Here I am at 33 weeks pregnant, my baby and my body as healthy as can be so far. I wish I could be celebrating, but truth be told some days I find myself cowering in fear, wondering when it will all turn south in the blink of an eye.

Libby's 33-week bump - When Will the Other Shoe Drop?

Author’s Personal Collection/Libby Valluzzi

Every little ache, every little medical check, wondering if this will be the day where something is discovered as clearly wrong.

I find myself hyper-vigilant and over-watchful of how my body feels, determined that this time if something goes wrong I will find out and save my baby. It chills me that I never knew anything was ever wrong when my first baby lay dead inside me for a week. My biggest fear is that something will go wrong and this baby will die because I had no idea that something was off. Hence the anxiousness and hypochondriac tendencies.

I had a good long phone conversation with my midwife (she truly is an amazing provider), and we really explored this topic. She offered continual phone support throughout the week, additional medical check-ins, and connections to other clients of hers who have been through pregnancy after loss. But most importantly, she held space for me, helping me sink deeper into my concerns and explore my heart. Then, she asked a simple question, “Well, what if the other shoe doesn’t drop?” I’ve never really considered that. I mean, I sure hope that everything goes smoothly and wonderfully these final weeks, but I’ve had a hard time truly envisioning it. I don’t want to set myself up for disappointment if it doesn’t turn out the way I wish it would.

Later that afternoon as I sat in the garden soaking in some rare northern-latitude sunshine, bare-bellied and teary, I rubbed my belly and talked to my baby.

“What if I just surrender and trust you? What if I just trust myself? I know you chose me for a reason, and I know that you trust me to be your mother now and forever. What if everything does go beautifully and well?”

So much is swirling in my head as the finish line draws closer. My hormones leave me tender and emotionally fragile. I feel in some ways unprepared for mothering a living infant and stepping away from my fiercely independent self. Plus, I keep trying to expand my to-do list of things that I’d like to get done (which are truly not important, in the grand scheme of it all). Most days I find my nervous system needs ample quiet, usually in the form of gardening alone for hours and listening to the birds with my cell phone tucked far far away. I am eternally grateful I have the time and space to encounter these difficult emotions and just give my spirit what it needs, and a husband that is more than happy to support me in all the ways possible. Goodness, it’s been a long 33 weeks.

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