I scheduled an appointment with a therapist as soon as I found out about this unwanted pregnancy. I spent most of the week between finding out and my first ob/gyn appointment trying not to think about it. I felt like I was in suspension, just waiting.
Fortunately, or not depending on your perspective, the week unfolds as if the universe itself wants to make the point that I cannot handle another child.
First my daughter gets the stomach flu, vomits in the middle of the night and spends the rest of the night tossing and turning in my bed. She has not slept through the night since. It is like having a 2 year old newborn as she awakens at least once an hour all night. The next day, a holiday, we take both children to the pediatrician. They both have sinus infections. This is day four in a row of my son being at home since we kept him out of school on Friday since he seemed to be getting sick. We all have cabin fever but it is too cold outside to go anywhere.
My daughter does not react well to the antibiotics and is super clingy and needy and wants only to be velcroed to my body. Turns out she caught the flu from her daycare provider who is unable to take her for three days while the flu works its way through her family. We juggle teaching schedules to accommodate having her with us 24/7. I come down with the flu. I can barely lift my head from the pillow, but it is my husband's first day of classes so he must teach. Somehow I manage to keep her from killing herself while I doze on the sofa. My husband next gets the flu, so off she goes to school with me. I line up students to watch her, but she is not appreciative and starts crying half way through each class period. I teach four classes holding her for the second half of instruction. I'm completely drained by the end of each day, physically by the demands of holding her and emotionally from the trials of juggling multiples roles simultaneously.
Meanwhile, my husband has our long awaited appointment with my son's principal and school psychologist. Based on classroom evaluations, they believe he has a "classic" sensory disorder and have requested a full special education evaluation at the district level. While this finding merely confirms what we have suspected, it also means that we are in for a long road of therapy. The school is happy with the changes we implemented over the winter break and they encourage us to continue to work at home with him while they work with him the classroom. I am exhausted already at the thought of how we will manage this work in addition to everything else that we already do on a daily basis. I am also dreading the emotional energy it will take to deal with him without getting angry. Since he seeks rather than avoids sensory stimulation he often seems ill behaved. I am teaching him yoga and other ways to channel his need for stimulation, but it is very hard at times to deal with a child literally bouncing off the furniture and walls, say when you are in the midst of cooking dinner at a hot stove.
Meanwhile, I have pretty much stopped eating. My longstanding eating disorder has been triggered by this uncontrollable bodily experience. In the week after I learn I am pregnant I lose 3 pounds and weigh at or less than what I must have weighed when I got pregnant (I though I put on a few pounds from holiday treats). I find this unfathomable as by this point in my prior two pregnancies I was wearing maternity clothes. I am no longer hungry. It is as if my body does not want to nourish this fetus, although I know that in actuality it will be my body that suffers since fetal nutritional demands are met first.
I have odd fears. I mostly fear perceiving fetal movement. I notice that when I take a Tylenol PM to help me sleep, I feel nothing below my belly button. I have starting taking 25 mg Benadryl tablets around the clock to ensure I will feel nothing. I know in a sense I'm being silly and I'm not going to feel the discernible hand or foot that you feel late in pregnancy, but still it is my fear. Strangely enough, I find myself paying great attention to my appearance. It is as if I am saying “see I do not even look pregnant. See how I still fit in my cute outfits."
My poor husband is a kind supportive guy who keeps asking what he can do to help me. I feel awful that all I want is for him to leave me alone. I want to cocoon myself until Wednesday. I cannot allow myself to be emotional at all because I must hold it together for my children. I have cried exactly twice, once when talking to my sister, who has experienced abortion, and once in the waiting room for the ultrasound. I am a pragmatist. I deal, but do not expect me to feel. I know that makes it hard on my husband who copes with things differently, but I need to take care of me. I feel guilty about that, about putting my needs first. I feel like a hamster on a wheel, a snake eating its tail. I must take care of me so I can take care of my children, which means not taking care of my husband or really taking care of me right now. So be it.
4 weeks ago