Thursday, July 3, 2014
Today I lay against the crinkly tissue, which wrinkled and ripped each time I moved--even when the only movement I made was to crane my neck around to the left and steal glimpses of my children watching the screen above us glowing its fluorescent purple. It was the first ultrasound they have been to, and will most likely be the last.
We were shown the brain, the eyes, the nose with the sinus cavities, the ears, the abdomen, the bladder, ten fingers and ten toes that continued to wiggle and wave as the probe pushed down against the cold, clear jelly on my stomach.
"The baby isth sthooooo cute!" Leah lisped with excitement, her hands clasped together.
"Dat baby looks like it's gonna eat dat shark," June explained, trying to make sense of the images before her.
"Is it a boy or a girl?" was the only thing Caleb continued to ask, until the technician finally answered.
I watched Caleb's face crumple as he brought his knees up to his chest and buried his head down. Ben reached over and wrapped him in his arms.
"It's okay to be sad, Bud," I said gently, attempting to comfort him while he was out of my arm's reach. The technician's eyes widened and shifted from my face over to Caleb's tears and I quietly explained, "We knew this would be hard for him, he's wanted a little brother for so long. The good news is, wanting a little brother has never stopped him from loving his little sisters."
"He's not the first one to cry, it's usually the mom though," was her upbeat response.
We continued the rest of the anatomical exam with a more subdued mood than we had begun, but it was still miraculous to see. There were so many parts and pieces working, dependent upon each other to connect and form together. The femur bones, the four heart chambers, the umbilical cord, the curved spine. I stared at her perfect little profile and tried to visualize the movements on the screen happening inside of me at the same moment.
I have admittedly been one who stays emotionally unattached--or mentally unattached?-- during my pregnancies, which used to bother me. I've wondered why I was not the type of woman to talk directly to my unborn child, or sing to them, or read them stories, or be able to associate my protruding stomach to a little baby actually alive inside of me, like I have heard so many do.
I've stopped being concerned with trying to be someone other than who I am, because the moment my child is placed in my arms the overwhelming love is so immediate, so thickly bound, that it feels like the missing piece of a puzzle I have been working on for 10 months is finally put in place. My brain can suddenly compute and accept the reality of growing another little human, and the disconnected time during pregnancy washes away.
One thing that does connect me during pregnancy, is to decide on a name. And I have, both a first and a middle name, one that jumped out at me a couple of months ago, and I haven't let go of since. It is a sweet, peaceful name with the middle one also belonging to two women of strength in my life. Ben isn't completely convinced yet, and this is the first time out of four that we haven't easily agreed, settling as soon as we heard the gender.
When the ultrasound was over, I met my midwife. I've always wanted to work with a midwife, and was excited to hear at my last doctor's appointment that our insurance covered them, so I made the switch. We spoke of what the next few months together looked like, and as she spoke, I felt a familiar feeling creep to the surface of my emotions--one I am currently digging through in therapy to continue to overcome.
More specifically, Fear of my own abilities and strength. I have barreled through many other Fears the past few years, and yet somehow as the midwife spoke, I recognized this Fear as one of the most deeply-buried, intrinsically ingrained of all of them. Working through this one will reach out and cause a shift, changing other areas of my life, I can sense it. These next few months will be interesting--that I know--and if I can meet the hurdles I for see ahead with faith in God and my abilities, they may also become one of the most challenging and rewarding of my entire life.
My little family went to lunch together after the appointment, all five of us sitting in a rounded booth. The girls passed the ultrasound pictures back and forth, and Caleb cheered up over his pasta and mandarin oranges. I found myself wondering how the dynamics of another girl will alter what we have in this moment, and could tell Ben was contemplating the same.
I am almost 20 weeks along, and feel that Halfway is very much a metaphor of my life right now. There are so many things unsettled, unfinished, unknown, waiting on one thing or another, still in Forming Mode.
Ben's need for full-time work that will make enough to support us continues, his dissertation is set to be finished (finished! I can hardly understand this concept! ) and defended by August 20th, our house may be sold while we are renting it, beginning any time after August we could be handed a slip of paper and told to find somewhere new, Ben will begin the application for interviews again in October, and---if all goes well--leave again for the majority of December and January while I do my best to juggle a newborn and three tiny people without the support of family close by.
The unknown of all of this can feel suffocating and terrifying, if I let it.
Like the tiny body parts I watched on the screen today, these pieces of our lives are dependent upon each other in order to grow, systematically working together to create what will become Our Future. Ben and I are doing our best to hang on, trying not to stress over how it will all come together.
We are trusting the process we are in, trying to believe in our own abilities and strength, waiting patiently while Halfway continues to develop, in both our lives and with our baby.