Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Unexpecting: The Eve of Battle

I've never been very good with pain. Not that I've had to deal with a whole lot of it in my lifetime-- I've never really broken a bone, had major surgery, stitches, or lost any extremities.

I do hav
e a memory of soaking in the bath tub for hours, anticipating the pain of pulling off what must have been 30 band aids lining my little 6yr old leg. Our first grade class had been out in the school yard playing kick ball, and one of the monstrous, mature 2nd graders tripped me into the gravel, scraping up my legs into what my little mind believed was a deforming injury. The school nurse picked gravel out of my gaping wound with her 6inch long pink finger nails, and fixed me up with every band aid in the box.

After a shameful am
ount of time, my parents finally convinced me that I had to remove those band aids-- even if it pulled off some of my leg hairs & hurt worse than the original injury. I sat in that tub soaking, with tears in my eyes, sick with fear over the impending pain. From what I hear, I was still crying "Don't do it, I'm not ready!" long after the band aids had been removed.

Like I said, I'm not so good with pain-- or the anticipation of it.

Throughout my pregnancy, I've wondered what it would be like to sit & wait for labor to come on, knowing that at any moment, I will experience the worse pain of my entire life. I envisioned those band aids waiting to be ripped off. Even more than that, though, the image that came to my mind was from Lord of the Rings. There's a scene when all the men are preparing for an epic battle (one of many), knowing that their odds are hopeless, that they are outnumbered, and that most of them will die. They sharpen their swords, put on their armor, and wait all night for the orcs to come.

I wondered if the coming of my due date would feel like that. I wondered if I could start the epidural a few days before I go into labor, just to make sure. I wondered how someone like me could actually make it through an ordeal like child birth. From what I hear, it kind of hurts.

Surprisingly, though, as I sit here on my due date, I feel no fear. I don't know what has gotten into me, but I am actually hoping for contractions to start (I know, I know-- once they do, I will change my mind... but there's no turning back then). I'm not under any delusion that it will be easy, quick, or painless. I'm pretty sure it will be the hardest thing I've ever done. I suppose the same hormones that have made me cranky, nauseated, irrational, sleepless, etc. are also injecting in me some insane courage, strength or carelessness that my cautious self has never known.

This afternoon, once we realized that we were not making a trip to the hospital, Chris & I took the pup down to the beach, where it was strangely warm, sunny & beautiful. We walked for miles, watching the dog ooze joy while splashing in the waves, and took a deep breath. After a while, we sat in the heated sand and prayed together-- prayed for our delivery, for our little boy, for God to be a part of all of this. As we prayed, two dolphins jumped out of the water, higher than I've ever seen in the wild. It was so beautiful, it was almost cliche. I felt full, content, refreshed-- anything but the fear & anticipation I thought I would have.

I can't explain the sudden calm & confidence as I stare down something as intense as child birth, but I'll take it, nonetheless.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Unexpecting: First Sight

I can remember the first time I laid eyes on Chris. I saw him from across the crowded ball room-- sparks flew, heart beats quickened, and thought to myself, "I've got to meet Ryan's friend."

Sadly, w
ithin about 30 seconds, I decided that he was a twelve year old, trapped in a college student's body, and was embarrassed that I had even been attracted to him. Oh, and the crowded ball room was also an ugly conference room in an outdated hotel, filled with loud, hyperactive college students. Not quite your Cinderella moment. It wasn't until two years later that I lay awake in my bed, realizing that I was in love with Chris Kernaghan, and it would be another three years after that until I actually married him.

Sometimes Love at First Sight takes a long time to develop.

Now, I'm told that I am about to experience a love like I have never known before. They say that all the pain, exhaustion, and trauma of labor (yikes!) simply evaporates the moment that little bundle of joy hits your arms. It's difficult to imagine.

When I first saw those two pink little lines on the home pregnancy test, I didn't feel much-- except for maybe a slight "Oh God, what did I just get myself into?". I assumed that in nine months of pregnancy, I would develop a love, excitement & bond with the little critter growing inside of me. But, although there have been moments of connection & tenderness, for the most part, I would still say that it all feels pretty surreal.

The thought that in a few days time, I will experience an insane "First Sight" kind of love seems hard to fathom. It took me years to fall in love with Chris, and I'm told that, within a blink of an eye, my entire life & identity with change-- that somewhere inside of me is a capacity to love something like I've never loved anything before. Where is that, I wonder? Where does it come from, and how does something so intense sprin
g up in an instance?

As my discomfort increases and I tick off the days until my due date (which I'm told is only a time line for disappointment, when you crawl your way right past it), I have to remind myself that I'm not waiting to be un-pregnant-- I'm actually going to have a child. It still makes my head spin.

I tried so hard to keep my feet on the ground when, after my years of waiting, I finally snagged that guy I saw from across the crowded "ballroom". Sadly, I have to admit that I was a ridiculous mess. I was smitten, twitterpated. It was disgusting. It was wonderful. And so I apologize in advance for the obsessive Romeo & Juliet fog that I am about to enter. From what I hear, that's just the way is goes with Love at First Sight.