Monday, June 07, 2010

A Letter to My Daughter

Dear Baby Daughter,

At nearly 25 weeks, I’ve now officially passed the point in pregnancy where I was at with Katherine when I was rushed to my emergency caesarean, so everything from here on out is new to me. It’s bittersweet to mark this time; after all, there are so many memories of what was going on at this stage in my pregnancy with her, and I’m glad there are no symptoms currently to be concerned about with you, but I still wish things hadn’t turned out the way they had and that we could be introducing you to your big sister when you arrived.

Nevertheless, I keep doing my best to trust. When I was right around 23 weeks pregnant with Katherine, we made our annual summer trip home. My first full day back in Indiana found me swollen beyond recognition and being checked into the hospital for observation. In two weeks, I had put on 20 pounds due to water retention, and it all went downhill from there. Here I was, nearly two years later, facing a summer trip home at basically the same point in my pregnancy as before, and I admit there was some anxiety. What would I do if I started to swell and was a couple states away from the doctors that knew me and my history?

However, I had a clean bill of health from my doctor and she wasn’t concerned with me traveling, so we made the long drive home. There hasn’t been a hint of swelling, even with the warmer temperatures. I delight when I see my rings unable to stay balanced and upright on my fingers, instead sliding upside-down because of how loose they continue to be. Just one more sign that I don’t have evidence of swelling and that I am healthy at this moment.

The trip home was filled with unending relaxation and good food, great visits with friends and family, and so many naps I lost count. I’m sure you enjoyed the change in routine, but I admit now that it’s over, it’s hard to adjust to just one nap a day again, especially since it doesn’t occur before 5:15 PM. I feel great during this pregnancy, but I do find myself fading more quickly than before I was pregnant, and I do get the requisite winded feeling after exerting myself for any length of time.

Your activity, growing ever stronger, is a comfort. Remind me of this when you start attacking my ribs or keeping me up at night! You like to make it known when you’re getting hungry, which considering I like to eat every couple hours, means you’re also shaping up to be a grazer, at least in utero. And then, once I’ve eaten, I can tell when the food has reached you and you start to dance in appreciation. Come bedtime, you start up your jumping again, usually against the side of my stomach that touches the mattress – this may not bode well for when you learn to jump in your toddler years and realize that the mattress makes an ideal platform, but right now it’s amusing. Some days are quieter on your end, but you don’t fail to let me know you’re still there doing well, even if you’re a little sleepier than the day before. You’re getting big enough that what were once flutters are now more decided movements, and you can even span a good distance when you stretch, so I can feel kicks and punches simultaneously on opposite sides of my stomach.

While home, two of my sisters got to feel you kicking. You even managed to scare my older sister, which made me laugh. At first, she felt a couple subtle movements, then you gave a really good jab, and she pulled away suddenly, shocked at your strength and giggling at her response.

I’ve officially popped – it happened around 22 weeks, and I currently seem to be all belly. You’re happy hanging out right in front, so while anyone who gets a side glance knows full well I’m pregnant, I’ve been told they can’t tell from behind that I’m expecting.

Your daddy is so good to me – I can’t wait for you to meet him. I decided it would be a nice gesture of solidarity if he gave up his beloved caffeinated soda while I swore off caffeinated coffee, and he’s humored me in that move. Although my former car was sufficient, he traded it in for a newer, more reliable car since it had safer crash ratings and he could rest easier knowing you would be better protected should an accident ever happen.

When I had a mild panic attack after seeing some white spots upon standing up suddenly (different from some earlier light-headed spells), he humored me by buying an automatic blood pressure cuff so I could confirm my levels were still low, thus keeping me calm when doubts creep in. He drove the entire way home from Iowa, even turning down my offers to help, because he wanted me to be well rested upon our return. He didn’t mind that he had to load and unload most of the car on his own – many of our items fell into the “over 20 pounds” limit that I’m not allowed to touch.

I haven’t yet sent him out on a craving errand, and I tease him that apparently he’s lucked out because of it. I talk to friends and learn of their late-night cravings that send their spouses running to the car, but you haven’t yet driven me to request specific food items beyond what I can find at home.

Every single day, he’s beyond helpful with never a word of complaint and even as my body changes, he still finds me beautiful. You and I are lucky to have such a thoughtful, loving man we each get to call husband and daddy. I already know you’re going to be treasured by him and he will dote on you every moment.

We just ordered your crib, which was another big step for us as we admitted that it was time to hope that this might actually happen for us and we could take more concrete steps to prepare for your arrival. Now we just need to find a dresser to buy that will hold all the baby girl clothes friends and family are passing on to us – I’m reminded again at how the predominant color for baby girls is pink, so in my knitting I’m trying to add some variety to the color palette.

I anticipate the coming months of growth, and each day and each week that passes in this uneventful pregnancy gives me added hope that we will get to know you longer than we did your older sister. Know that I already love you so much, and I look forward to getting more glimpses of your personality in the coming weeks, and then seeing you face to face in late summer. Feel free to stay inside a long time yet – I’m more than willing to experience all the uncomfortable awkwardness that comes with making it full term and being quite pregnant in the humid summer months. I’m happy to endure any aches and pains and sleepless nights that might happen as I grow in size – just do your best to stay in there until the doctor decides it’s time for you to come out, preferably as a full-term, plump, healthy baby.