Our journey began on a hectic Monday morning, when I decided to do a pregnancy test after I had missed my period for the millionth time. As I stood there in the bathroom waiting for the result to show up a funny feeling came over me, like I already knew what the result was going to be. I had taken this test many times before because of an irregular period but this time it just seemed different. After the longest two minutes of my life I looked down to find a plus sign. Such a simple sign but somehow it seemed like the most complex instructions as I read the pregnancy test box over and over. After making sure that it truly was right I ran out the bathroom and yelled for my husband. He had no idea I had taken the test so he ran over to see what was the matter. I looked at him nervously and blurted out "I'm pregnant!" We hugged and laughed and cried and were so overjoyed that I can't possibly explain.
This was the beginning to my pregnancy. We read all the books and wanted to know exactly what was happening with my body at every week. We were so excited and overwhelmed with this wonderful gift. We wanted to do everything right. I refused to touch coffee or sweeteners. I started to eat chicken, having been a vegetarian for the past 6 years this wasn't an easy thing. We took every precaution and enjoyed this life growing inside of me. All we wanted was for him to be a healthy, happy little baby.
The first four months of my pregnancy were filled with exhaustion and morning sickness that lasted the entire day. I spent most of my days resting on the couch because any smell (or sometimes the idea of a smell) sent me running to the bathroom. But we tried to enjoy each moment-- we went for walks around our neighborhood and dreamed of the day that we would take him with us in his stroller.
All I could think about was what a miracle this experience was. I couldn't really wrap my mind around the idea that there was this tiny human growing in my tummy. All this seemed more real the first time I felt him kicking. He soon established a routine of wake and sleep. He would get hiccups right after I would have a meal. It made it almost surreal to think that I was sharing my body with my tiny boy who had his own personality and someday soon I would get the privilege of meeting this person who was so much a part of me, yet so unique.
The difficult part of my pregnancy began at about 22 weeks. After a long weekend away for Valentine's Day, my husband and I were enjoying a quiet afternoon together. I started to feel cramps and immediately knew that something was wrong. We called my doctor and she advised for us to go to the hospital. The ride to the hospital was terrifying as I tried to convince my baby that it wasn't time and the thought of losing this person that I had come to know and love so deeply seemed tragic. We found out that I was having preterm contractions and would have to spend the rest of my pregnancy on bed rest. At this point I felt like I would do anything to keep this baby inside until he was good and ready to be born.
So for the next 12 weeks I spent my days on the couch only to get up to go to the bathroom. I spent this time reading and watching TV. After about a week or so I started feeling sorry for myself and imagined all the things I was missing out on. All I wanted to do was go out into the world and experience all the things the rest of the pregnant moms were getting to do. I wanted to go shopping for my little boy and design his nursery. All these thoughts occupied my mind all day as I lay their staring out the window. This went on for about a few days ( I'll be lying to say that my mind didn't revisit these feelings from time to time). I made a conscious decision to not be so negative and I convinced myself, with a lot of help from my husband, that this was a small price to pay for a healthy baby.
The bed rest experience seemed to have its positive sides too. I got to really connect with my baby and started to anticipate his next move. I knew when my baby was resting and when he was awake. I'd sing to him and talk to him almost nonstop. He seemed so real to me more so than most moms get to feel because they're busy with the everyday routines of work and shopping and moving around. Lying still helped me to really feel my baby and to really get to know him. I noticed personality traits, like I knew he was a persistent boy because he would kick me nonstop if I dared to lie on my right side (recommended by my doctor). He would startle from certain sounds like keys, or the loud beep of the microwave. It was amazing how this tiny little boy influenced everything from the way I would think to what I would eat or drink. He already had this control over my life and it was a good indication of what was to come. It prepared me to be more ready to share my life, or even give up most of it to take care of my boy.
After all that resting I was still getting contractions and after another trip to the hospital, this time with horrible pain, the doctors decided to keep me there under supervision and attached to IV's and Magnesium. This was a new low that I had to face and I don't think I could've survived it without my husband's love and support. For the two weeks I was there he didn't leave my side and was there to help me through many difficult nights as I lay there uncertain of what was to come. I felt desperate because after all that resting and medications I still wasn't sure if the baby would make it to full term. All I wanted was a healthy baby, and one part of me just wanted all this to be over, but at the same time I wanted to be sure he would be well enough to go home with us.
Our boy was finally born at 36 weeks and was a healthy and bouncing little baby. He did come home with us but had to come back to the hospital for a short stay to learn how to suck. Now he's a wild little 9 month old who crawls all over the house and loves to play, explore and be independent. But he still takes time to come back for a hug or two until he squirms away again. I just love him to death, and would go through the entire thing again just to see that big smile on his face when he sees me or his daddy.