Tuesday, June 12, 2012

And Then There Was Baby

One year ago today, June 12, in the Quality Inn in Page, Arizona, Will and I found out I was pregnant.  After a week of keeping it to ourselves, we started spreading the news.

Here's sort of how things went:

(I had other great reactions from friends and family, but for some reason these are the ones that have stuck with me.  To be fair to my dad, he had just received really bad news earlier that week, so the fact that he could smile at all says something.)

This blog doesn't have a very far reach, but I want to speak to those young moms who were like me--- surprised and crushed.  That's right, I spent the better part of an hour on the floor while Will tried to comfort me, and that night chalks up as probably the worst night's sleep I've ever had.  I did not want to be pregnant.  I had lots of things to do and places to go.  I wanted to be one of those cool young 20-somethings who traveled the world working on organic farms and riding elephants.  After I had lots of stories and experiences racked up and was ready to settle down, then I would think about having kids.

Finding out miles and miles from home in the middle of my masters' data collection was a traumatic experience.  That week that we kept the news just to ourselves (and my research partner, hey Jenn!!), I felt like a balloon about to burst on a deserted island in the middle of the ocean.  With sharks.  When I timidly Googled "I'm pregnant" the next morning, the search results were swamped with "Congratulations!"  "You're finally pregnant!"  "You're going to have a baby!"  I remember feeling so alien--- how could these people expect me to be so ludicrously happy over this thing that was about to ruin my life?

Then we started telling people--- starting with my parents and brother on Skype, then Will's family when he went back home, then our other friends and extended family over the phone.  And slowly, bit by bit, I began to think beyond just myself.  Little by little, I started realizing how truly blessed we are.  We were surrounded by friends and family who were stoked beyond belief that we were expecting.  We were actually married---nice!--- and had a house that we owned and steady jobs (sort of).

The definite turning point was our first ultrasound.  This was before being able to determine whether it was a boy or a girl, it was just a fuzzy screen with various nebulae that the nurse said was a baby.  But there it was--- a visible heartbeat, 168 bpm.  That's when I felt the first stirrings of affection for this Orb. 

Funny how sometimes the thing you think is worst for you is really the best for you.  Did my life change?  Drastically.  But guess what?  Turns out being a mom is more sweet, more exciting, and more fun than I ever could have thought.

Lucy has taught me so much that I could never have learned on my own--- giving all of yourself for another person.  The joy of laying aside your own wants and realizing that what lays beyond is so much better.  The organic farms and elephants can only teach you so much about your own strength and depth of affection. 

To other surprised, scared, and devastated new moms--- lean on your family and friends.  Think long and hard about the changes coming in your life and trust that they'll bring joy along with the challenges.  Don't worry about putting your dreams on hold for a little while.  Delight in the new life you carry with you--- it is precious beyond belief. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

How Writing a Thesis is Like Having a Child

Today I turned in my thesis draft to my committee and I defend it next week!  It has been a long and cyclical process, but I'm nearing the finish line!  This comic idea has been floating around in my head ever since I started running analyses back in the fall.  After running my first frequencies and getting some of my first results, I remember emailing my mom and saying, "this is what I imagine holding Lucy for the first time will be like."  But I was wrong--- it was totally different, mostly because I wasn't on morphine while running my analyses. 

So many things are happening with Lucy!  She's sitting up in her baby seat  and starting to roll over.  She giggles and talks to us constantly and loves going outside and watching the trees go by in her stroller.  She's so much fun to be with.  But dang if she doesn't take up huge quantities of thesis-writing time.