This weekend Chris and I decided to return to the scene of the crime. Okay, maybe more like the precursor to the scene of the crime. We went to Red Lobster.* You see, we calculated when the minions were conceived and the numbers don't lie, at least Molly (twin A) and possibly Jack was conceived after a post-Christmas shopping dinner at Red Lobster. I know what you're thinking, a family seafood restaurant is not exactly the pinnacle of romance, but desperate times call for desperate measures. In December 2010 one of our close friends was living with us post-break up and we arrived home, for the first time in nearly 6 weeks, with the house to ourselves - so we took advantage of our rare found moment of privacy. This ironically led to a situation where we will rarely be alone together at home for many many years.
Since conception we have often joked about the magical powers of the iconic seafood restaurant chain.** So this weekend we returned, which got me thinking about pregnancy, specifically my pregnancy and that a year ago I was just two months pregnant, blissfully unaware that I was having two babies rather than one. There are so many things about my pregnancy that I wouldn't change, but there are others that I wish that I could do over again.***
My Reaction to Morning Sickness
For the first 4-5 months of pregnancy I couldn't keep anything down. Morning sickness was constant and aggravated by fresh air. There wasn't a snow bank in the entire city of Toronto that hadn't been Christened with my vomit. I tried acupressure bands for sea sickness****, chomping on saltine crackers, sucking on ginger or mints, massage and yoga. Nothing worked. It was incredibly difficult to hide my pregnancy during the first trimester when I was constantly throwing up in a garbage bin under my desk. Fueled by news articles about birth defects caused by anti-nausea medication from the past I was determined not to take any anti-nausea medication no matter what. When I went to the doctor just over four months pregnant, with twins, ten pounds lighter than my pre-pregnancy self we discussed my options. The bottom line was that I needed to keep food down for the babies to be able to grow. She wrote me an anti-nausea prescription, I filled it and then researched like crazy, despite reassurances that it was perfectly safe and widely tested I was scared. I finally gave in and took the medication and almost instantly felt better. I only ended up taking it for a month before the symptoms finally subsided on their own, but I wasted so much time berating myself and the babies for feeling so awful. If hadn't been so paranoid I would have enjoyed the first half of my pregnancy so much more.
Working Too Hard & Too Far Into Pregnancy
Because I was so ill during the first half of pregnancy I treated it more like a disease I had to fight than a once in a life time experience. Now that the kids are here, I'm sorry that I didn't embrace my pregnancy more. I faced it like a boxing match and in turn it beat the crap out of me. I was determined to work for as long as I could in pregnancy, but for all of the wrong reasons. It wasn't because we needed the money, it wasn't because my work wasn't supportive of my needs at high risk twin pregnancy - it was because I am stubborn.***** I'd subway into work, very pregnant, where I was rarely offered a seat, but too proud and too timid to ask for one and come home exhausted and swollen, taking a two hour nap and falling asleep at 10pm while my husband picked up the slack at home. As the pregnancy progressed I worked from home more, and shorter hours transiting downtown when it was less crowded. I even purchased a maternity belt to support my belly, which helped, minimally. I finally submitted to stop work at 35 weeks pregnant and finally began to rest in my last three weeks of pregnancy. For some unknown reason, I thought that if I didn't remain tough in my pregnancy people would think I was weak and incapable of being a good mother.
Keeping a Better Record of My Pregnancy
I didn't want to keep one of those flip book week by week pregnancy albums, posing with my pregnant belly each week, and it wouldn't have worked anyway as I went from not looking pregnant at all, to just looking fat to being mega-pregnant. I also didn't want posed studio pictures of my pregnant belly because that just isn't me. I figured if a picture happened to be taken of me pregnant then it would be on record, the only problem with that when you feel sick most of the time you aren't in a lot of situations where you get your picture snapped. Luckily there are some great photos of me pregnant that are going into both Molly & Jack's baby books - thanks to my mom's insistence and some great shots from a Spring wedding. And although I kept a pregnancy journal it was sparse at best and read more like a manifesto imploring people to never procreate peppered with a few exciting moments, first kicks, first ultrasounds and records of my kids spooning in utero (Molly was the big spoon and Jack was the little spoon). It is also one of the things that has inspired me to keep a good record of their lives, so maybe it doesn't count as a regret after-all. Hopefully this will be something they can both look back on and read fondly. We are lucky and have two wonderful and healthy babies and that is something I wouldn't change for anything.
*I recall their tagline as being, "For the Seafood Lover in you". It has since changed to, "Sea Food Differently." which I don't find to be nearly as catchy or fitting considering our circumstances.
**Thank you to those of you who have given us gift certificates to said family restaurant if any children were conceived this weekend they will be dropped off in a basket at your doorstep for you to raise.
***Not that I have plans to rectify the situation through getting pregnant again any time soon (or ever again).
**** This helped a bit, but was suspicious to fellow co-workers who did not know I was pregnant yet as I do not work on a ship or anywhere near the sea.
*****Yes, I think I'm a big wheel down at the cracker factory. (Second The Simpsons reference for those counting).