Sunday, April 10, 2005

Thoughts on Baby

Some may think that this is not an appropriate post for the Lord's Day, but wait til you get to the end before making that judgement.

I have been contemplating my thankfulness in this pregnancy for how things are this time around, despite advancing age, varicose veins, and round ligament pains.

My pregnancy with Elodie was a trial on many levels. She came at a time in my life when I had wrongly imagined that I was likely through with babies and was looking forward to entering a new stage. She also came at a time of great stress due to various goings on in the family. She was the straw that broke this camel because the physical stress of pregnancy on top of all the emotional/mental stress finally broke my robust and supposedly invincible health. Instead of breezing through pregnancy in a relatively easy manner that I had with the others, I was reduced to being sick in bed for almost a month with an intensely itchy candida-induced rash that covered me from my neck to my knees. I say my bed, but the truth is I spent half that time in the bath soaking in witch hazel, olive oil, and anything else that might help make my life less miserable. There were many sleepless nights, many associated food allergies, and many tears for the rest of that pregnancy.

Tears -- I cried my way through that entire pregnancy. Mostly they were tears of fear. I had just had all my naivety about life ripped away from me and all the things I had been building in the prescribed manner (strict guidelines, homeschool from the get-go, pretty approved books on how to raise charming Southern Belle Christian daughters ala Elsie Dinsmore style) only to see what I thought was all my work being undone. In short, I thought my heart had broken when my dreams got broken. And here was another hostage to fortune coming my way, to smile and coo her way into my heart, only to turn on me in her teen years and make a mockery of all I valued. I couldn't bear the thought.

I was also horribly guilty over the fact that I had such reluctance over having this baby. After all, it wasn't the poor baby's fault that she was here. So I cried and fretted over not wanting this baby, and then cried and fretted because I knew it was wrong not to want her and felt guilty that I was damaging her psyche in utero by my thoughts and emotions.

That reluctance to give birth translated into several weeks of going post-dates and walking around dilated to 7 cm the whole time. Near the end of the second week when they were threatening hospital induction, I took castor oil and went to bed, to wake up in labor and have an unassisted homebirth after only 12 minutes of labor. I don't think I will ever forget the sensation of feeling her head being born into my hands while simultaneously feeling her descend inside, nor the instantaneous feeling of love that, thankfully, flooded through me as soon as I had clasped her warm wet body to mine. The love affair with Elodie still continues almost three years later despite, or maybe even because of, some of the rascally things she does.

In the intervening time, a lot has happened to me internally. The last few years have been ones of great change, mostly of the internal sort where God has used his hammer to reshape a lot of my ideas about Him and about life. Having a baby at 41 didn't end my aspirations to do something with myself. I was able to become a certified biokinesionics practitioner, and I am still taking courses to improve my level of learning and understanding of health and the human body -- even some university courses. My kids are all still being homeschooled, the business I have with my husband is flourishing, and in some ways, I have become a victim of my own success as I am now booking clients two weeks in advance now solely on the strength of referrals, and no advertising.

This pregnancy has been a breeze by and large. I got through the first 12 weeks without realy knowing I was pregnant due to a lack of symptoms (other than missing "Aunt Flo" which could have been the onset of menopause, especially as it followed on the heels of two negative pregnancy tests). My rash made an initial appearance and still threatens to break out from time to time if I am not careful about my diet, or allow my immune system to get down but by and large, I am not suffering much at all with it. I am able to go for a walk most days, which in itself is quite an accomplishment, given the state of my round ligaments. In short, I feel pretty good.

My tummy is getting round and there is lots of activity going on in there. But rather than provoking fearful anxiety of the future, I find myself curiously happy with the thought of a new little person coming into my life. It is a pleasant change to feel no sense of worry, to not care what others think, and to have a sense of anticipation that is unclouded by negative thoughts.
In short, the lines have fallen unto me in pleasant places.

I am content.

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