Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Listening to Your Body

This last week was crazy. I realized that I was more stressed out than I'd ever been in my life and that includes planning our wedding three years ago (a nightmare). Everything just built up so quickly and I couldn't figure out a way to escape it. I was exhausted, dehydrated, and fully on-edge. Our finances took a huge hit with two unexpected expenses and I just broke down. I found myself in the shower crying to myself because that was the only place I could be alone. Birch and I had a long talk and figured out how we would handle the next few months. We sorted out our financial situation (luckily) and were on the road to emotional recovery when--BAM--Saturday afternoon happened.

I felt strange. More than just tired and thirsty, more than just a headache, more than just normal pregnancy discomfort. Something was off. I called the advice nurse without any real idea of what I would say. I was in pain, I was uncomfortable, I didn't want to raise my head up at all, my entire torso felt tight, and my back was on pins and needles. Every time the baby moved the pain went up two or three times. The advice nurse said to come into Labor and Delivery. It was simultaneously exactly what I did and didn't want to hear. We hurriedly packed up Keats, left Olive, and drove the hour to the hospital. About twenty minutes before arriving, I had four contractions within a fifteen-minute span. This was not good. Holding back tears, I sighed relief as we pulled into an emergency spot at the hospital. I insisted on walking into the department because I felt like I could feel what was going on in my body that way, instead of numbing out while sitting in a wheelchair. With cords going from me to machine, we called my parents who very obligingly came and picked up Keats so that we could concentrate on what was going on. The contractions stopped and it was determined that I was not in pre-term labor because my cervix was doing just fine and staying put like it should. The baby was doing just fine, too. She moved all over the place like she always does and her heartbeat was constant and good. It was a huge relief. I drank loads of water and a bit of juice and was released five and a half hours after arriving diagnosed as dehydrated. It was a simple explanation, one that we expected, but I can't tell you how glad we were to be leaving the hospital with a healthy baby still baking away in the oven. I broke down a bit as we passed the neonatal ICU and squeezed Birch's hand, "Aren't you so glad we aren't dealing with that right now?" I asked. He nodded, gave me a big squeeze, and we both thanked God that we'd been spared the stress and heartache of a dangerously early birth.

Sufficed to say, the experience was a jolt to our systems. Birch took Keats for the entire rest of the weekend, letting me rest as much as possible. I'm drinking ridiculous amounts of water and we finally bit the bullet and have cut off Keats' breastfeeding experience. I'm starting to feel my body make its way back to normal and although it didn't seem like much was done at the hospital, I know that so much knowledge and expertise went into that experience and I'm so grateful that I listened to my body and went. I can't imagine the terror I would have felt had I been at home having those contractions without a clue as to why or what was happening. Now I know and it is this: I need to slow down, relax, and take care of my body first and foremost. Arranging our new home can wait, I can put Birch in charge of more baby-related chores when he is home, and I can definitely make sure I drink plenty of water from now on. I feel so guilty that I brought that experience on myself and to my family. It was a classic example of how not taking care of your mental and emotional self can have a serious and direct impact on your physical self, potentially causing life-threatening situations. I've been thinking that this pregnancy has been so easy, especially in comparison with the last, but that difference can't translate into me not taking care of the very basic duties of being a pregnant mother: resting, drinking plenty of fluids, eating right, and keeping stress as far from your life as possible. With eight more weeks before due date, it's hard to just shuffle all the planning into the background, but I have to do a better job. Luckily, I have an amazingly supportive husband, family, and friends.

This weekend, Birch has suggested I take a little vacation for myself away from mama responsibilities. I'll spend it away from home, hopefully doing a bit of fun shopping and much-needed me-time. I may even get my first pedicure since a friends' wedding about ten years ago. (And yes, that means I didn't have one for my own wedding... whoops.) Any more suggestions on how to spend two days and two nights? Go to a museum and actually look at the pieces for longer than three seconds each? Eat lunch at a restaurant and take as much time as I'd like to do it?

To reiterate, all is well with me and with baby #2. It seems we can't quite make it through a pregnancy without some kind of scare, but I'm glad we've come through unscathed yet again (last time 'round it was the unrelenting fainting spells).

I promise I'll post soon with photos galore of the farm and all the fun things we've been doing this summer. We truly love it in dear Pescadero and are so happy we made the decision to move there, despite all the stress that has ensued since. Sometimes a place is just worth it and this place has enabled us to fulfill so many dreams all at once, it's glorious.

Hoping you are well!

1 comment:

  1. Going to a bookstore and then sitting down with your new book and a hot chocolate at a cafe is nice. Especially if you know a cafe with a couch. I also like painting pottery at Color-Me-Mine or a place like that. I would want to go to the theatre, but I have to admit I'm not sure I'd have the gumption to go by myself! :) Have a nice weekend. Glad you're getting some rest.