OK, first, about the Buzzy thing--I'm so sorry. I didn't mean for this to happen. You needed an in utero name, and first it was Party Boy (which is totally your dad's fault and I had nothing to do with), but that didn't really suit you, since you were so insistent so early on that I should have no fun and feel like crap. So, Erin christened you Baby Buzzkill, and it stuck. I am very much hoping that once you're born and have an actual name, the Buzzy thing will be but a distant memory, but I kinda suspect it's gonna hang on, at least in some circles.
Speaking of your name, I suppose I should also tell you that I wanted, for a few days, to name you Waylon. Your dad wouldn't let me. However, I did get the promise of a basset hound named Waylon down the line, so all is not lost.
Now then, the timing of this letter: I intended, last fall when I first got knocked up, to write you a letter monthly and save them all for you, because I thought it would be fun not only for me to record how this pregnancy thing goes, but for you, one day, to read about what it was like for me when you were on the inside. Clearly, since you've been hanging out in there for nine months and this is Letter #1, I fell down on the job. I blame the five months of puking, followed by the four months of swollen feet and anxiety. Better late than never, right?
Actually, I think I've been avoiding writing not just out of laziness and distraction, but because I don't want you to feel bad for what I'm going to say about being pregnant. That's dumb, though, because by the time you read this, you'll be smart enough to know you had nothing to do with it (though I have to tell you the truth, kid, I do sometimes feel like you're just in there fucking with me). Hopefully by the time you're old enough to ask me about it, I'll have forgotten just how much I hated pregnancy. Or I'll lie. But the truth is that being pregnant with you has been god-awful miserable and I've more or less hated every minute of it. For the first trimester-and-a-half, I was horribly sick. I lost almost 40 pounds. I couldn't eat and I threw up all the time. So it wasn't an auspicious start. Since then, it's been better, but those happy, fun second trimester side effects, like energy and glowing skin and increased sex drive? I didn't get them. Instead, I got massively swollen feet (and that, more than anything, is what has had me believing you do have some hand in this and you're just messing with me), anxiety, and high blood pressure. Now, with less than three weeks to go before you're supposed to show up, I'm just plain miserable. I don't look that big, but I feel enormous, I weigh more than I ever imagined I could (those 40 pounds came back, and brought friends), I can't sleep, I can't get comfortable, my feet are so swollen I have to wear flip flops everywhere, I've been relegated to the most atrocious clothing imaginable, and you insist on moving in the most uncomfortable way possible several times an hour, just to make sure I still know you're there. Some people don't mind being pregnant. Some people even like it. Your mom hated it.
All of that said, there is something (God help me for using this word) magical happening right now. You're on your way--the midwife told me yesterday that she'd be surprised if you were late--and we are, about as much as we're ever going to be, ready for you. We have all of the endless baby crap we need, and lots that I'm sure we don't. Your turquoise room is painted, your sleeping places are put together, your car seat is installed. We've been making a place for you in our lives for months, shifting our priorities around the same way my organs are being shifted around, so you'll fit, and now it's mostly done. All that is really missing is you.
Even after carrying you around for all of these weeks, it's still hard for me to picture you in there, growing, getting hair, starting to move down towards the exit. What I can picture, however, and have started picturing on the regular, is what you'll look like once you're on the outside. Will you look like Mark, or like me? In my mind, I've got features picked out for you, a mix of his and mine--you're a blonde baby (though I know your Grandma Irene would be especially pleased if you defeated the odds and came out red-headed), with a nose like Mark's and a mouth like mine. You come out blue-eyed, as white babies tend to do, but you end up carrying on the hazel-eyed gene I got from my dad. You are a big baby, with long fingers and toes. I know, though, that as soon as I see what you are really like, I'm not even going to remember how I imagined you'd be. You'll be exactly what you're supposed to be.
And will you be a boy or a girl? It's a subject of endless debate, though very little of it is actually between Mark and I, both of whom seem content either way. I've said since the beginning that I thought you were a girl, and I still do, though the feeling isn't particularly strong either way and I won't be surprised if you're a boy. Mark says he thinks you're a boy, but he's not convinced either way, either. My mom is sure you're a boy--she thought your 20-week ultrasound picture looked "masculine." I am reproducing said picture here just to show you how ridiculous that really is:
Yeah. Grandma Penny is a nutter.
I've been trying to figure out if, deep down, I want you to be a girl or a boy. I've always said I wanted a boy, since somebody raising boys into a new kind of men is the only way I can see any hope for the survival of our species. Turns out, though, when it's not an abstract concept anymore, I don't care so much about the survival of our species--I can imagine you fondly in any sex. I try to tease a preference out of myself, but I really can't find one.
One thing I do have a preference about, and I get about as much say in this as I do in your sex, is that you hold off your arrival until my mom gets here. I know it's important to her to be here, and it's important to me to have her here. (It's also important, most important, maybe, to your dad, who does not want to have to deal with me in labor alone.) She's coming five days before your due date, so if you can just not decide to start life as a pathologically early child, that would be great. Right on your due date would be super, but anytime during that week would work out very nicely. I tend towards the slightly late side myself, in general, so I'll probably consider it an annoyance, but also a sign that you're like me, if you hold out a few extra days. If you go buck wild and wait until the 4th of July to be born, I promise not to name you Amerika or anything, though I probably will be pretty cranky by then.
I've mentioned my anxiety a couple of times, and it's true that it's gone a bit off the rails over the past few weeks. I worry about every possible thing I could do wrong once you're here, and then I worry about the things I don't know I could do wrong and thus don't know to worry about. This is, I'm told, well within the realm of normal, though it feels a bit pathological to me. I guess anytime you embark upon something this big, and this new, you're bound to have a few pre-performance jitters. Oddly enough, the only thing I am not worried about is labor. I figure that will sort itself out, one way or the other, and the idea of pain doesn't keep me up at night nearly so well as the idea of incompetence. Then again, I may not know how to be a mom yet, but you don't even know how to be a human, so maybe you should be the one anxious one? I promise I'll help you figure it out if you do the same for me.
I guess I should explain, before I go, why this letter is here, on this blog, instead of written in longhand in a box somewhere to give to you when you turn something-teen/on your wedding day/the day of the birth of your first child/some other auspicious occasion. Mostly because I am a member of the computer generation and writing longhand hurts my hand. Also because I write better for an audience, and I'm not good with delayed gratification. You're my intended audience, but it's going to be years before you ever read this, and even then I'll probably get a completely underwhelming reaction (I'm picturing a teenaged you complaining about me being long-winded--please don't ever get the haircut I am picturing you having). This blog is where I store my stuff, random collection as it is, and it seems like as good a place as any to put this, for now. I promise that once you get big enough for the things I write about you to potential be embarrassing, I will re-think this Internet open book strategy.
As I close this letter, you've started to move around in my belly after being calm for the last hour or so. You must know I am thinking of going to bed--you're kind of a brat that way. You are big enough that your body parts are creating weird alien lumps, so that my stomach is rarely a smooth globe anymore. Right now, something I assume to be your butt looks an awful lot like a tumor just to the left of my belly button. What? I said I'd not write things that might embarrass you later, not now. As long as you're still in my body, you're totally fair game.
I can't wait to meet you. It's the thing I'm looking forward to second most in the world right now. After not being pregnant anymore. Or maybe it's the other way around...