I woke up today in awe of the little person growing inside of me right now. I find myself having a mix of so many emotions. In some ways, Katie and I going to be bonded even more deeply than we already are, because we get to experience her big sisterhood together and, as I tell her constantly, she is my best little friend. I am also nostalgic for her babyhood and wish I could reexperience it with her. Yet I also want her exactly as she is now. Motherhood is often joy and nostalgia all at once.
The big difference with this pregnancy is that it is even more stunning a miracle to me. I knew that I loved Katie in the womb, and I knew I would love her when she was born---but absolutely nothing prepared me for how much I would actually love her, which is infinitely and beyond even infinitely. After experiencing the process of life developing once, I realize more precisely what is going on in my womb right now---how there is a little soul in there that I am in love with forever, that will learn to roll and walk and talk and have opinions. Katie is so much her own person that I realize how much of an individual this new baby already is, if that makes sense.
Katie takes on a new and deeper role in my life, too. I realize that she is the child who has taught me how to be a mother: I experienced it with her first, and that bond is like our secret special thing. I know that I will have a different secret special bond with her little brother or sister, but I am sure now that my love will not divide itself (as I once worried, being so in love with Katie) but will only multiply.
I want to involve Katie in every part of this journey we are on together. I have my first OB appointment scheduled, and I am excited to take her along. I want her to see the whole process and to own part of it with me and not feel left out. I also want to use it as a chance to normalize doctors and nurses and to show her what mommies do.
Of course I am worried about not getting as much time with her once our second baby is born, but I plan to have her help me with everything she is interested in helping me with. At some of our toddler classes, I have been watching how mothers with two seem to be focused on both at once. I definitely think I want one of those front harness carriers so I can hold the new baby on my chest while playing with Katie.
One thing I know for sure is that we get the children we are meant to have...and I can't wait to find out who this new little life is.
I have been tired lately and my emotional aspect is all out of order. Hormones. I have been adjusting my diet in an attempt to stabilize these hormones as quickly as possible. Berries, nuts, etc. I learned with Katie how to manage morning sickness, so I am also trying to be proactive on that front early on. I am also making it a point to exercise every day. I was too scared to jostle Katie around, because of the prior miscarriage...but with this pregnancy, I am having lots more faith and I also want to be in tip top condition to care for two children under 3 at once.
And also in best physical condition for labor...which I do want to do naturally again. It is more interesting, if that's the word, to approach labor now that I know for sure what is involved in a drug-free labor. Birthing Katie without drugs was the proudest moment in my life, and I hope to replicate it for our second baby. Still, knowing what is coming makes me a little less bold than I was before, in some ways. The other way to look at it is that, even knowing for sure now what is coming, I've already conquered it once. Why not again? I have such strong philosophical feelings about it, and they carried me through before---along with my natural stubborness to follow through on things once I commit to them. But I am a bit more humble as I approach labor this time; I have a bigger appreciation for the way I have been built to labor and the pain (woops, the Bradley method says never to use the word "pain" so I should say "discomfort") that goes with it. But one thing I know from Katie's labor is that I have been so glad so many times since her birth that I felt all of it, pain and all. I wanted to experience that moment fully with her and let the pain sear it forever on my heart, to make it big and unforgettable and branded---every sensation. So many times I have held Katie and been thankful for my memories of birthing her. I know to many it might sound nearly insane to want that pain, but I did---to make that moment larger than my own human life. And it was... It also turns out that, with Katie being early, some forms of drugs would have compromised her further, and it was in her best interest not to do it. When I think about it, once I move a little beyond the fear of the pain, I am actually very, very excited to be in labor again this summer. Crazy, I know, but it is truly a sublime moment. It is also possible that I am not recalling slightly how much pain there really was. :-)
Anyway, Katie and I played all this morning: we water-colored, and on her very own, she made a present for me, she said, and she wanted to put it under the tree. She is so so so so sweet. Last night she kissed my hand and said, "I always want my mommy." I never knew a sweeter heart than hers. She helped me make the glazed carrots, creamed corn, popovers, and creme brulee for our Christmas dinner. Mom is making prime rib, butternut squash and ham soup, green beans, and probably something else I am not recalling... YUM!
Tomorrow is a fun day of celebration and then Santa comes! Santa has to build a train set, which Santa is thinking might be a bit of a thing to tackle late at night---but oh, the things we do to make the magic, right parents? Katie helped me to lay out all of our fancy clothes for tomorrow's formal dinner---Christmas Day is a little more casual for us. We did all of our cooking and cleaning today so that tomorrow is dedicated solely to walking and playing and dressing up.
Such a beautiful time of year!