Sometime in the next three weeks, we will go from "Chris and Amy Millward: Childless Couple Who (Mostly) Sleep through the Night and Generally Do What We Want" to "Chris and Amy Millward: Inexperienced Parents and Sole People Responsible for Keeping Our Particular Baby Alive."
So yeah, I'm starting to kind of freak out. But just as frequently as I freak out, I yearn to see and hold and kiss and feed and rock our baby boy. I long to call him by his real name instead of Blaybley, our silly name for him right now.
Every time he moves, I try really hard to picture him. I imagine giving birth to him and the first time I get to touch him and hold him. I picture Chris and me just staring at him--hopefully with those special parent glasses that make weird-looking newborns look like beautiful, miraculous specimens--and examining his perfectly formed body.
I've been feeling emotional and teary for the past week or so. I think I'm feeling the gravity of what I'm about to do and wondering if I can really do it. This morning at my appointment, my midwife said something like, "I have every faith in you that you can do this. I think it's going to be a normal, boring birth." And I felt like sobbing, because that's exactly what I've been wanting to hear from her.
Toward the beginning of the pregnancy, I worried a lot that because this is my first birth, and I'm small, and I don't have a reputation for having a particularly high pain tolerance, that secretly she was thinking, "Sure, you can try to have a natural birth--but I'm basically waiting for you to fail."
Of course, I realized that was ridiculous, and as time went on, I let go of that fear and felt confident in myself and my body's ability to do this. But now--now that I'm staring down the reality that at any moment my labor could start--those fears are resurfacing. I know I should have just said to her, "I know this is crazy, but I'm worried that you don't believe I can do this." But it's hard to say those words, and I just never did. So it was such a gift that she said those words to me this morning.
One more thing, since this is already an emotional, rambling post. If you pray, I have a prayer request. There's this song that I listened to a few weeks ago, and ever since then, this little part of it has been stuck in my head: "And all of my labor seems to be in vain..." Of course, the song isn't talking about childbirth, but it's really starting to bother me that I keep finding myself singing that line, because it feeds into my fear that my labor won't progress normally. Would you pray that those lyrics (and really that entire song) would leave my mind, and that a song full of peace and reassurance and confidence would take its place? Thank you, friends. You're the best.
Friday, June 3, 2011
In preparation for a baby shower game, my friend Erika asked me to answer some questions about pregnancy and parenting. They never ended up being used in the game, but I'm so glad she had me do it because now I have them, both for posterity and to share with you.
Maybe if you're lucky, this handsome fellow will let me post his answers, too.
It's a considerably shorter and less serious read.
What was your first reaction when you found out you were expecting?
Shock, disbelief, and giddy happiness--somehow all at once.
What excites you about becoming a parent?
Right now, I'm excited about little things--kissing our son's cheeks, watching him discover new things, taking him to the park, giving him a bath...those are the things that occupy my thoughts these days. But when I think a little more "big picture," one thing I'm looking forward to is just kind of standing back and watching him grow up and experience the world with his own unique perspective. I'm looking forward to figuring out how to talk to him about God without oversimplifying things to the point of watering it down.
I'm also really looking forward to this new chapter in my relationship with Chris. So far, each chapter has been better than the last, and I'm excited to keep growing together and learning from each other.
What scares you?
Pretty much all the same things that excite me. :-) It's scary thinking about how much our life is going to change, and I know that having a child is going to bring new challenges to our marriage. There's something very scary about so many unknowns being ahead of us.
What was your reaction when you found out the baby's gender?
At first, disappointment--I had wanted a girl and had really convinced myself it WAS a girl. Also, I had been harboring quite a bit of pride at the idea of presenting the Millward clan with their first girl in two generations.
But later that day, I caught a glimpse of my pregnant belly in the mirror and my first thought was, "I love you, little boy." I was surprised and overwhelmed by how fiercely I loved him, and how almost protective I felt of his boyness. I know this isn't always the case, but for me, learning his gender caused me to bond with him immediately, and from that point on I honestly never wished for a girl. I couldn't imagine it any other way.
What's one of your biggest goals for yourself as a parent?
Wow, I have no idea. I'm not sure I even know what my goals are as a person. I guess one of my biggest goals overall is to love people well--to be an example of how God loves us. And that sounds like a good parenting goal, too. Clearly I need to think about this more.
What's something you hope to instill in your child?
Some things I'd like to instill in our son are confidence and the belief that failure isn't a bad thing. I'd really like for him not to be ruled by a fear of failure.
What has impressed you most about your spouse during the pregnancy?
From past experience, I already knew Chris would be great at taking care of me, and he has been. But one thing I'm really impressed with is how positive he's been about the whole thing, even though he had wanted to wait a little longer before getting pregnant.
I thought he would struggle with that more, but he got used to the idea super quickly and has instead graciously helped ME cope with all the changes, both to my body and to our lives. He's really made this whole, crazy experience so much more fun and positive. One of my favorite parts of the day is joking with him about the baby and pregnancy stuff.
What about pregnancy has surprised you?
I always thought I would love being pregnant--it looked pretty easy to me, and I thought I'd look cute with a belly. I would inwardly roll my eyes at pregnant women who complained of feeling fat. I also didn't understand what the big deal was about feeling nauseated. I remember thinking to myself, I've felt nauseated before; it's not that bad.
Surprise, Amy! Being pregnant is actually not easy (at least not for me). It's been an emotional rollercoaster accompanied by almost constant nausea (which is WAY different from occasional nausea), and a lot of the time I feel a little bit fat and not remotely cute. What a fool I was.
What's the biggest disagreement you've had about pregnancy/parenthood?
Ooh, good question...I'm not sure what our biggest disagreement has been, but the first one was pretty big. As soon as we found out I was pregnant, we resumed a long-standing argument: when to make a public announcement. I couldn't imagine keeping such a huge secret from family and close friends and wanted to tell everyone right away, and Chris wanted us to have some special time "just us" before the baby craze and wanted to wait until the start of the second trimester to tell anyone.
Thankfully, due to a variety of circumstances, it eventually made sense to tell a few close friends during the first trimester, and wait to announce it to our families and everyone else until Christmas time (just before the second trimester). So we sort of both got our way. :-)
How many kids do you want to have all together, and why do you think that's the ideal number?
I want to have four children. I've always liked the idea of having a big family, and as the eldest of four, I think four is a nice, even number.