I’ve discovered recently that pregnancy is mainly about coming to terms: coming to terms with the things you can’t do anymore (eat sushi, lift firewood, take scalding hot baths), coming to terms with the fact that, now, your life does not belong solely to you and coming to terms with the fact that my “pre-baby” body may be as good as I’m ever going to look. The hardest part of this, for me, has been thinking about my military career and the ways in which it will never be the same.
For 10 years (exactly 10 years on the 21st of January), I have put on my uniform and served my country, whether it was for one weekend a month or 15 months straight. On Friday, I tried on the bottoms of my uniform for the first time in a month; they did not fit. WTH? They JUST fit in December, and comfortably, too. I worked so hard to get back into those pants, the same size I wore when I went to basic training at 17, and now I can not wear them. This may seem like a very small issue, but for some reason…it kind of broke my heart. Soon-to-be moms who put on their favorite jeans and can’t zip them up have nothing on what I felt like seeing two of the biggest parts of my life in direct conflict with each other. Having one means not being able to fully commit to the other.
My friend Emily, the “natural mom,” told me–and others have said as much–that when I’m holding my baby, I won’t be worried about the number on the scale. But part of me wonders how long it will take to drop the weight? Is that selfish? The Army gives you a certain amount of time to get yourself back to a regulation weight (which, let’s be honest, I have NEVER been… thank goodness for the body fat calculation and the amount of muscle I’ve always had). What about deployments and just being able to pick up and head off into the sandy unknown? Could I just leave a baby behind? Military fathers do it all the time, I shouldn’t be any different. For the first time in 10 years, I’m not sure that a 20-year military career is what is best for me or my family. This too, breaks my heart.
As I sit here typing with this baby dancing away in the belly (I’m not sure who came up with that term “swooshing” but it’s pretty accurate, much more accurate than “butterflies.” This feels like someone knocking on my tummy from the inside), I can’t contemplate leaving O for days, let alone months. I have two years to decide whether or not to stay in, but when they offer me a re-enlistment bonus and I start fantasizing about the things I will be able to do for my family with that money, I don’t know what my choice will be.
Speaking of Baby O, I had planned to do pictures as a way of revealing the gender, but for unforeseen reasons, they didn’t work out (mainly because I am, as a I feared, a not-s0-cute pregnant woman). My only hope is that my reward for not being cute while pregnant will be having a super-cute baby. So, because I’m sick of trying to remember who knows and who doesn’t know, I’m just doing it my way.
Here goes: We’re having a pony-loving, bug-hating, pink-wearing baby girl. I say all of those things hoping that I’m wrong and that she’s a bad-ass little tomboy who wears blue and green and purple and wants a pet snake named “Dragon.” That’s why we’re naming her Olivia Quinn, so that she will have choices when it comes to what she wants to be called, especially if she turns out to be the tomboy and wants to go just by “Quinn.”
The name, however, is completely conditional on whether or not Jason gets her nursery (her teal, coral, cream and brown nursery) done before she gets here. If not, her name will be Topanga Casserole Bean -Burrito. And the more I say it, the more I’m liking “Topanga.” He’s been warned.