On Sunday, I celebrated the one year anniversary of one of the momentous days of my life – Brielle’s birthday. The tiny baby I watched come into this world is now a healthy one year old, toddling, and emitting a laugh somewhere between a bleating lamb and a baby dinosaur.
Brielle is a happy child, and she clearly enjoyed being the center of attention (something I’m familiar with). She was fascinated by the ribbons on the packages and joyfully gorged herself on the baby cake made especially for her by her Aunt Maria. Instead of being over-stimulated (and I would have been), she was whirling, twirling, and content to be picked up or left on the floor to chase after other children.
Sadly, I had to forgo the celebratory cake, cupcakes, and ice cream. My morning sickness, nausea, and fatigue have increased over the past two weeks. As of today, I’m 14 weeks, but I feel more like I did in those first 5 weeks when I had no idea I was pregnant.
I suppose the fatigue is most likely because I haven’t been able to sleep for more than two hours at a time. I sleep for two hours and wake up for twenty minutes, consistently though the night. On top of that, I’m either developing a cold or new-found allergy as my head is as stuffed up as a teddy bear.
People have told me my body is getting ready for early morning feedings and late night crying. And, while I’m appreciative of my present body's consideration of my future body's needs, I desperately more sleep to function.
Yesterday I could barely get out of bed. My head was completely congested, and my tongue as dry as a dishrag when I woke up. My throat burned, and I couldn’t summon the energy to even take a shower. Add morning sickness and nausea to that, and I knew my productivity was going to be 0%.
Oh, how I hate to call in to work! But there was no going in for me. If I couldn’t even find energy to bathe, how in heaven was I going to work?! I left a message, and I hated doing it. This helpless, pathetic feeling is overhanging my mood even now. I just can’t miss this much work – if I do, then how am I going to take off when the baby is born?
So, I just pray that as I head in the second trimester, the worst of it will surge backward, and I can regain some sense of normalcy.
The good news is that I was able to reach my OB. He approved Benadryl as a safe medication to both help me sleep and take care of any cold or allergy symptoms I may have. I practically drunk-dialed Mom (sleep deprivation makes me loopy) and asked if she could get me some Benadryl. Bless her generous heart, she did.
At first, my OB said to only take it right before bed. But, I begged (only children are good beggars) to take one mid-afternoon. He relented, and so for the first time in almost two weeks, I slept!
I woke up feeling groggy, in a medicated fog, but within an hour I felt a lot better. Not 100% (I am still pregnant after all), but so much better. I’m already looking forward to tonight, when I can take another one and sleep like a normal person (at least for a little while longer).
Speaking of only children, I have noticed people tend to look at me in horror when I say we hope to have one child. To me – to us– having this baby is the task at hand, an activity we are thrilled to realize is actually happening. I can’t think beyond this child, this miracle.
However, as an only child myself, I take exception (great exception, really) to the flawed assumption that only children are somehow miserable in that position.
Of course, I have nothing against people who have more than one child. I can’t imagine my own extended family any differently. My grandmother had 12 children, and there’s not one of my aunts or uncles I can imagine NOT being in existence. I grew up playing with my Boehm cousins – Charity, Colleen, Candice, and BJ – and I wouldn’t think my life complete if any of them hadn’t been there to experience childhood’s adventures with me.
I am proud to be an only child. I don’t feel cheated or unhappy even slightly. My parents were married for eleven years before they were able to conceive a child, something I know a little about. I knew I was their miracle. Instead of smothering me, my parents opened the world to my small eyes. I suppose they lavished affection on me, something Mom still does, and I don’t think anything is wrong with loving a child.
They didn’t put me on a pedestal. They didn’t assume I was always innocent (and believe me, I wasn’t). I had discipline and structure, but more than that I had the happy assurance my parents loved me. They never made me feel like I wasn’t enough for them.
We were and are a family, complete, whole, and content.
I wish that same environment for my child. I can only think one miracle at a time. Who knows the future, besides God? I trust He will guide and direct us, but I also rest in knowing that having one child – and being therefore content with what God has given (has given, especially in our case) – is an immeasurable blessing.
So, I urge you not to feel pity for the only child. There is great joy in being one, and there are those of us who embrace it and wish to pass it on.
As I sat on Uncle Billy’s couch at Brielle’s party, trying to forestall the inevitable nausea, I remembered back to the days before her birth, and my incredulity at the miracle of her birth. I never dreamed that - at the first birthday party of this beloved little bundle - I would be incubating my own beloved little bundle. Never imagined it.
Yet there I sat, pregnant, watching the children climb over one another with a sense of wonder. Thinking it was beyond hope, and knowing it wasn’t, I prayed silently that next year my child will share in Brielle’s second birthday. It was strange to think that these not-cousins (as Candice calls them) will be only a year and half apart.
If God wills, Candice and I will see our children grow up together. What an unexpected gift!
As one of the first people she saw upon making her grand entrance to this world, I would like to wish my wonderful, amazing not-niece the happiest of birthdays!
I pray she will grow up healthy, happy, strong and knowing how precious she is to me.