A post I NEVER thought I'd be writing...

I am officially 23 weeks and a few days into this pregnancy, and I finally decided to commit to sitting down and talking about it all.   From the day I learned I was expecting, I imagined myself blogging about it on a regular basis... then life continued and I never allowed myself the time.  Plus, there were the usual thoughts of "Who would care to read it?  I don't have anything groundbreaking to share!  It's not like being in this situation makes me unique....".  Well voices, be damned.  This is pretty groundbreaking for me.  So, here's to sharing.

I must start by declaring that this is something I could have NEVER imagined. Due to a few cards that life had dealt me (and I few I had drawn myself) I never really expected to be pregnant.  In fact, I was "this.close" to discussing options for a hysterectomy with my doc.  That consultation appointment was scheduled... and it became the first ultrasound appointment, instead.

In true "Michael and Jessica" fashion, I told Michael the news via text message.  I KICK myself for this now, but I couldn't wait until I saw him in person again- after I took the test there was NO waiting.   I took the test at the urging of coworkers.  They had been teasing me for a few days about the possibility of being pregnant.  I only took the tests (that a coworker purchased for me) after I had a dream about my teeth crumbling and falling out.  WEIRD, I know- but I've had the same dream a couple of times before, and always right on the cusp of a major life change.  Also, the smell of coffee one morning made me sick.  For me, that's even more strange than the teeth dream... So, the tests were taken (three) and life was forever changed in the craziest and most amazing way imaginable.

The first few weeks were filled with ABSOLUTE TERROR.  I was worried about everything. I was in shock that this was happening, and just could not wrap my head around the fact that I was going to be a mother.   It's in my nature to prepare for the worst, and I certainly did when it came to everything pregnancy.  I couldn't even let myself celebrate.  I couldn't let it all sink in.  I couldn't bear to be too happy, only to have something bad happen.  So, for weeks and weeks we kept the news pretty private, and I tried to continue on with normal life (Minus the wine.  Plus the heightened anxiety.)

We had our first ultrasound at 7 weeks, and hearing the heartbeat was the most relieving sound I had ever heard.  It was also a terrifying sound:  I was responsible for that heartbeat.  I was in love with that heartbeat.  What if I never heard that heartbeat again?   I couldn't stop the fear from creeping in to every aspect of this journey.  I've laughed before about being cyncical and joked about my anxiety issues all my life.  This was no longer a joke for me.  The anxiety was heavy, and hard to deal with.   Michael, my polar opposite when it comes to all things "worry," did his best to assure me everything was fine.  He also knew that those words only carried so much weight with me, so he did his best to just let me feel what I was feeling.  He didn't make me feel ridiculous.  He didn't make me feel overdramatic.  He just let me feel.  I can't thank him enough for the way he handled me and this pregnancy in those first fragile months.  He really is my rock.

After 12 weeks, we made the announcement to the world, and it's been a whirlwind since.  We decided we didn't want to do the Multiple Markers Test.  We didn't want to know the gender, and we didn't see the point in spending out-of-pocket cash to have tests done that wouldn't change anything for us.  This is SO not in my nature.  I like to plan.  I like to know what's coming.  I like to prepare for the worst.  But for some reason, even though I was terrrified of all of the "what ifs" I just knew that God was taking care of it, and that no matter what the tests showed, it was out of our control and I was going to have this baby.  Some agreed.  Some didn't.  It didn't matter- Michael and I agreed that we didn't need to do tests to see if there could possibly be a problem.  We were forging ahead in full faith.

I felt the first "flutters" at around week 17.  Since then, I have been impatiently waiting to FEEL movement.  I want kicks!  I want jabs!  Come on, Baby!  The last week or so, the movements have definitely become more defined and regular, but I'm still not feeling the strong kicks that so many mothers describe on the 1,000,000 mom/pregger blogs I read (Thanks, Anxiety).   Michael was finally able to feel some movement, which has helped to curb my impatience some... but I'm still giving Baby regular morning pep talks to really get moving.  Every morning in the shower, this is the conversation:
Me:  Ok.  Today is the day, I just know it!  You're going to KICK today!
Baby:  -----
Me:  I know you're getting strong enough.  I just want you to show me how strong you are!  Let's feel a foot, or an elbow!  I promise I won't complain about it.  Show me what you've got!
Baby:  -----
So yeah- pregnancy can make you a little crazy.  Or is this normal?  Who decides what kind of hormonal-driven, anxiety-filled behavior is normal, anyway?

Week 20 came the anatomy ultrasound, and Michael and I agreed one last time that we do NOT want to know the gender.  We have several reasons for this, but the main one is simple:  We just don't want to know.  I must admit, I was still carrying a LOT of anxiety about Baby's development, and I could honestly feel the stress lift from my shoulders with every reassuring word from our sonographer.   Organs all look good.  4 limbs.  10  fingers, 10 toes.   A fiesty little Baby, moving like crazy.   Grabbing its toes.  Yawning.  (That yawn made my heart melt into the biggest puddle that has ever existed.  I wish I had it on video so I could replay it over and over and over again...)
Baby C.  (aka, My Heart)...

A blurry Baby C. (aka Monster Hands)...
The past three weeks have been filled with less anxiety about the wellbeing of Baby, and more anxiety about all of the things we have to do before it gets here.  There is an entire house to clean out, to make room for Michael AND Baby.  There's furniture to store, furniture to purchase, furniture and walls to paint, showers to be had.  I'm starting to wonder about the big "what ifs" that come once the Baby arrives.  What if I can't breastfeed?  What if Baby never ever sleeps?  What if Baby doesn't like me?  How can I possibly leave work for __ weeks (this is still yet to be determined).  How can I possibly go back to work after Baby arrives?  How am I ever going to afford raising a human?   It's never ending, and exhausting. And from what I understand, totally normal...

Things that have plagued me since Day One:
* Heartburn
* Cravings for all things SUGAR
* Exhaustion
* Headaches
* Crying at EVERYTHING
* Extra attention from my cats, who have wanted to lay ON my stomach since before I was showing. They're obsessed, and it's a little freaky.

Things that have been a blessing since Day One:
* Michael.  Hands down, over and over again- the very best part of this duo.
* My friends, for the maternity clothes, baby stuff, advice, alcohol-free wine, etc.
* Fetal Doppler so I can check on Baby C when anxiety gets too high, given to me by one of above-mentioned friends.
* My mom.  She's helped me more than she can imagine.
* My coworkers, who have been understanding and patient with those early-on late mornings (thank you, morning sickness!), the doc appointments and having to take unforeseen time off to rest when I "overdo it" (which is annoying)

I've managed to avoid swelling and stretchmarks so far.  Fingers crossed!

Here's to the next 16 weeks!


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