Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ripe with Fruit

Maybe I am odd, but I loved being pregnant. To me, pregnancy is the fulfillment of womanhood. This is what a woman's body is made for, why it looks the way it looks and functions the way it does. I was fulfilling my body's purpose.
I did not suffer from morning sickness, I only lost my appetite for sweetened foods, which aren't good for me anyway.
I loved my burgeoning body.
I started exercising for the first time in a looooong time - swimming 3 days every week during the final trimester. I was in the best shape that I'd been in, maybe ever!
I loved all the cute maternity clothes and the fact that I HAD to buy an entirely new wardrobe.
I loved feeling the baby kick inside me.
I loved taking him to work with me, all snuggled down in my tummy like a secret (albeit a poorly kept one.)

Even the trees in our orchard that year were full of ripening fruit.

Towards the end, I often said that I was ready. I was over it - through with not being able to wear anything but slip-on shoes and sandals. But I wasn't. I said I was ready, but secretly, I told the baby in my belly "not yet." A week after my due date, I was sent to the hospital on a daily basis so that they could monitor the baby for signs of stress. The baby turned: though he had been vertex since the eighth month, he did a somersault and wedged his head up under my rib cage with one leg alongside his tummy and one dangling down near my cervix, though it would not be until a few hours before his delivery by c-section that I would learn this.

Everyone tells you how a baby will totally change your life. Forever. But I was smart, yeah, I read all the books and knew "what to expect," right? If you knew me, I may have seemed confident, maybe even smug. But you know what, I was pretty damned scared. Maybe I realized that it was all coming to an end. And I was woefully unprepared. We did not take any parenting classes, no childbirth classes - my Dr. actually told me that our area did not have any parenting programs, though I found out later (too late) that this wasn't true.

I had really never been responsible for an infant before. Never. I had never babysat a baby, changed a diaper, fed, bathed etc. etc. etc. let alone given BIRTH to one. TFH? No help. He knew even less than I did, his education being whatever excerpts I may have read to him from whatever book I happened to be reading. Parents, sisters? All living too far away to be of much help, and both sisters working outside their homes, unable to pop in to check on me. No friends here in town, and no friends with kids living nearby.
I have had a problem, in the past, with extending myself, reaching out for anything. It would have served me well to practice a little humility before the baby came, because I was just a basket case when he finally did.

I had a miserable time with breast feeding, and ended up feeding him formula and supplementing with the few teaspoons of breast milk which I produced with the help of the top-of-the line Medela "Pump in Style" I bought. I saw breast feeding specialists and tried my damnedest, people, I did. Nothing was wrong with me physically, but psychologically, well....

I was doing the best job I could, taking care of my son. I bought a baby food grinder and organic food and made beautiful healthy foods for him. But it was two and a half years before my head was on straight again, largely due to the help of two amazing people.

In three weeks Ben will be six! The time has passed in the blink of an ants eye, and it seems impossible that the small man in front of me was once that baby crying in the video that my husband shot while I was desperately trying to wiggle my toes in post-op. Thanks, Sweetie, you're the best!

Having a baby will totally change your life. Many times and in many different ways. I am eternally grateful that I now see how it has changed my life for the best.