Monday, November 8, 2010

Waiting for reality

Yesterday afternoon I experienced my first no-doubt-about-it Braxton Hicks contractions. I've had things that could have been that before, sort of general vague crampy feelings that aren't round ligament pain but aren't exactly contractions, but yesterday? The sensation fit the description to a tee. There were just two or three of them, but they finally showed me the difference between a cramp and a contraction. As in, these came in waves, rolls of clenching, and after 30-60 seconds, disappeared. They didn't hurt, at all, but they gave me an idea of how an actual contraction will be, at least as far as coming and going is concerned, if not in terms of the actual physical pain.

So! Pregnancy milestone! Braxton Hicks, right on schedule, as I will be 30 weeks along tomorrow. Crazy to think that at some point in the nearish future (hopefully not too near), there will be REAL contractions that will result in a real birth and then a real baby.

I know, I've mentioned that before, the whole OMG REAL BABY thing, but it still hasn't quite locked in my head that in 10ish weeks, there will be a baby, a real one, the kind who screams and eats and poops and does everything else babies are supposed to do except, I don't know, sleep? I mean not that I am expecting a really challenging baby but I am also not expecting the really easy kind of baby, in fact I don't really have any specific expectations about what kind of baby Piglet will be since it seems like it's a complete and total crapshoot, and also if there's one thing I've learned from reading blogs it's that even if your baby SEEMS like a great easy round-the-clock sleeper those first couple weeks, he won't necessarily STAY that way so if he sleeps well at first that does not mean we can smugly announce that we have the World's Best Baby and subsequently declare ourselves the World's Best Parents.

But still, you know. The idea of not sleeping and the actual grueling exhausting emotional wringer of really not sleeping are two very different things, and even though I know there will be sleep deprivation I don't know if it's really possible to wrap your mind about what the reality of that will actually be like.

And that's OK. I mean part of the reason why certain feelings--pain, love, heartbreak--are so intense when you experience them is because they can't be summoned at will. Even if you have experienced them before it is impossible to remember the true sensation of them in their entirety when you aren't experiencing them anymore. And that's what makes them so strong when they do happen. And what allows us to go back for more of certain things, like, I don't know, having more than one kid, knowing what we're getting ourselves into but still not really being able to recapture the pinnacle of the worst moments.

But you also can't recapture the pinnacle of the best moments, and from what I hear it's all more than worth it, and I am just hoping that the intangible, the swollen loving overwhelmingness of it, will indeed be enough to carry us through the tough parts.

Starting with the labor itself. The same way that the watered-down, non-painful Braxton Hicks contractions can give us a very vague, unspecific, blurry concept of what the real thing will be like, other people's stories and our own memories can only give us the general outline but not actually plunge us into the middle of what it will actually be like. And the only way to know what it will actually be like is to do it.

And that's what it's hard to wrap your head around. You can decide to plunge--but that involves getting pregnant and growing a person before you actually get to the part where you have a baby. And in the meantime even though you think you get it, even though everybody tells you, you don't really know. And that's why it still feels so abstract. Even though Piglet kicks me sharply many times a day to remind me of just how real he is.


  1. Yes, you really have no idea what you're getting yourself into! And even if you were somehow able to understand exactly what it is/was like for another parent, it may be completely, totally different for you! Even though I know what it was like for me with the first child, I have no idea what it will be like with the second child. Really, the whole thing is just crazy.

    I think you will love being a mom, even though you shouldn't expect to love every single moment of every day. =)

  2. Yay! I'm so excited for you! I mean, how really really real is this becoming?!? Wow. I'm so glad you are documenting this all. You are going to love being able to go back and read everything and relive these little moments. XOXO

  3. The anticipation of the unkown is one of the best and worst things about pregnancy.

    I remember being pregnant with Bud and feeling the BH contractions and wondering how I'd actually know what was the real thing. Ahahahaha! HAHAHAHAHA.

    It seems like you're tuned in to reality on that one though.

  4. Such an exciting time! I remember it so well!

  5. My girls have been here for 8 weeks...and I still marvel at the fact that they actually live here!

    It will be completely crazy. You will be completely exhausted, but it will also be the most amazing experience of your life.

  6. Haha yes, there is no way to know what the sleep deprivation is like until you go through it. And it's HARD. But then, it gets better. And you forget -- mostly -- how bad it was.

    Which is why people have more than one baby :)

  7. The thing that no one ever tells you is this: the reality of it all is way, WAY better than you could ever have hoped or imagined. The hard stuff is hard, but it's shockingly easily eclipsed by all the goodness and the miracle of watching your child grow.

    I can't wait to see you enjoying it all.

  8. I'm still at the point where I wonder if that was or wasn't just a BH. If they are, they seem to be concentrated on the right side.

    Also, the whole approaching single digit weeks thing? OMG. It's still beyond surreal.

  9. I love that you referred to it as a "crapshoot". In more ways than one...I hope your walls are nice washable paint. :)