Finally reached that 30 week pregnancy milestone and my doctor says "Keep up the good work Jacqui we're almost there!".
Almost there and I can finally hold my baby. I can finally hold a child of mine. A feeling I have been craving since last May. Recently, I have been struggling with these emotional, nagging feelings of not being able to share this second baby experience with Ryan. I wish so badly I could sit on the couch with Ryan and have his chubby little hand on my large round belly. I wish I could see his face light up as the baby moves beneath his hand, beneath my skin. If I know my son, I know he would only be sentimental about his little sister for a second and then get worried that she would steel his toys. I can almost hear his loud demanding voice telling both Dan and I what his little sister can and definitely can not play with. Thinking of him and his dramatic attitude makes me smile. I try to imagine scenarios such as those as a way to comfort the void of Ryan's physical presence.
Lately I've encountered these awkward conversations with curious strangers. What is it about strangers and pregnant women? It is like strangers are attracted to pregnant women and want to either ask a million questions or touch your belly and offer unwarranted advice. It can be endearing, but it usually ends up with me crying in the middle of Target or worse at my water aerobics class. It seems every week I have a conversation that goes something like this . . .
Lady: “You look great! How far along are you?”
Me: “Thanks! I’m almost 8 months.”
Lady: “Do you know what your having? Is this your first?”
Me: “Yes, A girl. No this is my second.”
Lady: “Aww, how old? Boy or girl?”
Me: “A boy, he just turned 5.”
Lady: “Now you have one of each! Is he excited?”
Me: “I know he is really excited.”
Afterwards, I high tail it away from the said stranger and try to calm that hot feeling you get in your face before tears start to brim your eyelids. I've found myself extremely sensitive to the fact that this is my second child with just photos of my first child to show for. A stranger asked me once "Who has your little guy now?" I just stared at her and said "God". Then I walked away with out looking at her. She probably thought I was a weirdo. Talking about Ryan does in fact make me happy, but in these cases it makes me feel sad and angry. I guess I am angry that I can't experience having two children the way everyone else can. I'm angry that my photos will only highlight Ryan and not physically show him growing up with us and his sister. These feelings of anger come in waves. I let myself feel them and then make myself let go of them.
Being pregnant and emotional isn't new territory for me, but having a baby after a loss such as ours is uncharted territory and difficult to navigate most times. Especially when random people smack me in the face with questions that are difficult to answer. I have to answer really vague or really real. For example, my water aerobics teacher and I had that same conversation above only this time I let her have it all. I told her my story as I dried my baby bump after class. She started to cry and gave me hug. I started to cry. I just can't do that every time. It takes a lot.
Anyways, I'm trying my best which is all anyone can ever do when faced with hard times. Those awkward conversations won't really ever go away. They are proof that Ryan is still in fact very much a part of our family. All we can do now is talk about Ryan and show his photos.
My doctor knows about Ryan and our story, but today I asked if I could show her some photos of Ryan. After listening to little sisters heartbeat we sat for a minute as I showed her a photo of Ryan at Disneyland. I told her about that day and how we bought parkas to keep us dry on his first Splash Mountain ride. I told her he hated it, but then wouldn't stop talking about "the scary ride that went down!" all day long. Afterwards I felt so good, so warm. I felt as if I had taken Ryan with me to my doctors appointment just like a mother who is pregnant for the second time would . . .