Wednesday, January 5, 2011
This is real, isn't it? Can you see this little prehensile sweetheart, curled on his/her back, legs curled up? The hands were up around by the face, curled into little fists, and this little someone was sucking his or her thumb while we watched on the camera yesterday afternoon. Not only is the baby fabulously cute, but somehow, beyond all of my expectations, they could find nothing wrong with the baby. Nothing. It seems perfect, so far. All my nausea and sweating in fear for naught. Surreal can hardly describe this experience.
20 weeks, 1 day, and I still really don't know if this is real.
There were many times during the past seven years when I would think to myself, what I'd really like someday is to get pregnant without really planning for it. Somehow, I reasoned, a baby that wasn't carefully calculated and worked for might seem more like a mystical gift-- like a soul that came down when he or she felt ready to. Somehow, having had one soul stolen from me, it seemed appropriate to strive for one given to me unexpectedly.
I've said before that this pregnancy was, in fact, planned, but this was only on paper. In my mind, I was still a broken, half-useless infertile with a poor track record, and that with the nursling on my lap left me so far from believing that a baby would actually be conceived as a result of our "plan" to throw caution to the wind that I was, indeed, quite completely surprised when I became pregnant. So, while I hate to admit this in the face of so many people who have struggled so mightily to become pregnant, this happened so easily I didn't even know it had happened, and so immediately that I never even conceived of the notion that it could be happening. Somehow plans of this grand nature seem like they would take a few months to settle in, at least, but this one took root so fast and hard that suddenly it was here- he or she was here, is here, and here we are.
But what I hadn't done was already carve the emotional space for this child, which I had already done with each and every child before. With all of them, I had planned so hard in my head for the "next baby" that by the time I became pregnant, there was some huge void I was trying to fill. The next baby already existed in my mind well before she was created. But here, the baby existed in my belly before I even thought about what it would mean to have it in my life. And so in some ways, it feels like a beautiful thing that this baby just is-- it will be a joyful, amazing addition to our family and I don't lust after its existence from some place of angst and terror. I feel greedy and giddy to imagine another little one, but it's like a really, sweet gift, a fabulous present that I've been given.
So somehow I find myself feeling like my fifth pregnancy is the hardest one for me to really comprehend. I can't grasp that it's a real, squirming baby in there, even though I feel the kicks and squiggles. Part of this is what I've said above, and the other part is that it's so convenient to just ride on this wave of disbelief as a tool for detachment, just in case. Because, you know, if something goes wrong, it would be so much easier to be detached??? (this is obviously my emotional brain hard at work here). So here I am, feeling barely, maybe pregnant, and hoping that the disbelief will stave off the terror, and fear, which so far it has.
But yesterday, for half an hour, the baby was real.