth or take on the responsibility of nurturing another human life to its fullest potential (let's be honest, I can barely take care of myself).

If you are pregnant or planning to be at some point in your life, here are some things I think you should know:

1. It's okay to change your mind. It's something you need to talk about with your partner, but it happens. And when other people find out that you've changed your mind, you might get a lot of "told ya so" crap from them. But it's whatever. Stay true to yourself. It's your life.

2. It's okay to freak out when you find out you are pregnant. Doesn't matter if it was planned or not. Sometimes, when you see a positive pregnancy test, your entire life flashes before your eyes, and you wonder if you are actually cut out for this, and you FLIP. A. SHIT. I did. It doesn't mean you aren't happy. It means you're fucking terrified, and honestly, I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. You are about to take on a pretty big responsibility.

3. It's REALLY OKAY to not like being pregnant. If you are fortunate enough to have an easy physical and mental pregnancy, props to you, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the majority of people have a rough time. I think some women are afraid to be honest about it, because they don't want other people to think they are ungrateful, but guess what? You can try for years to get pregnant and feel blessed to have conceived and STILL think being pregnant is difficult, because IT IS. And even if you feel physically fine, it can be a giant mental struggle. Besides gaining weight, A LOT of weird shit happens to your body, and you might not feel like yourself. You are literally forming body parts inside of you. I know it's miraculous and awesome and all, but it's weird to think about, right? Don't let people make you feel bad for not being all sunshine and rainbows about it. It's normal to struggle. Which leads me to...

4. Don't be afraid to rely on your support system. It can be extremely difficult to ask for help, especially if you are used to being independent. Just accept the damn help, please. If you push yourself too hard, you could end up injuring yourself or your little unborn chicken, or you could run your immune system into the ground and get sick with bronchitis and fracture your ribs from coughing, like I did. :) And for the sake of your mental health, PLEASE talk to someone about how you are feeling. Stress can run you down, too. Talk to a friend who has been through it, your parents, your partner, me, whoever will listen. There is no shame in that.

That all being said, I think this pregnancy has been one of the best things I have ever experienced, despite it not being the easiest time period for me. I've learned that I am a lot stronger mentally than I gave myself credit for in the past. I learned to use coping skills, like this blog and talking to others, rather than isolating myself during rough patches. Even though I give him shit all the time, my relationship with Eric has only gotten better. When you have a partner who will paint your toenails on your swollen feet, you know you are loved. And the thought of gaining weight terrified me for my entire life, but the truth is that this is the first time I have ever felt truly confident in my own skin. I've filled out a little in my face and thighs, and the skin around my belly button looks stretched pretty thin, but that's life. I like my belly, and I like that I have taken care of Baby Mazz. Post-baby body image issues will be a different story I'm sure, but I hope that I can use what I have learned about myself and my relationships over the past nine months to make it easier for me to deal.

The latest doctor update: 3cm dilated, 85% effaced. Once again, this means nothing in terms of when I will go into labor, but the doctor did say that it will hopefully mean my labor goes more quickly than someone who is less effaced to begin with. Apparently, that's what takes the longest time.

He's trying to make a run for it, that little rebel. I've been peeing every 15 minutes (wish I was exaggerating), especially in the middle of the night, and feeling all nauseous and crampy (not contractions), so as soon as he gets out, he is grounded for life.

My mom comes in to town on Thursday, so he just needs to stay put until then! We're going to make a bunch of freezer meals. Speaking of freezer, I spent like an hour over the weekend making witch hazel/aloe pads, which are now sitting in my freezer. Ugh, what my life has come to. I keep adding random songs to my birth playlist so I'll have all my bases covered to distract me and keep me calm. We're talking everything from AC/DC to Rihanna to Moonlight Sonata. The hospital has birth balls, a squat bar, and a nice shower in every room, and my doulas will have some oils and massage tools. I've been doing squats, stretching, everything. I don't know how much more prepared I can get for a natural birth. Hopefully, I will be able to do this without an epidural, because I'm scared shitless to be stuck in bed for hours. Yes, I am even more afraid of that than the pain.

OH, and I chipped my front tooth on Friday night, because that is the kind of luck I have. I was able to get it fixed this morning, but wouldn't it have been HILARIOUS if I had gone into labor over the weekend and looked like a REAL wreck in all my birth photos? No, it would not have been, and I bet the stress of that possibility is what kept Baby Mazz put.

Alright, off I go to eat some ice cream, as usual. I'll let you know if it's Go Time before next week's post, but I doubt it. Peace out for now.

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