I always get sentimental right around my kids' birthdays, recalling the pregnancy and delivery and then all of the birthdays since. Each of the kids seem to enjoy hearing their individual stories but I've never really documented them in any meaningful manner, so I'll do it here for the whole world to see which I KNOW the kids will thoroughly appreciate.
None of my pregnancies were planned. Although the timing of each was rather inconvenient, I flat out refuse to call any of them accidents. The kids know this yet I lovingly refer to them as OOPS, OH NO, and OH SHIT. They can tell you which one they are.
Today I will highlight my first pregnancy which coincides rather neatly with the birthing story I will post tomorrow to celebrate the child born on March 2nd. You'll have to wait until May and June for the other ones. Crazy how I mapped that all out, huh?
I had just completed my junior year in college and still had more than a year of courses and student teaching to complete. I did a week of classroom observation (at my little brother's school - that was weird) and then left immediately for an extended weekend with my then boyfriend who was stationed in Florida.
It was a great little vacation (clearly). We took a day trip to St. Augustine which thrilled my history loving self. He lived with a very hospitable and friendly family in a mobile home. It was simple living in a simple world and I was very comfortable there, except the cockroaches. Uh yeah, the place was infested with them. WAY GROSS. I have huge issues with roaches and this didn't help AT ALL.
Summer school began and I didn't have so much as a clue that I was pregnant. When finally the realization struck that it was a possibility I consulted my best friend Vicki and she accompanied me to the clinic for the test. She was the shoulder I cried on when the test was positive. She asked what the response was supposed to be - I'm sorry or I'm so happy. More tears as I laughed, "Both!" I was happy, but damn, this was huge. Thank you, Vic, for being there!
Two hundred miles away from home, I made the most frightening call ever to my mom. I knocked her off her feet as her only response to everything I said was "wow." She called back a few hours later, clearly the shock had faded and she was back in the driver's seat rattling off information from the insurance company, arranging a doctor appointment at home and making sure I was okay. That simple phone call has endeared me to my mother forever. I may bitch about her, but she has my back. Thanks mom!
The call to babydaddy was even more nerve racking. He had to be called out of the field and faced a lot of heckling heading for an emergency phone call from his girlfriend - that can only mean one thing, right? And it did. He still jokes about my statement, "I'm kinda pregnant." KIND OF? Either you are or you aren't.
While I was in Florida we picked out wedding rings, but never set a date. A date was suddenly picked based on when he could get home on leave - September.
My memories of that summer are mostly about physical discomfort. I itched. Later I found out there's some sort of rash related to pregnancy, but none of the doctors I talked to seem to be aware of it. Head to toe, I itched. Everyone was convinced I was allergic to something, but we could never pinpoint the source. Visiting home was wonderful as my mom with long fingernails would scratch my back - absolute heaven. I also endured all day bouts of morning sickness. I worked at Taco Bell at the time and smell of the red sauce they use on burritos just turned my stomach inside out.
I also had strong cravings for mashed potatoes. KFC has the most incredible potatoes and they truly hit the spot.
It was a hot that summer. Africa hot. And we didn't have air conditioning. I snuck outside at night when I couldn't sleep and sat on the front porch, enjoying the cooler temperatures. It was the first time I ever saw bats as they would circle the street lights.
By September the morning sickness had faded away, but the potato cravings persisted to the bitter end. I also had a thing for bananas, frequently making banana milk shakes. Clearly I was needing potasium. The other craving was gumballs. Yes, those stupid quarter machine pieces of candy. I was not above breaking a dollar just so I could get my gumball fix. I mean I'll stop for one even today, but it was a dying NEED back then.
Much to the dismay of my advisor I opted not to enroll for fall semester, instead I chose to move to Florida and start my life as mother and wife. I had a lot of tough choices to make that year, ones that had I chose otherwise would have led to a very different life today. I do sometimes wonder "what if" but I don't regret.
Just days after a big formal wedding pulled together in a matter of months I moved to Florida to start a new life. We stayed a few days in the roach infested trailer until we could secure our own apartment. With only a few personal items that little apartment was stark. Money received at our wedding supplied a TV and bed. One of his co-workers loaded us up with a couch and coffee table. It was funny looking to have formal serving pieces laid out on a table made from milk crates, but that's all we had. It all felt surreal, like we were playing house.
I began regular OB appointments at the military base, in a true clinic setting, never seeing the same doctor. That was weird and impersonal. Fortunately the whole body itching subsided. I was progressing according to the schedule and that made the variety of doctors and nurses rather happy.
Most of my time was spent in the apartment. I would lug the laundry back and forth to the apartment laundromat which was increasingly more difficult as my belly grew. The UPS man became a common face delivering care packages and when the baby was born, he was excited to finally see her.
Thanksgiving was spent with new husband's coworkers at someone's house. I made my mom's recipe for rolls and it was a big hit. I came home just before Christmas so I could attend Vicki's wedding as a surprise guest.
Christmas was spent together as newlyweds and we went to the beach where I collected seashells. It was a cold blustery day, but I was determined to get those shells, many of which I still have today. A few days later, my mom, stepdad and youngest brother stopped through for a visit on their way to Disney World.
The last two months were agonizingly slow as we made preparations for baby. We didn't know the sex, but we were prepared for either. My afternoons were spent watching Days Of Our Lives and ticking off kick counts, a rather busy job as this was one very active fetus. She grew straining against the confines of my body. Eventually I was able to define the body parts just under my skin and could chase her foot around, assuring me she was ticklish. The first thing I did when I got to see her in the hospital was run my finger up her foot, no surprise, she retracted that tiny foot as quick as possible.
Why she hung out in there for so long is beyond me as she was very clearly uncomfortable. She would rock her head backwards and rub it against my spine - that is a indescribable discomfort especially as other body parts were frequently in the way, leaving me gasping for air.
Overall it was a happy, easy pregnancy. I spent a whole lot of time rubbing that belly, talking to the unknown entity inside. She was exposed to wide array of music between me and her father, a lot of laughs, and a whole lot of potatoes and bananas. That probably explains a lot about her eclectic taste in music, her easy humor and an undying love for mashed potatoes.
Come back tomorrow for the birthing story.
23 hours ago