I have always found it fascinating to see the different ways people deal with the same situation. None more so than pregnancy. I have never been one to show my ultrasound pictures to, well, anyone but my husband and sister, and our mothers. I remember when I received my first ultrasound picture via email when I was a single lady working in a corporate environment. "Welp, that is the inside of my co-worker's hoohah," I thought. "And she is having a baby that looks like Skeletor." Imagine my surprise when I was at a baby shower with ultrasound cookies. Really? You would like us to eat your baby? With coffee?
During my pregnancy with Beatrice, my co-workers threw me a surprise baby shower on a Friday night in the guise of a "game night." I totally didn't expect it. I am not a "baby shower" type person; in fact, I think I was fairly adamant in demanding no shindigs in pink. But it was really lovely, and very me. Beatrice's name, spelled out in Scrabble letters, strung across my friend's living room. I got gifts like a towel with sushi all over it, which Bea still uses, and a onesie with Jimmie Hendrix rocking out that says, "Foxy Baby." It was perfect really. I felt loved. The one game they organized was putting brown whiskeys or liquors in little baby bottles which each woman had to sniff and identify. I won the game, and the girls drank the whiskeys while I sipped lemon water. *sigh* I suppose that is what happens when you have a baby shower thrown by people who have never had babies.
So, really, my pregnancy after loss, at least in the way I talk about my pregnancy or share information, is almost exactly the same as before. Maybe a bit grumpier, less chatty to strangers, unable to make the requisite speculations about sibling rivalries, names, size, etc. But definitely, showing the black and white picture of my child in utero is going beyond my capability. Only once, in an ultrasound room, did I think, "She is so pretty." And that was my Lucia. I just think ultrasound pictures of my children look sort of creepy. Oh, I have seen a ton of gorgeous ones in the last year on babylost mamas' blogs. And I sort of rue that my children always sort of give me the proverbial finger in utero. "I'm not posing. No how. No profile. No cutesie shit. You get what you get and you don't get upset, Mama." I can barely get profile shots of them. But, that day, our twenty-week anatomy check of Lucy, her profile, her delicate features, for some reason, I could see them clearly, make out the contours of her face, and the ways in which she was uniquely Lucy. I was over the moon about having a second girl. I had a true sense of her--one that I still carry. I didn't say, "Oh, she looks like Bea, or your mother, or me." She just was Lucy. Perfect and lovely.
Of course, none of her ultrasound still shots that I carried home really looked like the beautiful ghost I saw in the machine, but I still saw her.
I have neither written much about this pregnancy, nor shared ultrasound pictures. What I am trying to say is that it is not really my way. The pregnancy is not something I have been obsessing on, per se. I feel totally the same physically, except for being lumbering, having headaches and having a kid kick me from the inside out while another kicks me from the outside in. I suppose you could say that I am resigned to allow what will happen happen. There is a kind of peace in that path. Of course, I am doing everything I can to give Thor a good start in the world. Mostly, I am trying to get healthy in my head, to remain calm, not to overreact to normal pregnancy pains and not to think so much about what life will be like if [fill in the blank] happens. I am 26 weeks, or 27. Somewhere in between the two. I am in this liminal stage between feeling more regular movement and the extra hard core monitoring (twice a week appointments starting in a few weeks). I currently check in every month, piss in a cup, stress about my weight, talk to the midwife about how friggin' hard this all is, and then climb back on the train.
To be frank, I am feeling a bit contented here. Just moving forward. I am not stressing just yet about the giving birth part or what Thor will actually wear when and if he merges womb-side kicking and screaming. I suspect he will be in pink for a few weeks. I am still afraid of premature labor and of counting chickens before eggs hatch, but he moves. When I prod him, or drink cold water, I can get that reassuring shift or fluttery stomach. Some days when I read the book Madeline, or sing the alphabet song, he giggles. That is the sensation, and I find myself smiling despite myself.
He might actually kiss me one day. Play football and bring home a girl. He might be called something other than Thor. He might wear a suit and I might call him my Little Man. He might become an artist and a basketball player. He might smile at me after three exhausting weeks of constant breastfeeding and long nights. He might have my eyes or hair. He might live.
Beatrice puts her nose on my belly button and waits for him to kick her. "The baby kissed me, Mama."
"That's because he loves you, Beatrice."