On March 12th 2016 Jordan and I went furniture shopping. When we walked into Ikea I looked at Jordan and said “I have this overwhelming feeling; I just want to cry and I don’t know why”. Jordan, the sweetheart that he is, did not hesitate or question me. Instead, he found a walk-in pantry in one of the staged kitchens, sat down, me beside him and I cried. After two minutes, scaring a child away and a couple muffled laughs, he finally asked “Why are you crying, did I do anything?” I couldn't give him an answer. Little did I know, this entire scenario: the uncertainty, the wondering if he had done something wrong and the tears, so many tears, would be foreshadowing the next year.
It was in that moment that he knew we were pregnant. He waited until we were on our way home to ask “Do you think we should stop and get a test?” As he always does he wanted the best for me, even if I was just going to pee on it. So, he bought the Cadillac of tests because “It has a weeks indicator! How cool!” When it said “Pregnant 1-2 weeks” I ran screaming. “We’re having a baby!!!” Immediately after the excitement a wave of absolute fear overcame me, once again, I was crying. Disclaimer: I cry A LOT.
I was nauseous, was it the baby or the fact that we had no idea what we got ourselves into? What did we do? On paper Jordan and I were as ready as you can be for a baby: we had a 2 bedroom home, two great jobs (with benefits), a brand new vehicle, a great relationship... In reality, we were the furthest thing from ready. But, we wanted a baby so here we were! Neither of us had ever changed a diaper, and Jordan doesn’t remember holding a baby… Let the adventure begin!
The first people we told was a group of friends/strangers. We were having them over for drinks and since I could no longer drink, we had to tell them. When we told Jordan’s friend he was excited for us, and congratulated us. The next person we told was one of my coworkers. Our announcement to her was met with: “HA THAT SUCKS” … Uhm no? We were really excited about our baby but if I wasn’t nervous enough already, getting that reaction, from a mom to a 5 year old, really put me over the edge. I would have expected a similar reaction had I been 16 and pregnant, but not now. Unfortunately I let that reaction get to me way more than I should have.
The following day, I called my sisters, on a three way call. I hadn’t used three way since it became cool in elementary school. Luckily they didn’t think it was weird. After some chatting I nonchalantly asked them “Do you know who’s birthday is around November 17th?” both of them said “No? Ask Mom” that’s when I said “your niece or nephew”. Both of them screamed with excitement. I told my parents that same week with an Easter basket and a large egg containing a sleeper. I’ll never forget their excitement. My mom’s reaction was exactly how I’d pictured it with a little more jumping and squealing while my dad had a stunned look and dropped an F bomb; he was equally as excited for us (and equally as scared).
The first three to four months were (there’s no better way to put it), hell. I was extremely nauseous, hormonal and beyond exhausted. I didn’t recognize myself. I vividly remember having a meltdown and yelling at Jordan as if it were an out of body experience. I could see myself losing it and I could not stop… Moments like that happened more often than I am proud of. Jordan’s favorite meltdown was from the day we took our announcement photos. I could not find anything to wear and instead of just walking away I threw ALL of my clothes on the floor. Jordan walked into our room with all my clothes scattered on the floor and me lying on top of them, you guessed it, crying. Poor guy. I know he was anticipating the crying and screaming from Baby but he had just been enrolled into the crash course of dealing with meltdowns.
The first trimester was extremely difficult. I had never surrounded myself with pregnant women before, in fact, I avoided pregnant women like the plague. I was convinced their hormones would deflect onto me and I’d become victim of immaculate conception. When I spoke to pregnant women after becoming pregnant they were experiencing very different pregnancies. I really did not enjoy being pregnant until the third trimester and at that, I might have enjoyed two months, for reasons I will go into later, in a separate blog post... During my pregnancy, I thought I hated it and I never wanted to do this again. I was uncomfortable in my own skin. I felt like people were staring at me in a negative way. At 33 weeks pregnant I caught a woman and her teenage daughter staring at me. I was immediately insecure, and angry. I wanted to crawl into a cave and not come out until I was no longer pregnant. After they finished their lunch, they approached my table to tell me how beautiful they thought I looked pregnant and loved my bump. It was in that moment that I realized I had been extremely negative about my pregnancy.
Although we had planned her, I had not anticipated the actual pregnancy. I knew I would get bigger, and I had heard of all the side effects of pregnancy, but, what I did not realize is that pregnancy is ever changing. Just when you get used to a symptom, something new starts and needs adjusting to. Every single day for 9 calendar months, 40 weeks, 280 days. Every. Single. Day. As far as everyone else was concerned “I had a great/easy pregnancy”... Even though I took it in stride and tried to make the best of it, it was an extremely difficult adjustment period. The constant back pain and hindered breathing, the relentless heartburn and low iron...to name a few. Nothing could have prepared me for this new, always changing, normal.
I never complained over social media, because I realized how fortunate I was to be pregnant and how this beautiful experience is what most couples dream of. I did not want to diminish the beauty of creating life. Not only was I lucky to be carrying our baby, but it was easy for us. We thought about it, talked about it and ta-da the first test told me I was 2 weeks pregnant. I never wanted anyone to think I was ungrateful or didn’t want her. It wasn’t her that I did not enjoy, it was pregnancy.
It took me a while to accept all these changes but adjusting to this new normal wasn’t all bad, there were a lot of fun times too! I'll be sure to share my favorite aspects in a different blog, but for now I'll let you know one of my all-time favorites: hiccups, not mine, hers. Every single night for the last 10 weeks Jaxzen had hiccups at 7:30 PM. The hiccups made her real to me. I had spent lots of time wondering when I would be able to relate to this tiny human inside me. Her kicks were great and kept my mind at ease but her hiccups made her human, I could almost picture her little belly essentially doing the same thing mine was. It made me feel connected to her in a way I had never felt. I love those tiny little bloops!
Fun fact: those hiccups continued like clockwork for 2 weeks after she was born!
It goes without saying that I have learned a lot about my body, my relationship and myself through this experience. Through Milkstains & Meltdowns I can guarantee you’ll learn things about me and my family, you’ll laugh a lot, you might even cry, you’ll agree and sometimes disagree with me, but one thing is for sure, you’ll never feel alone on this journey. There are a few (hundred) things I wish I had known throughout this experience that would have made a world of difference: I was not alone in my feelings, everything (no matter how weird it seems) is normal until it isn’t; although there are similar situations, every baby and every pregnancy is different, how you deal with it is your prerogative! It may be cliche but I am grateful for the struggle. I am grateful for the tough times and the moments of uncertainty because I am here now! I can only hope my past experiences, my future endeavors and all things in between help other women and men navigate, survive and feel empowered during their pregnancy and parenting experience.
Here’s to all the Milkstains & Meltdowns that will continue to make this possible!