Last night, my husband touched my belly for the first time in this pregnancy.
Well, I’m sure he’s done it before by accident, but this was the first time he reached down and rubbed it, with clear intention and thought about our baby. Before it happened, I hadn’t noticed that he wasn’t doing it. But as soon as he did, all the memories of our first pregnancy came flooding back — last year, he started touching my belly early on, almost from the point of our first positive pregnancy test, thinking about our baby. This time, it took until 9w4d for him to get to that point.
He touched my belly again as I was leaving for work this morning. It made me so happy, and simultaneously so sad that I almost burst into tears.
We’re both having trouble believing in this pregnancy — and our parents are on eggshells as well, especially his. Since everything is happening within a week of when it happened last year, it’s particularly poignant. Some things are the same, and some are different, and the differences are highlighted by the samenesses.
In our first pregnancy, starting within a week or so of our first pregnancy test, we incorporated our baby into our bedtime ritual. We have a silly thing we do as we’re falling asleep: my husband will say “good night” to our dog, and I’ll answer back in her “voice” (we talk for our dog pretty often actually — probably our friends think we’re weird, but our dog is hilarious, let me tell you!). With our first pregnancy, long before we knew that our daughter was a girl, he’d also say good night to our baby, and I’d answer back “good night, daddy!” for her. In this pregnancy… we just didn’t. Maybe a week ago, we started doing it again. Every time we do it, it makes me happy, and I also hope that this baby survives so we don’t have to go back to that empty silence before we fall asleep.
My husband’s parents made the several-day drive to visit us for a week, as they do every summer, and just left for home yesterday. Last year they visited in August, so I was just beginning the second trimester. His mom had brought a bunch of old baby stuff she’d been saving, plus a new blanket she crocheted for our baby. She cooed over ultrasound pictures, and we talked about our ideas for names. This year they hardly talked about the baby, and when they did, it was very cautiously. I got dizzy while kneading some bread on a hot morning (occasional lightheadedness/weakness has been normal for me in both pregnancies), and his mom was solicitous then, but there was none of the hopeful and cheerful banter of the summer before. When we came back from a prenatal visit Wednesday morning with new ultrasound pictures they hardly looked at them. I understand that they’re hurting too, and that they want to protect our feelings and especially their son’s… but I wish we could all celebrate this pregnancy for as long as it lasts. I miss our daughter so much, and I’m so afraid for this pregnancy… but I also know that withholding love and excitement isn’t going to make it any easier if it ends without a living baby again.
I love that my husband is starting to incorporate this baby into our lives. It also highlights the anxiety I already have, because I don’t want him (and us) to have to go through another painful loss. I’m counting down the hours until our next appointment with our local OB on Friday — just a check-in to make sure there’s still a heartbeat.
I will also say that as I look forward I do feel like maybe I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t get me wrong — there’s plenty that I’m anxious about, and I could certainly enumerate my anxieties right up through the end of this pregnancy! (I started to do it, and then realized that I really don’t need to drag myself or you through that again!) But within the next six weeks or so we’ll hit some major milestones: the end of the first trimester, and along with it our first trimester screening results for chromosomal abnormalities, plus our first routine anatomy scan at 16 weeks (they’re doing it early because of my history, so I’ll probably need a repeat for the heart study at 18 or 20 weeks). Those are some of the biggest anxiety-producers for me right now, but the good news is that they’re all coming up, so I won’t have to wait too much longer to get through them.
And with all of this going on, with the little things that remind me of my first pregnancy, with the things that are different this time, I try to keep reminding myself that for now I am pregnant, and that’s a very good thing. For now, we have no specific cause for alarm. For now, I am trying to trust my body to keep our baby healthy, and I’m trying to enjoy and start to bond with this new little life. For now, I’m going to enjoy it every time my husband rubs my belly, and every time we dare to dream about this little life growing inside me.