I’m 17 weeks pregnant today and, if you’d have asked me a few days ago how I was feeling, I would have said “not very pregnant.” I guess I’m still not feeling very pregnant, save for the relentless fatigue that hasn’t let up in the second trimester like I’d hoped it would, BUT I felt the baby move for the first time Friday night and that was so exciting. It wasn’t just little fluttering movements that start around this time either; it was some full-on kicking. And Drew even felt it, too. I haven’t felt anything since and I kind of think it was a bit of a fluke to feel real kicks this early, but I’ll take it. That confidence boost should get me through until my next ultrasound in a couple weeks, when I can get another peek at the baby and see she’s ok in there. (At this stage in a pregnancy, when you aren’t really showing and maybe haven’t gained much weight and aren’t feeling the baby regularly, if at all, the weeks between prenatal appointments, when you get some confirmation that everything is progressing as it should, can feel so long).
It’s funny how, even though I’ve been to this rodeo once before, a lot of the wonder and uncertainty is the same this time around. I’m less concerned with, like, logistical things, like what we’ll need for a baby and how to care for her, but imagining how our lives will change seems as faraway and distant as it did when we were becoming first-time parents. I don’t think the reality of parenthood hit me with Jackson until I was in labor and experienced true loss of control. Suddenly, I was at the mercy of this baby and had to just . . . submit to what was happening (to my body, to my life, to my everything). It was a sensation I’d never really experienced before and it’s one I have felt in various incarnations over and over since becoming a parent, and, of course, I’m wondering in what ways I’ll have to submit to changes and responsibilities that having two kids will demand.
Anyway, even with the uncertainty and wonder of what will happen this time, one thing I haven’t and don’t worry about is how I will love another child as much as I love Jackson or whether there’s enough room in my heart and my life for another child. I know there is. I know there will be more than enough love and I won’t have trouble balancing my relationships with two children, at least in an emotional sense. I am less confident about, like, getting two kids ready in the morning and out the door in time to get Jackson to school by 8:20, and making twice the amount of pediatrician appointments and play dates and daily snacks and attending kids’ birthday parties. But I know that stuff will work itself out, and, even if it’s totally overwhelming and all-encompassing, it’s just for a few years. Eventually, this new baby will grow and become more independent the same way I’ve watched Jackson grow and become more and more independent. That’s the benefit of being a second-time parent: I KNOW, like really, truly know in a way I didn’t fully the first time, that the time passes quickly and these stages, for better or worse, will be over soon.
Now that we’ve had over a month to process the news that we’re having a girl, I’m feeling excited about the ways that dynamic will affect our family. Jackson, especially, can’t wait to meet his baby sister. The way he already talks about and to her is so sweet, I think my heart might explode. The other day, out of the blue, he said, “Mommy, I love my baby sister in your tummy so much. I love her THIS MUCH,” as he held his arms out as wide as he could. And then yesterday as I was getting him dressed for the day, I reminded him that he was going to share a bedroom with his sister eventually and I asked him what he thought about that.
“Good,” he replied. And then: “Can I sleep right next her?”
And I pointed to the corner of his room and said, “Well, that’s where we’re going to put her crib, so you won’t be right next to her, but you’ll be close.”
And he said, “I want to sleep right next to her. Maybe I can sleep on the floor, next to her crib.” I mean, COME ON. That shit is SWEET. I’m going to just enjoy it while I can, because something tells me not every sibling moment in the future will be as simple.
Kind of related/not really: I asked Jackson the other day if I could have a few cuddles and he replied, “I just want to cuddle the iPad.” So, yeah, the sweetness kind of comes and goes. But like the little kicks I felt the other night, I’ll take the good when I can . . . and I’ll just try to laugh off the rest. At least until I can drink again. 17 weeks down, 23 to go!