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Big news, friends. And I mean BIG.
We had an ultrasound last week and got some great news about Henry. There is plenty of fluid for him, and there are no “normal variants” to speak of. He looks just plain healthy . . . and huge.
According to my research, a baby at his gestational age should weigh about three and three-quarters pounds. Henry is estimated at five pounds, three ounces. That’s a big baby. I am not a big girl.
This means a couple of things:
To be fair, I couldn’t sleep the night before the ultrasound either. I couldn’t figure out what it was, but that evening I got upset with John for something that wasn’t a big deal and then couldn’t get my head to stop reeling so I could sleep. It was only after I was up reading until one am that I realized I was nervous about the ultrasound.
It was irrational to be concerned. Henry kicks all the time, so I know he’s okay. He even kicked while I was in the doctor’s office, seconds before the ultrasound began. Still, once the technician started swiping that wand across my belly I got nervous. I like to know what I’m looking at when I’m at these scans, but I couldn’t get a word out to ask. Were those holes in my baby’s belly? Was that even his belly?
A moment later, the sound of his heartbeat boomed over the speakers. Only then did I notice all of me, down to my legs, had been tense. I started to ask what I was seeing. The tech kept telling me how cute he is. I don’t have the printouts scanned in yet, so you’ll have to trust me on that one. He’s a chubby, muscley baby with a face I want to gaze into much longer than that situation allowed. Not only that, but he’s not breech anymore. Go, Henry, go!
Once we had our plan loosely in order with the doctor, I thought I’d be able to sleep. Now I’m not nervous—I’m excited! I started making lists as soon as we got home: what we need to get done for Christmas, how we’ll change our Christmas plans, reminders to figure out what kind of double stroller we want. The list goes on . . . and on. John is handling it very well thus far.
I had been carrying so much fear and anxiety about when Henry would be born, how, what we’d do with Jacob, if we’d get enough time with family who live out of state before they had to leave again, how we’d manage when John went back to work and all our other helpers went back to school. Now, with the prospect of delivering two weeks early, the word that comes to mind is “spared.”
I know I can’t think that because we lost Ethan we are entitled to an easier go-round this time. Whatever the reason for it, relieving this pressure is a grace. I am happier, more joyful, enjoying these last weeks of pregnancy more. John told me this weekend, when I was in the midst of a rant about something like the Christmas cards I’ve already drafted in my head, that it was good to see me so happy.
Though the change in my attitude and behavior is not as profound now as it was at the beginning of the year, losing Ethan did change me—and our whole family—in a way that can’t be undone. I wouldn’t want it to be. For the most part, we’re in a place where I can see that his life gave us an opportunity to love more and to love better. But grief-inspired fear can still creep up on me. I am grateful that John still puts “continued healing” first in our list of petitions when we say our rosary together each night.
For a long time, I was bracing myself, waiting for the day he’d stop saying it, wondering if or when he’d think I was finished healing. He’s a smart enough guy to know that’s not how it works. His recognition of that validates moments like those in the ultrasound exam last week. I love living the times when he knows me better than I know myself.
The other minor revelation this whole giant-baby thing has showed me is that I am, indeed, not likely responsible for Jacob being a big baby. When we decided to induce because he was big and late, I felt guilty for not having taken good enough care of him and myself that he could have come more naturally. A nurse in the hospital gave me a vague answer to a question that only dug it in deeper.
This time, I have been living such a different lifestyle. I’m not behind a desk, with food as my only possible relief when I felt gross. I’m at home, taking naps in the middle of the day, walking in the afternoons, having more food options available to me because I have a kitchen at my disposal all day. I’m confident this time that I will lose the extra baby weight, and quickly. I’m also surer that we just make big people over here; it’s nature, not nurture.
My only struggle since we made this call is that I have to change my programmed reply when people ask when I’m due. All weekend, the question threw me. January 2 is now irrelevant. First I’d give the askee a blank stare. Then I’d think how ridiculous it must look that I’m this clearly pregnant and don’t know when I’m due. Then I’d tell the entire story. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I give too much information about my life; I am a blogger, for crying out loud.
Here, practice with me?
You say: When are you due?
I’ll say: Right before Christmas.
Then I’ll start singing Mariah Carey in my head. You can too, if you want. Because Baby Henry, all I want for Christmas is you.