This is Motherhood

15 May

Good evening, lovelies –

I sure do hope everyone is doing well! I’ve got some news to share – I’m 35 weeks pregnant with our son! Yup – I’m in the last week of our 8th month of pregnancy.
I began this blog in my 6th month of being pregnant. Hoped to wrap it up in my 7th month. But here I am in my 8th month with the 9th month quickly approaching and I am finally finished.
I have been stringing words together for months. The struggle has been with each sentence a new construct formed. I’ve changed the course of this script a jillion times. I was too apprehensive to share my thoughts because they felt like nonsensical rambles of blazing pregnancy emotions that echo the fragility of life,  how excited and anxious I am to meet baby boy, to also include my running endeavors. If the frequency and subject of my thoughts were diagrammed on a scatterplot you’d witness there was no notable relationship between the two. My pregnant mind has no conscious or unconscious shackles. And while that’s a great thing it offers me no favors in the organizational flow of what you’re about to read. Please enjoy but pardon the unrhythmic groove.
So here goes …
The first 19 weeks of this pregnancy I was sicker than my first. There was a range of icky feelings but my gosh the dueling duo: fatigue and nausea were omnipresent. Their repeat game was strong. Every. Single. Day. No snooze. No reprieve. I surely didn’t mind at first. Par for the course. Right? I mean we wanted this pregnancy so who was I to complain? I opted to hit the sack earlier than reasonable to ward off the displeasure. I willed 8pm to come around every single night. It was at that hour I could cuddle with my little almost 2 year old love bug and snooze until the a.m. without discomfort. The peace of Oriana’s soft, warm breathing lulled me to sleep.
Each morning greeted me with heavy eyes, cramps, thirst, nausea, dry heaves and exhaustion. But how? I had slept for hours. The morning routine of feeling perpetually seasick only subsided when I caught a bad upper respiratory infection. For days I thought it was pregnancy related symptoms but the two ailments conflated together made me one miserably tired mama, anxious to get better, and overwhelmed at the idea I was burning through the very sick leave I was resolute to save for maternity leave.
Fast forward and I was still sick. The doctor opined that I had the flu. I had every symptom but a fever – no fever is why they weren’t keen on administering the flu test from the get go. But when antibiotics couldn’t ward off the grossness they knew… the freaking flu! Regardless, I was knocked on my ass for two weeks. When I thought I was on the upswing the unforgiving bug kicked back into 5th gear. It felt like an 18 wheeler ran over my body shattering my spirit and ability to hang tough. I couldn’t move. I hadn’t a clue how I ever managed to run – a marathon or 400 meters – both felt like Herculean accomplishments as I laid there in bed wallowing and quietly falling apart – ego, pride, and health. The thought of running and dreaming of running rendered me vapid. As did the thought of mustering the energy to walk down the stairs for hot tea only to go back up the formidable steps. Being pregnant and sick was intolerable cruelty. It was breeding ground for tears. Thank god for my husband pulling both mommy and daddy duty and doing so like a pro while I acquiesced to quarantine in our bedroom and subsequently binged Grace and Frankie on Netflix.
Within a day or two from me rising back from the dead my daughter had caught the flu. It bid me farewell only to greet the most innocent of sweethearts. Fortunately we caught her flu immediately and thanked the Tamiflu gods for her quick recovery. But the threat of fevers and my immobilized fear of seizures as a result of said fevers had me keep a watchful eye on my little love, more than what was probably rational. Good news: No seizures to report. Thank God. We were armed with Lysol, bleach, Clorox wipes, Kleenex, purel, etc. for the next few days and we disinfected our house of all germs around the clock. We refused to host the yucky pathogens any longer.
In a blink the misery of the cold season making haven in our home was gone. I found myself 6 months pregnant and finally back to feeling myself – ready to slay dragons. To top it off, all pregnancy related discomforts of morning sickness also dissipated around this time. Finally. Wohoo!
Wohoo is an understatement.
So what is it like to be 8 months pregnant (almost 9 months in 6 short days) the second time around? There are so many feelings!
With my first I had an anterior placenta meaning that I never felt our little girl kick. I felt her stretch but no kick-o kick-o. With this pregnancy I feel our little dude often, kicking and jabbing. The activity is more miraculous than magic itself. Outside of the tangible feels it’s visible that I popped a lot sooner than my first pregnancy and that’s to be expected. In the beginning and at random some days it would look like I swallowed a soccer ball. Other days I would be flat as a board.
I have a permanent bump now.
This is the stage I love the most! I have been relishing in the transformation because I know this is going to be our last pregnancy. These moments are fleeting and I’m holding on to them as tightly as I can knowing that time is a thief. I want to will time to freeze. I want to bottle up my feelings in an effort keep these precious moments forever. It would smell like coconut oil, Johnson’s baby shampoo and beams of sunshine that is so our Ori girl. I want to give each second with her all my attention. I wish I could pause time and breathe in all the magic that she is. I would gaze at her eyes longer, watch in slo-motion how her left cheek crinkles with an indent of a mini v-shape when she says “cheeeeeeese” or is jubilantly happy – which is nearly always.
I would listen intently to her laugh. I would listen to her sweet and soft voice and play it on repeat like my favorite recorded songs on cassette back in middle school. I play every single video I have of her from birth to now, always. But unlike my mixed tapes these recordings never grow dull or worn. Her every little move, reaction, expression, and sound has me spellbound.
Oriana has bewitched me.
I want to hold on to my girl and selfishly keep her small, gentle, silly, and innocent. I also want her to have ambitions and lead change for the greater good of the world. Her father and I want to lead by example and teach her that the world is her horizon.
I can see Oriana in the future manifesting greatness. She has the tenacity of her mother and the stubbornness of her father. It is my job to show her that there are no limits outside the ones we prescribe to or manifest out of fear. I want to illustrate the reality that some people generally suck. I don’t want her to be surprised by this. Oh the scale of suckiness – my goodness how it can range. From the people who suck because they literally do not care about others, to the extreme… I want to teach Oriana to proceed with caution when faced with people who literally suck the very life out of you by being a constant negative, use the victim mentality to manipulate, and meddles in all that you do waiting to watch you fail just because they can. It’s these people I want to prepare her for. I don’t want these people or the several other categories of suckiness, not limited to the mean, and evil, to ever have the ability to break her. I want to teach her that she can bend without breaking. She can be resilient in the most trying of times. To be buoyant. I want her to show up in the face of adversity and show it who’s boss despite the discomfort. I want to lead by example so she can see that you can overcome sucky people and sucky situations because it is only temporary. Having ambition and integrity lasts a lifetime – they are the moral code and the compass that define us. I will remind her that karma handles people (maybe not as contiguous as we’d like but ironically it is always at the right time) and the situation can and will change.
I want Oriana to shine knowing naysayers aren’t competition but reminders that she’s doing something right. I want to be transparent and let her know that people are not always nice. While this world is magical, jealousy and envy are everywhere casting dark shadows. Ori needs to be armed with an umbrella and be prepared to weather the storms. People will try to chip away at her crown to elevate themselves but that’s not her problem to own. She must vibrate higher! I want to empower her to eliminate what doesn’t help her evolve. Sometimes that may mean letting go of people who aren’t in her corner. You know – those people who claim to love and support you but are really snakes in the grass waiting to attack? I don’t want her to give these folks the opportunity. I wish for Oriana to be her best self always. To practice kindness, forgiveness, and empower others to be their best versions as well.
I want to teach my girl and unborn son that there is no secret to success. The price of admission is determination, an indomitable spirit, and a stubborn will (thank your mama and daddy for this one!). No naivety allowed. Eliminate the platitudes. Refuse to overturn your convictions to appease others when it is in opposition of your morals. That is not a shortcut for success but rather an undercut of your values. Be the hardest worker in the damn room. It will upset people. And those people may drag your name in the mud – but flowers blossom from the dirt and manure so let them think they are doing you a disservice. Always smile. Like your mama – you will come out smelling like a rose and looking like one too. You’ll be radiant with a lacquer of strength and delicacy. Let them stare. This is fragility paired with strength.
The dichotomy of fragility and strength is a powerful tool every woman should own. Every woman should know how to wear it without apology. It’s an accessory too often overlooked but necessary. It’s an arsenal of self-worth packed with power and confidence. I want my unborn son to respect women for this trait. I want my girl to know she has all the power within for greatness – to look inward rather than outward for approval. I want her to expect that some people will repeatedly attack her confidence and self-esteem because they are quite aware of her potential – even if she isn’t always aware. I want to empower my baby girl to be her own heroine. And that her mama is her biggest number one fan. Forever and always. I know her presence will command the room and I’ve only been her mother for 23 months.
But back to current state – my 23 month old baby girl, my little cherub, my little rosebud, my boogie, my everything, who has a life of lessons awaiting her…may she always act with equal parts grit and grace. If her future self is anything like her current 23 month sassy-self this is a guarantee. How did I get so lucky to be her mother?
I want to hold her close, and closer. Breathe her in, like really breathe her in. Tickle her silly. Record her belly laughs, her soft voice, her peek-a-boos, her incessant “what’s that” and “where’d it go” questions. I want to kiss her, and squish her and smoosh her today and forever x infinity. I know that’s not an option. Forever is a thief. A cruel heartless, unyielding thief. I want to hold on to the moments when she gingerly points to my belly and squeals “baby!” I want to delay time when Oriana enthusiastically grabs her books, backs up into my lap, leans against me and her brother bump, and pleads with me to read. Every third word is interrupted by her orating something she sees or questions. “Eeeeeeeeeee!” “Esssssssss!” “Cccccccc!” “Mama, Ooooooo!” My heart bursts out of my chest! Who knew the alphabet could elicit so much glee! With our son’s arrival around the corner I’m cherishing these moments with Oriana a little more – holding on to the moments with a stronger grip because I know the dynamic will change. She will always be my first born – my baby girl made me a mama. She is my kind of special.
Oriana makes me feel life. She makes me love life on a level I never knew existed. My love for her is fierce. All the peripheral chaos is silenced because she is the center of my world. I’m not marred by the daily stresses of life anymore because she reminds me to ignore what doesn’t enrich my soul. She reminds me of the fragility of life. I’m forever grateful for that. I am forever grateful for her. And to think I have another love coming – my heart will implode!
Who knew I’d be on a journey to pave the path for my daughter’s future endeavors, to teach her resiliency, what really matters in life, how to contribute to the world, her community, her peers, all while at 23 months old she is teaching me the art of boundless love, forgiveness, and kindness.  How ever am I (or we) going to love another little one as deeply and emphatically as this little one? Howwwwwww!?
I know it’s possible – I know your heart makes the room just like my expanding belly is making room for our little dude. I’m already flooded with emotional intensity watching our son grow, kick, and give me hints of who he is. In less than 5 weeks we get to meet him – and the flurry of ardor will envelope me more than it already does today – forever changing my course. Anchoring me deeper in love. It’s poetry.
I am blessed. To our unborn son, Kobé Bruno Shreeve, we love you. And we are anxiously awaiting to meet you.
This is motherhood.
Thanks for stopping by,

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