Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sweet Nursery

This may quite possibly be the sweetest nursery in the world, if I do say so myself. It's not necessarily "themed," but rather just a collection of things that mean something to me, caught my eye at some point, or stuff I just plain loved. I was actually really amazed that it came together so well and looks more thought-out than it was. My mom made the curtains and helped do so much more. I ordered the sweet prints from Etsy and everything else was picked up along the way during the early part of the pregnancy. We are thrilled with the results and just can't wait to put a sweet little baby girl in there to make it complete!!

 We're ready, little one - now come out and enjoy your sweet room!

It's All a Hoax

I can feel her move. I can see her on ultrasounds. I can hear her heartbeat. I experience the effects of her presence every single day of my life. But, as crazy as it sounds, there's a part of me that doesn't think this is all real. I've felt like that from day one. And it's only getting worse as we get closer and closer to her birth as everyone else is having their babies and it seems inevitable that I AM GOING TO BE PREGNANT F O R E V E R. That may not make sense or maybe you can empathize with exactly how I'm feeling.

I mean, anticipating something that you've never experienced before is quite a daunting proposition and such a proposition has brought some unsettling pitfalls with it.

(Before I go any further, I need to make the honest disclaimer that anything I say is NOT to be intended to discredit how insanely thankful and blessed I know I am to even be pregnant. Trust me, there's not a more grateful person on the planet. However, my gratefulness does not cancel out the not-so-fun aspects of pregnancy that I'm trying to at least be humorous about. That's all.)

I wanted so badly to be the glowing, beautiful, "pregnancy becomes her" pregnant girl.

I knew that would NEVER happen. But I still wanted it, just a little bit. While we are blessed to have not had any issues with the baby as she grows and seems to be right on track with everything and seems to be just as content as can be, I have had the occasional issues that are essentially just my usual ailments being blown up and exaggerated by the pregnancy. As that trend continues, it seems like the last few months (just as the first few did) have DRAGGED by at the slowest pace possible. Snail speed. Turtle pace. Don't get me wrong - there's plenty to get done, but that's almost a slap in the face because I'm certainly in no condition to set in to organizing closets or rearranging the attic. Staring at my to-do list and sitting amidst half-finished projects may kill this type-A control freak before it's all over. Michael is doing all he can to help, my mom is doing far more than she should be, and I have friends offering to help, but it's just not the same as doing it myself and someone else doing it sure doesn't give me the gratification of having accomplished something. It's vicious. And frustrating. And there's really nothing I can do about it. Even when I do accomplish something that has to be done, it's almost like the said finished project just sits and mocks me as if to say, "Okay, good for you - you've packed your bags and here they sit with nowhere to go. Good for you! Now you get to look at those packed bags for several more weeks! HA!"

It's fierce humiliation from inanimate objects in my own house.
But with each passing day with no baby, I begin to think that somehow, all of this is some form of a hoax. I'm not really pregnant; just living out one of the dreams I used to have when we were trying to concieve. I'm not really ever going to have this baby - after all I did pray and pray to become pregnant, so it would only be sufficient that God feels I need to be pregnant for the rest of my life. Or that I've somehow fabricated this whole ordeal and that everyone is just humoring me in the meantime.

Can you tell the crazy has set in?

All joking aside, this has been one of the most difficult seasons of pregnancy to go through, and I'm not even to the other side yet. Physically of course, it's taken it's toll, but I've actually dealt with that better than I even thought I could. Mentally on the other hand, it's almost gotten the best of me a few times. I knew when I took off work 2 weeks before my due date that I was flirting with danger of not having a mandatory mind-occupying activity every day, so I have done everything I could to consciously guard against letting that get me down, i.e., I have not allowed myself to get "bored" - a task I am quite proud of, might I say. Sure, I've watched my share of television, especially thanks to the Olympics, but I have also added a lot to my "done" list and am working on checking off several other items. But unbeknownst to me, my subconscious had different plans.
I'm prone to severe anxiety and depression, it's no secret - I have a huge predisposition to both, thanks to genetics, and also a personal history of both, even since I was a child. One always leads to the other, usually in the form of anxiety plunging me into an uncontrolled depression and it has taken almost all of my life, several medication changes, and a bout with lengthy dark times to finally come to these conclusions. For the most part, especially during the last couple of years, I've shown good progress and management of the issues with as-needed meds and talk therapy, but when I became pregnant, those meds were off the table. With the exception of sleepless nights periodically sending me into a temporary frenzy or the hormonal shifts pushing me into brief crying spells, I've been able to cope fairly well throughout these nine months - until now, that is. The anxiety of constant waiting, wondering when, where, how, and the complete blank stare of the unknown facing us SOMETIME within the near future is enough to drive a sane, stable person to the edge, but put that on the vulnerable subconscious of a person who has these pre-existing issues and it's a recipe for some serious depression. And that seems to be exactly what has happened as of late.

I was in the midst of my "management" plan, doing well, staying positive (even after a disappointing and somewhat discouraging doctor's appointment at 39 weeks) and then a totally unexpected panic attack woke me one morning and it was all over. I was spent. Done. Finished. I couldn't focus or concentrate. I could barely move. I couldn't stop crying. I couldn't verbalize what was wrong. When I did try to share what was going on, I was frustratingly written-off as every other person who has ever been waiting for a baby to arrive. I was staring at a black cloud that I couldn't move and couldn't find anyone to help me move it. I wanted to 'get away' from myself.

It didn't take long for guilt, hopelessness, and fear to take me over. It also didn't take me long to realize this was more than just a 'rough day' or the classic every-pregnant-woman-feels-this-way-at-the-end syndrome - this was something I couldn't pray or talk my way out of. Suddenly the pregnancy wasn't important and seemed even less "real" than ever. Talk about terrifying.

Now to some people, this probably just seems like a good case of melodramatics or a monologue destined for the Drama Queen Tryouts of 2012... Look, call it what you want and judge if you want, especially if you've never experienced it, but this is REAL for me, and every bit as "dramatic" as I make it seem when it hits. I understand that every pregnant woman gets worn down, impatient, and anxious at the end. This is not that - it's a shroud that makes everything I've been dreaming about for the last 4 years seem more distant than ever and makes me resentful for even being in this position. There is no joy, no excitement filtered in with all the angst. It's absolutely the worst place a mind can go, especially when this is supposed to be the most joyful, anticipatory time in my life. I wouldn't wish it on anyone, and I certainly would not say to a pregnant woman experiencing it that it's "normal."
Since this is a despair that can't be treated with meds, and you can't read yourself through it, think yourself through it, pray yourself through it, or even talk completely through it, it just becomes something to survive. My husband can't take it away from me, my mom can't make it leave, even though they both try desperately. I have to guard myself against the attacks of guilt and shame, stay as calm as possible, and desperately try to quiet the fears of the future of my mental state after the birth. Anyone who wants to pray some strength my way in those areas would be greatly appreciated, especially since I don't know how much longer this "surviving" will last or when the next panic attack will happen and send me to this place again. In the meantime, trust that I am doing everything I can to "make the best" of what's going on and be a gracious as possible in the process.

And I'm hoping this "hoax" turns out to be every bit the blessing I've been praying for - not for 9 months, but for 4 long years.

Showers of Blessings

Our first shower was held on Sunday, June 24 - the hottest day of the year at that point, at a cool 95 degrees. I was completely overwhelmed and humbled with the people that turned out to shower our sweet girl and am so appreciative for everyone that attended. It's even more special because each person had done more than enough before even showing up at the shower because they had all been praying for us to be blessed with a baby and that means more to me than anything. It was such a great afternoon getting to catch up with family I hadn't seen in awhile and chatting with friends. We received so many special things too.

The theme was "Cute as a Button" and paid homage to my late grandmother "Granny Rose" (where Ellyson's middle name comes from) who was a homemaker.

Mom, Christy, Graycen, and I did a lot of the preparations because I wanted to do so much "crafty" stuff, which for me, was a lot of the fun!

I think everything turned out so pretty!

The food was excellent!

Some of the guests and gifts:
Sweet Anne Rhoades arrived dressed in her finest princess attire :)

The sweet hostesses, minus Gayle, who had already escaped.

My sweet, lifelong friend, Amy, who has walked every step of the pregnancy with me :)

My sweet work friends also threw us a shower on July 12. Everything was so cute and there was SO MUCH great food! They knew how to make a pregnant gal happy!


We've been so blessed with help getting ready for this baby!

The End

My incessant need for closure has led me to post a final farewell to this blog. Blogging was a whole new concept for me when I logged on l...