Well, here we are at 28 weeks! Time is flying by. In some ways I feel like I only found out I was pregnant yesterday (usually when I think about how long I have before the baby is here), but sometimes it feels like I’ve been pregnant forever (pondering sushi, beer, etc). It seems like I am exponentially more pregnant every day, as the little things get harder and harder to do. The upside is that I can feel the baby more and more. I can tell the difference between when she’s stretching and when she’s just kicking and when she’s rolling over. I can even feel this tickly little feeling that I swear is her moving her fingers around, as if her hand is stuck between her head and my uterine wall, and she’s clenching and unclenching her hand.

Whenever I feel her move, it brings me so much joy and comfort. Thankfully I’ve remained on a pretty even emotional keel throughout this pregnancy, but even during one of my rare crying jags, feeling her move has calmed me down and made me feel like I could do it. It’s hard to comprehend how much I already love this little person I’ve never met. I always knew that parenthood changes people, but it happens so fast! I’m already changing so much. F. isn’t changing as much as I am. In part I’m sure it’s hormonal, but in part I also think it’s that I’m constantly reminded that I’m pregnant and that she’s here, whereas his day-to-day is basically unchanged. He can go to work and sit down in his usual chair and get in to his usual routine. He comes home and does much the same, except that night I snore now, and sometimes he has to ask me to roll over. On the other hand, my entire routine is disrupted with making sure I get enough water, taking bathroom trips. There’s heartburn and nausea and all the less pleasant side effects of pregnancy. But mostly, there’s the life moving inside of me. She wakes me up at night sometimes. She distracts me during meetings. She wakes up and starts moving when I eat a meal, takes advantage of when I’m sitting down to stretch (not as much as usual in the last few¬†weeks!), squirms when I try to lean over too much and squish my belly. How can I not change when this is happening?

I was so relieved when I hit the point in the pregnancy at which she would have a chance to survive outside the womb. Not a great one, but a chance. I’d been so afraid for her, for her safety. I was afraid something would happen and I’d lose her and there’d be nothing even modern medicine could do. And then I realized that this is part of parenthood. I’m not afraid of that particular thing going wrong anymore, but I’m still just… worried about her and her well-being. I want to protect her from getting hurt. This fear is different from how I feel about my pets. I love them dearly and I want to protect them too, and we spend lots of money on vets and medications and whatnot. But in some ways, they’re grown beings, with lifespans I’ve always known are shorter than mine. This fear, that something I won’t be able to fix for her, is something else. Something new and enormous. And part of being a parent. It will never go away. It will ebb and flow, and sometimes I’ll have to just hold her while she hurts because there’s nothing else I can do. (Sorry Mom and Dad for being such a klutzy and injury-prone kid. I had no idea.)

This enormous new kind of love is huge, and I’ll already never be the same again.