Twelve weeks. It’s a school term. A season. A financial quarter.
It’s also the amount of time left until my life changes forever.
That’s me and my increasingly large, round stomach. I’m 28 weeks pregnant with a baby boy. I’m due on April 18, Good Friday.
I haven’t said anything on the blog until now because I was scared. The getting pregnant part itself was easy. It happened immediately upon starting to try. But what no one prepares you for is that little relief comes from seeing a positive pregnancy test. You’re astonished, thrilled, then you hear about the miscarriage rate for the first trimester. You remember friends who have conceived and lost the baby. You see blood — a common occurrence in the early part of pregnancy — and you immediately panic. “I’m losing my baby. This little life I created is threatened.”
Even when I saw my baby and heard the heartbeat for the first time, I still continued to be afraid.
I would feel relief after every scan and then as it crept up toward my next appointment, the fear would settle in again. What if there was no heartbeat this time? What if he wasn’t growing on track? I stupidly read pregnancy forums and got lost in the stories of women who’d miscarried late in the first or early to midway through the second trimester. There was no safe time, I convinced myself. Even as the 12-week mark neared — the socially acceptable time to announce your pregnancy to the public –, I was afraid to tell everyone. I could think of nothing more horrifying than dealing with the grief of losing a baby, even one still in fetus stage, and then having to tell dozens of people.
But I stayed pregnant. With every scan, I saw my baby, watched him move, saw him waving his hand, felt him flip-flopping in my stomach. We got pictures and confirmation that “it” was a “he.” I’d thought I was having a girl because of a dream I’d had before I even got pregnant. But I’d always wanted a little boy. I found out on my own and let Brendan know when he came home from work with cupcakes decorated in blue M&Ms.
It’s been a good pregnancy, and I feel lucky. I’ve continued to work out moderately a few times week, still go out in the city, travel. For the most part, I’ve taken good care of myself — though carbs and sweets can be hard to resist when you have raging hormones and a little being siphoning all the energy out of you. I’ve been on track with weight gain. I switched to decaf. I don’t have gestational diabetes. From this point forward, I will see my doctor every two to three weeks, and then weekly.
This is really happening. If my baby were to be born today, he’d have a good chance of surviving. But I hope he stays in there and bakes a little while longer.
Several people told Brendan and I to wait a while to have kids, to enjoy a honeymoon period in our marriage. We consider our time in Australia our honeymoon, even though we weren’t married for most of it. We are ready to be parents. And even if we had stayed in Australia, I still think I’d be expecting right now.
I know life is about to change drastically. I know there are things I will miss, logistics that will constantly need to be considered, scheduled going out time, scheduled couple time and a house full of stuff this little person needs to grow and thrive. I will be exhausted, Brendan will be exhausted. We will argue. I’ll worry about losing the baby weight. I’ll worry about being a good mother. I’ll worry about mothers groups and daycare and pre-school and doctor’s appointments and strange rashes on my baby’s butt. I’ll worry about letting certain people around my child, germs, the type of food we will feed him.
It’s an honor to me, to get to be a mother. There are many people who desperately want children and never get the chance for a wide variety of reasons. I am getting the chance. And I will remind myself how lucky I am during every night I don’t sleep, every cry that seems to go on forever and every weekend night I sit at home taking care of a little person I helped make instead of going out.
It will be hard. It will be wonderful.