Friday, August 9, 2013

Yep, It's a Boy. And I don't want to talk about it.

My biggest desire in life was always to be a mom. And thankfully, God has blessed me with the ability to make babies and bring them into this world! I know that not everyone is so lucky, and I often remind myself of what an incredible blessing it is just to be capable.

But that doesn't change the fact that I see pregnancy as a special form of torture.

I'm not one of you glow-y, adorable, pregnant ladies. Unless you count excessive sweating as glowing, and torpedo-shaped bellies covered in stretch marks to be adorable. Maternity clothes do not flatter my pregnant shape. Nausea isn't a passing first trimester thing for me. It's an intense, life-altering, 20-week experience. Anemia, exhaustion, heartburn, constipation, breakouts, excessive weight gain, greasy hair, constant braxton hicks contractions and emotional outbursts are ALL a part of my pregnancy experience - in about as exaggerated, movie-like extremes as you can imagine. 

And yet.....

I keep going back for more. Because I can. Because my body is able, because God is saying YES to lending me his sweet angels, and because I love my children with an intensity and depth that turns my life into something it wouldn't have even come close to being without them. My husband says this makes me strong, and brave, and I don't know....I think it makes me insane (ya know, repeatedly doing something and hoping for different results). Eventually my body is going to say ENOUGH ALREADY, and I may need that moment to tell my heart to stop craving babies. I know that I'm inching towards it, and the whispers of warning are already there, and I'm currently torn on giving my body the rest of my life to be JUST MY body, and putting it through all of this for a fourth time. But the day that decision needs to be made is still a bit in the future. 

For now, I'm in week 28 of my third pregnancy - struggling about as much as I did in my first two pregnancies combined. It has not been easy, friends.

It took me longer to bond with this baby. It took longer to picture him in my arms, snuggling him, smelling him, hearing his sweet baby noises. And I know that there are specific reasons for this, but I also think having a third child has something to do with it. With my first, I posted every sonogram picture, every doctor's appointment update, made registries, imagined his nursery, dreamed of his shower, and had such a happy, hopeful attitude through all of it. It's funny, isn't it? How you kind of act like no one has ever had a child before when you're having your first? 

When I found out Lukas was a boy, I was surprised - because I always assumed I'd have girls, the rest of my family did - but I saw it as a happy challenge. Okay, cool, I get to add a boy to the mix! Everyone was telling me how much easier boys were than girls, and I pictured him in little polos and cute overalls. I feel in love with Luke as a fetus pretty instantly.

When we were expecting our second, I was hopeful for a girl. I always wanted one, always thought I'd have one, and I liked the idea of being done after two kids. Not because I was determined to have the typical American family - I actually liked the thought of three kids better - but because Luke's pregnancy was so difficult, I didn't want to have to keep doing it. I would have felt okay saying....yep, I'm done. Or I'm done for a while. If I had one of each, I wouldn't feel like I was missing out on anything. So when I found out Henry was a boy, I was really upset. I knew that I wouldn't stop my family at two boys, I'd have to go through this again, and that was the hardest part of it all for me to accept. About 24 hours later, I was so excited to have a set a brothers close in age, and to use the name Henry, that I accepted our fate and completely left my sadness behind.

Matt and I were both anxious to try for our third, and we were pleasantly surprised to find out that I was pregnant fairly quickly this time (after only 3 months of trying). I immediately felt different in my pregnancy than I had with Luke & Henry, and after many "signs" and people telling me so - I was absolutely convinced that I was having a girl. Not a shred of doubt! I was so excited for this picture of two strong boys looking out for their sweet little sister, and getting to play with dresses and bows after 4 years of stained t-shirts and blue pajamas. I was so motivated to get started on all of my fun girl plans that I convinced Matt to have an early sonogram to find out FOR SURE that this baby was our girl. I found the least expensive place I could in our area, and we had our appointment in May. On the day of our appointment, I waited anxiously as the ultrasound tech did her thing, and I could hardly believe it when she showed me that we were having our third BOY. 

I wasn't upset right away this time. I was in shock. It just didn't feel right. How could I have been so wrong? How could everyone around me have been so wrong in their guesses? Old wives tales and the Chinese Lunar Calendar failed me. A baby psychic failed me. Multiple dreams I'd had failed me. Even my own body failed me. It tricked me with all of its differences in this pregnancy! (Those differences were mostly that everything was SO MUCH WORSE and lasting WAY longer.) A few days went by before I really broke down about it, and when I finally did - it was pretty embarrassing. I felt so much guilt over crying over this sweet baby I was carrying at the same time that I was disappointingly sad. I had to start accepting the fact that I may never have a girl, and if I wanted to gamble on it one last time, I had to put my body through all of this a FOURTH time with no guarantees. I started getting angry at anyone that was pregnant with a girl (and I swear, there are so many pregnant people on my radar right now and they are ALL having girls, of course!), and then angry at all of the people that have easy pregnancies because they wouldn't have such a hard decision to make. The intense difficulty of pregnancy wouldn't be a deciding factor in their choice to try again. I became bitter, and angry, and depressed. I broke down every few days about it. The worst part is that we didn't have any names we loved, so I couldn't start picturing my baby for who he would become, and since we have EVERYTHING for a boy, including a completed nursery (Henry hasn't moved out of his, and we haven't updated it at all since he was born), so I had none of the "fun" stuff to do, either. It was quickly becoming the opposite of my first pregnancy - no excitement, nothing new, nothing different. 

For the first time, I didn't announce it when we found out what we were having. I used the excuse that I wanted to wait for the "real" ultrasound at 20 weeks, and that I'd update everyone then. But that came and went, and I said nothing. Everyone close to me found out when they needed to, and I was thankful that most of them passed the news around between themselves without me having to do it. The truth is, I couldn't handle the comments. People have a funny way of talking to pregnant women, and what they think might make me feel better usually does not. That goes for how my belly looks and such, too. I didn't want pity, I didn't want "all the million positive reasons for having another boy" thrown at me, and I didn't want to talk about having to try again. So I said nothing on Facebook or Twitter or my blog. I ignored most people when they came to me to ask. When I was still overly-emotional about it, I was even rude to some people. I'd just say - "I don't want to talk about it!" and walk away. And while I feel badly about that, it just sucks sometimes that our lives are so very public, and people are SO overly curious when it comes to pregnancy and babies, and we are expected to share details of things we feel sensitive about. Sometimes I just want to talk about other things, ya know?

I can't tell you exactly when I started feeling better about this baby, because it was a lot more gradual than in the past. Maybe a month? Probably about the time when I figured out what his name will most likely be, and I could picture him as a part of the family. Or maybe when his kicks and flips became a lot more intense, and he became very REAL to me. I started to see him as one of my kids - just like the two that are already here. They felt the same way in there, and on the outside they are beautiful, smart, happy, healthy kids - and I love them so very much. I knew I would love this boy as much as I love my first two. The root of my sadness wasn't in that this baby was a boy, or in having three boys, but in possibly never having a daughter, and having to do this whole pregnancy thing again if I want another shot at it. When I kept looking at it like that, I bonded more and more with this baby.

Now that I'm less emotional about the situation, I feel like I can write about it with a level head. So to the few people out there who were waiting to hear the news and never got it, I'm sorry. But even with less anger and disappointment, I don't want to talk about with everyone. I've heard all there is to say from everyone I know, and from people that I don't know. There are still some friends and acquaintances that I don't speak to regularly enough for them to have figured it out, and I'll get a message every week or two from someone new asking when I will find out what I'm having. I feel bad about it, but I've been ignoring them. It's not their fault - but I don't want to read their responses. I just don't. I've made my peace with the hand we've been dealt, and I have heard all there is to say. I already have to brace myself for every party and summer BBQ we attend, because everyone has to know every detail, and in trying to be a polite guest, I have to answer their questions. So if I've got an easy way to avoid hearing what some other people have to say, I'm going to take it. I just don't want to head down an ugly road again while I process your comments. I hope that you can understand.

My husband mentioned that as a parent, he feels like he should acknowledge other people's pregnancies in a "yeah! welcome to the club!" kind of way. Like we all get each other, and we should try to be a big happy family about it. And to accomplish this, people ask questions. And I get that, but there's a way to go about it. If I find myself interacting with a pregnant woman, I give her a knowing smile, or I say Congratulations. That's it. It accomplishes the "power to the parents!" thing my husband was getting at, but it doesn't pry, it doesn't cast judgement, and it doesn't risk upsetting that mom-to-be. People may not realize this, but when you fail at hiding your surprise at hearing how far away from our due date we are even though we look like we could give birth any minute, we process that for a long time. We might even lose sleep over it as your words echo through our minds. The same goes for the "oh, that's too bad" faces when you hear I'm having my third boy. Your words definitely sting, but your expressions burn. I am much too perceptive of a person to not notice.

My point here is, I never planned on having three sons. I couldn't even have pictured it! In fact, I remember being younger and thinking that it was some sort of nightmarish punishment to have son after son while wishing for a daughter. But that was back in the day when boys had cooties and I didn't know what it was like to have any child of my own. Yeah, the boy toys get annoying, as does the way they can't help but wrestle with each other ALL. THE. TIME. But the reality of our situation is so much better than it sounds. My children are beautiful. They're healthy, and happy, and sweet. They are smart and caring and loving. They are polite. They are playful. And I love them. And the love I feel for them outweighs any of the perks of having a daughter.

But that doesn't mean I won't always wish I had one, or that I'm able to call it quits after this baby and not try for a fourth time. And because that desire and glimmer of hope still exists, I don't want you (not YOU, but the collective you), poking at it and making it grow, like chewing on the same spot of your lip repeatedly because you can't stop paying attention to it. It gets harder to ignore. It makes it difficult to live in the moment and just appreciate what I have. And I hope that you can respect my desire to live with gratitude over indulging pregnancy curiosity.

Right now, I'm in a great spot. I am crazy about this baby, and as my due date draws nearer, I'm becoming more and more excited to meet him on the outside. I'm excited for my three sweet boys to have a special brotherhood. I can't wait to see if he looks more like Lukas or more like Henry. And as each week goes by, and he gets closer to being fully developed, I am reminded of the miracle it is to just be able to do this at all. In recognizing that, I know that it's all in God's hands anyway - He selected this child to grow in my womb - and how can that thought not fill my heart with love and honor?

So please, let me leave it at that. Let me see it through God's eyes, and don't make me talk about it.

2 comments:

  1. I'm also 28 weeks pregnant with baby #3. A boy. I have two girls already, but I admit it took a few days before I was happy to be having a boy. I'm still terrified by it but happy.

    Just this morning I was laying bed wondering what the heck I have gotten myself into. I don't want to do delivery again, I still clearly remember the pain and I don't want to do it again. But I guess I'm about 28 weeks too late for that.

    Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy!

    P.S. I still morning sickness too. BOO!

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  2. God has planned for you 3 baby boys and that makes you a lucky woman. My chiropractor just had his 5th son! Can you imagine 5 little boys running around! Thank you for sharing this heart felt post. God Bless your little (growing) family!

    Amanda Rose
    http://sewmuchtosay.blogspot.com

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