Measuring exactly to the day at twenty one weeks, our little love has ten fingers, toes, and all appropriate limbs, organs, chambers and veins are present and perfect. The placenta is out of the way, up and anterior, the heart was beating beautifully at 150 and the baby was lying sideways and low, moving like crazy; making it difficult to get a decent profile shot but impressing us with it's acrobatics nonetheless.
It's surreal to think that at today's sonogram, the technician could have easily told me the gender of my child; but I figure that after waiting almost four years for this miracle to unfold, what's a few more months? And though I fall heavily into the minority on this subject, I just feel that there is nothing more special than the old-fashioned surprise of a baby's gender being found the day it's born.
Besides, I'm hoping the added suspense and anticipation will help ease the pain of labor as I'm pushing my tiny human out of a very small place.
As the pregnancy progresses, the last of my fears are slowly dissolving. And after passing with flying colors on today's absolutely perfect anatomy scan, the only self inflicted milestone I have left to survive is viability in three short weeks.
And now that I'm feeling our little one move consistently throughout the day, even the need for my doppler is slowly diminishing. But I must admit, after seeing our sweet baby again on the ultrasound screen today, I'm this close to going all Tom Cruise and renting one of those bad boys for myself.
Could you imagine? Not only being able to hear your baby's heartbeat whenever you so desire, but to also be able to watch it kick, punch, wiggle and flip as you please?
That guy is definitely crazy, but he had it right when he purchased that ultrasound machine.
My weight gain is on track, my belly is trying desperately to resembling a round circle instead of a second pointy chest under my belly button, and I've finally purchased Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks in anticipation of the inevitable; although I'm severely disappointed in the fact that it doesn't actually smell like cocoa Butter.
That just makes no sense to me.
But I'm ready for Christmas, and I'm so ready to enjoy family, good food, and the blessing that is growing in my uterus; a tiny daily reminder of how good God truly is. And as the economy continues to weigh heavily on pocketbooks and hearts, this child is a clear picture of the true reason for the season.
I can't imagine giving my only child as a gift to a lost and dying world. But Christmas is a time to reflect on God's love for us and to be thankful for what He sent to us that day, Jesus as a tiny and helpless baby that would soon become a sacrifice for the worlds sin, the illustration of new life being birthed into this world and the joy that comes from giving rather than receiving.
And even though I feel immense love as I watch my child dance and squirm on that fuzzy black screen, amazed and in awe of this perfection that only God could create in me, I know it pales in comparison to the kind of love that God has for me, for all of us.
Last week, I had a rare moment of self pity, because I felt like a water buffalo. I was having an emotional breakdown because my belly is anything but cute and round like everyone else, my husband has been out of town for the majority of the last eight weeks for work, my dog sheds way too much and I'm holding down a second job in retail at minimum wage just to be able to afford a rocking chair for this child.
But almost as quickly as it came, this wave of grief was replaced with the realization that I asked God for this; in fact I've spent the last four years praying desperately for this.
Every day that I lived with infertility-especially when the possible failure of our fourth and final attempt at IVF was looming overhead-I felt this incredible loss. I mourned for the child that I would never have, for the many experiences that I would miss out on. I longed for the day to come when I could feel the life changes that a baby brings, adored the thought of gaining thirty plus pounds and desired the pangs of childbirth; all because they led to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
My very own biological child.
And now I'm feeling movement accompanied by blissful kicks and punches, and I'm watching my body change and my oddly shaped stomach bloom. I have a beautiful, hairy dog, a husband who does what it takes to support us, and the opportunity to make extra cash at a second job this season in the midst of an economy when so many other struggle to find even one.
And despite my worst fears, I'm gloriously pregnant while so many other amazing women are still struggling to be, feeling their own sense of loss and longing for the blessing of a child.
Water buffalo or not, I'm growing a tiny, anatomically perfect human in my uterus, and that really leaves no reason or excuse for complaints of any kind in my book, especially when I glance back at the rough terrain behind us.
I'm learning that having faced the challenge of infertility doesn't necessarily mean I'll never take a day of pregnancy for granted, no matter how hard I try. I'm still amazed that God chose to give me the gift of growing a child-though I'm clearly still not humble enough to have deserved it-so I just have to do my best to glorify Him every single day, praise Him for His continued Grace when I fail to do so, and trust in the obvious.
While He's forming my perfect, tiny human, He's also still growing me.
"Everything grows rounder and wider and weirder, and I sit here in the middle of it all and wonder who in the world you will turn out to be."