Note: This post is pretty personal in nature, but I don’t want to segment who I am. While that doesn’t mean I intend to share everything on my blog (and even this is only part), I do know that my experience is not so unique, and it’s a turning point for me. I have experienced so much love and support from family and friends that sharing this seems right. I’ll be back to posting (and more frequently I hope) inspirations, works-in-progress, and new projects, but I appreciate when artists and creatives share a little more of themselves in their blogs, and so I am doing a little of that too.
Since Ian and I found out we would be having a baby in August, we have experienced a shift in momentum, with everything becoming more future-focused even while we are often swept up in the immediate changes that pregnancy brings. It turns out I am not one of those women who meticulously researches the birthing process or multitudes of parenting techniques (or not yet, at least), and that is probably good since the few plans I did have for this pregnancy have been recently overturned.
For me, being pregnant has also brought about a good deal of life change. Since moving to Columbus, I have worked primarily in the business world, first as an administrative assistant, and then as a communications director and managing editor. And while my last job especially gave me a lot of new experience and allowed me to apply my creativity and background without going directly into teaching as many creatives fresh out of grad school do, I also sacrificed some of the time I once had to devote to being a practicing artist, a teacher at the community level, someone who can set her own schedule and say yes to any exciting opportunity that might come her way. But I still had things I wanted to learn, and it was nice to have a full-time salary and benefits, and for those and other reasons I was happy with where I was.
But when we began talking about having a baby, I thought more about the life I wanted to live, and growing a family was a big part of it, and where my writing and art making fit into my life, and having a demanding full-time career didn’t quite fit into that anymore. So I began making plans. I had been taking some really fun design projects on the side, but found myself having to say no to others because time wouldn’t allow. I wanted a more fluid life that allowed for caring for a new baby, for writing on a regular basis, for making things, for interacting with people in my community. I started making lists and notes, and I did research online, and I talked about business ideas with like-minded friends. And my belly grew too, and I learned to be more present and aware of my body and the many little changes, the little popcorn flutters that have now become very apparent kicks and shifts, and I could see it all as part of a bigger pattern and the future felt full (sometimes I was surprised to remember a little life I could hold in my arms would come of this!).
And then I came home one night after tea with a friend and my body was telling me something wasn’t right. I went to the hospital and was reassured that my baby was healthy, but my low-lying placenta (later upgraded to marginal previa) was causing some bleeding that put me at risk. And a week later it caused a great deal more, and I went back to the hospital and was admitted. And two weeks later I am still here in the High Risk OB Unit and the future still feels full, but the days are much more uncertain, and a plan is something not to be determined at this time.
Because of my indefinite hospitalization and bedrest, I lost my job, which was frustrating at first, but it meant the little tentative future plans I had been making would soon shift their way to the present. Despite too many needle proddings, and two weeks of a room with no window (I have a window room now), there are also frequent fetal heartbeat monitorings, and I feel more and more connected to this little one each day. I miss my husband and my dog as they try to make a home of the new apartment Ian moved us into while I was stuck here. We live with hypotheticals and get by with daily outings (me in a wheelchair) and wildlife sightings, discoveries of fun old games in the solarium “for bored mothers”, watching favorite shows to keep laughing. We imagine what this little child will be like, the things we will do as a family, the lessons we hope to teach, adventures we want to have. We look forward to so much learning, so much loving (and are amazed at how much of that is happening already).
My stomach stretches beyond its shape in quick ripples, I feel the poke of still forming limbs testing their breadth, and I dread and look forward to the day not too far away when the little being inside will come into this world as someone separate I can no longer know in quite this way.