Monday, December 14, 2009

Musings on Pregnancy- Weeks 27-29

Walking down an icy hill to give a piano lesson, I keep getting distracted by what feels like air bubbles of pressure popping around in my stomach. But all I have to do is glance down and see my stomach rippling. The baby boy in my womb, who we affectionately call 'Birdie' is stretching.

Today was not one of the days I basked in my pregnancy. I still believe carrying life in my body is a privilege and honor, but as I ran an errand by myself I felt miserable, large and slow.

As I walked across the parking lot to give piano lessons I had to stop twice. Perhaps I was just exhausted from a full morning of dusting the house, cleaning the bathroom, writing blog comments, and writing 20 emails. Perhaps I felt blue because the skies were gray and sad. Perhaps I was just disgusted with my cumbersomeness, the heaviness I feel in my legs. Today was a day I would have loved to stroll briskly, but I physically cannot do anything briskly.

As I rested from the hill, walking carefully to avoid the icy patches I had slipped on the week before, I wondered about the way God designed things. I felt utterly amazed that a woman went through something like this for every single person who is alive.

You don't get human life without this experience.

It is a privilege, but it's also a task, a heavy one at that. My stomach has been unhappy all day long. I've felt both full and weak.

I've lumbered up and down the grocery store aisles and leaned heavily on the cart for balance. I spoke with the owner at Vino, a wine and cheese store, requesting some brie. I told him I was pregnant and so didn't want to buy a whole wheel of it, given that my doctor has encouraged me to limit my intake to one portion a week.

"Are you sure you're pregnant?" he somewhat pointedly asked.

I smiled wryly at him. He has little idea what it's like to go from having to tell everyone that you really are pregnant to watching others stare at your abdomen and ignore your face--all in a matter of a few weeks.

The prospect of traveling to speak in San Diego Tuesday, Vail on Friday and then to Diego again the following Tuesday feels enormous. I'll have Dale with me on the first two trips, but will probably travel alone next week.

I've never felt my vulnerability as much as I do now. The world is not designed to be navigated and successfully engaged for seven month pregnant women, sidewalks are too slippery, parking spaces too far, terminal corridors too long, grocery stores too big, luggage too heavy and snow too thick.

Pregnancy makes me think of the interdependence of men and women, as Paul says,

"For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God." 1 Cor 11:8-12

This mutual interdepence is something I feel every day now. Of course, this is one of my hard days where I feel my dependency on all those stronger than me. But my weakness is due to the work my body does in making a home for a boy, who will one day be a man, who will one day (I hope) help others who are weaker than him.

At home, after getting the mail, a process more involved out in the country than just opening a mailbox, and then putting the groceries away I did manage to ask for help from the man in my life.

I asked Dale to help me finish my laundry which involved a lot more instructions due to silk long-johns and wool scarves and other unmentionables that required special care and attention. He did it all beautifully. Meanwhile I finished putting my clothes away.

I watched the Incredibles and sat glowing in expectation for my dinner meal, which is the payment I receive for the piano lesson I gave earlier today.

Another glimmer was a package in our mailbox I just opened, a beautifully hand-crocheted baby blanket from my dear friend Jodi Holman, a woman I've been friends with since we were in diapers. Along with her exquisite labor of love came a baby size pair of blue jeans, a red flannel collared shirt, a matching faux fur trimmed aviator style hat lined in the same red flannel.

Little moments like these make the days more than just tolerable.

A few weeks later . . . (after learning that some of my fatigue was due to a sinus infection and completing the crazy week of travel to San Diego 2 times and once to Vail in which I rediscovered my love for speaking, ministering and then resting at home again) . . .

Little did I know that these last few days I've been actually training myself for a late night evidence that my body is actually stronger than I thought. Coming home from San Diego the 2nd time I decided that I had the strength to work out in some manner every day, even if this "working out" means a short walk.

So this last Friday I went on a snow shoe with the dogs and yesterday I actually swam 12 laps at the local pool, even while popping out of my pre-pregnancy tankini. Feeling very proud of myself yesterday I did another snow show before the snow fell by multiple inches.

There was over a feet covering our road by the time we made it home from our house church celebration late last night. Dale had just commented on how he worries on nights like this about getting stuck on the final steep "S" turn before we turn right into our driveway and having to walk up the rest of the way.

"I don't think you can walk up that far," he explained as he navigated the slippery road.

Indignant I disagreed.

Less than five minutes later we slid off the road into the ditch. We tried several times to power out and get back on the road, but the snow was like whipped meringue, it pulled us farther backwards, farther to the side until I felt more horizontal than vertical in my passenger's seat. I wound my scarf around my neck, jammed my gloves and hat on and clambered out of the car on the driver's side. My side would have left me waist deep in a snow bank.

You know, given that I had to walk over a 2/10 of a mile in knee deep snow, up a steep road, at 10 pm at night, in a tight pencil skirt and platform boots (waterproof, incredibly stable and comfortable, mind you!), in 25 degree weather (which, crazy as it sounds, really felt mostly warm except for the occasional wind), I did very well.

I'm very proud of my pregnant little body today, amazed at the strength I still had in me, amazed that my legs carried me and Birdie steady and true up, up, up the road, up, up, up the driveway, through the path into our warm house.

I'm determined to keep enjoying the tremendous compact feeling of having a child in my womb without having to worry about keeping him warm, fed, clothed, changed or burped... how marvelously compact he is. I'm delighted that pregnancy is so self-sustained that Birdie could stay warm and safe while I did the work of hiking.

I can get up for a 6am flight and not worry about waking him, I can swim laps at the local pool and not worry about watching over him, I can take all the leisure I need to get myself ready and not worry about bathing him. Of course when I get to worry about all these things, I plan to embrace them, but for now, I'm enjoying the portability of my son.

12 comments:

MommaMina said...

Ahhhh. This is so heart warming. You attitude serves to feather your nest so well. I am so glad to know that God gives you the strength to plow through wind and weather with your little Birdie. He is the most blessed little birdie the world over. And so you did make it through all that snow eh? Yep, never tell a Taylor woman you doubt her physical abilities to do ANY thing. Thanks for sharing dear.
love you so
mom

Abigail Joy said...

I love reading your little blurps on life Joni! I feel part of it.

Marni Dee said...

And so we grow, Jonalyn-both Birdie and Momma. Blessings, Marlynn

Paul & Tina Marie said...

I appreciate your thoughts, Jonalyn. Much of it, I can relate to, and just wait, it gets so much more miraculous as the baby continues to grow. Now at 36-37 weeks, the kicks and flutters are stronger and much easier to watch. Even though I waddle down the halls at work and need Paul's arm to steady me over icy sidewalks, it's an amazing feeling to know this little person inside this cumbersome belly will be present with us very soon. Pregnancy is wonderful and I'm thankful we get the privilege to do this. Hugs to you & Dale and belly rubs to Birdie!

H.G. Scott said...

Jonalyn,

I remember whispering once to a mentee of mine in the great rotunda of the Darling Library that pregnancy finally made me understand what the feminists have being saying all along. Not that I agree with the third wave feminists, but that I understand what they are saying in a way I would have never been able to had I not been pregnant. "Pregnancy," I said, "was the most intimate thing that had ever happened to me."

Being pregnant, and having a child, places women in an incredible place of vulnerability, and my generation of women have not been prepared for this vulnerability. It's a physical vulnerability (we are larger, slower), a mental vulnerability (we lose 10% of our functioning brain while pregnant), and a vulnerability rooted in the need for others. That last one was a doozy for me. I have prided myself that I have never needed anyone, which of course, is a lie, but I didn't know what a lie it was until pregnancy.

But pregnancy also taught me to love my body, not because I look like Catherine Zeta-Jones, but because of the amazing, incredible thing my body can do. I remain in awe.

Thanks, J, for a great post.

Gretchen said...

Oh Jonalyn... I loved reading this post. It is amazing how are bodies are made to carry that little life around with us. What a blessing that little Birdie will be to you and Dale. Even when parenting is hard it is worth every moment.

Emily said...

Oh my gosh, SERIOUSLY! Babies are SO much easier in the womb than out! =) I LOVE being pregnant, and hearing you talk about it makes me miss it. There is something so wonderful about always carrying your child with you everywhere you go, and feeling them move inside me was one of the best things I've ever experienced. When my daughter was about 12 hours old, I held her and marveled at how her curled-up little body was inside of mine just a few hours before, but now the cord was cut and she would spend the rest of her life moving toward independence, farther and farther away from me. The girl was only a few hours old, and I was crying and crying because I was so sad that one day she would grow-up! =) Tomorrow she turns 3, and I'm really feeling the reality that her babyhood is gone. The saying, "The days are long, but the years are short" is very true. I have a little boy who's about to turn 1, and his babyhood is going by even faster. I'm glad your pregnancy has been so good, and I hope you have a blessed experience as a new mom. You're in such a special season, cherish each day. =)

Brian and I'Ching Thomas said...

You'll continue to be amazed at how strong your body and mind are as a mom! Get ready to embark on the best journey ever that's exclusive to us women!

Mandy Orozco said...

Beautiful. Thanks for sharing adventures with Birdie!

Jonalyn Fincher said...

H.G. Scott,

Where can I find more info about losing 10% of brain functioning while pregnant?

I've been musing on the idea of pregnancy as the most intimate thing you've experienced. I both resonate and don't resonate with that line. The don't part is due, I think, to the baby having no part of willing his intimacy, whereas intimacy and closeness between adults is often chosen and intentionally planned. I think of my intimacy with Dale or girlfriends. But the dependence, the "interwove-ness" of this boy with my body is quite intimate, so in that way I do resonate.

Still thinking....
J

Brit said...

I enjoyed your thoughts on pregnancy.I too felt so vulenerable at times I wanted to crawel out of my own skin! I also felt people thought I was mentally uncabale because I became physically uncable in many ways.Funny thing is that I did have pregnancy brain so it might have been somewhat true. Pregnancy is a humbling experience and a great preperation for parenthood!
I can say though that despite all the sacrifices pregnancy is to a female body (if your planning to nurse this will continue)having my son is God's grace in my life everyday. He lights up my life and has really helped me further die to self which is something I need and desire. You will be a great mom and I am excited for you!

Anonymous said...

Tough mama!!!

You guys look great.

Deborah