Daring to Love Again 

23 weeks + 3 days pregnant 

Lately I find myself waking in the middle of the night. The first thought I have is the baby- is he moving? Is he still ok? Often I’ll lie awake and wait for a kick or a prod, anything to tell me he is ok, to tell me I can relax again for now. I often feel exhausted by mid morning at work from hours laid awake, checking. But I don’t care. Feeling him move is blissfully reassuring, I could probably lay awake the whole night just to experience the beauty of of that feeling one more time. I often lie there smiling, “Thankyou baby, thank you for telling me you’re ok.”

On Saturday I woke up and waited for movements but they took an age to come. I grew fearful and fretted to Matthew that I hadn’t yet felt him move, when normally he was so active at that time. “Only you know what’s normal” he said and I was struck by the enormous amount of responsibility I felt. I am my baby’s only connection to the outside world. It is only I who can make the call on whether everything seems ok. I wish someone else could carry that burden with me, a second opinion might help to keep me sane. After losing Nieve I also don’t fully trust myself anymore. Sometimes I feel Sprocket move but then I doubt it. If only someone else could do it all for me.

Even in sleep I am restless and bare the burden of the responsibility I feel. I dream constantly of the pregnancy. I often dream of ‘doing things wrong’; forgetting I’m pregnant and riding on roller coasters or drinking alcohol then feeling terror and guilt. Sometimes I dream of problems occurring in the pregnancy; bleeding or going into premature labour. It’s interesting that I always dream of being ‘pregnant’, never of the stage after when the baby is here.  I guess that’s quite true to real life where my focus is only on the now and I haven’t allowed myself to think too far ahead as it feels like the ‘moment’ is the only place that holds any guarantees. 

Matthew felt him kick for the first time the other day. I always wondered whether these moments would feel as special as last time, since we are much more tentative about this pregnancy, but it was an amazing experience and I’m so glad we were able to enjoy it. 

Before I got pregnant I told myself that I wouldn’t get attached to another baby in order to protect myself. I told myself that in the early weeks I would try to see it as a group of cells rather than a baby and therefore detach myself from any ensuing heartache if we lost another. The reality was… is, very different. 

From the moment I received the positive pregnancy test result, I was filled with such hope and love for this new baby. I couldn’t switch off any of those feelings in order to ‘protect myself’ and now I wouldn’t want to because I recognise that to do so wouldn’t really protect me from any heartache should we lose another baby. It would only steal the joy from the now. 

Feeling Sprocket kick has helped to strengthen my connection with him. Being a second time mother, I now connect those movements with a baby rather than isolated ‘sensations’ as I initially did with Nieve. 

I’ve bought a click counter which I use to monitor Sprocket’s kicks by clicking every time I feel a movement. This is especially useful when I’m in the classroom and barely have a moment to myself. The day used to fly by and I’d question if he’d moved enough that day, as I was unable to remember and paranoia would creep in. Now the day flies by in the same way but I have the reassurance of looking down and having a record of how many movements he’s made. It’s just another little thing that aids my sanity. 

This coming week feels like an important one. We are just four days away from the ‘viability’ milestone of 24 weeks and this feels like a huge achievement. I also have a very important scan next week which will assess the blood flow through my placenta to the baby and I’m slightly terrified in case something is found to be wrong at this stage. However, I’m encouraged by my ever growing bump and the strength of baby’s movements which are getting stronger and more frequent every day. 

I find that I can often prod my abdomen now and feel him respond. It’s magical. A beautiful first communication with my son. I used to do the same thing with Nieve.

I miss her everyday. I think I always will. But my love for this baby will not be bittersweet despite the fact that my pregnancy often is. This baby shall know real love, not second-hand love that was meant for another. I love both my babies equally. The heart is spacious like that. 

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