Friday, November 4, 2011

What the Hell Have I Done?

After experiencing a chemical pregnancy in June, I made the statement that I would still immediately announce any future pregnancy I might experience to the world.  That has turned out to be a lie.  I wasn’t intentionally dishonest, but at the time I could not have known how it would feel to see the word “Pregnant” in a testing window again.  When I did see that word, about four weeks ago, I found that announcing my news was the last thing that I wanted to do.  I told my husband, and a few people very close to me, but I found myself phrasing the news with words like “I think,” “might” and “maybe.” 
This may sound strange, but I think when I found out I was pregnant in June a part of me immediately knew that something wasn’t right.  It was unexpected.  The timing was off.  Maybe I felt like if I told people about it I could make it be true, I could erase that uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach with smiles and feigned joy. Though I was saddened when the pregnancy did not work out, I cannot say that I was completely surprised.   This time, despite outwardly seeming unsure about it, I knew in my gut that I was pregnant and that things would work out just fine.  I knew that this was it.  Is it.  I am eight weeks pregnant.  I’ve seen the baby through ultrasound.  I’ve listened to its heartbeat.  In early June I will have another child.
I think that I have put off announcing the news mostly because I’ve needed time to accept it myself.  I should be ecstatic.  I have accomplished my goal, done what I set out to do.  This time I was actively trying to get pregnant.  I wanted it desperately, and the months of trying have been agonizing.  Now though, instead of feeling unfettered joy I find myself stuck with the thought of, “Holy shit.  What the hell have I done?”  I don’t think I’ve ever felt so completely terrified.
How am I going to manage Emma and being pregnant?  The general achiness, numbing fatigue and mildly nauseous feeling that follow me around constantly have already made things difficult.  I feel like I don’t have the energy or strength to deal with her.  And then I get to add overwhelming guilt to my list of ailments.  I feel very alone.  With my husband on the road most of the time and my mom buried in schoolwork, I feel as though I have to deal with more than I can handle in my depleted state.  Being pregnant with Emma was so much easier.  Whatever made me think that being pregnant and being responsible for a toddler at the same time was a good, or even manageable, idea?
And if I can’t even manage Emma and being pregnant, how the hell am I going to manage Emma and a newborn?  I can’t even think about middle of the night feedings without getting choked up.  Bottles.  Formula.  Burp clothes and bibs and spit up.  Blow outs.  There is so much that I don’t miss about having a little baby around.  And now, in just seven short months, I get to experience all of that again.  This time though, I get to experience it with a two year old in tow.  Really, what the hell have I done?
I realize that this is all so negative, and that is not what an announcement of a new life should be.  Sometimes, I do feel excited.  I did want this at one point.  I think when the first trimester fog lifts I will remember exactly why.  Emma needs a sibling.  If you read my previous blog you will understand just how desperately.  I know that my family is not complete right now.  I always intended to have more than just one child.  And I know that, even though new babies are demanding and needy, they are also pretty adorable.  I think Emma will be an amazing big sister.  I can’t wait to see how she reacts to a new baby in the house.  Even though she is temperamental at best, I have faith that she will love the new baby with her entire little heart. 
So there it is.  My big announcement.  I am pregnant.  Holy shit.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Dog's Life

Before I had Emmalee, I had dogs.  Lanie, a daschund, was my first.  She was a gift I bought myself on my 20th birthday.  In many ways, she was my first baby.  I loved her so much more than I ever thought I would.  When she was a puppy I used to wake up in the night and check to make sure she was still breathing.  I threw her birthday parties with presents and expensive treats from a doggie bakery.  I pampered her with regular baths and grooming, new collars and matching leashes every couple of months.  She slept in my bed, curled against my side every night.  I doted and coddled in ways that had to be unhealthy.  Eventually, I decided Lanie was in need of a companion and I got Bi Jou, a male Pekingese.  That was a decision that I still question to this day.  Either way, I ended up with two dogs.  Which was fine.  And then I got pregnant.
Well, getting pregnant wasn’t really when everything changed.  It was when I had the baby.  What I had to learn the hard way was that dogs and babies are not a fun mix.  A baby is so tiny, and fragile, and clean.  Dogs, by their very nature, are so smelly, and germy, and hairy.  I found that taking proper care of the dogs and the baby was too difficult.  What resulted was a strict separation.  The dogs were banned from all parts of the house where the baby might be. 
That only lasted for so long though, because while the dogs are still contained to a certain portion of the house, the baby is everywhere.  Luckily, now she’s not so much of a baby and I am less concerned about her being contaminated by yucky dog germs.  Even if I were concerned, short of getting rid of the dogs, there wouldn’t be much I could do.  Because Emma is pretty much infatuated with them.
It started out as a relationship of curiosity.  The dogs were interested in Emma, and Emma was intrigued by them, but the interactions were standoffish at best.  Things progressed though as Emma started eating table food and the dogs realized that she provided a source of nourishment for them.  And not just the boring, crunchy dog kibble that I could provide, but the good stuff.  Goldfish.  Teddy Grahams.  Peas and peanut butter and cheese.  Lanie and Bij were instantly in love. 
Emma still needed some time, but as she has gotten increasingly mobile and involved with the world, she has gotten increasingly attached to the dogs as well.  Lanie, in particular, as Bij has antisocial growly moments that make Emma wail in despair.  When we enter the kitchen each morning, Emma’s first priority is to greet Lanie by yelling her name, “Yane-EEEE!” and giving her a big smile.  Throughout the day she is constantly monitoring Lanie’s whereabouts.  And, a trend that I am finding to be a bit disturbing, she now wants to mimic much of Lanie’s behavior.  If Lanie sits under the barstool by the wall, Emma wants to sit there too.  If Lanie wants to go outside, so does Emma.  If Lanie licks her paws, Emma licks her hands.  If Lanie eats food off the floor, Emma would also like to give it a try.  Emma is endlessly interested in the dog’s food and water bowls, but unfortunately I’ve got to draw a line somewhere.  She will crawl around on her hands and knees, and if I ask her if she’s being a doggy I get a delighted laugh in appreciation of my recognition of her efforts.  She enjoys chasing Lanie around with push toys that Lanie finds intimidating, laughing hysterically when Lanie runs from her.  She likes to set things, such as crayons and small toys and napkins, on Lanie’s back.  She pets her and pats her and lays her head on her with exclamations of, “Oh, Yanie!”  In many ways it’s pretty adorable.  Lanie is Emma’s BFF. 
In other ways, it’s a disturbing reminder that Emma is quite alone in the world.  She does not have much interaction with other children, since she does not go to daycare and is not involved in any play groups or anything like that.  Other than her parents and Grammy and Poppa, her only constant companions are the dogs.  It is clear that Emma is in desperate need of a playmate.  Perhaps in the form of a sibling?  Mommy is working on it, Emma.