i'm going to do for you exactly what my delightful ob/gyn does for me: tell you immediately before any details that
IT'S ALL GOOD! or in her words, "WE ARE A+ PERFECT."
okay, now i'll let you all start breathing again. (i can also hear your cheers, which kind of makes me want to cry, and not just because of hormone mood swings.)
given how every appointment, except the very first innocent one almost 3 years ago, is an exercise in Will I See My Tummymuffin or Will I See Doom?, i appreciate her approach. she wastes no time -- pops in the ultrasound wand and immediately declares that all is well, and only after that proceeds to tell me what the smudge means, find the heartbeat, measure the baby, etc.
it was an effort this time, knowing that this was The Week of Doom, to not expect the worst. all of your encouragements and faith-that-i-can't-feel-myself helped me to stay in Possibility Cautious Optimism Mode. which was new. however, i can't lie; when i saw a very large, baby-looking image on that monitor, i had a split second thought: but this can't be my baby. my babies disappear around now. and then i heard my doctor saying: "you've never seen one this big yet, have you?" and reality came back and the overwhelming thought then became: this is happening. this is really happening now. this is what's true.
honestly, before seeing those kicking legs and wiggling arms i could get about as far as thinking about how awesome it would be to write a Week Ten post that was all good news. and now? i can get as far as thinking for more than a few seconds how awesome it would be to actually have a healthy, full-term child without my brain exploding. this is a huge improvement.
the way i see it, perhaps for the people who are blessed with easy conception, pregnancy, and birth, the process of having a baby is like crossing a calm lake on a comfortable ferry: you decide you want to take the trip, so you get on the boat whenever you want to, sail placidly across, and get off on the other side. for me -- and probably for others who struggle with infertility and pregnancy loss -- it's more like commandeering a tiny rowboat in open warfare to cross a wildly heaving lake of blood and fire. sometimes you never even get past finding a damn boat; other times you make it a few meters in when your oars get shot out or the boat capsizes or gets blown up. or maybe you get halfway across when you find out your boat has a slow leak or you almost dock and the land cannons get you.
some of you may be nodding; some of you may be vaguely horrified by my violent imagery, but this is the best way i have of explaining to myself (or others) why i don't know if i can ever fully act like i'm on the comfy ferry. i've wondered many times if or when i'll shift over into believing full-time that i will meet this child, and that he or she will be healthy and well. i know that this is somewhat useless speculation; what matters is my choicefulness on a daily basis in how i'm going to live.
so today i actually went down to the garage and pulled out all the maternity stuff...again. i hauled out all the books that i'd hidden carefully behind the travel guides, and even considered starting the pregnancy journal again, now that i'm into the blank pages of Week 10 and beyond. i even loaded up two pregnancy podcasts and added a pregnancy tracker widget to my iGoogle page.
all that deliberate hopefulness was a bit exhausting, but it felt good. really good.