tomorrow you will be 28 weeks old. which means you will be born in approximately 12 weeks, or 84 days (!). at any moment your impending arrival either stretches out like an e t e r n i t y before us, or feels as if it’s all happening so fast which causes me to panic because we don’t yet have a carseat! and i still have parenting books i need to read! and we need a name other than ‘nori’! so between that pendulum of “we cannot wait to meet you” and “omigoodness are we actually ready for this?!” your papa and i swing. daily. hourly. moment by moment.
sometimes i’ll just be walking past our bedroom and catch a glimpse of your little egg-shaped crib and it will literally take.my.breath.away. i can’t believe that you will be here so soon, and i wonder how on earth we, your already proud parents, will actually function. because i have this feeling that all we will want to do is curl up next to you, admiring every aspect of you, from eyelashes to tiny fingertips, while we try to learn who you are. and you will be so small and so screamy and we will feel helpless one hundred times over as we wonder what we got ourselves into.
last night we went to our first parenting class but because we joined the classes late and are playing catch-up, we were thrown into the 8th class of the 10 week series which (unbeknownst to us) was all about breastfeeding. it was pretty amazing to walk in thinking we were going to start nice and slow and instead be presented with a small pillow in the shape of a breast complete with nipple detail. and let’s just say it was a very informative two and a half hours!
first of all, i had no idea that you would be born with a marble sized stomach. i guess i imagined that after 9 months of being fed via some tube connected to your belly, you’d be all excited for your first real meal, but according to the instructor of the class, you probably won’t be super hungry when you first arrive on the scene. in fact, your only real job on your first day is to poop. and for this reason i now feel this pressure for you to be the champion of pooping on your first day. like there is serious intention on my part to make sure this happens. we also learned about latching, and the benefits of breast milk (it can be kept on the counter for around 4 hours without being refrigerated because of the antibodies it naturally has. who knew?). and then the instructor demonstrated ‘nutritive’ sucking versus ‘pacifying’ sucking, and i’m just going to come out and say that even though i’m well past my teenage years, i had this ridiculous desire to uncontrollably laugh as i watched a grown woman pretend to suckle on a breast. no one else in the class was amused at all, in fact they were all listening intently and being extremely mature, and there i was trying not to make eye contact with your papa because i knew we would lose it. #weareembarrasing #getusedtoit
at least 7 times during the class your papa turned to me wide-eyed and mouthed the words: ‘we are having a baby!’. it was like it was just now sinking in for him, in this room filled with other soon-to-be-parents, with snacks of grapes and trail-mix on the table, and a well-intentioned woman holding a fake baby to a fake boob that we locked eyes and realized yes, this, is happening.
oh and i should mention that because my emotions are all askew i nearly started to cry in the middle of class. why? because i started thinking about of all the mothers out there who don’t have supportive partners with them during this time. i imagined coming to this class alone, having no one to giggle with while the instructor demonstrated breasts shooting out jets of milk and i felt so forlorn for those who have to do all this alone. [sidenote : this also reminds me that i want to thank the amazing people who read my blog and send me words of encouragement and support. all the advice i’ve received has been offered with such humility and i’ve really appreciated it all. dev and i have been researching birthing options and having you guys share your experiences with me has meant a lot. so thank you!]
anyway, sweet nori, as you will note in the picture below you are now very prominent and i am getting used to your ‘bump’ belonging to the collective. you are constantly getting admired and rubbed by friends and strangers alike. as soon as someone asks about you your papa pulls out his phone to show off your latest ultrasound photo. the adorable thing is that this photo is a bit like those ‘magic eye’ pictures, where you can’t immediately ‘see’ the image. so often people will respond with an uncertain ‘aha..’ which i know means they have NO idea what they are looking at. and then your papa will point out your little hands, and your feet, and your adorable face. and when the poor person is finally coerced into seeing you it’s pretty exciting because they act like they’ve unlocked some code and are now part of the club “OH WOW there is HIS FACE! and his HANDS! and HE IS SMILING!” and at this point i’m usually trying to keep my shirt down while your papa is trying to lift it up so they can have even closer contact with you.
i’ve been told that the love a parent feels for their child is unlike any other kind of love we can experience on this planet, and i’ve certainly experienced an abundance of love in my life. i love my family and your papa’s amazing family too. i love my incredible friends. and on another level i love landscapes. and melodies. and rainfall. and excellent creme brulee. i love subtle moments when eyes meet in a shared wordless understanding. and i love wide open skies. i love creativity. and imagination. and dusk. and new zealand’s cold rivers. i love laughter and hot steaming showers and luxurious hotel suites. i love giant cuddly dogs, and trees with swings, and artists and adventurers. i especially love people’s stories. and i love my heroes – some of whom, i may not get to meet. but even as you, little nori, flail about in your womb world, i feel this overwhelming sense of love for you that springs from my deepest core and this love is so sweet and so honest, so pure and void of ego, that it colors everything i do, see, feel, and experience. you’ve basically opened up to me a channel of selfless love that is so precious and entirely intoxicating, and for that, my little one, i will always be grateful to you.
when dev and i first found out that i was pregnant we decided that while i was in the somewhat fragile early stages, we’d keep the news pretty quiet. which was incredibly hard for both of us to do. one day dev suggested i start writing letters to ‘nori’ (his codename for our baby) so that i could at least have some kind of outlet for my hard-to-contain-excitement. part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4.