Today marks 15 weeks and 1 day along in this pregnancy. Growing this little rabbit has been hard work so far. Pregnancy is certainly not for the faint of heart! I think that I am starting to open up more and more to the process of bonding with this baby, which is good since the bonding helps to outweigh some of the less desirable physical and emotional side effects of pregnancy. My nausea still hasn’t abated completely (though it has gotten significantly better much of the time) and the fatigue can be straight-up crazy making some days. Last week, I caught a nasty summer bug, which had me laid up for several days…I’m still trying to kick the last bit of cough from that. Otherwise, though, the physical stuff is much more manageable than it’s been to this point.
A new development has definitely been the pronounced mood swings of pregnancy hormones. I think that the hormonal flux, on top of what is already a daily dose of circumstantial stress, finds me all over the map at any given point in time. Fortunately, R has been instrumental in helping me to gain some perspective in these moments, so that I don’t let the big emotions get the better of me and the Rabbit. We’ve implemented a four-step plan (because you know I love a plan) for handling the emotional ups and downs of pregnancy.
1) I’m taking time out of each day to get centered (meditation, prenatal yoga, support groups, etc) and to really connect with someone in my life who isn’t R (I haven’t been very good at reaching out and letting close friends and family know where I really am on a regular basis).
2) When I feel like stress or anger is rising to a boiling point, I’ve committed to distracting myself for long enough to gain a bit of humor and perspective (watching TV, playing rummy or backgammon, or going for a walk). It’s so easy to allow big emotions to escalate. In my experience, a big release can even feel good, but the stress hormones aren’t good for me, R, or the baby.
3) R has had to take over a number of the nightly chores (feeding the cats, cleaning the kitchen) because my smell aversions and nausea seem to be worst first thing in the morning and late at night. During this time, I’m going to start taking a few minutes to rub cocoa butter on my ever-expanding belly bump and talk to the Rabbit. I think I’ve been afraid of being totally open and vulnerable to connecting with the baby, for fear that something bad would happen. But R has made a very good point, which is that bonding is very important for me and the Rabbit’s well-being AND if (God forbid) anything bad did happen, I would so want to look back and know that I had spent my time with the Rabbit meaningfully.
4) Finally, a silly antidote to stress. After a valiant, fourteen-year boycott, I’ve finally given in to reading the Harry Potter series. I’ve always been a total snob about the books and movies, but R loves them (and, as it turns out, the donor loves them, too). So, this summer, I’ve finally succumbed to the franchise that is Harry Potter. Shockingly, they’re actually quite entertaining, which might explain why, like, 400 million people have read them. In the process of reading, I have become unreasonably enamored of a particular character in the books. Mostly, I think I’ve become enamored of R’s voice for this character (we’ve been reading the books out loud). I’ll admit it, I love Dobby. I want Dobby to come and live with us. I feel abnormally maternal toward this tiny, self-flagellating house elf. So, this morning, I printed out several of my favorite pictures of Dobby from the internet with the hopes that when I get really stressed out, I can look at a few goofy pictures of this sweet little creature and calm the fuck down. For example:
I think it would be hard to stay mad at anything for very long with this little face staring up at you. So, all in all, I’m hopeful that we can tame the pregnancy hormone beast. It’s what’s best for our whole little family.
In other news, I have a very critical job interview tomorrow. This would be an excellent fit given my skills and experience, the pay is top-notch for our location, and our whole family would have full benefits. It’s also the last shot that I have at landing a full-time position before the fall semester begins. After that, I’ll have to adjunct part-time and find an additional part-time job until the baby comes. Less fun. If you happen to think of it, and want to send good vibes this way, the interview will run from 1:30-5pm on Wednesday, 8/3. I know that I’m a great candidate for the position, but I can use all the help I can get in getting the search committee to know it too!
Lastly, R and I have really set to work on the nursery lately. We’ve discarded or sold all of our old office furniture. We’ve bought a new rug and bookcase (which R built last weekend), and our crib should be here in the next week or so. In the meantime, we’ve been working on color palettes, artwork, and building the registry. It’s been really fun, though I think we both have vacillating moments between the feeling that we’re finally going to get to bring a baby home for good and feeling overwhelmed by the sheer experience of preparation.
That’s about all I have for today. Our 16-week midwife appointment is on 8/11. It’ll be so nice to hear Rabbit’s heartbeat again. It brings me a tremendous amount of comfort to hear him or her thumping about in there…