I must declare, life lately has been a whirl wind of a ride. I'm not a fan of rides, in fact, they terrify me (my palms are sweating just talking about them). Not a fan of the rollercoaster that drops you down a ninety degree angle going 80 mph... my stomach turns, my breath stops, as screams take the air. Rides are not on my top ten list of things that I find to be fun. So to say that my life has been a "ride" as of late, should give you a little perspective of how desperate I am wanting this ride to slow down and let me take a breath.
As it should be quite apparent, I am very much pregnant. 31 weeks a long, due in January. These past 31 weeks have entailed one misery, only to be trumped by another. So a small synopsis, so that you might understand what I mean by misery.
Pregnancy for me, has never been easy. My first pregnancy with my son, Graeme, was filled with vomiting and incessant nausea, I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. I vomited until about 36 weeks. We had concerns about Graeme's size and my irritable constant, contracting uterus, caused me to be placed on bed rest at about 21 weeks along. My second pregnancy, started the same, nausea and vomiting that began at 8 weeks, which made working nearly impossible, I was miserable. I cried to my husband, my friends, my coworkers, my family, even strangers... anyone that would listen, because, well, I needed to share some of this heartache that I felt. I doubted our decision to have another baby. I just wanted to feel well, and be able to enjoy this pregnancy, as my husband and I had already decided that this would be it. Our last go around. Unfortunately I continued vomiting until approximately 21 weeks, at that point I was prescribed new medication that helped tremendously, that I still to this day must take every night (if I don't, then you guessed it, I vomit...and the misery returns). At about this same time, I received a phone call from my previous obstetrician (I had just changed practices to be seen by a midwife), he told me that my First Screen had come back positive, continuing, he entailed that my likelihood of having a baby with Down Syndrome had increased from 1/5000, to 1/214 or so. I immediately lost it, felt ashamed I did something wrong, that getting the screening was a huge mistake, because now I doubted my sweet baby. We followed up with more ultrasounds, and was diagnosed with a circumvallate placenta. Continued agony, not only may I be carrying a baby with Downs, but I also have a dysfunctional placenta, I my friends, was a failure. After a subsequent ultrasound, all markers for Downs came back negative. I decided at this point to go no further with testing, accepted my First Screen as a false positive, and began moving all of my worries to my pesky placenta. Every day has felt like a struggle, emotionally and physically. The placenta has been an increasing concern in this pregnancy (you can read more in my previous posts: http://mamasugs.com/2015/11/pregnancy-update-31-weeks.html & http://mamasugs.com/2015/10/pregnancy-update-30-weeks.html) and again I find myself doubting my body's ability to carry this baby full term, to nourish this baby as it needs in order to survive in this world. Frequent monitoring, frequent discussions of "what if.." causing me anxiety, fear and pain. Now, add into the mix that I have a two year old son.
A two year old son, that I want to ensure you all that I love with all of my being. I would do anything for him, and am proud of every milestone he surpasses. He is my first born, he made me a mother. There will never be another person on this Earth that makes me feel as complete as he does.
Cue the confession: my toddler, is just that, a toddler. A beautiful little boy, with incredible will power, an abundance of energy, with very little verbal language (though he does use sign language, we still have communication struggles), a tantrum throwing 30 pounds of boy. He is demanding, easily frustrated, and a true blue daddy's boy. I believe that my own personal turmoils have effected my son, and his relationship with me, as his mother. With tantrums and fits every time I came to pick him up from daycare, his Nana's or his Bela's house. He wanted nothing to do with me. Wouldn't sit next to me, didn't want to snuggle, wouldn't eat for me, had fits at bath time, threw tantrum after screaming, kicking tantrum. Threw toys and objects at me. I have cried many tears, feeling less than capable of raising this strong willed being. I have been so enveloped in the fear of the well being of this child I am carrying within me, that I'm afraid my focus shifted from my growing, learning toddler, to my unborn.
I have spent many teary moments staring at my toddler, wanting my sweet infant back, that baby that suckled at my breast, calmed with my singing, loved his mama more than any other being on this Earth. He was my baby. Where did he go? I have wondered continuously how different things would be if I wasn't pregnant, would I be as easily frustrated with him? Would I scream and cry at him, as if he could possibly understand my complex emotions and thoughts, not to mention these hormones. Would I roll my eyes at his constant need for attention, his tantrums? Would I be a better mother to him? Would I have more patience? I doubted that this was a good decision, to bring another being into this world, especially when I felt so completely helpless with the babe that I already brought Earthside. I often stated, that he hates me, or didn't love me as much as he once did. My mama heart was breaking, and still to this day, aches because these thoughts still float through my mind.
This past week, my son has been sick. With coughing fits, respiratory distress, and fevers, he had no choice but to come running to the one person that knew what needed to be done for him, his mama. I decided at 1:45 am the morning he became ill, that I would not be going into work, for however long it took to ensure he was back to his healthy, hyper self. I spent two days at home with him, and not once, did I doubt my ability as his mother. He would run to me when he had an "owie" and wanted some medicine, he let me snuggle him on the couch, watch movies with him, fell asleep in my arms. I felt redeemed. I felt my purpose again, as his mother.
Yesterday, I was holding my newborn nephew in my arms, I was staring at his tiny features, his expressions on his face, as he slept peacefully resting on my swollen womb. My husband was smiling, watching me. Then, his face straightened, and he asked me "What will mama do, if she has another baby boy?" I looked at him with a smile and said, "I'd be elated, either way, as long as our baby is healthy and happy, than I will be happy." I looked back down at my nephew and tickled his fingers, as they curled around the fabric of his blanket he was swaddled in. My husband looked at me a bit puzzled, and in words that I can not exactly reciprocate because I was in immediate shock by them, he stated something about how I don't seem to like our son, that he drives me insane, and frustrates me. My heart dropped into my gut. He wasn't trying to be harsh, or mean, he was just, exclaiming what he has been witness to over the past 6 months. Frustration. Desperation. I answered my husband with a smile on my face. "I love our son more than any words can explain. Toddlerhood is hard, and frustrating for many. But in no way does that make me love my baby any less. I would be happy to have two boys to drive me crazy."
Today, I was driving, from what felt like one side of the state to the other for a much needed dermatology appointment (another joy of this pregnancy is I have now been diagnosed with a lovely case of eczema, yippee - skippy) and I kept thinking about what my husband had said to me the previous night. My heart ached a bit, and I felt that oh so familiar feeling of failure. Teary eyed, I reflected on my actions as Graeme's mother, yes, I have made so many mistakes. I have been frustrated, I have yelled, I have cried, I have doubted my ability to be his mother. I have doubted his love for me. Then, I took a deep, cleansing breath, as I felt this unborn child kick me swiftly in the ribs - a reminder perhaps.
I will always be my son's mother. No one can replace me. This is merely a season in our lives, a struggle, that I feel I am not alone in experiencing. Toddlerhood is hard. Pregnancy is hard. Being a mother, is hard. Learning how to do all of this is hard. Not once have I heard someone tell me that being a mother was easy. I have on the other hand heard, that it is indeed, the most rewarding experience that I will ever have.
I conclude with fresh tears in my eyes, that I have made mistakes, that I am trying. That I hope to always be there for my son, to have more patience, to be more present. He needs me, and if I am doubting my ability to be there for him, what good am I? So, to my readers I plead, if you feel that you have failed, that you have tripped and fell on your face, felt like you could do better... know that I am there with you. We can hold each other up, help each other as we ride this twisting turning ride in our lives. Motherhood is hard. Toddlerhood is hard. But I am not going to give up, with the intention to raise my son to be a great man, a great sibling, I will keep pushing forward, and take that ninety degree plunge. I will take on toddlerhood, because my son deserves a mother who hasn't given up.
Peace & Love,