The Outline – Part Two
You know that feeling, when you’re just on the edge of sleep, in the backseat of a car going who cares where? That sort of quiet acceptance that wherever you wind up, you have no control over it at all. The trees blur together into a single shade of green outside the window. There is something comforting to the feel of the car moving beneath you, the rumble of the engine, the steady sound of tires on the pavement. You find yourself lulled into this false sense of security. If you’re lucky, you know the driver, you know the destination.
I wasn’t so lucky.
That’s how my first trimester passed. I walked around in a constant daze. I dutifully made and kept every appointment I needed to. Every morning, I took my prenatal vitamins. I cut down my coffee intake, I didn’t take a sip of alcohol. And yet, I didn’t feel anything except this lethargic, quiet, deep water feeling that shifted inside me.
“Have you felt the baby moving yet?”
I remember being asked around 15 weeks. No, no I don’t think so.
“It’s okay, not everyone does at 15 weeks. Just let me know as soon as you do.”
A pinprick of fear penetrated my apathy. Should I have felt it by now? I ran home and paged through my What to Expect book, past eight weeks, twelve, fifteen. My baby was the size of an orange! And yes, it was kicking and flexing. But right here it said, many moms don’t feel the movements yet, especially first time moms.
I was a first time mom.
I was a first time mom who knew nothing! I didn’t know what to expect, not at any week. I had no birth plan, no idea of healthy eating, no nursery or names.
For the first time in 15 weeks, I started to feel…happy. Excited even. Like butterfly wings fluttering in my stomach (which, later I realized, actually was the baby moving). I felt alive. I felt determined to do everything right.
By week twenty, I had a birth plan. I wanted to have natural childbirth, complete with walking around during labor, no epidural, and no IV.
By week twenty-five, I’d transferred practices to one that had two midwives. They would honor my birth plan as best they could, without putting me or the baby at risk.
By week thirty-five, my husband finally got rid of his last roommate, I moved in and we finished the nursery. I remember washing and folding all those tiny outfits, hanging dresses and ruffled rompers, pairing matching pink socks into the tiny top drawer. We had the crib set with baby animals that matched the lamp and wallpaper. The colors were yellow and green, chosen carefully by me with the idea of having a second child that would use the nursery again in the not too distant future.
And then we waited. And waited.
My due date came and went without event. That was normal, most first pregnancies were late. We celebrated Christmas alone in our home, with the miniature Christmas tree my mother-in-law had insisted we have. I walked, every day, at least two miles. In malls, in stores, around the house. Walking was supposed to encourage labor and I would do whatever it took.
Ten days past my due date, and it was New Year’s Eve. By now, we were at the hospital every day, having ultrasounds to monitor the baby. As far as I was concerned, this baby was never coming. I had begun to think it was a hoax that mothers played on poor unsuspecting first-time moms. There was no way that this thing growing inside of me was every coming out. I got to the hospital at 9 that morning for my ultrasound.
Twelve hours later, they laid my child in my arms.
If you’re interested in how the story begins, read Part One: The Canvas and the Palette
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