I spent a good chunk of time last week drafting a post essentially about how little I’ve enjoyed this pregnancy compared to the last. It was definitely a little glum in tone, which nicely complemented the funk I’d often found myself in the past couple of weeks since I last wrote about silver linings. For the most part, things are fine, but at least once, maybe twice, a week, I inadvertently wade into a dark, murky place where I can’t see the light shining through the trees, where the seeds of insecurity take root, and all perspective on my situation is clouded by a dearth of confidence.
It’s not a happy place, obviously. It usually manifests itself into a lot of couch wallowing, cookie eating and hours upon hours of Netflix watching rather than active engagement and interaction with the world’s greatest little boy. Sometimes there’s unfounded yelling, too, at the person who loves and supports me the most. And perhaps the saddest of all, I find myself willing these last few weeks of my pregnancy away.
I don’t know if it’s just my attitude, if I’ve indeed felt terribly worse this time around, or both, but I’ve let these last 33 weeks feel like a means to an end. Surely, a second pregnancy IS different from the get-go, especially if your first kid is still relatively young and needy. There’s simply not time in a day to sit and marvel at your burgeoning belly, daydreaming what it will be like when your bundle of joy decides to make its entrance into your world, but I’ve also grimaced far too many times at my belly as the gentle flutters from 20 weeks turned into Olympics-style flip-turns, preventing me from sleeping or even just finding a comfortable position in which to lay on said couch of wallow.
It’s so different this time not knowing if we’re having a boy or a girl, too, and I’m fairly certain that has played a small part in my not feeling super connected to the baby yet. I don’t regret not finding out, as I’m pretty sure the moment we do, when (s)he is born, it will be as magical as other parents have described, but for now, it’s just strange not knowing, not being able to refer to the baby as he or she. I try to say “the baby,” but more often than not, I use “it,” which is just weird and unfamiliar. Maybe even a little alien?
All this not to say that I am not excited to have another baby. I am! We are! And oh boy, am I ever excited for Rowan to become a big brother. A couple weeks ago, I took him to a class at the hospital called Sibling Preparation. There he got to sit in a circle with a handful of other little kids all about to become big brothers and sisters and talk about what it’s going to be like to have a new baby in the house, how he’ll need to try to be understanding when mom needs to rest, or that if the baby is crying, he might have to go to another part of the house, because that’s just what babies do. After the class, wherein the kids also watched a demo of a doll baby being born from a doll mama, we toured the birthing suites, which was pretty surreal for me. Oh hello, PTSD.
Rowan did really well in the class (naturally, he was the one kid of the bunch who asked, “But how did the baby get in there?”), and I think he’s starting to get excited about the baby, too. He’s not so much into feeling my belly when the baby is kicking — I think he’s actually quite scared of it, and rightfully so; it IS weird — but he will “hug” the baby/my belly and sometimes talk to him or her, too. Which is, of course, heart-meltingly sweet.
Earlier this week, we went for a third trimester ultrasound, to check on a possible umbilical cord cyst as seen at my 20-week ultrasound. We decided to take Rowan with us this time, which was pretty special, that he got to “see” the baby and ask a thousand questions. “What’s that, Dada?” “Why can’t I see the baby in color?” “Where are the baby’s eyes?” It was pretty awesome for me, too, maybe even more so than any other previous ultrasound, because I could finally imagine this baby as real. I got confirmation that what I’m feeling under my left ribs is indeed the baby’s bottom, and that the baby’s head is in fact down near the right side of my abdomen, where I’ve been feeling hiccups.
And thankfully, whatever that “cyst” was has since resolved itself or maybe never even existed.
Getting to see the baby’s face in profile was definitely the boost I’ve needed these past few weeks. Even though we’re starting the homestretch, with the baby estimated to weigh around five pounds and his/her measurements putting me closer to the 34- or 35-week range (!), I think there’s still time to change my attitude, to turn things around. Instead of thinking about my due date as the end, I need to think of it as another beginning, another chapter.
I need to carve out pockets of time just for myself, to go get a pedicure or take a prenatal yoga class. I need to embrace the one-on-one time I’m getting with Rowan, rather than resent it, as I’ve done more often than not. I need to finalize plans for a date night with Roth, and for an afternoon of hanging out with girlfriends. I need to recognize and acknowledge all of the positive things in my life — a list forthcoming! I need to let go of what happened with the layoff, knowing that even though I didn’t deserve it, I do deserve this extra time I’m getting to prepare our house and our lives for becoming a family of four.
And I really, really need to not stumble into any more dark corners. It’s far better to be in the light.