This week we hit our big goal mark: 35 weeks! At 26 weeks when I was first having pre-term labor symptoms, 35 weeks felt sooooo far away!! (I mean that IS 9 weeks!) I was really nervous we wouldn't make it. But here we are! 35.5 weeks, just barely celebrated Christmas and now, anxiously waiting for the arrival of our sweet baby girl.
She seems pretty snug in there now; almost like she finally got comfy and is just happy to wait a few more weeks (which I would be just fine with, but I am also VERY READY and excited to meet my baby!!!!!).
As I've been trying to mentally prepare for birth, I've been watching birth story videos online and trying to remember the births that I've been able to photograph and witness. I know this time will be different because I'll be the one giving birth, so my focus and experience will be less on the reactions of others and more on getting my baby here safely, but there is one reaction that I really hope I get to see: Parker's.
I've been thinking a lot about what calms me down when I'm anxious, who I turn to for strength and who is always there to hold my hand or rub my back to bring me back to reality. That's Parker. He has been so sweet to me-- especially in the last few weeks as I have become more uncomfortable and more nervous. And I just can't help but think that he will be the very best dad to our baby girl.
A memory from this last week that I don't want to forget about him: the other day we were chatting about our plans for after the baby arrives. We talked about our visitors and Parker's work schedule and his paternity leave and he said, "I want to stay with my baby. I have waited four years to hold her and I'm going to hold her." Throughout our Infertility Journey, I had a much harder time coping with the emotions of it all, but Parker was also waiting for his baby girl to come join us earth-side. As the weeks of pregnancy have progressed on, it has been so fun to watch him get more and more excited for Berkeley to join our family.
As my belly has grown and I've gotten to know Berkeley's personality a little bit, it's been a different experience for Parker (obviously). He tells me almost every day how he can't even imagine what it would feel like to have a baby roll around or push up against the walls of his belly. I try to explain it, but it's hard to explain. But every time she kicks at his hand or gets big hiccups that he can feel his whole face lights up. And I just know that when he sees her for the first time, his reaction will be like that, only amplified because she will finally be here and will finally get to meet her.
I am also so, so excited to meet our sweet girl. But I'll be honest, as she's been growing in my body for the last 8 months, I've felt a strange form of familiarity with her the whole time. Like I already know her. (which makes perfect sense to me because I believe that we all knew each other before this life and before we came to earth), but this is a feeling I've never felt so strongly before. And it's not a feeling like Berkeley was ALWAYS supposed to be in our family or that she chose us to be her parents. But simply that I've known her for a long time and that she's been cheering us on from the start. I'm excited to rekindle the friendship and relationship we had before. I feel so lucky to get to have her in my life for the rest of forever.
Infertility is kind of weird because it feels so isolating at times. But the other day, Parker and I were talking about what it must have been like for Berkeley to watch us as we struggled to get her here. Parker wondered if she was ever frustrated with each failed treatment. And I wondered how she felt when I was ready to give up. As I've thought about this conversation more, I feel like she sat with our Savior and silently cheered us on through the whole thing and cried when we cried. I feel like she knew this was part of our story and she was just waiting for the right time to get to come to earth. I feel like she was one of our best friends before this life and even though I felt lonely at times, I feel like she was cheering us on-- just like friends do.
A few nights ago, Parker and I were talking about her and discussing what we think she'll look like, personality traits we think she will have and what we think her stats at birth will be. I don't want to forget this conversation either and think it will be fun to compare our guesses to reality.
Birth Weight: 7lbs 6oz
Birth Length: 20 inches
Hair at Birth: brown
Hair as she grows up: blonde (white blonde like mama's was)
Personality Traits: tomboyish but still a little girly. Stubborn but obedient (like both of her parents).
Birth Weight: 6lbs 13oz
Birth Length: 22 inches (I think she will be tall and skinny like her daddy!)
Hair at Birth: bald as a cue ball.
Hair as she grows up: blonde (white blonde)
Personality Traits: stubborn, for sure-- I think she will be similar to me and once she has an idea in her mind it will be very hard to change that. I think she will be smart like her dad and catch on to things really quickly. I also think she will be a really loyal friend (also very much like her dad).
As these next four and a half weeks go by, I'm trying to cherish these last bits of pregnancy. This last trimester has kind of kicked my trash (mentally, physically, emotionally, etc.) but I am getting so anxious for her to arrive and that keeps me going. This last Sunday at church, people kept asking how much longer we have left to wait and five weeks all of a sudden felt SO SOON. (But January 26th still seems FOREVER away ) And as I was saying goodbye to my parents and grandma after their visit this weekend, I found myself saying, "the next time I'll see you, I'll have a baby!" And that just kind of blew my mind.
After all these years of waiting, we are getting so close to meeting her and holding her and snuggling her. And it just all feels so unreal-- STILL. Like I can't believe that WE get to have a baby. That we get to KEEP a baby. It feels so unreal-- yet so magical all at the same time.
Berkeley baby: we are so, so, so, soooooooooo excited for you to come join our family. You are so loved by so many already and we cannot wait to finally introduce to your fan club of family members and friends! We can't wait to hold and snuggle you as a tiny, tiny newborn. We can't wait to watch you take in the world and learn and grow. We can't wait to play with you as you get a little older. We can't wait to see you grow into the person you are supposed to be. We have so many hopes and dreams for you, but we mostly just hope that you know that we will always, always, always love you and be on your team. You've been cheering us on from the start and now it's our turn to be your biggest fans and greatest cheerleaders. We feel so lucky to be your mom and dad and we cannot wait to see your face soon. We love you so much!!