Friday, November 27, 2009

The Nicest Time of Year

I love the stretch from Thanksgiving to New Year's. Great food, good friends, family, happy decorations, and if we are really, really lucky, the first snowfall. It's just such a happy time. This year, we are also blessed to have the joy of being surrounded by family and friends who are so excited about the baby, two more baby showers tucked in the next month, and the anticipation of the baby arriving mid-January. It is such an exciting time. I am roundly content. That is, when I am not completely freaking out.

A baby is coming to live in our house in less than two months. Have I mentioned that we are STILL renovating? Renovating as in I still have raw sheetrock and a new heating system that is only half-installed and floors that still need refinishing. T. has promised me that the work will be done by Christmas. And in the meantime? What is left of the furnishings in the house have to be packed up and moved out into the garage so that we can have the floor refinishers in all at once to sand and refinish. We have moved out a lot of the furniture, but there is still loads more to go, and I will certainly be no help in moving anything at this point.

Then, there is the fact that I have no idea what to do with a baby. I have books, but I can't seem to make myself read them. I don't know why. . .it just seems tedious, and it makes me more nervous. Cavewomen didn't have books, and the human species seems to have evolved. Plus, I keep talking to women who had their children 50 or 60 years ago, and they always pooh-pooh modern parenting, with its gadgets and rules. "My kids turned out just fine," they say, "and we drank and smoked through our whole pregnancies, and let them sleep on their stomachs." Fair point, although I of course follow ALL of the rules. I am hopeful that I will just be able to figure it out, but I'm also not sure this is the best strategy. It is also completely contrary to how I do just about everything else in my life. This gives me angst.

I have also started to worry about the baby. Will she be okay? Will anything be wrong? Will something bad happen to her during labor? I want her to be okay. I can't seem to keep myself from worrying about her.

Then, there is the concept of what our lives will look like with a baby. I am having a hard time imagining the changes. I sort of picture that our lives will look like they do now, but with better scheduling practices and more joy. But what if I'm wrong? I have come to loathe the people, who are mercifully few, who say things like "your life will never be the same." It always sounds so hateful and ominous. There are so many things that have changed my life irrevocably--choosing to live where we do, grad school, my choice of career--things that have changed ME in such a fundamental way that there is no going back. Yet, no one has ever felt the need to warn me about the ramifications of my choices, as a few have during my pregnancy. I particularly love the people who talk about lack of sleep, as though this is somehow world-ending. I frequently go through periods where I don't sleep much. Most of it is stress-induced and job-related. I don't blog about what I do for work, as part of maintaining the anonymity I prize, but if people saw and did the things that I see and do professionally, they wouldn't sleep much, either. I suspect that dealing with the sleep cycle of a newborn is going to be much like what my life is like as I deal with a professional crisis. I do know life will change, and I do know there will be hard times, but I don't consider these bad things, because if we did, we wouldn't have done this, obviously. But it's the not knowing that gets to me--it's all such a big question mark.

Then, there is labor. I am really hung up on having a positive birth experience. And by "positive birth experience," I mean that I would like to live, I would like my baby to live, I would like people to be nice to me, and I don't want anyone to cut me open in any way, shape, or form. I am pretty flexible on everything else. But again, it's the not knowing--I can't imagine the pain, or the issues that might come up, or how the doctor will be, or which doctor I'll get, or whether the nurses will listen to me about how I feel about narcotics, etc. (For the record, I HATE narcotics. They make me violently ill EVERY time.) I know this is my control-freakishness manifesting itself. The fact that labor and birth are inherently out of my control makes me stress.

And finally, I am sort of on pins and needles about what will happen with this fabulous job that I so desperately want, and whether it will work out. I will be devastated if I don't get it, but I am also worried about GETTING it. Last night, I lay awake for two hours in the middle of the night (see? can't sleep) wondering whether it would even be a good idea for me to take it. After all, our house will soon be just as we've dreamed for the last two years of gut renovations. We'll have a new baby. Family and friends are nearby. T's business is doing well here. Am I completely crazy for even considering taking a challenging new position in a far away place at this point in my life? There are some great things about it, though--T. would definitely be able to be a stay-at-home dad, our child would grow up a world-traveler, with all of the benefits that entails, we would have an interesting and meaningful life. It feels crazy sometimes, though, to want this.

I am so blessed to be in this position at this time, though. We are so blessed to have our family and friends, and to have all of these good things happening to us. It is truly a season of celebration, even with all my little worries squished in there.


underOvr (aka The U) said...

Hi Quennie,

Just wanted to introduce myself and wish you and your family a happy holiday and a wonderful new year.

I agree, this is the nicest time of year


Lollipop Goldstein said...

I cracked up over this and it was also sobering: "And by "positive birth experience," I mean that I would like to live, I would like my baby to live, I would like people to be nice to me"

I think the thing is that it's hard to truly prepare. You can read the books, but without the child in front of you to practice on, I don't think the lessons will absorb. And so much of that is simply learned on the job. I think your life will change in two ways--one will be out of your control and the other will be your own personal reshaping of things. So that should bring some comfort--that yes, there is change, but so much of it comes from within and is therefore embraced.

Jendeis said...

Here from Mel's Ungame. So sorry to hear about the terrible dive experience. Wishing you a happy holiday season.

JamieD said...

This ~is~ a great time of year. I love looking outside at the cold weather while I'm bundled up in the house with the fire and Christmas tree!

For the first 3/4 of my pregnancy, labor and delivery never crossed my mind. I guess I never really thought I would get to that part. But that last month, I was a wreck. I begged my doctor to do anything she had to to make sure I took home a live baby.

When Skeeter was born and they put him in my arms, all those other worries melted away. It was the most amazing feeling - I can't wait for you to be there.

~Jess said...

I have yet to pick up a parenting book. We very much go with the mentality that we do what feels right. As far as things "never being the same again"...I don't get why people say it like it's a bad thing. Somethings will be the same, somethings won't....just like any other change in life.

I have to second your motion for this being the nicest time of year: I love it!

Magpie said...

Here by way of the Nonlinear Girl -

Everyone is different, so one can't give advice, but you'll know what to do with the baby when the time comes. Good luck!