green buds 5

 

The Joy.

 

After seven months of trying, the end of the month was drawing once again to a close. I was that guarded hopeful that I had come to know, counting the days until it would be “reasonable” to take a pregnancy test. That month (March) it was Evan’s birthday, five days after my expected period, that’s when I’d let myself take a test. Every month it seemed there was some landmark that I was shooting for: my mother’s birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day. The result so far had been to taint each of those holidays with a little sadness when there was no need to do the pregnancy test.

 

reb buds

 

The Sunday the day of my expected period, I stood in church singing when suddenly it was too beautiful, the hymn, the Milwaukee friends, the sweetness of being settled here. I began to cry. I always cry on the first day of my period. This year it has often fallen on a Sunday, and the crying often is during church. So then as I was weeping as everyone around me sang, so sure that this was again a month to mourn. But then the song ended and my tears dried for the moment.

 

budding tree 3

 

Then that day passed. And the next day. I said nothing, just kept waiting. If I make it to Thursday, I tell myself, I’ll buy a test, so Friday on Evan’s birthday it would be ready. Thursday comes. I take my 10-month old niece to the drug store on our walk. In the store it looks like I’m going to have two babies really close together as the young check-out girl smirks at me buying my test and comments on how beautiful Anika is.

 

tiny purple flowers

 

I take the test home and hide it. I picture the next morning waking Evan up with the news. But that night I am too excited and nervous to sleep. I wake up at midnight. And at two. And two-thirty. By three o’clock I’ve woken Evan with my tossing and turning. So I confess my plan and now I can’t sleep. And sweet Evan takes a deep breath, and tells me he is going to go to the bathroom and when he gets back we can talk. He comes back, “I’m really excited about it too, but we should go back to sleep.”

 

budding tree

 

Secret out, I fall asleep until a few minutes before six. I bring the test up and we wait together, holding each for that eternal two minutes. I can see the plus right away, but I bring it back and let Evan get oriented. “Hey, I can see it! It’s a cross!  That’s nice they have that picture to the side, and it’s not just a color” my color-blind husband says.

 

pregnancy test

 

“Happy Birthday,” I whisper before I am crying, choking happy tears into his neck.

 

budding tree 4

 

The Fear.

 

I let the joy wash over me for at least an hour before I think of how this tiny baby might not make it. It comes out as we try to sort out that web of who to tell when. And that is the way of it, the joy and the fear come in waves. More than half of my closest friends who have children have had miscarriages. Some of my friends are still waiting for their children after a miscarriage. I know that it is not an unreasonable fear.

 

green buds 3

 

But I don’t really know what to do with the knowledge and the fear. Practically, I check out one book from the library on pregnancy and one on miscarriage.

I spot a few times and weep. I over-analyze the achy growing and stretching sensations of my womb making room for the baby. But again the days pass.

 

green buds

 

I am reminded that these first weeks of pregnancy are not all that different from the process of waiting to get pregnant. Or in the wise words of Mandi @Lifeyourway.net “my only option is to wait and see, with prayer and hope and fear and love all coiled together like a knot in my stomach.”  Because really while there are statistics and percentages and hopes and fears, but in the end there really only is waiting.

 

The Nausea.

 

Of course there is also the morning sickness. It hasn’t been horrible. But the space between good and “not horrible” is rather unpleasant. Sometimes it is weirdly comforting, that my body is such a strange new thing, so hungry and tired and unpredictable, it makes the pregnancy seem more real. These wise mothers at church, sympathize and then say, “Well, the sicker you are the better the baby is growing.”

 

green buds 4

 

So far, my experience of morning sickness has been near constant hunger, and let it go on too long and I start to feel really bad. Although as the weeks creep by, I have started to notice that that sick feeling could be tired or thirsty and not just hungry. I’ve started trying to be in bed by 8:30 and that seems to help me have more good days (or good parts of the day). Still, I worry that I’m eating too much. I worry that I’m not helping Evan enough. I worry that I am never going to have the energy or focus to write again. I can barely stand reading my favorite blogs on a screen before I feel gross, let alone write something myself. I have been reading a lot of great paper books, as a small consolation.

 

budding tree 2

 

Evan points out that I can’t be feeling that bad if I’m feeling so guilty. I know what he means, when you’re really sick you don’t even have the energy to care that things aren’t getting done. It does remind me of the months being sick before I went paleo, or the fatigue before being diagnosed with sleep apnea. Which might add to some of the guilt, but hopefully it will also lend me a little bit of perspective. Then sometimes I feel guilty for these trivial worries, when in light of losing the baby what are weight gain or ungraded papers?

 

green buds 2

 

One of the paper books I’ve been reading is Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly because if the first trimester is not a good time to connect to your sense of vulnerability, what is? And I have been meditating on her thoughts on gratitude. Because there is almost nothing else that I feel that I can land on. I cannot know what tomorrow will hold. I cannot know the days of this little one’s life. I cannot know what God will ask me to walk through, even with his promise that I will not be alone. But I know that I’m grateful. I know that I will be grateful for this one’s life no matter how short.    So I’m trying to stay in that place of praying thanks—in the beautiful words of Anna Lamott in her book I just finished on the three essential prayers Help, Thanks, Wow.

 

daffoldils

 

I’ve also been looking for times to soak in the joy. Buying a pair of tiny Smartwool baby socks. Telling friends and family. Dancing only to realize that I’m not dancing alone, but dancing with my baby. They are only flashes, moments of taking in the mystery of new life, before the clouds of fear and sickness roll in. But I am trying to be grateful for them all the same, for the miracle of new life, for the answer to a long prayed prayer, for the way that this baby is all mine and at the same time already belongs to a community as a grandchild and niece or nephew and cousin and beloved one.

 

pink bud

 

How do you walk through seasons of waiting? What are your thoughts on first trimester experience?

 

22 Responses to 9 Weeks In : The Joy, Fear, & Nausea of Early Pregnancy

  1. Oh this is exciting and wonderful news. Great honest post. The peace of the Lord, though, be with you always.

  2. Amy, this is one of the most beautiful, honest, and heartfelt blog posts I’ve ever read. I am thrilled for you!!! I understand the joy and the fear, and I’m glad you have friends and family nearby to support you.

    As for the writing, take it from me: Things might not be as they were before, but you’ll find a rhythm that will work for this season. Promise.

    • Amy Rogers Hays says:

      Thanks Caroline! I really appreciate your encouragement about the writing, some days it’s easy to trust and some days I really miss the work, but then I’m just too tired! I’ll come back when it’s ready, I think.

  3. Oh my, Amy….grinning deep inside myself (and a little on the outside) for you and your joy. Yeehaw! The adventure continues…

    And so deeply satisfying to see pics elsewhere on your blog of Jack and Debbie and Jonathan…. ….

    • Amy Rogers Hays says:

      Thanks Tim! Well each of my family members are very gracious to let me put pictures of them up–I know it’s not their favorite thing, but I love to see them here too 🙂

  4. Melinda says:

    What exciting news and what an exciting time for your family! You bring such wonderful insight into patience and trust in our Lord. No matter what we are waiting on or waiting for, when we lean on God, He can be our strength and our joy. So much peace comes from knowing that He knows the plan, and it is always perfect in His eyes!

  5. Lesa says:

    Woo Hoo! I am so excited for you and Evan. Unfortunately the worry and concern is only starting, a hazard of parenthood. November babies are the best!

    • Amy Rogers Hays says:

      Thanks Lesa! I have thought a number of times that I think patience and gentleness are the two things that I will need most of as a mother, and it turns out that those are definitely traits that this waiting is bringing out. Hooray for November babies!!

  6. Alice says:

    How sweet to be able to share this with you. Thanks for such a touching post.

    • Amy Rogers Hays says:

      Thanks Alice. I remember you being pregnant with John so clearly, and how you took learning to love motherhood with the most open and honest heart. Miss you and Nick so much!

  7. Audrey Luhmann says:

    Amy,

    I haunt your blog from time to time, and when I read your post about the waiting, hoping, and sadness, my heart ached and I prayed for you. Our home is filled with the noises of children, but there are two voices I will not hear until Heaven, and I went through a season of great mourning for them. I will continue to pray over this precious baby, and I am SO HAPPY for you! Continue to dance with this babe inside you. In a few months, you will feel him/her dance back. 🙂 Love, Audrey

    • Amy Rogers Hays says:

      Thanks Audrey, what a beautiful image! I love to hear updates about your family from Julie and see pictures on her refrigerator. It’s amazing that although we haven’t lived close by or talked, your love for your family blesses me! Thanks for your kind and encouraging words!

  8. Kelli says:

    Your baby is already so lucky to have such a thoughtful and caring Momma. Congrats to you and Evan.

  9. Alicia says:

    I am so excited for you, Amy! Woohoo! I will be praying! I owe you a phone call once the semester is over- two weeks left! Miss you! Sending love!

    • Amy Rogers Hays says:

      Oh thanks Alicia! We’re both working hard to get through this Spring! Love you so much sweet friend!

  10. Elizabeth V says:

    Happy Mother’s Day, Amy! I hope you and Evan are celebrating well with family and friends. Love you!

  11. Amy Axelson says:

    Congratulations!

    I had just a few months of morning sickness with my first pregnancy. But with my second pregnancy, I felt sick almost the whole time.

    Hindsight several years later, I think the reason I felt sick for most of my second pregnancy is because I wasn’t eating often enough and enough food.

    I can see that now because I’m currently healing blood-sugar issues (I finally realized the symptoms: tiredness and irritability) by eating often and until I’m plenty full. I had learned to ignore those signals from eating-disorder dieting most of my life (so unnecessary!).

    Your post reminded me of this so I thought I would share in case it is helpful to anyone.

    Best wishes on this new journey!

    • Amy Rogers Hays says:

      Thanks Amy! I can totally see the both the role of blood sugar and how a history of disordered eating can definitely combine to make morning sickness worse. I think I naively thought that I wouldn’t mind eating and gaining weight as a pregnant woman…because I was pregnant! But it has turned out to be more complicated. I think that pregnancy can be an opportunity to look at how we think about our bodies as we hope to pass on better body-images to our growing babies and become aware of the miracle of our bodies growing that baby! Thanks for your encouragement and good reflections.

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