Part 3 of 3.
I have shared so much about the subject of motherhood and the emotions of raising kids in the fire life. I wanted to go back and talk about pregnancy to now. What was it like for me then and what is it like for me now. Every stage of it has been a lesson learned. So bare with me this may be a little longer then what I usually write.
(Newborn Picture of baby number 2)
When my husband and I decided to have kids we did not realize how our lives would change. When I found out I was pregnant the first time around I had this feeling but I wasn’t sure. I was working in banking and I happened to be in the middle of transferring to a new bank. The night I found out was the night of my last day at the old bank. When I took the test my husband and I waited nervously for the lines to appear. When those two pink lines showed up we were a number of things, surprised, nervous, and excited. Ready or not we were pregnant. I went through that weekend a little scared about starting a new job and getting this news at the same time. I had one of those annoying pregnancies that went almost perfectly. No morning sickness, only one small thing made me nauseous and everything was going well. I had work to keep me busy during fire season but it wasn’t until my husband was gone for nineteen days that I started to struggle. I ended up taking a day off work and drove five and a half hours to see my husband on his 48 hours off the fire line. It was worth the drive to see him but I found out fast how you cannot control your emotions when you’re pregnant. I cried when I had to say bye. I tried my hardest to keep it together but I had no control. He ended up coming home later that week and all was good again. Then later in my pregnancy my milk ended up coming early. I know maybe TMI for some but I have a point. My husband was at training week to get a certificate, I cannot remember which. But the night before the test I ended up in the ER. I had a high fever and kept feeling like I was going to faint. My breasts were also in a lot of pain. A girlfriend ended up picking me up and taking me in. My diagnosis was mastitis in both breasts. If you don’t know what it is both of my breasts had major infections. I was hospitalized for three days. My husband missed his test not wanting to leave me and both of us scared about what it all meant for the baby. My white blood cell count was being a pain and wouldn’t go to the number it needed to be at. But finally got everything under control and baby was healthy and doing great. I always felt guilty he missed getting that certificate but thankful he was there beside me. The rest of my pregnancy went a lot smoother and we gave birth to beautiful little girl. My husband was there because he was still a seasonal firefighter and we had baby in the winter.
The realization of how much things were different came a few days after giving birth. You’re both physically and mentally exhausted. There was this moment though I remember like it was yesterday. I looked at my husband and began to cry. The realization that it wasn’t about me and him anymore hit me like a ton of bricks. I don’t know why I didn’t think about it before but it was there it’s reality truer then ever. The time and energy we would spend on each other was now dictated by nursing, diapers, and worrying about this little human who fully relied on us to live. But man was she beautiful. She has made every moment to today worth it. When fire season came back and my husband went back to work all the fun of navigating motherhood shifted. He missed her first word, her first steps, the endless blow out diapers. But one thing I never touch on that I want to say is that my husband has never been angry about any of it. Yes, it is sad for him but he never held any of those things against me. I always have kept him in the loop on it all. I sent him pictures of every moment making sure he was a part of it all. In the fire life that is one thing I have had to learn to do when it comes to our children. I asked him one day if it made it harder for him and he said yes but no. It was hard to miss those things for a moment but he wanted to be a part of it in any way he could. My first daughter has taught me the most when thinking back. All of the learning, demands and expectations that are put on fire families is hard. It is one of those things you cannot truly grasp until you go through it.
(Family of 3…that off season beard though)
I went back to work six weeks after to the original bank I was at. I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be until I was there. I cried at my teller station feeling the guilt of every hour I was away from my daughter. I only lasted a week before I begged my husband to quit. I needed to be home with my daughter and was not ready to be working again. We made it work. And I have never regretted that decision. But about the time my daughter turned six months the second bank I worked at called me asking me to come back. I was a much more confident mom and my hormones had a time to chill and get back to normal. The part time schedule worked for our life during that time. And when my daughter was a little older then two years we found out we were again pregnant. This time my husband wasn’t home but at an academy. I waited until he was done with his final to tell him the news. I ended up texting him a pic of our oldest daughter saying guess who is going to be a big sister. I felt lame telling him through text but I wasn’t going to see him for another week and couldn’t hold it in. This second pregnancy I wrote about before so I will make it shorter. Around 15 weeks I was on the phone with my husband who was on a fire. It was a good day, I just got back home from work and settling in. He said something that made me laugh and in that moment I felt the gush. At first I thought I peed myself from laughing. I got off the phone and went to the bathroom to realize I was bleeding. I called him back crying and freaking out. When I called the hospital I talked to the on call OB because it was the weekend he said it was fine and just to rest. I didn’t feel like everything was okay though and sure enough in the middle of sleeping that night I felt another gush. More blood. I called again and they told me that it wasn’t enough to really worry. But when it happened a third time I knew something wasn’t right. My husband was ready to come home but I knew if he did I would loose it and thought if he came home it would mean something worse was about to happen. So I told him to stay on the fire. My brother drove me to the ER and after some ultrasounds I found out I had partial placenta abruption. This is when the placenta begins to pull away from the uteran wall. I was put on bed rest for a month. My husband came home for two days of it and was back in time for the follow up ultrasound. It was one of the hardest things I ever went through. Taking care of my toddler while on bed rest and a husband who was gone fighting fires. We recieved a miracle and when our second daughter was born healthy I instantly looked at my husband and said I was done. Everything I read about placenta abruption said the odds were higher in pregnancies after. It usually doesn’t happen in the second trimester but in the third. So, that scared me even more. After my second child we decided that it made the most sense for me to stay at home. After a month my husband went back to work in his new position and the transition of being a mom of two began.
(Second pregnancy photo shoot)
There are days that are harder then others but my girls do not know any other life. To them it’s normal to not expect dad to be home for days on end. It is normal to them that their dad might miss things that are important, and it is absolutely normal and definitely okay to cry and struggle with each of those realizations. When they’re having hard days I have learned to be more aware and to stop what I am doing and let their feelings and emotions be heard. It is not easy and there are days when I fail miserably at this mom life thing but it is all part of it. If we didn’t mess up at times we wouldnt know how to make the next time even better. Every stage of life is different. I no longer fear the “it’ll never just be us” I feared before with my husband, but have embraced and love that it will always be ALL of us. It will always be us, firefighter, fire wife, and fire daughters. It will always be us working to live out this fire life one season and sometimes one shift at a time. They make this fire life worth it.