It is the best sound I have ever heard. Really. Ever.
I am 24 weeks today, and feel like a pretty good cliche. I have energy but I sleep well. I can eat a full meal and feel satisfied. Walking up a flight of steps is annoying but not totally exhausting. I crave chocolate but I also crave broccoli. I am hormonal but not totally off the deep end. I feel grateful that the bean is still warm and safe, and I don't yet feel annoyed with it for taking up so much space under my ribcage. And so far, I only get up to pee at most twice a night.
Despite all of this, despite the total unremarkable facts of this pregnancy, despite the fact that I have felt more or less okay since I passed the 16-week mark, the other day I had one of those horrible anxiety-ridden days where I just couldn't calm myself down.
The Anxiety Day came just after a very full weekend and a very long preceding week. Matt's return from Amman was fantastic. I felt like I'd never been so happy to have him home from somewhere. He came home on a Wednesday, the same Wednesday that I had my first ever work-related high-profile speaking engagement. That Thursday was my birthday, but it was also the beginning of a 3-day conference where I was supposed to remain intellectually engaged in the topics at hand while schmoozing with other lawyers. At the end of those three days, I went to work on a Saturday, and capped everything off with a birthday dinner, followed on Sunday by a football gathering at our place where I made too much food and worried that the invited guests wouldn't feel comfortable in our apartment.
I woke up on Monday feeling like I'd been run over by a truck. Which in my current state, translated to waking up and realizing the following impossibilities:
- There is no way I am going to be able to cram 7 months of work into the 4 months that I have left before I go on maternity leave. And even though I probably need to take it easy on myself, I can't slow down because I haven't yet talked to my boss about my post-maternity-leave plans, and I don't want to her to think that I'm a slacker.
- There is no way that Matt and I are going to be able to afford to pay for daycare and this apartment at the same time. Which is a problem because I want to think about decorating the baby's room, even just a little bit, even though it makes me feel superstitious, because it also makes me excited. Except that I can't think about decorating the baby's room if I don't know whether we're staying in this apartment, which I can't figure out until I know how much it will cost to send the kiddo to daycare, which I can't know until I figure out whether we're staying in this apartment.
- There is no way to balance all of the changes that Matt and I are going to face in our relationship with the changes that we're going to confront when the baby is born; it is impossible to prepare for such things, so we are likely doomed.
Matt rescued me from Kenmore and stayed silent while I ranted for the car ride home. He was silent for two reasons. For starters, I was yelling. But also because when I finally took a breath between high-decibel tear-infused frustration, he looked at me and said, "I'm so glad you're finally ready to talk about this stuff."
It turns out that Matt, like most dads-to-be (at least according to this valuable tome), think about all of these nitty-gritty details from the moment they find out that they're going to be someone's father. Moms-to-be, on the other hand, initially think about things like their changing bodies, and labor, and nurseries, and whether it's really okay to have sex in your pre-pregnancy favorite position. But eventually, all of us parents-to-be come to the same conclusion: having a baby is a giant mind fuck, and there's a lot that's going to change, a plethora of unanswered questions, and completely uncharted territory.
So my questions about where I'm going to live are other parents' questions about how to work out their call schedule. My concerns about getting all of my work done before maternity leave are other parents' nanny versus daycare conundrum. In typical Matt-Lizzi fashion, while I was spending my time marveling at the size of my breasts, Matt was patiently waiting for the day when I was ready to talk about things like our budget, our apartment, and our childcare options.
We had a long talk that night. It involved spreadsheets. We made a list of the things we need to do. We made some decisions. We made some decisions about not deciding. We reached out to some people who might have answers. We fell asleep on the couch totally exhausted. Matt read Superman to my belly.
I woke up the next day with the start of what turned out to be a 24-hour (plus) stomach virus, which I took to be my body's way of telling me to slow the F down, for REAL this time. And today I finally feel like myself again: 24 weeks pregnant, just as many unanswered questions as answered ones, and wow.wow.wow.wow.wow.wow.wow beating a steady pace inside me.