So it’s the weirdest thing to hear a heartbeat coming from your gut. It’s kind of the last thing you want in that area actually. Some digestion sounds, maybe. A little gas turnover here and there. But a heartbeat? Who put THAT there?!? We all remember the alien scene from… well, “Alien,” that was later more humorously recreated in “Spaceballs.” We don’t want that. But as I was stretched out on the electronic bed the nice lady slapped a little goo on my mid-section, rubbed this wand thing around below my belly button and viola(!), out from the handheld box came a racing heartbeat.
There’s something alive in there. Somebody call somebody.
We got to see the heartbeat at our first doctor’s visit back in December. But that little glimpse – in all its kidney bean with a flashy spot glory – wasn’t nearly as impactful as hearing the loud, squishy thumpthumpthumpthump.
Hi. My name is Nancy and there’s a heartbeat I’m told belongs to a certain baby that’s taken up residence in my gut. The baby will emerge calmly and gently into this world the later side of July. Lord help us all. And by all I mostly mean me.
I traveled through all the typical stages of grief during the first few weeks of baby awareness. That might sound horrible, but well, it’s the truth. And letting oneself go on that journey at all just leads to a stronger, more confident and peaceful stance on the other side.
Denial (“It’s possible 53 pregnancy tests could be wrong! Cheap pieces of plastic! And, besides, I had asparagus! My pee was tainted!”). Anger (Hmmm, I actually don’t think I ever felt angry, but Jim might say otherwise.) Bargaining (“Here, babe, you pee on this stick and I’ll pee on mine and then we’ll swap for the real results!”). Depression (“We’re not supposed to talk about this to anyone yet so, damn, this feels pretty lonely. And I feel like crap.”) Acceptance (“Baby! A Mini Us! Miracle! Blessing! Weeeeee!”).
Acceptance was escalated for us, and especially me, when we could start living outside our own cocoon and actually see people smile and hear them say “Congratulations!” when we told them the bignews. Congratulations? Huh? Oh! Thanks!
My first of which was when I almost passed out being a lunch lady one day (see previous blog post on spaghetti rowing). I was scooping peaches into little plastic cups and the world started to go tingly. I looked at my peach partner who was “lidding” for me and I said, “I’m sorry. I have to go outside. I’m gonna pass out. “ And for no other reason than feeling like I needed to validate the whole dramatic episode I added, “I’m pregnant!”
She looked at me with wide smiley eyes and said, “Me too!!” and then kindly let me run out the back door. When I came back a little less ashen she said, “By the way, congratulations!” and she was genuinely excited about it. I returned the salutation feeling strangely giddy to hear myself speak out loud to a stranger about the whole thing. Turns out we’re due the same week. The odds.
It all really just boils down to one itsy bitsy thing – that second heartbeat just below the surface. It recently occurred to me, after a tornado of thoughts and feelings and crazy physical changes and more thoughts and more feelings, that for the rest of my life there will be a heartbeat in my gut. A heartbeat I will love and [no doubt] worry about deep down in my soul of souls, in my gut of guts, forever and ever. It doesn’t matter where that heartbeat is in the world, it will always be inside of me. This thought terrifies me and I have absolutely no idea what to expect. Other people have done this and survived, right? But… honestly, I can’t think of a better, more exciting adventure to go on. So I’m gonna start packin’ my best fat clothes and prepare to GoGo down roads I’ve never GoneGone on before. There’s certainly no stopping now.