Every time I have an ultrasound, it changes in some subtle yet significant way my feelings towards the baby. For example - after the miscarriage last spring Chris bought me a butterfly necklace from this site. It really helped me heal, but I became pretty obsessive about wearing it. Especially after I got pregnant again, I was irrationally convinced that if I took the necklace off it would somehow indicate my failure to be truly grateful for the current pregnancy, and would cause me to lose that one too. I spoke with a friend in early December about my concerns, wondering when I would feel okay about not wearing the necklace anymore. She assured me the time would come, and not to feel strange about it in the meantime. The time did come, just a few weeks later when we had the first ultrasound and heard the words "No Fetal Abnormalities". It suddenly felt okay to let go of what had happened before; not to forget, but to move on, to feel safe in the knowledge that there was no reason to believe it would happen again.
This second ultrasound also caused changes, but I don't know if I can adequately express them. All of a sudden my baby has a face, a personality - she is a real person to me now, and I am struck by the overwhelming love and responsibility I feel for her. Her little face is so trusting, so peaceful. The need to honour that trust, to protect her and teach her and give her the best life possible, is so intense. And she's not even here yet.
Chris and I talk about the baby every night now. We reminisce about how short a time it was since he could barely feel her kicks and swooshes - he is now amazed at the strength and force with which she moves and stretches! We ponder the fact that she is already so big and strong, and yet she is only a third of the size she will be at birth. We wonder about my ability to withstand the kicks and jabs as she continues to grow bigger and stronger.
We talk about parenting, too, and our hopes and goals for our daughter. We wonder who she will look like, whose nose she has, whose temperament she'll inherit. We talk about all the values we want to teach her: empathy, honesty, humour, kindness, a sense of adventure. We talk about the skills we hope she'll be interested in learning: reading, martial arts, music, creativity. And while we talk, she kicks and rolls in my belly, responding to our voices, doing her best to communicate with us.
They say that within a few weeks or months of baby's arrival, new parents become blissfully unable to remember what life was like "before". I can really understand that. Already, it seems like she is such a part of us, such an important part of our lives and of who we are as people. It feels like everything up to now has just been biding time, and real life is about to begin.