Jelly Bean is growing like crazy as they are now about the size of a butternut squash. They are definitely starting to run out of room based on my increased rib pain. And at almost 4 pounds, they are starting to really pack a punch! We are finally in the home stretch with less than 2 months to go.

Let the countdown begin!

Emma's 31-Week bump - Counting Down

Author’s Personal Collection/Emma DeVanzo

Ever since the movement uncertainty last week, I have taken extra time each day to monitor baby’s movements. With them increasing in size, it is becoming easier and easier to pick up on every kick and stretch (though they are starting to become a bit uncomfortable). Despite all of the aches I feel, I know that baby is growing and therefore okay.

Looking back to February 2020 when I was 31 weeks pregnant with Austin, we were traveling to Ohio for our baby shower.

Our families came together from all over the surrounding states to show their love and support for our little growing family. Thanks to the timing of Covid, we have only been able to see a handful of those who were in attendance since the shower. Most of the country was quarantining at the time of Austin’s death, so we never entertained the idea of a memorial service. Instead, we mourned his death in insolation. As time passed and we were able to connect with folks individually, they were able to offer their condolences and we could share his story.

Austin's Baby Shower

Author’s Personal Collection/Emma DeVanzo

My biggest worry is that once Jelly Bean arrives, folks will stop asking about Austin.

There are so many people who I haven’t seen or interacted with since losing him. The first time I interact with anyone, I am instantly on edge, waiting for the moment. The moment when they share their condolences for the first time in person. The moment when they ask how I am doing. Or, if we have never met, the moment when they ask if this is our first child. And when that moment happens, I exhale with relief. They are (or will shortly be) acknowledging that Austin lived and acknowledging the pain and grief we have felt in losing him. No matter how much time goes by, I will never shy away from sharing his story. Our story. Being able to share his life and death and the love and grief that we have for him has been, and will continue to be, so important as I continue to heal my heart.

Over the weekend, we attended a newborn care class sponsored by our doula team.

We learned all about diapering, feeding, bathing, and general care of a newborn. The idea of having a baby and suddenly being the primary caregiver for this little human without any training always scared me. How do you know how to properly regulate their temperature? How do you know if they are diapering an appropriate amount? Or eating the right amount? How do you take all of the recommendations and opinions of so many people and figure out what is right for your baby? And most importantly, how do you make sure your baby is safe to prevent another loss? After completing the class, I feel like I have a better foundation to build upon. We will need to learn baby’s personality once they are Earth-side to know exactly what is best for them, but I feel more at ease knowing that we will be able to take care of them.  And I am counting down the days until I get to see their beautiful face.

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