You will have significant experiences.
I hope that you will write them down and keep a record of
them, that you will read them from time to time and refresh
your memory of these meaningful and significant things.
Some may be funny. Some may be significant only to you.
Some of them may be sacred and quietly beautiful. Some
may build upon another until they represent a lifetime of
special experiences.
- Gordon B Hinckley

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What I'm Thankful For/What I'm Terrified Of...

Dear Family and Friends,

I am still pregnant!!!  Thirty one weeks tomorrow...and only eight weeks to go.  We are planning on a scheduled c-section at 39 weeks.  We still don’t have a firm birth date but we know it will be around February 12th.  With the holidays and a generally busy season, time has been flying by.  And while eight weeks left to prepare may sound like a lot, I’m already beginning to feel some nesting instincts to get stuff done.  In these past few weeks I’ve finally allowed myself to relax a little, taking reassurance that if he were born now, he’d more that likely survive with minimal complications.  

I’ve been thinking a lot these past five weeks, all of which have been a new experience for us, about what I’m thankful for in this pregnancy.  Several people have told me that I make being pregnant look easy.  It’s not easy, by the way.  The third trimester really is a different beast.  But I am making a conscious effort to be thankful for every day, every moment, every pain, and every experience that we get, knowing that things can change in a instant.  So in a effort to continue to be appreciative for this little life growing inside me, I wrote down a list of the things I’m thankful for during this pregnancy.  

I’m thankful for...

  1. Weight gain: I only gained four pounds with Everett.  I’ve gained *much* more this time.  As the scale ticks up, I’m trying to remember that every pound gained is more weight on our baby and is a sign that my body is doing what it was meant to do.  Sure, some days I don’t necessarily love the way my body is changing, how things are getting soft and dimply, but this baby is SO worth it.  And Zac tells me everyday that I’m beautiful (isn’t he the BEST!)
  2. Creating a nursery while still pregnant: This weekend, Zac and I assembled all the baby furniture...crib, dresser, and changing table and I started to wash the bedding etc.  We stayed up until 1:30am doing it all while Everett slept.  We had the best time; me listening to Zac curse at the dresser for having lock screw hardware (apparently his least favorite), as he watched me fold and refold crib sheets washed in Dreft, which smelled so good.  We talked about what we think this baby will look like, what his temperament might be, discussed which qualities we hope he will and will not have.  It was a night I will cherish always.
  3. Smiles and belly touches from strangers: I think a lot of pregnant women find this phenomena invasive, but I just can’t get enough.  I love that strangers are smiling at me with that “oh, she’s having a baby” face and that every day someone asks me when I’m due.  I’m really loving that people are holding doors open for me and are offering to grab things off shelves in stores.  With Everett, it was never obvious that I was pregnant, so I’m gobbling up the extra attention.  And I don’t even mind the touching of my belly.  I am just glad that I have a belly to touch.   
  4. A clear complexion:  I’ve never had clear skin...NEVER.  Even as an adult I’ve struggled with managing my acne.  With this pregnancy, my skin has never looked better.  Something to do with the hormones I’m sure, but I’m loving every moment of being zit-free and am enjoying the pregnancy glow.
  5. Not being able to reach my feet comfortably: All I have to say is that I now have a really good excuse to get pedicures :-)
  6. Tiredness, shortness of breath, reflux, sciatica pain, restless sleep, swollen feet etc etc: Ok, so I know that none of these are very fun.  Heck, some of them are downright painful.  And I do complain about them from time to time.  But I really am trying to focus on being thankful for getting to experience the pains of pregnancy.  And if I could just get one stretch mark, I’d be over the moon (Yes, you read that right, I want a stretch mark.  After all, it’s the true mark of pregnancy and a sign that you made it to the end).

I’ve also been thinking these past five weeks about what I’m most scared of.  With Everett, we didn’t have time to process everything that happened...all our fears  surrounding his birth, his prognosis, his future...until he was home and real life resumed.  It has taken years to work through it all; to feel every emotion, express it, and deal with it.  This time, especially with being off work, I have a lot of time for my mind to wander.  So I thought I’d also make a list of the things that scare me the most.  

I’m terrified of...

  1. Another NICU stay:  Ok, we are prepared for another NICU stay.  But that doesn’t mean that the fear doesn’t still keep me up at night sometimes.  With each passing week, this fear gets smaller, but even healthy, term babies sometimes end up in the NICU.  I really, really, really don’t want to go back there.  And I can’t even imagine the logistics of caring for Everett, while recovering from surgery, and trying to meet the needs of a sick newborn.  Plus, the baby would be hospitalized at a different facility from where we are planning to deliver.  It just would other words for it.   
  2. Breastfeeding: When it comes to pumping, I’m a pro.  I did it for Everett for almost five months, and while it was tedious at times, I’m thankful that my body produced milk.  I know breastfeeding can be challenging.  I’m nervous about the whole process.  But I have many friends who are champion breastfeeders and I will be looking to them for support.  
  3. Post-Partum Depression: I’ve never really touched on my struggles with post-partum depression publicly, but those very close to me know that I went a little “nuts” while Everett was hospitalized.  Things got pretty bad and I ended up needing an anti-depressant for a few years after his birth.  It was a time in my life that was very, very dark and took a lot of effort from our whole family to get through.  Being in that vulnerable place is something I never want to experience again.  
  4. Everett becoming a sibling: Everett is not only the center of our world, but he also gets a lot of attention because of who he is and how he was born.  He’s such a sweet boy but he’s very used to getting what he wants, when he wants it.  His world is about to get rocked, big time.  I’m hoping the transition from only child to big brother will be smooth (as smooth as it can be right?)  We’ve started talking to him about getting a brother, but I don’t think he will really grasp what it means until the baby is here.  
  5. Being a first-time mom...again: This is a biggie!  Yes, I’ve had a baby and I’ve cared for a newborn...kinda.  Everett came home at almost six months old.  While he weighed only six pounds, he could hold his head up, he didn’t have an umbilical cord stump, he was medicated for reflux and gas (and any other newborn ailment you could imagine), he was all sorted out on fortified breast milk/formula, he slept through the night (yes, he slept through the night from the first night), we had had six months of getting to know his personality, and I had about a million people dedicated to his care that were only a phone call away for advice and support.  This time, we will be flying solo with a baby we just met.  I’m scared of the true newborn phase.  I honestly can’t remember a night when Everett has ever kept us awake...seriously.  We got adequate sleep from the beginning.  The exhaustion came from the doctor and therapy appointments (and catching up from a six month emotional nightmare).  My saving grace, I keep telling myself, is that at least I work nights, so I know I can stay up.  But I also have so much more responsibility in my life now, and those needs will have to be met, whether I’ve had good sleep or not.  And what will those needs be?  Like I said, it all makes me nervous.
  6. Loving another child as much as I love Everett: I just can’t fathom this.  I love my first born SO DARN MUCH!  I hope I love my last born just as much.  

Overall I’m feeling pretty good.  My cervix is still holding and while I’ve begun to feel some new sensations in my belly, my doctor assures me that everything seems normal.  We continue to be thankful for all the love and support we’ve received from all of you.  We are so blessed in so many ways and we try to be ever appreciative.  We hope each of you has an equally blessed holiday surrounded by the love of family and friends.  

Merry Christmas!

The Bollinger Family  

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