Last Friday, I woke up with horrible side pain. I could not figure out what was wrong and tried to shake it off, but soon got to a point where I could no longer stand. I had to sit in a chair and told Partner I was concerned that I was either in labor or something was wrong. I called the doctor's office and was expecting/hoping that they would tell me to take Tylenol and rest, but when they said that they wanted me to come in, I felt really scared. I started crying. We had to figure out what to do with the Little One who was getting freaked out because I was upset. With some logistical gymnastics, we decided to get her ready for preschool, drop her off, and then Partner went with me. We found out that Bud had scrunched up into one small position on my side which was causing pain. Bud's heart beat was strong and solid; he/she was moving so much when the doctor was trying to listen that she said, "Whoa-- hold on kiddo! This is a wild one!" which made me smile. I was told to rest and take it easy; to try and eat some sweet foods to get the baby to move. The doctor thought that constipation may also be a factor, so I took a fiber supplement when I came home.
Partner and I ate some lunch, then I decided to take a nap. I slept for almost the whole day and was relieved that when I woke up, the pain was gone. I slept in various positions that helped shift the baby. I also had some juice at lunch. Even though I got a lot of rest, I did not do any studying. When I woke up, I felt a bit disoriented and not able to focus. The next day, I took a practice exam and did not do very well. In order to feel confident about passing, I need to be scoring at least a 67% and I got 50%. I thought that I had put the experience behind me and focused, but something was off. I had told my tutor briefly what happened and she told me to focus on getting well. Her take has been that the best thing I can do to pass the bar exam is to stay calm and not be intimidated.
I agree, but damn is it hard to be an ass kicking warrior when feeling fragile. I have a small seed of worry that Bud will get scrunched again on exam day or something else will happen and I will be in too much physical pain to proceed. I have returned to studying and with just about two weeks left, I need to be cranking it up. However, I am hesitant to plow through physical discomfort. As a result, my study time is again limited and seems to be occurring in slow and short burst. I want an image to visualize of something moving slowly with intention and emerging victorious. Please share suggestions!
In an effort to view pregnancy and bar preparation as allies not adversaries, I went to prenatal yoga yesterday and asked for advice on how to stay relaxed and energized during test prep. While there were no concrete answers, the set of instructions and encouragement I received while trying out a challenging pose are applicable.
With my first pregnancy, I took a pre-natal yoga class in MD that had a designated session and saw the same people every week. The class was only for pregnant people. The class I am taking now is on a drop in basis and there are both pre and postnatal people. Babies are also welcome. I like hearing babies giggle and coo while doing yoga, but the poses are much more physically challenging. Often during class, my legs and arms start shaking. My breathing gets shaky. Sometimes, I worry that I am not going to make it through the class. Based on previous experience, I know the importance of trusting the instructor and listening to her voice for guidance.
Yesterday, I was in a lunge position and my legs starting shaking. I was having trouble keeping my balance. The instructor told me to spread my legs wider to keep balance. I said that I was not sure I could move and she said, "You have to create distance in order to stay grounded." I took her advice and did get balance. My breathing also got faster and she told me to slow down. She said that when we panic and start to breathe faster, it actually makes it harder for our bodies to get what is needed.
Turns out that moving beyond my comfort zone and slowing down to breathe deeply actually made my yoga practice better. Going to apply this to the practice exam I am taking today.
The bar exam begins in 22 days and I am really scared. Over the past week, I have begun to focus on taking timed exams and discovered that the the hardest part of this is exam is going to be stamina and endurance. I am having a hard time concentrating for three hours blocks and need to take breaks to use the restroom. Thankfully, I got an accommodation to have access to food and drink during the test because otherwise I would be battling pounding headaches. (As an aside, if anyone has good suggestions for "unobtrusive" foods, I would love to hear!) While my scores had been rising steadily, they started to plummet as soon as I did timed exams. The solution has been to keep doing the timed tests and adjust snacks and fluid intake until I find the magic spot. I am worried because there does not seem to be enough time.
Also, I keep getting close to the edge of a really big freak out. I did a search on suggestions for taking the bar while pregnant. Most people who are successful take the exam during the first or second trimester. There is not much advice for taking the test while in your third trimester and nothing for how to pass the exam when you are pregnant, with a toddler, and a Partner who is preparing to submit materials for tenure consideration. My sessions with my tutor have consisted of a lot of pep talk from her and encouragement to keep perspective. I know that she is right that the worse thing I can do is freak out and stress. Tonight at workshop, I talked with the instructors who echoed her sentiments.
One new thing I am going to try to remember is to not let all the things going in my life become adversaries. In other words, maybe instead of viewing pregnancy, bar prep, parenthood, and partnership as competing with each other, I need to start thinking of them as compliments or friends. The image of these aspects of my life intertwining with each other instead of butting heads is certainly more soothing.