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#1 of 67 Old 04-01-2005, 09:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Please read the Week One writing prompt before writing here. This is a space for posting freewrites. Please reply to this thread and place your name or username in the title. Now you a have a space to freewrite with the group

This is a no-comment/no-feedback zone. If need to communicate with another participant regarding their freewrite, please take it to PM.

Alright then. Carry on.

~Jesse
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#2 of 67 Old 04-02-2005, 02:22 AM
 
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OK...10 minutes, I can do that, even if it is midnight and I should be in bed...

Pregnancy Test

I took 9 pregnancy tests, yes, that's right, NINE tests, to confirm my pregnancy with my daughter. The first two were on Wednesday night, 9 days after I ovulated. I was home alone and looked at those sticks under every light in the house. Was there a line? Maybe? When Bryan got home, I put him through the scrutiny, as well. What do you see? Do you think there's a line there? How about this one? Should I go pee on another one?

I took test #3 with first morning urine on Thursday. My period wasn't due until at least Sunday. Bryan was in the shower. This time, I used the kind of test where you couldn't see the place where a line MIGHT be, if there were, indeed, a second line. There were two lines in the window. I practically threw the stick into the shower at Bryan, who replied, "but it's only Thursday!"

We went to work together that day, giddy and smug with our little secret but not really convinced we were actually pregnant. After lunch, we went to the store to get some more tests. I peed on one at the store. Two lines (this was test #4). We talked about being pregnant the whole ride home...but neither of us believed we were!

I took another test on Thursday night. The lines were getting darker now, and I had a nice little stack of positive pregnancy tests on the back of the toilet.

I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting at this point, but I took another pregnancy test on Friday morning, with the first urine. Two lines appeared in the window, and I stared at them. "Bryan, I'm still pregnant!" Did I think I wasn't going to be anymore? I had 6 pregnancy tests cluttering up the bathroom. I started writing dates and times on them, as if I was compiling evidence of something I'd later have to prove. I don't know whether I was catering to my sense of neuroticism, or if this was a manifestation of my sheer disbelief that my body had actually done something right in getting pregnant...but I kept taking the pregnancy tests.

I took test #7 on Sunday morning, Easter. The result line was as dark as the test line at this point, so I concluded that I must DEFINITELY be pregnant. My food tasted like metal and my breasts were on fire. I was more tired than usual...and my baby was only 13 days in the making. With 7 positive test results to back me up, I was ready to tell my parents that they were going to be grandparents. Easter dinner was the perfect opportunity to do so.

On Monday morning, I knew I had to go get my pregnancy "confirmed" at work so that I could avoid the fitness test we were scheduled for that week (I'm in the Army). Just to be sure, and, because I still had one test left, I peed on my 8th stick before I left for the sick call clinic.

Test #9 was administered at the clinic. I told the staff there that I had already gotten 8 positive results, but they needed to be "sure" for themselves. I never actually saw that test stick...I just handed over a cup of my pregnant urine.

Nine pregnancy tests...should I have started a college fund with the cash I spent on them instead?

I laugh now, 3 years later, at the notion that Anna, a very alive (and often insane) toddler was once a pair of lines (or, 9 pairs of lines).

Twenty minutes...and time for bed!
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#3 of 67 Old 04-02-2005, 10:25 AM
 
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Freewrite: Pregnancy Test
April 2, 2005

It all began on a chilled Friday afternoon in January when I checked myself into the gray corporate bathroom stall of my gray corporate job in advertising and peed on a stick. I watched, to my utter shock and amazement, how the little pink line formed almost instantaneously and simultaneously imagined my autonomy draining away. This was not in my plans. I had worked very hard, after all, to be the mistress of my own destiny and being pregnant was not in my charts. Or so I thought…

I had a lucrative career in advertising, a high-stress, high-paying job that although I detested, afforded me the power and finances to live an energized, very hip, very adult-centered life in New York City. I had convinced myself that there were hundreds, if not thousands of reasons not to have children. I would list them off to my husband: each tome I saw a misbehaving child in public, I would say to him, “Reason Number 46 not to have children.” Or every time I stood in front of a class, I would say to myself, “I am exercising my maternal instincts through teaching.”

But that day the stick turned pink, my world changed completely. I had no idea at that moment that I would embark on the most amazing journey of my life and that rather than lose my self-made identity as a sassy, movin’ ‘n shakin’ professional feminist working in the heart of the corporate beast, I would actually gain a far richer, far more powerful identity…as a mother.

But that realization would all come later. At the actual moment that the little pink line formed on the EPT – or whatever brand I bought at the CVS on my way to work that morning because I noticed that the moon had come and gone and was “just curious” to see what was going on (never thinking that I would ever be pregnant because, after all, look how many of my friends were struggling to get pregnant and I was 35 and with all the booze and the fatty foods and lack of exercise, there was no way any of my shriveled up, 35-year old eggs would even be viable…) – I was in a state of suspended animation. I literally could not believe what I saw. Me? Pregnant?

So I put the pink stick in my pocket walked directly out of the grey corporate bathroom, down the elevator, out of the shiny metallic corporate building, hailed a cab, and headed directly to Midtown to talk to my husband. I called him from the cab, made up some story about being in the neighborhood and asked him to meet me for coffee. We went to the Cranberry Restaurant, one of those Midtown Manhattan, every-type-of-food-available-to-humankind Korean deli style places where the staff sped people through lines and served them food with a speed and efficiency that would make automobile manufacturers jealous. We sat down at a table and I put the pink stick down and slid it across the table to my husband.

“Oh shit,” he said.

And that was the start of this amazing journey. We looked at each other, both as stunned as we could be. When we eventually got up to leave, I asked him what we should do. And he simply said, or said, simply, “Let’s do it.”

Three little words that were the brave mantra I needed to hear to break my years of anti-child justifications. Three little words that gave me the strength, authorized me, to take the biggest risk of my life. To break out of my previous self. To allow myself to admit that I really did want to be a mother and really thought this was awesome, in the ancient meaning of that word – to inspire great awe.

A little pink stick. T took a little pink stick to shatter my grey world, to bust me out of the grey corporate beats that had enslaved me for years without an escape route in sight. PINK. A powerful, feminine color that signaled the end of the masculinized work life I begrudgingly, reluctantly defined myself by.

All that previus Fall and Winter I had been wearing a pink button on my lapel that read NO. It was my statement against the war in Iraq, against Bush stealing into the White House, against all things patriarchal and ugly about America. I walked around under a pink umbrella and supported Operation Pink. But while I was focusing all my attention outwards towards the regime, inside me a small pink life flame was getting ready. The day I peed on the stick galvanized my life purpose in a way I could never have foreseen – because I did not allow myself to.

Jeez, 25 minutes have passed and I just came out of my writing “zone”. Wow! Thanks!

Mama Meg
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#4 of 67 Old 04-02-2005, 02:40 PM
 
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I spent much time waiting, waiting for Joe to leave, waiting until I had to go, waiting for the results. The first time, it was a happy anxious waiting. Would this be it? Is it really happening? I never knew that 2 minutes could last so long. Finally, the 2 lines that showed I was pregnant.

The second time the waiting seemed shorter. This pregnancy wasn’t as eagerly anticipated, this baby would be unexpected. I was almost hoping that it was something else, anything else. But, no there they were again: 2 pink lines. Another baby on the way.

Who could have ever thought that so much was dependent on the pink lines of the test from the drug store? In one case, it meant responsibility, a sacred trust. In the next, it meant a change, not exactly wanted, not unwanted either. More responsibility. Were we ready? Is anyone, ever?

The first time I tested every month for 3 months, waiting, hoping, excited. The next time, it only took one. I waited as long as I could to test. There was no happy anticipation. Just resignation. I took 2 more tests, just in case the first was wrong. Nope- 2 pink lines on each. Definitely pregnant. Again.

More to come........
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#5 of 67 Old 04-02-2005, 02:51 PM
 
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what am i doing. i wonder as i stand in line, waiting for the teenage boy to ring up my purchases--a chocolate bar and a pregnancy test.

at home, my hands tremble and my heart pounds as i open the box and stare at the tiny print on an intricately folded set of instructions.

so i wait, not long, and then they appear--two lines, darkening, but still faint enough to make me blink and look again. these lines....divisions...marking two halves of my life...before and after. the dividing lines...the dividing line.

so i sit, waiting. waiting for what i think must be inevitable. for the line to cross me, block my path, cut me in some way, off? from myself...or...

but nothing. i sit and blink some more and stare...at the lines, at my hands, into the air and wait...for something to change...
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#6 of 67 Old 04-02-2005, 03:38 PM
 
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I can’t bring myself to throw them away. I’ve got quite a bundle of them—both ovulation tests and pregnancy tests. A friend of mine, another adoptive mother, told me she considered doing some sort of ritual around disposing of hers. “You know, like I’d place them all around a seashell at the beach and then bury them in the sand or something.” But she didn’t do it. I probably won’t do that either. They’re too symbolic. Symbolic of my attempt to join the motherhood club, symbolic of my failure at it.

The day I found out that my husband and I were more infertile than I thought possible, that huge, strange, piercing day, I laid all of the plastic-wrapped sticks on the dining room table. Right next to the piece of paper I’d used to scribble down the words the doctor had said to me on the phone: FSH a little high, sperm=zero. (Zero.) I felt a mad urge to rip open the tests and break them in half, fizzle them down the garbage disposal, tear them to cheap, plastic shards of in-your-face door-slamming-shut failure. I thought to myself: You will never use these again. You will never have use for these. Ever.

My daughter, four months old, sleeping now on my chest as I type, is, of course, the outcome of a pregnancy test. And I wonder sometimes exactly how all that came down. I could ask her birth mother; I’m sure that in her offhand, blunt manner, she would surely tell me. Did you take the test at work?, I might ask her. Did you run out to the nearest Walgreens on your break and buy one? Did you come back and sit on the toilet in your restaurant’s small, antiseptic bathroom and watch the lines change color? Or did it happen some other way? See, I think I want to know. Because I have your child here with me now: I am her mother. I didn’t get the chance to watch her fade into being in front of my eyes, to look from the cheap, plastic stick in my hands to my belly to my brain, trying take it all in.

Tell me, would you? If you don’t mind. I want to know every detail. What was it like?
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#7 of 67 Old 04-03-2005, 10:37 AM
 
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Freewrite: Morning sickness
April 3, 2005

I never had any morning sickness. None whatsoever. This fact seemed to alarm everyone I spoke to, and they offered me a litany of possible problems: I would have a very painful birth, my hormones weren’t balanced right, the risk for miscarriage was higher. No one said, CONGRATULATIONS! You lucked out. Congratulations, your body was just outright PSYCHED to be pregnant and you loved every single minute of it!

What I am sick of is how people – men and women, but mostly women – are so negative around being pregnant.

I never felt more beautiful in all my life than when I was pregnant. My hair was never thicker and silkier. My nails grew like wildfire and were strong and unbreakable. My skin was creamy and blemish-free, pure as my pre-puberty days. And most importantly, my belly, always big and fleshy and not fashionable was suddenly – overnight – legitimized! I was round and beautiful and bodacious and bad-ass – and I had a reason to be big and curvy. Pregnancy was what my body had been yearning for over at least the previous 5 years, despite all my rationalizations (which were genuine and heartfelt; I truly believed I would not have children by choice) to the contrary. The bigger my stomach (and the rest of my body, let’s face it) grew, as each birthday marked a new year, the more I felt ashamed of it. I tried to be brave and bold and celebrate my bigness, but every time I stood in a shop before a rack of sizes that didn’t, wouldn’t, couldn’t fit me, I felt a dark cloud come over me and I swallowed the bile.

But in pregnancy, I stuck out my stomach with pride! And people said how glowing and gorgeous I was, how I had never looked better, how this seemed to suit me so well, how pregnancy became me. Interesting play on words: pregnancy becomes one, as in it suits you well. But pregnancy also became me, who I am. It opened myself up to myself. I became pregnant but pregnancy then became me.

Now, since the birth of my son, I wear my tiger stripes (known as stretch marks to the rest of the world) with pride too. These marks on my belly mark where a life grew, where my son came into being. They are signs of something profound, something glorious, something worthy of note. So now, as I am doing yoga and my shirt rides up and my belly sticks out, I no longer rush to cover it and feel ashamed. Instead, I feel proud that the stripey parts are the ones showing. My flappy belly is now my source of strength, not a shameful thing to hide and excuse.
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#8 of 67 Old 04-03-2005, 05:03 PM
 
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Hi everyone. I am glad to begin this journey of sharing and processing and celebrating togeher. I'll try for 10 minutes...we'll see how long my daughter lasts with her papa trying to entertain her.
I almost didn't take a pregnancy test when my period was "late" way back in March of 2004. I often have strange cycles that last anywhere from 28 to 65 days! So, I had given up on the rythm method and hoped for my intuition to guide me. I had been in Belieze traveling so I had a small time frame when I could have gotten pregnant, but I still was reluctant to take the test because I had "wasted" so much money in the past on them, and they were always negative. My man and I had been together a little over a year at that point in time. I bought a test one day after having had the sorest nipples for about a week. I went to a sauna that night with my friend (who is also a midwife) and her little son. Her son was so interested in my belly that night...and then I got light headed in the sauna and I began wondering what was going on. Hmmmm. I awoke the next morning at sunrise after having dreams that I was pregnant (also a common occurance in my life). So I woke up and groggily made it into the bathroom, peed on the stick and yawned for a minute or so. I look over at the stick expecting to show a negative as usual, when I see those two very distinct pink lines. (I am now writing one handed as Amaya is nursing...does this count as setting time aside?! ) As i looked all I could think was whoa! I have desired to be amama and have a baby for a long time, but also was finishing college, living separatley from my man, had no steady source of income etc. But..I was pregnant!!! I got up and went on a walk at the local marsh. As I sat and watched the mist rise off the bay and the godwitts pick up sand creatures I sat and thought about the miracle that was budding within me. I rejoiced as I also began to think about all those things you wonder while you are pregnant. But I knew I wanted this little being in my life and I felt so amazed and blessed. That's it for now, my fiance is complaing about me being on the computer and him being hungry etc. It is quite difficult to have 10 minutes...as it is I have been interupted at least 3 times. Ahhh...life with a babe!
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#9 of 67 Old 04-03-2005, 08:37 PM
 
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Ahhh...pregnancy cravings. People were always asking me what I craved. When strawberries hit their peak in the season the Co-Op had flats of them for $21. So what did I do? I spent $21 dollars on strawberries! :LOL Now if that isn't a total pregnant move I don't know what is. I ate them for weeks and froze the rest for smoothies. Yum! I also visited our local organic blueberry farm with a pregnant friend. We picked our own berries and then lounged under the bushes and ate at least as many as we eventually paid for. That was a piece of heaven. I was hooked on pesto pasta with salmon for a while...all this good food in the summer. Also I craved naps, swimming in the nearby rivers and visiting my favorite, Moonstone beach. I wanted tuna sandwiches but mostly held out due to Mercury issues (isn't sad what we are doing to this beautiful earth?!) Another craving just popped up, I remember wanting to ride horses when I was about 6 months along. I just had all these visions of riding down the beach in fluid motion with a horse. Once Amaya was born I began craving inari (Japanese rice stuffed in fried tofu), and meat! I've been a fish eating vegetarian for 8 years and just recently have been eating chicken and turkey (free range organic only)...I surprise myself. But, I realize, part of this whole lesson of mothering is to be fluid and to go with the flow of things...to be patient with ourselves and our familes...and to let go if we need to. So I give thanks and enjoy my turkey sandwiches.
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#10 of 67 Old 04-03-2005, 08:54 PM
 
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This is great...Amaya is still sleeping! I read all the postings so far. Each story is beautiful and I am happy to be sharing with "you."
Anticipation is the real kicker of pregnancy. I anticipated so much, and was both rewarded and deeply dissapointed. I had magical dreams, and long sweet days of pregnancy. I gave birth to a healthy baby girl who is the light of my life, and yet her birth was far from what I had anticipated. I assume we will write about birth stories in teh future, so I will save the details for then. However, I will say....
I had amazingly vivid dreams of birthing a baby girl. In each of my birth dreams I was alone witha helper nearby. While they took place in various settiings each was similar in that I calmly pushed her out and watched her emerge from my yoni. As soon as she was born I would bring her up to my chest and marvel at her. The birth always went so smoothly. I feel that through my work as a doula and midwifery studies, and my time spent at births, and my general attitude about birth, that birth is natural and normal and can absolutley be done smoothly and at home for the vast majority of women. When after two nights of contractions, a full 22 hours of active labor, and 7 hours of pushing at home we transported to the local hospital birth center where I pushed out my baby three hours later with the help of a vacum. This was deeply dissapointing as she was not only not born at home, but I was exhausted and didin't watch her birth as I wanted, I was surrounded by nurses and protocol, her cord was cut immediatly and before I could see her she was whisked to a warming table for respiratory work. Not the begining I envisioned for my most precious babe. (Well...I guess I didi go into it a little...I hope you will all read my birth story in its entirety when I write it later). So while some of anticipations about labor where lived...time in the birth tub, being in the comfort of my home, having my loved ones with me, many where not. I've learned that it is quite hard to let go of expectations!
On a brighter note, let me say that the last few weeks of pregnancy were sweet even with the waiting. Amaya Madrone was 16 days past her due date. We spent lots of time at the beach and I would talk to the ocean and feel the tides, we snuggled at home, watched movies, took walks, ate good food. I took naps and slept in (remember that?!) We even collected maple seeds one day while taking a walk to start labor going...they are now sprouting into little trees. Each day was one day closer to meeting our baby, and at the same time one last day of autonomy and couple hood. A truly special time in my life.
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#11 of 67 Old 04-04-2005, 06:33 AM
 
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My first pregnancy test: I was 16. I remember standing in a bathroom of a friend I hardly knew with my boyfriend who wasn't too compassionate about my tears, but hiding his fear too. Panic. I can see it like a strobe light coloring the memory. I'm looking at the stick, but haven't read the directions. I'm not sure what I'm looking for. The directions are in French, as I am a year-abroad student. My French boyfriend is not much help, but somehow we figured it out. Finally... no line, negative. Relief washes over me like a cold shower. I wake up from my fog of panic. Thank God.

In the middle of graduate school. I've been charting for almost two years, and it looks like I don't ovulate, so we ditch the charts, fully expecting not to get pregnant, certainly not planning to get pregnant, but in an unspoken way trying to leave room for the possibility. Two months later, it's a Friday night, and we have no plans. My husband is marvelling at my somehow larger breasts, and I don't mind a bit. Still we're clueless. Suddenly, we get the idea in our heads that it would be fun to go out and get a pregnancy test just for the heck of it. But we wonder about the cost. Is it really worth 10 bucks? What the heck. A half hour later, I'm again trying to read the directions with one eye and watch the lines on the stick with the other. Two lines, what does that mean? We are swept up in a wave of disbelief, awe, pure joy, a cloud that lasted nine months and beyond.
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#12 of 67 Old 04-04-2005, 12:55 PM
 
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Cravings

I was amazed at how different my two pregnancies were in so many ways...not the least of which was what I craved.

My pregnancy with Anna was marked with cravings for bizarre food -- food that I would never consider edible in my non-pregnant state. Orange soda, candy bars, beef boullion, instant soup, broccoli, instant lemonade and lemon drops...none of which were staples of my regular diet. I couldn't live without them, the cravings were so fierce. I couldn't hold down my normal favorites like raw pepper strips. hummus, soy sausage patties, or whole wheat pasta. I just had to have the other stuff.

I was so disgusted by what I craved. Armed with a history of obsessiveness about food and its companion, a ridiculous working knowledge of nutrition, I knew I was sinning against my unborn baby by feeding her all the junk.

It gets worse, though.

Somewhere in the middle of my first trimester, I began having cravings for the ultimate of sins: McDonald's. I must confess to something -- in a past life, I worked at McDonald's. OK, I didn't just work there...I was a manager and I went to the first level of McDonald's school! I had a washed brain full of information about the food at McDonald's. In my adult life, however, I mostly eschewed the selections there. I knew better than to poison myself. Yet, I had to have it.

Chicken breast pieces, hamburgers (usually two at a time), milkshakes, more chicken...lots of chicken fajitas, chicken sandwiches...not only couldn't I stop, I didn't want to eat anything else.

I did have some cravings for Lebanese food later on, but I only had one opportunity to enjoy it, on a trip to Washington, D.C.

When I was pregnant for the second time, everything was different. I craved two things -- sleep and sex...lots of both. I was so tired all day, every day, all I wanted to do was sleep. And, when I slept, all I dreamed of was sex, and it was almost never with my husband! I was horrified, but, like the McDonald's addiction in my first pregnancy, I had to have it.

Unfortunately, my husband was not exactly willing to indulge my "cravings." He would rather have had me asking him to run out to the store for cannoli and cinnamon rolls. It was hard not to find someone to cheat on him with, but I also knew I couldn't defile myself or my baby -- OUR baby. So, I caved in to the craving for sleep as often as I could, and enjoyed satisfying my craving for sex in the safety of my slumber and dreams.
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#13 of 67 Old 04-04-2005, 12:56 PM
 
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It was the winter of 1995, February, and it was as usual, sunny in Las Vegas and my hands shook as I fumbled with the keys on the way into the drugstore. I hoped desperately I wouldn't run into anybody I knew. I was only a week late, that's really not very late so I really couldn't be very pregnant therefore I really shouldn't be very worried.

The test was to give myself assurance.

Of course I wouldn't be pregnant. I never had been before. As always it would be a little scare, so one line would show up and there would be a blank little spot. It would be my first time scared enough over the lateness to actually purchase a test. In the past, I just practiced patience and the blood would eventually flow. This time something was different. Was it because my breasts hurt so badly? Was it because there was some sort of fluttering in my stomach?

I paid for the test, and walked head down through the crowded parking lots and next thing I knew I was in the bathroom reading instructions. Pee, wait. Simple enough. If it's that simple I could not possibly be pregnant. Pregnancy is complicated, or at least this time in my life it would be. How could a simple test reveal such a complex situation? I couldn't hold the two halves of this thought in my mind so I just sat and peed and tried not to think. The cat sat on the counter and watched in great concern.

I set the stick on the white formica countertop, grabbed up the cat and shut the door. We waited on the bed nearby cuddling in the sheets. I petted her and tried to let her purring soothe me. I was a mixture of nervousness and foolish calm denial thinking I was testing for something so impossible, so largely impossible and something that happened to my own mother. How can something impossible also feel inevitable?

It had not yet been the full two minutes, or maybe it had. Maybe it was over two minutes; I don't remember. But I didn't look on the exact two minute mark and so when I saw those two lines standing like soldiers side by side staring up at me ready to march me to my future I didn't believe them. It wasn't the exact required two minutes! I couldn't be pregnant. No, I couldn't be. I sat and shook. I tried to smile to see if I could find even a trace of happy but I felt frozen.

I was going to have to tell him.

Images of babies, diapers, crying hungry mouths flashed through my head and as I tucked the test into my jacket pocket and headed to school hoping to catch him between work and astronomy class I felt a floating and a falling simultaneously, and I wondered if he would stay.
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#14 of 67 Old 04-04-2005, 01:06 PM
 
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Freewrite: Anticipation
April 4, 2005

Anticipation

Ants in my pants
As I wait for to see the results
Almost peed in my pants
When I saw them

Anticipation dreams
While you were growing inside me
Dreams of being capable – or not being capable
Imagining what it will be like to be your mother
Wondering if I will be able, not able

No time for anticipation
You arrive like lightning
Totally without warning
Fast and furious
And wonderful

No time to adjust to each contraction
No time to anticipated what’s coming next
Just pure action
Pure body mechanics
Trusting my body to birth you
Trusting you to birth yourself

Now that you are here
My anticipation, my fear,
Is you coming to harm
Learning to listen to my body, my breasts, my heartbeat
Trusting that it knows
How to anticipate your needs
Your hunger, your sleep cycles, your wet nappies
The twinkles of your eyes

I never anticipated being so happy
Never dreamed the joy you would bring me
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#15 of 67 Old 04-04-2005, 01:12 PM
 
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If I could have something with vinegar I would be okay. We walked the short distance to Blueberry Hill, which was a sunny fifties-style pancake joint two clocks from our apartment. He would get french toast. I usually got the blueberry pancakes. I didn't want to look at a pancake, didn't want to smell them. Maybe...cabbage. Cabbage with vinegar, or maybe...salad. Or something fried. Fried salad with vinegar sauce. That was the only thing that would make me feel better. That was the extent of my morning sickness with Jeremy—it turned instantly to cravings.

Not quite true. I made one food enemy. From the day I found out I was pregnant, it took five years before I could even look at a green bell pepper.

With John I was at Grandmother's house the weekend of Grandfather's funeral. They were barbecuing salmon, my dad standing before the grill as the foulest odor known to pregnant womankind wafted from the cooking fish. I could practically see the fumes dancing across the lawn and encircling the willow tree before entering the tent where I was longing to take a nap. Nothing could have ever smelled worse.

I ran into the house and breathed deeply into a pillow, for the first time thankful for the mildewy moist smell of Grandmother's almost fifty year old house. I watched out the big kitchen window as the children played on the lawn wishing I could be visiting with my cousins but my stomach was holding jellyfish in a blender. I watched and I held Jeremy who wanted to be out there with Grampa. It thought I would never feel better again.
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#16 of 67 Old 04-04-2005, 03:02 PM
 
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I've always loved being pregnant. The anticipation of feeling the heartbeat for the first time, feeling those first little flutterings deep in my belly, watching a perfect little body in black and white floating and stretching and kicking on a screen; all of those things thrilled me to the tips of my fingers. I loved anticipating what each baby would be. Was it a boy, a girl? After two pregnancies that yielded two perfect little people, I anticipated everything with this pregnancy just as much as before. I never expected to look at the ultrasound screen at 10 weeks of pregnancy to discover that there were two of you! I felt my heart beating in my ears, my chest, my toes as I stared in wonder at two tiny little heartbeats. The anticipation swelled in me until it was a force as strong and as loud and as peaceful as the ocean. It built until the day I felt two strong flutters in my belly, and it grew until the day I learned I had a perfect little boy and a perfect little girl growing deep inside me. The anticipation was overpowering as I waited for the day that I would hold each of you. But a feeling of guilt accompanied the anticipation. Guilt that deep inside of me was a sadness that sometimes overshadowed the anticipation. Sadness that I was going through this alone; this wonderful, heartwrenching process of growing new life was something that I could not even share with your father, for he had left. Each time I anticipated a new experience or a milestone, the anticipation was mine alone and that saddened me. And I felt guilty for being sad when my body was doing the miraculous work of creating two new lives. I remember the day the two of you were born, when they cut you from me six weeks early after six and a half weeks of being in bed. I remember the anticipation of waiting to hear each of you cry, and the way my heart soared when you did. I anticipated the moment when your brother and sister would meet the two of you for the first time, but the looks in each of their eyes when they held you far surpassed the anticipations of my imagination. Under it all though was the sadness that he had chosen not to be there, and the guilt that I could not just be in the moment without the sadness. Months later, I still anticipate every day with my 4 blessings. I anticipate what each of you will do or say or learn that day. And slowly, peacefully the sadness in my heart has been quieted and all I can see is the light of each of your faces and the anticipation of spending the rest of my life watching each of you, knowing each of you, learning from each of you.
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#17 of 67 Old 04-04-2005, 06:01 PM
 
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Morning Sickness

Both of my pregnancies were model pregnancies. I had no morning sickness, the only heartburn I suffered is if my stomach was empty. this is laughable to me as I had no trouble always fillinf my stomache to avoid the problem :LOL

There were those well meaning people in my life that warned me of all the problems to come with pregancy... there were the "normal" discomforts" that each one afforeded me, but I have placed all this to simply the changes a womans body sees when carrying another life.

As the preganancies progressed...there were the moments of not being able to eat certain textures- steak being one- thatwas a dissappointment. I love food so any nausea at the later part was sad(giggle) Both times I indulged in hotwings and fudge quite happily. the "baby weight is sometimes leaving me thinking morning sickness may not have been such a bad deal.

Well this free write has come to an end. In the midst of 2 kids paging me.. . On to the next. I love these opportunities to write. It has been years.

Stacia
Mom of
Aidan 3 & Owen 1




Cravings

The first pregnancy I found myelf absolutley living on hotwings and fudge!!! The second was hotwings and cinnamon rolls Dealing with the cravings was an interesting journey, as I live in a part of the country that has very long cold winters. Just right for the sport of "couch potatoing". Being Canadian withan irish,english,scottish,metis heritage- food is a very prominant part of the social fabric and the family! My mother is an amazing cook as is the nother-in-law. Both have taught me thier "art" As a result the cravings that came were easily accomadated. Luckily I moved more the second time around , as Aidan turned 2 seven days before Owen was born.

After the babies were born the cravings persisted- of course breastfeeding and eating super hot wings did not work. Not even chocolate. So I aimed for new things to stiate the nagging need to give into the cravings.

Well this free write is now at an end for me as I have a tired soldier looking to nurse and nap. This is fun . The third freewrite to come as soon as I can steal a free 10 minutes. This is proving to be quiet self nurturing.


Stacia
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#18 of 67 Old 04-04-2005, 07:38 PM
 
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Anticipation

Well the third choice of the freewrite for me. It is challenging to get 10 minutes..butoooooit feels great to write. Apologies for the spelling

Anticipation is a word that evokes all kinds of visuals in my head.
Anticipaton in the "trying" to get pregnant. Anticipation with the tests. Anticipation with the upcoming birth.
Anticipation also brings me face to face with anxiety on a certain level.

As I watch my boys grow and develope the anticipation takes other forms.....first step, first word, first haircut, first tooth..........
Then as they grow, first day of preschool, first time at a playgroup, first time witha sitter. Anticipation has so many faces for me.

Anticipation carries alot of positive in my world. I use it to keep me in tune with my boys and husband........it can grab a life of its own if I let the anxiety face show. That's when I use the anticipation to take a deep breath and go "with the flow". Many times- easier said than done.

My anticipation is now leading me to my crying babe looking for a snuggle and reassurance. I get into the writing and get lost. This is much more relaxing than I "anticipated"


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Aidan3&Owen1
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#19 of 67 Old 04-04-2005, 11:38 PM
 
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Anticipation

I had been in labor since 5:30 Sunday night. This was a homebirth, so there was no anxiety about leaving for the hospital, only the anxiety (which was greater than it should have been thanks to my complex about asking for help) of whether to call the midwife.

Julia was there, it was about 6:30 in the morning. She had arrived about 15 minutes eariler. I was in the warm tub, fascinated by how much better I felt laboring in the water, and promising aloud to get in sooner "next time."

We were all anticipating Simon's arrival...me, Bryan, Julia, her assistant Kim, and Fannie, our Bradley teacher and dear friend, who was on hand to film the labor and birth for us. My girl Anna was upstairs, awake, with my friend Lisa and her daughter Abigail.

At around 6:45, Julia checked me in the water and let me know that, once again, my cervix wasn't going all the way to 10 cm. She offered to pull it aside for me. I got out, onto the bed, and let her push against a contraction. I couldn't wait to get back into the water.

My body roared on the next contraction. I was scared. I looked at Julia and asked, "is it time for me to push now?" She smiled and said, "you tell me." I knew my body had just done it -- pushed, all on its own. Julia told me to give it all I had on the next contraction.

"He's coming out -- he's coming out!" I felt Simon's head coming out of me. I was squatting on the side of the tub, holding onto the wall and pushing Simon out. Julia reached to feel for a cord, and there was none to feel...a good sign. I was standing up, squatting back down, not able to be still all of a sudden. Julia asked if I was still pushing, and I was -- hard.

"Get out of the water sweetie, I need you on your back now." Julia meant business. "Fannie, turn off that camera, I need you."

Bryan helped me scale the 3-foot tub wall with Simon's head between my legs. I wasn't thinking, just doing what Julia said. I got down onto my back and all I could think about was whether I was lying in any of the little meconium pools on the floor. Everyone else had something else on their minds -- getting Simon out.

Kim and Bryan each held a knee up to my ears. Fannie says she was stimulating my nipples, but I have no recollection of that. Fannie and Julia were saying times back and forth to each other. Julia was working but I have no memory of that, either, just the memory of her saying, "push like hell, Diana, we need to get this baby out." I did as she said.

With a warm gush and a pretty big bowel movement (I think), our anticipation was over, but it had also just begun. Simon Joseph was born after over three minutes of shoulder dystocia.
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#20 of 67 Old 04-04-2005, 11:46 PM
 
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Ah, the first time I bought way too many pregnancy tests. I wanted to be pregnant so badly. After 4 years of marriage, I knew it was time. Babies were blossoming up around me, and I knew I wanted to be next. Me. Me. Me.

Who knows what the grand total was. I bought them all the time. The microsecond my period was late, I reached for a test. I took them at my house, on vacation, at my mom's house. I took them alone. I hid my secret. As the months passed, as announcements of pregnancy turned to annoucements of babies, I still tested. Testing had become an obsession.

And every month, the emotions. The joyful trying, the eager anticipation, the impatient waiting -- the blood. The last time I tested as a non-pregnant woman, I was finally worn down. I peed on the stick, just like always. As I wiped myself, front to back, there, on the white paper was b-l-o-o-d. I cried. What insult to my already injured heart! That is what stopped it. Surely, I will feel different, right? I will never take another one until I feel different. And I was as good as my word.

Months later, I was at a friend's house. She had also failed to get pregnant. We would often commiserate. While I clung to hope, she and her husband had adopted three young siblings, the youngest 3 months old. We would talk about not getting pregnant. I would imagine kid-napping her baby and skipping the country. How could I persuade my husband? What would I tell my family? More and more I thought about adoption. Did I want to be pregnant? Or did I want to be a mother?

Then came the switch: I found myself thinking more about adoption than about getting pregnant.

As we prepared paperwork and researched adoption programs, I was finally feeling good, productive. While waiting for phone calls, papers, meetings, I found myself waiting for something else: My period.

I took a borrowed test from my friend, as she had not let them go yet. I was with her as we watched those faint lines come to life. She was just as excited as I was, and even though I had day-dreamed about abducting her baby, she was truly a friend to me.

One word to describe me? Overjoyed.

The next time I took a pregnancy test, my Jacob was 17 months old. We had laid down to take a nap. I awoke with a fierce hunger in my belly like I hadn't eaten protein in a week, and the smell of Pine-Sol from the kitchen where my husband was mopping practically choked me as I ran to the bathroom.

Where was I in my cycle? Am I late? My breasts were more tender with my nursling, too, I remembered. The next day I bought a test: Two pink lines. With what we went through trying to get pregnant with Jacob, I had even toyed with the idea of not using birth control after his birth. What if we had another journey like that ahead of us? Instead, after just 2 months of not being careful, we found ourselves in an expectant state.

One word to describe me? Relieved.

The third time, I am ashamed to say, was not as ideal. In fact, the third time, I could have skipped the test, I already knew the answer.

My last period was February 20, 2005. Since Isaac's arrival I had successfully used Fertility Awareness Method as a means of preventing pregnancy. During the three+ years since his birth, I have easily kept track of my cycles sans a calendar, even.
First week, period.
Next week, safe.
Next week, not safe, wait until cervical mucus goes away.
Once dry, safe, wait for period to start.
But I got mixed up, once, and apparently once is all it took.

Blame it on my birthday. Blame it on Isaac getting the stomach flu. Blame it on whatever, but I conceived March 7th, still thinking I had a period the prior week. Even though 2 days prior I sat on the toilet thinking, "Why am I so mucusy? I just had my period last week?" And a day before conception, "Why am I twingy? I just had my period last week?" The actual dawn of the missing week did not hit me until after we had communed together. I did not even use the toilet first, I sat stark up in bed and said, "Wait a minute..." as I scrambled to the kitchen calendar.

The missing week feel out between February 20th and March th -- somewhere, maybe not even on the pages between the numbers, but somewhere in my mind, it had vanished -- poof -- gone, to reappear only after the army of billions had been released to the One.

I knew it, I knew it immediately, even before contact had been made to spark a universe of changes inside my body: I knew it.

That's why I waited exactly two weeks after my period was supposed to show up to test. By that time I had all the symptoms, I could have used the money to put gas in the car or dinner on the table. But no, I bought exactly: a pregnancy test, a Hallmark Card, Dryer's Vanilla Ice Cream, and a package of Easter Peeps -- something for all of us!

I pulled my husband into the bathroom. For the first time ever, we were going to test together, but I knew this time I could not face it alone. I peed, we watched. Before the liquid even seemed to pass through the window the first line magically appeared. "I knew it," I told him, somberly. "Sorry I knocked you up," he said, smiling, gently.

It will be okay. There are worse things, afterall, than being happily married and pregnant. It just was not my timing, and that is what I am coming to terms with.

Word to describe this? I can't do it it one. Guilt, for not being simply elated. Sadness, at putting some things aside for a while. Fear, that something may happen. Ache, for that spot between my chin and my shoulder that throbs when I think of nestling a tiny baby there. Peace, the place I want to be.
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#21 of 67 Old 04-05-2005, 03:37 AM
 
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First, the anticipation of writing, sharing with you other seeking mamas.

Now that Isaiah is 12 weeks old, I think of how I anticipated him and could not possibly imagine the realness of his being. I tried to be present with our pregnancy. I loved nearly every moment of it. I loved being treated like a queen by friends, family and strangers. I loved letting my belly stick out and feeling like that was what it was supposed to do rather than something I needed to minimize or hide. I loved having something to focus on, a higher purpose as I weaved through my busy days. My beloved dog, Belly, and I would go on long walks and I would now sing to her and the being inside me.

Isaiah was conceived while I had a cold between two yoga workshop weekends. The weekend before he was conceived, I spent the weekend doing anusara yoga with John Friend, its charismatic originator. I was in San Francisco, my former hometown, and I thrilled at the invigorating yoga as well as running around with dear friends and shopping for things I couldn't get in the rural town in which I now live--wine, clothes and cds. After buying 4 skirts, 2 pairs of pants, and a couple of shirts, I knew I'd get pregnant and grow out of them quickly. Sure enough, my husband and I connected on tax day while I had a cold and felt decidedly unromantic but pretty certain the time was ripe. A couple of days later, I attended a meditation workshop in Ashland which focused on opening the heart. I felt so good during these times, even with the cold. I felt alive, open, optimistic. At 37, after years of yearning for a baby without even knowing why, I felt myself letting go of the stress of striving and discovering an equinimity in just being.

Just a couple of weeks later, the test was positive and we were off and running into the marvelous adventure of parenthood.

My two goals for the year of 2004 were to get pregnant and to dance in our community samba parade. With Isaiah in my belly, I learned to dance and mastered the moves all summer long. We shared the experience, two dancing bodies in one. I thought learning the rhythms would help him as he came into his own body. More important, I had so much fun! I loved being the pregnant dancer in the parade, the one people noticed as being the cute, pregnant dancer. My full belly helped me feel more confident in my dancing; for one of the first times in my life, I felt like I was good enough as exactly as I was and that I didn't need to fit my idea of a "great dancer." for the most part, pregnancy helped liberate me from my ideas of what I should get done in a day, how I should feel, how I should look, how much weight I should gain and allowed me to surrender to the shape of the day. What preparation for motherhood! The art of surrender.

I was aware during pregnancy that I couldn't possibly anticipate motherhood. I haven't spent a lot of time with babies and didn't feel confident in my parenting skills, but I also trusted that some instinct would kick in. This experience of having Isaiah is unanticipable. How could I know the tenderness of watching him learning to smile, giggle in his sleep, knit his hands together, light up when he sees me.

I have to go now, but I want to add more on this subject.
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#22 of 67 Old 04-05-2005, 06:49 AM
 
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I was 19, living in a student flat. I was sharing a room with a guy, one I thought was my best friend. It was only temporary, I knew that, I had no illusions about the relationship.
Three days after my period was due, I knew. I didn't need to take the test, I just knew. My friends urged me to take the test, they went with me to the pharmacy to buy it. The lady behind the counter suggested I buy 2, just to be sure, so I did. I think she knew the situation, me coming in with two friends to buy a pregnancy test, but she didn't pity me, and I appreciated that.
I took it home, did what I had to do. We waited at the kitchen table, my friends and me, sitting waiting to see if my life was going to change. When the two lines appeared, I laughed. I wasn't laughing because I was happy, it was more of a hysterical laugh. I think back and wonder 'Why did I laugh?' the fact is I couldn't help it, it just came out and I couldn't stop it. They looked at me strangely, like they thought I had planned it and was happy, sometimes I wonder if they still think I planned it.
The next decision - do I keep the baby? Everyone thought it was a tough decision for me, but it wasn't. I knew from the moment I found out (well, from the moment I stopped laughing hysterically) that I couldn't abort this baby. It was a part of me, it belonged to me.
How do I tell my mother? I ended up on the train one night, going to her house because I couldn't wait any longer to tell her. It was the hardest thing I've ever done, I was shaking and wringing my hands as I told her, I felt like such a disapointment. She was amazing. We cried together, she hugged me and told me it wasn't the end of the world, and I could move back in with her if I needed to.
Now, how to tell the father? I knew what his attitude would be from conversations we'd had when we were just friends, so I thought I was prepared. I wasn't. He called the baby a sexually transmitted disease, he said I wouldn't be able to look after it, he said it was better off dead than with a single mother. I told him I was keeping the baby, and he walked out the door, never to be seen again.
I ended up moving back with mother not long after.
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#23 of 67 Old 04-05-2005, 11:59 AM
 
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I told Jeremy the awful truth one day. I said, “You are composed of over fifty percent peanut butter cups.” Amazing that I would admit that, when my enforcement of good eating habits drives me to make whole wheat flour cookies and secretly throw away--or, okay, I admit it, eat—handfuls of their Halloween candy.

It was peanut butter cups and egg rolls. I couldn't eat enough egg rolls, and they had to have sweet and sour sauce. Oh, and salad with lots of avocado. And how could I forget strawberries?

Just thinking about that summer in Vegas when I was pregnant with Jeremy I crave egg rolls all over again. When I was on bedrest and dependent on everyone else for my food (damn that What to Eat when You're Expecting book!) and all there was to watch on TV was the O.J. trial—on every channel—my mom came to visit for a week and she would secretly buy me peanut butter cups. I must have eaten at least a pack of them every day.

I wonder how much of our cravings indicate something about or influence our unborn children. He loves peanut butter. No, scrap that. He doesn't like vinegar, which was a common theme throughout my cravings during that pregnancy. My second pregnancy was less intense. I felt better, didn't have cravings in the same desperate way. My second son is fond of vinegar though. Maybe I saved that for him?
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#24 of 67 Old 04-05-2005, 12:31 PM
 
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Upon finding out I was pregnant the only evidence I had was a missed period and two lines on a peed-on stick. I wanted more. I needed more in order to believe it was even possible. Anything could make a line on a stick, couldn't it? I had never taken a pregnancy test before so I had nothing to compare to.

I looked in a book and saw that the baby was barely bigger than a grain of rice. I looked at the photo of the grape next to it and thought, “Oh! She will be the size of a grape next week! I can't wait!” And next to that was a medium-sized strawberry. I couldn't imagine having a baby as large as a strawberry so I fixated on the grape, anticipating the growing. And then eventually—I could hardly fathom this—my belly would start to grow. And then I would feel the baby kick.

The baby—not the grain of rice—and the blood-wave shock would ride through me again. I just can't believe this is happening. I longed for more concrete proof, something to satisfy my senses.

A week after I found out I was pregnant, spots of blood appeared on my underwear. I looked at them in horror and it was then I realized how very much I wanted this baby, how much I had grown to love this abstract being in just one week, how I had begun to embrace the idea of being a mother Now rather than the Someday I'd always envisioned.

I ran to the university to meet my fiance after his class because I didn't know what else to do. He, although shocked like I was, had jumped whole-heartedly into the expectant father role. He held my hand as I dropped tears on the sidewalk on the way back to our little apartment.

We went to urgent care where they said my hormone levels were normal but that I'd most likely lost the baby so the levels would drop and I may pass some tissue. The next day I bled some more and the next night I thought it was over. I waited for my aversion to green peppers to fade. I waited for my breasts to stop hurting. The symptoms hung on and I mourned as I sat not eating at the table. I couldn't wait to feel normal again. It wasn't fair to feel pregnant when I wasn't and I had to wonder if my resistance to believing could have caused my body to refuse to do it's job or if my running that afternoon could have made things worse.

The next week we went to my parents' house, an eight hour drive. We had planned on telling them about the baby on that trip and I remained tired and teary and just wanted sleep and lots of avocados in my salad. I was so frustrated with my body. On an impulse when we were at Raley's getting groceries we threw a pregnancy test in the cart so we could put an end to this wondering, and when we went back to the house I hid in the bathroom and peed on the stick. He held me as I sat with my arms wrapped around myself rocking, anticipating the one lonely blue line staring up at me. There were two.

I breathed again. I was going to be a mother.

That night we shared the news with my parents and my cousin and I laughed at their shock as I shared the anticipation of new life.
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#25 of 67 Old 04-05-2005, 06:48 PM
 
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Next month my oldest daughter will turn nine years old. As I recently pondered the fact that I have been a mother for almost a decade, I tried to reflect on what I hope I have learned. My first thought is that I hope I have learned how precious time is. I remember thinking as a child that a day took forever, but a decade??!! That seemed more like a thousand years. But as I look back over the last decade, I realize that it has gone by in the blink of an eye. I still distinctly remember the day that Abby was born and the way that she wailed as she made her way into the world. I look at her now with her long legs and her sweet yet knowlegeable smile and I can't help but ask myself how it has gone so fast. I hope that as I have watched her grow that I have learned the value of the time that we spend with those we love. I also hope that I have learned patience and how to serve others. I remember that impatient self-serving 19 year old that I was when I first became a mother, and as I look at the mother of four that I am years later, I hope that I am more patient and more willing to serve those around me. Motherhood teaches us that living deserves patience, and it teaches us that we should savor it when things move slower than we would like. It teaches us that in serving our children we ultimately take care of ourselves and our futures. I also hope that I have learned about what is not important. I don't have much when it comes to material possessions, but I would rather have my four kids than anything else in the world. This last decade as a mother has shown me that the things that this world values are just things, but not a single one of those things could ever replace my Abby, my Maxwell, my Malaika or my Isaiah. I look at my precious girl that is just hovering on the brink of becoming a woman and I treasure every minute that I have had with her. I look at her with her brothers and her sister and I can't wait to see what the next decade of motherhood will hold. I look forward to everything that it will teach me.
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#26 of 67 Old 04-05-2005, 07:18 PM
 
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One day she is going to leave. I'll stand on the front porch, my hand stuck in a wave, watching her back out of the driveway. Since we bought this house I've imagined her leaving from it. The driveway that will lead her anywhere, everywhere. "To college. Harvard, of course," I laugh with my husband. "To her own family," he says with a smile. "To the Army," we both frown with worry. I see the path of her life rolling out before her. I can't stop it or even slow it down. I know it will take her on a wonderful journey, and I hope to see some of it with her. Her journey starts here. For now, we share the path together and I wont miss a moment of it. The first time she watched a flower turn into a strawberry. When she saw letters on paper and recognized her own name. How she made up her own joke and it was honestly funny. I want to be with her always. Today we snuggle on the couch and she nurses. I look out the window, up the driveway, and think of the world that is waiting for her. I can hear her sweet voice calling, "Bye, Mom!" as she waves then hits the accelerator. I kiss her forehead, hold her a little tighter and whisper, "not today."

Angie, mama to Anna '01, Mia '04, and Leif '08 and angel1.gif '03  angel1.gif'07 angel1.gif'12.Expecting someone new in 7/13! pos.gif

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#27 of 67 Old 04-05-2005, 09:52 PM
 
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When I saw the second pink line, I cried for an hour. I was sure my life was over. How was I to know that you'd make my life more vibrant and joyful than I could yet imagine? I was twenty-two years old, fresh from a wedding and a honeymoon, and looking forward to twelve long, languid, sensual months getting to know my husband in new and exciting ways before even starting to think about the "b" word.

My mom always said I was born old, and most of the time, I agree. But I've never felt as young, never doubted my maturity, never lost faith in my competence than the way that I did at that moment, with my back against the bathroom wall and a toilet at my feet, staring at a plastic stick heralding the end of my life as I knew it.

But it was a beginning, of course. The beginning of one life that would be the catalyst for the formation of so many new ones -- my life as a mother, my husband's life as a father, my parents' life as grandparents, my sister's life as an aunt . . . you redefined life for all these people before you were even aware of your own.

And now, look at you. They say that sugar and spice and everything nice are the exclusive purview of baby girls, but you, my boy, are ten times as sweet as I ever was. Always ready with a smile, a hug, a caress, a giggle . . . perfect strangers stop to marvel over your happy, radiant face wherever we go.

In the eighteen months since I stared at that stick with a sinking feeling in my gut, I have become a new person. A person who knows more, cares more, does more. A person who loves more. A person who keeps an old pee-soaked plastic stick with two pink stripes in a special spot so every once in a while, she can look at that stick and remember how far she's come -- and how truly she is blessed.
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#28 of 67 Old 04-06-2005, 12:41 AM
 
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The purchase

I can't recall whether it was December or January, but I was big into the "online freebies" and I spent $10 at Drugstore.com on a package of condoms and a pregnancy test. A friend of mine laughed and told me if we use the condoms, we won't have need for the test. We never did open those condoms. February 19 I got a positive test, I was pregnant with my second son. I remember putting my 14 month old son down for a nap, taking the test just before jumping into the shower, and getting out after a few minutes to read it. I showered in happiness. It was an unplanned pregnancy, and I was nervous about telling my husband. I was going to a party with my parents that afternoon, and he was at work, I called to tell him before I left. I told him - Please don't be mad. Even knowing we created this new life together I was so worried he would be angry. And he was, but quickly got used to the idea of another little one.

I had hoped to have my children closer together but could never talk my husband into it. I really wanted a boy. They would be 22 months apart, and it just seemed right to have brothers. In October when he was born I delighted in the phrase "my boys" I still have that EPT. He'll be five years old this year, he's getting a baby for his birthday.
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#29 of 67 Old 04-06-2005, 12:41 PM
 
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My first bicycle arrived on Christmas when I had just turned five. I remember sitting on it before Christmas “just to try it out” they said and then there it was on Christmas morning, with tissue paper draped over it sitting in front of the Christmas tree watching over the other packages. I knew Santa brought it but I knew I had seen it before and these two mutually exclusive thoughts produced a foggy confusion in the back of my head that was quickly displaced by my excitement.

After the rest of the gifts were opened—I forget what they were—I went outside to try riding it. It had training wheels. It was a cute little thing, a red Schwinn, but when I did learn to ride without the training wheels this happy little bike didn't get to perform. It was Michelle's bike I used, because the frame was a bit smaller, lower, and I felt more confident on it. I remember pedaling fast trying to keep it up with no wobbles. I remember Michelle letting go of the back, that little loop behind the banana seat (didn't all bikes have banana seats back then?) and I was off. Once I had her bike mastered, I switched back to my own which suddenly didn't seem so big.

Somehow I eventually outgrew that bike and got the blue one from Kelly. Not the pink bike I'd hoped for but plain and blue and it was dependable and very fast. We'd ride on the dirt path behind the high school, flying over little hills and splashing down into the mud, making stripes up our backs. I learned to fly on the blue bike.
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#30 of 67 Old 04-06-2005, 12:52 PM
 
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I remember very little about my tenth birthday. Three things stick out in my mind. They made a big deal out of the fact that I now had “double digits”. I had to ask myself why that mattered so much and try to convince myself it did and that I was somehow more grown up because of it.

The other thing I remember was that Grandmother gave me a suitcase. It was small, yellow and pink floral and well it was a suitcase. A strange gift, I thought. I liked it but I wanted toys. Didn't know what in particular but I wanted toys. I'd probably just be bored with them but on your birthday shouldn't a girl get to open a present with a toy inside? A doll maybe? Grandmother's presents were always so serious and practical. Good quality. But never Fun. This is something it took much more than double digits to come to appreciate!

The last part of my tenth birthday memory is standing in front of Grandmother's night table, holding my suitcase, looking at the phone. This was the phone I had picked up and tried to dial the past. I thought maybe it could work like a time machine, I guess.

Once, knowing we had lived in Sonoma until I was four and that our phone number would have had to be a different one than the one we currently had in Napa, I asked my mom what our old number was. What would happen if I called it, I wondered. Would my mom answer it five years ago? I tried it. A strange lady's voice answered and next thing I knew I was getting in trouble.
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