Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Pregnancy Craziness

I started this blog several years ago to document my new, crazy life in Sierra Leone.  I left Sierra Leone six months ago and therefore haven't had a lot of "crazy Africa stories" to tell.  But....the craziness has not left my life.  It now just seems more self-inflicted.  For some reason I am compelled to share this story/conversation that happened in my house yesterday.  Try not to think worse of me!! :)

Yesterday was a long shopping day.  I knew it was going to be long so, call me a coward but I ponied up the $7 to keep Marie in after-school care so I could shop in peace.  I made it home just before dinner and whipped up some Brinner of pancakes and eggs.  I put Marie to bed and went to brush my teeth.  While in the bathroom, I apparently had a psychotic break.  I started crying and eventually wedged myself down on Marie's little step stool between the wall and the sink and just sobbed.  The ugly cry.

Quite a bit of time passed and Peter must have wondered what happened to me because he came looking for me.  This was our conversation.  Please keep in mind that this is all with me continuing to sob, sniff, hiccup, etc.

"Emily!! What happened?"

Silence (well, crying).

"Emily, why are you crying?"

"I don't know. I think I'm crazy."

"Well what happened?????"

"Peter, something is wrong with me.  I teared up/and or cried 11 times today.  E L E V E N Times!!!  That's not normal! Even for me!!!"

(There is a debate between Peter and I about what is an acceptable amount to cry. He would prefer none, I say that once every week or two is acceptable.  He says I am "quick to cry" but after several years has gotten used to it and does't take it personally anymore.)

"Well what happened? Why were you crying?"

"It started in the lotion aisle at Walmart. I was standing in front of all these lotions, trying to decide which one is the best one for my mixed raced, baby, boy (none of those 3 do I know ANYTHING about) and how much I'll need for the next two years when I just started crying.  I have no idea what I'm doing!!"

Sidebar: I was shopping for a container that we are shipping out soon and therefore need to stock up on things that we won't be able to get or will be much more expensive in Sierra Leone.

I continued, "It got worse when I moved on to crib bedding and I spent 15 minutes trying to decide which toddler potty I should get.  I cried when I thought about the "Ebola orphans" in Sierra Leone and then when I remembered how sad the girl was who was sent home from 'The Bachelor.' (Yes, I know.  Not thinking less of me remember?!?!?)  The other million times, I have NO IDEA what made me tear up.

During all of this, Peter is just standing there, patting my head because remember I'm wedged in between the sink and the wall so that's basically all he has access to. He is totally silent because he's a good listener but also..I mean, how do you respond to this.

So I kept going.  "I went to Goodwill and tried on some clothes and Peter, I'm just huge.  And I'm just going to keep getting bigger.  There are all those cute little pregnant ladies but I just look like I had McDonalds for lunch......every day for the last month!!

Peter piped up. "Emily I've told you before! You're ok for me.  You look just ok to me!!"

In our marriage, there are little nuances in language and culture that often need some explanation and/or reinterpretation.  This was one of those cases.  Telling your pregnant wife that she looks "just ok" is not something she wants to hear.....

He continued: "My brother called today and wanted to see a picture of you pregnant and I told him that you just look ok---

"Peter. Please. You have to stop saying that I look "just ok".  That's not helping."

"Bwahahaha (that's him bursting into laughter). Is that wrong? Should I say that you look fine? (Krio for beautiful).  Would that be better?

"Yes that's better."

"Ok, you are very fine!!"

At this point we both started chuckling because the whole thing was just so crazy.

"Today I started tearing up because I was thinking about you and Marie and about how I love you both so much and then 20 minutes after being home you were both driving me crazy.  Marie asked me what "grumpy" meant and I know she knows what it meant because we talk about not being grumpy all the time. After I explained what it meant she asked me if I was being grumpy.  When I asked her what she thought she said 'Yes, I think you're a little grumpy Mama.'  AND PETER I'M ONLY HALFWAY!!!!!

The last bit was said with me laughing which provided a nice little end to my dramatic meltdown.  So thankful for a compassionate and PATIENT husband who unwedged me from the sink and told me it was time to leave the bathroom. :)

I'm excited to get back to Sierra Leone where I expect things to be crazy......not just me. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

We're Having A ......

So yesterday was the day. I mean THE DAY.  The day that we get to start buying gender specific clothes and stop referring to my ever expanding waistline as an "it."  My doctor is awesome and does an ultrasound at every appointment because, "it's more fun for you to get to see a picture of the baby instead of just hear the heartbeat."  So that's fun!  We decided to take Marie with us to our appointment.  Marie wanted a brother.  From the time we told her she was going to be a big sister it as always been "how's the baby brother doing?"  Not "whatever God gives us..." a brother. I tried to combat this by always referring to the baby as a girl, but she would just correct me.  "No, no, BROTHER, Mama."

To be honest, I was hoping for a boy as well, just because one of my biggest concerns with adding a little one to the family is the comparisons that people will make between this one and Marie (mostly in Sierra Leone).  I thought there would be fewer comparisons with a boy.

The good ole' doc put the ultrasound on my tummy and we waited.  I was preparing myself for Marie's reaction when he said, "Well, that's pretty easy! B.O.Y." I watched Marie as she was trying to figure out what that meant when he said, "That means, little one that you are having a baby brother!"  She was excited. To say the least.  It was really fun to watch her get so excited about the baby. :)  She insisted on taking the ultrasound pictures with her to school.

He kind of looks like an alien
After the big gender reveal the doctor did some more looking around and then said, "Well, basically if you gave birth right now neither you or your baby would make it."  Wait. What? This jolted me out "baby boy revelry" and I was back in the room.  Basically, the ultrasound showed that my placenta is completely covering my cervix so if Baby decided to come now, he'd have nowhere to go because my placenta is covering his exit route.

Now I've seen this before.  Plenty of times, unfortunately.  In Sierra Leone, when our only ultrasound machine broke, part of the reason it was so utterly frustrating was because when a woman came to the hospital and she was bleeding, I had no way of knowing why.

In that moment when he told me, I had zero fear.  My two emotions were thankfulness and grief.  I was so thankful for the incredible medical technology we have that allowed us to see this so clearly, so early, and allow for so much advanced planning if necessary!!  My thankfulness was mixed with grief as I immediately remembered the scores of women in Sierra Leone who give birth with NONE of the things that I have access to.  It's just so unfair!  Praying for my fellow Sierra Leonean mama's who "get belle!"

I decided that the way we'd tell my family is to bake a cake, either blue or pink and have Marie cut the cake and spill the beans.  I was SO careful when putting the food coloring in so that I wouldn't accidentally get any on my face or fingers that would give it away before the big cut!!  Unfortunately when it came time to frost the cake every time I put some frosting on it would just pull part of the top of the cake off and mix with the frosting.  The more I put on, the worse it got.  Also, it looks green.  This is the cake BEFORE we cut into it.  Not a big secret......

Incidentally I hadn't been able to keep it from my mom and sister so.....the reveal cake was mostly because I was so proud of Marie for being able to keep a secret. We pretended that nobody knew.  Oops.