We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

I am 39 weeks pregnant. Due any day. How did the time go by so quickly?
One one hand, I feel like it was just yesterday that I was staring at the positive pregnancy test and on the other.. I feel like I’ve been pregnant forever. As my pregnancy draws to a close, I have to stop and look back on the journey that my daughter and I have had so far.

It’s strange, knowing that you’ve been pregnant for the majority of one calendar year. I think back on all the holidays that Nellie and I have been through together: Mother’s Day (our first). Fourth of July. Memorial and Labor Day. Halloween. Thanksgiving. Christmas. May of 2009 seems like it was so far away, and simultaneously it seems like time has flown by in the blink of an eye. I look back on my old posts from my early pregnancy with fondness, and a smile on my face. Even reading my posts about morning sickness makes me remember with a certain happy nostalgia. I remember being so excited when I caught my first glimpse of “baby bump” at around 15 weeks. It wasn’t visible to anyone but Josh and I, but it excited me so much. I remember going into Motherhood Maternity and proudly purchasing my first pair of maternity jeans at 18 weeks. I remember thinking I looked “soooo pregnant” at 20 weeks, and now when I look back I can’t help but laugh at myself.

Nellie was there with me for my chorus’s yard sale in June – when we were outside for hours in the hot, Southern summer heat. She accompanied me to Birmingham when I went to summer camp with the ladies from my chorus… And missed a bit of the workshops due to frequent trips to the bathroom to throw up. She was there; so little and so tiny when my friend Deborah and I walked downtown to watch the fireworks for the Fourth. Once upon a time she wasn’t Nellie, she was simply known to us as “Gummi”. A tiny little black and white figure on an ultrasound screen; arm and leg buds just barely recognizable. I remember putting various countdowns right here on my blog – ticking off the days until the 2nd trimester, the 3rd trimester and finally until Full Term. Now the only ticker that remains is her Due Date ticker, which is now down to 6 days.

It’s amazing to me that this little girl has been present for so many events and days in my life and she doesn’t even realize it. She’s been to Ruby Falls and to Rock City. She’s been sung to by her mama (and daddy). She’s been out with her mama while she performed with her chorus and quartet. There are so many people in our lives who are so anxious and excited to meet her…. None more than her very own mommy and daddy.

As I reach the end of my pregnancy with Nellie, I can’t help but be a little sad. I was laying in bed last night, feeling her kick as Josh and I were talking about how she’d be here very soon. I watched my belly swell as some body part of hers pushed against my tummy. I got choked up and tears came to my eyes. Very soon, I’m going to have to physically let her free from my body, and she will be shared with the world. Nellie isn’t the world’s most active baby but she has her moments. It’s been difficult for people who aren’t around her all the time (AKA, me and her daddy) to feel her move. There is a secret part of me that is just a tiny bit happy when she only kicks for daddy and me. It’s like something special just between the three of us. Soon we’ll have to pass her around to be held. People will want to feed her, give her gifts and sing to her, they’ll want to hold her little hands and kiss her cheeks… And while she’ll always be our little girl, others will be a part of her life as well. Right now, we are all she really knows and that’s special. It’s a little sad to give that up, but obviously we can’t keep her to ourselves forever. I realized while I was watching my belly swell how much I’m going to miss this connection that just our little family has. I know that we’ll have other special moments as a family, but the quiet times resting on the couch where Josh puts his hand on my belly with a smile and I put my hand over his won’t be here much longer. I know that we are about to have so many more amazing moments with her here… But I’ll miss these ones a lot.

I cherish each and every memory I have of my pregnancy. Each minute with our Nellie has been a blessing.. I am so very grateful that Josh and I have been given the opportunity to be a mom and dad to this amazing little girl. I hope that she knows how much we love her already and that she never, ever questions that love. I want her to know how desperately she was wanted and how strong our love for her was from the very first second we knew of her existance. Before the belly swelling, before the first kicks, before the first ultrasound we loved her. Really, we loved her even before the positive pregnancy test.. We’ve been waiting for this child for such a long time.

We certainly have come a long way, baby. From pregnancy test to Gummi Bear… From morning sickness to my growing belly… From hearing your heartbeat, to finding out you were our Nellie Rose… I’ve enjoyed the hell out of this ride, kiddo, and I hope that you have too. It’s almost time to meet face-to-face and I just cannot wait. We love you so, so much little girl.