Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bottom of the Ninth

My cute pregnant days are over. With 29 days left until delivery, I wake up each morning a bit more uncomfortable than I was the day before. Walking from my car to my front door leaves me huffing and puffing. I can't sleep for more than two hours at a stretch or else I risk waking up with one of my limbs cramping or asleep from 50 extra lbs. of pressure. I burp a lot. My big maternity clothes are now quite snug. Some woman asked me if I was having twins. I know that Felicia's birthday is just around the corner and I am frantically trying to make sure that everything is ready for her.

Shawn and I spent our Saturday night hanging wall decor in her room and rearranging furniture to find the configuration that made me the happiest. Aside from a couple minor things (like the fact that I am confounded by the bumper pad), I think the nursery is baby-ready.

Aside from preparing the physical space, I want to make sure that I am ready to mother a newborn as well. I've read all my books, some twice, and packed my bag for the hospital. On Friday morning, I attended a La Leche League meeting at the library.

La Leche League is a support group for breastfeeding mothers. Joining La Leche League is probably the closest I will ever come to being a legacy in a sorority. My mom was a League leader when my brothers and I were growing up and there are many family tales about our memories of attending meetings. In the late 70's, breastfeeding was just on its way back "in" after people were gradually beginning to question the nutritional superiority of infant formula to breast milk. As with many scientific breakthroughs, upon further investigation, formula was not the medical marvel it had been touted as during the 50's and 60's. Turns out, Mother Nature had a pretty good system in place for making sure human babies were provided for. Anyway, Mom became a pro-breastfeeder and was a natural at helping other women who wanted to nurse their babies.

So after 4 year of attending meetings on the boob-receiving end of the equation (Mom believed in self-weaning so I nursed a bit longer than most kids in this country), I thought it was time to go to a meeting as the giver of the boob. I was the only woman there who was pregnant, the rest all had babies of various ages. The topic was introducing solid foods and it was pretty interesting to hear what everyone had to say. For the most part, I just listened.

Then the leader, a sweet girl with three kids herself, asked if I had any more general questions. I really don't know why, but at that moment, as I tried to tell the 6 or 7 other moms there about my fears about nursing, I began to cry. Really cry. I guess I am more nervous about being a mom than I realized and something about being there with a supportive group made me just lose it. Who knows what the rest of the group thought--they all said they'd been there, that they understood-- but I didn't even really know why I was sobbing. I listened as they all reassured me and I took their tissues, but, every time I would try to pull it together, no luck, the tears would start over again. This was the beginning of what I can only call the All Day Cry.

I composed myself enough to go to work for a minute. When asked by my co-workers what was wrong (there was no hiding the fact that I'd been crying), I told them I saw a duck get hit by a car. While this isn't a total lie (I did see a squashed Canadian goose a few minutes earlier), it wasn't quite the whole truth either. It just seemed easier than telling them I had no earthly clue why I was crying but that I could start again at any minute. And start I did. Shawn followed me to the mechanic so I could drop off my car for repairs. I cried the whole way there. I wore sunglasses in the garage so Jeff at Honda West wouldn't see my bloodshot eyes. I cried the whole way home in the car with Shawn. I tried, feebly, as I didn't understand myself, to explain to Shawn that I wasn't sad, that I felt physically fine, I was just crying. When it was all said and done, I probably cried for three solid hours. And then, as mysteriously as it had started, I was finished. I felt better, if a bit tired.

So, hormonally, I am ready to eject this baby. The feeling of being in control of my emotions, if nothing else in my life, is one I am ready to reclaim. I realize that the postpartum period can be just as bumpy, but I think I got a good preview of what that might be like on Friday and I made it out alive. Poor Shawn is the one who I'm more worried about. He told me when my crying jag was over that he didn't like it when I got like that; he didn't know what to do. That makes two of us.


Aly said...

Oh sweetie... I'm crying just reading that! This is such a time of change in your life, but it is something I know beyond a shadow of a doubt you can do. You're going to be an amazing mommy! (And Shawn is such a great husband and uncle... just think of how wonderful he'll be as a daddy too!)Plus you'll have your mom closeby. That's something I wish I'd had when Jack arrived.

About 24 hours after Jack was home from the hospital we had to take him back for jaundice. Everyone told me it was normal, but it wasn't for me since I'd never been down that road before. An insensitive clerk at the medical supply office (where we rented a light to help little yellow Jack) told me I had a "very sick baby". I managed to hold it in until I was in the car... and then the floodgates opened. I don't think I stopped crying until about 2 or 3 hours later. I was certain I had done something wrong and was already failing as a parent. Poor Jeff... he was in town that night and witnessed the whole thing. We all do it. Must be some right of passage for moms.

I think it's awesome that you went to a LLL meeting. What a fabulous support system you will find there! On days that you cry... and on days when you hand a tissue to a preggo mommy who just began her very first All Day Cry.

Babs said...

I read what you both said, Jill & Aly, and all I can feel is happy to have both of you as my daughters. You're both wonderful, bright, loving, beautiful women. And, if it means anything coming from Babs' big boob, you're both wonderful mothers. Mothers can cry. It's our god-given right. So there!

jeff said...

Udey and I are holding back the tears while reading this. I, too, took my car to the repair shop. While I wasn't crying on the way there, when I got the call that the total for the work is $1021.22, I began to sob and curse all men everywhere....especially those with the tools to diagnose a sick car.

I think most guys understand that crying is part of the package, but I wish it would happen only at 11am on the first friday of the month if it's just a test. Kind of like the tornado sirens here in town. That way we could spring into "fix it" mode only when necessary. The rest of the time, all we can do is walk around the house like Butterscotch used to do...meowing louder than you can cry and hoping that it makes you stop.

For future reference, if anyone asks, maybe you could just use the same excuse that Ellen used when she fell to pieces on national TV after the SPCA took her dog trafficking business away.

laurenagrimson said...

Oh you are too cute Jill. FYI- We all become unexplainable sobbing messes when we become parents. Nothing else in life can bring every emotion out of you all at once. It's part of the whole phenomenon of becoming a parent. You will be brought to tears just by a smile or poo poo in the potty. It's quite troubling indeed but the best experience ever:) When you care about something that much you just get overwhelmed sometimes and can't explain it...I like the dead duck idea though.