Hello hello and happy Hump (or should I say "bump"?) Day!
I was planning on posting about our trip to Pisa today, but it's been a milestone last 24 hours and I just have to share.
Today, I am officially 16 weeks along and so much has changed. Baby Nunnery is about the length of my open palm and weighs about 4 oz. Yesterday, I had the last part of my 1st trimester screening (a little late since we were in Europe when they originally scheduled it), and I couldn't believe how much our little sweetness has grown. During the ultrasound, I just lied back on the chair and alternated between tears and giggles as the technician moved that little machine all over my belly. The last time I saw baby Nunnery he (or she) was only about eight or nine weeks along and still looking very much like a tadpole. But now...now he looks like the cutest darn thing I've ever seen. And I know I'm biased, but seriously. That nose?! I can't get enough of it.
The technician tried to look at the baby's sex, but he was literally sitting on his bottom inside my uterus and she couldn't get him to move. But he waved and sucked his little thumb and kicked his legs. I couldn't believe all that was happening inside of me at that very moment. I don't know how I ever will until it's time for him to be here with us, in our arms. And then I probably won't be able to believe he's actually here. Is this what motherhood is like? A perpetual state of wonder and awe? Never fully getting used to one stage before it's on to the next?
While I was watching our little one have his own little party inside my womb, I had two very strong, polar opposite emotions: the first was a maternal protectiveness I hadn't felt until that moment. When I met with the P.A. later, and she was explaining all about measurements and organs and the thickness of the skull, I was sitting there thinking, "Okay, okay now tell me how our baby is doing in comparison. Does he need a specialist? Does he have soft markers for Down's? Is there enough amniotic fluid?" Thankfully, everything measured great and apparently baby is going to be a tall one (surprise, surprise). But in those few minutes of uncertainty, I felt panicked at the thought of baby Nunnery having needs we couldn't or didn't know how to meet. For someone who has struggled almost daily with the emotional and spiritual impact of pregnancy and impending motherhood, this was a relief for me. It's so strange how I can want to be a mommy so much but still be so incredibly terrified of it, so knowing that my natural reaction was to protect was soothing.
The flip side of the protective coin was that I felt myself give in to the panicked part of my emotions and also found myself thinking, "This is too real. It's actually happening. That is a REAL baby. I'm not ready! Go back! Start over!"
People are not kidding when they say pregnancy is a wild ride. I expect motherhood will be more of the same.
In the midst of all these contradicting emotions, I remind myself over and over that children are a gift, a privilege. Not a right. Not a hobby. Not something to collect. And what follows, of course, is the question of "Why me, Jesus? What is it about me that You found fit to do this job?" There are millions of women who would give their right kidney to do this without a moment's hesitation. They've struggled through the pain of IVF and other fertility treatments and here I am, pregnant after just six months of "We'll see what happens". Please don't misunderstand my intentions as I share these feelings. I am happy. We are incredibly shaken to our cores about this little blessing. Because that's what he is. But my journey to motherhood looks very different from others...and most of the time I don't feel like I'm going to be very good at it. I talk to baby. I read to him. I sing songs. I eat well. I drink lots of water. I take my vitamins. I write him letters. Pierce and I pray over him. I cherish these moments. I will never be pregnant for the first time again.
But just as all these good things have come naturally to me, so has the fear of failing.
And then...suddenly...like a little high five to say, "It's cool, Mama!"...I felt it.
I was playing on my phone today, looking at Pinterest and Facebook, and lying on my stomach. And I felt what seemed like bubbles in my tummy. But nothing happened. They didn't pass, even though I was almost positive it was gas...until the pressure sort of centralized in my lower abdomen and before I had time to even be conscious of the change, there was the slightest of tiniest kicks. At first I thought it might have been my heartbeat (you know how you feel your pulse in your stomach or head or fingers sometimes?). Or perhaps an air bubble popping. But no. When I rolled over to press my hands down over my stomach, I could feel a tightness in that same area, like he was bundled up right there underneath my fingers.
I could be wrong. But even if I am I'm going to pretend I'm not. It was kind of the coolest thing ever.
I only wish, during moments like this, that Pierce could experience everything I'm experiencing. A father's role is so incredibly different at this stage than a mother's, and sometimes I feel bad that he doesn't get to see his body change or feel the baby move. But he's already such a good daddy, and I know it's only going to get better from here.
Thanks for reading along and for sharing in our joy these last few months. Right now, I know close to a dozen people who are pregnant and I love having their support and encouragement in this season. It's been challenging, but I have no doubt that when we see that little face up close for the first time all these moments of uncertainty and transition will be well worth it.
I just wish going into Babies R Us didn't make me cry! Can I get an amen?