And now, at 32 weeks, we are firmly in the third trimester.
The first six months of this pregnancy feel like a complete blur to me, punctuated only by the constant, unending, miserable nausea. I am still ill on a regular basis, but 3-4 times a week is a world away from 10-15 times a day. I’m finally able to keep weight on, and my body seems to be trying to make up for the malnourishment of the last half year. If you cook it, I will eat it. I am always, always hungry, and even though there is not a lot of room for any of my internal organs in my abdomen, I can somehow put away an entire plate of food. And then another. And if you have dessert, I’ll take some of that too please.
We’re nowhere near ‘ready’ for a baby yet, since the majority of our newborn supplies are either packed away in the back of the garage, or loaned out to friends. With only five weeks before we are cleared for our homebirth, I have moments of panic that I need to have everything set up, but Tom is quick to remind me that A) our little village of friends would not let Polliwog go cold, B) other than boobs, blankets and diapers, everything else is extras, and C) it’s more likely that we will meet this baby in nine weeks, not five.
The girls are very aware of their little sister, singing to her, poking her little feet (knees? elbows? What is that lump?), and counting down the days until she is born. I told Ella months ago that “the baby will be born when the trees have new leaves”, counting on a typical northern winter, and the trees not coming out of hibernation until April. Instead, we’ve had one of the mildest winters on record, and the trees have started budding in February. Now we’re counting down until Easter, with the promise that baby will come after the Easter Bunny. Alice has no sense of time, and asks me to “Open! Baby out!” daily. They also have a “Hatch baby, hatch!” song, which is unsurprising considering how excited they are about the chicken plans.
(Edited to add: Today we spent time with Chelsea and her family, and Ella could not get enough of Quinn. After leaning over me holding him and declaring him “SO CUTE!”, she begged to hold him, and then sat with us on the couch for a half hour, just holding him while he slept, stroking his hair. It struck me how much different life will be this time. She has grown up so much in the last two years, which is both obvious and so surprising to me at the same time.)
Emotionally, I feel like this pregnancy is very similar to Alice’s. With Ella the reality that a baby was the end product of pregnancy was so surreal that daily (hourly?) I was caught off guard, and I would find myself giddily rubbing my belly, making promises. With Alice, and now with Polliwog, the element of surprise is gone, but there is a clear sense that this little soul is my child, and in some way always has been. I feel like welcoming her into our family will be a homecoming, not an introduction.