So it has almost been 27 weeks since Chelsea has been pregnant and been 23 weeks since she found out. It’s been a curious journey of ups-and-downs, sideways, and elation. When she first told me I knew it was true, but there was a strange disconnection. We had tried for so many months previous that the fact that it actually happened was difficult to wrap my head around. Chelsea wasn’t showing…it could almost be as if the baby wasn’t there.
The turning point, though, was the heartbeat. I had been to the previous prenatal appointment, I smiled and listened attentively taking on the mantra, “You’re just having a baby. You’re just having a baby.” What baby? But it was that second appointment that threw my world for a loop. The midwife took the Doppler and searched around Chelsea’s abdomen, there was the strong whoosh, whoosh of Chelsea’s heart and then, finally, the swiftly beating heart of another being. They beat in counter syncopation: Chelsea’s steady and strong whoosh, whoosh while Bibb’s heart beat in a rapid whish, whish, whish, whish. For every beat of Chelsea’s heart the baby’s beat twice. It was stunning. My jaw dropped, my heart exploded with pure joy: there’s someone in there! Then, of course, all my insecurities and inadequacies came to the forefront of my mind, but they were beat back with words of encouragement from Chels. Moreover, the utterance of the mantra “You’re just having a baby. You’re just having a baby…” took on new meaning. I mean, we are having a baby!
We kept it secret for two more weeks, and then came out to our friends. (Who, most, of course, knew it was happening already. We are not the most furtive of people!).
This is where Chelsea’s story diverges from mine. Bibbs continued to grow and after a few weeks Chelsea began to feel Bibbs moving around. She’d break out in short outburst of “Whoo! Whoa, baby!” and I would curiously look at her and ask “Is everything alright?” She would respond, “Yes, Baby is just moving around a bit.” At this statement I would eagerly place my hand on her stomach and, in vain, feel for the baby, but to no avail. For Chelsea the baby has been real for a long time. She came to that understanding much quicker than me. She began to feel the baby move on a daily basis and it just kept getting bigger and bigger. For me, though I knew the baby was there, the physical contact was lacking. I could not feel Bibbs as Chelsea felt Bibbs. All I had was the existential awareness that Chelsea was growing before my eyes and every week looking more and more pregnant.
Another turning point: feeling the baby move. As Bibbs continued to grow, I would constantly attempt to feel for Bibbs. One particular night, we were lying on our couch, doing our routine of watching a few of our shows before we went to bed when Chelsea said, “Bibbs is active tonight, come feel right here.” She guided my hand to spot right above the waistline of her standard yoga pants. I felt. I concentrated. “Is that it?” I felt a small pulse. “No,” she replied, “I think that’s my heart.” But I was patient and kept my hand there. Something very light pressed against my hand. A tingle journeyed from my palm and exploded throughout my body. Euphoria. I couldn’t help but smile. It was such outlandish feeling, this pressure from Chelsea’s belly to my palm, but it gave me such a euphoric sensation. That’s my baby!
I wasn’t able to feel Bibbs as much as Chelsea could after this point, but as the weeks progressed I felt Bibbs more and more. I was constantly reading to Bibbs and Chelsea before we went to sleep, and lying next to her, I had one hand on my Ipad (where the book was) and one hand on her belly. As I began to read aloud, Bibbs would move and I would feel the kicks or punches or whatever part of the baby was pressing against her at that instance. Also, I would come home from work and as I was telling my tale, the baby would be active as if welcoming me home or as if baby was excited to hear my voice. At this moment in time the baby can hear both of us talk. It’s a profound realization.
I can feel Bibbs every day now. I can place my hand on Chelsea’s belly and feel the outline of certain parts of Bibbs (what part? I have no idea!). In the morning, as I am about to get out of bed and ready for work, I can place my hand over Chelsea’s stomach, and while she is asleep, feel the baby move, as if Bibbs is saying good morning just to me. Every time I experience even an inkling of that movement it reminds me of the amazingness that is to come. It not only fills me with this sense of bliss but it also fills me with the awareness of our responsibility.
And even though there is still a physical barrier between us, the emotional bonds have already been formed and solidified. I can’t wait to meet this little person some 12 or 13 weeks hence!