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It was the best of times; it was the worst of times; it was pregnancy...

We often think of pregnancy the way that we see it in the movies: happy, cheerful, and finished within two hours.  But, the reality is - just as Dickens wrote - that pregnancy is both the best and worst of times.  Pregnancy is filled with excitement, curiosity, worries, fears, weight gain, and more. 

I'll never forget the second that I knew I was pregnant.  It was not due to a positive pregnancy test...that came later.  It was due to my becoming absolutely furious with my husband because of some trivial thing that I cannot recollect.  My hormones were raging, and I knew that something was different.  So, I took the test, found out my suspicions were indeed correct, and immediately was ecstatic - did I mention those hormones???

My husband and I decided to wait to tell people that we were expecting.  That's easier said than done.  I managed to do this (after only telling a few people that I knew wouldn't let the secret slip), but it became harder and harder as the morning sickness sank in.  I had to come up with excuses for constantly having to go to the bathroom ("I'm just not feeling very good right now", "I think something upset my stomach", "I must be coming down with something", etc. etc.).  I had to wear baggier clothes (not only to hide my ever-expanding midsection, but also because none of my regular clothes fit). And, I had to try not to draw attention to my ever-expanding top section (of which, normally being a B cup, was quite impressive to me).

Eventually the time came when we decided to tell people.  With this, I began to receive advice.  Now, it's not that the advice was necessarily good or bad, but when it's your first time being pregnant and you receive an overabundance of advice (on top of hormones), it can be overwhelming.  Worries and fears began to set in.  Was I actually ready to be a mom?  Was I doing the right things, eating the right foods, and not allowing myself to be around influences that could harm my baby?  Did we have enough money to start a family?  Were we too old?  Were we not old enough?  Which room would be Baby's?  What things would I need for Baby?  The questions came and came and came.

Thankfully, in between all of these questions, worries and fears came the doctor's visits.  Here, every single visit, my doctor would bring in the little device that would be placed on my belly, and I was able to listen to Baby's heart beat.  Now, I must admit that - at my nine week appointment - I had a "Rachel" moment and didn't recognize the heartbeat until the doctor described it, but this sound constantly eased my worries and fears.  Every time I went back to the doctor, I knew that Baby was growing and his or her (we didn't find out the gender) heart was still beating.

But, then I'd leave the doctor's office and go back to the real world of people saying stupid things, hormones raging, crying, anger, etc. etc.  My husband would constantly remind me to let things roll off of me, but that's easier said than done when you don't feel like yourself...and you technically aren't completely yourself since there's another self growing inside you. 

As pregnancy continued, time began to slow, but we continued to prepare.  With each item we checked off our to-do list, it seemed like ten more items were added.  But, we trudged on or, in my case, waddled on.

The home stretch was approaching.  I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I was seeing my doctor on a weekly basis.  I was feeling contractions.  I was timing contractions.  Contractions reached the 5-1-1 that's discussed in the child prep classes.  I called the doctor.  He said it was too early and to go to the hospital.  So, I went and my labor was stopped.  I left...still pregnant.

I waited and waited and waited...until, more contractions, then spotting (from my childbirth class this was a definite sign to call the doc).  He told me to go to the hospital.  I went.  I waited and waited and waited.  My contractions were right on top of each other, but I wasn't progressing. It was still a little early, so no inducing.  Finally, I went home...still pregnant.

I gardened; I cleaned; I crawled up and down the stairs on my knees.  I ate fresh pineapple, eggplant Parmesan, and spicy Mexican food.  I tried everything there was to kick start the labor.  I was miserable. Contractions came and went.  I wasn't sleeping.  I was furious.  I squatted.  I walked.  I scrubbed floors, the toilets, the shower, and more.  This baby was never coming out.

Then, I stood up.  I felt something odd.  Did my water break?  Nah.  It couldn't be.  I called the doctor.  He told me to come to his office.  I knew this wasn't for real, so I took a shower, called a friend to take me, packed my bag (I recommend packing sooner), fed the dogs, and waited.  My friend came.  I sat in her car.  The contractions came...and came...and came.  I arrived at the doctor's office.  I couldn't breathe.  I couldn't wait.  He saw me.  He told me it's time.  So, I called my husband and told him to leave work. 

I arrived at labor and deliver.  I was having contractions right on top of each other.  This baby was coming.  I waited...and waited...and waited.  Fourteen hours later, no baby.  No epidural.  No food.  No patience.

The doctor came.  I was checked.  There was progress, but not enough.  I was given Pitocin.  The contractions came...and Came...and CAME!  Two hours later...no baby...GET ME AN EPIDURAL!  Then, calm.  Ahhhh...the relief.  But, still no baby.

I tried to sleep.  I felt nothing.  I was singing songs of praise to my anesthesiologist.  Four hours later, the nurse came.  She checked me.  There was Baby!  The doctor was called.  The husband was awoken.  The room was prepared.  Excitement came.  The doctor came.  Nausea came.

I pushed...and pushed.  Baby arrived!  There was crying.  Nurses were busy.  The doctor was busy.  My husband announced, "It's a girl!"  No more waiting.  No more fears.  No more worries.    Adrenaline was pumping through me.  I held my baby.  I was happy.

And, pregnancy was over.

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