Planning and preparing has continued to move forward this week. Shower planning is in full swing, and gifts have started to arrive from friends and family who can’t attend. We will be attending our birth class this weekend. I have made progress on the baby’s quilt. The nursery is painted and the furniture that we have for it so far is in place. The crib is in the room in a box, waiting to be put together. Last weekend we cleaned most of our things out of the closet in the nursery, and it is starting to be filled with baby items.

We moved into our house in April 2017, two months before I became pregnant with Danny. We knew when we purchased the house which room would become the nursery, and we made it the guest room at the time.

We couldn’t bear to have the future nursery empty across the hall from our bedroom.

We have been collecting decorations for a bike themed nursery since September 2016, when I was pregnant with Lentil. After losing Danny we decided we shouldn’t just leave this room bare. We put up some of the decorations we had purchased for a nursery and began referring to it as “the bike room”.

I am noticing myself finally referring to the room as the nursery, and I even called it “El’s room” once this past week.

I even purchased some clothes for El this week. I have been trying to put together the outfit I was hoping for them to wear home from the hospital, and I stopped at Target to see what I could find to add to it. I found myself unable to resist some of the outfits on the clearance rack. Standing in Target, 8 months pregnant, sorting through baby clothes was a significant moment for me. Besides registering and picking up a few gifts for friends and family, I have avoided the baby sections of stores for the past 2 years. It was just too painful most of the time.

When I was at the store last week, I found myself beginning to picture our child being here with us for the first time. I felt the yearning to meet my baby, to have them here in my arms, and to be able to enjoy their presence.

It is hard to believe that I could potentially have this baby safely in as little as four weeks. The closer we get and the more hope I have, the scarier it can feel. I have noticed that in order to keep moving forward and take the necessary steps to plan, I have had to have a little bit of an emotional barrier up still. I feel like I am moving forward with the knowledge that this baby will likely be joining us in about seven weeks but without allowing the emotions of this to creep in fully. The moments in which I let myself feel some of the emotions are just too overwhelming. They include the yearning for El to be here, the joy and excitement at the thought of finally having our first healthy baby at home, and the fear that we could lose all of this at any moment.

I am not nearly as distant as I was before 21 weeks of this pregnancy, but a little bit of a wall feels necessary to continue to prepare in the ways we need to for this baby.

For the past few weeks I have been having weekly medical appointments, and these will continue through the end of the pregnancy. I feel so incredibly supported by the medical team that is caring for me this pregnancy. Because they are high risk doctors, they know all of the unexpected things that can go wrong, and they are working to have as much information as possible in order to increase the likelihood of El’s safe arrival.

At this point in pregnancy I am highly aware of the importance of me paying attention to El’s movements and calling the doctors if something changes. At some times, this can feel like so much pressure. When I have a day where my routine is different, my ability to notice trends in movement is different.

I am still working to find the balance of knowing this baby’s routines, trusting my gut, and determining when to call the doctors for reassurance or to get checked out.

The weekly appointments and non-stress tests have been really helpful for this. During these tests, a nurse monitors the baby’s heart rate while I push a button when I feel baby’s movements. The goal is for the baby to have a certain amount of heart rate increases paired with movement, followed by a return to baseline heart rate. The hope is that this will show an indication if the baby is in distress, such as decreased oxygen.

These tests have been very reassuring to me. It is nice to be able to listen to the baby’s heart rate for an extended period of time. It feels like a check on my gut that has been saying that baby’s movements are routine. It takes the pressure off of me to determine whether this baby is safe in my body at all moments. This is important, as I had no indications that Lentil and Danny had passed. I had no way of knowing that they weren’t okay, so the pressure of having to determine if this one is okay is scary.

The summary of how we are doing at 33 weeks is a balance of a variety of emotions.

There are the moments in which it feels like this baby is really going to be joining us. There are the times when this journey feels so long and there is so much time left. There is the anxiety that something could be wrong that we don’t know about yet, and there is preparation mode, which feels like the most important, productive mode right now.

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