I remember after my pregnancy with Monkey, one of the most remarkable realizations I had was that the nameless, faceless baby I had spent so many hours thinking and dreaming about during my pregnancy, was Monkey. After Monkey was born and I knew what she looked like and knew her personality, it was so … funny and amazing to remember all of the things I thought about while pregnant — all the quirky pregnancy things, all the uncomfortable body changes, all the irrational fears — and then realize that it was her. Monkey was the baby inside of me who made my body feel like a pinball machine, with her fast, jabbing, almost non-stop, movements. Monkey was the baby who would move around for me every morning at 6 a.m. when I would wake up. I would lie in bed with my hands on my stomach and it was Monkey I would talk to before getting out of bed.
That feeling of recognition was no less poignant with Bean.
When I took the pregnancy test two days before I was even expecting my period and the line was so very, very faintly positive, it was you, Bean.
While I was drawing with sidewalk chalk in the driveway with your sister, and anxiously awaiting the call from the doctor about the results of my hCG level, it was you. The level more than doubled in 48 hours and I was SO relieved. Before the call I remember writing “We want good news!” really big with the chalk, and after the call, writing, “I’m pregnant!” really small. It was the first time I felt like the pregnancy was real and not just my imagination.
When I was lying on the table at my six-week appointment, waiting for the “moment of truth,” feeling so nervous that I thought I might throw up, praying fervently, and being so afraid that we were going to get bad news, we saw the heartbeat for the first time. And it was you.
When I was 11 weeks pregnant and rented a Doppler and had it shipped overnight priority with Saturday delivery and I listened to the heartbeat for the first time for so long that my hand fell asleep, it was you. I felt so in awe that there was a living, breathing person inside of me, a person with a heartbeat that I could hear, yet no one could even tell I was pregnant.
It was you, at 13 weeks, when the doctor identified a sub chorionic hematoma — a “moderate” 3 cm tear in the placenta. While the doctor said the “vast majority” of them heal on their own, we were terrified and heartbroken over the prospect of losing you, and we didn’t even know you yet. Despite the tear, you were perfectly fine and had no idea what was going on.
At 19 weeks, the hematoma was slightly smaller and the perinatologist believed the tear would continue to reabsorb and wouldn’t be a threat to the pregnancy. We felt so relieved. You proved to be even more of a challenge to take pictures of than your sister was at this stage, and I didn’t think that was possible. And we found out you were a girl, just like my intuition told me you would be.
Often at night in my dreams, it was you I would feel moving.
When we saw you again at 26 weeks, there was no longer any evidence of a tear in my placenta. This was an answer to our prayers. The doctor estimated that you already weighed 2 pounds 8 ounces! They took 3-D pictures, and remarkably, they look like you.
When I felt like there was an alien inside of me doing a Tae Bo workout, hitting and kicking me from every direction, HARD, it was you. I thought I had experienced maximum movement with your sister’s pinball antics, but nothing compared to your movement. I think it was because you were so big.
When I was sitting at my desk eating lunch and you kicked my plate from inside of me, it was you.
When I would be lying awake in bed at night, not being able to shut my mind off, thinking about you and how blessed I was to have made it into the third trimester … it was you.
During my last weeks of pregnancy, when I expected to see an arm or leg poke out of my stomach, and there were hours of non-stop hiccupping, it was you.
The painful Braxton Hicks contractions I had during the last four weeks, the ones that got me to 5 cms dilated without putting me into labor, were caused by you.
When the doctor lifted you out and put you on my stomach, it was you. I can still close my eyes and picture you, lying on your side, hands clasped, eyes wide, absolutely HUGE, and then you were crying. For some reason, it was so much more emotional for me than it was with your sister. I didn’t cry with Monkey, I was just happy. But with you, I was happy, and relieved, and crying. So happy that we made it. I saw dark hair that you can tell will be curly, big blue eyes and long eyelashes like your daddy and sister, a nose and ears like me. And it was you.