I have developed carpal tunnel, which is yet another Pregnant Thing.  It goes in the Discomforts of Pregnancy column, rather than the Scary column, so that's good.  But it's painful.  Despite the fact that I was a word processor and typed full time for many years, I have never experienced the tingling / pain / numbness of carpal tunnel syndrome, except on long bike rides.  Apparently it is caused by retained fluid pressing on nerves in my arm & wrist.  I thought I was doing okay with the retained fluid thing and then about a week ago I realized I wasn't sure I could take off my wedding ring, so off it came for the duration.

Anyway, it sucks but I think I'm getting the hang of it.  Tylenol at night plus heating pad, and if that doesn't do it, I'll get one of those braces that keeps my wrist and arm in a "neutral" position.  The worst of it is that I don't have much use of my right hand for some of the day, and I hate to think of how I'll care for a baby if it doesn't go away quickly after birth.  And then the other worst of it is waking up in pain in the wee hours of the morning.

The rest of it goes on, the nausea comes and goes, neck pain, heartburn, yadda yadda.  I get a ridiculous amount of pleasure from showing up for a prenatal appointment and having the scale show a loss, even as the baby part of me is growing, so that's all good. 

I have bouts of anxiety and depression and fear.  At my pregnancy group we had to fill out a post-partum depression checklist, even though we are all distinctly pre-partum.  We were told it was a baseline.  I checked off questions like "I cry almost every day," and told my midwife "Look. I can't breathe, I can't eat, and I can't sleep."  I don't need PPD to feel uncomfortable and sad, and by the way, anyone contemplating the sudden arrival of a newborn would be nervous and scared. 

I felt like this before I got married five years ago.  I knew what marriage was like when it was bad / difficult and I was pretty solemn about it, even though I knew that this marriage would be better.  I just didn't know how much better.  It turned out that it was a whole lot better, and that there was a ton of joy that I didn't know to expect.  My husband and I both hope and believe that the new baby situation will be the same.

For now, it's Christmas and my house is pretty much decked and decorated.  My mom has been here a few days and is doing so much helping around the house that she's not really a guest.  I'm accepting a little bit of free advice and rearranging of my kitchen gladly in exchange for not having to cook or do much.  The rest of my family will get here starting tomorrow.

I'm having a little stretch where I kind of forget how painful it was to be infertile, stuck between cycles, banging on that door that just would not open.  I'm noticing how much I over-valued fertility – telling myself that others were wiser, more feminine, just… better – because of having kids.  It's a gift for me to see them clearly now; just regular women who did what nature intended and are both better and worse off for it.  And now I see how incredibly individual everyone's life is, kids or not, fertile or not, there is no "everyone else." 

Except in the middle of the night when I want to say "Waaaah, everyone else doesn't have throbbing hands and arms at 5 am."  I just have to stow it and take another Tylenol.

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