We all play roles in life; there are the conventional ones like sister, daughter, employee, and wife. These are roles I have had in my life, but it all changed drastically in the past year. The year 2006 brought a lot of unique experiences that have spilled over into 2007 and I would like to reflect on them.
When we decided to try in August it was a decision that was a long time coming, one I was terrified and alternately excited about. I had changed jobs in anticipation of success at impregnation, but basically my last day of work coincided with my first day of pregnancy. People who know me would not be surprised as my personality has a bit of dictatorship to it. One of my roles that family teases about is my role as ‘General” in a family of 10. I’m ‘that’ one, the Organizer, and the slightly manic, occasionally way too controlling one. It is a bit of a joke, but my family loves me and has yet to reject me.
That role changed when I was put on bedrest at 24 weeks, now my role was ‘invalid’. Don’t get me wrong, I was not incapable of action, it just had to be from bed. Right before the bedrest I was doing yoga 3-4 times a week, walking 3 miles a day with Meesh, managing the house, working a few hours a week. Then, bam!, nothing. Walking to the kitchen set off contraction, peeing did, moving did. The panic crept a bit, but I used meditation and hyponosis to manage. The one role that did not resurface during this time was my Panic Disorder side, for which I will be eternally grateful. I had received a bit of meds in the past to help control it (in 2003) and was really determined to not let it back into my life. I am proud of my success and wanted to share that little bit, especially for those of you that overestimate my capabilities because I always smile and laugh. But the role of ‘invalid’ was eased by excellent support and lasted 12 weeks of my life, 12 weeks I will never forget. That time is recorded in my private journal and on this blog a bit, the gnarly parts edited so as to not scare other moms-to-be.
That role ended April 24, 2007 around 1 p.m. when Dr. Tam told me we could go into surgery that night. It was so scary and also such a relief. The last week of pregnancy was marked by constant contractions, instructions to go to hospital once they hit 10 an hour, meds to stop it, discharge home, and repeat 2 days later. My body was falling apart, my spirit was faltering. Doc wanted 37 weeks but it was truly impossible. So, in we went. And out they came. Some day I will write about their birth, probably not here as it is a hazy, somewhat terrible memory at this point. Being in the medical field makes me suffer the administration of any medical procedure with too much knowledge and abject terror. But we did it, Tim and I got through it and that is really all that counts.
And then the role I most want to talk about, even though there is no way to convey it. Some roles come gradually…college graduate, adult, or friend. Mother, this does not. It slams into you, it crashes onto you and you cannot imagine another life, the one you had before, the one where they were not here. The role of pregnant woman/mom-to-be comes along gradually; sure, your body changes, but these happen with a slow unfolding, stretching, growing. Not so Mother…it is an irrevocable change and you know you would never relinquish this role, never let anyone take it, touch it, challenge it. The fierceness of it with the love that flows out is soothing at times, bewildering at others, so you just ride it. Waking up with torpedo tits the day your milk comes in...winch, take a photo and try to soothe ‘em in the shower. Dipe filled right after you wrestled the crazy bendy feet into the sock…yes, mom, you have to change it. And it is okay, because then you pick one up, put their cheek to your lips and feel…feel it. Feel it all. And you cannot speak, you can only feel.
I will write more, some about Tim, the man that in the space of 2 minutes became father to two and in a space of 10 hours after their birth had already fed, changed a myconium diaper, and looked at his wife’s c-section incision without barfing. He deserves his own post. I will say I feel like I have fallen in love again, our stay at Huntington Memorial Hospital was like a honeymoon; Tim likened it to a Vegas trip with babies as the jackpot. If you deliver here, you will be so very, very happy. All the staff and docs are amazing and they have room service, and they care so much,and they make a bed for Dad and bring extra towels for him so he can shower too, and I felt as if they cherished our babies as we did. Use them if you can.
My mind is petering out; my beans are stirring for feeds, my Mother Role calls. I could not be happier.