One year ago today I found out I was pregnant. It had been like any other Tuesday, except it felt like my body was going haywire and I was devouring bag after bag of salt and vinegar chips. I came home from work that evening and whipped up some veggie enchiladas. James handed me a box of pregnancy tests and told me to take one. I took one, but it malfunctioned. It gave no indication if it was positive or negative, so I took it as a sign that it was negative and finished making dinner. I finally took the other one awhile later, and as you all know by now, it was positive. I gave a shriek of terror. I cried. I jumped for joy. I started shaking. I laughed. I started thinking about college tuition in 20 years. I cried again. And then I cried for the next five months, mainly while lying on the bathroom floor after throwing my guts up.
I couldn't even begin to fathom holding my own baby. A baby was all I had ever wanted, yet I was in complete denial about my pregnancy until I was sent to the hospital a week later after failing to keep down even a sip of water for days. When I had my first ultrasound at almost 7 weeks and saw a beating heart, it was the first time in nearly 2 weeks that I forgot about the nausea. Sometimes I still feel like I'm babysitting her and wondering when her real mother is coming to pick her up. The mother who has to worry about how to raise her and discipline her one day. That's not me, right?
But I'm so glad it is. When I quit my job, I wondered if the lack of adult interaction during the day would drive me insane. And while I miss the banter and joking around, I don't miss anything else. Except not being covered in spit-up. This is still exactly where I want to be. Unless we're talking about a cabin in the mountains with a live-in barista, in which case hook a sister up. But these slow days at home with a baby are a perfect fit for me. They aren't easy, but they're exactly what I want.
Sometimes I miss my freedom. A lot of times I miss it. I miss doing what I want, when I want. I miss showering without worrying if the baby woke up from her nap or planning my errands around her eating schedule. I miss sleeping as long as I want on the weekends and reading whole books in one sitting. But once I finally get an hour to go out by myself, I find myself missing her and feeling like a vital organ has been removed. Some days I count down the hours and minutes until bed time, and then after she's been down for an hour I watch every video of her on my phone and James has to restrain me from running into her room and hugging her.
A lot of moms talk about how desperately they want their baby to stay little and not grow up. Much to my surprise, I don't feel that way at all. Yes, I cried the first time she slept in her crib. Sure, I look at her newborn pictures and get emotional over how tiny she was, but I love that she's growing up. The older she gets, the more fun it gets, the more natural it feels. I look forward to taking her to the park, pool days in the summer, bike rides around the neighborhood, and family movie nights. I want to teach her how to cook (once I teach myself...kidding! sort of), I want to teach her how to play the piano if she's interested. I want to teach her how to read. I don't want her to stay a baby forever. I want her to grow up. Just not so grown up that she moves out. That I will forbid.
So many things have changed this past year, from my body (oh how it has changed) to the spare room, once full of guitars and drums and an air mattress my friends and family would sleep on while visiting, that has been turned into a nursery (pictures finally coming atcha next week!). I've weeded a lot of people and things out of my life and let others back in. I'm learning that I'm a better mom, wife, and person when I carve out time every day to do something I love. I sleep much better if I clean the kitchen before I go to bed. I'm learning more and more how to keep my wits about me while I'm starving, because it never fails that the second I sit down to eat something, the baby needs me. But show me a picture on Instagram of a sleeping baby while mine screams her head off in the crib and I'll pull your hair out. Yesterday was a bad day, ok?
Everything is a phase. I read that somewhere while I was pregnant, and I repeat it to myself every day. The nursing strike is a phase, just like the eating-every-45-minutes-during-a-wicked-growth-spurt is a phase. The sleep-deprived newborn days are just a phase. The all-day fussiness is a phase. Sometimes reminding myself of that is the only thing that gets me through the day.
And when all else fails: cookies.