Three Months, or, Is This All I Get?

The third trimester has arrived, and with it, a cloud of melancholy.

Three months. Roughly 11 weeks.

While other mothers-to-be are busy drafting birth plans, laughing their way through baby showers, and rapidly finalizing plans for the time after, I am stopped cold in my tracks by the realization that this is it. That there very well could be nothing more after these few short months are up (and boy is time moving fast now…).

I feel… lost. Simultaneously, I relish and eagerly await every kick and squirm of this beautiful, precious child — and am annoyed at myself for making myself so vulnerable again. Too often it feels like I can’t breathe for the vicious, negative, doubting, fearful thoughts swirling in my head. Pregnancy the second time around has become a love/hate relationship, a trial to be endured. The fact makes me angry; I had so wanted it to be 100% joyful and beautiful and carefree like the first time, and I feel bitterly cheated.

People are overly eager in their camaraderie, however, their words hold absolutely nothing but spooky terror — how is a story of a relative who lost nine full-term children to various birth complications before she got to keep one supposed to comfort me? How is a story of a family who lost children, then the mother died during birth of the one who lived supposed to make me feel better and less worried? (How dare I even go through with this, knowing my husband could be left a widower with no way to care for a baby AND run the farm on his own?) How do tales of the risks, the complications endured, the discomforts and physical trauma experienced during their pregnancy and birth (not to mention all the other things that can go wrong with a child’s development) supposed to make me feel courageous and brave? How are these stories — which highlight all the loss and none of the success — supposed to make me feel like this is even worth it in the long run?

It doesn’t. I know these “helpful Heloises” mean well, but it just makes me feel like a certifiably crazy, flipping idiot in all my irresponsible glory for even wanting to try this again.

Eleven weeks.

Is it truly the beginning of the end as I fear?

I cannot stand this not-knowing.

Impossible

It seems so impossible.

I am a mere two weeks from the third trimester, the baby is getting pretty darn big (or so it feels by the size of my belly and the strength of his kicks), and some days it feels so incredibly impossible that my husband and I will actually become parents this time around.

Everything feels so much the same; in the wee hours and the moments alone, I can’t help but worry it’s another cruel joke.

My doctor tells me they’ll be doing some extra monitoring here soon, and I wonder (a bit cynically), just what they will be looking for. Michael was a perfect example of a perfect pregnancy — he passed every test with flying colors — right up until he wasn’t. And then no one could tell us why. None of their tests and monitors showed squat.

Just like now: perfect baby, perfect pregnancy.

I feel so guilty and shamed for my inability to truly get excited, as carelessly and unadulterated as the exuberant strangers who pry into my mother-to-be status — but I feel overshadowed by the knowledge that this wonderful, amazing, beautifully precious thing can end right as it is supposed to begin. And it doesn’t help that so much of this journey is so much the same. (Periodically I find myself calling this baby by Michael’s name, and that really bothers me. I know it happens, especially when you’ve had more than one child, but psychologically I need the distinction.) I’m gritting my teeth and moving forward regardless, I am twisting my own arm into making plans because I can’t put them off any longer. And it’s all happening so fast and yet not fast enough, and I am exhausted with wanting to fliptothelastpagealready so I can see how the story ends.

I just pray it isn’t a waste of time.

I pray there is a point, and that it involves not being childless — again — at the end of September.

I pray this little fella keeps kicking and squirming and fighting as hard as he can.

Dear God, help me get through these final weeks.

Secret

I lay down in bed, feeling whale-ish as I struggle to get settled amongst the covers.

My head hits the pillow.

I sigh, comfortably.

And my hand sneaks its way across my rotund belly,

Feeling,

Gently,

For the little body growing there, as he settles down as well.

 

It’s a secret if this moment is all I get.

My fingers make a cradle from the outside.

I wish, desperately, that it were not a secret,

That there were some solace to be had,

Some bit of peace,

of mental relaxation,

of guaranteed protection from the specter of fear and death…

But this moment is beautiful.

This moment is precious.

 

I wish that I weren’t so greedy, always wanting more than just this:

These few gentle breaths of time where I am, where nothing now can take it away.