I started feeling kicks this week; I am in constant awe. Just little faint flicks, that sometimes tickle and are sometimes uncomfortable, but they are always amazing. I can go almost all day without feeling anything, and that worries me sometimes... but I've been able to find him with the doppler. At which point I seem to wake him up, and he starts moving around again. Oops.
Last night I was working, and he was kicking the crap out of me almost all night. At some point he must have went to sleep, and all was quiet. Until I ate some candy, and discovered the Snickers are like speed for fetuses. Again, amazing.
Sometimes when a cat lays on my belly, I can feel him kicking the crap out of the cat. The cats can't feel it, but it cracks me up. He did that to my husband the other night when he was holding me, my husband couldn't feel it but I loved it.
It's such a simple thing, and I'm sure a lot of people take it for granted... but to me, it's the most amazing feeling in the world. I don't want to talk about it too much because I know it's a sensitive issue for some, but I really can't get over it.
Just as I am awestruck by my little boy's kicks, I'm looking at the calendar and I see in a few minutes it will be the 21st again. It's a simple thing, a day most people take for granted. But on that day in 1998... my niece died. My sister once felt her kicks, once heard her heart; 13 years ago she held her for the first time, and the last time. Her death preceded her birth by a single day.
Every August my heart turns to her, to my sister, to her family. I know that to her sons, their sister is still somewhat of a foreign concept. They know she died, but they don't know what exactly that meant. They came after the tornado of loss, when the damage wasn't so raw. They came when my sister had tucked up the debris, after she had started rebuilding, and they too were a process of that. But even the process of rebuilding is no match for the raw disaster area of stillbirth.
And to me too, my niece's loss was a foreign concept. I wasn't living in the same state, she didn't talk to her little sister about what happened, I was too young to understand. As I grew up, and got married, the reality became less foreign. I understood it more, I watched her sons growing taller, stronger, and I grieved more. As I lost my first, and my second, then my third pregnancy, my understanding deepened to a level that I never imagined possible.
My niece is dead. All that she could have been is gone. We keep wondering what the doctors could have done differently, if they had just taken her seriously the day before when my sister went in... would she still be here? If the hospital was better... if they'd induced her because she was overdue... so many what ifs. And none of them matter. None of us can change what happened. All we can do is keep loving her. Beautiful, perfect, Amariah.
Just as I'm reveling in my current pregnancy, I remember about how unexpected life is. My sister only had a 3% chance of losing her daughter at full term. I only had a 1% chance of losing my first three pregnancies. Statistics... they feel like such a false sense of security. We always think, "But that could never happen to me," until it does, and you're left reeling from it.
I know there's no way you can prepare for the unimaginable, but living through it your subconscious has no choice but to build barriers. I find myself doing that a lot with this pregnancy: my hesitation to talk about it, my despair at entering a baby aisle in a store, my fears of baby showers, the way I word things, the way I cringe when people talk as if this baby is a done deal. I know that shielding myself will do no good, that whether I lose the baby or not doesn't change what happens. But I can't help it. I still love this baby, and I love every second that he's still here with me. But I have to do things in my own time. I bought a baby item yesterday, online (I have yet to make an in store purchase). I'll have to take "baby steps" towards things. And I know it sounds stupid or silly to some people, but I don't care much for what I should be doing, or what I should be enjoying, I've never been one for the mainstream anyway. I'll do things in my own time.
But I do hope that this doesn't reflect poorly to people about how I feel about this baby. I've put my life on the line for this baby, I've sacrificed so much just to conceive it, not to mention in every attempt to carry him to term- I loved this baby before we conceived him, and with everyday I love him more.
To most of this country, pregnancy and birth are a given. They believe conception is easy, and pregnancy is assumed. They think that reaching full term means you'll have a living baby. These precious, wondrous, kicks are a given. But to me, these little things aren't so little. I take nothing for granted.
Everyday is a gift.