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Great Expectations
Journal entry #1
October 31, 2001

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Only seven more weeks. It seems incredible that I'm due to have a baby in less than two months. I've seen the sonograms, heard the heartbeat, felt the kicks in my lower abdomen. And there's no denying my belly is bigger than it has ever been. Still it doesn't seem real that I will soon give birth, will soon be a mother.

Perhaps part of my disbelief comes from the fact that early in my pregnancy I kept myself from getting attached to the little creature inside me. At 18 weeks I underwent gall bladder surgery. I was losing weight because anything I ate, including plain boiled noodles, would cause pain in my abdomen. Though I knew I had to feed my baby, I was growing afraid of swallowing food. I knew I couldn't make it another six months like that, so I made the decision with my surgeon to have my gall bladder removed, even though it put me at risk of going into labor early and losing the baby.

As I awaited the scheduled surgery date, I stopped telling people I was pregnant. I didn't want to look at any baby stuff or think about the baby, just in case things turned out badly.

The surgery was planned as an outpatient procedure that would have me home the same day, but I had complications. Some of the gallstones had escaped from my gall bladder, forcing the surgeon to do more cutting than expected and forcing me to stay in the hospital for five days. Baby, however, made it through just fine.

Another, far more typical aspect of my pregnancy may also have kept me at a bit of a distance from my baby. Like many parents-to-be, my husband and I have decided not to know the sex of our baby ahead of time; we want to be surprised. So I can only refer to "it" as baby, not he or she. If I knew what I was carrying, I may have found myself bonding more closely with "it." Yet I do not regret not knowing; it will make delivery day all the more exciting.

As the birth approaches, however, reality has begun to sink in. I talk to my baby as I soap up my protruding belly in the shower and as I drive to work in the morning, when the little one enjoys getting a morning workout by gently pounding my lower abdomen. Throughout the day, as if to remind me of his or her presence, the baby occasionally unleashes a kick.

Yes, only seven more weeks, and I can hardly wait.

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