If you have been to Gracie's blog in the last couple of days, you know that I had a pretty lousy week. I cannot pin the lousy week on any one thing, but I am pretty sure that 'Jellybean emotions' were a contributing factor. Hormones and 'Jellybean emotions' seem to have started on an upswing in recent weeks - I can't wait to see how much they start to fluctuate in the coming weeks.
Lost Baby Emotions Mingling with Rainbow Emotions
(I found myself typing and typing this afternoon, only to get to the end and realize how long this post was. There aren't too many of you reading here at this point, and I don't expect many of you to get all the way through this post. It just really helped to get it all out somewhere...it's been sitting on my chest, and that isn't overly productive for me. If you don't make it all the way through, make sure to check out the pic at the bottom...it's kind of amusing.)
Lost Baby Emotions Mingling with Rainbow Emotions
I have found myself intentionally trying to avoid conversation about Jellybean and this pregnancy as a whole, which is getting harder to do as I get larger. I am in the middle of the first round of summer services for most of my school caseload, which comes after a several-week-long break from school/services. The very nice teachers and aides that I see on a weekly basis during the year all ask the same questions when I go into their rooms. I know that they mean well, but answering the same questions over and over gets a little overwhelming sometimes.... How are you feeling? (Same as a few weeks ago. Tired, but otherwise fine...) How are you handling this heat? (Probably the same as everyone else...wonderfully, as long as I stay in the A/C.) How is everything looking with the baby? (Okay at this point...) Oh, that's fantastic!! (Yes, it is fantastic, but things looked fine at this point with Gracie, so we are just taking things one day at a time.) Do we know what it is yet? (Yep...it's still a baby...but if you're asking about gender, it's another girl.) I feel ungrateful for not wanting to answer their questions, but I just really don't want to talk about it anymore. Sometimes I feel like if I cut everyone off from all information, I won't have to talk about anything if something goes wrong. I know that that is completely backwards logic, because there will be a million questions from everyone if something goes wrong again, regardless of how much people did or didn't know along the way.
I also need a haircut - possibly a whole new do - and some highlights in the worst way imaginable. For some reason, the salon is one place that I have been avoiding like it's my job. Probably because I just don't want to talk, and that's pretty much what goes on when you go to get your hair done - lots of talking. I have been to my regular salon once since Gracie died. I went in, sat down and the first words out of my stylist's mouth were "So, I hope you brought pictures!!" She had no idea, and I didn't expect her to know; once we were over the hump, it was fine. But I know that if I walk in there now with a pregnant belly there will be more obligatory question and answer time. A friend's step-daughter just opened a salon here in town, and I went there once a few months ago, but it doesn't matter where you go, you still have to chat...otherwise it's even more awkward. :-/
A few times a week I drive past a memorial (headstone) retailer in the next town over. For the last month or so they have had a beautiful stone sitting in front of their showroom that continues to catch my eye. It is a very pretty angel kneeling next to a heart. I look at it every time I drive past it, and I have actually caught myself thinking that if we need another stone, that this is the one I would like to have. Holy shit!!! I have already picked out a marker! I really must figure out how to do this rest of this pregnancy without my subconscious planning for the worst case scenario. I will not need a marker - I am going to bring home a very live Jellybean!!! I will NOT need a marker this time!! Go away thoughts!!!
At some point, before we are done having children, I will figure out how to balance all of these thoughts and emotions...
Life Out of Control
I think that another part of my problem this week was the fact that my life feels like it is spinning faster and faster out of control. More accurately, I just really feel like I have no control over anything going on around me and I can't seem to make anything stand still.
Despite the fact that I have been making a concerted effort to slow my schedule down, it just seems to get busier and busier...and I seem to get 'behinder and behinder'. :-/ When we were pregnant with Gracie, everything was centered around the pregnancy. I mean everything. Birthing class, sleep, food prep, lots of 'prenatal exercise and stretching'...you name it, we did it the name of pregnancy. What a difference a year makes. I don't have any other clinicians working for me until next month, so it's up to me to get it all done in the office...Jeff is working a part time job that adds 20-30 hours a week to his schedule... Now I feel like I cannot find any time to sleep, I can't find time to cook, we cannot find time to set aside to do our HypnobabiesKegel exercises a day.
The food thing actually goes quite a bit further than not finding time to cook. A few years ago I decided that it was time to start cutting some of the junk from our diets and giving some serious thought to the long term consequences of the food on our plates. Jeff has been wonderfully supportive with this. Admittedly, it is not something that he would do on his own, but he acknowledges and agrees with the need to do it, and he has been much better with it than I though he would. It was a long, arduous process, but we transitioned from pseudohealthy eating to actual healthy eating. (I will, however, admit that I still think that potato chips and french fries should be a their own food group.) We live in a rural area, where lots of people choose to live with their heads either buried in the sand or shoved up their asses; many of them choose to be uneducated about the things going on around them (and I'm not talking formal education) and do things just because that's how they've always been done. The choices and decisions that we started making about food and nutrition are not considered to be in the popular majority around here. Because of this, some of our options were limited and we took quite a bit of grief for the changes that we implemented; people did not understand or care about why we were making these changes, and it made it difficult sometimes. But we did it, and felt worlds better as a result.
Over the last year, stress and time constraints have taken a front seat and our natural/organic eating has started to slide. Jeff has really fallen off of the wagon, especially when eating without me. It is sometimes a matter of circumstance, sometimes a matter of just not caring about anything anymore. Funny how the spark in life can be snuffed out for so long by one life changing event.... :-( It's not the end of the world, by any means, but I feel like all of the effort we put into it has gone down the drain. It's something that will have positive health benefits for both of us, as well as our children, and that is important to me. We are trying to get turned around and headed in the right direction again, but lack of parallel thinking on the part of our families (and others around us) has made this difficult; they invite us for dinner and/or bring us food, to which we cannot really say no, but it's not what we would be putting on our plates if we were doing the cooking. For now, I continue to look for ways to explain our choice(s) about food to the family in a way they will understand and respect, I am trying to get our food selection/purchasing back under control, and I am trying to ignore my constant compulsive twitching as we work to get this back on track. :-)
Childbirth, the Marvels of Modern Medicine, and Sheep
I think another reason for my meltdown this week revolves around modern medicine. There are lots of ways to look at it, I suppose. Technology and the expansion of medical knowledge is supposed to make life better...'better living through chemistry' as they say...but I definitely don't buy into the theory that all advancements and developing trends in medicine can be viewed as advancements. Again, a thought that falls outside of the mainstream, which buys me more grief from many people around me.
We are firm believers that, while modern medicine can offer amazing things to the minority of women who truly need medical support to get through pregnancy and/or childbirth, for the most part women can give birth to healthy babies without significant medical intervention (they have been doing it for centuries). We believe that many women don't do enough to educate themselves about pregnancy and childbirth and do not make their own decisions, and in the end, many allow themselves to be turned into 'sheep' by the medical community. This said, when we were pregnant with Gracie, Jeff and I decided early on that we wanted a natural pregnancy and birthing process. Very specifically, we were not interested in induction, labor augmentation or pain medication/epidural. This is not a decision that we made lightly; it was made after much research, reading, thought and discussion. Definitely not a mainstream decision, and definitely a decision that bought us quite a bit of grief from a lot of people. Luckily, the midwife who delivered Gracie (luck of the draw with that) was quite supportive of our plan; the other midwives were not overly exuberant about the fact that we had a birth plan and that we were vocal about not wanting medication. Unfortunately, in the end it did not matter.
Now that we are getting closer to Jellybean's arrival, we have begun to review and revamp our game plan. Not a fun process. Every decision makes my brain jump back and forth from one side of the field to the other. Overall, the plan is still natural child birth. People continue to question this, and now they apparently feel that they are justified in telling us that we are nuts, simply because Gracie died. The fact that we prepared for natural childbirth did not kill her; she died before labor was ever induced. We have been told by our midwife that it is not likely that they will 'let' me go beyond my due date with Jellybean. This bothers me, primarily because Gracie also did not 'overbake'.
But here's the catch with the whole plan... I still believe that I can give birth to a healthy baby without all of the bells and whistles, but I am scared to death to do so. I am so petrified of lightning striking twice. So far, I have gone against my beliefs and agreed to ultrasounds every 4 weeks since 20 weeks. I am not really in a position to decline the ultrasounds until we can see for sure that Jellybean is growing appropriately and not showing any indication of IUGR. At our midwife appointment this week we will lay out a game plan with the midwife for the next 10 weeks. We will decide about the frequency of NST and regular (level 1) ultrasounds (as part of the biophysical profile testing). Part of me wants to consider scheduling an induction if this baby doesn't come on her own by a certain point, but the rest of me is so totally opposed to it. There (hopefully) is plenty of time for me to hash all of this out with myself and have further discussion with at least our primary midwife about this. For now, though, my brain keeps going back and forth about all of it. I guess only time will tell...until then, the sheep costume is out of the package and hanging in the closet. :-(
Last, But Not Least
I will end on a funny note, well a funny picture. Our nephew just graduated from high school and has enlisted in the Navy. He will leave for basic training in Chicago on 7/21. Last night was graduation/going away party. Although my husband and his brothers never need an excuse to drink beer, the party gave them a fantastic excuse to get together and guzzle. Toward the end of the evening, they decided that we (myself included) should hike up our shirts and compare belly size. So here is the first public Jellybean belly pick.