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For a long time after Hannah was born, I didn’t write. Anything.
I didn’t want to write. I didn’t know what to write about even if I did want to write. I didn’t have time to write. I was too tired to write.
I didn’t read anything either. From the beginning of February to the beginning of June, I read maybe two books. Usually, I read a book a week. But I didn’t feel like it. I didn’t have time.
I didn’t know how to make time. Being a full-time mother was just so all-consuming. I didn’t really know how to deal with the identity change. I didn’t know how to deal with what felt like a severe loss of myself.
I don’t blame Hannah for this. I just couldn’t adjust. I didn’t know how to go from being “mother of a dead baby” to “mother of a living baby.” I didn’t know how I was going to survive worrying constantly about this tiny, precious, perfect creature that had come into our lives. I didn’t know anything at all.
And then I began to accept that even if I didn’t know how, I had to do it anyway.
I have never been a person who loves babies. I didn’t hate them, and I didn’t necessarily feel awkward around them – I just didn’t like them much. Especially young babies. The babies that do nothing but eat and poop and sleep. I didn’t get the big deal about them. And, of course, everyone said that would change when I had one of my own.
Well, yes and no.
I love my daughter immensely. She’s pretty awesome, and yes, even adorable at times. But . . . the older she gets, the happier I am. The more I like her. The easier it is to deal with her. Even when it isn’t actually easier to deal with her, if that makes any sense. She was okay as a one-month old infant. As a nine-month old baby, she’s a lot more okay. And while I sometimes think about how tiny and helpless and precious she was seven, eight, even nine months ago, I don’t want to go back to that. I don’t really want to do the newborn thing again.
I love my baby, but that doesn’t mean I love babies. It took a while for me to admit that, because I felt guilty about it. I mean, babies are great, and I’m happy for all the people I know this year who have had beautiful, healthy babies, because that’s awesome. But babies aren’t easy for me, and that’s just something I’ve come to accept.
About six weeks ago, I started reading in earnest again, and I started thinking about how much I missed writing. But this is still the first real writing I’ve done since then. I’m out of practice. But I was starting to miss it more than ever. It’s not something I want to let go of. I probably won’t have time to write every day – Hannah the nine-month old is still as much of a handful as Hannah the one-month old. But I know that if I don’t do something now, the longer it will take me to do something later.
And I’d like to get a little practice in before November and Nanowrimo come ’round again.
So it’s time to face the wall and work on getting to the other side. This is where I’m starting.
If 2011 had a word, it was change. If 2012 had a word, it was healing. If 2013 had a word, it was hope.
2014 does have a word, and it is patience.
The One Little Word project is not my idea, and it’s been around much longer than when I first discovered it late last year. At its core, it’s a journaling project, incorporating some scrapbooking and photography elements. The main thing is reflecting on your word and bringing it into your daily life. And this year, I want to be more conscious about being patient in all facets of my life.
This will, I think, be a year that will require patience, mostly with myself as I adjust to this new life of active motherhood, but also with Hannah and Geordie and with family far and near. And beyond just my relationships with people: I’m hoping for patience with my writing (including this blog!), with challenges in the kitchen, with expectations of the future. I want to be patient and not rush things – I want to enjoy Hannah’s babyhood and be present in her life. At the same time, I know I’ll be balancing my joy at finally having her here with us against the grief over Lauren that still remains and will always remain. I want to be patient with our future; whether we will be staying in San Antonio or pursuing adventures elsewhere, I want to relax and enjoy the small things as well as the big things.
I want to welcome patience into my life, along with its companion words: calmness, peace, compassion, kindness, composure, and poise. This is what I want for 2014: to take things as they come, to greet them without fighting them, and to treat people with the grace and gentility that I would hope for in return.
To be as calm and serene on the inside as I try to be on the outside.
So, what happened to August? The last thing I remember is bemoaning August’s seemingly never-ending existence. And now we’re nearly two weeks into September. How did that happen?
I don’t even remember the last time I posted here. And I’m not going to go back and look, because it honestly doesn’t matter. I needed a break. I started a lot of posts but never got very far with them because I never really knew what to say or if I even had anything to say. I spent most of the last couple weeks of August just trying to deal with every day life.
There was the week our AC went out. That was fun, if you have a rather skewed idea of the word “fun.” August was a hot, hot month, and we spent most of it slightly over the 100° mark. The two and a half days we did not have AC were not exempt from the hot, dry temperatures. The worst was probably the two nights we spent lying in bed, sweating so much and giving off so much heat that we couldn’t stand to touch each other. We ended up having to sleep downstairs in the living room on the fold-out couch, the oscillating fan going at full blast and the windows opened. The AC went out on Monday evening (too late for any repairs to be done, of course), got it back Wednesday afternoon, and didn’t have it fully fixed until Friday early evening. Fun week.
And then we developed an ant problem. Well, we had a semi-problem with ants before that, in that we had a couple of mounds in the yard, but we didn’t have a major problem with them coming into the house, only the odd stragglers who found their way in. But, the night we had the sliding glass door open just made it too easy for them to march in and attempt to steal away the cat food, which I didn’t realize was kept so tantalizingly close to the door. I moved the food into the kitchen and sprayed both the inside and the outside, but at least one colony had invasion on its mind, because they kept coming back even though there was nothing left for them to eat. So, that weekend, we went out and bought some ant-killer. It took two sprayings, but the yard now seems to be ant-free.
And then there’s Niko. We are still undecided about a name, so she’ll probably be known as Niko until she decides to make her arrival. We aren’t fussing too much about the name – she’ll get one when the time comes, and until then, there’s no rush. We’d still be calling her Niko anyway.
I named this post “twenty-seven weeks,” but the truth is that I’m closer to twenty-eight weeks now. Which means that we are at the brink of the third trimester. And I am so glad.
I can’t say that I really enjoyed the second trimester. Yes, I felt good physically. In fact, there were days when I felt so good that pregnancy didn’t seem that bad. Physically speaking. Mentally and emotionally, the second trimester has taken its toll, and I’m not expecting the third trimester to be any better. You see, with the second trimester comes that much-loved sensation of feeling the baby move for the first time. I first felt Niko move around week eighteen, and I’ve been feeling her pretty consistently since about week twenty. It’s both wonderful and terrifying. Wonderful because she’s alive and active, and terrifying because, in my experience with pregnancy, that doesn’t last.
It’s hard to explain to people who don’t know what it feels like to be aware that your baby isn’t moving anymore. Kick counts aren’t even suggested until the 28th week, and there’s nothing that can be done for the baby before the 24th week anyway. But that’s rational, and the babylost don’t always work on rational feelings. I panicked the first time Niko had a quiet day. It was a day that made me realize how glad I was to have chosen to work with midwives, because they let me come in and have a heart-tones check, and when her heartbeat showed up immediately, the midwife helped me calm down and listened to me and assured me that this was perfectly normal for someone who is in my situation. So not only did I feel relieved that Niko was perfectly alright, I was glad that I wasn’t treated like a crazy, overly sensitive pregnant woman. Because I do feel like that sometimes.
I am hyper-aware of what Niko is doing. Lauren’s movements were always normal up until the end, but sometimes I wonder how attuned to her I must have been if I spent so much time questioning myself and my instincts. So I’m vigilant about keeping track of Niko. Especially now. Because, yes, I am still terrified that I will wake up one day and realize that I haven’t felt her move in a while. We’ve rented a doppler to at least be able to hear her heartbeat when we need reassurance, but I know that movements are what’s most important. More than once a day, I lie down on the couch and see how long it takes me to feel her move. Most of the time, it doesn’t take long at all – she is quite active. Sometimes, it takes a little orange juice to get her going. So far, everything’s been normal, and I hope it stays that way.
So, I’m glad the second trimester is over, it seemed so long. The summer always seems to drag, but it was especially slow this year. We’re in the final stretch, and I’m spending my days now dreaming of a December day when we get to bring Niko home. I want that to happen so much, and it seems so close now, so possible. Twelve weeks. A little less than three calendar months. So close.