Thirty six weeks. I can’t believe that we are finally here, with just 4 weeks until my due date. When I say that I can’t believe we are FINALLY here, I mean it just that way. I don’t mean that I can’t believe we are here. I don’t want to give the impression that in any way I am surprised at how “quickly” my due date is approaching. I am so grateful to be getting close to what will hopefully be a successful end of my third pregnancy.
Nothing about this pregnancy has felt quick.
I imagine that most women at 36 weeks of pregnancy feel like they have been pregnant forever. I can’t even begin to describe just how long it feels like I have been pregnant. When I see posts from women in their first trimester in the online support groups I am in, I am aware of how long ago that feels. I am acutely aware of what a long journey pregnancy after loss is, and I am also very aware that our journey to this point has been so much longer than 36 weeks.
I have many moments of feeling excited and looking forward to El being here with us. I also have some times where I feel anxious that all of this could still be taken away. I have moments in which I get nervous about whether I have felt enough movement recently, and when I feel reassured enough by the movements I am getting, I often become tearful.
Typically these tears are a combination of relief that this baby is fine now, fear at what the future could bring, and exhaustion at just how long this journey is.
I am also aware that while I feel hopeful much of the time and nervous some of the time, Eric is more cautious than I am. He feels the weight of our previous losses in a way that makes him worry about getting his hopes up too much. When we talk about El and the steps we are taking to prepare, he often comments that he just wants to get to the day when this baby joins us safely.
The biggest highlight of this past week has been that we had our first baby shower and are preparing for another shower that will be happening this weekend. While I was writing last week about the mixture of emotions in connection with so many steps of pregnancy after loss, I wondered what mixture of emotions may come up at our baby showers.
At our first shower last weekend, my primary emotion was gratitude.
I had been really looking forward to the shower because I really wanted to be able to celebrate this baby. Most importantly, though, I think I really wanted to be able to celebrate where we are at on our journey and how close we are to finally bringing a baby home.
One of the really hard pieces about losing babies before they are born is that there is not much celebration of them.
There is joy at announcing a pregnancy, but then those joyful memories quickly become painful. Celebrating this baby in the form of baby showers feels like a really important step. I felt grateful to be able to be in a space where I could celebrate this baby and my hopes for them.
I also have been feeling incredibly grateful for the support and love for Eric and me. There are so many people who are invested in our journey. It is nice to be able to experience everyone’s hope and joy for us. Friends and family came from near and far to be here with us for this. I had imagined before the shower that I might feel sad at the fact that we had not gotten to take these steps of preparation with Lentil and Danny, but these feelings didn’t surface for me as I had expected. I think that I felt like everyone there understood the significance of this journey for us. I didn’t need to acknowledge that we hadn’t gotten to this point before because everyone else in the room was already mindful of that.
Because of our openness and our desire to share this pregnancy in the way that we have been, it felt like others understood. I was allowed to have the sad emotions when talking about what a long journey it has been for us because everyone already knew.
Some of the fears did arise for me when we got home from the shower, though. Looking at the pile of generous gifts we received, I found myself scared that we might gather all of these things and then not be able to bring a baby home, but I know that what feels right for me in the moment is to push through that fear to prepare.
We have made a bit of progress on the nursery. In fact, I am writing this post in the nursery, sitting in our new glider chair, looking at the newly built crib, snuggled up with one of the baby’s new handmade blankets, knitted by one of my aunts. I will share pictures of the nursery in a few weeks when it is more complete, but for now know that it has felt really nice to take these steps to prepare.
We have been waiting a long time for this, and I am finding a lot of comfort in distracting from the fears by creating a space for this baby in our home.
As I sit here, I also find myself basking in the love and support of everyone around us. The amount of joy and hope that others have for us is overwhelming. It is incredible to feel how much others are rooting for us. As we are in the midst of these multiple baby showers, I have been allowing myself to feel all of the love and support from others. It means so much to get it, and I have been trying to just be in the moment, soaking all of that in.