Saturday, October 5, 2013

39 Weeks Down....1 Week to Go

With only a week remaining until the arrival of my due date, I actually have time to think about my pregnancy and what the approaching outcome will entail.  It's all been very abstract for me from the beginning.  Back in February when we got a positive pregnancy result, there weren't many physical changes to speak of and there was no tangible evidence that a baby had actually been created.  I had no morning sickness to speak of and my regular clothes fit for a long time.  Once our greenhouse season was in full swing, I became too busy to really think about my pregnancy.  I worked long days every day without much time to rest and reflect on what was going on inside my body.  To the baby's credit, he was extremely cooperative all summer.  My pregnancy hasn't prevented me from doing anything I normally do (with the exception of an October steelhead trip), and I've remained extremely active over the past nine months.  It wasn't until a week or two ago that the increased discomfort began.  It coincided with the end of our greenhouse season, so I'm not sure if I'm more uncomfortable now because the baby is at his biggest point or if it's because I have time to notice it.  Either way, I've still had it very easy overall so I don't complain much.  Sure my shoes are pretty tight now, my ribcage is sore, and I have to get up once or twice each night to use the bathroom, but things could have been much worse for much longer. 

As I said before, I stayed so busy during the duration of my pregnancy that the baby didn't start to become real to me until recently.  With the greenhouse now closed for the season, I have more free time in a single day than I had over the course of the entire summer.  I spent our first week of the off season in nesting mode:  I washed the baby clothes, organized the house, froze tomato sauce and applesauce for the winter, got the car seat installed, stocked the kitchen with food, etc.  Now that I checked off all the important things on my baby to-do list, there's days when I start to feel a bit listless.  It's only the second week of our off season and I'm already bored. Unbelievable. I should be appreciating this time to myself because I'll soon me lamenting the loss of it.  Who knows when I'll ever have this much time to myself again.....

With this new time off comes too much time to think, which has led to some mental meltdowns recently.  The labor part doesn't worry me; I know it will be painful but I know it will end, and I also know my pain tolerance is high.  Most mothers I know have gone through some sort of labor, so if they can do it so can I.  I'm also not too nervous about caring for a newborn.  I've done a lot of reading, we've taken the classes, and our families will be around to help.  The part that's been throwing me for a loop, though, is the realization that our lives are about to profoundly change.  It's actually beginning to dawn on me that we'll be bringing home a newborn sometime within the next few weeks.  The baby is still intangible to me; I don't have a picture in my head of what he'll look like, we don't have a definite name picked out yet, and I don't feel I've really bonded with him inside the womb.  Whether we're ready or not, the arrival of the baby will be the biggest life changing event in either of our lives......and it's scary.  I know the timing couldn't be better and my husband and I are not regretting the pregnancy one bit, but it's still making me very anxious and emotional lately.  Once this baby is here, our lives will have an entirely new focus.  We'll no longer just be looking out for ourselves and each other.  This baby will become the epicenter of our lives.  I know it will be a good thing but it's just begun to sink in how much our lives are about to change. I've been very independent for a very long time but will soon be retiring that independence.  I know I'll get it back eventually, but it scares me.  I also know that I'll likely forget all these fears once the baby is here.

To my husband's credit, he already loves the baby.  He is much more emotionally open than I am and I can tell he's excited for the baby to get here. I have a hunch that as my due date approaches I, too, will turn the corner and begin to look forward to the arrival of our son.  A lot of people have said to me over the past couple months, "You must be getting so excited to meet him!"  I would go along with their excitement but it wasn't genuine.  It had previously been too abstract for me, and right now I'm more anxious than excited.  When I look at the crib and baby clothes, I feel agitation rather than love.

Part of me wishes I was still working ten hours a day so I didn't have time to process everything that's going to be happening within the next few weeks, but another part of me is glad that I'm confronting these fears.  I know it's normal to be nervous and I know I'll have no regrets once the baby is here.  It's been eye opening for me to see how genuinely excited people are for this baby--people I don't even know--so we definitely must be headed towards something very special.  Although I don't feel drawn towards babies and don't have the urge to coo and coddle infants I see on the street, I know it will be different with my own child.  And when I take the time to think about it now, I AM looking forward to developing that special bond with my son, and I AM looking forward to moving on from a couple to a cohesive unit of three.  Maybe today's the day I start turning the corner and love and anticipation about my son's arrival begin to replace anxiety and fear.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fly Fishing for Two

With the Wisconsin inland trout season coming to a close soon and my due date less than three weeks away, I figured I needed to squeeze in a few hours of fly fishing before I lost the chance.  I decided to stay close to home, so I chose a well known stream just ten minutes from my front door.  I haven't spent much time fishing my local waters--I'm on more familiar ground with streams an hour away--so I was looking forward to exploring a new stretch of water that was so conveniently located.

The first point of concern was whether my waders would still fit.  It had been a couple months since I'd last worn them, so I had no idea whether they were going to fit over my belly or not.  As luck would have it, I had about an inch to spare.

After gearing up, I headed down the well worn path from the parking area into the trees.  Normally very nimble and sure-footed, I found myself being extra careful on the steep parts of the trail.  My extra weight out front has apparently affected my balance a bit. Once out of the trees, I entered a meadow of grass reaching above my head.  I silently thanked the previous fishermen who had laid out a maze of trampled paths for me to follow.

Once I reached the water, I followed it downstream a ways so I could fish up. There wasn't much going on in terms of hatches or risers, but on the first cast a little guy made a splashy take at my Pass Lake dropper as soon as it hit the water.  I assumed that was a sign of good things to come.  I continued fishing upstream and had a lot of quick takes on the dropper as it floated along the undercut banks.

As the sun got higher, my stamina got lower.  I could feel my energy waning fast, so after only an hour on the water, I headed back to the parking lot.  It was hard to abandon the runs I saw ahead of me, but I didn't want to test the baby's patience.  Temporarily gone are the days of being able to fish for an entire day without even stopping to eat, but I'm glad I made it out to explore some new water.

As it turned out, I managed to get out one more time before the season closed.  A couple friends were heading to the Driftless for an afternoon and invited me along.  We ended up fishing the same stretch of water we ended the 2012 season on.  It was a similar sort of day, too, with the sun shining, a cool breeze blowing, and the leaves beginning to change color.

There were lots of risers around, and although more fish were missed than caught, enough of them took my flies to make the trip a successful end to the season.

One season is now closed, but a different one is about to begin for me.  I've enjoyed my independence for a long time; I've been able to do what I wanted when I wanted for the most part.  As I prepare for this new adventure, though, I'm beginning to look forward to having responsibility for someone else.  I know I'll miss having the freedom to pack up and leave for a weekend of fishing whenever it suits me, but I predict that spending a weekend with my husband and newborn will be even more fulfilling.  And down the road, I'm looking forward to having a new fly fishing partner by my side.