I was reading some of the responses on The One Minute Writer today and it took me back to last year, when Madelyn was born. I had written most of it down... or typed it up... on the computer, but when we had that crash in January, everything was lost. So I'm going to put some of what I remember about my pregnancy and delivery and Mad's early days here. This first bit is from an article I submitted to DivineCaroline in November of 2007.
My husband and I have been together for nearly eight years and married for two. We’ve discussed having children together. Sometimes I felt the pull of the daughter who is “out there” waiting for me. Other times I knew for sure I didn’t want to go through that again. For my husband, I think he has worried about how good of a father he’d be “from the get-go.” I have been married once before and have a fourteen-year old son. Tom has been wonderful with my son, who is now our son.
For the better part of a year we had been discussing whether or not we wanted to have a child together. If we weren’t having a baby, then I wanted to get my tubes tied so I could go off the pill and live a less chemical life.
Sometime early this summer we both decided that not having a baby was the better decision for us. We’ve been working on some financial goals and enjoying the freedom that comes with having a teenager. I was in agreement with the decision, but I wasn’t ecstatic about it. I told Tom that I would take a little time to absorb the finality and then I’d make the appointment. However, our summer schedule was insane. Our son started an independent study program that meant I was essentially his teacher. When we weren’t working eight hours a day on schoolwork, we were off camping. We had so many trips scheduled, and not all with definite dates. So there wasn’t really time to have surgery. I planned to make the appointment for early October, when life would be back to normal and taking a few days off work wouldn’t be such a big deal.
I remember the time that I think the baby was conceived. In a small part of my mind, I thought about our decision ... but I had thought about it other times as well. This particular time, though, was so incredible and magical. It felt like making a baby.
A few weeks later when my period didn’t come on Sunday, as it had been for a few months, I wasn’t too worried. The original reason I got on the pill was to regulate my period, and even with that help, the only thing I could guarantee was the week that my period would start and stop ... not which day. When my period didn’t come on Wednesday ... typically the latest day ... I started to wonder. When nothing had happened by Sunday night and I was starting to feel “different,” I was concerned.
One night while Corey was away and Tom was playing tennis, I did a little online research to see if maybe I had cancer or something else that caused my missed period. It sounds crazy, and it probably is, to say that a major ailment could be better than being pregnant. But this is where I was at: Life was so good. Tom, Corey and I were settling well into married life. We had been incredibly happy. Getting pregnant without both sides consenting seems to me a lot like betrayal. I know I didn’t do it on purpose, but I think that the part of me that wanted to have a child with him feels guilty anyway. The thing I kept thinking was that this pregnancy could be the key to unlock the happiness of our marriage and send it away for good.
I stopped sleeping well. I couldn’t fall asleep and I couldn’t stay asleep. For the next couple of nights, I probably averaged two to three hours over the course of the night. Even though I’m off during summers, I couldn’t sleep late because I was now home schooling our son.
Relief came in the form of a camping trip with my brother and his family. Tom couldn’t join us, so Corey and I headed out to the Eastern Sierras without him. By the time Corey finished setting up the tent, I was so exhausted that I went to take a nap. This is not something I normally do on vacation, and especially not on camping trips. I slept for an hour and then when we all headed to bed later, I crashed right away. Part of me knew this was probably a bit of being pregnant and a lot of not having to face Tom with this news.
We stayed away for three nights. I slept so well for the first two, but the night before we went home, I could feel the tension welling up again. I couldn’t sleep to save my life. When I did sleep, I dreamt that his best friend tried to kiss me and that I was sort of letting him when Tom walked up. I don’t remember it as clearly now, but one of us said to the other, “We have a lot of things to talk about.”
When we got home that night, it was too beautiful outside and too stuffy inside, so I spent most of the evening on the grass in the yard. When Tom got home and joined me, I listened to the events of his past few days without us and told him a little about our time in the mountains. I told him about the dream and then, without my meaning to, but also without my being able to stop, I told him that I thought I was pregnant. Well, I told him that I was either pregnant or very sick and that I’d done research that pretty much negated the possibility of very sick.
I thought I saw him smile (or grimace) a little and I saw tears welling in his eyes. I didn’t have a clue as to what he was going through. I was as ready as I could be for, “You know I said no, so you can deal with it on your own.” (This really wouldn’t be like him.) To my complete relief, what he said was, “Well this is just another adventure for us, isn’t it?”
The next morning we went together to buy a pregnancy test. He waited for me to take it and made me promise not to look without him. Once it was confirmed, we went to the bookstore, where each of us got a pregnancy book. He has attended every appointment with me, and insisted after the first one that we change doctors because of the demeanor of that doctor and his staff. He gets to decide if we find out or not about the baby’s gender, and we both have to love the names we choose.
When it came to telling our families, he made me wait until his was out here in late September (we found out in August). In reality, this made perfect sense because I have a history of miscarriages prior to having Corey, and I was only a few weeks along. And telling all of our parents at the same time would be fairer. I’m glad we waited, but it was one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do in a few years.
Our son is thrilled to finally be getting the brother or sister he’s always wanted. My father almost knocked me down when he came to hug me after getting a copy of the first ultrasound photo. My mother, who is almost blind, just sat there perplexed as to why she was given a photo of an owl until she heard my mother-in-law gasp and saw her come running up to hug me. My father-in-law, who’s never been one to think women can’t do anything they want to, has suddenly become very concerned that I not go out of my way to do things for others, or otherwise over-exert myself.
And somehow, this news, this pregnancy, did unlock a key to the happiness in our marriage, but instead of letting it fly away, it has deepened and become more intense and exciting and fun. Life is good.