|This series of photos has nothing to do with the following. Just me amusing myself and the cats on a particularly chilled day on the farm.|
This morning we are going to the hospital for the first and hopefully only and last time during this pregnancy for an ultrasound. We are planning for a homebirth and neither our midwife, nor my pregnancy, nor the state of Vermont require that I have an ultrasound. It isn't part of the standard of care and I admire that. A faith that if the mama is healthy so is the baby.
I suppose it's a vestige from all my hours spent watching good American television characters with their dramatic pregnancies and births but I cannot imagine missing this first glimpse of our child. I feel a bit sheepish about it, as the ultrasound and the experience of going to the hospital when everything is so far healthy and good contradicts what we believe in...don't fix what isn't broken. I know she tries to withhold judgement, but I think my midwife wonders why we need to go.
And, I too wonder why I need to go. It can't have just been the hours of influencing television.
It is more my inability to grasp the reality of my pregnancy.
I have a unique ability to not think about the consequences of my actions. I call it unique, Nick might call it frustratingly and willingly blind. I didn't think long or hard about quitting my job at Facebook and moving to France. I just did it. Nick thought and agonized for days and weeks about quitting the NRDC when I approached him with the idea. Likewise, I didn't think much about the modest and hard life that would ensue when I took a job farming in North Carolina. Nor when we moved to Vermont without jobs to farm on our own. I go on my gut and I pride myself in that. Nick runs furiously around picking up the visas and passports, and plane tickets, and animal feed, a trailer and a good truck. We're lucky and happy with the balance we give to the other, I with my impetuousness and Nick with his planning.
It shouldn't come to anyone's surprise, though maybe to their polite disapproval that I didn't think long and hard about getting pregnant. I love our life and I would love to share a child with Nick. Our lives as self-employed farmers afford us the time to both be there to raise the child. We always have plenty of food. That is the extent of my planning for it. And I naively assume everything that follows will be smooth and easy.
One side-effect of my inability to grasp future realities is that I seem to constantly forget I'm pregnant. It truly worries me and I'm not attempting to be coy with this post. I certainly remember I'm pregnant when I wake up in the morning craving a cup of black tea but only pour myself a cuppa mint with honey. I know I'm pregnant when I saddle up into the shower and wash the basketball belly I have developed. When I go outside in the blistering wind 4 times in one hour to pee in the snow, its obvious my bladder is being pushed thin by my uterus. But I don't think about the baby as often as I wish. The thought of this future child doesn't consume me. I hesitate to write that as it makes me sound like a monster.
Nick and a friend of ours were talking about my pregnancy earlier this winter and it dawned on me that they saw me and this pregnancy as two individuals; baby and mama. But I see it as me, and this process that is happening to me. A wholly singular being.
I wonder if it is any easier for other women to grasp the insane reality of a human growing inside their uterus. It utterly rocks my mind. To the same extent that the universe is ever expanding or that planes can fly through the sky. I cannot understand the magnitude of it, so I try not to think about it. And so I find myself thinking more about the sheep shearing schedule for this year than I do the babe that will be tied to my chest while I move fences and harvest tomatoes.
Don't read me wrong. I am so excited at the thought of being a mother and making Nick a father. I just need some form of proof...of tangible comprehension. There are bits and jolts that send me sky high into the reality of impending motherhood. Lying on the sofa of my midwife's office listening to the baby's heart beat. Or the couple of times we've both had our hands right below my belly button and felt the baby kick. I've taken to sleeping with one hand resting on my lower belly. Just in case the baby starts dancing.
So this morning we are going for an ultrasound. I need a visual of this baby. I need visual, tangible proof that the universe is ever-expanding and that I, Kate MacLean, have a human growing in my belly.