When I was about 20 weeks pregnant with M, I started her journal. I wanted to chronicle my pregnancy and (ultimately) her life. I thought I was so smart, waiting until we were well past the 12-week mark to start writing, just in case we lost her. But once I started writing, I kept blithely on. The thought that her eventual birth and life were not a sure thing never occurred to me. And I am proud of her journal -- 65+ pages (so far) filled with the thoughts and fears and (most of all) joys of being her mother. I imagine giving it to her some day, a concrete testament to how important she is and has always been to me.
I haven't started this baby's journal yet. I keep trying to tell myself it's safe, that we've come so far and that we probably will get to meet her, but still something keeps me from opening a new document and starting to type. I just know so much more now. Since my miscarriage in 2007, I've found a community of women online who have experienced loss in all of its flavors, at all times during pregnancy and after. I know that pregnancy, even full-term pregnancy, does not always result in an actual, live baby. And while, intellectually, I know that the chances are excellent that everything will be ok, I still feel like doing something as concrete as writing in a journal will jinx us. Will guarantee that we'll lose our little girl, even at this late date. It's happened to other people, why would I ever believe it won't happen to us?
That same fear has kept me from admitting, even to myself, how very much I love this baby and how much I want her. For almost 9 months, I have forced myself to remain aloof, to not get too attached, to speak always in terms of "maybe" and "should" instead of absolutes. I talked to M all of the time when I was pregnant with her, but it's only in the last day or so that I've worked up the courage to address this baby.
Every concrete step we take towards getting ready for this baby alternately thrills and terrifies me. Two weeks ago, we turned The Boy's office into the nursery. It's a beautiful, calm place now, with lavender walls punctuated by yellow, green and pink polka dots. The crib and changing table are in there, and I've started pulling out M's baby clothes and receiving blankets. I love that room and can go as far as looking in the door, but I can't bring myself to go in there yet. Again, it feels like we're tempting fate by acting as if we're having a baby.
At the same time, I find myself so very excited for labor and delivery. I've been meeting with a doula and reading book after book on childbirth. I want to see what it's like, how it differs from my labor with M, whether I can give birth without needing another c-section. And most of all, I want to hold my little girl in my arms, to have her out here in the world, where I can see her and keep her safe. I can't help but feel like she'll be safer outside, where I can pretend at least to have a modicum of control over what happens to her. Where I can admit, at last, that she exists, that she is my daughter, and that I am prepared to love her every bit as fiercely as I love her sister.
Today (perhaps tomorrow, based on whose estimate you believe), I'm at 36 weeks. One more week until full-term; two weeks exactly before the time M was born. The time can't move fast enough.