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Enjoying It - a Reflection

I'm in my last two "official" weeks of pregnancy, which means I'm entering a 4-week period during which 85% of women give birth.  Soon, baby will be joining us on the "outside."  With that comes some mixed feelings.

There is a part of me that loves having her nestled inside my body, taking in all of life's experiences and tastes as an extension of me that doesn't require a car seat or a stroller.  She and I have shared the same space for the past 8.5 months and I have thoroughly loved and appreciated every moment of it.  I still remember when we first found out; I took two tests (one was a dollar store test so I didn't trust its accuracy and needed a second opinion from an expensive test) to confirm that she was indeed beginning her life inside my belly.  Then I started yelling for Hubbs, too excited to contain my news and surprise him with it.

In those early days, everything felt so surreal; I barely believed I was actually with child, and begged Hubbs to let me buy a dozen more dollar-store tests to double-check that this was for real.  He, of course, refused - some simple bloodwork had already confirmed it and he saw no point dropping any more money on tests.  The first trimester was one of secrecy and excitement, navigating the new limits of my diet and figuring out details like how and when to announce, and to whom.  In those first 12 weeks, I still waged war against my fear, refusing to fully embrace being pregnant until I knew for sure she had "taken" inside my body.  Meanwhile, my fingers began to swell (necessitating the ER's removal of my beautiful engagement and wedding rings) and my body began to produce an excess of mucous, causing me to have sleepless nights wrought with congestion that I couldn't medicate.

As we entered into the "honeymoon" of pregnancy, I found myself bursting with energy and new life (pun intended).  Finally, I felt confident enough to let more of our social circles in on our little secret, even though she was quickly becoming not so little.  In fact, I think I was already showing by my fourth month; for sure I was wearing maternity clothes by month five.  This was the time when we started dreaming about baby gear, and wondering how new furniture would fit in our humble space.  Every funny sensation was analyzed; was that a kick? Did I just feel a flutter?  Is baby moving around or was that indigestion?  We even got to sneak a peek at baby's gender, though it wouldn't be confirmed until closer to our third trimester.

And then I hit the third trimester, which has been a time of nurturing and resting and bonding with baby.  Not unlike the first days of falling ill with the flu, I began to feel super tired after just a few hours of work.  My body ached for rest, and it has been in these peaceful moments of reclining that baby has begun to move in earnest.  Each kick and hiccup and squirm that she makes feels so supernatural and interesting (and inexplicably weird); it's almost like a secret language that she and I are speaking to one another.  I know I will miss that bond.  As my belly has expanded (and continues to do so), so too does my heart grow with love for this little one.

In these very last days before she arrives, I am cherishing things like being able to enjoy the silence of a bubble bath or the quietness of the morning and the night.  Soon, those tranquil periods of my day will be interrupted by the sounds of a newborn. 

Of course, the other part of me that aches and swells and waddles and misses being able to cross my legs is impatiently awaiting her arrival.  After such anticipation and preparation, I want to be able to hold her in my arms and tell her how much Jesus loves her (and how much we love her).  I want to stare at her delicate features and try to figure out if she shares more of Hubbs' features or mine.  I want to have my finger squeezed as she sleeps, and I want to see her face light up when she smiles.  Yes, there is definitely a part of me that is ready to wear a new hat, and to embrace this very important role with open arms.

My doctor told me that I measured exactly 38 today, which corresponds handily with my actual state of being 38 weeks pregnant.  She said that my blood pressure is (and has remained) perfect, and my protein and sugar levels have been normal, and baby's heartbeat is an impressive 144.  She observed that, although I've managed to go up and down by nearly 5 pounds in the past two weeks, most of my gains and losses have been related to water retention and not my affinity for "Christmas Crack" and banana bread (ha!).  She also noted that baby has remained in a very good birthing position, though I suspect that this has more to do with how I sleep (left side only) and baby's personal preference than any willful cooperation on the little one's part to try to make labour easier.  In fact, for now baby hasn't even engaged her head yet (meaning she hasn't moved her cranium into the proper position in my pelvis for birth).  I'm barely dilated and not at all effaced, which could potentially lead to a higher probability of having to get a C-section or be induced if I go beyond 41.5 weeks (so says my doc).  I am still praying in faith that God will grant me a natural childbirth when baby's good and ready to come.

Until then, I think I'm going to enjoy every last minute of this pregnancy.  They (always a nebulous "they") say that everything changes when the baby arrives.  In the event that there is some truth to this (though Hubbs and I are a bit skeptical - everything?  Really?), why not make the most of each precious moment that God has given us to enjoy during this last chapter of DINK life?  We're fitting in as many dates as we can, and taking opportunities to snuggle and have hug breaks and little adventures around the city on most days.  We're jealously guarding our time, trying to juggle and prioritize some of our social commitments with our need to spend the last days of our 6.5 years of childless married life alone together.  We are dining out, shopping, cleaning/organizing/sorting and generally making those last-minute preparations while she gets her little body ready for entry into our lives. 

And we are worshiping God, who has been so good to us and so faithful and gracious to two undeserving (but wholly thankful) wretches.  He is good all the time, and has shown Himself to be good in so many new ways over the past 38 weeks.  We are blessed and continue to be blessed.  Praise be to the One who is glorious and good and has poured out His love to our little family.


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