40 weeks 2 days

Last Friday marked 40 weeks of this pregnancy, a day I was surprised to see, even this far in. I’ve been uncomfortable, feeling huge and tired, but so very grateful to be pregnant with a healthy baby. I chronicled Week 40 with some belly shots.

The Wednesday night prior I was awake much of the night with contractions, which ended up going away in the morning, so the end of last week was fairly frustrating. I tried everything to get labor going on my own, but ultimately, I was feeling pretty stuck. I had finally gotten myself emotionally ready for the pregnancy to be over, for this baby to arrive, and now this.

J and I spent the next few days walking and belly dancing and cooking and waiting, waiting, waiting feeling less and less patient.

And then Sunday arrived.

And then, Sunday evening, at 40 weeks and 2 days after a very intense 4-hour labor, Girl Genius made her debut. We are so very in love with this little girl who resembles her brother in so many ways and in every way is her own little person. I’ll write the full birth story very soon, as it was epic (and did I mention short?), but for now, I wanted to share with you our daughter.

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so much for good intentions

As of today, I’m 37 weeks and five days pregnant, and I have written here only a handful of times, much to my dismay. I haven’t written much anywhere. It seems the weeks and months have slipped by, and suddenly, here I am, nearing the finish line. For much of this pregnancy there have been nearly whole days when I have practically forgotten that I’m pregnant–save for the discomforts–and even now I sometimes lose myself in my thoughts so much that I forget to fully appreciate these moments of being so very full and ripe with this baby.

Tiny Dancer is doing brilliantly so far. Unlike her older brother, she is measuring right on track every week, which makes me wonder if she might be a normal-sized baby (BG was a hefty 9 lb 15 oz and consistently measured a couple of weeks ahead). We took a quick peak at her at our 35 week appointment and learned (as I had suspected) that she is decidedly head down and beginning to push her way into my pelvis. Our doctor even pointed out that she’s got a bit of hair.

And me? Well, I’m in pain. A lot of pain. My hips and lower back have been a wreck this whole pregnancy. I’ve been plagued with sciatica, and now that old familiar pubic bone separation pain has kicked in. It makes life challenging; it makes me whiny and grumpy. I can’t turn over in bed without strategizing for ten minutes (and wondering how I can get my hands on a small crane). Also, I waddle. I look like a penguin. It’s unsettling. But I’m wonderfully full of a wiggly, hiccpuing, kicking baby, and somehow that knowledge makes even my terrible awkwardness okay.

I’m trying to soak this up. It’s most likely the last time I’ll be pregnant, and I am trying to make certain I don’t look back on this time and wonder where it went. I want to remember what it’s like to grow this child.

We’ve done lovely things to celebrate this pregnancy like creating a belly cast bowl, having a magical photo shoot, attending and hosting baby showers and brunches. My wife draws on my belly regularly, snuggles up to it, kisses it. We gaze together at its changing shape, at the knees and feet that move their way across its giant expanse. I try to appreciate the singular feeling of my baby growing and moving and changing inside me where she is safe, and I work to connect with this little person who will soon be responsible for sleepless nights and big, big love.

I’m excited, yes, but I’m still hoping for a couple of weeks to savor these last few moments of anticipation before life changes completely. I hate that I’m used to life without a child again, but I am in some ways, and in some ways, I very much welcome the rhythm she will bring back to our lives, even if that does mean fatigue. J and I regularly put in requests that she be a good sleeper, that she give me an easy labor. More than anything, we want her to be herself. And healthy. Really, really healthy.

37 weeks and five days. We’re nearly there. We’re nearly moms again.

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two thirds

I have been hiding behind passwords for a long time now because our journey back to parenthood has been a painful and scary one, one that I haven’t wanted to share with the whole world, and, frankly, once BG got sick and then died, I have had little way of knowing who has found this blog, who is reading, and, well, that was worrisome to me for a number of reasons, but mostly because I just wanted to hold all of our news, good and bad, pretty close to the vest. In the process, though, I seem to have forgotten to blog altogether, and now I’m starting to regret that.

As many of you know, whether you read under passwords or you read the other blog or you are active on social media where I am, I am finally, finally pregnant with a kicky, bouncy, lively little girl. In fact, so pregnant am I that this past week, I reached the third trimester. I’m two thirds of the way through this pregnancy, and the months and weeks I was wishing it would speed by have passed. Now I’m ready for it all to slow down a little so that I can breathe for a minute before TinyDancer (her in utero blog moniker) makes her arrival.

Oh, don’t get me wrong: I want to meet this little girl so badly. I want to hold her and smell her head and touch her toes and remember that feeling of all-consuming love. But it’s a big transition moving from being a mom of a preschooler to a mom of a deceased child to an expectant mother all over again. It’s different looking forward to this baby while missing her brother.

It’s also different because I am feeling my age oh so much more. I went into this pregnancy in better shape and at a much healthier weight than I was with BG, but my age of 39 seems to trump all of that great progress. I have felt slow and achy, even whiny. Last time I was buoyant with joy and life and the love of being pregnant. I still love being pregnant in some ways, but other times, times like this weekend when I was in so much physical discomfort that I cried, I hate to admit that I’m not loving it so much. On days like those, I’m relieved to be two-thirds finished with this pregnancy.

But then I catch myself. This is very, highly likely the last time I will be pregnant. This is the last time I’m going to feel my child growing inside of me, kicking me and rolling around, the last time I’ll have this amazing feeling that despite all the odds, I was able to create life, a sibling for my beloved boy, a new child for my wife and I to mother. I don’t want to forget that. I spent so much of the first trimester in utter terror and disbelief that I would lose this pregnancy too, and so much of the second with more terror that somehow test results would come back abnormal, that now I just need to settle in and relish the last few months of what feels so much like a miracle.

School is ending soon, and while we have plenty of activities going on afterward, I’m going to have the benefit of slowing down a little, sitting in the sun and rubbing my belly, and I need that so, so much. I need the long, hot, endless days of summer to bring me into my body, into the present so that I can burn it all into my memory.

So I suppose returning to this blog now is part of that. I have chronicled part of this pregnancy in a real pen and paper kind of journal, but my Tiny Dancer deserves a few updates here as well. After all, before long, she will be the resident Girl Genius.

And so, in the interest of sharing and being brave, and living in the present, and celebrating that I’m growing what appears to be a very healthy little life, I present to you me at 28 weeks, big bare belly and all.Belly28weeks:

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