At 26 weeks I’m starting to become more and more baby-focused as opposed to pregnancy-focused. I spent my first trimester constantly checking for signs that I was indeed pregnant and staying pregnant, taking countless home pregnancy tests between my earliest appointments. I was so excited but afraid to let myself be so excited.

Then there was a month or so when my online pregnancy groups were filled with hopeful picture posts from women asking each other, “Is this a bump or am I just bloated?” and I jumped right on that band wagon. I FELT pregnant, but could anyone else tell?

Now that my belly is definitely a bump, it’s becoming very real. This is my third pregnancy; I lost my first son Brayden at 24 weeks, then had my first rainbow, Ainsley, and am now pregnant with my second rainbow, a boy. With Brayden, I hadn’t started packing my hospital bag yet, so I stayed at the hospital for six days following his stillbirth with just a few things from home I had asked my family to bring. With Ainsley, I researched every hospital bag checklist I could find to make sure I wouldn’t forget anything, all the while completely convinced that I would not be bringing home a living baby. With every preparation: setting up her crib, taking newborn size diapers out of their packaging and stacking them neatly on the shelf of her changing table, washing and packing her clothes for the hospital, I thought, “Wow, this is really going to be tough if something happens to this baby, too.” But I kept doing it. Part of me was indulging that biological nesting force while the other part was in denial that this could really happen, that we could ever really take a living baby home with us.

But she was in fact born healthy, crying, and placed in my arms immediately after an urgent induction and relatively smooth labor and delivery, to my biggest relief. And though I have one live birth under my belt now, two and a half years later this all feels in some ways completely new again. I started making a new list of things to pack for my hospital bag and I have some sweet baby boy outfits picked out (in different sizes just in case he is bigger or smaller than we think). They are so soft and so sweet. There is so much hope wrapped up in such a small amount of fabric. Just picturing and imagining a living baby boy wearing them – it has brought this pregnancy to a different point for me.

I especially love feeling his kicks and movements, and as a part-time working mom of a busy 2-year-old rainbow, I can always use a reminder to slow down long enough to really feel them. Today I put on some lullabies as I rocked back and forth in my glider chair, watching my daughter play in her bedroom. I first downloaded them when I was pregnant with Brayden. Many of them are lullaby versions of rock songs I loved in high school and college, and when I found them I thought it was so neat that they even existed. I remember being pregnant with Brayden, listening to this same music, rubbing my belly and hoping he could hear it. My husband Matt and I are both musicians so how fun would it be to help foster a love of music in him before he was even born? When we lost him a couple weeks later, I couldn’t bear to hear those lullabies for a long time. I didn’t even listen to them once during my pregnancy with Ainsley. But I did for the first time again while nursing her when she was a couple weeks old, letting fall some tears in awe and disbelief that she was really here.

And now here we are again. Me, a baby, and these lullabies. Tuning in instead of blocking out. I’m enjoying this moment with him, this one special moment in time that we very much wanted. I still don’t know for sure what will happen, just as I didn’t during my first rainbow pregnancy. But I do have a lot of hope, and no matter what, this child is already mine anyways. He is already loved, so I will keep taking these big and small leaps of faith in the hopes that he can feel it.

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