Well friends, we have reached the end of our journey.
This sweet child of ours will be born at 37 weeks and three days gestational age. In less than 72 hours these bony knees and exploring hands will be held and kissed, their every minute detail marveled over. This funny little being we have come to know and love in a fierce, abstract way, will be here, in our arms.
When I first wrote about my pregnancy, about seeing that second pink line, I said:
Within that single defining moment, life didn’t simply go on, it expanded, exploded – pulled apart our cozy little circle of two and insisted that we make room for a third. A teeny, tiny third.
I was more right than I ever could have known. Pregnancy has been a constant process of splitting and tearing open, stretching a life that fit two in order to gradually, week by week, make room for more. Each experience has pulled apart pieces of ourselves and stitched us together closer, tighter.
I have seen glimpses of Adam as a father, a strange secret tender side that he doesn’t talk about, doesn’t feel the need to explore and tease apart and share like I do, but one that has slowly emerged nonetheless.
The way he made it a priority to sit beside me in all of those waiting rooms for all of those appointments (no small feat considering I have seen midwives, geneticists, maternal fetal medicine specialists, obstetricians, nephrologists…the list goes on).
He supported every decision, helped me through each small molehill made mountainous by my fixations. And every so often he would fall silent and I’d find him just looking at me, a strange, quiet contemplative stare.
And that look said it all.
Not this look…this look is saying “Hey! Look what I did!”
Physically, my body has earned my eternal respect and devotion. I joke a lot about my physical failings and all of the ways my body lets me down -I have zero hand-eye coordination, horrible eyesight, my kidneys don’t work- and this pregnancy has brought on many more of the same jokes -my disobedient placenta, lazy insulin receptors- but still,my god, despite all of that, LOOK:
How is this possible? It really is incredible. I have gained 26 pounds, 13.5 inches. My belly has swelled, my breasts filled. My tears spill more easily and my tastes have changed from craving all things savoury to desiring everything sweet.
Physically there will be almost no part of me left untouched by this experience, yet from day one I have felt blessed (a terrible, simpering word. But yes, blessed). I’ve been buoyant, happy – I haven’t been uncomfortable or in pain. I have had an easy pregnancy, I’m swelled with gratitude for this.
I’m grateful that I made it to 37 weeks, full term. Thankful for no emergencies, middle of the night panicking phone calls, I’m grateful that this little baby has always been so active – I’ve never had to worry about feeling that eerie stillness, the ominous absence of movement.
So. Here we stand, this is the last week of updates, the last photo of me crammed into this pink dress (and honestly, that’s probably a good thing because as this gargantuan belly grows out, the dress goes up, and I don’t know what these pictures would have looked like in another 3 weeks.)
I didn’t know where to begin writing this last post, I put it off all day yesterday, sorting through words in my head. I feel inadequately equipped to describe this, to offer the sort of reflection I would have liked to read.
I was reluctant to tape up those numbers, I didn’t want to to sit here and write an ending (because despite the fact that it is truly a beginning, it sometimes doesn’t feel that way from this side of things, with the future such an unknown.)
I feel like I should be able to offer some poignant, overarching reflection on pregnancy. But as I sit and search for words, (which, in a surprising turn of events, seem to be eluding me) I am just swamped by memories, overwhelmed by how quickly the past few months have passed, how many firsts have been crammed into these two hundred and forty nine days. How can I even begin to sum it up?
The first time we heard the heartbeat, the first time we saw the baby’s sweet profile. The first kick, the first hiccup. These 37 weeks have been filled with some of the most incredible moments of my life, and I say that with unabashed awareness of how syrupy I sound, how cheesy.
I can’t avoid it, won’t apologize for it.
I have been laid flat by this experience. When I think about what has happened, when I think about building a child within myself, when I imagine Adam holding that tiny pink bundle in his arms, I have no excuses anymore. I’m stripped bare and my snark disappears, my sass hides its sharp edges. I am left soft, tears streaming down my face, a heart aching with love and happiness and a fierce desire to thank someone,anyone, for being allowed to do this, feel this.
It’s all I’ve ever wanted.
I guess here is also where I tell you that I’m not sure I’ll share the baby’s birth story. Not in the way that many bloggers do anyway, where each stage of the process is described and recorded and written about in detail.
I know that I approach a situation differently if I plan to write about it. I notice different things, feel pressure to record and document and inevitably I end up approaching it from a place where I am reporting, rather than experiencing.
What’s more, if I’m actually part of the situation I’m writing about I really can’t be sure that my own actions aren’t being affected by the need to have a good story, develop a good narrative. I don’t want to go into this experience needing to take pictures for the blog, remember times and details simply so I can write about them later.
I don’t know that I have the words to write about something that feels this big. I wouldn’t know where to begin, I don’t know that I’m capable.
Basically, I don’t know how it’s going to go and despite how much I have shared about this pregnancy, I want to leave open the possibility that I won’t write about it at all.
I suppose the final thing to do here, at 37 weeks, is to express my appreciation for everyone who has followed along through all of this – the pictures and the panics, the decorating and the crises of conscience big and small.
It’s been amazing to have so many people – both in “real life” and through this blog- supporting me, offering advice and feedback and a sense of community.
I’m going to continue writing after baby is born -it’s a form of release for me, rather than a chore- and it’s amazing to know that as I write these words, there’s people (real, live people!) reading them.
37 weeks. See you soon, baby.