Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Contractions... also emotionally...

Oh, what fun... so THIS is what contractions actually feel like? OK, I guess I got the light "practice" versions of the real deal... but at a point I was ready to call the hospital, cause - is my uterus supposed to be "practicing" for a whole afternoon, and so intensely that I have to sit down and clutch my belly occasionally?

Yeah, I didn't think so either.

But since I am weird and am suffering from performance anxiety in front of doctors, I decided not to be hysterical, and just sit it out. Not to imagine that the nurse on the phone could possibly tell me not to act out over stretching ligaments, or a few practice contractions. Even worse: me showing up there in the middle of the night to have them check me and my baby, only to then roll their eyes and send me back home with a gentle reminder not to act like a hypochondriac?

I am really afraid of doctors - but not because of what they could do to me, or what ailments they could diagnose, but because they might NOT do anything, or diagnose nothing. Much like the ear doctor who told me that my hearing was perfectly fine after I made an appointment because, HELLO! I CAN'T HEAR YOU! Or like the recent case with the orthopedist who sent me on my way after five minutes of not listening to me and wrote me off as a hysterical pregnoid who complains about normal pregnancy backaches.

Knowing me, I probably will even refuse to call an ambulance after my water breaks, cause, hey, maybe I just peed myself, and they will just laugh at me and slap me with the bill of unnecessary ambulance-calling after they leave again? I will probably also not go to the hospital when my contractions roll over me every five minutes, cause, hey, maybe I am just about to have a really big bowel movement... and who in their right mind goes to the hospital for that???

See? That's me. That's how I think. Always afraid of looking like a hypochondriac and making an ass out of myself. That's also why I am so afraid of telling people the truth when I am being asked how I am doing, because I am afraid of them rolling their eyes and thinking things like "damn, she's acting like she's the first pregnant woman on earth". I always say "really good, thanks!" or "fine, thanks for asking!" or "I am so glad things are going like they are, I could have had it MUCH worse!", and then try to hide my limping from my pinched sciatic nerve with clenched teeth.

Another favorite of mine is: "oh, I am fine, nothing beyond what's to be expected during pregnancy, and I don't complain about these things." I find this answer incredibly suave, and it usually satisfies people and they don't ask anymore.

I don't know where this comes from, really. I don't know when it's okay to be weak, and when it's inappropriate to use my pregnancy as a reason not to do things. Sometimes Geo won't let me do the simplest things because they might be "too much" for me in my current state, and then he seamlessly goes into treating me as if I wasn't pregnant at all, expects me to run a ton of errands, or argues with me and yells at me like I am in a regular emotional state of mind that doesn't require any consideration on his part. When I mention this, he says I am not to use my pregnancy as an "excuse" for things, and "just because I am pregnant" he won't treat me any differently than he normally would, oftentimes leaving me a crying bundle on the bed that doesn't understand the world anymore, not wanting to share any of this pregnancy with my husband anymore. After all - he's promised me a year of utter spoiling for every pregnancy, and now he's putting this under the condition of me acting "like I am supposed to" in order for him to be able to spoil me at all - completely forgetting that I am not quite in a state where I can act "normally" or "like I am supposed to", because I am a playground for my hormones and my anxieties and my preoccupations and worries over my baby, and all the weird shit that's going on with my body and my emotions, and just overall THINGS ARE NOT NORMAL!!!

He says things like "I am hard to spoil", and that I am just getting the treatment I deserve based upon how I am acting myself. I am afraid of justifying myself and pointing him to the fact that most of the time things in the emotional-reactive department aren't really under my control anymore (- heck, I cry when I see detergent commercials on TV! Don't tell me to act normally!), because then he'd say "that's no excuse" or "just because you're pregnant, that's no reason" to me again.

I am confused to no end. When I told my parents upon inquiry after my last gyn appointment that at that point I had gained 7 kilos, they rolled their eyes at me and told me that's from all the ice cream I am eating lately. Hello? What's abnormal or glutton about 7 kilos past the halfway point of a pregnancy? And ever since then my Dad takes every opportunity he gets to jokingly remind me of those 7 kilos - which is pretty much every time he sees me eating something.

I don't know how to act anymore, on the one hand I am expected to act and take care of myself like a pregnant woman would, on the other hand people throw things at me like "just because you are pregnant", or joke about the way my body is changing, which in my opinion is not anywhere beyond what's normal, but makes me feel horrible about myself all the same. So I hide my little aches and discomforts best I can, and try not to make a big fuss over anything.

Including yesterday's all-afternoon contractions. I even let Geo leave the house for a beer (and some errands) in his favorite hang-out spot, cause hey, nevermind that I am sitting on the couch in severe pain, it's probably all perfectly normal. Deep breathing helps, just go and have fun! I dunno, at some point, wincing and clutching my rock-hard belly, I finally DID call the hospital, terrified that somebody would actually pick up. I had no idea how to begin, and I felt stupid with every wording that I had mentally prepared in the five minutes it took me to actually pick up the phone and dial. It was in the middle of the night - and I got their answering machine. That answering machine said that in "urgent cases" I am to call the delivery room, gave me the extension for that, and that was that. Immediately my mind went "you are NOT an urgent case, don't be ridiculous", so I just left it at that and hung up. I took a warm shower and went to bed... and eventually the contractions went away - and have been gone ever since. The fact of which just confirms that it would have been ridiculous for me to call the hospital in the first place, cause, see? Everything's back to normal now.

Sometimes I wish I could just do this all by myself, in complete isolation. That I wouldn't have to talk to anyone, that I wouldn't have to answer questions about my well-being, that I wouldn't have to justify why I didn't finish washing the dishes and spent the rest of the day on the couch instead, that I wouldn't have to listen to "good-natured" reminders of my weight-gain, or listen to jokes about the size of my baby's nose (- and I am not even KIDDING you here). That I wouldn't have to feel stupid the second I said something honest about my back-pains, and that I wouldn't have to look at people's understanding nods (that really show no understanding at all) when I say that half an hour of house work knock me out pretty much for the rest of the day, these days. That I wouldn't have to frantically try to act "how I am supposed to", for not to set Geo off and end up in another argument that I really can never win, and usually just loops me back into the beginning of this whole trail of thought of this paragraph. That I wouldn't have to wonder and worry about the attractiveness of my large body when I touch my husband and have my hand pushed away, and that I wouldn't have to feel like I am really just stupid and victimizing myself (ooooh poor pregnant me, nobody understaaaands me!), much like I was told I was doing when I was a teenager.

I could end this whole post by saying: "I blame it all on the hormones!", therefore taking away all responsibility from myself. But I am so scared of being seen as a hypochondriac, that I won't even dare to do that. I rather just blame it on myself, my character, which makes it hard for people to be around me, and especially to spoil me, my inability to act like normal even though I am pregnant, and look for the blame within myself. Cause that's usually where the blame lies, no matter the issue.


Blogger imagoii said...

I hope you always feel that there are people out here in "blogland" who support you and care about you and aren't judging .... that being said :)
1. I'm at about the same point in my pregnancy (29w6d) - and if I have contractions that I'm on the "couch in severe pain" - you better believe I'm going to be on the phone to a professional! This baby's not supposed to come yet! You are NOT a hypochondriac. Have you had a baby before? Have you gone through labor? Then how are you supposed to know if this is it or not? You can't ... that's what the professionals are there for - to help you :)!!
2. Weight gain - I'm so sorry that your family is giving you crap about this :) This is the one time in your life that putting on weight (unless you are unhealthy skinny) is a VERY GOOD THING. Your body is doing what it is supposed to grow a healthy baby. And you and your health professionals are the ONLY ones who can say anything about your weight gain - you are the only one who knows if you are dying of hunger ... or so full that you are ready to puke. If your doctor or midwife isn't concerned ... then don't worry about it! Tell your well meaning family that you're following the advice of your doctor and you'd be happy to give them their number if they think they know better (ok so I totally wouldn't actually do that - but I wish I had the balls to!)
3. As for the hubby. I'm so sorry. I wish there was something that I could say that would be wise or helpful .... but unfortunately it sounds like something the 2 of you are going to have to work out. However, you are right - the hormones do make it very difficult to be "normal" ... and I don't think anyone can really understand that unless they've gone through it themselves.
Hugs and Support from across the pond :)

6:07 PM  

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