When I found out I was pregnant with you I threw the store-bought pregnancy test at your father and cried for a week straight. Every single time I had to prick my finger for a blood sugar check I resented you a little more. When I measured out my insulin injection in the morning and evening and at every meal, I envisioned all the future pain you would cause.
I’d look at your older brother, Seth and worried about the possibility of you being Autistic as well. I thought about therapists, teacher conferences and paperwork, doctors appointments, tantrums, and long nights awake.
You delayed my plan to finish raising the already (near) self-sufficient children, enjoy an empty nest (that I never got the chance to enjoy in early marriage) and travel. There wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t feel a mild, if not intense, bitterness towards you. As you grew inside my belly, I dreaded the passing of time, knowing that it was only moving me closer to your birth.
I didn’t enjoy seeing you on ultrasound the way I did with the other pregnancies. I wasn’t excited to pick out your clothes and furnishings. There were a few times that I wanted to believe you were just a cluster of cells duplicating inside my belly. It would be easier – easy to walk into a clinic and be done with it. After all, I already had four children and was living on the cusp of financial insufficiency. It didn’t matter that I was happily married for 18 years to the same man, the father to all your siblings- a man who worked hard to provide for us. I was still embarrassed to tell people that I was pregnant with my fifth baby. Carrying you to term was a danger to my health. I’m not going to lie and say that I didn’t think about it (fleetingly) a few times.Who would know? Who would blame me? I wallowed in selfishness for much of your pregnancy.
“…(It would have been) easy to walk into a clinic…I already had four children and was living on the cusp of financial insufficiency.”
Every uncomfortable movement you made in the womb bolstered my petulance. I was mad at the world, mad at your father, and mad at myself. I wasn’t angry the entire time. But, enough of the time that I also spent a good portion of my pregnancy operating in guilt. I wasn’t supposed to feel this way! I was a mom. I was in a fantastic, supportive marriage. I had four children that I adored. We weren’t doing well financially, but we had everything we needed. There was lots of love. And I was trying so hard to love you, too.
After 1,211 combined self-inflicted blood sugar pokes and insulin injections, countless ultrasounds and non-stress tests, D(elivery)-day finally came. I encountered a conundrum when approaching your due date, July 20. Being a high-risk gestational diabetic pregnancy, the protocol was to induce labor early. I was desperate to be out of my pregnant body but wanted no part of the inevitable.
It was a hard labor. To this day, I distinctly remember the moment the nurses told me it was time to push – I remember thinking, “I don’t want to.” There was no fear of pain. No anxiety. Just resentment, selfishness, and guilt. Terror formed in flashes of thought as I unenthusiastically pushed. I feared that we would never bond, your soul would bear that intrauterine resentment, and there would forever be this giant chasm between us. I wanted to love you. But, with each push, there was this immutable feeling that I was trying to force a love that didn’t exist.
The nurses told me it was time to push- I remember thinking, “I don’t want to.”
Have you ever tasted a fine wine? A really expensive one? I hope you’ve had the pleasure. For unrefined palates, the first sip of a fine wine is unpleasant. I recall a scene in a TV show where a vintner takes someone to their private wine cellar and pours a glass of sherry for the guest. He sips it, and immediately spits it back into the glass. The winemaker says, “That’s a $30,000 bottle of Spanish sherry.”
Pressing my point further, I read an article about acquired tastes. In it, the author says, “They say that when two people fall for each other too fast and have a real intense, passionate relationship at the very start, the couple will, more often than not, break up. This sort of relationship is just a flash in the pan. On the other hand, relationships that start off slower – with some caution or uncertainty, are the ones that last,” (Credit: KokoBuzz.wordpress.com). The author is right. How many times have you tried something you didn’t like, only to dive back into it headfirst moments later? And then suddenly, you realize this is your new obsession. You can’t live without this in your life.
Darling, my relationship with you may have started off slow – there was no flash of love at conception and pregnancy was a bitter fermentation process – but the moment they placed you on my chest, the moment I saw that head of bright red hair, I knew you were far more valuable than Spanish Sherry. Well baby, you are my obsession. I can’t imagine my life without you in it. And by God, you intoxicate me. I can’t get enough of you.