Monday, November 27, 2017

Birth of a Mother: All the Things You Taught Me

My dear baby,

I want to thank you for all these lessons you taught me while we shared a home and a heart for 9 months. I wrote this to you a few days before you arrived.

I have known you now for 39 weeks and a few days. Approximately 260 something days. I felt you in me the day after your journey began. One part of him and one part of me. And here you are...a whole lot of you!

Of course some days and moments jump out at me more than others...

Standing in the bathroom taking the second pregnancy test and confirming that this was all indeed happening. We made arbi that night. It was delicious. The doctor walking down the aisle of the clinic with a big smile. Calling Dan to tell him. Video chatting with Mummy when she was in Nepal and asking her, "What are your plans next June?" and her responding, "Why? Are you having a baby?" Telling Papa and him telling me how happy he was. Telling Didi and Vansh, and Didi saying, "My baby sister is going to have a baby!" Telling Mom at the airport 30 seconds after we picked her up. Telling Dad, and him saying, "I thought you guys were going to wait a little while." Telling Brian, Sarah, and the kids. Telling Mark. Telling Kevin, Chie, and their kids. Chie giving me her maternity jeans.

When I first started feeling sick. It was a really uncomfortable feeling. I wanted to just throw up, but nothing would come out. I remember the first time I threw up. It was while I was in training and I remember what I threw up. As a child (and onwards), I had always been afraid of throwing up. I think most will agree with me (and I hope you don't have too much experience with this in your life) that it's all around a very exhausting and unpleasant experience. It's accompanied by aches, gross smells, and feelings of being drained. I have forever had a shift in my feelings around throwing up. It was so different throwing up knowing (it's because) there is someone growing inside

It was a difficult first trimester. I was sick a lot. I had just started a new job. We had recently moved to a new city. I had encountered some wonderful people and some people who I wish I never have to interact with again. I had very little energy, very little appetite, and a lot of sickness. 

It was difficult feeling averse towards food and not having the energy to heal every weekend, before jumping back into a very hectic week of work. I also did not know many pregnant women around me and the ones I knew, seemed to have different experiences. Many times and days during my first many months, I felt like I wasn't good enough, wasn't strong enough, that my body wasn't whole enough for you. I wanted it to be perfect. I wanted me to be perfect for you. 

Your first home was something I wanted to make comfortable, warm, and loving. I wanted you to know how much I loved having you in me. It was something I tried to tell you every moment I got, even though there were moments when I was really struggling to feel good. Thank you for teaching me that my body could be a safe haven for another human being. 

It's a funny thing feeling out of control of your own body. It's an even more courageous thing letting go of all control so you can grow and be you. And the things I do control, I need to have the bravery to own. Thank you for being one of my favorite teachers in this life-long lesson: I'm not always in control and that's okay. 

It was difficult feeling that poorly for a long time. Books, doctors, and moms let me know it'll pass. Or it may not. I was told to get up, get out, go for walks, not sit holed up in my bedroom on the weekends...and I would get angry at myself, because I simply couldn't. There were days when moving positions in my bed would trigger inconsolable nausea. Books told me that the nausea peaks between 12 - 16 weeks. I braced myself and kept my eyes on the 17th week. It came and went, and I learned another valuable lesson: our bodies are a vessel, and each of us are different. 

It happened just before Thanksgiving. I had been having terrible headaches, accompanied with nausea for a few days. I felt the onset of one of these headaches at work and decided to leave early. Traffic was bad that day and I realized, I didn't have my "evening throw-up container" with me in the car (I had already used my morning one on the way over to work). I kept Dan on the phone with me for support and made it to the exit for our home. As I was trying to merge on to the exit ramp, I felt my nausea surge and scrambled for anything I could find to catch it. It was quite terrible! I realized that day that my nausea may not get better and that I would need to find a way to cope, rather than keep hoping it would get better. That day marked my shift. It's amazing what happens when you shift your expectations! Thank you for that lesson too: change your expectations, but always have high standards.

Over all these months, Dan and I have shared our news of you with so many! We've changed travel plans and life plans to get ready for this - our biggest life change - and it's been magical! You've already been on plane rides with me - to Portland and Denver - and I don't think you liked them much - but hopefully you'll enjoy them as you get older! Thanks for that lesson too: listening to your preference at an early age! 

Throughout the many phases of this journey with you, I have learned so much, grown so much, hurt (and hurled) a bit, and now feel so ready to do all of it again - every day for and with you. 

I am so excited to welcome you to this world! This past year has been a difficult one for the world. In November, I felt like a part of our human existence had died. Every day, I read the news with trepidation - what else can go wrong? How else can we keep spiraling downwards? And there have been many days when I have been hopeless, scared, and exhausted. But you growing inside me has taught me that we need to keep fighting. And boy am I lucky to have people in my life worth fighting for?

While I reflect on the people in my life worth fighting for - I think about your Dad. These past 9 months have brought Dan and I closer than ever before. Co-creating a life with him has been one of the greatest experiences of my life and he has been there during every single meal, lesson, sleepless night, exhausting day, jog to the bathroom to throw up, clean up, grocery shopping run, wake up in the middle of the night to help me get out of bed expedition, every scare, and every celebration along the way. He has been an extension of my body - of us. And I have looked over many nights at his sleeping silhouette and felt our three bodies deeply connected. Thank you, my dear baby, for the gift of closeness and such a deep bodily and emotional connection with my Dan. 

People around us are also being birthed into new roles! It's been great watching your grandparents becoming grandparents from our parents...our siblings becoming your aunts and uncles. Thank you for that reminder too: family is so important!

I can't imagine all of the angst, surprises, joys, and sleepless nights that await me - but there's no other person I'd rather do it than for you.

With all my love and more gratitude than I can express,
Your Mamma


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