As of this week, I am 26 weeks pregnant.
Twenty-six weeks pregnant feels pretty good, for the most part. I mean, sure, my pelvis is trying to live up to childhood fantasies of becoming a Transformer, which can be startling (and uncomfortable) at times when I try to stand up or swing one leg over the other in bed. Stairs are no fun at all, I occasionally get slammed with the need for a nap, and I have the sort of indigestion that makes you understand how people mistake it for heart attacks. But for the most part… this is pretty okay. 🙂
Of course, when you go around saying things like “26 weeks pregnant,” you immediately begin subtracting. Fourteen weeks. Fourteen weeks. Or, as one of my occasionally useful apps tells me, 96 days left as of today.
I’ve been doing a lot of looking at calendars, because as a secondary teacher I have specific units that I have to teach in a specific time frame, and because I’ll be giving birth before the end of the school year, I need to figure out what’ll be going on at the point when my maternity sub takes over. That means calendaring, which may not be an actual verb but gets bandied around a lot in education. Not only do I have to consider my absence, but I also have to deal with spring break… so I’ve been rearranging units, trying to get them fit in semi-neatly. Flipping through the print-outs of the calendar, with “14 weeks” and “96 days” floating around in my head, really cemented into my head that we are within three short months of the big day.
The baby can hear pretty clearly now, and apparently this is about the point at which his eyes will begin to open! I read one thing that said that he might react if I shone a bright light at my belly, not only because he can see but because his brain and thought processes are becoming more sophisticated. Our little guy isn’t quite so little anymore, although he’s quite a featherweight at about two pounds. From head to heel, if we could straighten him out, he’d be about ten to fourteen inches long — probably closer to fourteen, projected from his earlier measurements.
He’s certainly big and strong enough to make his presence very known. He definitely kicks and shoves, and gets hiccups (for only a few seconds, but I’m pretty sure they’re too fast to be anything else), and squirms, flips, and rearranges himself. I’ve started finding foreign lumps and bumps in my belly; last night, I rubbed one that I found about an inch above my belly button, and it pushed back against my fingers. I had Ryan try; the kiddo pushed back at him a few times, then “swam” down where we couldn’t reach him! (And lemme tell you, when I’m lying on my back and he decides to move like that, it is an intensely peculiar sensation!) He gets more mobile in the afternoons and evenings when I’m sitting still, although I’ll feel him at other times as well. Food seems to set him off, and when I sit cross-legged (my preferred position) I guess it cramps his space, because I feel him poking at the corner of my belly closest to the top hip.
At this stage in gestation, premature birth is survivable. You can read a lot of stories about this online if you’re interested in that sort of thing; here’s a photograph of a baby born at 26 weeks that shows how they’ve wrapped her in a sort of bag, I’m guessing to emulate the humidity of the womb or something. I’m linking to it so you can see how big 26 weeks is….
Some days I feel closer to a name for little Kermie Lazerbeak Batman (other than, y’know, that), and other days I feel just as lost as ever. In fairness to myself, I think we have it narrowed down to half a dozen choices. The problem is that none of them are sticking out to me with any blinding clarity, and if Ryan’s had a naming epiphany he hasn’t shared it. I did play around with simply putting potential names into writing last night, and… maybe… it… helped. A little. Maybe. Unfortunately, when I shared my doodles with Ryan, one of the names popped out favorably to him — and the moment he said it out loud, I hated it. Hormones? Insanity? A moment of clarity? I have no idea. But it’s frustrating. I feel like if I knew for sure what his name was, I’d feel more content.
Throughout this pregnancy, I have been able to say with absolute truthfulness that I’m not in any way scared of what is happening or what is to come. I’ve felt very at peace with the entire process — and why not? I’m old enough, more or less financially secure, well-educated on pregnancy and childbirth at this point, and, significantly, I want this so much.
And then, the last week hit. Out of nowhere: doubt, anxiety, regret. The What have we gotten ourselves into?!? and the I’m not sure I’m ready for this. Oh, and let’s not forget — rather, let’s not deny — the What if I never have a daughter?
It’s peculiar for me to be beset by irrational freakings-out like these. I haven’t really talked to anyone about it because, honestly, what’s to say? I know what it is, and I know everything will be fine, and I know that whatever hormonal or psychological speedbump this is will fade into the distance pretty quickly without any negative effects. After all, when I can turn down the volume on all that stuff enough to hear my real self talking, I know that I don’t doubt this at all, that there’s not even the tiniest scrap of regret. I know I’m as ready as I’ll ever be and probably have been for years. And I’m deeply in love with this squirmy little ninja who has already drawn tiger stripes up past my belly button.
Having written all this, I’m pretty sure I intended to include something else… but it eludes me, and my neck and shoulders are stiffening up, and Junior is kicking me, and I think I’d like to get home and into something more comfortable and then go to a dollar movie. If I remember what I meant to add, I’ll come back. 🙂