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Jeanette's Pregnancy Journal

Week 21
~ Changing Places

Congratulations to Michelle and her husband Henry on the birth of Nubby! I have been following her journal and was surprised when I saw no further updates. Suspecting that she must've gone into labor, what a thrill it was to finally see her birth story posted. My heart just melted when I saw their photos.

I would also like to congratulate dear friends of ours Mr. and Mrs. Sagara whose baby boy Joseph was born on Friday, February 12th. It feels like so many babies are being born, yet I still do not feel 100% ready for the birth of my own. Nevertheless, I really appreciate hearing their birth stories and can completely relate to them. I'm getting there though--one week at a time.

Gaging my daughter's excitement about the baby's upcoming arrival is challenging. When I ask her if she is excited, she says: "Yeah, I guess so." Upon probing, she says that she is used to being the center of attention and pretty soon she will no longer have that spotlight. You gotta love honesty. I point out to her that she will always be my one and only daughter and that the relationship is very special to me.

I am trying hard to remember how I felt when at 12-years-old my little sister was born. I do not believe that I was bouncing off the walls with joy and was probably not that helpful to my mother who in retrospect was clearly struggling. The pregnancy was a surprise. My father had been simultaneously been diagnosed with terminal cancer with a 6-month prognosis, on sick leave from work, and undergoing difficult chemotherapy treatments. It seemed like overnight our world had been turned upside down and a family who hardly ever attended church services (except for Christmas and Easter) was there all the time praying for a miracle.

My daughter is my favorite child. She may never understand that. Perhaps this subject is taboo amongst mothers, but only because no one wants to admit it. We all love our children, but we do not always love them in the same way. Sometimes it is not purposeful, just something that arises. She was an easy baby. She came home from the hospital sleeping all night long. God just blessed me so. I woke up the first night home in a panic thinking that she had died because she had not awakened me and rushing to her only to discover that she was sound asleep. My feelings are gender-based as well. When she was born, I felt like I, myself, had been reborn. I was determined from that point on to put all of my heart and soul into raising her, and I did just that. She is a phenomenal child and I could not be more honored to her mother. Her spotlight is not likely to dim anytime soon.

I had refused to think about having anymore children prior to and since our marriage, because I felt as though since I had put my everything, as a mother, into my child and continue to do so I could not imagine having the energy to do that over again. I still cannot imagine the possible energy source and sit back and wonder how it is all going to fall into place. We never planned on raising this child in the States, but rather in my husband's country where childrearing is shared and there is always lots of help abound. Nonetheless, I pray for strength and guidance.

I do not want to spoil this last child because I am just too tired to do anything different. Actually, if I leave it up to my husband and his family I fear that it is the most likely path. "The only American in the family," they have already begun to tout. It would just be completely destructive to do so. I never thought much about the importance of birth order until I married my husband. My husband is the youngest of his family whereas I am the first born child in mine. This fact is reflected in our polar opposite life coping skills. He is quick to admit that he has never suffered a day in his life (not ever even experiencing racism) and his belief that he never should having always been shielded and protected by his older brothers. I see how deeply he suffers when life does not go his way. Whereas, time and experience has taught me not to take it personal and to ride it out. I do not know how much I can control the baby's older siblings as we all tend to protect the youngest, but I am determined not to make any parenting concessions.

My children have come to me at such distinct points in my life marked by varying maturity levels and my parenting has reflected that. My son was born while I was still in high school, my daughter as I was starting graduate school, and this child as I finish another graduate and an advanced practice degree and am settling into a semi-permanent life abroad in my husband's country. My focus now is to fulfill some important career goals and prepare things for our children's future. My daughter has her heart set on studying at Harvard. She is interested in history, paleontology, veterinary medicine, and concepts of time travel. Somehow, she will find a career out of those interests and/or perhaps some others to come.

No particular alarming pregnancy discomforts to report this week that I have not previous reported--itchy breasts, infrequent, non-severe constipation, fatique, and drowsiness. Nothing that cannot be alleviated with a little bit of prune juice, sleep, and a back and tummy rub. I do experience Braxton Hicks. They are painless, but are not particularly comfortable. They seem to appear most often at night while I am resting. It could be that they happen all throughout the day, but I pay little attention to them because of my increased activity levels. On the days that I wear skirts and dresses, I find it challenging to keep my legs closed (sounds funny doesn't it?). But since my return to the professional work environment, I have noticed that I do not feel at ease when I try to close or cross them due to this swollen ball of a uterus in my pelvic area. The most natural pose is to maintain my legs open.

My thesis defense is next week! The practice session with the professor is this week, but the actual date is the following one. I cannot wait. This is by far the most exciting news as of late, since finding out that I was pregnant.


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