The hardest part of being asked this question is knowing what my honest answer actually is in an appropriate and socially accepted amount of time. Also, how long of an answer do you want? Are you honestly wondering how I'm feeling right now or in general about this pregnancy? Are you curious about how I'm feeling physically or emotionally? I think women ask more to know the emotional side, and men ask more about the physical side but dont want details. They want to know if it hurts, and maybe if my pregnancy is in any way like their wife or girlfriends. Some people honestly dont even know they are asking it, they just wanted to walk by me and also be polite. I have been known to misread signals from the "how are you feeling" asker.
I get kind of embarrassed, say, when I get off the phone with my mom after having talked to her for 30 minutes about my complicated emotions. I go downstairs and run into a 19 year old co-worker. He says, "Hey Amber, how are you feeling?" and I say, "You know, I feel okay right now. I'm so anxious though! Its about the same time that everything happened and so I'm nervous. But I do like my doctors and I think I'm in good hands. Also I am bigger this time around, so thats fun and uncomfortable, especially in this heat!" Meanwhile, 19 year old kid has walked backwards with a fake smile on saying "oh. yeah. oh." and then says, "kseeyalater" Too much. His how are you feeling was looking for a "good, you?!" But instead I gave him a peek into the mind of a crazy person.
To make a long wordy blog too long and more wordy, I have decided to post my entire answer here. How am I feeling?
Short answer: Good. Peaceful. Ready and Anxious.
Long answer: The first two trimesters of this pregnancy flew by. I have felt overwhelming support and huge blessings that made me feel sure that this will happen for us and that we will bring our little boy home. I was not very nervous, not really panicked. I felt surprised as each week went by that I felt almost as if we had never lost a baby in the sense that I was blissful. I was excited to be pregnant. I was dreaming as if I had no reason to doubt. There were moments of course, where I would rush to listen to his heartbeat because for a second I thought our luck had run out. But his heart was always there, a constant beat.
As the weeks have gone on, though, I have become more anxious. I find that as I've become completely aware of his movements, I am also completely aware when he is still. It is harder and harder to distract myself when I start to worry. While I would say that most of the time I feel normal and confident, I have had an increasing number of moments where I think to myself "Oh no, something is wrong. He's not moving. Its going to happen again. I can't do this. He's gone." And then baby boy will kick me in the ribs and tell me he is fine and that I need to calm down.
I guess its expected about now. We lost Kellen just a day or two before 30 weeks. I am 29 weeks and 4 days. Come Friday, every day with this baby is a day longer than I got with his brother. It is a day where I am painfully aware that it could happen any moment. Between now and 36 weeks when he will join us on the outside, I can tell that I will be like a bouncy ball. One moment I will feel such peace and be very sure that he is a perfectly healthy baby, and that my body is a safe home for him. The next I will be sure he is swimming in a danger zone and that any second our dreams will be shattered, our hearts will explode one final time and we will never recover.
As dorky as it sounds, my mind is a harder place to be right now than my heart. My heart feels sure. I feel peaceful. I can talk about having him here with people, and completely believe it will happen. My heart feels like this pregnancy is healing it even more. That this baby is a gift, a little boy who will heal us and who is protected by his brother and sister. I am sure in my heart. I am grateful for this, because it is my heart that was hurt the most when we lost Molly and Kellen. My heart was broken, then broken again. But it also wants to be a mother so badly that being pregnant, despite the chance of breaking again, is an exciting adventure. My heart feels like I won a prize, that growing another life inside of me, and counting down the days until I bring him home is exactly what the doctor ordered to heal the fractures of loss.
My mind, on the other hand, remembers the facts. In my mind, I answer the second most common question "Is this your first?!" with the facts, "No, he's my third." And then the facts are out there. There are no children around me. No children in my home. No babysitters, no spit up stains, no milestones. My mind tallies the facts and it begins to panic. It is my mind, that based on what we have been through before, gets me all confused. The peace in my heart is quickly set aside when I notice that the baby isn't moving. I push on my belly, frantically searching for evidence. I search for a sign that he is okay. My mind has made me run to the bathroom at work countless times to hide in a stall and lean against the wall, my hands on my belly, begging the baby to kick. It is looking at the past that makes my mind see no other ending.
There are two different kind of doctors who we have dealt with. The first is the rule doctor. The good student. The textbook answer doctor. He knows a lot, he knows the facts and he uses the facts to make good, wise, decisions. I need him to help me know what we need to do. He, unfortunately, sees this pregnancy is separate from the first two. Everything looks normal. Early delivery may not be necessary, why would it be, textbook says that perfect pregnancies end with healthy babies and despite the past, he believes the tests that say all is well. This doctor is like my brain. He's all facts.
The second doctor is the compassionate one. He sees my fear in my eyes when he mentions going past 36 weeks. He sees the pain in our questions and in the retelling of our story. He reads our chart and instead of asking us medical questions, he says "I am so sorry. We will do anything we need to so you get a baby" This doctor doesn't ask us to repeat our story again and again, but reads about it himself and only asks things he needs to know. This doctor is the heart. He's all feeling.
The difference in doctors reminds me of the drastically different way I can feel from one minute to the next.
So do I feel happy? Yes. Excited? Very. Scared? Sometimes. Peaceful? Almost always.
Physically I feel good. I have had a pretty easy pregnancy so far. I got pretty sick in the beginning, but after 14 weeks that went away almost completely aside from the occasional migraine. I have some painful braxton hicks contractions every now and then, but they say it tends to hurt more after a few c-sections, so that explains that. The baby is ALWAYS on the right side of my belly, he has been head-down the entire pregnancy, and his little legs have been kicking my ribs and spreading them out awkwardly for two months now. (my right ribs are actually bruised from the kicking and spreading. They are tender to the touch and ache 24/7)
My hands and feet are always so hot you would think I have a fever, but I dont. I take cold showers and cold baths to cool them down. I have gained 22 pounds and am expected to gain 3-8 more. I can't wear my wedding ring because it's too small. My feet are swollen. I have carried this baby almost the exact same way I carried the other two. In a small tight little ball. Like a volleyball is under my shirt. I dont carry very largely, and not very far out. I have swollen everywhere from water weight.
I still sleep like a champ, and I can breathe fine most of the time. I can get comfortable enough to sleep as long as I can cool off my hands and feet. (sometimes I sleep with an ice pack over my toes to bring down the fire in my veins!)
I love every movement this little boy makes, and every kick is a lovely reminder that we have at least one more moment to be together.
Today at work he got the hiccups. I sat there with my hand over the right side of my belly and felt his back jump into my belly over and over and over. For ten minutes he had the hiccups and I fell even more in love with him.
So, friends, thank you for asking how I am doing. Sorry if you ask me just to be nice and I go off into way too many details. Also, sorry if you ask wanting details and to support and all I give you is a quick "I feel great!"
Here is my 29.5 week belly picture. (I have only taken like 3 belly pics this pregnancy- woops)
Also, I miss reading old blogs about the things that make me laugh every day. So here is one.
Yesterday I was sitting at the table for a snack of jam and toast. Lucas was in the kitchen. Out of habit, I folded my arms and waited to say a lunch prayer. Then after a second of sitting there with my arms folded I realized that it wasn't a meal. I think because it felt weird to just dig in without a prayer, I needed to do something. For some reason, that something was to look at Moose, sitting next to me hoping for crumbs, and yell "TOAST!" Then I started eating. Lucas looked at me, surprised at my outburst, and laughed so hard he almost collapsed which made me laugh until I almost choked on my toast.
I love my life.