It’s hot. So hot. Possibly the hottest part of summer. My feet are swollen and I can’t wear flip flops because my arches have fallen. My arse, hips, and thighs are bigger which, along with this glorious bump I’m sporting, has changed my balance. Between that and the extra almost-25 lbs (11+ kgs), it’s a lot harder to go up stairs. My digestive system is even more sluggish… constipation, acid reflux (the threat of vomit in my mouth). And, holy mackerel, the fatigue! It’s not quite as intense as the first trimester, but, whew, the third tri is much harder work than I thought — not helped by the prescribed limited activity I’ve been on. Sometimes I feel quite miserable, but I just remind myself of the reason why, and I smile, because Baby V is a pretty terrific reason.
I saw Dr. D on Thursday for my fortnightly check up and it was probably the best visit I’ve had. As usual, when she entered the exam room, she threw her hands up in the air and cried, Thirty weeks! I burst out laughing and told her how I love that she greets me the same way every time: 24 weeks! 28 weeks! 30 weeks! Still smiling, but with a more serious tone, she acknowledged the difficult journey. This time last year, you were in such a different place. It’s true: she has seen me at my absolute worst, and now she is seeing the normal, goofy me.
I told her I’ve read two books on caesareans, have reached out to all my friends who’ve had caesareans, and am completely and utterly at peace with the idea of having one. In fact, I even told her that if I don’t end up with a caesarean, I’ll be pissed! It’s true, for so many reasons. I am so looking forward to having this amazing doctor deliver this baby. She was the surgeon who performed my D&C, and she’s seen me through a miscarriage, infertility, routine annual exams, and now this pregnancy. There is no one I trust more than Dr. D.
We talked about my recent ultrasound and with baby’s measurements estimating her weight at 3 lbs 9 oz (1.6 kgs), Dr. D said that the placenta is obviously doing its job very well. She hadn’t seen the 3D ultrasound photos so I proudly showed off Baby V’s chubby cheeks, and my heart melted to hear how cute she is. (Okay, I know that’s what people say, but it was still lovely to hear!) And she was very pleased with the kick counts — I typically do them after dinner, which isn’t her most active time, and usually feel 10 movements in about six minutes, sometimes as few as one or two.
Here I am, 30½ weeks pregnant. I literally cannot believe it. It’s amazing and overwhelming to think that Baby V could be here in as few as six or seven weeks. Being able to carry her for so long, with no bleeding so far, in spite of the complications, has been tremendously healing. I know she might still come earlier than expected, but I have faith in my body to hang on to this pregnancy, and I have faith that she is strong and healthy.
Getting Ready for Baby V
There is still so much to do… It’s exciting, but also overwhelming…
My lovely friend, Jasmine, is going to take some photos of my belly next week. She’s a talented photographer (check out her work here) and I’m excited about having her take my picture. I’m not very photogenic, but if anyone can make me look lovely, it’s Jasmine. (I hope that by the time we get the photos DH will have told his friend in Brazil that we are having a baby, oh, only next month!)
We’ve assembled the crib and it looks great! (If you’re curious to know what we chose and how we chose it, let me know in the comments below and I will write a separate post.)
We have a car seat.
We have a pile of baby clothes from PSIL and my dear friend, Momsicle.
We have two swings and a jungle mat from PSIL.
My breast pump arrived, courtesy of my health insurance. Thanks, Obamacare!
We are fast running out of space in the bedroom, haha!
I’m slowly absorbing all the fantastic advice and suggestions from parent-friends on what we need and what we don’t. (It’s fascinating reading all the differing words of wisdom.)
I’ve even agreed to having a lovely lunch thrown in my and Baby V’s honour at the end of the month. My MIL is very respectful of the fact that I didn’t want a shower but she thought lunch at one of my favourite restaurants would be a nice way to celebrate this baby’s impending arrival.
My fears have shifted from worrying about this pregnancy to worrying about life with the baby.
What if I’m a terrible mother?
What if the dog hates her and we have to get rid of him?
What if we’re in a car accident?
What if I trip and fall down the stairs as I’m carrying her?
What if I fall asleep breastfeeding in the night and drop her or roll on top of her?
What if I fail to protect her from the evils in the world?
And there’s still the other worry: What if I need a hysterectomy and Baby V dies in the NICU? That one hasn’t gone away and I don’t suppose it will for a while yet.
Meanwhile, DH and I talk about all sorts of things. The other day he cautiously broached the subject of Baby B. He wanted to know why I never talk Baby V’s twin brother who didn’t make it. Because [with PGD] there’s no reason he shouldn’t have made it too. I mean, it could have been her [pointing to my belly] instead. You talk about Bean, but you never talk about Baby V’s twin brother.
I said that I think about Baby B fairly often, but I just don’t feel the same loss as I did with Bean. I bonded with Bean for almost nine weeks, floating on a cloud of innocent pregnant bliss. I told him I’ll always be grateful to Baby B, whom I’ve named Indigo, because he helped his sister survive.
Somehow, I continued, I think sweet Bean lives on. His fleeting life holds so much meaning for me — it put me on the path to this baby — that I can no longer be sad to have lost him. He’ll always be my only genetic baby, the only one conceived in love, not a petrie dish, and I am grateful to have had that experience.
And yet I’ve reached a point where I don’t feel the need to say goodbye to all the genetic children I’ll never have. I’m not sure when this happened, only that it has. It’s definitely been an ongoing process, made easier for me with each pregnancy milestone. It’s been a little more difficult for DH. It’s taken him more time to adjust to the idea that “we won’t have a child together” the way we originally thought we would. Again, I’m not sure when this happened, but now we both see this baby as OUR baby. She may not have come to us in a traditional way, but she is very much ours. Genes, schmenes.
Last week, DH even went so far as to say that I am already a mom. He delivered this opinion thoughtfully, like he’d suddenly made this realisation. But he’s right: I am and will be Baby V’s mother, no one else. What — Nellie, by virtue of her DNA, is more of a mother to this baby than I am? Oh, baloney. I’m the one whose body has been taken over by this glorious parasite. My feet are swollen, I’m tired, thirsty, starving (even though I just had dinner), anticipating reflux (because I just had dinner), scatterbrained, overwhelmed, and emotional.
I think this is where I came in…
Thinking of my friend who just lost her FET babies at 12 weeks. Life just isn’t fucking fair.
If you lost a baby/babies, you might like to know that the lovely Valerie of Jizo and Chibi has a Mizuko Kuyo page where you can remember your lost one/s.