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nikohannah

Hannah Jayne
born November 24th at 6:04am
7 pounds, 7 ounces; 20 inches

And yes, I’ll post a birth story. It was a long, three-day process, but she’s here now and perfectly healthy. We’re so blessed to have this beautiful little rainbow in our lives.

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.

So, what happened to August? The last thing I remember is bemoaning August’s seemingly never-ending existence. And now we’re nearly two weeks into September. How did that happen?

I don’t even remember the last time I posted here. And I’m not going to go back and look, because it honestly doesn’t matter. I needed a break. I started a lot of posts but never got very far with them because I never really knew what to say or if I even had anything to say. I spent most of the last couple weeks of August just trying to deal with every day life.

There was the week our AC went out. That was fun, if you have a rather skewed idea of the word “fun.” August was a hot, hot month, and we spent most of it slightly over the 100° mark. The two and a half days we did not have AC were not exempt from the hot, dry temperatures. The worst was probably the two nights we spent lying in bed, sweating so much and giving off so much heat that we couldn’t stand to touch each other.  We ended up having to sleep downstairs in the living room on the fold-out couch, the oscillating fan going at full blast and the windows opened. The AC went out on Monday evening (too late for any repairs to be done, of course), got it back Wednesday afternoon, and didn’t have it fully fixed until Friday early evening. Fun week.

And then we developed an ant problem. Well, we had a semi-problem with ants before that, in that we had a couple of mounds in the yard, but we didn’t have a major problem with them coming into the house, only the odd stragglers who found their way in. But, the night we had the sliding glass door open just made it too easy for them to march in and attempt to steal away the cat food, which I didn’t realize was kept so tantalizingly close to the door. I moved the food into the kitchen and sprayed both the inside and the outside, but at least one colony had invasion on its mind, because they kept coming back even though there was nothing left for them to eat. So, that weekend, we went out and bought some ant-killer. It took two sprayings, but the yard now seems to be ant-free.

And then there’s Niko. We are still undecided about a name, so she’ll probably be known as Niko until she decides to make her arrival. We aren’t fussing too much about the name – she’ll get one when the time comes, and until then, there’s no rush. We’d still be calling her Niko anyway.

I named this post “twenty-seven weeks,” but the truth is that I’m closer to twenty-eight weeks now. Which means that we are at the brink of the third trimester. And I am so glad.

I can’t say that I really enjoyed the second trimester. Yes, I felt good physically. In fact, there were days when I felt so good that pregnancy didn’t seem that bad. Physically speaking. Mentally and emotionally, the second trimester has taken its toll, and I’m not expecting the third trimester to be any better. You see, with the second trimester comes that much-loved sensation of feeling the baby move for the first time. I first felt Niko move around week eighteen, and I’ve been feeling her pretty consistently since about week twenty. It’s both wonderful and terrifying. Wonderful because she’s alive and active, and terrifying because, in my experience with pregnancy, that doesn’t last.

It’s hard to explain to people who don’t know what it feels like to be aware that your baby isn’t moving anymore. Kick counts aren’t even suggested until the 28th week, and there’s nothing that can be done for the baby before the 24th week anyway. But that’s rational, and the babylost don’t always work on rational feelings. I panicked the first time Niko had a quiet day. It was a day that made me realize how glad I was to have chosen to work with midwives, because they let me come in and have a heart-tones check, and when her heartbeat showed up immediately, the midwife helped me calm down and listened to me and assured me that this was perfectly normal for someone who is in my situation. So not only did I feel relieved that Niko was perfectly alright, I was glad that I wasn’t treated like a crazy, overly sensitive pregnant woman. Because I do feel like that sometimes.

I am hyper-aware of what Niko is doing. Lauren’s movements were always normal up until the end, but sometimes I wonder how attuned to her I must have been if I spent so much time questioning myself and my instincts. So I’m vigilant about keeping track of Niko. Especially now. Because, yes, I am still terrified that I will wake up one day and realize that I haven’t felt her move in a while. We’ve rented a doppler to at least be able to hear her heartbeat when we need reassurance, but I know that movements are what’s most important. More than once a day, I lie down on the couch and see how long it takes me to feel her move. Most of the time, it doesn’t take long at all – she is quite active. Sometimes, it takes a little orange juice to get her going. So far, everything’s been normal, and I hope it stays that way.

So, I’m glad the second trimester is over, it seemed so long. The summer always seems to drag, but it was especially slow this year. We’re in the final stretch, and I’m spending my days now dreaming of a December day when we get to bring Niko home. I want that to happen so much, and it seems so close now, so possible. Twelve weeks. A little less than three calendar months. So close.

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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