Saturday, February 14, 2015

Birth Story of Victoria Rose, Born at 7:56 PM, December 18, 2014



On Wednesday, December 17th our baby was already 12 days “late” from the expected due date of December 5, 2014. I had been getting advice from everyone for the past week or so on common tricks, urban myths and old wives tales for ways to bring on labor. Trust me, after being pregnant for over 10 months, I was more than willing to try all the things, no matter how outlandish. So I ate pineapple, took evening primrose oil, drank red raspberry leaf tea, ate spicy food, walked and walked and walked, bounced on an exercise ball, got acupuncture, got a prenatal massage, got a chiropractic adjustment, got frisky, did acupressure, got a pedicure, tried to meditate and visualize baby coming, sat out under the full moon. Then finally, I got fed up and stopped doing all the things. I was just so over it. So I went about my life, enjoying the fact that both my doting husband and dedicated mother had taken weeks off work to be home with me and the baby. Well, since we had no baby yet we all just acted like it was a vacation. And it was. We went out to movies, I took long, lazy naps, I got coffee with friends and baked Christmas cookies with family. It was actually pretty wonderful.

Thinking back, I realize now that Tori was trying to teach, or perhaps, reteach me an important lesson: Then, and forever more in my life as a parent, I must surrender control. When Tim and I were trying to get pregnant we were given the opportunity to learn this lesson and had our first taste of feeling frustrated and powerless in this process and I think that by being late, Tori was coming in as the clean-up hitter (to use Sampa’s baseball metaphor) to bring this lesson home. She was reminding us that there will be so many aspects of childrearing, including birth and labor, that require us to let go, realize that we are powerless and have faith that all will be well in its own time.

Anyway, on Wednesday afternoon when Rebekah, our midwife, came to visit she and I agreed that it was time to take more aggressive steps to get this baby born! Although I had finally accepted that it was out of my control, Rebekah had a few tried and true midwifery tools that she knew would speed up a labor that was already in motion. We wanted to jump start my labor since I had been having contractions for weeks, but not ones that were steady, rhythmic or increasing in intensity or frequency. She and I were both well aware that risk factors increase after 42 weeks so we were eager to get things moving.  The good thing was I never felt like I was under the pressure of a ticking clock to have my baby before 42 weeks or else go to the hospital and be induced medically, because Rebekah partners with an OB/GYN who attends homebirths after 42 weeks and would have attended mine, with Rebekah alongside her, if there were no other risk factors present. Regardless, we still thought it would be good to encourage this stubborn little baby to come out and greet the world sooner rather than later. So, Rebekah checked me to see how far along I was. This was the first time I had checked for dilation and effacement in my pregnancy. Up until this point I had not felt it was necessary to introduce the possibility of infection by getting a vaginal exam just to know numbers. Even knowing specifics about dilatation and effacement still wouldn’t tell me when I was going to meet my baby, as people can be very dilated for weeks without going into labor (someone really should invent in-utero e-mail so babies can let you know their birthdays in advance!).

When Rebekah checked me, I was excited to find out that I was already over 3 cm dilated and 90% effaced. This was pretty amazing considering I hadn’t been having steady contractions prior to this point. This let Rebekah know that my body was getting ready to go into labor but just needed a little push in the right direction. So she said she wanted to do a membrane sweep. I was ready to do whatever it took to meet my baby ASAP so I said yes. After the membrane sweep, I started feeling regular contractions all evening. I played a game of Settlers of Catan with Tim and mom and Stephan (and won!) while feeling waves of contractions that made me catch my breath. That night, I knew I would need energy for labor so I took a benedryl and drank a glass of wine to help me sleep through the contractions. From the way I was feeling, I expected that that night I would be having my baby.


I woke up in the morning, still pregnant and then no longer contracting. I felt a little down, but the plan that we had developed with Rebekah was that I would take castor oil in the morning if I wasn’t having real, rhythmic early or active labor contractions. So, after breakfast had digested, I drank a not-so-delicious cocktail of OJ and a shot of castor oil. Less then an hour later, things kicked into gear. I wasn’t violently sick like many of the people who I know who have also drank castor oil. Instead, around noon, I started having real labor contractions, every 3-5 minutes. They were painful and I got the chance to put into use the birth class meditations, and labor positions that Tim and I had practiced. I remember thinking how I was bummed that I was in labor in the daytime because in my imagination I had always pictured myself giving birth in the cozy darkness of my home lit by Christmas lights. Around the same time, my dad texted and called. Coincidentally, he was in Sacramento for work and wanted to know if he could stop by. I was in too much discomfort to talk to him so I had Tim call him back and tell him that the baby was on the way and that I was not feeling up for visitors. All I wanted to do was lie down on the couch and get some rest but I couldn’t seem to get comfortable lying down. So I resigned myself to laboring standing up, bouncing on the exercise ball and leaning over on the couch.  After a few hours of this I asked Tim to call my mom to come over. I was so grateful to have her coaching and support during labor. She helped put counter-pressure on my back, gave me encouraging words and supported Tim as he supported me.




After about four hours of laboring with contractions every 3-5 minutes I called Rebekah to check in. She listened to the sound of my voice and my breathing during contractions and she suggested that I take a walk around the block. I could not imagine going outside in the condition I was in but she insisted. She told me it was a beautiful day out (it was, sunny but chilly) and that that sun and fresh air would do me good, even if my walk was only as short as to my mom’s house around the corner. So, Tim put Toast on her leash and I put a sweater on (I am embarrassed to say that I didn’t change out of my pajama pants) and off we went for a short walk. As we slowly walked around the block, I had to pause frequently when the contractions hit me. They seemed stronger than at home but did not increase in frequency. Rebekah had told me over the phone to call her if anything changed, but I did not know what to expect in terms of a “change”. When we got home, Tim took the dog out to the backyard to play fetch (since the walk had not been long enough for her). It seemed that as soon as he left me alone, the contractions started coming on faster. I doubled over on my knees, leaning on the couch and tried to breath through the wave of contractions, but I couldn’t seem to get a handle on them. They seemed to be coming one right after the other. When Tim came back inside he noticed immediately that something had changed. “You should call Rebekah,” he said. I could barely catch my breath enough to say back, “You call her.” And so, around 4pm, Tim called the midwife to come. It was time to have the baby.


The next approximately three hours were a blur to me. I remember at one point I came out of the bathroom and Rebekah was there and she listened to me labor through 5 contractions. After she listened to my, and the baby’s heart rate and determined that I was far enough into labor that she would be staying at my house because the baby was coming soon, I asked to take a shower. She asked if I wanted her to set up the birth tub, but I said no. I just wanted a shower and I think I had a sense that things were going to move fast. In my subconscious I thought there would not be enough time to set up the tub. Plus, I didn’t want anyone paying attention to setting up a whole new environment for me to labor in. I just wanted to have the baby!  

I think being in the shower was my favorite part of labor. Tim brought the exercise ball into the shower and I sat on it for a while, alternating between bouncing and standing under the hot water. I remember feeling like I could tolerate the extreme discomfort of the contractions better while I was in the heat and steam. At one point my mom came and checked on me. I could still talk at this point and told her that I thought it was cool that my water hadn’t broken yet. It was good luck, I said, to have a baby born in the caul and I’d heard it makes labor easier. Right after I said that, I heard and felt something pop and thought I felt a gush of fluid. I wasn’t sure, since I was all wet already, but I was pretty sure that’s when my water broke.

Again I came to a turning point in the labor. At this point I sort of got lost inside myself. I don’t remember much after I got out of the shower other than I spent some time laboring on the toilet and holding on to Tim’s neck and squatting, bearing down. Anne Marie, an OB/GYN and Rebekah’s back-up midwife arrived to assist in the final stage. I vaguely remember Rebekah checking me and telling me that I was fully dilated except for an anterior lip. She pushed it back and then told me I could start pushing whenever I felt like it, which turned out to be right away.

I started pushing a little after 7:00 PM. When I had learned about the pushing stage of labor in my natural childbirth class I had been taught that lying on one’s back is not the most efficient way to push (although it is the most common in hospitals) so I had envisioned myself in a squatting or kneeling position. But in the moment, the place that felt the best for me to push was on my back, in my bed, so that is where I labored in the final 45 minutes.

Pushing was the worst. I felt out of control and remember repeating, “I don’t like this” over and over. But Rebekah got me to focus on her and asked me to ground and center myself and send all my energy downward. Listening to her and my mom’s voice and seeing Tim’s reassuring face was the strength I needed to push the baby out but it still felt like it took forever. Once, between pushes I was so frustrated, because I had no idea how much progress I had made, I whined to Rebekah that my baby was a “jerk” for making me wait so long to go into labor and then making me do all this work to push the baby out. I think that was when she told me to reach down and feel how close to being out the baby was. Feeling the baby’s fuzzy head was the motivation I needed to put all my effort into the last few pushes to get her head out.

After the head was out, her body did not immediately and easily follow. Rebekah and Anne-Marie struggled to move Tori’s hand out of the way because she was holding her hand up to her chin and that was blocking the rest of her body from coming out. I didn’t have any idea that they were struggling with a difficult positioning because I was totally absorbed with staring at my baby’s little face for the first time. Two minutes after her head was out, they were able to scoot her hand back and after a few more pushes Tori Rose was born. Because of the finagling the midwives had had to do to get her out, Tim didn’t catch her on his own, as we had planned, but Rebekah did have him assist her in guiding our baby on the final slide out into the world and onto my chest.


When I had her in my arms I could see she was perfectly gooey but a little less pink than expected. She did not cry right away. She was sort of gurgling a little and struggling to take the first big gulp of air so Rebekah leaned over and gave her mouth to mouth. With that little assistance from Rebekah, Tori was able to push all the fluid out of her lungs and cried a healthy cry. It was only then, when I knew she was breathing and safe that I realized we still didn’t know the gender. Everyone else had been preoccupied with delivering her safely and stabilizing her that no one checked or announced her gender so I reached down to feel whether she was a boy or a girl. I was surprised to find she was a girl because I had had dreams and intuition that she was a boy throughout my pregnancy.


The next few hours were a warm, fuzzy blur of relief, joy and exhaustion. I hadn’t torn or needed any stiches so the midwives and my mom left Tim and I alone with the baby for almost 40 minutes before I started having contractions again to deliver the placenta. In that time we just marveled at the little life we had created. After the placenta was delivered, the cord had stopped pulsing and Tim cut her away from me. He took off his shirt and held her for the first time, skin-to-skin. Then, while Anne Marie helped me to the bathroom, Tim helped Rebekah assess the baby and do the basic newborn tests, all of which she passed beautifully. Once I was tucked back in bed, Tim weighed her (8 pounds even) and Stephan brought us food and came to meet his niece. Rebekah stayed long enough to make sure that Tori could latch on and was nursing and then left, saying she would be back in 24 hours to check on us. Mom made Tim and I the post-partum reward that I had dreamed of (a top-shelf margarita). And then left us alone with the baby.


By 11:00 PM Tim and I were cozied up and sleeping in the warmth and safety of our own bed, with our beautiful, healthy baby daughter in our arms. I was so grateful to have had the baby I had yearned for in the homebirth that I had dreamed of.




Sunday, December 14, 2014

Out of the Blog Fog


The last half of the fall semester was so demanding that blogging did not take any kind of priority for us. Now it seems that we have been gifted with a little slice of calm vacation time in which we can catch up on our journaling. But, since we have been so negligent, we will update in categorized bullet points (categorizing brings joy to my Virgo heart):

What we are up to NOW:
  • Waiting for baby Tibbs: Yes, I am still pregnant at 41 weeks and 2 days. No, nothing is wrong and I am not considered post term until 42 weeks. Baby and I are healthy. And Tim and I feel grateful to be forced to learn life lessons about surrendering control while we wait for our sweet, strong-willed baby to choose his/her own birthday.
  • Nesting in at home: Tim is on vacation from school so he could be home with me and the baby. Well, it turns out what we really needed was for him to just be home with me. We have been able to spend wonderful quality time together before we expand to be a family of three. We have decorated and shopped for Christmas, fully prepared the baby room and clothes and cloth diapers, made a dent on our Netflix cue, listened to podcasts, and enjoyed lazy, sleepy mornings together while the winter cold and storms crept into Sacramento.
  • Kicking it: It has been such a blessing to spend this last week with my mom, who is on vacation (also taken in the hopes of being able to help with baby), and my brother, who is back from Costa Rica. The four of us have had an amazing opportunity to enjoy each other’s company, play board games, cook, bake Christmas cookies go for walks and watch movies together. Yay for family time! 
What we WERE up to in October and November:
  • Moot court: I competed in the Thomas Tang Moot Court Competition, which involved working with an indescribably awesome partner to research and write an appellate brief and then practice for oral arguments and perform the arguments in front of practicing lawyers and judges in the competition. My partner and I spent probably 40+ hours in the library over the course of one long weekend before the brief was due and at least that much time working on the arguments. And, our hard work paid off as we won the second best brief award and only missed qualifying for the final rounds by .1 of a point.
  • Lesson plans and sub plans: Tim spent countless hours last month making huge binders full of resources for the substitute teacher who is taking over his classroom for the 5 weeks of school he will miss. He will be home full time for 7 weeks all told, but luckily 2 of those are the school Christmas break so he didn’t have to make plans for those weeks.
  • Prenatal appointments and birth classes: We finished our 10 week natural childbirth class, in which we were equipped with some skills and knowledge to help us survive through the last trimester and trials of childbirth. Our class was empowering and had the added bonus of connecting us with some like-minded couples who have had/will be having babies soon. It was a great way to kick-start a network of parents with whom we can give and get support throughout this crazy new adventure.



What we will be up to SOON:
  • A homebirth: Ever since we knew I was pregnant we knew we wanted to have our baby at home if it was medically safe for us to do so. Since baby and I are, and have been, healthy throughout the pregnancy and there are no risk factors involved, we are all set for me to labor and deliver our child at home. We are under the care of, and will be attended by a license nurse midwife who is partnered with an OB/GYN. (And, to put any nervous minds at ease, we live 2 blocks and one stop light away from the nearest hospital in the unlikely case of any unforeseen, emergent situation.) We are sincerely looking forward to welcoming our baby into the world in the comfort of our cozy home under the soft light of our Christmas tree and warmth of the fire in the hearth. 
  • Adventures in cloth diapers: After doing research into the economics and ecological pros and cons of different kinds of diapers, we decided that we want to use cloth for our little one. We have diligently been watching YouTube videos about how to prep, wash, change, and cover cloth diapers. It seems like the simplest, cheapest method for the daunting task that will consume hours upon hours of our lives in the very near future.
  •  Holidays with friends and family: Depending when this baby arrives and how we are coping with figuring out how to keep a tiny, tiny human alive and happy our holiday plans are up in the air. We hope to spend Christmas Eve with family in Santa Rosa but we may just hunker in at home and have family come to us. Who knows? At this point we do know that we will have a visit from Tim’s mom who will be helping us out with baby the day after Christmas and a visit from our spectacularly dedicated posse of friends around New Year’s Eve time. We are so looking forward to spending this first holiday surrounded by some of our favorite people who we know will love and support us and the baby, even if we are in the throes of sleep-deprived, befuddled new parenthood.




Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Defining Moments.



Recently, Chelsea’s younger brother left to Costa Rica to work on a sustainable, biodynamic farm. It’s a three month commitment, and who knows what he will choose to do once he through with his internship. I only bring this up because in the week before he left he stayed with us and the weeks prior to that he was staying in his childhood home, the same place Chelsea’s mother left a few weeks before when she moved around the corner from us. I remember thinking how great it was that he spent some time on his own, getting that experience of working and living day-to-day without anyone to answer too.

This led me down the wild track where I started thinking about how each of us forms our identities. I thought about my experiences and then I thought about how my own child will have those same moments. Granted, not the same exact moments, but he/she will have those moments that will hold that same defining significance.

I left my childhood home when I was 19 to go to University of California, San Diego (UCSD). I left and never really returned. My home is still there; my dad still lives there and it will always be “home” and I still visit. But now it is my “childhood home”, distinct and different from my own home that I am building now with Chelsea and Bibbs. Skimming down the lanes between memory and nostalgia, I reflect back to when I first moved away. When I started at UCSD I felt good, independent. I never regretted leaving home and I never really remember thinking I wanted to go back to the life I had in Oxnard. Oxnard is a great place and most of my immediate family is still there, but homesickness never really entered my psyche.   Looking back, I wonder why I didn’t have those moments that many new university students have of missing my parents, brother, cousins, etc. And I attribute it to the moments I had before moving to the city where I spent the next ten years of my life.

Growing up I used to read a lot (I still wish I could read half as much as I did when I was younger!). I read fantasy books, young adult novels, poetry, and a few of the classics. I primarily read fantasy, though, and I had a fascination of different worlds, dragons, castles, knights, dwarves, elves, fairies, magi, mages, and so on (mayhap I have told you how I am still writing that fantasy novel that’s been burning inside of me or maybe not). I also had a wonderful high school history teacher and an amazing English teacher who opened my eyes to the possibilities of historical facts and the power of great literature. Well, this obsession with fantasy, history, and literature led me to be fascinated with the Middle Ages and Europe.

One of the first defining moments I remember is when my history teacher (we were his first World History Honor’s class…so we had a special place in his heart) arranged to have a 30-day trip through EF tours from London to Greece the summer after we graduated from high school (July 2000). We still had to pay something but since it was an organized tour the fee we paid included the round-trip plane ticket, breakfasts, dinners, lodgings, and transportation for those 30 days.  Needless to say, I jumped on the opportunity and cadged my parents relentlessly until they agreed to let me go. Reflecting back with my adult sensibilities I realize they must have worked really hard to put together the money for me to have this opportunity, and it is still one of the most memorable trips of my life.

I kept a journal those 30 days (stories to come?), and I have not really read it since I wrote the pages down, but I know the experience of trans-Atlantic travel, spending 30 days with 17 of my classmates (including the classmates I was closest too in high school), and this amazing history teacher (who still is on my Facebook feed today), and limited adult supervision (and no parental supervision) prepared me for the shock, or at least assuaged it, of moving away permanently from my childhood home. A rite of passage if you will (that’s for you Sampa per our conversation the other day!). I felt confident moving away, I felt secure. Don’t get me wrong I did not become who I am today because of that trip, but it was just one of those defining moments that helped shape my identity. Maybe I would go so far as to say this trip was the impetus that led to my independent nature, my fascination with history and literature (I ended up majoring in both of those at UCSD), my desire to travel, to study abroad, to go to Peace Corps, all of these moments that followed came from that one 30 day trip, but I also know my own upbringing had something to do with it too.

My parents allowed me a lot of responsibility and independence as I went through high school. They trusted me and helped me experience different things the best way they could, small moments, large moments, all…just…moments. I am sure acting and performing in drama helped me come out of my shell as well, also playing soccer and going to plays and experiencing art. Each piece is part of who I am today; we are not whole when we come out of the womb, but it’s those defining moments that make us.

Coming full circle I am so happy for Chels’ brother to have the experience of moving away and having those defining moments himself. And it makes me wonder (and hope) that 30 years from now I could be possibly reading a similar post from Bibbs about the moments, about the experiences, extolling what he/she experienced as well as the amazingness of his/her parents.    
  

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A whirlwind of change

 

  There are days when I marvel at the brain’s capacity to compartmentalize what seems like a million unrelated things, hold on to a to-do list a mile long and still keep the body functioning and healthy. In the last few weeks, I pushed my little brain to the max. I was under two stressful deadlines for school and one deadline to complete a post-graduate fellowship application. This, plus school would have been manageable if it was all I had to do. However, the timing also happened to coincide with the weekend that my mom was moving into her new house nearby, the same time that my midwife appointments started being scheduled every two weeks, instead of 1 month, and our birth class started meeting once a week.

The first challenge of the last few weeks was to meet the deadline to submit an application for a two-year, post-graduate fellowship. I had spent the summer brainstorming a project proposal to submit to a competitive non-profit fellowship grant program. If I am accepted, I will be funded to work for two years at a local Sacramento non-profit implementing the project I designed. The gist of the project goal is to aid in dismantling the pipelines that funnel undocumented immigrant juveniles in Sacramento and the Central Valley through a harsh juvenile justice system and into deportation proceedings by providing direct legal services to undocumented youth probationers and education to law enforcement. It would be a real challenge but an honor to be selected to carry out this project. But I won’t know if I am selected until the spring. In the meantime, I still have to pass my classes and try to graduate.

So after I got my grant turned in I had to focus on my school related workload for Moot Court and my Professional Responsibility class. Both the Moot Court competition brief and the PR midterm were on Monday. I loved writing the brief, because I am nerd and love to write, but I wish I had had more time to devote to it. When I am writing briefs, I like to spend time crafting the most persuasive arguments, down to each precise sentence. Even though my partner and I spent probably 48 hours in the library between Thursday and Monday night (no joke, we practically lived in the library), at the end it still felt so rushed to get all the formatting done right. We didn’t have time to make it perfect. Perhaps we didn’t make it perfect, but we did get it done. And somehow in between the writing and editing madness I managed to study for, and probably even pass my PR midterm. It was not the easiest week I have had in law school.

Then, in the midst of all this madness, my mom was making the biggest (and only!) move she has made in the last 17 years. She packed up her house in Santa Cruz and moved up to Sacramento for a new job and a new adventure. Mom always said that when I have kids she wants to be nearby. She values having a close-knit family and wants to be involved with her grandbabies on a regular basis. She had been talking about moving up here since Tim and I came to Sacramento and so, when we told her that we are having a baby in December, she started planning for the move. It has been a hard transition for her to leave her hometown, her job and her friends, so, over the course of the last few weeks, I have tried to make it as easy as I could by helping her move and get settled. Two moving vans full of furniture and boxes and innumerable trips to Target and Home Depot later, she is fully moved in and has her bedroom, kitchen and bathroom mostly unpacked. It is a beautiful house, so cozy and welcoming, and it is only 127 steps away from my house (Tim counted). We are going to have a ton of fun as neighbors!

As if all this weren’t enough, Tim and I have been attending a natural childbirth class once a week for the last five weeks to get ourselves ready for the arrival of baby Tibbs. Although, ‘attending’ isn’t really the right word since we are hosting the class at our house. It actually works out pretty great. Three other couples and the instructor come over on Monday evenings for a few hours and we are enjoying the support group of other expecting couples and learning a ton.

Also, because I am 30 weeks along in the pregnancy, we have had more frequent visits with our midwife. Even in all the hustle and bustle, I love taking time to check in on the baby. When I hear the healthy little heartbeat on the Doppler, I remember why I push myself so hard. It seems crazy, since I don’t even know this little human yet, but I want so much to make a comfortable life full of opportunities for our baby. I want this child to grow up looking up to parents who work hard to make the world a better place in our jobs and take time at home to play, laugh, explore. And I want this baby to be surrounded by family and friends and a community to teach him/her their own skills and lessons. Even though we may have been in a whirlwind these last few weeks, things are starting to fall into place. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A (soon-to-be) Father’s Journey: A Perspective on 27 Weeks


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!


What baby? Bibbs, of course!