Monthly Archives: December 2016

Jitters to Anxiety

A few weeks ago I told my husband that all I wanted to do was crawl into a cave and watch Netflix ’till it was time for the birth.  In a way that’s what these past few days have been.  Admittedly our accommodations are quite a bit nicer than a cave, animg_4636d Netflix has instead been a strong dose of HGTV.  But the sentiment is the same.  We’ve hidden from the world in a reality all our own.  We explored a new city, baked cookies, and I’ve been knitting up a storm.  In fact there have been times when I’ve needed to remind myself why we’re here.  Then I catch a glimpse of the car seat in the back of our rental car and I get a hint of jitters.

This morning I woke up and somehow overnight jitters had hatched into full out nerves and anxiety.  Maybe it was prompted by recent conversations with the social workers and lawyer.  Or maybe meeting M yesterday for ice cream pulled me a little closer to reality.  But for whatever reason, today I’ve found it a lot harder to hide from what is about to happen.

Tomorrow’s the day.  Maybe our lives are about to change forever.  Or maybe our world with come crashing down.  Tomorrow’s a big day.  Tonight I’ll keep knitting.


Feeling Hypothetical

I remember how I felt the morning of my wedding.  My hands were trembling and my stomach was tied in knots like I had never felt before.  I was riddled with nerves, but it had nothing to do with insecurities towards marrying my husband.  I had spent over a year (and in some ways much of my life before that) planning and anticipating that day.  So much coordination had gone into it, I had dreamed and visualized it so many times over, and suddenly it was happening.

I felt the same way again recently, while managing on a rather large year-long project at work.  I had to work out every detail of an international trip for a dozen high school students.  When all the logistics and coordination finally brought us to the airport and the trip was actually upon us I remarked to my husband how similar my nerves felt to those on our wedding day.

Twice in my life have I put years worth of planning into a single event, and the resulting emotions were distinct.  I commented a few weeks ago that I was sure that embarking on the trip to get our child would feel the same.  I have thought through every possible scenario, anticipated every detail, and visualized this trip intensely for over a year.  But with the examples above I knew exactly when the event would take place.  All the build up was towards one solid and distinct experience.  On our adoption road the anticipation has started and stopped many times, the situation has changed drastically in an instant, and more than once I have thought “this is it!”

Last week I found out that M’s C-section is scheduled for a few days later than I had previously thought.  At first my heart sank, as I felt the light at the end of the tunnel, the goal we’ve been reaching for, being pulled farther away.  But then my husband suggested leaving as scheduled and making a mini vacation of it before the birth.  So yesterday we boarded the plane as planned, and began living out the events I have been so carefully thinking through for months now. And I felt… nothing.

I guess I’m so accustomed to things not happening the way I had visualized that I am having a hard time feeling like any of it is happening at all.  I sat on that plane feeling surprisingly numb.  We picked up the rental car and drove to our accommodation.  I decided we should start documenting the experience, so we took a walk to get some pictures with the local scenery.  We discussed how we plan to occupy our time for the next few days.  All the while I had to keep reminding myself why we’re here!

Then my phone dings, a text from M.  Contractions are 4 minutes apart!  Suddenly we spring into action, re-packing our stuff, charging our phones, installing the car seat into the rental car.  We were moving (and I was pacing) because this was actually happening!

In the end the contractions subsided, the labor turned out to be false.  Looks like baby will wait another few days as had been originally planned.  But for that moment, as things started to happen, to really happen, I started to feel.  This isn’t like the other false starts.  Just a few more days now.


Distractions

No one makes it through the adoption wait without a lot of strong distractions.  A wise social worker (who’s also an adoptive mom herself) advised me that she made it through with “the right balance of exercise and alcohol”.  House projects and vacations are also common suggestions.  Anything to keep you from sitting around dwelling on all the factors out of your control.  And it doesn’t get better at any point in the process.  First you’re wondering why you haven’t been contacted by any expectant women, then you’re worrying about the details of her situation.  An idle mind will wander, and for those of us in a precarious point in our lives, that can be a dangerous thing.

If you’re like us and have a long stretch between first contact and birth, you also may find yourself running out of distractions.  I’ve fixed up the nursery, re-painted almost our entire apartment, and we’ve taken multiple trips.  I’ve cleaned and organized and planned every detail of our travel for the birth.  Honestly, there’s not enough workouts and wine in the world to calm the nerves and anxiety I’m feeling now.  Deep cleansing breaths have become routine as I struggle to fight the feeling that I’m on an out of control roller coaster that’s about to speed off the tracks.   In the midst of it all, my incessant nervous babble about air travel with a car seat is driving my husband crazy.

In an attempt to calm me down (for both of our sakes) he recently suggested that I try knitting.  I purchased a set of needles and some yarn, and after googling a few tutorials I’ve started on my first project — the most basic baby blanket.  It’ll be small, all one color, very simple stitching, and full of beginner mistakes.  But hopefully in a handful of days it will be keeping our baby warm.

Gosh, thinking about that is making me nervous again.  If you need me I’ll be playing with yarn.