38 Weeks, 4 Days (Bethany Actually)

Originally posted over at BethanyActually.com back in November.

I’ve said it more than once: I don’t do belly shots.

I’m grateful to have had two healthy pregnancies. I have seen too many friends and relatives struggle with infertility and grieve over ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages to ever take my relative ease in getting pregnant and carrying babies to term for granted. I think it’s amazing that my body is equipped, like all mothers’ bodies, to do such miraculous things as grow, birth, and nurse babies. I think a pregnant woman’s body can be beautiful, and I don’t mind other people’s weekly belly shots a bit.

That said, however, I will confess: I don’t take photos of my belly mostly because I don’t like being pregnant at all. It’s a means to an end for me. I don’t like feeling the baby moving around—it’s usually uncomfortable and sometimes downright painful. Maternity clothes annoy me beyond telling. It drives me crazy how absent-minded and butterfingered pregnancy makes me. And can we talk about how much I hate sleeping on my side? I hate it with the fire of a thousand suns.

Before Troy and I were parents and people asked how many kids we wanted, I always said, “We’ll have one and see how that goes.” When Annalie was born, I remember thinking just minutes after, Yeah, I could do that again someday. Giving birth wasn’t exactly the most fun thing I’ve ever done, but I did it and when I was done I was proud of myself.
Breastfeeding wasn’t exactly a picnic at first. Annalie being a tiny preemie made it a challenge from the start. Added on top of that, she had a not-quite-right latch that went uncorrected so long that it affected my milk supply and led to weeks of pumping and using a supplemental nursing system which was just as fun as you might imagine. (No fun at all. I should blog all about that someday.) But I was determined to succeed, partly from stubbornness and partly because I am lazy and breastfeeding is so much less work than bottles, whether they’re used for pumped breastmilk or formula.

Eventually, we realized we were going to have to supplement the nursing with a few ounces of formula per day. I gladly said good-bye to the SNS and we reluctantly added one bottle-feeding to our day. It affected how often Annalie nursed each day exactly zero. She still nursed every hour or two, night and day, till she started eating solids a couple of months later. Then she cut out maybe one nursing session per day. She didn’t sleep through the night till she was 13 months old, and she continued nursing till just past her second birthday.

I guess what I’m trying to convey is that although I don’t like being pregnant, I do appreciate other parts of having babies. Giving birth was painful but amazing. Breastfeeding was difficult at first but we stuck with it, found our groove, and I daresay we became experts at it. So although I have been grumping my way through this pregnancy and pointedly not taking weekly photos of my growing belly, I am looking forward to meeting our second daughter and enjoying her babyhood in a way I couldn’t with Annalie because this time I have experience under my belt.

Last night, as I passed by the mirror in our bedroom just before going to bed, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and the cozy-looking room beyond me. I remembered this photo of Jen’s and grabbed my camera. Here’s hoping I won’t have many more opportunities to take photos like this one before we meet our baby girl.

38 weeks, 4 days

Elliora Violet was born on November 29, 2010.

9 thoughts on “38 Weeks, 4 Days (Bethany Actually)

  • Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 7:29 am

    :D My daughter and Annalie have the same birthday, except Fiona was born on May 9 of 2009. That year, mother’s day fell on the 10th, the day after her birthday, so we celebrated our first mother’s day in the nesting wing of the hospital! Thank you for sharing, what a beautiful story and I LOVE the picture! You should have that framed.

  • Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 9:22 am

    GREAT PIC! i love your post. :) Cant wait for you to meet you precious one.

  • Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Thanks, ladies! It would be a good photo to frame. And I actually met Elliora Violet on November 29, a few days after I wrote this post for my personal blog. :-)

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  • Thursday, March 17, 2011 at 8:26 am

    I loved this post when it was originally posted, and I still love it now.

  • Friday, March 18, 2011 at 9:30 am

    You are so not the only one to hate pregnancy! While I didn’t mind the little or even medium kicks, the full blown riot on the ribs is plumb just painful…not to mention the trying to rearrange the ribcage maneuver! I have one picture of my belly while pregnant. As for the actual birth all I can say is AGONY!!! Georgia was sunny side up as they call it and I had 13 hours of back labor and then on to a C section! I can genuinely say that she will be the only one we have!! But kudos on having 2 even though pregnancy sucked so bad for you!

  • Friday, March 18, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I had easy pregnancies and didn’t like it either. With my 1st I called my “due date” her “eviction date”. The only reason I took a belly shot with my 1st was so my mom could take the picture to show my grandfather when he was dying :( With my second I think I took 2 belly shots. I hate all the things I can’t do while pregnant, like I LOVE to play hockey and after the 1st trimester that’s out of the question! I also hate feeling like an airhead because that’s SO not me. I just hate being pregnant because I don’t feel like ME and I can’t do a lot of the things that make me ME. I totally agree though that experience helps you enjoy the new baby even more :) My son was born 5 days before Elliora (love that name btw).

    Great post, I can totally relate :)

  • Friday, March 18, 2011 at 11:33 am

    I also hated being pregnant. I was nauseous all of the time. I had severe back problems and I found sleeping impossible.

    I had two and I’m done!

  • Friday, March 18, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing. I deliberately didn’t keep a diary of my pregnancy because I knew it would become a “vent” book of all the unpleasant things I was experiencing, like – here we go – shocking mood swings, pelvic instability, nausea, haemorrhoids, vulvar variscosities – now that’s something people don’t talk about.. etc etc yada yada yada ;). I didn’t want my grown-up baby to read a diary that was mostly negative, or read back over it and have it trigger memories of all the bad stuff, when – lucky for me – I loved some aspects of being pregnant, like bub moving, altho’ she could kick like a mule!

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