Aside from a scare early on, the first half of this pregnancy was relatively easy. I had to accept that there was little more I could do than eat well and go to my doctor’s appointments. Now I’ve crossed the line of viability, and if I notice the baby moving less, my doctor could deliver early. The baby’s life could be in my hands. That is an immense weight.
I’ve already had two episodes of total panic, times where it seemed the baby had gone too long without moving. I’ve gulped orange juice and ice water and prodded at my stomach and waited. My doctor has reassured me that if I’m ever concerned, I can call her and then rush to the hospital for monitoring. But I think about scaring Greg and Eleanor, and I force myself to be patient. I know that most pregnant women go all day without giving the kicks a thought.
I don’t know how people survive this. Everything in me wants to quit, just crawl into bed for the next three months. Other women who have lived this tell me that I should keep busy. I’m trying. I’m quickly approaching the point, though, when the monitoring of this baby will become the focus of my life.
Next month, I will start having two ultrasounds a week and doing a kick count every eight hours. Every test and ultrasound says that this baby is fine, that all of this caution is unnecessary. And I’m pretty sure that my doctor is recommending all of those kick counts more for my health than the baby’s, to give me some sense of purpose when I have so little control.
In some ways, this time is similar to the months after Genevieve died. I feel as though I can’t possibly be enduring this. I’m all frazzled nerves and impatience, waiting for life to be easier. This time is also the opposite though. I can soak up Eleanor’s happiness in a way that I couldn’t before. I’m taking the days gingerly, but possibilities burble underneath. I thrill at the thought of reclaiming a life that isn’t entirely about childbearing — a life with work and travel and (please please please) parenting two living children. And while 2011 will go down as flat-out hard, this year could be both hard and great.