Every once in a while there’s a sudden realization that one day soon I’m going to have a tiny baby sleeping against my body in just a little while. Smell tiny baby milk-breath; its my favorite smell in the whole world. And newborn poops that smell like buttered popcorn. Cuddles and snuggles in my arms. I won’t feel her the same way I do now.
Family will have to defend her from her rambunctious toddler brother who happens to be going through a biting phase this week. He’ll bring her toys and drop things on her occasionally. George will learn how to love this baby gently and kindly. We’re practicing holding a baby and being gentle with his baby doll in the living room. George will never know his life without his sister, and I think that’s wonderful.
I think we’ll make infant-safe spaces and teach George that we have to be mindful and gentle in those areas. He is good at listening to directions, or at least, he knows what behaviors we want from him with certain verbal cues: “sit like a big boy” means to sit in the chair, not stand. “Listen to your toes” has him slow down and be careful of falling off of an edge. This toes cue has been great while he stands on the window seat, at the playground, on the stairs, running anywhere. We’re learning a new one to help him brush his teeth; we sing the alphabet and pause to brush each section of his mouth. Maybe the new baby sister cue will be “Let’s be mindful;” have him move slowly, observe the area, and use gentle hands. We could also have a “wild zone” or something where he can full send his toddler antics.
And girl clothes. I must have girl clothes. My goodness they’re frilly and pink and cute. I’m not afraid to clad her in pink, no matter how much a feminist I am. Pink is my favorite color. I bought a pack of reusable diapers that were “girl” colors for George to use, because I like the colors! From the same pack we learned that George’s favorite color appears to be purple. I’m also 100% putting her in George hand-me-downs. Many of his clothes were neutral and adorable and prints that appeal to me.
So baby bump is very healthy and active and big. She’s in the fifty-second percentile at two pounds. Normal healthy amniotic fluid, placenta is in a good spot, I’ve got nine weeks to grow her four pounds. I’m so proud of us.
At the same time that I have this low-grade baby fever, I feel pressure to savor the newborn phase because this will be our last baby. And that makes me feel … I don’t know. Honestly, I’ve been holding this post in my drafts because I cannot find the right adjective.
I won’t feel any babies the way I felt George and baby bump ever again after this. Nick and I only ever planned for two. But now it’s unlikely that I’ll be fertile after cancer treatment. Had I not been pregnant at diagnosis, we would have made some embryos to freeze for the future. I suppose this reality makes me wistful for another path; I’m sad that I gave up any ability to change my mind for more, and I’m somehow fatigued to remember that I chose this path. Its not regret. Its just experiencing the path that I was set on and chose to continue. I suppose I’m sad that I have to fight cancer right now, while I’m carrying my only daughter, my last child, and that I will have less bodily autonomy in the future. So what’s the word I’m looking for? Does one such word exist to explain that sentiment?
I’ll tell you what though: ice cream helps.
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