~ The Best Week Yet
Easily one of the best weeks of my life, even if it featured the ubiquitous emotional rollercoaster.
We had our 18-week scan and one word sums it up: normal.
I tell you, after the hell we endured last year, that is the best and only six-letter combination we wanted to hear.
The fact that we also found out it's a girl was icing on the cake, really, and we are just so happy.
I was incredibly nervous in the days leading up to the scan. The day before, I had even readied myself for bad news. Looking back I cannot believe I wasted so much energy imagining the detail of being ushered into a side room to be told there was a growth or an abnormality or that something anatomical wasn't where it should be.
I didn't think it would be as bad as before (Down Syndrome, serious heart defect), but I did honestly think it would be something big enough to cause us to worry for the next six months. Something even that might require surgery in utero - extreme, huh?
I think I have to accept that worry is unfortunately part of my make-up now. It is how I am drawn.
Day to day, I just need to learn how to handle it, control it, not let it get the best of me. But this time, I just expected something else to give me reason to worry.
The three of us finally entered the scan room, late, and our baby suddenly appeared on the screen on the wall.
This was exactly the same room I was in a year ago to have my amnio. This was almost exactly the same image I was looking at back then when I suddenly caught myself and told myself to look away, not get too attached or connect with this tiny being's movement too much, because I just knew it would all be taken away.
A year ago, on the very day we went in for our scan, we were in the same hospital a few hundred metres away preparing to terminate the pregnancy.
And yet that day, last week, I was trying to push those thoughts far away with as much force as I was remembering them.
The tug-of-war had me exhausted at the end of the day, utterly depleted.
But there was much to celebrate as the three of us sat in silence watching the doctor measure and scan and press popping buttons on a computer.
Jay was intrigued, Tracey was in awe and I, after asking if everything was alright (give me something!), burst into tears. Of course.
The scan was temporarily interrupted as my stomach heaved as I let out a particularly intense sob, causing the wand thing to lose contact with my contracting belly. But all was well.
Later at home, Jay and I played while Tracey went to work. I noticed he started getting a few of his toys and calling them his own babies, holding them and feeding them bottles. It was so damn adorable, the little man.
I took him to our local lake by the beach and we had the best time splashing in the shallows and building sand pools and castles. I think I was still walking on happy air at that point and he no doubt picked up on the vibe.
Just then, as the sun set and the light in the sky changed, the unmistakable squawk of the black cockatoo emerged from overhead.
I looked up and five of the massive, majestic birds silhouetted the clouds, right over our heads, their yellow cheeks flashing like war-plane markings as they went.
These are the same birds that appeared a year before when our baby died. I have felt a strong, ethereal connection to them ever since.
And here they were again.
Letting me know everything was right in the world.