Dear Miss Baby --
This week marks your first nine months 'on the outside'. Wow! Congratulations! But did you know you also spent nine months inside The Mama? I'd like to tell you a little bit about that time, so we can both remember it.
In the beginning, you were very very small--so small that The Dada and I couldn't quite believe you were there. But you were! We gave you a special name, 'Baby Embryo', and kept you as our little secret. We weren't ready to share you with the world yet. We had to go to the hospital, once, and that was very scary, but I got to see your little tiny heart flicker on a monitor--it was too tiny to make any noise, but I could see it. We were so happy that you were growing, even if I was soon very very tired, and very very hungry. In fact, in the first couple of months, it seemed all I did was eat and sleep, but The Dada soon learned that there was nothing good going to come out of remarking on it! He learned this by reading books like "The Expectant Father." Anyhow, I was so hungry that I ate two bowls of Cheerios every morning, then went to work to have chocolate milk. So much chocolate milk, which is surprising, because generally I don't like chocolate milk at all. What I do like are lattes from Starbucks, but suddenly I really didn't want them anymore--I guess you don't like coffee! And I was so tired that sometimes I took naps on the floor of my office. Really!
Around Christmastime, I was still very hungry but not so tired. A new development was that I could burst into tears anytime, anywhere, especially if something was so funny that I laughed out loud. Boy, if I started laughing at something, you could be pretty sure that it was going to turn into heartrending sobs that only subsided when I got tired ... or hungry. The Dada didn't find this very funny, but he gave me lots of hugs, and bought me mint chocolate chip ice cream whenever I asked. I asked a lot. Right after Christmas, we went to visit your Gramma- and Grampa-to-be. They were very excited that you did your very first dance for them: I felt you move on the 29th, while sipping my watered-down once-a-month martini--I guess you like gin! The Dada says the look on my face was priceless, and I think I know what he means, because I saw him make that face a week later, when you kicked him in the hand. It was an expression full of joy and surprise and wonder, all at the same time.
Boy, were you ever busy in the new year! Once you started moving around, you really moved around. The midwives always remarked on it, especially when you thumped their ultrasound wands. The ultrasound technician noticed it as well: she had to chase you around to get good pictures of you, and that's when we saw you for the first time. You had a face! And tiny little feet! And you sure were busy in there. When you still had lots of room, I could feel you 'swimming' from one side to the other, or feel you drift with gravity as I rolled over. Every day you got a little bit bigger. I liked to hold you, to put my hand on your belly-home, and feel you tap at me. I tapped at you, and you tapped at me. I liked to hold you when I went to sleep, to feel you settle over on one side, feel you fall asleep. I felt at peace and safe and more-than-myself, because you were always with me, and I was not just one person anymore.
Anyways. You really liked it when I was teaching: I guess the loudness and rhythmic pattern of my lecturing made you feel like dancing. This is not generally the effect my teaching has on my students, but I appreciated your enthusiasm, even if sometimes you made my shirt move around, and people got a little freaked out. During the winter, I was so hot all the time that I kept turning down the heat at home and at work, and everyone around me had to wear sweaters. Brr!
As spring approached, you and I both got quite a bit bigger, and suddenly I couldn't wear any of my shoes anymore! And I grew out of all my special growing-a-baby clothes! I started to wear more of Daddy's shirts, and that made me feel close to him. We bought all the furniture for your bedroom, and I put it together for you. The Dada painted your room. I was so big I was having trouble sleeping. And then I was having trouble getting off the couch, and in and out of the car, and up and down the stairs at work. There was a lot of huffing and puffing, and a lot of chocolate milk. We had our picture taken for a brochure for work, and so now you're famous, and we can be proud that my university's promotional materials show a massively pregnant professor in amongst all the smartypants in tweed jackets.
Your Auntie S. and The Dada surprised me with a baby shower, and your arrival started to seem closer and closer ... but still so far away. I was getting so anxious to meet you, and so was The Dada. He talked to you every night, and liked to put his ear up next to you to hear you hiccuping. You sure did hiccup a lot; it was funny and it sort of tickled me. The Dada said it sounded like little bubbles. Another thing I liked to do was to lift my shirt up so you could feel the sunshine: it made you wiggle and then fall asleep.
Soon it was almost summer, and almost time for you to be born. We could hardly wait! You gave the midwives some trouble, because you wanted to stay up high and not come down, and they made sure to send us for lots of ultrasounds: I guess you always liked having your picture taken. You were always healthy, and always big. Our midwife J. called me at work the week you were going to be born (but we didn't know it yet!) and told me I had to go home and stay there. Auntie S. came to keep me company, and we took lots of walks to encourage you to come out. People on the street laughed at us, probably because I was always wearing an awful pair of green terrycloth shorts, a maternity tank top, and flip flops, and they always said you must be on your way, because I was so big! But it took a while yet! We had time to watch most of the Stanley Cup playoffs with Daddy and Uncle J., even if we did take bathroom breaks every 20 minutes. Around this time, you also watched a lot of Gilmore Girls with me in the middle of the night: the recliner on the couch was the only comfortable spot for me when I couldn't sleep. I couldn't sleep because you were so big that I couldn't even roll over in bed by myself anymore! The Dada had to help.
Well, Auntie S. had to go home because it seemed you were never going to come meet us--as she got in her car, we joked that you would surely make your appearance that night, just so that she would have to make the drive twice in one day. And that's exactly what you did. But I'll tell you that story when you're a little older ...