Saturday, August 26, 2006

When I Was Pregnant

After a trip to the library this afternoon, I have just started reading Mother Shock: Loving Every (Other) Minute of It by Andrea J. Buchanan, on the recommendation of this blogger. It's great so far and she is a fantastic writer. Anyways, her description of her miscarriage and first weeks of her second pregnancy started me remembering the early weeks of my pregnancy with Ezra.

We were trying to make a baby and I had a notion that I was ovulating. Exctly two weeks after that idea, I couldn't resist taking a test. I'd been having twinges and my breasts seemed more sore than they usually are before my period. So the night before Ishra's belly dance student recital, at which I was performing two or three times (can't remember now), I stopped at the drug store on my way home from work. When my husband got home, I mentioned that I was thinking about doing the test but that it wouldn't really be conclusive if it was negative. He thought it was too early but I couldn't resist. So I peed on the stick and waited and a faintly pink symbol appeared. I went downstairs and showed Dave: I think it's positive. And he looked and said, "Yeah I think so too. Cool." And off I went to my rehearsals, giddy but panicky too.

For some reason, ever since I was a kid, I've always thought that pregnancy must be a scary time for a woman because so many things can go wrong. I'm not exactly sure what gave me this idea but I think it could be have been partly because I grew up on a farm. One year, we had two mares who were expecting and, sadly, we lost both babies and nearly lost one of the mares too. I think I was around 11 or 12. As a result, myfirst trimester was characterized by intense anxiety.

A week after the positive test, I dreamt that I lost the baby. And I woke up and felt in my deepest self that I'd lost it. My breasts weren't sore and I just didn't feel pregnant. The doctor scheduled an ultrasound even though it was probably too early to see a heartbeat. The ultrasound showed a pregnancy but no heartbeat so was somewhat disappointing. Some symptoms had returned though and I hadn't bled at all.

I found that time crept by more slowly than I'd ever experienced in my life when I was pregnant. I watched a virtual fetus grow each week online and felt its fragility intensely. For me, each week brought the baby closer to survival.

At eight weeks I had my first consultation with the midwives. At 11 weeks, another appointment. She tried to hear the baby's heartbeat with a doppler but she warned me that she may not be able to and it wouldn't mean the baby was dead if she didn't. Only my heartbeat echoed around the room.

I remember feeling a little goldfish swim across my belly around 14 and 15 weeks. I had another appointment around 15 weeks and finally we heard the magical sound of the baby's heartbeat. I cried so hard because I'd had three months of wondering and worry and this heartbeat was clear and strong and the perfect speed. The midwife said I couldn't possibly have felt the baby move already but I know I did and my husband even felt a little kick or something at 17 weeks.

After that, my anxiety lessened as my belly grew and I could feel the baby's movements more regularly. I definitely enjoyed the second and third trimesters and I even belly danced publicly when I was seven and a half months pregnant. Although it was hard to keep up with how fast my body was changing and it sometimes felt like I was on a speeding train and couldn't get off, I loved having this belly. I felt like a walking affirmation of life.

No comments: