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Friday, April 27, 2007

Dancing with the Baby

I'm 16 weeks along. We went to the doctor's today and spent a good long time with the ultrasound practitioner. She did three different types of ultrasounds on me. I am now INTIMATELY aquainted with that machine. You pregnant women know what I mean!

Here's a picture of the baby. See its little profile on the left?

On the 3D ultrasound, I was able to see it's face - eyebrow bone, nose, chin. Sometimes, I have these abstract moments when I start to think about this baby as an actual little being inside of me. I mean, it's starting to grow hair and toe nails this week! In four more months things will be even wierder. It will be an actual full grown baby, just like the little babies you hold in your arms. Only it will still be inside my uterus. Does this strike anyone else as really strange?

During all the ultrasounds the baby wouldn't stop wiggling. It kicked, touched its face, turned, rolled, jerked. The practitioner had a hard time keeping it on the screen. "It keeps moving," she chuckled.

According to my Pregnancy Bible, the baby can sense sound now. I imagine all the jigging I saw on the ultrasound today was actually dancing. I have been playing my new favorite band, Phoenix, for it.

I am certainly taking it easy, since I'm still on limited bedrest, but I have to admit - every now and then I turn up the music and I dance with my little fetus.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Rain, Baby Ramblings

It is a rainy day here in El Segundo. Beautiful. I watched a bird dart through the rain and then take refuge beneath a thick green bush outside our window. I started wondering just how dry it was under those branches. Do the leaves and the bark really keep the wet out? Certainly not the cold, but I couldn't help but think how cozy it would be perched in there surrounded by leaves and rain.

For the time being this apartment is my thick green shelter. I will be perched in here for the next six months and I am slowly starting to unravel into a bedrest routine. It is different everyday. Where as my goals for each day used to consist of grading papers, planning lessons, contacting students, cleaning, cooking, now that list has been whittle down to these two things:

1) Grow a baby
2) Write

I have to fight the urge to feel guilty about my time spent on the couch. This morning, I sat for forty-five minutes just staring out the window, getting absolutely nothing done - except of course, for growing a baby.

When complaining to my friend Erika yesterday that I felt guilty about watching movies in the afternoon, or reading books, she told me, "Christin, you should feel guilty if you're not laying around."

In addition to my plans for writing, I've also decided to take up knitting. This will give me good time to think about the baby, imagine it in my life, here, healthy, active. I'm wary of the "positive thinking" cults that have sprung up around LA, but I can't help wondering if worrying about the baby could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Yikes! Don't want to start with all that hocus pocus, but I figure that spending time imagining our healthy baby will at least keep me from worrying.

Wednesday night five women from our Bible Study came over and prayed specifically for me and Dwayne and the Taylor Tot. There's something so reassuring about intercession. Knowing that others are praying for you gives you the strength to hope. I am so grateful to my friends, and to all of you who continue to pray for us!

Next friday we go back to the doctor. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

In Love

(painting by Gustav Klimt)

As I grow older, I'm learning that there are many ways to fall in love. And many ways to end up there without realizing it. 10 weeks ago, I found out I was pregnant, and before I realized it, I was in love. The object of my affection didn't have a name. Didn't have any limbs. Barely had a brain. But it had a heart. A little beat flickering across a static screen.

I didn't realize I loved it, and this is the strangest thing about falling. Sometimes, you never feel the descent. Not until something grabs you on the way.

Four weeks ago, I started bleeding, and it wouldn't stop. I sat in the obstetrician's office turning my face away from the people around me. Turning my eyes toward my purse, pretending like I was rummaging for a cell-phone, a granola bar, when really I was rummaging for my heart.

In the doctor's room, while I waited as nurses came and went, I dissolved into a puddle of tears on the ultrasound table. This is the love you feel from fear.

Then there is the love you feel from relief. The tears that slide down your cheek as you watch your little baby wiggle on the ultrasound, waving it's head and arms at you from the screen. "Spare your tears, Christin," said the doctor. "Your baby's fine, but I want you to stay home for two weeks."

So I stayed home for two weeks. I laid in bed thinking to myself, "All I have to do today is grow a baby." I didn't go to work. I stayed home and watched cheesy movies. Soon the bleeding stopped, I entered my second trimester and the world seemed right again. "I'm doing great!" I thought. "At last everything is okay."

There is another kind of love on our descent. This love is borne on the wings of imagination, and while you are still falling you at least feel the exhilaration of wind whipping through your hair. I began to imagine what was growing inside me. I imagined a little face with eyes that light up when it sees a sparkly necklace. I imagined the music of a new name echoing through the apartment.

I had two weeks of this kind of love. And then the bleeding began again. I am still pregnant, but now I'm on bedrest until several weeks after delivery.

Why do we call it falling? Why isn't it rising in love? Expanding in love? Growing in love?

It's falling, because there is a place along the way where your heart looses it's gravity. That frightening, free-floating second when you wonder if you'll ever feel safe again.

Yes, love is a descent. The world rushes up while we go down -- down into a wonderous oblivion of hope.