Sometimes it feels like I have three distinctly different babies.
The first is the one I think about, imagine. This is a hypothetical baby, a concept. She's the one I've bought dresses for in big sizes because they've all been clearanced for the summer. When I've bought baby items in general, they've been for hypothetical baby (or for future gifts - I'm a sucker for a bargain!) When looking at cribs, I was thinking of the safety of hypothetical baby. Which stroller would be the most comfortable to ride in? I'm not sure that I could truly imagine our baby using these items. I think many of us have some form of hypothetical baby. Until we have an actual baby, we can really only imagine what our own baby will be like. Will it be a boy or girl? What's it's birthday? Will it look like us? Will it be easy? Cranky? Will it like me?
The second baby is the alien I feel in my uterus. I can call this baby my parasite and it doesn't feel mean. This is the being that grinds into my bladder, stretches big and tall and really enjoys pushing the limits of her environment. I see my stomach moving around, but I can't actually see a baby. It's really cool, but completely freaky. It's this baby that is the reason I can't bend. It's this baby that my mind connects to the constant reflux, and it's this baby when I vomit water in my mouth (love her? of course, but I don't picture her in a pretty outfit or playing with a toy. I picture my intestines and colon being compressed into the lung region!) This is probably the baby that is most real, only because it is difficult for my mind to disconnect from something kicking me. Even if it is coming from the inside.
The third baby is elusive. She is the actual baby that we will bring home. She is what we made from us. This is the baby who will receive a name we've (somewhat painfully) selected for her and who will live in the room that we're hard at work on. She's the one who needs diapers and is who everyone is so anxious to meet. She's the one her grandmas will not give up once they get their paws on her. She's going to be our daughter. She's not always going to be a baby - she will be a little girl and an adolescent and an adult and an old lady. As much as I can feel a baby moving and shifting and turning inside of me, this is the baby who will be the real one.
There are times when my babies collide.
Hypothetical baby in the crib becomes my actual baby as I feel the alien kick me and my dinner comes back to greet me and I think of the recent study showing a link between heartburn and hair.
Alien baby comes to life during ultrasounds and I can see her legs kicking me as I feel them kicking me, and I know she's not indigestion or a cat or something, and the doctor refers to the actual birth of this actual baby and even though I am able to speak clearly to him, my mind is a little fuzzy with the idea that it's all somehow related.
Even as my due date gets closer and things become more real and I'm more and more convinced that I'll be bringing home an actual, live baby, there's still some of that disconnect between what I feel in my body and what I know in my mind and what I feel with my heart.
I wonder if, on her birth day, this baby will become one whole as I am finally able to put the pieces together.