I recently asked my friend if she thought I was crazy for publishing my pregnancy journal. She told me something along the lines of: Nadine, for some reason it doesn’t surprise me that you’re doing such a thing. Besides, you are crazy.
I took it as a compliment.
I started journaling after the first time my husband and I seriously attempted reproducing. I say seriously because this was the first time we had sex with a purpose other than for pleasure: to baby-make. We were strategic. We had sex during my prime time of the month (thank you, ovulation), and we even succumbed to that myth-or-method (depending who you ask) of putting my legs in the air post doing the deed.
The whole thing was comical. It was also scary. What if our attempts were unsuccessful? I didn’t want to fail. And so, due to the whirlwind of emotions, I started to write, as journaling became my free form of therapy.
Well, apparently the legs-in-the-air thing worked for us and we got pregnant pretty quick. Within seconds of finding out I was pregnant, I went from feeling anxious trying to get pregnant to becoming a totally neurotic mother-to-be. All I wanted was a baby, and now that it was happening, I craved perfection. Someone really should have told me pregnancy could be far from.
I OBSESSED over my every move. I didn’t want to screw anything up. I was determined to follow every single solitary pregnancy rule. I wouldn’t eat certain foods; I’d drink tons of water; and I’d ONLY sleep on my left side. (When you’re pregnant this is the safest sleeping position for your precious embryo.) And because I became a psycho crazy pregnant lady, I continued writing, documenting my thoughts and feelings.
Writing became my vice. I wrote about everything. I wrote about the first time I heard my baby’s fetal heartbeat during our initial doctor appointment—music to my ears. I wrote about my pregnancy symptoms; I became a walking zombie who could sleep for 24 hours straight. (My job at the time didn’t help my utter exhaustion. I was the morning show traffic anchor for a Phoenix TV station; my alarm sounded at 2 a.m.) I wrote about the conversations I’d have with my belly; yes, I sang to my stomach daily. (Only my baby would appreciate my terrible singing voice.) And I even wrote about our European baby moon. Who would have thought my first trip to Italy would consist of no wine? And just when I thought my pregnancy was on the fast track of flawlessness, everything changed.
At 20 weeks pregnant, I was diagnosed with complete placenta previa. My doctor told me my life was at risk, my baby’s life was at risk—that I’d likely bleed, be hospitalized, be put on bed rest, and birth a preemie via c-section. Well, all the above happened, and I documented every single thing. In some ways my laptop became my BFF. I was able to express myself openly without judgment.
My 4 pound 11 ounce son was born six weeks early, but he arrived perfect. My imperfect pregnancy had done something right: giving me the most beautiful, wonderful, blessed baby in the entire world. (And I’m 100% biased.) I vividly recall kangarooing with my son in the NICU two days after he was born. It was the first time I had the chance to really truly snuggle skin-to-skin with my baby. My heart overflowed with emotion. Life before my little man was only life leading up to him. I remember that moment as if it were yesterday. I wrote about that too.
By the time I had documented TTC (Google the acronym), my bumpy pregnancy, and my son’s stay in the NICU, I had an epiphany: to divulge my diary.
Many women are under the impression that pregnancy is perfect. We see perfect pregnancies in the movies, beautiful bellies on Facebook, and picturesque baby showers. (BTW, my shower was in the hospital conference center. Details in my book.) Anyway, the reality is that pregnancy is unpredictable and full of unknowns. (That, in itself, it can be challenging for a Type A Personality like myself to grasp.) However, I published my journal because I want women to know they are not alone. I want women to know that imperfection is OK. And I want women to know the roller-coaster ride of pregnancy is totally worth it. Once you become a mom, everything else in your life all of a sudden becomes secondary.
And so I’m going for it. I’m putting it all out there: my tell-all, personal, completely candid story, unchanged from when I wrote it in real-time. Please read with a kind, open, compassionate heart.
I think my friend is right. I am (a little) crazy. But normal is boring. I’m hopeful Expecting Perfect: My Bumpy Journey to Mommyhood will help someone like myself; someone eager and excited to assume the greatest most rewarding title in the world: mom.
To order Nadine’s book, visit: www.expectingperfect.com