Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Embrace The Journey

Here I go again, call me Captain Obvious. But as you know, I'm pregnant. I am 27 weeks 1 day, due on the ninth of May. We are expecting a girl (a first for our blended family) and she will be named Elizabeth Juliann. If you are here because of Instagram you probably know all of this and have been following my journey the last seven months. None of this is news to you.

Maybe you are new to my journey, so I'll give you a rundown of my story and make it as painless as possible. Sound cool? Here we go.  Brandon and I are engaged, he has two boys from a previous marriage that we have full time. I love them like they are my own and when asked how many children I have they are included without hesitation. I was engaged once before and suffered multiple pregnancy losses during that time. It is hands down the most difficult time of my life thus far. I wouldn't wish losing a child on anyone. Wanting to be pregnant so so so badly, finally getting there, and then losing it is hard to deal with. I always thought I was one of "those people" who had a hard time getting pregnant and carrying. That's just the way it is.

Until I met Brandon. After one month of TTC (trying to conceive) I was convinced we were pregnant. After multiple pregnancies that all had similar early symptoms, I recognized the signs. I tried to talk myself out of it. I didn't want to deal with that overwhelming let down when I saw only one line on the test. So I waited. At ten DPO (days past ovulation) I gave in and tested with a "cheapie" dollar tree test. In my experience with my body and past pregnancies I tend to get bfps earlier with those tests. Hey, I'm not mad at it.
Pregnancy tests can run up to $20 a pop. 

Anyway, there is was. The faintest of fainty lines. A shadow of a line. I about fell over.
Again I talked myself out of it. It had to be a fluke. I only paid a dollar for that test anyway. Four more days came and went. I was experiencing tender breasts, EXTREME fatigue (like getting up in the morning was a serious struggle, man.) Headaches, slight pressure and cramps. The signs were all there and my period was officially late. So I made a trip to the drugstore and bought a First Response digital that read yes+ or no- in that tiny little window after waiting what felt like one million days for the results. Lo and behold, at five am with bleary eyes I blinked in total shock and disbelief when that little white piece of plastic said yes+.

I told Brandon later that evening and he was over the moon! Shocked most definitely, but happy.  Unfortunately the happiness was short lived. At 8 weeks exactly I made a trip to the bathroom and found that I was bleeding. I thought it was all over, just like before. After a trip to the E.R. they discovered a simple issue that was rectified with a shot that I would need twice throughout my pregnancy, and possibly once at birth. With ultrasound pictures of our little love in hand we went home cautiously optimistic. 

Four weeks later I woke up in the middle of the night for a bathroom break. Nothing unusual for a pregnant woman. When I sat down on the toilet I realized something was very wrong. I was covered in blood, my leggings I slept in were soaked. I wasn't in any pain, and now I realize that was one of the only things that helped me keep it together. With past losses I was in extreme pain. At three a.m. Brandon and I arrived at the emergency room again. After an exam and ultrasound they sent me home, with the comfort of knowing that my baby's heart was still beating. Threatened miscarriage and bed rest was mentioned quite a few times. We later discovered with a genetic specialist that I had a pocket of blood at the bottom of my uterus. It was simply draining. The rest would continue to drain or be absorbed like a bruise. Simple enough.

After all of the days of worry, fearing this pregnancy would abruptly end like the others... I never let myself enjoy it. Even now, in the third trimester I catch myself thinking "I just can't wait for her to get here." I don't mean that with a tone of excitement (rest assured I am BEYOND excited) but the anxiety is always there. Now that she is moving the majority of the day that brings me a little peace of mind...but that undertone of fear will never leave me completely.

Anxiety. Fear. And guilt. Yes, guilt. Because I've caught myself saying more than once "I can't wait for this pregnancy to be over," "I just want her to be here," "may can't come soon enough,". I know first hand what its like to be that woman who can't conceive. Who can't carry a pregnancy. To want it so bad its all consuming. Here I am, pregnant, overcoming all these obstacles and I have the nerve to complain.

Lately this has been on my mind more than usual. After a lot of thought and prayer I've decided to do what I should have done at week 8. Just give it to the Lord. And relax. This may be the only pregnancy my body carries. I'm going to embrace whatever the next three months  brings me, and roll with it. I want to enjoy this beautiful experience!

My point to this longer than intended post is this: Embrace the Journey. Whether you are struggling through pregnancy, raising rambunctious littles, striving to move up at work or just survive this college semester... Embrace it. Enjoy it. Stop and look around you. This is life, we only get to do this once. You may only journey down the path you are on this one time.  Give it your all, and soak it in. Good luck!

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Maira Gall