Tag Archive | 3rd trimester

Lady-in-Waiting

Today is my due date. I am 40 weeks.

And still waiting.

No surprise really there. I’ve never gone into labor early on my own. Or rather, I’ve never gone into labor on my own. Period.

I’m hoping things will be different this time. When I saw my doctor today, he said, “We’ll induce at 41 weeks” and very sheepishly and sweetly, I asked, “Would you maybe let me go until 42 weeks instead?” He laughed and said to make an appointment for next week and we’ll discuss it then. “I have a feeling we won’t even need to have this discussion,” he said. Whatever that means. But I hope he has good instincts and his “feeling” is right.

I can’t tell if Poppy is getting ready or not. I’m only dilated 1cm and Poppy hasn’t dropped and sometimes I fear that he’s still flipping around in there, even though he’s been head-down at my last three appointments. And he is constantly head-butting my cervix, which causes a lot of discomfort and momentarily feels as if he’s already tunneling his way into my vajayjay. I seem to be having a lot of Braxton Hicks too and spent two hours the other day with the weirdest vaginal cramping that had me wondering if it was pre-labor. And I think, over the last day or two, I’ve started losing my mucous plug in pieces. So I’m hopeful my body is doing something. But it could just be wishful thinking. I’m really good at that.

The other day, I read a stillbirth story. I’ve been on edge ever since. Many a night has been spent awake doing kick counts every hour. I burst into tears the other day when Poppy didn’t move for a while. I’m starting to feel panicked all the time. It’s not necessarily unusual for me in pregnancy, especially towards the end, it’s just…I had been doing so well. But it seems that the trauma of infertility and loss never goes away. There is a part of me that always feels as though I am a blink or breath away from losing this baby. I don’t always feel ready for him to come and yet…I am. I’m ready for the reassurance of his first cry and the soft warmth of him on my chest. I’m ready for the realness of him, knowing he’s safe and healthy and here, and for the freedom from obsessing over the endless sad possibilities and unlikely outcomes. Now that I type it here, I feel more ready than ever.

Well, except my mom isn’t here yet. She arrives tomorrow. She’ll be staying until early November to help out and I’m looking forward to having the next five weeks be laundry-, dishes-, and housework-free, so that I can be solely focused on this baby and helping all of us transition to being a family of five. Moms are the best. Though I know from experience that there will be plenty of spats, disagreements, and annoyances. What can you expect when you spend an entire five weeks with someone without a break? I dread the conflict that is on its way, but remain excited for the rest of it.

Today, I’m finding that I’m extraordinarily tired and irritable. I have patience for nothing, which is not exactly how I wanted to feel when we reached this momentous occasion. I did quietly celebrate with a doughnut this morning, but that seems small in comparison to how huge it is to finally reach this day. Within two weeks (I assume?), there will be a new baby in our lives. That’s BIG! I wish I wasn’t spending the moment moping around the house, snapping at my children, barely able to keep my eyes open, and without any energy to even put together a simple dinner.

But through it all, through the grumpies and the sleepies and the leave-me-alone-please-ies, I remain grateful. The funk I am in will pass and, at the end of it, there is a baby. There are three babies, really, from ages four to zero who are mine. Mine. How incredible to think that six years ago, I was weeping because I didn’t know if I would ever have one. And soon, there will be a third. It’s miraculous.

I’m lucky. I’m thankful. That will always be so.

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Dear Poppy…

To my darling Poppy boy,

As I write this, you are transforming my belly into a wild landscape of peaks and valleys, shifting hills and mountaintops and rolling waves, earthquakes that take my breath away. You are alive. You are thriving. You are okay. And right now, you belong to me.

I don’t know much about you yet. Or about us. But at least I know that.

We are not long from meeting you. It could happen any day now. Today. Tomorrow. Or some day soon down the road. There are a lot of familiar birthdays approaching — days owned by cousins, dear friends, your grandmother, even your sister. I hope that you’ll have your own day, but whichever one you choose is the right one, I know. And I do hope you get to choose, sweet boy, and aren’t forced to evacuate as your sisters before you. But either way, I suspect that you’ll have October blood. It’s a feeling that’s been growing inside of me since the day I learned about you. But you could surprise me. You already have every step along the way.

Do you know that you’re a miracle, my darling? With all my fertility issues, really with my true lack of fertility, it is a wonder that with one simple attempt you were here. I didn’t know it could be so easy. I didn’t know that it could be so easy for me. It’s as though we merely wished you into existence. And so I know you were meant to be. Meant to be here and meant to be ours. Indeed, I believe that long before God even breathed life into me, your own life was written into the stars. It’s only relatively recently that we learned about you, but you have been ours from the beginning of time, I’d say.

It’s no secret that I have struggled with thoughts about your gender, about my ability to mother a boy. Boys are a fine mix of tenderness and strength, fire and earth, active energy and quiet stillness. How do I harbor that? How do I nurture one part without crushing the other? Motherhood is an art. Poppy, I loved you before I knew what you were and I love you even more now, and I want the best for you. I just fear that I am not good enough to give you all you deserve. And yet, just the other day when I told this to your daddy, he said that I am full of love for all creatures, all people, children that aren’t even my own. He has little doubt that my bond with you will come instantly. I am so glad that his faith in me is strong when I am not.

There is so much that is unknown right now. The future holds so many secrets that will only be uncovered and revealed over the space of many weeks, months, and years that lay ahead. What kind of baby will you be? How will you change our family dynamic? How will your sisters adjust? Will parenting a boy be different than parenting a girl? Will parenting you, who came to us so quickly, be different than parenting a baby who arrives after many months of heartbreak and tears? Will we ever sleep again? And on and on, the questions go…when they’ll stop nobody knows.

Your daddy is unsure how we will have the time, money, and energy for three children. He worries that each of you will be deprived of all the attention and affection you should have. He has expressed, not recently but in the past, that we may be damaging our children by having too many. But what he has yet to realize and understand is that you are a gift. A gift to us because we get to love you and watch you grow, but a gift to your sisters as well. As they are to you. One more person to love and be loved…what can be wrong with that? Our time and patience may often be stretched thin, but there is so much love in our home. Nothing else really matters.

And so despite the fears and questions and doubt, we wait for you. With excitement. Anticipation. Hope. And great, grandiose love. We are (mostly) ready for you, whenever you are ready to meet us. Take your time, but know that whenever you arrive, our arms and hearts will welcome you. Your sisters are asking for you. Your daddy talks about you with great wonder. And I long to hold you. See you soon, Baby. Very, very soon.

With lots of love and gentle kisses,

your mommmy

Update: 37 Weeks and Not Yet Ready

I’m 37 weeks now, which sounds and seems INSANE, and it’s time for another update. There’s so much happening around here! Let’s make this easy. Bullet-point easy:

  • I’m feeling really, really good so far. I think I look HUGE, but I feel fantastic. So far, no hemorrhoid flare-ups. The nausea is FINALLY gone. I’m tired, but not overly so. Still sleeping pretty well at night. No swelling. Sometimes achy, but it comes and goes. I’m good! And it’s amazing. Earlier in this pregnancy, I was miserable. Now? Not so much. And fingers are crossed that this continues right up until delivery day…
  • I had another prenatal appointment today. My blood pressure has been mostly really great (around 105/65). Until today. Today, it was 130/70. That’s not that high and my doctor seemed un-phased by it, but it’s got me feeling pretty down. I remember my last pregnancy and the high BP numbers and the multiple NSTs and twice weekly appointments and growth ultrasounds and tears and stress and worry… We’re in the home stretch of this pregnancy now, much later than I was when my BP first went in the crapper while pregnant with Skittle, so I’m feeling fairly confident that this won’t get out of control. But still. I really just want everything to go smoothly. Just this once. Guess we’ll just wait and see what next week brings.
  • I’m starting to worry that, after this baby comes and especially after my mom goes home (she’ll be with us for five weeks, starting on Sept 30), I’m going to feel very isolated and alone on a day-to-day basis. I don’t have a lot of local friends, and even less since my mother’s group kind of fell apart and Lillian ended our friendship. And it will be cold/flu season, which means even less opportunities to see the friends we do have because it seems someone is always sick. So I’ll be at home all day with three kids and no adult conversation and possibly trapped there for weeks on end because of all the germs…that sounds like a desperately lonely place to be in. And I’m not sure what to do about it. 😦
  • I’m not quite ready for this boy to arrive yet! Hospital bags are packed and I’m making progress on the nursery, but it’s not DONE. And I really want it done before he gets here! And I want to make some truffles to put in the freezer, finish some party decorations for Cupcake’s 5th birthday (in November) so that I don’t have to complete them after Poppy’s arrival, stock up on a few more baby boy clothes, prep the diaper bag, crochet several more baby hats (I’m going a little crazy with that!), and fit in a few more nights out with friends. I’m planning for him to arrive a week or two after my due date, which of course means he’ll be coming early, right?! Really hoping that’s not so!
  • Because this pregnancy has seemed to drag, I’ve been expecting to feel very ready for it to be over. For this baby to be here. So far, that’s not the case. Instead, I’m feeling a little sad that this time is coming to an end. I’m excited to meet our son, but sad that this magical, mystical, mysterious, precious experience is nearly over. We plan to try for one more baby after this one, but my child-bearing years are drawing to a close. I don’t have many (or maybe any?) times that lay ahead where I will get to relive this. That’s a relief, on one hand, and very, very bittersweet on the other.
  • I’m also feeling that I’m still struggling a bit with the thought of having a boy. Remember this post? I thought most of those feelings had passed. And maybe they had, but now they are returning as we get closer and closer to delivery day. Does this make me an awful person and an awful mother? I fear it does. I’m ashamed and embarrassed to feel this way. It’s very hard to admit that I do, even on this blog. Or especially on this blog. I’m now clinging to the hope that, should we be so lucky to have a fourth child, it will be a girl. But if it’s not? I fear I’ll want to try for a 5th. Or a 6th. Or a 7th. Until I get just one more baby girl. Which is ridiculous, I know. And I hate feeling like that. Feeling like we HAVE to have another baby in order for me to be happy and our family to be complete. Even more, I hate feeling like any baby — this one or the next or the next — is not enough. Because he is! This baby is enough. More than enough. A miracle. A gift. A dream come true in a multitude of ways. I owe him better than my heart is giving right now, and I hate that. I hate me…and yet this is honest. Maybe more honest than I’ve ever been. This probably deserves its own post rather than a simple bullet point, but I just feel like I have to say this right now or maybe I never will. I love this baby — and that’s a plain and simple truth too — but I’m scared I don’t or won’t love him enough. I’m scared that this mixed bag of feelings will make the bonding more difficult, that I won’t bond as quickly, as deeply, or as fiercely. I’m scared that my ingrained, cultural, stereotypical ideas of what it means to be a man will keep me from giving this sweet child all my affection and the freedom to feel his emotions as he should. And I’m scared that this is just the perfect storm for some form of postpartum depression to find its way into my life after Poppy arrives, especially if he ends up being a difficult baby or I begin to feel as isolated and lonely as I fear I will. Please don’t think I’m a horrible person. Or maybe you should, because that’s what I deserve. But my great hope is that a natural birth and some prolonged skin-to-skin contact will make me more bonded to this baby boy than I ever imagined possible….that I will feel my undying love for him instantly in the very depths of my soul and all of these fears will be washed away with the tears I will surely cry. I pray for that every day.
  • On a much happier note, we spent our recent holiday weekend on a beach getaway on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. It was positively lovely. We spent time exploring the beach every day. I crocheted on the deck of our rental house while the girls napped. We drove into the mountains, took a little hike and met some wild deer. We also fed some domesticated deer, and smelled some yak breath, and got slobbered on by bison, and more. (That was all at a game farm — don’t think we have wild bison and yak roaming around here!) We relaxed, and ate too much, and laughed, and played, and snuggled, just the four of us. It felt like the grand finale to being a family of four…a sweet, happy ending. A perfect ending. I couldn’t have asked for much more.

So that’s it for me! For now. But I’ll be back with more updates soon (I’m sure?) and a letter to Poppy (I hope). Hoping the start of September is being good to all of you! And tell me, who is excited for fall? And who’s sad for summer to end?!?! It’s surely a mix of both here, though I do love me some pumpkin spice lattes, warm sweaters, candy corn, and changing leaves…

And now I’ll leave you with a few photos from our little weekend getaway:

So many deer in the mountains!

So many deer in the mountains!

Cupcake and Honey, stopping to enjoy the view on our mountain hike

Cupcake and Honey, stopping to enjoy the view on our mountain hike

Gorgeous view from the mountaintop!

Gorgeous view from the mountaintop!

Oooo, those eyelashes! I'm slightly obsessed with photographing them.

Oooo, those eyelashes! I’m slightly obsessed with photographing them.

Lady in Red...

Lady in Red…

Hello, Mr. Yak.

Hello, Mr. Yak.

The view from our back deck...see the lighthouse in the distance?

The view from our back deck…see the lighthouse in the distance?

Crocheting with a view

Crocheting with a view

One of Cupcake's favorite parts of the trip...finding and burying treasure on the beach.

One of Cupcake’s favorite parts of the trip…finding and burying treasure on the beach.

My sweet little family, our puppy Junebug included.

My sweet little family, our puppy Junebug included.

Cupcake adored her walk with Junebug on the beach.

Cupcake adored her walk with Junebug on the beach.

morning sunrise

morning sunrise

The view from our front porch...see the hot air balloon?

The view from our front porch…see the hot air balloon?

a crane, at low tide

a crane, at low tide

Honey...calf-deep at

Honey…calf-deep at “low tide”

One of many hand-in-hand walks Skittle and Honey took on the beach

One of many hand-in-hand walks Skittle and Honey took on the beach

Capturing the Moment

I always feel a little silly having maternity photos taken, especially with it being my third child who is on the way. But I never regret having them taken. We get family photos taken a LOT and it sometimes seems a bit frivolous, but we all have our priorities, don’t we? And though there are things we may have to go without, I’m always so glad we invest in professional photography. Our photos are something I cherish the most. They’re hanging all over our house and the ones that aren’t, I return to often to look at in photo albums and on the archival CDs. I just love them.

The photographer we chose this time is one we’ve never used (because she’s very very VERY expensive), but I’ve long dreamed of her taking my photo because she’s AMAZING. And I daresay, our maternity photos from last month are my favorites yet (though it’s a tough race between these and the family photos we had taken in Hawaii in February!). Which is saying something, considering that I feel as if I’ve chosen some pretty amazing photographers over the years. I wish I could show ALL the photos in all their glory on this blog. There are so many others that I can’t show here — ones with a beautiful sunset and Cupcake hugging my belly and my girls and I in flower crowns and my family walking on the beach… But alas, for the sake of staying somewhat anonymous, I’ve had to do some careful cropping and editing. I hope I’m able to still showcase how magical these photos truly are. (If we’re friends on Facebook, you’ve already seen the best of the best, so this post will probably be a bit ho-hum. 😉 )

But without further ado, here is a little looky-loo at me and my belly at 31 weeks…

With Skittle. I love it when they're this little and can sit comfortably on big bellies!

With Skittle. I love it when they’re this little and can sit comfortably on big bellies!

This is Cupcake's little hand. She's

This is Cupcake’s little hand. She’s “playing” with “Charlie,” the temporary nickname she’s given to Baby Poppy.

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Sticky and Stuck

I’m feeling stuck. I can’t decide what to write here, or if I should write nothing or everything. Should I give pregnancy updates? Talk about my day-to-day with Cupcake and Skittle? Get philosophical on what it means to be a mother, or infertile? Get sentimental and remember the baby I lost, but haven’t forgotten? I sometimes think I should participate in Microblog Mondays, but I usually don’t even think of it until Monday night and then it just seems like too much work.

I think part of the problem is that I want to write something meaningful — something that matters — and I’m not sure this is the right place for that, or if what matters to me matters to anyone else. And honestly, I don’t even know what matters to me right now. I have two kids and another on the way, and I’m just tired and rushed and a bit overwhelmed, and writing anything coherent seems like a daunting task. And it’s really hot here in the Pacific NW, where A/C is not really the norm inside homes (including ours), so I’m not just stuck, I’m sticky. With sweat. And unmotivated to do much of anything because of it.

See, I have a lot of excuses for my lack of content, but none of them really mean anything, do they? So just please bear with me as I try to figure this out. I’m not sure if I’ll be writing more or less in the coming weeks, but I promise you I will continue writing as I feel inspired to do so. And many thanks to all of you who have stuck around. Whether you lurk in the shadows or comment on every post, I feel your love and appreciate your support.

While I’m here, let me give a brief(-ish) pregnancy update in an easy-peasy bullet point format:

  • I just began my third trimester (depending on who you ask). I’m 27 weeks as of yesterday.
  • I’m still struggling with “morning sickness.” It’s better than it was in the first trimester, but I suffer through periods of nausea several times a week still. I vomited just tonight, right after dinner, per my usual once-a-week meet and greet with the porcelain throne. It kind of blows my mind since it was never like this in my last pregnancies. I hardly had any sickness with Skittle and, though I often felt very nauseous with Cupcake, it was gone by 13 weeks. And yet here I am, at 27 weeks, with vivid memories of what the inside of our toilet looks like. Crazy.
  • Besides the nausea AND my severe seasonal allergies, I’m feeling pretty good. Tired, but not terribly so. The headaches that I was having for a good few weeks are gone now. I don’t have the same shortness of breath or leaky bladder that I did in my last pregnancy, and no blood pressure spikes or hemorrhoid flare-ups yet (though I am fully expecting both of those to come knocking at my door down the road).
  • Emotionally, I’m feeling pretty strong and serene. I have my moments certainly, and I can feel my anxiety creep from my stomach to my chest to my throat when this baby has been too quiet for too long, but I’m managing to keep it mostly under control. Hourly kick counts help. And by “hourly,” I mean every hour that I’m awake of every day, I keep a tally sheet of how many times Poppy kicks, and I have been for the last seven weeks. I know it’s a bit insane — proof that I’m by no means “normal” when it comes to pregnancy — but it really does help to keep the crazies under wraps.
  • We’ve chosen a name! Just tonight. We had it narrowed to two and I told Honey to make the final decision because I just couldn’t. I love them both too much. The name we’ve chosen is a bit unusual and, though used exclusively for boys in the U.K. (where it originates), it’s become trendy to use it for girls here in the U.S. That worries me some, as well as the fact that his initials sort of allude to a swear word, but all in all, I adore the name we’ll be giving this little boy and am excited to reveal it to our friends and family (and on this blog!) after his birth.
  • I’m whittling away at my pregnancy “to do” list. So far, I have asked my friend Leigh to be my doula again, hired a birth photographer (sooooo excited for this one!), hired a maternity and newborn photographer, started stocking our deep freeze with freezer meals, and done lots and lots of shopping for our little man. But I still have more shopping to do, plus preparing the nursery, making more freezer meals, and moving Skittle into Cupcake’s room (which I am beyond terrified for).

And an update on the rest of my life:

  • I’ve been feeling a bit isolated and lonely these days. With Cupcake out of preschool for the summer and me having so much I want to accomplish at home, I’m finding that we don’t get out of the house as much as we should. We’ve had a few playdates and I’ve gone out with Leigh several times, but most of my days are primarily spent with a 1- and 4-year-old. They make me laugh, but it’s not the same as having the company of an adult. It’s times like this when I really miss Lillian and the rest of my mom’s group (which has essentially fallen apart over the last two years). So I’m painfully aware that my social life is in the crapper right now. But I’m thankful for my one good local friend, Leigh, and the support and comedy that she adds to my life. We spent all of this past Saturday making homemade strawberry jam and we have other fun things planned for this summer, too.
  • Though Honey is gone most of the day, working hard on a project at work that is finally nearing its end (thank GOD!), he comes home and somehow finds it in himself to have a good chunk of quality time with his girls and to help me around the house. Right now, I’m typing this post up and he’s sweeping the kitchen floor (after having already done the dishes and going to fill my car up with gas), that’s how amazing he is. I hope to write a blog post on him soon, but suffice it to say, I am so, so, so lucky this man is mine.
  • Cupcake is four-and-a-half now and still has one year of preschool ahead of her before entering “big kid school.” She’s about to have her very first haircut and I’m nervous but ready for the change. This girl continues to challenge me with her strong-willed ways, but we are now past the worst of the toddler power battles and every day with her is becoming more and more fun. She’s thrilled to bits to have a baby brother on the way.
  • Skittle is 20 months and every day with her is a joy. Her two-year molars are considering their entrance and so there’s a lot of drool in our house and a few difficult nights here and there, but overall, this girl just amazes me with her fearless, determined, playful, and loving spirit. I don’t want this stage to end! But more on that later. I hope to write a post on each of my girls sometime over the summer.

So that’s where we’re at in a nutshell. Up next for us:

  • Getting the results to my one-hour glucose test. I’m really, really nervous for this since I failed last time (but then passed the the 3-hour test). I just want to be able to eat all.the.ice.cream, you know? It’s hot here!
  • A road trip to Idaho to visit family. Not sure how it will go being trapped in a car for four or five hours, but I’ve done it before in pregnancy. I can do it again!
  • Massages and attending a painting party with my friend Leigh. I’ll also be taking boudoir photos for her later this summer since the last time we made an attempt, she came down with strep throat.
  • My maternity photos at the end of this month. I’m paying an obscene amount of money for this photographer, but having her take my maternity photos has been my dream for a while. She’s a-mazing!
  • My 32nd birthday in just a few more weeks.
  • A visit to my sister in August. She’s going through a divorce and is really in need of the extra support these days.
  • A final litttle hurrah as a family of four over Labor Day weekend, when we go stay at a rented house on Puget Sound. Sounds relaxing…I really hope it is!

There’s a lot on the horizon for us and, as summer turns to fall, the crowning glory will be this baby’s birth. It’s crazy, and incredible, to imagine.

An Early Morning Panic Attack

Imagine this:

You are nine months pregnant. Just days away from your due date. Days. Things are getting real. This baby is real to you. You love her. You want her. You are waiting for her, and have been for what feels like a lifetime. You are ready to hold her in your empty arms. One morning, long before your alarm goes off, you awake. You wait to feel her move in your stretched womb, as you do every morning. But she doesn’t. You poke your belly. Again and again and again. You roll from your left side to your right. Poke, poke, poke. You roll from your right side to your left. Poke. You sit up, cross-legged, on the bed. Poke, poke. Jiggle, jiggle. But there is no baby movement, no sign of life, and you feel the anxiety rise in your chest. You pray, silently, and try to convince yourself your baby is sleeping. But logic melts into panic. You wake your husband. You tell him you’re scared. You’re whimpering as he puts his hand on your belly and tries to talk to your unborn child, tries to wake her himself. It doesn’t work.

You leap out of bed and pace the floor. “I’m scared. I’m really, really scared,” you say, taking fast, shallow breaths in between each word. “She always moves when I need her to. I’m scared. She has to move.”

You run into the living room because your bedroom has become a prison. You tell your mom, who is asleep on the couch, that you’re scared. That the baby isn’t moving. What if she’s already gone? “Honey, you know she’s okay,” she says to you.

“No. No, I don’t. Babies do die. They die all the time.” You’re pacing again. Panicking still. More pokes to your belly do nothing.

Suddenly, your husband is next to you. He asks where the doppler is. It’s in the minivan, out in the torrential downpour that has been going for a day or more. He puts on his raincoat and braves it while you sink to the ground. You are crying, and crying out to God. Your prayers are no longer silent. “Please God,” you wail, doubled over. “Please let my baby be okay.”

Your husband returns with the doppler. You spread the gel on your belly and turn the doppler on and there is only silence. You can’t find a heartbeat, no matter how many times you try. Granted, your panic prevents you from making an honest effort. You need to hear the thump, thump, thump now. You need to feel her kick now.  You do not have a second or any energy to spare searching and waiting. You are losing it. You have nearly lost it.

“I have to go to the ER,” you say, but you don’t move. You can’t. If there’s no heartbeat, you don’t want to know. This horrible doubt and fear is somehow better than that awful truth.

With your mom watching in silence on the sofa, your husband tells you to lay back. He puts both hands on your belly and waits for your baby to move. She doesn’t. He talks to her. You roll to your side and you both wait some more. There is a subtle change in your belly and your husband asks, “Was that her? It felt like a shift.” You aren’t sure. You put your own hand at the top of your belly. You think you maybe feel something again. But it’s not enough. It’s not a guarantee.

You sit up. You all wait. And then there, right there, is the nudge of an elbow or knee as your baby rolls over and you cannot deny it was her. She is alive. She is okay.

And suddenly, you are in your mommy’s arms, sobbing. Because you are so relieved. Because the terror you felt is still so real. “I need her,” you say. “I need her here now.” And the tears just go on and on and leave you exhausted all day long.

Friends, today at 5:30am, that was the scene at our house. Not pretty. I wish I could say I am being melodramatic, but this was exactly the state I was in this morning before sunrise. It was horrible. Horrible. I really was, somehow, convinced that our Skittle was dead. Knowing that she has been a little quieter over the last week or so, coupled with the fact that she just would not move no matter how hard I tried and that never happens, led me into a tizzy of uncontrollable panic. I have not felt that much fear in maybe forever.

I am not proud of my mental breakdown, but I’m not ashamed of it either. I know it is part of the infertility and miscarriage package. At least, it is for me. It irritates and baffles my mom and my Honey, but I have accepted that this is what it will always be like for me. I know what it’s like to lose a baby, even if it was early in pregnancy. And I have known and heard of many others who have suffered a great deal more. I am always aware that pain and loss do not discriminate. They can happen to anyone at any time. They can happen in the final hour, just when you think you’re safe. Babies do die, in- and outside of the womb, and it’s awful and no one is protected from that. I have learned how to handle that reality for the most part, but as we get closer to welcoming Skittle, I find myself growing scared and anxious once again. Losing her now, when she is perfectly whole and ready to be born, would kill me. And I am never far from imagining the worst.

Today’s experience has left me feeling very vulnerable. So vulnerable that I’m almost ready to agree to an induction. My OB has mentioned it. All I have to do is give the okay and then Skittle will be here. It’s not what I want for us and yet, it’s hard to wait right now. I don’t want to live through another moment of fear like the one I had today. I just want my baby girl here, safe from all harm, and I’m growing more impatient with every minute that passes. These final days are harder than I ever thought they would be.

I Will Miss This, Not That

With the disappointing news that I’m not making much significant cervical progress at this point, it often feels like this pregnancy may never end, and yet I know it will. I am hyper-aware that the ending is near, in fact. Skittle will be here soon and while we will be so happy to meet her and greet her and hold her, there is plenty I will miss about pregnancy. And of course, plenty that I will not.

I WILL MISS THIS: The shape of my belly. The way my maternity clothes fit its roundness perfectly and leave me feeling beautiful, not huge or fat in any way.

NOT THAT: The redness and expansion of old stretchmarks. The faintest linea nigra that I don’t ever remember having while pregnant with Cupcake. The acne. The skin tags. Fat feet that can no longer fit into my cute shoes.

MiSS THIS: The baby shopping. The anticipation. Preparing the nursery. Dreaming of the moment Skittle is in my arms.

NOT THAT: The nights I lay awake, imagining all that can go wrong. The moments when she isn’t moving and I convince myself she’s gone.

MISS THIS: Seeing Skittle on ultrasound, that plump little nose, those puckered lips.

NOT THAT: The twice-weekly doctor appointments. The bloodwork. The frequent non-stress tests. All the visits to a pharmacy or mall just to check my blood pressure.

MISS THIS: The foot rubs from my husband. The friends who offer to take Cupcake so I can rest. Always having an excuse when I want an extra cookie or am too tired to unload the dishwasher.

NOT THAT: The hemorrhoids. The recent cervical pressure and pain. The breathlessness. The carpal tunnel. The general discomfort.

MISS THIS: Moments alone with Cupcake. The times she asks to cuddle with the baby in my belly. Her soft kisses against my stretched skin.

NOT THAT: Lacking the energy I need to clean up Cupcake’s toys, wake her and dress her every morning, make her meals. Play with her with total abandon.

MISS THIS: Most of all, Skittle’s kicks and rolls and pokes and stretches inside me. Laying awake in the middle of the night, a hand on my belly, with her alive inside of me. Knowing I am not alone, not ever. Even when I feel I am, I am not. She is here, my precious gift from God, and I am the one who has been given the privilege of carrying her. It will be a thrill to have her in my arms finally, but while she’s still in my womb, she feels wholly mine and only mine and there is something intimate, and fleeting, and beautiful, about that. And I will miss, miss, miss it.

NOT THAT: Most of all, obsessing about every kick and roll and poke and stretch. Is she moving enough? Was that a movement or gas? When was the last time I felt her move? I’m tired of the worry and doubt. I’m tired of waking every night to pee, unable to go back to sleep until I feel her move. (Yes, I really do that and last night was a hard night because she refused to move hardly at all.) I’m tired of having to stop everything I do multiple times a day so that I can sit on the couch for a kick count. (I do that too!) No way will I miss that.

It’s a bittersweet time. A blessed time. I am happy to be here and in awe of what is to come. I can’t believe how quickly these nine months have passed and how close to me I still hold all the days and months and years of tears and pain that came before those two lines on an unexpected January day. These are good days, and impatient days, happy days and sweetly sad days, and I am hanging onto each one with a gentle, grateful grip because I never know if it will be the last.