I will begin at a place that seems ever appropriate, the beginning. This is a story that I rarely tell the complete version of, and one I’ve never told online. Wait, what are you thinking I’m going to say?! No, no, no, not that, I’m not going to tell my conception story, that would be… ummm, weird. The story is of me, a more complete me, and how I came to be where I am, who I am today. This post may become sad, dark, whatever, I’m not sure, because as I write it, it’s a journey. It is what it is.
It all began 7 years ago, when I was working at Outback Steakhouse, in Fayetteville, NC (a military town), where I was attending college for my social work degree. It was a day that I didn’t want to work, because I wasn’t assigned to a section as a server, but rather on a shift as a cocktail (this equals little to no tips, and out in the horrendously hot and humid weather). I wanted to call in sick, but finally decided to go to work. As I was working outside, getting drink and appetizer orders, I spotted a white truck with 4 men in the back (doesn’t this sound creepy and skanky at this point?!), and since they were within a valid distance of the front door, I went to take their drink and appetizer order, and noticed that they were good looking guys, young guys, my age. But wait… let me back up, I’d sworn off relationships. Earlier in 2005, I’d had a horrid breakup, where words were said, my heart was broken, and I had a very real conversation with God about not wanting a relationship, unless, of course, He brought one to me. Well, enter God!
Conversation started, they were seated, and I was so intrigued that when my shift ended, I went to their table and invited them back to the restaurant, but to sit in my section. This was not for the purpose of tips, it was because I thought they were interesting guys, and perhaps something unseen and unspoken, perhaps a sort of destiny drove me. Still not thinking a relationship could bloom from this, of course. Time went on, they would come in, and twice, they did not sit in my section, so I scolded them when I noticed they were there. Finally, they would come (there were 2 of them that became regulars, Matt and Dingo (my husband)), and sit in my section, and each time, Dingo would NOT talk to me. I had every thought, since I considered myself an attractive, intelligent female: do I stink?!, does he think I’m weird/stupid/ugly/etc?!, is he GAY?!, etc. This went on for months, began in July, went on until about September. I finally set my phone number on the table at one point, probably in August or so, and simply said, “if you guys ever want to hang out”. That is the longest I’ve EVER waited for a phone call.
Fast forward to October, yes, you read that right… OC-TO-BER! I was in bed, studying for an exam the next day, jammies on, looking a bit rough, and my phone rings, out of state number, I have no clue, so I answer. It’s Matt, the restaurant frequenter, sounding rather inebriated on the other end, asking me to come to The Office, a bar in town, for Matt’s birthday. I’m sure I asked if Dingo would be there, for more uncomfortable moments of silence and awkwardness (which I was clearly not used to, at all), an affirmative was given, and so I went. Yes, awkward silence happened, a bit of talking, some pool, etc.
Wow, I know, you’re thinking this is getting way too long. I promise, it’s going somewhere. Fast forward again, to the three amigos, Matt, Dingo, and Me. I was living, at the time, in a house of a friend who was deployed with the Air Force, and my house became the hang out place. The three of us hung out endlessly since that day in October, hardly ever separate. We would have game nights, and even threw a party for Halloween with copious amounts of booze that only the 3 of us showed up to… Good times, and it could only possibly happen to us. We had days and evenings in the living room when Matt and I would repeatedly look at each other and wonder, “what the hell is Dingo doing?!”, because Dingo would be SO full of nervous energy that we swore he was going to wear a track in the carpet from pacing so much. I still had no clue, he’d begun to talk to me more, but was just a nervous wreck.
It all culminated on a day when Matt came over before Dingo, and we were talking, and the conversation went something like this… Matt: “You should ask Dingo out, you know he never is going to”. Me: “WHAT?! Why would I do that?! He doesn’t even like me. You see how he acts around me…” Matt: “He really likes you, that’s why he acts like that” Me: “BS! Stop screwing with me, you know that I like him. I’m not asking him out.” A bit more persuasion on the part of Matt, and I was sending Dingo a text as we waited for him to arrive. Let me put this in all caps, because it needs some emphasis… AT THE SAME TIME THAT I PUSHED SEND, (there, done with caps) I received a text from Dingo, asking me out! Holy monkeys, holy cow…. what?!… wow!
It was arranged, we had a preliminary first date, then a first date (preliminary, you ask, well, I do too… who knows), then a second date, and he moved in. No, I’m not kidding, he moved into the house that I was sharing with the deployed guy, remember. How would this be explained, not sure, but I’m sure that was an interesting email.
It should be said, that this was a time in my life that I’d learned to take control of some things, that I could take control of, and one of them was contraception (I was tired of not being myself, and beginning to realize it must be poisoning my system), and I only say this, because I think you can put two and two together to know that young, dating, cohabiting couples are not just sleeping when they go to bed. Ok, enough of that. Before long, (he moved in in November) April to be exact (the 26th to be more exact, if you’re keeping track of time line here, and if you are… STALKER!), I took a pregnancy test, because something wasn’t right, and it was a big fat positive (BFP, scientific, medical terms only, right?!) This was not what we had expected (not sure how, maybe we thought that our awesome invisible super hero capes of invincibility would protect us?!), but we had been planning to get married the following year. That night, he was down on one knee, ring in hand, me, with tears in my eyes and being blinded by the light that reflected off of the diamond he held, proposing, professing his love. He was leaving in May, for California, and the plan was for me to stay in Fayetteville and finish school, for us to get married, and for me to move over there with him… Again, ENTER GOD! We were married 3 days later, on April 29, in my grandparents living room, my grandfather as our minister, and Dingo’s mom having flown in for the occasion.
We first went to see his mom after we were married, since he had leave, and while we were there, we experienced a miscarriage. I’m not very sure how I feel about that now, maybe dull, unfeeling, not sure. I never wanted to lose a baby, and yet, there I was, shaking, in excruciating pain on the toilet after I passed clot after bloody clot into the toilet. Then, onward to California, to visit his family, whom I’d never met before. Let me back up quickly… while visiting his mother, he was supposed to have proposed to me at the Space Needle. Well, we all know that didn’t happen, and so his family fully expected to meet his fiance who would be going back to NC, not his wife. It all went over without a hitch, and they took it rather well.
Fast forward a bunch, our first year was challenging, and during that year, we conceived Sydney. Her birth has shaped many of the passions that I hold today, and her birth has also scarred me, physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Her birth was the reason I became a childbirth educator and a doula. She has taught me how to be the woman I am, the mother I am, and I feel complete in her presence. I feel like I’m getting ahead of myself here, but I have not always felt this way. Much of my life, I’ve felt like I was a broken person, someone that wasn’t deserving of love. So much happened to shape that belief within myself, and Sydney’s birth and presence in my life has healed so much of that. I’ve realized I don’t have to be something for everyone else, but I do have to be something for her.
With this being said, the whirlwind relationship that I had with her dad was seeming to crumble, as we made a move back to NC, bought a house, etc. I had begun a cycle of self abuse (as I was so accustomed to, because I didn’t think I was worthy of feeling happy, and this is another long blog post entirely), and was very unhappy. It was nothing that he was doing or not doing, he was wonderful the whole time… it was entirely me, living in a state of ‘what ifs’ and a time in the past. I had packed my bags mentally, was ready to leave, when he took a trip in October of 2010, but a conversation with a very good friend of mine was like a slap in the face (thank you, Christina, for doing this for me). I woke up from my mental stupor, and realized I was where I was meant to be. God put me where I was, it was His plan, and I needed to work through the BS that was ruling over me. A long email to my sweet husband, and the healing began, in our marriage, in me, in him, and forgiveness… there was a lot of that. We worked through a lot of stuff in a very short amount of time, and it was decided that upon his return, that we would start trying for another baby. We got pregnant immediately, and were expecting a baby to arrive in August of 2011.
More training for him, and in February, I started experiencing cramping and some spotting (not normal in pregnancy), and became instantly fearful. I called my midwife, Donna, and was asked to come in immediately. I went, and we found no fetal heart tones (we had never heard them). She hypothesized that maybe the baby was hiding behind the placenta, and that if I wanted an ultrasound, I could have one. I declined, went home, had no more spotting and cramping. That night, there were changes, more spotting and cramping, and in the morning, I called my step-mom to come get Sydney. Sydney spent the weekend away, thank goodness. I went in for an ultrasound that morning after Sydney left, and my worst fears were confirmed as I saw my still and silent baby on the screen. My heart cried, screamed, freaked out, but on the outside, but among the lab coated people, I remained composed. I was told to go see my midwife, and in her loving embrace, I cried with everything I had. And since hubs was in training, I had no way of contacting him, unless there was an emergency, and I knew I could do this alone, though it was not what I wanted to do, alone. I spent the next days feeling numb, and “processed” it. Eight days later, my husband’s grandmother died (my goodness we miss her so much), for which he was contacted. It was just a sad, sad time, after so much cleansing and healing. I didn’t give myself time and space to grieve (I know that now).
Upon his return from training, our year became hellacious. He made a decision to not complete training, while in another phase of training, unbeknownst to me, until I got a phone call simply saying, “Pick me up”. I will say this about what we went through, we have never been so bonded and united in an effort as we were in trudging through the insanity of last year. I would not choose to do that with anyone else, but it cemented in us a new and complete love for each other that is amazing. Though most of 2011 was horrendous, everything happens for a reason, and we surely got through it, with blessings that have abounded. Our faith in God has been renewed, and we have felt Him the entire way, holding us, cradling us, helping us to cry, then brushing us off and sending us on our way to conquer. During the year, also, my hormonal system took a huge hit, and my libido plummeted, so, though we knew we wanted to try for another baby, that seemed impossible. I went on hormone treatment, then we were told we were going to Alaska. ALASKA?! Seriously, this cannot be right! We were less than thrilled with this revelation. So our timeline to try for a baby was scrunched, and the hormones I’d chosen to take were stopped early. We tried in October with no success, but in November, we got another BFP (Big Fat Positive). He left in late November for Alaska without us, because we thought he would be deploying.
Fast forward. He did not deploy, and we came to Alaska. What an amazing place, but that is not what this post is about. We are finally at a place where I can talk about this second baby that we are expecting. We are elated, ecstatic, overjoyed, anxious, to meet our new baby. And in all of this, so much emotion has come out as we wait for the arrival, (we are currently at 38 plus weeks gestation) and most of it is stuff I thought I had dealt with, like our loss last year, my feelings toward the birth of Sydney. Not so.
I began to realize this, shortly after we hired our doula extraordinaire, Stella, and she sat humbly on our living room floor for our first prenatal visit, with her soft voice asking questions. We got to the subject of Sydney’s birth, and I found my face becoming hot with sadness and anger. I didn’t cry, but I surely wanted to. I confronted the fact that I had scared myself into not wanting an epidural, and rather than seeing it as a tool, that when appropriately used, can be useful, I viewed it as a weapon against my body, my baby, and me. And I worked through some other things about Sydney’s birth after Stella left. The other thing that I had swept under my emotional rug, was our loss last year. When I would tell that story, it would be told chronologically, with sterility and non-emotion, as if I were reading a script, or telling someone else’s story. But when I talked to Stella about it, it was MY story, and it was not told chronologically, and it was not emotionless. I cried, for the first time, really, since it happened. And the whole time, I had my husband next to me, not trying to fix anything, just being my ever present rock. Have I said how truly thankful I am for him? Words cannot even encompass that, not possible. So on I go.
What I have come to realize, in all of this, and what may or may not be conveyed in this lengthy blog post, and if you’ve come to this point and stuck with me, is that there is so much in the way, or can be in the way of just letting go and allowing things to happen. In my case, this past week, it has been labor. I am realizing, that there is a lot of stuff in the way of my stepping aside and allowing labor to start and continue. This post, is about me stepping out the the way of myself, allowing what needs to happen, to happen, and going with it. It’s about answering questions within myself that I had not confronted, and putting myself through self-therapy, and trusting that my body and baby know just what to do, and at the appropriate time. This process, getting to baby #2 for us, has been a lengthy one, and that’s why I told the whole story. The whole story must be told, in order to know how one got to where she is in a journey.
With this being said, I would like to share some of my observations, anxieties, and affirmations during this pregnancy.
We have learned so much about this baby in the short time that we have known him/her. Baby August is extremely social and curious, he/she responds quickly to anyone who speaks or puts their hand on my belly. Sydney was very cautious, and would only respond to my husband and me. Baby August is a mover and a shaker, always moving, always determined, always present. I knew this since week 10 when I was in a restaurant, and felt as if the baby was moving furniture in my uterus. Strong. Sydney has become the number one fan of our baby. She loves to snuggle with the baby at night, give hugs and kisses, sing to, and talk to him/her. Her curiosity is wonderful, and her patience is unending (it must feel like an eternity, waiting for a baby whose arrival no one can predict). I’ve noticed that in this pregnancy, I move much slower than I did with Sydney, mainly turtle speed is tops for me, so I seem to be late to everything, including vacation last weekend.
I find that I am anxious about having another baby, which I think is normal, but my anxiety stems from not wanting Sydney to be brushed aside. I was an only child, and she has been for 5 years now. I want our time as a family of 4 to be shared, not strained, and for no one to feel excluded. I want for her to know that both of our children were born and created out of love, and very much wanted. We have made it a point, as such, to include her in everything baby, and to assure that she has days that are about her. In this anxiety, though, I am overjoyed and SO excited for her to be a big sister. She is so proud that she gets to assume this role, and I am proud of her for entering this status so gracefully.
One of the things that has gotten me through challenging days in Sydney’s and Baby August’s pregnancies has been the presence of affirmations and the knowledge that my mind can create a positive framework for how my pregnancy progresses, day by day, sometimes minute by minute. Allow me to share a few affirmations that have gotten me through:
Early pregnancy (morning sickness riddled)
- My body is creating a strong, healthy baby
- My body is strong
- This is a perfect design
- I am meant for this
- I ask for help when appropriate
Mid Pregnancy (moving to Alaska and on)
- Patience is my friend
- I trust my body
- I transition with ease to our new life
- I guide Sydney gently in our new place
Late Pregnancy (Awaiting labor)
- My body is designed to give birth in the appropriate time
- I go with the flow of pregnancy
- I approach labor with patience
- I ask for help when appropriate
- I am patient with my body, my emotions, myself
- My baby is growing to a perfect size for my body
- I go into labor with no obstacles (this one is huge right now)
- I step aside and allow things to happen
I do thank you so much for coming with me on this long journey. Thank you so much for your support, prayers, and positive energy.
Comments Welcome, as always!