Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Look Back on My Pregnancy Thus Far

Sitting at the end of my pregnancy on the EDD (estimated due date), I think it is time to look back on my pregnancy thus far. I've actually had an amazingly good pregnancy. Most importantly I am healthy and our baby girl is healthy and that, in the end, is all that matters.

My husband, Stephen, and I found out we were pregnant 2 days before Christmas 2008. It was quite a good Christmas present. We weren't exactly trying to have a baby, but I stopped taking birth control because we decided it was time to start considering expanding our family. Neither one of us thought it would only take 7 weeks to get pregnant. I'd heard an average of a year or more for the birth control to leave the system. This is not a truth. In fact, by the time we confirmed we were pregnant I was already 6 weeks, which means it actually only took 2 or 3 weeks to get pregnant. Note to self, unless you want to have a baby now, stay on birth control.

But we were ready, or as ready as we would ever be, to have a baby and we were ecstatic. Well I was, Stephen kind of acted like it was perfectly normal and strode naturally into dad mode. The doctor confirmed the pregnancy and estimated the due date as Aug. 13, 2009. Our family was so excited. For my family, it is the first grandchild (since I am an only child) so they immediately went into spoil grandbaby mode. For Stephen's family, it is the fourth grandchild, so though not the elated response, they were very excited for a new baby, especially since it was mine and Stephen's first baby.

I immediately went out and bought a pack of gender neutral onesizes and started thinking about nurseries and everything else that goes along with a baby. We told all our friends and family, who were very happy for us, and then pretty much continued on with life for a while. For the first few months I had morning sickness, which isn't being sick just in the morning I promise. I didn't vomit often, but I felt nauseous and generally crappy for a while everyday. Thankfully, it didn't last past the first trimester.

I was 11 weeks pregnant when I got into the first car accident I had ever been in. I was driving to work and Ram truck pulled out into an intersection where I had the right of way. I was in a 2003 Saturn Ion and was unable to stop. I ran head first into the middle of his truck right between the cab and bed. His truck got a small ding and the running board fell off. My car faired a little worse. The engine actually brushed under his truck, which cleaved the radiator and pushed the engine back into the firewall. Now I was fine. I probably should have mentioned that earlier. I got a couple bruises on my legs where the engine hit and where my seat belt caught my shoulder, but other than that no physical damage to me. I got an ultrasound and the baby was fine too, the heart beat was strong and I was told not to worry. A scary experience, but in the end everything was okay. The car on the other hand was totalled and we were faced with our first problem concerning vehicles.

Thankfully, Stephen had an older truck that we put back into commission and I got to drive our Jeep Wrangler. So for the time being, we both had transportation. Now it was time to look around at our living situation. We resided in a nice two bedroom apartment, but it would take quite a bit to get it able to comfortably hold a baby too. We decided to take advantage of the $8000 loan from the government and look into buying a house. Which we did. After much deliberation of price, location and viewing properties, we found a three bedroom/two bathroom house in Summerville. It is a nice location with a sizable yard, perfect for raising a baby. We are planning on staying here awhile because we were looking at high schools for our kids. They will proudly be Green Waves at Summerville High. Thankfully, we have many years before we are raising teenagers though.

After we moved, things went on as normal again for a while. We had our sex determining ultrasound at 18 weeks and found out we were having a little girl. Stephen really wanted a boy (then he could have a Stephen the third and a football partner), but I had a feeling it was a girl. Just like when we found out we were pregnant, Stephen took this information in stride like he knew it was a girl all along. I was excited about our baby girl (now I could dress her up in dresses as well as get dirty in the garden.) We decided on the name Zoey Evelyn McCusker. It means "life." It is unique, yet elegant. Of course she will probably have the same problem I had. When I was born in 1985, my mom said there were no "Amandas," but for a 5 year span, it was one of the most popular names. There are very few "Zoeys" around right now, but it seems to be becoming a popular name over these few years. I wanted to give her a unique name, hopefully it wont become too common.

I had two baby showers: one for all of our friends here in Charleston and one for our families in North Carolina. They were both a lot of fun and we got all kinds of goodies for Zoey. It's fun to see how excited people get over babies. The shower in Charleston was coed and deemed a baby shower/house warming celebration where there were baby games, video games, food and of course beer (except for the mother-to-be of course.) It was a lot of fun and people from all over the area came out to have a good time and wish us best wishes. The baby shower in North Carolina was a bit more traditional. It was hosted by my aunt and we had a luncheon followed by games and goodies for Zoey. It was nice that they wanted to do something special for me and I don't get to see them very often. Stephen spent the afternoon with the other males in my family, which sounded like it was an adventure. Afterward, we spend some time with Stephen's family too, who live somewhat close by. It was a good weekend overall spending time with family and celebrating our Zoey coming. That weekend was also father's day, which I celebrated by giving Stephen a book for Zoey title "Daddy's Lullaby." It was precious and I know Stephen will make a great daddy.

The other big thing that happened while I was expecting was that my grandfather (my last grandparent) died. We were very sad to see him go - I was especially sad that he wasn't able to meet Zoey, but I know he wouldn't want to stick around suffering, so he is now hand in hand with my grandmother watching over all of us. Zoey will know her great grandfather, I have no doubt of that. He was an inspiring man that stood for love, compassion, family, loyalty and truth. He was greatly loved by all who knew him. So even if Zoey doesn't always hear his name, she will know the type of man he was by knowing the hearts of those around her.

As time went on, my belly grew, but I didn't really even start gaining much weight until I was about 25 weeks pregnant. Then I gained a lot for a month or two and then plateaued off again. Today being the due date, I have currently gained about 40 pounds. We slowly got her nursery together. We painted it, used my old bookshelf from childhood, Stephen's old dresser from childhood and a chair we already had to furnish it. I was very proud of how it looked and I loved having our old things to pass down to our baby. It was an exciting day when we got all the final things like the stroller, car seat, bassinet/pack n play.

However, when we put the car seat in our Jeep Wrangler we realized that this was not going to be a practical family car. We could not lean the passenger seat back enough to lock it and there was no way a stroller was fitting in the back. We debated briefly and then went to the Toyota dealership to see what we could do. We came home with a 2006 4runner, which I immediately fell in love with. I think Stephen likes it too, even though it isn't a sports car or a truck, it is what we need right now for our family. Nonetheless, I think it will be forever deemed my car, which I am perfectly fine with - I can certainly see myself as a soccer mom in it.

The one looming question for me throughout the entire pregnancy is what am I going to do about work. This, more than anything else, has bothered me unrelentlessly. I am a Clemson graduate with a degree in English. My concentration was journalism including being an editor for the paper, internships and extra classes. Stephen said it best: I got a degree for written journalism right at the time it becomes obsolete. I've tried getting a job in the field since I graduated in 2007 and 2 years later, still no luck. I may simply not be in the right place at the right time, but more often than not I hear "we really like your writing, but this person that just got fired from a job has several more years experience than you who is green out of college," to which I sigh and go on about my business. It is depressing because writing is what I love and I'm not sure where to go from here. I am currently working at Best Buy (something has to pay the bills). It isn't a bad job as far as retail goes, but as always, I hate retail hours that are not conducive to a family and the work is repetitive and for the most part unfulfilling. More than anything else, I don't have to think to do my job...I miss thinking. So when I found out I was pregnant I automatically want to stay home with the baby. However, I don't think we are at a point in our lives where we can financially do this. And now I'm thinking, when my children get older, I want them to be proud at what their mom does, and they aren't going to be proud of it if I'm not. Thus, I am faced with another impasse - what do I do now? Since this is a cross roads in life and I have 3 months (thank you maternity leave) to look into what I can do, what do I do? So that is the question without an answer. I'm going to leave it there for now, but warning, it will probably come up again.

Overall, I've had a very active and healthy pregnancy. All of the tests have come back negative, especially the one for gestational diabetes (which I thank God for because it runs in my family) and both baby and I are healthy. I continued to work and do mostly normal things including exercising and traveling for all of the nine months. I didn't leave for maternity leave until the beginning of August at 38 weeks (9 1/2 months). I left then an not later mainly because I was overtired, I could have possibly stayed longer physically, but I appreciate my sanity as well (see previous paragraph about happiness about work.) For the past week I've been resting mainly, but also getting the house ready to bring an infant into as well as our extended family who are planning to come down. I needed that week and now, I'm just content to be, although the anticipation and waiting for Zoey to come isn't high on the list, I'll be happy and relaxed when she decides to come.

So that's the long and short of it...okay, mostly the long. I've been very blessed throughout this pregnancy. Lots of changes, but all for the better. We have lots of friends and family checking in to see how it is all going. I get to repeat myself often, but I love knowing so many care.

Our family is becoming a little bigger and our love for each other has only grown stronger. Welcome little one into our home - I think you will like it here with us. We are a little nutty, but life is fun so come on and enjoy the ride.


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