16 days until departure…
After almost 38 weeks of waiting, gesticulating, worrying, living, being and pondering what this transition will be like, I have learned ample things about myself (some good, some bad), found some invaluable new friends, a plethora of opinions (some slightly unwanted) and a newfound belief in my ability to birth and parent my own way.
To sum up my pregnancy in a word would be impossible. Its intensity, fragility, strength and consistency have humbled me. It has forever transformed me, and I want to remember a few key things:
1. I never knew you could love someone you’ve never met.
2. Sometimes, even now, I actually forget that I am pregnant. I will be lost in a project and go to jump up and realize that I have a basketball attached to my ribs.
3. I am proud of myself for going to the gym 6 days per week throughout my entire pregnancy. Though the intensity has been lower, it has been my one constant with Alex. We will rise at 6:00a.m., shrug into our gym clothes and drive the short distance to the gym. While in the car, we talk and prepare for our days. At the gym, we separate to do our own workouts and reconvene an hour later, talking about what we did. At home, I make our protein shakes and prepare our snacks/food for the day before I kiss my husband’s sweet lips and send him off to work. It has been a calming presence, and I know a routine that will inevitably change.
4. I have been the “opposite” of many pregnant women throughout this pregnancy: no food cravings, no swelling, no heavy sweating, no constipation, no fatigue, no huge boobs, no nonstop crying… I’ve been myself but larger. A few more aches and pains, a few more limitations, and a world of gratitude for what is going on inside me. For someone who never wanted to get pregnant, I have marveled at how carrying a human around with you changes you; how the landscape of your world alters, and how your capacity to love grows infinite and vast. I feel very lucky.
5. I am excited for labor (or more expressly, my birthing time). If I could do it again, I would have chosen a home birth. The constant conflict with the doctors and what feels natural for me has been hard, and I am grappling with going to the hospital and the possibility of medical intervention if things don’t transpire according to their timetable. But, I am going to make the best of it. The end result is Sophie. That is all that matters.
6. I trust in my body’s ability to do this. It knows how to birth a baby. I just have to go along for the ride.
Yesterday, as I walked around the neighborhood, clearing my head from a full day of writing and editing, I thought about how odd it was that my solitary walks would soon come to an end. It’s no surprise that I have always been somewhat of a loner… I love crawling inside my head with thoughts and feelings and letting them transpire to a page, or curling up in a chair with a book. I love the quiet. I love passing time with words. I love conversations where you don’t say a thing.
But, the thought of wearing my daughter close against my chest throughout my days, supplying her food, showing her the world that I have come to love and know excites me. Letting her father teach her all the things I cannot, letting Neruda lick her at every available second and her grandparents smother her with affection – I can’t think of a greater next step to take in this world.
We have been on this journey almost 38 weeks now, Sophie. Right now, as I type, you are writhing inside of me, seeming to grow with every waking moment. Earlier this week, when I did a Reiki session with our doula, she said your energy was amazing; that your aura is huge; that you are a giver.
I already know these things, even before you are here, even before I have kissed your sweet cheeks or held you in my arms.
As I count down the days until your birthday, I have a feeling I will meet you sooner. You, like your mother, seem impatient to see and do all the things you are meant for.
You are my single priority, even though I have not yet met you.
You, my second brain, my other breath, my competing heartbeat.
You, my daughter, my child.