My AMA Pregnancy Journey Part One: I’M PREGNANT

If you know me personally, my pregnancy was pretty well documented on Facebook and Instagram. During that time I received so many comments and a lot of support – not that my journey wasn’t without it’s negativity for any number of reasons. I’m going to share to my pregnancy here, and of course, I’m pretty much an open book, believing that women should lift each other up, so if you have questions, please feel free to comment here or send me an email at SincerelyCJinFL@gmail.com.

I intend for this to be a multi-part series. There’s really no way to cover it all in one post and I’m hoping it will be a relief to others out there who are trying to conceive, are AMA, post DVT, unexpectedly pregnant and the like.

Some of this will seem negative, some will be graphic. I’m one of those “Don’t make it pretty, just tell it like it is” kind of people. If you find a part of these posts that seem terrible or make you think I hate my SO, kids, life, family, or this baby, just know right now that I don’t. I’m sharing my thought process and it will come back around, so just hang in there. I find it really frustrating that I’m supposed to keep a happy face and pretend everything is perfect or the most amazing thing in the world just because I’m a mom. It’s not. And I refuse to pretend it is. HOWEVER, it’s a bad five minutes, not a bad life.

Nothing I share is intended to be taken as medical advice or the gospel truth. ALWAYS make informed decisions based on recommendations provided from YOUR own doctors and health care providers. This is MY own experience and yours may differ greatly.

Circa 1995 or 1996

First of all, while my SO and I have known each other since we were 14 and 15 years old (that means 25 years), we’d only been dating for 11 months when we got pregnant. We had literally just gotten engaged on July 1st of 2018, we celebrated our birthday on September 8th (I turned 40 and he turned 39), and boom, four quick weeks later on October 5th… we’re pregnant.

Circa 2018

I think there was this assumption that we were somehow trying, or planning to get pregnant, wanted to get pregnant, thought having a baby right at that moment would be literally the best thing we could ever do… FALSE, it’s all so far from the truth it’s not even funny. I’ve seen a few snide looks whenever I tell people that this wasn’t a planned thing and it always irks me.

I had a 14 year old at home, he had a 17 year old. Literally, we’re looking at planning a wedding and within just a couple of years being two people, head over heels in love, who were in our early 40’s with the ability to do whatever whenever, and most importantly wherever. We were batting around moving out of the country, not gender reveal ideas.

In terms of kids, we WERE considering adoption and there are reasons for that. 1: Adoption sits close to BOTH our hearts. 2: As previously mentioned, I had a 14 year old, he had a 17 year old… I have yet to be informed that the process to get pregnant has changed… and we both only had one. Neither one of us has even had so much as a pregnancy scare, so we were 98% positive that pregnancy wasn’t an option for either of us. I also have DVT (deep vein thrombosis) history so I’d been told for years that more kids wasn’t an option for me.

We had actually already looked through available children, got the paperwork, made an appointment with an adoption counselor so we could go in and sit down and really start to get our ducks in a row. I remember joking with my SO about folks that start this adoption process and wind up pregnant. Thank God we’d never be those poor souls…. One day I’m going to learn to just be quiet. I might be dead when it happens, but one of these days it’s going to happen.

Anyway… I actually only took a pregnancy test because my SO suggested it. It hadn’t even crossed my mind that I might be pregnant. I figured I’d take the test, it would be some stress related thing that was causing me to be late and the test would kinda kick things in gear and all would be good.

The stupid test was supposed to be a 4 minute test… in my case it was like a 37 second test. It was one of those “you’ve got to be f$%$ing kidding me” moments. I walked out of the bathroom and took the test straight to my SO who’d gone outside to water the horses.

Well… That was unexpected.

Now, mind you… we’d made so many plans for this time in our lives. We had things we were going to accomplish, renovations, trips, our kids had things they needed and wanted, new car, a Harley, emergency funds, school loans, maybe a credit score or two, there was a whole list… We had said to each other that for all the things we would get to experience and accomplish, having birth children together was one that we would always be a little sad about because at this age, it just wasn’t an option. No way were we starting over. And… well… that explains the whole train wreck I was as I walked out the front door on a full fledged completely selfish mission to completely wreck delivering the news about being knocked up because I refused to have this nervous breakdown by myself…

If you can picture me walking out of my 1984 trailer home that is in desperate need of renovation, wearing only a tshirt and underwear, barefoot, yesterday’s makeup, bed head, and a lit camel in my hand (yup, it’s as bad as it sounds)…. My SO turned around and looked at me, looked at the cigarette in my hand, and then looked back at me and said “NICE babe”… I just looked at him and said “shut up, it’s my last one” and handed him the pregnancy test.

That’s it. That’s how I told him. I’m old. This is bad timing. We’re in the worst possible financial situation right now… but I’M PREGNANT. Literally every single plan we had was consistently being derailed by one unfortunate ass kicking after another, but somehow we DID manage to get knocked up. WE are the only two people this could this happen to. I swear.

The day we found out – after I managed to pull myself together.

It didn’t get any easier telling people either. While lots of people were supportive, there were a lot of THESE comments too:

  • You’re not keeping it are you?
  • I wouldn’t keep it if I were you.
  • I’m so glad it’s not me.
  • Oh man, your life is basically over.
  • You know it’s not good to have a baby at your age.
  • You know there’s a lot of things that can happen to a baby when you’re pregnant at your age.
  • And my favorite was after I’d BEEN pregnant for a couple of months someone actually looked at me and said “oh, so I guess you’re still gonna have it, huh?”

I think the comments that were hardest to get used to were the ones that pretty much assumed we’d be having an abortion, or that the only logical option was an abortion, or that if we had half a brain, we’d be HAVING an abortion. I found it amazing the ease with which these comments would just ROLL off of the tongues of random people. I understand that most of the people making these comments were really trying to be supportive in their own way, but it was not received that way.

As previously stated, I wasn’t happy about this pregnancy. Having another baby was about the very last thing I really wanted to do. It was most definitely the very last thing I needed to do, and with DVT history, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to carry the baby, or die myself trying to carry it. However, adoption and abortion weren’t options, so I was very scared and very stuck having this baby whatever the outcome was going to be – but apparently to many other folks an abortion was a walk in the park.

The first thing I did was tell my BBFITWWW and my brother, and then I called the doctor. They didn’t want to see me until I was 8 weeks, even with the DVT history. That just didn’t sit right with me, not to mention the doctor was a million miles away from where I live here in Central Florida. Luckily, I got a recommendation for another doctor up here. I made a second appointment and since this doctor ALSO didn’t want to see me until I was 8 weeks, I decided that it must be okay. I counted the days.

I spent a lot of time crying. I spent a lot of time assessing life. I spent a lot of time arguing with myself, praying for guidance, reminding myself that the opinions of others didn’t matter because of the people we told, very few were happy about this pregnancy, and finally I tried to force myself to come to peace with the fact that I had this tiny little bean of a baby in there, and no matter what, I was a birth mama for the second time. It was an overwhelming whirlwind of emotion and at times it just felt like I had ruined everything.

Note: Nothing REALLY worked. Until I went to the doctor and had an ultrasound. There it was, that tiny tadpole with a big ol’ heartbeat. My newfound doctor was a Godsend. She gave us what felt like a three hour ultrasound – not really, it was minutes, but it was long enough to fall instantaneously head over heels in love with this tiny little life I was growing. I don’t think I ever really reconciled anything, I just knew that I was going to have a baby, and I was finally okay with that.

An 8 week old Baby CharlieJoy

I hope you found a little humor in this post as that was my intention. There are three reasons for this initial post:

  • I know that some of you reading this are AMA and are still trying to conceive. If you’re kicking yourself because it hasn’t happened yet – STOP. You either can or you can’t, you will or you won’t. Either way, stop blaming yourself. There’s a million ways to be a parent aside from pregnancy. I urge you to consider those other options – or at least research them. I get the desire for biological children, but if it is wrecking your life, making you depressed or giving you anxiety, or making you feel like a failure, please take a step back and at least explore your other options. I get comments all the time from people who are so distressed about getting pregnant and my heart hurts for every single one of you because I can feel the pain you’re in, but please know there are other avenues.
  • If you’re like me and unexpectedly pregnant, then you’re probably scared and feeling hopeless. Just know that it’s okay to feel that way. It is not okay to harm yourself or your baby and I urge you to reach out to a medical provider for help. It is NEVER wrong to seek help. It does NOT make you a failure because you need help.
  • Finally, if you struggle with anxiety and depression, pregnancy may make that worse. PLEASE KNOW THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SUFFER. Reach out to your medical provider, they can help you. Pregnancy hormones made my anxiety go through the ROOF and for the first time almost two decades I could not get a handle on it. I am grateful every day for my doc. She made sure that mental health was as much a part of my pregnancy as my physical health and the health and development of my baby was. You CAN get the help you need, and no it will not harm your baby.

Given my age and medical history, there were a lot of moving parts to this pregnancy. It was a dramatic change from being pregnant at the age of 24 and it took a lot of getting used to, so…..

Stay tuned for Part Two: I can’t stop going to the doctor.

Note: If you are a DVT survivor or suffer from blood clotting disorders, do not lose your mind like I did. I was 11 years post DVT and hadn’t had follow up care in years. I was going off the care I received previously which made pregnancy seem very dangerous and impossible. I now know that information was only partly true. With appropriate medical care and supervision, a healthy and successful pregnancy is completely possible – which is why you should call your doctor immediately and stay actively involved in your treatment plan!

Note Two: Main photo courtesy of Nadine Amos Photography located in Brooksville, FL.

First Blog: Birthday Date Night

I’ve been putting off writing my first post for a multitude of reasons and this morning it all fell into place for me. Translation: I didn’t want to go get that next load of laundry and fold it so I might as well write something.

It’s 6:58 am on Monday, and I’ve been awake since basically 4 am. Even though I am STILL sick (ugh) I nursed the baby and got her back to sleep, made coffee, put in a load of laundry, folded another load, made sure my significant other (SO) had socks, underwear and undershirts, started a grocery list and pulled out the ironing board. NO, I didn’t iron, let’s not get crazy. My SO spent 15 years in the Marine Corps, he knows how to iron (and I do not iron to his satisfaction, not that I tried or anything, I just make him take my word for it). And no, this doesn’t happen every morning, I’m just kissing up and trying to make myself look good after his awesomeness this weekend.

I opted to start the blog with a story and given that this weekend was our birthday and our first REAL planned date night since we had the baby, I figured we could just start there. If you know me and you’re reading this, you already know that I’m basically a walking disaster, and if you don’t, welcome to the sh*t show.

My SO and I have the same birthday, a year apart. I turned 41 and he hit the big 4-0. For a good year it was pretty awesome dating a younger guy, still in his 30’s. Now we’re just old AF. Literally, we bought a new mattress for our birthday because, well, back pain.

I didn’t make any plans for this birthday because I didn’t want to celebrate. I’m turning 41 for God’s sake. I am 9 years from 50. In 9 years I will be HALF A DAMN CENTURY old. No thanks, I’ll pass on the balloons and stuff, but if you wanna give me gift certificates for xanax and botox, I’m totally game.

My SO on the other hand, secretly planned to take four days off from work and take me to an amazing dinner. I didn’t find out about all our impending quality time until last week, and when I did, I did what any good future wife does, I made him a list of tasks to complete (which he mostly did, hence his awesomeness).

I dreaded this date night for a week for the following reasons:

  • I breast feed. NOW I have to find time to pump on top of everything else.
  • Who is going to keep the baby? And what if she cries the whole time I’m gone (again)?
  • I have nothing to wear because my ass isn’t a size 4 ass anymore.
  • It was going to take ten razor blades, a landscaping crew and three days to shave my legs.
  • I’ve worn my hair in a bun on top of my head for so long right now that I’m considered an honorary Pentecostal.
  • I haven’t worn makeup in so long that every time I look at my makeup bag I wonder to myself if I was auditioning for Rupaul’s Drag Race prior to getting knocked up.
  • AND if I can solve all of the above, I’d rather just take a nap than have to go through what it’s going to take to make myself look like a human being again.

I did manage to get one single bottle pumped shortly after lunch. HOWEVER, as my luck runs, I’ve been sick with a head cold for over a week and by Thursday my SO came down with it, and just to keep life interesting, by lunch on Saturday, my mother who was going to oversee the babysitting for us came down with it. Scrap the babysitting, we just got a miniature third wheel.

I got my clothes together and headed to the shower. Or at least I tried. Of course I couldn’t find the shirt I bought to wear to dinner. I was really looking forward to wearing something other than a Walmart tank top. I’ve lived in them for three months straight because they’re easy to nurse in. In fact, it’s Monday and I STILL haven’t found that stupid shirt!

In the bathroom I took my hair down and discovered I had a huge knotted mess on one side of my head, and a full out dred in the back of my head. Pretty sure it took half a bottle of conditioner to get that out. I can’t believe it actually worked.

Fast forward to dinner, and the baby is doing great. She’s quiet and sweet. I swear she does it and waits until we get confident that it’s going to be a good night and then she just blows. Needless to say, she got tired/fussy/and hungry all in the same second.

Now, I don’t mind breast feeding in public. I’m modest about it, but I’ll do it. I fully believe I have the right to feed wherever, whenever, but I’m also not going to throw a nipple in some strangers face, or leave parents to explain things to kids that they’re not ready or comfortable explaining. It’s more of a “just because I can doesn’t mean I should” sort of thing.

So I proceed to get myself situated. I’ve got myself covered, my boob is out, I attempt to get the baby comfortable and latched and as luck would have it, the booth seats are too narrow. Damn you Outback. Instantaneous end of the world for my little baby. I look at my SO and ask him to cut my salad up for me when it arrives. I can eat with one arm and hold the baby with the other.

So I proceed to walk to the bathroom, which of course requires a full lap through the restaurant. My boob is still out. My baby is screaming. The hostesses are giving me sympathetic looks. Other patrons are giving me “THAT” look.

I get to the bathroom and Miss Losing My Ever Loving Mind decides we’ll play with dinner. She latches, then dramatically unlatches, throws her arms back, looks at me and smiles. Super cute kiddo, now eat and let’s go. After half a dozen more times of this I cut her off and head back to the table.

My salad HAS arrived. I wolf down as much as possible and low and behold she fussy again. I swear it’s just a game at this point. It’s intentional. She totally knows what she’s doing. As I get up from the table my SO asks me if I want my steak cut if it arrives before I get back… Well, of COURSE… I can already tell I’m not going to get to eat in peace here.

In the bathroom we finally decide to eat and go to sleep, which means that we’re awake again by the time I get back to the table – but we’re quiet. Long enough for me to inhale just about all of a 9 oz of Filet Mignon before all hell breaks loose in the form of a writhing sleepy, frustrated, yelling 3 month old.

I spent the rest of my birthday dinner sitting in the handicap stall of the ladies room on the toilet. It’s fine. I had to pee anyways. I managed to latch a baby AND get my pants down with one hand. Of course that ALSO requires thought and planning because you’re not going to have a free hand to zip and button them up when you get done. Guess it’s a good thing I was born without hips.

Just about the time the baby finished I got a text from my SO that everything was boxed, the check was paid, and he was waiting for me at the front door of the restaurant. Awesome. Pulling my pants BACK up was going to require some maneuvering. I finally figured out if I duckwalked over to the sink and balanced the baby’s behind on the sink that I could pull my pants up without waking her up.

Of course she slept the whole way home, and went right back to sleep after we got home and got her into some pjs. As for us? I laid the baby in the bassinet, and my SO rolled over then wrapped his arms around me and we shared a super romantic 15 second kiss and then we passed out because we’re sick, old, exhausted, back pain, new baby, it was past our bedtime… I could go on here, but you get the point.

I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world, but man there are moments where it’s tough! I am not one of those mamas who thinks every single second is the most amazing thing that has ever happened. I sincerely love all my kids, but I’m also not afraid to say that any particular given moment REALLY sucks. But you know, it passes so quickly. It’s only temporary. And she sure makes every moment worth it. Sometimes it’s hours or days later, but it’s worth it. 🙂