Little Eric William, who is moving around merrily as I write this, is about 31 weeks and 4 days old this morning! He is almost the length that he will be when he is born, and he weighs about 4 lbs. His organs and digestive tract are almost finished forming, and one of his biggest jobs from now until birth is to gain weight.
It's always strange to me that we start counting a child's age over again when he or she is born. Eric is alive right now, and he is 31 weeks and 4 days old. Maybe feeling this way is particular to being a mommy? I completely imagine my little person in my womb and have since he was conceived. I knew when he was conceived, and I actually could feel him implant (I didn't feel that sensation with Katie, but with Eric it was clear). His life started long before his birth... Having Katie showed me what a continuum the development of a child's life really is. There is no logical, sensible place at which we can say a baby is not alive---other than right before the beginning of his or her life, conception. And then it begins, that process of cell division and growth guided by our own particular combination of unique DNA: the same process that is part of human development until we die.
Eric loves to move and move. He is more of a mover than Katie was. Or maybe my muscles in there are more lax and I notice even more. Still, with Katie there would be stretches of time of her relative calm during which I would worry about how she was doing in there. Eric moves constantly---and I love it. I will never get tired of feeling a baby moving inside my womb. In fact, I am going to miss it profoundly once Eric is born. He loves to move early in the morning, and the start of those early morning movements are one of the several times I get up at night to use the restroom...but usually I can go back to sleep even while he is rocking and rolling.
I am continuing to feel great. My body loves to be pregnant, and I am thankful for that. Every once in awhile I have a bit of extra pressure on my pelvic region (I never felt that with Katie either), but it doesn't really hurt and I don't think of it as a complaint. In general, I think pregnancy is a time to love the changes in our bodies and to celebrate all of them. Everything we feel or every symptom we might have is part of our child's life, so let's not complain about it. We are blessed and fortunate to feel the way we feel---even moments when we feel bloated! I love how my body has changed in response to Eric being with me: each change is a reminder of the bond we will always share. It is the way I felt in natural labor with Katie: no matter the sensation, those sensations were reactions to her existence (two variables in dependence upon one another) and I didn't want to miss a single one.
Exercise feels great (I have been trying to walk or use the house bike). Walking is a little easier in many respects because I can elongate my torso. I went for a big walk yesterday morning to center my mind and breathe in the early air, and toward the middle I could definitely feel Braxton Hicks. I wasn't alarmed at all, since I know that I was being very active and also needed to use the restroom (two triggers of Braxton Hicks). In fact, I was overjoyed. Everyone talks about Braxton Hicks, and I never was aware of feeling them much with Katie. A few times I have suspected having them with Eric, but it is hard to know for sure. However, yesterday morning I definitely knew, and they feel great! I was hoping I would get to experience those with one of my pregnancies. I probably had them with Katie, too...but I think I have a high tolerance for contractions before they register much. I felt no discomfort with Katie's labor contractions and hardly noticed them until we were almost 5 or 6 cm dilated. The difference with a second pregnancy though is that all of my muscles have been more conditioned now, and I think I am more aware of how they are feeling this time around. I am really, really looking forward to labor on so many levels, not the least of which is curiosity about how it will feel and whether it will be similar to Katie's.
I love my little Eric so much!