Four Weeks (July 20th, 2012)Today, a test confirmed what my heart has been whispering to me for a few days, now. I clutch the memory of that experience to me, like the pillow that I must struggle to release as I am wrenched from sleep in the midst of a dream. Am I afraid of waking to this reality? Perhaps, a little.
More than that, I think that I have carved a little corner for myself; tucked in to a bubble in which I've been floating all day, peering at my surroundings through shiny, rainbow distortions. I want to crawl into this moment and hold it tight, this very beginning point, when you are just a spark of life inside of me and I can cherish the idea of your presence in absolute purity, before physical and logistical downsides begin to color the experience.
Already, you are making your presence known. As though my newfound knowledge of you has given you license to announce your existence, your joyful greeting song expands within me until it begins to shake around the contents of my stomach, fuzzy up my mind, and rock me into a numbing state of exhaustion.
And as I lay here, spent, punching down errant thoughts as they pop up, over and over, in the virtual game of whack-a-mole that ever plays in my head, I finally let the regrets and fears wash over me.
How could you have been so careless?
Doesn't your body need more of a rest?
You're struggling with two- what will you do with three?
What if you lose your milk supply for Michael?
How can you possibly take care of yourself through the pregnancy- you're not even sleeping at night!
You're going to have three under three.
But when the tide falls back from the sand, all that remains is the love that I already feel for you, which surpasses all. God's timing is not my timing, after all. Nor is yours. Still, you are wanted, and have been, since before you took up residence in my belly, and my soul. Already, my life is changed, and I cannot imagine it without you here.
Five Weeks (July 28th, 2012)I set up an App, to track your progress, and spent the first few days reading and re-reading the details of your current state. Imagine my joy when finally, a new week appeared, and a new update. Such a silly reaction, given that I've done this twice before: I've read every little description, pictured every fruit size.
But I cling to these depictions, these images, because I'm in the midst of one of the hardest parts (for me) of this journey of ours. The beginning, the abstract, when I know of you but must struggle in my attempts to accept you as a reality. When my days are filled with other thoughts beyond your presence, but you linger ever in the back of my mind, to be brought forward by a physical reminder- extreme fatigue, overwhelming smells, queasy feelings in my insides.
Or simply a rare moment of quiet, when I have the chance to wonder at how impossibly far away our journey's end seems now, and what a brief moment it will have been reduced to, in the grand scheme of our lives, when all is said and done.
Seven Weeks (August 9th, 2012)... when you have reached the size of a blueberry- the discovery that led your father and I to playfully nickname your sister in-utero, at the thought of the "Little Blueberry" inside of me. Last week, it was just an apple seed, and not a day went by that I did not intend to pay tribute to your six-week mark as well, but it has been difficult to find true privacy in our current circumstances (out at the beach house in Point Lookout, with various family members popping by).
I've thought of you often, though I've never had the time to do so for long. Especially in the last two days, when every time I sit down to rest I see my tummy poking out just a little more than usual. It's just bloat at this point, I know, but still a visual precursor of what is to come. I begin to wonder how soon you will make your presence known. Abby, being my first, took the longest, of course. I think I sprouted the tiniest of bumps at perhaps 15 or 16 weeks. That same level of progress was achieved by week 11 with your brother. Only time will tell for you, I suppose.
In the meantime, your father and I keep you a closely guarded secret. This both excites and frustrates me. I love the special bond that it has created between us, our own private reality, untainted by the intrusion of anyone else's. But it can sometimes be difficult to suffer in secret, especially in this heat, and surrounded by family from whom I must hide myself away to work through the worst of my discomfort on my own. And as rattled as I still am by the changes that our family faces, much sooner than I intended to have them happen, I am honored to be host to you, and wait, somewhat impatiently at times, for the appropriate moment to introduce you to the world.
Eight Weeks (August 17th, 2012)Kidney bean-sized now. And I'm starting to pop out the top of my abdomen- a new phenomenon. Your brother and sister both initially protruded from behind my belly-button.
Back at home, out of the heat, I'm infinitely more comfortable. But still so infinitely exhausted. Send good vibes to your brother for me, will you? We both very much need him to learn to sleep soon.
Less than a week left until I finally get to "see" you, and I am so impatient for the opportunity. Until then, I'll keep desperately trying to craft some abstract sense of you n my mind, in my heart. To find some way to make it all finally, beautifully, real.
Nine Weeks (August 24th, 2012)I got my first glimpse of you yesterday. So small, and yet so much bigger than I expected you to be. Then again, I first saw your sister at seven weeks, and your brother and eight. You've had a whole extra week to grow, and grow you have!
If you were moving in there, I couldn't see it, but the sound of your heartbeat was magical. Even Abby stopped and looked around the room when the steady rhythm of it began to drum through the ultrasound machine. Perhaps she found it familiar, as she used to hear her brother's little heart beating from inside me, all those months ago.
Certainly, once upon a time, she heard the sound of my heartbeat, from the very spot in which you are nestled now.
In what ways will you be like her, like Michael? And in what ways will you be different? Part of me is impatient to know, but the rest? The rest can stand to wait- to cherish this special time with you, when your every need is met so organically and automatically- my breaths are your breaths, my food your food, my body your warmth and comfort. Because all too soon, the day will come when the three of you outnumber your poor father and me. But it will be so worth it, to finally get to meet you.
Ten Weeks (August 31st, 2012)It's starting to sink in, I think. A little. Certainly, the news of your presence is spreading, slowly but surely. The excitement and joy of others as they hear of your impending arrival is helping me to reignite the joy that I've been trying to feel, underneath all of the exhaustion, and fear.
Please don't misunderstand. I am so incredibly grateful for you, and protective of you. My heart would break if I lost you. But I have so many worries that I am nursing, so many obstacles to overcome now, and in the future, because of the timing of your conception. It's a little terrifying to contemplate at times, so I'm really trying not to.
Instead, I am vowing from this day forward to enjoy my journey with you, to the best of my ability. Of course, I won't love every minute- I'll never be a fan of the throat-tightening nausea, the insidious heartburn, the aches, the pains, the fatigue. But I'm honored by the privilege, and in love with the process. And that's what I'll cling to. That, and the knowledge that this is the only time, the most rare, precious of time, that you are all mine, and always, always with me.
Eleven Weeks (September 10, 2012)I had a conversation with your sister about you, today. She gets a little rough, sometimes, when she climbs and snuggles in my lap, and I have to remind her that there's a tiny baby in Mommy's tummy that she must be gentle with. I told her, "That's your little brother or sister in there."
"Sister," she corrected me. (Only time will tell if she was right.) Stunned, I said to her, "So, Abby, are you having a little sister, then? What should we name your little sister.?"
She thought for a moment, and then said, excitedly, "Michael!"
Sorry, kiddo. I can think of a couple of reasons why that wouldn't work out.