Raising a Blended Family

18 weeks

on March 6, 2015

We have reached the 18 week mark and are just two weeks shy of being halfway! Neither one of us can quite believe it- this pregnancy feels like it is speeding along so very fast.

As the weeks go on, I continue to become more and more acquainted with my new, nongestational partner role. So many things are the same, and so many things are different when you are expecting a baby, but not pregnant with one. I begin to feel a certain sympathy with expectant fathers, and yet for as many similarities as I can find in that sort of comparison, there are differences and flaws as well. the most obvious I can think of is that when a man says he is expecting his next child, no one ever assumes he is the pregnant one! For me, it happens all the time. It happened to me yesterday, in fact, during a slightly awkward, slightly funny conversation with my OB clinical instructor as we were performing baby-care on the mother-baby floor of the hospital. I was holding someone’s very small baby in the nursery, telling a nearby classmate that I couldn’t quite believe I was going to have one of “these” around again (“these” meaning a teeny tiny baby), and up walked my clinical instructor. She isn’t a lady I know well but she is very nice and so when she asked what I meant, I was fine with clarifying to her that I am expecting my next child in August. She was excited and immediately started peppering me with questions, asking about previous children, boy/girl ratios, what sex I wanted this child to be, etc etc. They were all the typical questions one expects to be asked when revealing the expectation of a new child. I answered her rapid fire questions and then the conversation was abruptly over as she was called away to help a classmate.  Never in the conversation was there space or even the possibility brought up that though I am expecting, I am not pregnant, and I am quite certain that she now thinks I am. Eventually, this misconception will be remedied (she might wonder where my baby bump is as we get into the summer months), and that’s okay, but it’s the need to remedy this at all that has me slightly bemused. Last go-round I was the one pregnant, no further explanations needed. This time, there is a sense of owning, and yet not-owning, the pregnancy and expectation of this child. It is happening around me, but not to me. I am part of the story, but I am not the glue that holds the book binding together. I am not the one writing the story this time, and that is a different- but not unwelcomed- role for me to take. It just happens to be one that can be hard to explain to others.

Another difference I’ve noted, is that though we are both pretty relaxed about this pregnancy now, I do find myself worrying comparatively more with this pregnancy than I did with Pax. Or maybe I just don’t remember the worry. Maybe it has to do with a lack of control- it’s not my body it is happening to, and I can’t feel her body or the sensations she’s experiencing as Shiloh stretches and grows and makes room for herself in this world. Thus, when Shorty winces in pain after she gets up, I jump. I have no way of immediately knowing if she is wincing because Something Is Wrong, or if she momentarily stubbed her toe or had a bout or round ligament pain. I never know if it’s panic time, or band aid time. I can’t feel the twinge in my uterus or the aching of the hurt toe, and so I am left in the dark, momentarily blinded, waiting for enlightenment to tell me all is well. It puts me more on edge, this not-knowing. Sometimes, Shorty will try to describe a pain or a twinge to me, to get me to tell her if I think it is normal or not based on my pregnancy and also clinical knowledge. It is hard to walk the line between “it’s probably all fine” and “I can’t feel what you’re feeling/don’t remember feeling that way and this scares me”. In short, I am having to come to terms with playing supportive partner, rather than being the one able to describe the aches and pains because they are happening to me. Such very, very different roles they are!

We had a mini fight the other day, too. It basically boiled down to me needing to realize that I have to give up control, and learning how to do so. This process, the giving-up-control process, is something that started the moment I injected that syringe full of sperm into not-my-body, and it is constantly in progress and underway as we move through the trimesters. To say I am not there yet would be an understatement but I am trying, trying so hard to be graceful and open and supportive. Sometimes I fail. Hence, the fight: We were talking about some sad addicted-baby cases I had seen in clinical, and how some of them were born addicted to things like caffeine and nicotine. Shorty does not smoke, but she does drink caffeine during this pregnancy, and sometime she drinks what I regard as too much, but she regards as “okay,” amounts of caffeine per day. We ended up fighting because I was telling her I wanted her to lessen her caffeine intake so that our baby doesn’t come out addicted, and she was saying it’s fine the way it is and that she’s not hurting Shiloh. Ultimately, I was still mad but had to give in. I had to realize that there is nothing I can do about how much caffeine my baby is exposed to because it is not my body she is growing in and I am not the one controlling what goes into that body. I do trust Shorty but that is still a scary thing, to realize I have absolutely zero power to protect my child while she grows in her Mama’s womb. It’s all up to her Mama, the woman I love, married, and now must trust to carry this baby safely into the world. And I do. I do trust her, even when we disagree on parenting choices. But it’s an adjustment, and sometimes adjustments are hard on those undergoing them. This one is no exception and I am constantly having small moments, little pieces that remind me of my metamorphosis from gestational to nongestational partner.

3 responses to “18 weeks

  1. This post sure opened my eyes……..

  2. I’m very interesting to be the non gestational parent in a few years, what difference it must be. Any good words of advice from the other side? PS I find that simply saying “My wife and I are expecting….” They then immediately catch on and ask who is the carrier, if it’s not obvious.

  3. Irish Stout & Mommies says:

    Did I write this post? Lol. We have SO much in common, even the same due week! Please email or FB me: jlartgirl at gmail.com

    We have much to talk about!!!

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