Around 19 weeks, I started feeling the quickening, the butterfly kisses, the tickling that a growing baby first makes as they move inside. We didn’t know yet that the creature was a she. I called her the creature until about 22 weeks. (Nick hated it, but I meant it in kind of a Dobby-the-house-elf endearment and oddity way. On really sick days I may have meant it in a Gollum way. Whatever.) On the first day of 22 weeks, I made my way to the Pearl district to enjoy lunch with a pastor friend. I rapped and sang along with the Warren G and Nate Dogg as the radio played Regulators. It’s a pretty consistent habit to jam in the car and that morning the pregnancy app on my phone alerted me to the fact that her ears were really able to hear me at that point. She’s starting out with some classics. Upon getting out of the car, I patted my belly and said without thinking, “Mama loves you.”
That moment stopped me in my tracks. I literally halted walking and teared up. It hadn’t occurred to me until that moment that I love her. It had noticed that I had friends who loved their baby-in-the-making and said it even before they were pregnant. I felt guilt about not feeling that way. Nick would talk to my belly and tell her I love you. But, I couldn’t. And then, without even knowing how it happened, I loved her.
Perhaps it’s my tendency to be so afraid of the worst-case scenario that kept me from investing like others. Maybe it’s my deep trust issues around allowing myself to be hurt. Maybe it was just my path to loving her. But, it came about without intentionality. I love this little bit growing. I love that her femur measures long, with my deep hope that she has Nick’s arms and legs. I love that she has the hiccups these days and I can tell the difference between a kick and the hiccups. I love that on the ultrasound she has her hand on her face, saying, with one small sign, ‘don’t look – I’m growing in here.” I love that there is the holy community of faith that already prays for her and will love her at first breath, maybe even before then. I love that she has pastor-aunties who field my weird text messages about pregnancy and will soon enough get way too many photos of her via viber. I love that Nick’s family and my family love her and are ready to be grandparents, aunts, uncles, and all.
I love her.