Monday, March 5, 2012

36 weeks...scattered thoughts about loneliness, fear, and keeping busy







scenes from the past four months...

this baby is coming sooner rather than later. four weeks if he's on schedule like leon. less if any of these cramps and lower back pains indicate anything. yesterday i was at a store deciding whether or not to buy infant sized babylegs. i visualized the scrawny legs, mottled skin, and tiny toes and decided against the legwarmers. they would be too big for the first few weeks if this boy is as skinny as leon was. 6 lbs and 11 oz at birth, 6 lbs 5oz when we left the hospital. i've been looking at birth announcements at babycenter's march 2012 birth club and there are 35-36 weekers who are as big as leon was at 39w5d. in spite of my weight gain (nearly twice as much as the first time), i don't think this baby is going to be much bigger than leon.

so i keep bouncing on the balance ball while at the office. i take walks to the bathroom or kitchen every 30 minutes because short walks are the only thing that alleviates the pain. i wonder about leon at preschool, lonely and alone. he was so sad at his school birthday party, mainly because seeing us during the middle of the day made him want to go home. i miss my group of women and men in cambridge. we held each other up, listened to grievances when our partners were tired of listening, and kept an eye out for each other's littles. if only we could live communally. pre-school has been a major transition for everyone, even the ones who didn't move far away. i thought leon would make new friends and weekend playdates would be scheduled. but the loneliness of the past summer seems to have taken root these past 8 months and we just can't seem to shake it.

and then i worry about a home birth. i worry about last minute emergencies and have to remind myself that the midwives are much better integrated into health care here in toronto. they will not hesitate to call an ambulance or transfer if necessary. they will not participate in a homebirth before 37 weeks. these things reassure me, but at the same time, i do not feel ideologically bound to a homebirth. i do not imagine a 'perfect' birth experience. health and safety are paramount, but i do feel that in a normal (second) pregnancy the comfort and security experienced by the mother has a major impact on labor and delivery.

thinking back on leon's birth, i can't decide if the hospital setting made me feel secure enough to endure two long hard hours of pushing or whether going to the hospital during transition slowed down the pushing and made it worse than it would have been at home. there are so many variables, and of course this labor and delivery will be different. and that's where fear enters.

i focus on visualizing the baby in all his squirmy newborn sweetness but am distracted by my shadowy self. fear of death, of unnecessary complications at home or at the hospital. not having my support system in place has compounded the loneliness. keeping busy at work is the only thing standing between me and that shadow. so i work on my lectures, write a final exam, and grade assignments. i think about my article-in-progress and am grateful for the heavy work load.

11 comments:

Shelley Barandes said...

Giant hugs and warm, happy thoughts to you and Leon.

erica said...

thanks shelley. we've been missing all the cambridge folk!

Carrie Kim said...

Hi, I read your history of architecture blog but have never commented. Anyways, I have three daughters and your post reminds me a lot of the way I was feeling before my second was born. Let me assure you that Leon won't be lonely for long. He is about to have the best best friend in the world. From my experience there is something seriously special about siblings(pardon the dorky alliteration). Best wishes, carrie

Mona said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mona said...

Hello,

I empathize with the stress. I also read some pessimism that I recognize... I wonder if over-educated women like us have a harder time?

I have a strong recommendation to get support for post-partum blues/depression. My second baby was a preemie. In some ways, I was glad to be hanging out at the NICU for 20 days because unlike with my first, for several days someone did check on me and my well-being.

Hoping all goes well with the homebirth or whatever you decide to do. Regardless of your choice, please do ask for support for you.

New mom groups are great as you know and worth seeking one.

The blues is normal but that does not mean that support is not helpful.

and yes, you will be in awe of the amazing bond that forms between siblings. My second is only 15 month and it is adorable to see him play with his 4 year old sister.

Sending you the best wishes for these last few weeks.

Erin said...

How did this go by so fast? I'm thinking of you! This is such a crazy and hard time where you are at. It's familiar to me. I believe you will come out of it and feel that tiny baby in your arms and all will be ok. Even when it's harder than you thought it would be and when it's easier than you thought it would be.

Jessica said...

It must be really hard to be going through the transition of preparing (mentally and physically) to bring another child into your family - let alone feeling isolated.
I will be thinking of you these next few weeks and sending you love and light, and happy birth energy. Just know that it's okay to feel scared and hesitant about birth. It sounds like Canada is a great place to have a supportive home birth - I think it will be an experience you'll enjoy.

christineq said...

Hi,

I've commented a few times in the past, and I feel compelled again to comment, mainly because you sound so sad. By the way, I'm happy to see that you're blogging again, and hope that you'll post more on your upcoming experiences with the new baby.

I imagine that a lot of what you're feeling has to do with all the changes in your life, and with Leon's. Just a quick look through the recent posts shows a lot of upheaval in your family's life, and now there is this pause before the new baby arrives (along with the attendant chaos), when you have some time to linger on your anxieties. It doesn't help that you don't have the support system that you had back in Cambridge.

Are there people you could seek out, who might be in a similar position as you? People that could be your new support system? It's difficult enough to contend with all you've got.

I hope you'll find your way through this difficult time. Wishing you the best...

Amanda said...

Haven't checked this blog for a long time, but I'm glad I did today.

I think that this loneliness is an occupational hazard for academics. Not that others don't get lonely too, but academics live in a series of impermanent communities. As soon as you find your people, they move away, or you do. I have been a step behind you since I started reading your blog. About to finish now, and will be moving who-knows-where, and I'm hoping to get pregnant with my second. And so worried and so lonely. I hate not knowing where my children will grow up. I'm envious of my friends who stayed put and have houses and long-time friends and family nearby. Real homes.
I know that blog readers aren't the same thing as friends in your own town, but do know that we are out here, and, as strange as it may be, we care. Take care, and all the best for your birth and the first weeks with your new little one.

Mona said...

sending you good vibes and warm thoughts

milkvine said...

Just relax and trust in your body....I am sure your home birth be amazing! I am so happy I chose to birth at home...