I’m having a baby!

Well, yes, I’ve already posted about the fact that I will be having a baby.  But last Monday, I got to see the baby for the first time, making it that much more real.  We had our first visual ultrasound on Monday, as a part of a pre-natal screening test.  The test results were normal, but as wonderful as it was to have that worry lifted from me, it was small in comparison to the experience of watching my unborn child move.  The baby is still too small to distinguish gender, or to see fingers and toes (that will come later) but we saw two arms, two legs, a head, and the rest of the body.  More exciting than seeing the baby was seeing the movement.  Apparently, I’m having a kickboxing baby.  The baby moved pretty consistently throughout the scan.  I still can’t feel the movement, but it was truly amazing to see that movement and to realize it was happening “real time” inside of me.

Between the relief over the test results, as well as the magical visualization of the life inside of me, I feel excited and elated in a way I didn’t before about the arrival of my child.  I find myself giggling randomly, and smiling almost constantly.  Prior to this week, I hadn’t really felt a deep elation about my pregnancy.  I felt excited, to be sure, but it was more of an intellectual experience.  What I find myself experiencing now is more emotional and spiritual.  I feel in my soul the bubbling excitement of carrying a life inside of me.  The feelings of being overwhelmed and worried about the new few months haven’t gone away, of course, but I feel less weighed down by the natural fears and concerns of motherhood.

To add to my excitement, my dear friend, Pam, had her first child today.  Pam & I have been friends since our 6th grade orientation, when she was 10 and I was 11.  We were friends throughout middle school and high school, and we even attended the same (very small) college together.  (Although we mutually decided it would be beneficial to our friendship not to room together, which I think was the right idea.)  After graduating from college, sometimes we’ve been closer than others, but we’ve both made a stronger effort in the past year to spend more time together.  She is married to a great guy — I couldn’t ask for someone better for her.  I know they are so excited about being new parents, and I’m excited about them being new parents (especially since, being the elder friend, I’ve almost always had to be the one who “goes first” in things).  The only reason I haven’t gone to meet their son today was that we had a fairly significant snow/ice storm today which made travel treacherous.  I am going first thing tomorrow to see the new family.  But even though I haven’t met their (as yet unnamed) son yet, just picturing them brings me to another level of thrill — both for them, and for my own upcoming experience.

I am amazed with Pam (as I have been many times before) at her strength and capability.  Between her water breaking this morning and her baby being born, barely 12 hours elapsed.  She did a great job — she had her baby!  I know she is going to be an excellent mother.  I find her strength inspiring, and it helps me know that I, too, will be able to have my baby when the time comes.

It seems strange to say that — of course I’ll be able to have my baby (I kind of have to, at this point).  But I honestly carry a great deal of fear about the experience of childbirth.  I’m afraid I won’t be strong enough.  I know it will be fine — women have been doing this forever, and with significantly less technology than is available today.  But I’m afraid of the pain, and I worry that the pain will interfere with my ability to bring my child safely into this world.

I take Pam’s strength in having her baby as inspiration for my own future.  Knowing that she’s gone through this, and now has her baby, brings me to a whole new level of excitement and elation about my own child.  I know that as the months (and weeks, and days) tick by, my emotions will change.  Right now, I’m enjoying a level of excitement, elation, joy and thrill that I can’t remember having felt.  I’m beginning to understand that this feeling will be something I will access again and again — it’s part of being a mother.  The day my child is born, her first smile, his first word, and on throughout his or her life I will find myself at this place of joy and excitement.  It feels really right.

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