Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Not Right in the Head

Lately I've been dealing with some of the more disorienting symptoms of pregnancy; in other words, I am losing my mind.  The hormonal fog has invaded my brain and turned what was once a nicely organized set of synapses into mush.  This happened to me with Grace as well; I was still a postdoc working in astronomy research then and I did such nonsensical things to code and databases and observing queues.  This time around, I have tried to go to an OB appointment one week before it was actually scheduled, I have left important ingredients out of recipes (you know, ingredients that figure prominently in the name of the dish), and a few days ago when Grace asked me for her crayons, I opened the refrigerator to get them for her.  Yesterday, I totally spaced out on my weekly women's group at church and just didn't go.  Even though it is on my calendar and everything.  It is disorienting to be this way because it feels so out of character for me.  If I try to describe it, I would say that it feels like I cannot focus and hold my brain where it needs to be, that my brain is slack and plodding.  It is bewildering to experience this, because even beyond my self-identification as a bookish smartypants type, my tendency to be detail-oriented, sensible, and organized is pretty core to my understanding of who I am.  Who the heck am I now?

Also bewildering is the hormonal shift in my emotional balance.  I have been, how shall we say... a bit on the crazy side.  It is disconcerting to firmly grasp that under normal circumstances whatever has just happened would not normally bother me that much and at the same time to be seething with anger or bawling.  Whatever is going on physiologically is enough to make my feelings careen into uncharted disorder but not enough to make me unaware of how deranged I am.  It's difficult to know how precisely to think about such a state of affairs.  Because of my spiritual beliefs I believe that we as human beings are more than just the sum of the biochemical firings of our gray matter, so it's a metacognitive challenge to deal with the state of my physical body having such an obvious effect on the state of my emotions/soul/spirit/what-have-you.
And I'm starting to have trouble sleeping, which is no doubt contributing to my mental and emotional issues.  This too is really common; hormones running amok and getting up to pee multiple times and growing larger and unwieldy all conspire to place a good night's sleep out of reach for many pregnant women.  The pregnancy books seem to largely imply that the sleep issue is all in my head (worry about impending motherhood, etc), which makes me want to go all River Tam on them.  I mean, yes, there is some stress in my life right now (feeling out of place here in Dallas, soon I will be mothering TWO tiny individuals) but honestly I think the sleep issues are exacerbating such stress, not the other way around.  I'm experimenting with exercising more and cutting out daytime naps in the hopes that I will sleep better at night.  So far, I can tell you that I am much more sleepy come 8pm but the jury is still out on whether I will end up being more rested.

So to sum up, pregnancy kind of sucks.  And at the end of it, there's labor, which is also not so great.  Babies, on the other hand-- babies are really fantastic.  I love babies, and toddlers, and children, and all that, and I love being a mother.  This has been the most interesting, fulfilling, challenging thing I've ever spent my energy and time and intellect doing.  I know that we are really fortunate to have gotten pregnant twice without trouble or heartache or medical intervention, and I do count it as a huge blessing in our life.  Being pregnant again does make me think more deeply about growing our family in the future, though.  Rob and I have always been really open to adoption.  Before we started trying to conceive, we talked about what we would do if we had trouble.  We definitely had unity on this; we were willing to try something like Clomid but weren't willing to try something like IVF.  We would adopt.  I know that I would have mourned missing out on the life experience of pregnancy but neither one of us really cares that much about having a genetic link to our children.  Heck, we don't care if we have the same skin color as our children.  I know that the process of adopting a child is long and challenging and painful, as our friends James and Kim can currently attest to, so I don't mean to imply that we would adopt a child because it's easier.  Rather, why would we have a third biological child when we're concerned about the problem of already-existing children without families and the environment and I don't have any desire to be pregnant again?  I think my biological drive to procreate has been sated at this point and I can consider these other issues.  So since this is most likely my last pregnancy (although hopefully not our last child), I will attempt to live in the moment and appreciate the beautiful things about being pregnant, to look beyond the physical difficulties and remember that there is a tiny new human being growing inside of me, a teensy passenger who I will be lucky enough to count as a member of my family and to kiss and hold and know from the first moments of her life.


Kimberly Fullton said...

Funny that on my adoption blog, I've been writing about pregnancy, and on your oft-pregnancy centered blog you're writing about adoption.

I'm cooking up a response to your question about how it feels to be preparing for parenthood while growing our family through adoption. I joked with 4 of my pregnant friends last night that our chosen means of becoming parents has more headaches than nausea, but is equally real and thrilling.

Thanks again for another heart-y message.


Anonymous said...

I've mulled this over and just have to add my two cents.

The thing is before coming face-to-face with infertility myself I too had always said I would never do IVF. I even scratched my head in wonder when other friends went that route. But then, when it was me in the hot seat, all my previous ideas and conclusions went right out the window.

Perhaps I'm being defensive of IVF because I still struggle to relate to "fertiles." I want them to see the world from my point of view (impossible and even silly, I know). But hopefully I'm just speaking to the fact that we often find ourselves surprised by life. Plans and ideas change when we're faced with dilemmas that change us.

In the end, I find your thoughts about adoption very interesting as it's something we've considered many times ourselves.

Recovering Sociopath said...

Because of my spiritual beliefs I believe that we as human beings are more than just the sum of the biochemical firings of our gray matter, so it's a metacognitive challenge to deal with the state of my physical body having such an obvious effect on the state of my emotions/soul/spirit/what-have-you.

We are more than just the sum of our physical parts, but our physical parts are more than just what I read one blogger call a "shell of meat." Humans are embodied spiritual beings-- without our bodies, we're incomplete.

Having said that, I should also say that, as someone who spends a LOT of time in my head and not so much in the material world, I have much sympathy. When I was pregnant with my first son, I made peanut butter cookies, and guess what I left out?


And then there's this: