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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.
It seems most babies get a nickname while in the womb, sometimes long before their real name is decided upon.
That’s how it went with Lauren. Though we decided on a girl’s name fairly early on and prettily easily, we never called her by that name, even after we found out we were having a girl. For the entire pregnancy, she was known as Lucky. A very short time after we learned I was pregnant, Geordie just happened to randomly say how lucky our baby would be. It stuck. Sometimes we wondered if we’d ever be able to call her by her real name after she was born.
For the record, we call her Lauren. Lucky seems to belong to those long weeks and months of pregnancy, when we were uncertain at times but happy and innocent. She was Lucky when she was ours. At times, now, it hurts to even hear that word.
Even a short time after losing Lauren, we knew that we would eventually try for a second child. For a while, we called this child Number Two. We both agreed that this was not a great nickname and that we’d probably want something else when it finally came down to it.
Geordie to the rescue: he suggested Niko, which for the sake of brevity I’ll just say essentially means “second child” in Japanese. It’s short and easy to say/remember, and it’s what we’ve been calling this child since we found out about the pregnancy. It’s also the name I’ll use to talk about this baby in future posts (hopefully the next one won’t be in another two weeks, I’d like to get myself back on a regular posting schedule).
As for “real” names, we haven’t made any decisions. We have a couple of options picked out but nothing we feel very strongly about. That’s going to take a little more time.
In appointment news, the 16-week check-up will be on Wednesday. We’re hoping to have the anatomy/sex ultrasound in early August.
And, well, that’s about it. Starting in July, I’m going to try to make more of an effort with postings, but there will be a two-week break in the middle while I travel to Florida and visit family and friends without the company of my laptop. So, it might be August before the posts pick up again.
We’ll see how it goes.
The first trimester is coming to an end, and I’m finally starting to feel a little more “normal.” Not completely – after all, I’m still pregnant. But daily naps are no longer a necessity, I’m no longer peeing every three hours, and what little nausea I did have is even less frequent.
I’ll be honest: physically, the first trimester wasn’t so bad. I’m pretty fortunate in that I don’t get bad morning sickness. In fact, I didn’t have much of it at all. It was the same with Lauren. The fatigue is really the worst, and that’s easily solved with a nap. It helps that I have a very patient, very attentive husband who is willing to take care of me. But, no, the worst for me is more mental. I had a hard time adjusting to being pregnant with Lauren, and it’s been no different this time around. I feel like my brain is working overtime, and it leaves no room for rational, every day thoughts. It’s hard to focus sometimes, to think about the things that need to get done. I feel distracted.
I think the early part of the second trimester is the worst part. The pregnancy symptoms have started to subside, yes, but at least they were concrete proof that a baby is growing in there. In these weeks before the quickening, that is important. It’s easy to start to wonder, to start imagining the worst. Fourteen weeks is not a “safe point.” I cannot relax and enjoy this lack of symptoms any more than I could relax and enjoy pregnancy with them. I can know that the risk of miscarriage is much lower now, but that doesn’t stop me from knowing that there is no guarantee. Experience has touched me; innocence has no place here any longer.
And yet, I believe that’s something instinctive within us. We know that death comes when it will. Even when we think we are safe.
When I was pregnant with Lauren, there were days, before the quickening, that I would lay on that futon in the apartment in Moriya and place my hand over my abdomen and think, please be alive. And she was. She always was, until the very end. But that would be the far future: there in Moriya, things were always well. But, still, I worried. I knew, even then and even though I didn’t want to believe it, that death could be like a thief in the night, slipping in and stealing away that most precious spark of life. It didn’t happen until I’d let down my guard, until I had begun to believe that she was safe and would be coming home. I had stood all those months in vigilance, and in the end, death came and took her anyway.
I’m trying to stay positive with this pregnancy. But now that I’ve entered into this period of being so unsure about everything, it’s hard. A few days ago, I caught myself with my hand on my abdomen, wondering, are you still there? I hope so. There’s still so much to learn about this baby, and I want to know. I long to know this baby.
This pregnancy is not a joyous, cheerful one. I’m okay with that. I don’t care how challenging it is, mentally or physically. Because, ultimately, it’s still a hopeful pregnancy. Some people don’t get second chances, and I feel blessed that at least have this chance, that I have this small promise for the future.
I haven’t given up on this baby yet. And I won’t. Not ever.