An odd milestone in your mind, in my mind… We made it. This is one of the happiest moments of my life. Waking up each day this week feeling our little babe move around allowed me to walk into both my appointments this week without anxiety for the first time this whole pregnancy. I gave birth to Benjamin at 30 weeks + 1 day. This is officially the longest I have been pregnant. We still have so far to go but still somehow this feels like the biggest weight lifted off my shoulders.
Last week I started NSTs. I’ll be there twice a week for about the next 10 weeks. It seems excessive but at the same time it’s the only thing easing my mind at this point.
I sit in my recliner, with the bands around my belly, listening to the steady rhythm of her heartbeat with the noticeable increase every time she moves, it is something I’ll cherish forever. I close my eyes, listening to the fluctuating heartbeat, I let myself imagine that one day soon I will no longer be listening to a heartbeat of someone I have created but I will be listening to her coos and cries. I will be staring at her in amazement and touching her soft baby skin. The thought crosses my mind, we might actually have a chance this time around.
At this point in my pregnancy a year and a half ago I was in labor. I knew something was wrong and I was scared. I can remember it so vividly. As I sat through my 30 week growth scan this week, I remembered the ultrasound last time at this point. “There is no heartbeat”. The phrase I’ll never forget, the stoic look on the medical teams faces, the way the doctor grabbed my hand and asked me when was the last time I felt the baby move. Last time my eyes filled with tears because I knew it was over. This time my eyes fill with tears because our baby is about 3.5 lb, her heart is still beating and they can see her “practicing” breathing. This time I don’t have to think about the last time I felt the baby move because this time I can feel her moving as they poke around my belly to get the growth measurements.
I am here today, still scared. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wish there was somewhere I could hide for the next 10 weeks. I wish I had a safe space away from unknowing peoples questions now that I am obviously pregnant at this many weeks and being forced back into the world as COVID-19 restrictions become lifted in our state. I’d love a safe space where I have all the support I need in a time like this. That is unrealistic.
Here I am today unpacking the stroller again, sorting through clothes and organizing the house in preparation for this child. Something we swore we wouldn’t do until the baby was living outside of me, breathing her own air. I can sort through all the baby things but I can barely sort through all the emotions I am feeling right now all at once.
I can feel the shift in Scott now too and it’s something I’ve missed. I remember how excited he was when I was pregnant with Benjamin. Since then I’ve felt like I have let him down in so many ways. He’s been excited with this pregnancy but he has also been afraid to show it. I can tell by the way he looks at me this far along that he believes we have accomplished something too.
From this day forward we walk into the unknown. I’ve never felt a baby move so much. I’ve never felt this close to having a living baby. I’m so grateful to be here and in this moment. My state of mind switches from being terrified of losing our baby girl, to being terrified that we aren’t ready for this because we haven’t even let ourselves believe we would make it this far. Should we actually start making a “before baby arrives” checklist?