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It never fails: summer plods, August drags, and September seems to linger for as long as it likes. And then autumn rolls in, and September picks up its pace, and the next thing you know, it’s the middle of October.

It’s the middle of October.

October is usually one of my favorite months, but this year, the first half of October was rough. The end of September brought the anniversary of Lauren’s sleeping birth – two years, my god, has it been two years since she left us? She still seems so close to us, so real. I can still see her in my mind’s eye: a tall, lanky two-year old with dark curly hair and bright blue-gray eyes. I realize this is just my fancy, but that is all I have of her, and so it is what I believe in. She is still real to me, as real as her sister who – thankfully – is still bopping about in my growing belly.

Thirty-two weeks. Only eight weeks to go.

Less than that, really. As of today, only 52 days to go.

I hope it is only that long. I wouldn’t mind her coming a week early. Not much earlier than that, no, but I’d rather her be a week early than a week late, if not for my sanity then because I am so anxious to have her here with us.

She is so strong and so vibrant, our nameless little Niko.  I place my hands on this great belly and feel her roll and twist and kick, and I pray that she doesn’t stop. She can cause me all the discomfort she needs to, just keep moving.

Keep moving, Niko. Keep that heart beating so strongly. Keep living. We’re waiting to meet you, waiting to hold you, waiting to shower love upon you. Stay strong, and live.

OCTOBER 15 DAY

I have found that writing about this pregnancy has been rather difficult to do. This was true when I was pregnant with Lauren, so it doesn’t really surprise me. Take for example this post, which has taken me about three days to write.

I’m not even sure what I want to write about, and that’s generally the biggest problem I have when I sit down to write about Niko. It’s impossible to sort out my thoughts and get to something coherent. Everything is so jumbly and confusing in my head that if I start to think things out too much, I get all emotional and melancholic and weepy and useless. There’s a lot of juxtaposition of opposing thoughts and feelings that just renders me tongue-tied, except it’s in my head, so brain-tied?

I’m thrilled to be pregnant, but I hate being pregnant. I love that my body can nurture and help build this new life, but at the same time, I hate how crazy it gets during the process. Once again, I don’t feel like myself.  I do feel better now that I’m in the second trimester, and most of what’s happening to my body now is pretty much what I experienced with Lauren, so at least it’s not coming as a complete surprise. I know what to expect.

I’m so happy we’re having a little girl, but a deep-down part of me wishes we were having a boy. There are so many reasons for this. For one thing, Geordie is the only male in his generation on his father’s side, so unless some of his cousins decide to keep their maiden name, he’ll be the last to carry the family name. And I’m pretty sure I don’t want to go through this again. We had planned on Lauren being an only child; the same is true for Niko. It’s not such a big deal, but I liked the idea of having a son who would carry on a family lineage. We also had the best boy’s name picked out: Malcolm Thomas. I love this name. I love the sound of it by itself, I love the sound of it with our last name. I just love this name. I love that it has the Thomas from paternal grandmother’s maiden name; it’s the only male name we could agree on from either of our families. Also, we can’t decide on a girl’s name. We’re currently going through a baby name book, and we have a couple of ideas but nothing that we’re very much in love with. It’s just going to take some time.

I’m really enjoying shopping/window-shopping for Niko, but at the same time, it’s not easy to do. It reminds me of all the planning and dreaming we did with Lauren, only to have it all ripped away from us when we were ready to bring her home. Sometimes I feel like I’m just going through the motions, and sometimes I’m genuinely charmed by every little thing we do to get ready for Niko. But always, I seem to find myself thinking of “if,” not “when.”

I’m so anxious and excited about meeting this little girl, but I’m also half-convinced I’m going to lose her the way we lost Lauren. I feel like I’m just “borrowing” her for a while. It’s hard not to get attached, but it’s hard to be attached too. This seems to be normal for the babylost who are expecting again, but it’s disturbing all the same. And it’s hard to hear the certainty of others, how they say “congratulations” instead of “best wishes.” It’s hard for me to be objective because I know. I know that babies die. And though I know of many women who have gone on to have healthy rainbow babies, I know of many other women who lost theirs. And though I don’t often say it out loud or even allow myself to consciously think it, it’s always there, deep in my head and my heart: Niko could die too. It’s terrible and it hurts and I wish it wasn’t true, but it is. I can’t ignore that. I can’t live in blessed obliviousness. I don’t want to know it any more than others don’t want to hear it, but I can’t close my eyes to the truth. That wouldn’t be fair to Lauren, who lived and was loved and is missed still. We assumed that she would live. She taught me that life is both fragile and precious, that it can slip away when we least expect it. I’m not going to ignore the lessons of love that she taught me.

I wish I could fast-forward to December and be done with all this waiting, to know if I’ll be celebrating or grieving – but I also want it to linger, to last as long as needs to, in case we do lose Niko, so I can have as much time as possible with her. Every movement she makes is both wondrous and heart-breaking. I love knowing that she’s still there, but I can’t help wondering if it’s the last time I’ll feel her. But I like that too, because it makes me vigilant. Even if we do lose Niko, I won’t let her go without a fight.

Niko is due in exactly four months.  I announced her existence nearly four months ago. She has grown, and she is thriving. She is an active, healthy girl with a strong heartbeat and a bounty of energy.

And may she stay that way.

Sara

I am a daughter and a sister, a wife and a friend. I am a reader and a writer, a dreamer and a realist, a teacher and a learner. I am the mother of a baby born sleeping. I am on a journey of healing, walking a path paved with tears and grief and hope.

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