Week 33: Celebration While Pregnant
I've gotten to the point now where I just laugh any time I bend down and have to face the bowling ball between me and the floor. It's hard, so spherical now and the underside of it feels so sensitive to touch while the top is stretched to capacity. I keep getting told how low baby is sitting, but I feel as though there is no way it could get any higher. Heartburn is relatively constant the moment I start eating and now minor hand and feet swelling is becoming a reality. At the moment, I have my feet propped in the air to see if that helps reduce some of the inflammation. I have six weeks to go. Not that things are too difficult or too uncomfortable but with the humidity and heat that July has brought, I can only help but dread August as it is always worse and more merciful a month. Let's not even talk of September. In a blessed stroke of fortune, our air conditioning went out the day of my baby shower and is still broken days later (see: Week 32, Productivity While Pregnant.
I could have (easily) chosen this week to be Complaining While Pregnant. On top of the above, multiple trips to the ER and an ICU stay for our poor pup Delilah, not being able to celebrate the 4th of July with my family like we normally do as a result, plus insane hours at work have me running ragged and feeling a bit sulky by the end of this week.
The choice to choose gratitude and celebration over sulking and complaining is something I work on almost daily. I don’t consider myself a naturally negative person, probably more of a pragmatist/realist than anything. But, life can get us all down at times and even with so many wonderful things to be grateful for (in spite of it all), sometimes (OFTENTIMES), when it rains, it pours.
I’ll save that all for another day, another week.
Today, all I can do is bask in how, in spite of all the strain of LIFE going, there was also a lot to celebrate.
We got to bring Delilah home from the ICU before the 4th of July and quietly spent time together as a family, enjoyed a nice home-cooked dinner, listened to fireworks and made stepping stones for our garden. Calm, easy nights like these feel all the more special lately, with the fragileness of life and impending parenthood upon us.
Later in the week, we had a maternity photo shoot, which was really just an excuse to take professional photos with Delilah (long story shortened: We were unable to bring her along to our engagement shoot years ago, and she wasn’t allowed in our wedding venue, so I’ve always felt slighted as a result. The maternity shoot allowed an easy excuse to feature our first (fur) baby). Before the photos, I had an hour or so at home of getting pampered a la hair and make-up done by a professional. As much as I love sweats and PJs more than anyone (see Week 28: Fashion While Pregnant), it is nice every once in a while to get glammed up and that day, it was definitely just what the doctor ordered.
Taking these photos allowed me some time to really take in all that we, my husband, my baby, I, and Delilah, have been through to get to where we are today. There were quiet moments in between shots where I was standing there, hand on belly (I normally loathe belly cupping), and realized I’m growing a life. Yes, I know I’m pregnant every moment of the day and haven’t lost that thought really even for a minute since Day 1, but really thinking about growing another human, knowing that he will have his own ideas, make his own decisions and mistakes, influence the lives of others besides myself and my family? It’s not something that I’ve had as much time to reflect on. Quiet moments again. The stillness required to pose for a picture, for example, are little moments of opportunity for celebration.
It’s worth celebrating that we’ve made it this far. Made it as a couple now ready to evolve our relationship. Creating a new life. Made it as a mother, caring for her child in the womb. Made it as woman, choosing to take a different road in her prenatal care, staying diligent on her self care in spite of work and life hurdles that would make cutting that out a lot easier [Side Note: being a mother does not make me more of a woman; that’s not what I’m saying nor what I believe].
All of this to say, the photo shoot represented all this to me. Having photographs to celebrate this intimate quiet time for our little family as it is on the precipice of evolving and changing, gets me emotional, bittersweet.
After that celebration, came the climax. I’ve been so eager and giddy really about my baby shower. My mom and sisters very early on made it known that I would know very little when it came to details about the shower. A different person may not like that and maybe it’s a bit contradictory for a person who is such a control freak to not mind that. But I love surprises and, even though I’m not usually comfortable in this position, it’s nice every once in a while to be the center of attention. A baby shower in many ways is the last time to really be the center of attention. Soon enough, the little man inside will become that for not only me but also for my extended family and loved ones.
While, yes, the baby shower was a celebration of me and the baby, there also was something else present that day that I feel compelled now to celebrate. And that would be the women in my family. Seeing them come together and spend their time, energy and money on putting together such a beautiful event was a reflection of the love they have for me and we have for each other in general. Events like these go by so fast, it’s such a blur (Hi, wedding day!), so I never feel that I say the right things, am visibly happy enough, or thank enough people in the allotted time. But, looking back a few days later, I am just filled with so much gratitude and delight for what I have. So grateful that I have such equally strong and caring women to surround my son with, to not only shower him with love, but also keep him in line.
The shower was lovely. It was a camping theme which is perfect for us. There were fun and silly games, great food, beautiful decor, a special moment where everyone shared what book they chose to give the baby and why, and of course gifts. Oh yeah, and on the hottest and most humid day of the year, our air conditioning decided to die (see Week 32: Productivity While Pregnant).
Like I said, I could choose to find things to complain about this week, but I’m letting that side of me go. It’s been easy to let things go these past few days. I am reminded during this special time of two things:
Moments are fleeting. Be present. It's so important to take it all in. It’s never going to feel like enough time and today, I’m thinking about how I could have hugged this person or that person more instead of worrying about how sweaty and gross I was because of a broken A/C.
We don't always have control over what happens to us, but we can control how we react to it. There is always going to be something to celebrate and there is always going to be something to complain about. It’s a choice what I decide to focus on. If I can take away anything from this time in my life, it is that I need to be more intentional about focusing on the goodness, the gratitude, the celebration.