05 October 2011

The Belly Report :: 26 Weeks Pregnant

Has it really been a week already since I last updated you? Geesh, time flies when you're assiduously gestating (except those last couple of weeks -- or when someone's feet are stuck up in your ribs -- right?)!

As you can see, Austen and I are continuing to bloom and grow! One of us -- and I won't tell you who -- really likes to practice kicking whenever she can and for as long as she can, even when it's nearly 1 am and the other one of us is exhausted and trying to sleep. All I can say is, thank God I am alive and pregnant in a time where there are such things as heating pads, back stretchers, and chiropractors! That belly of mine does some good tugging on the spine and hips, and with this short waist of mine, the ribs are starting to get a bit sore.

26 weeks pregnant

BabyCenter tells me that Austen is about 14.5 inches long from head to foot (visualize a long English cucumber, only not so slender and green) and weighs close to two pounds. I am starting to feel like a planet as we close in on the third trimester (what?!!?), and this little girl doesn't even weigh two pounds yet. Crazy!

I hardly need to tell you that this week has been an intensely emotional one as we observed the one year mark since Ewan died. In the past year, none of the anniversaries or milestones we've marked have knocked me off my feet so completely like this one did. Even as I saw the date approaching, I really didn't expect to find my feelings tied so closely to the date. Experiencing the intensity of emotion I did on Monday was a surprise, and writing yesterday's post was not something I anticipated. But in grief, I've learned to expect the unexpected and as one Team Ewan community member noted on Facebook recently -- when it comes to grief, "there are no rules."

It has really stretched me this week to grieve my son on the anniversary of his death and to feel such joy and levity when Austen kicks like a soccer star in training. I thought again about what it means to love them both, to try and let my heart stretch that far: between the streams of grief and bliss that run concurrently -- in fact, between the child buried in Seattle and the one alive and growing in my belly. I laughed at her antics even with tears running down my face as I remembered the details of our last night with Ewan. My heart was experiencing two wildly divergent emotions at once. The pull from both is so very strong and sometimes, I feel more likely to break in half than stretch that wide.

I did the only thing I could think of when I was experiencing this the other day -- I started to talk to Austen about him. I started to rub my belly and speak sweetly to Austen about her older brother. Listen Austen, I said. I want to tell you about your big brother. He is really quite amazing ... someone incredibly special. He was so very brave and he fought so hard to stay with us. I can't wait for you to get to know him. I told her how much I missed him, and how much I couldn't wait to meet her, hold her, and play with her. I told her about how Ewan helped me to love her better. Talking to her about him seemed like the only sane way to hold both -- to be honest in my feelings about what I was experiencing in remembering Ewan, and in the excitement I have for the daughter I have yet to meet.

And I just have to say to the other mothers I know who have lost a son or daughter and dared to risk and love again by welcoming another child into your family, I honor you. Really. Truly. You have the most beautiful hearts and I can't even begin to convey how much respect I have for you.

To wrap this up, I wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone for all the love and support demonstrated on what ended up being an emotionally bumpy couple of days. Honestly, I wasn't expecting the intensity of emotion that I experienced when October 3 and 4 rolled around. But true to form, you never fail to amaze me with your support and understanding.

And this little one? Let's just say that this mama will be amazed if she manages to make it through this pregnancy without bruised ribs (what goes around comes around, right Mom?). Gosh, I love her!! :o)

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Stay tuned for a special announcement in the next couple of days for something I have planned for observing Pregnancy and Infant Lost Awareness month.