Tomorrow will be my 13-week marker. I still feel sick. I'm not vomiting, nor have I ever vomited (which means this Little Spark truly wants every calorie I'm consuming!), but the dry heaves, the salivation pooling in my mouth, the swirls of dizziness that force me to grab hold of the nearest steady thing, the flushes of too much heat and then the shivers.... Argh.
I'm ready for the fun times of pregnancy now!! Who are the pregnancy Goddesses and do I have to dial a specific number to get them to notice me over here??
Last night, I was at a lovely gathering of ex-pats here in Beijing, all of whom have become my good friends. We're a close group, many who have been in China for more than a decade and who truly know the rhythm of our adopted home. We're all doing really interesting things with our lives and the conversation is always full of laughter and adventure.
It was all I could do to keep a single conversation flowing, however. I had to constantly stand up and move around, I had to just pick at the food and eat slowly (not eating isn't an option for this hungry belly, no matter how nauseated I feel!), and I felt myself slipping away from conversations (sooner than I was conversationally willing) so that I could breathe all of those symptoms past, each one feeling like a wave of wobbly road in an already wobbly bus--the kind that forces all the passengers to look up from their maps and travel books to fix their gaze on the landscape and the road ahead. It requires a steadying of the senses.
And after every one of these wobbly, nauseating moments, I would get the hiccups, which of course added another bend in the road to my ability to converse!
What is it with the hiccups and pregnancy? I get them ten times a day! They last anywhere from twenty seconds to five minutes. I feel like a bullfrog here!
I have noted the symbolism. Yeah, I get it. Of course, choosing to have a child is much more than a hiccup in one's life. It's not as though I'm going to pop this baby out and then all will go back to normal. The constant hiccups is clearly another way of reminding me that everything is changing, in little spurts now but then it will change in big ways--roads that I have never travelled, bumps that I have never EVER had to navigate the vehicles of my life through, unimaginable terrain. These little hiccups now are just subtle but certain road signs of the twists and turns to come.
But I was annoyed last night. I was annoyed by the constant interruptions that each wave of nausea brought to my conversations. I was annoyed by the hiccups that made it impossible for me to speak. I was annoyed by not being able to be in the same room with the garlic smells of dinner. I was annoyed but how much I really wanted a mojito in the hot summer evening (my friend had brought all the ingredients). And, last but not least, I was annoyed by being annoyed.
In other words, I was annoyed at myself.
My friend, Sarah, was there with her 15-month old who is running around and busy, busy, busy. She didn't even sit down with anyone. She was chatting while chasing after him, that is if people were in chatting distance, unless anyone else was chasing after him for her and then she was just 'watchful Mom eyes' but still unable to sit down. I noticed that she wasn't able to engage in the party except on its fringes, in constant pursuit of her two-legged monkey who was grabbing at all of the exciting and non-baby-proof things at his eye level.
And I know this is what it's going to be like.
Maybe that will be fine if I don't feel so sick all the time? (She thinks to herself) Maybe it will be fine when it's my Little Spark who is tearing around the party and I won't care that I can't have a conversation because I'm too busy trying to pry a pack of incense out of his/her mouth or a cell phone out of his/her hand. It will be okay because I'll be thrilled to finally be a Mom and this is just a Mom's job, right? (These are weak words of consolation. I've got to get better at this!) Maybe it will be more than fine because it will be simply all about joy? (It will be will be all about my attitude, I'm sure.)
Until then, however, I'll take a bit of relief from the nausea (please) and a slowing down of the hiccups (if that's not too much ask of the pregnancy Goddesses) so that I can get on with the business of this attitude adjustment that is desperately needed.
If nothing else, this experience is reminding me once again (for the billionth time) how vital it is to be present in the moment. This is my moment and this is what it looks like. The nausea, the hiccups, the annoyance, the contemplation. It's all part of the journey that makes this bus to Motherhood so crammed with passengers. Right. I chose this. The ticket stub is still in my hands. As I look down at it, I know it's going to be okay.
Happily, thanks to the public announcement and lots of reaching out, I have found out that there are a lot of wonderful and compassionate women who are also on this bus who are ready to talk and share. We're all riding the bumps (or have ridden the bumps) together.
I'll get through this. The Goddesses will hear my plea. I'll start to feel better. And if I don't, I'll still get through it, because time is on my side. It will pass. I will eventually meet this creature inside of me and it will all be worth it.
(Excuse me, I can't help it!)