Kicking Me From Both Sides

The first time I felt her kicking I was lying in my cousin's guest bed in San Francisco, trying to find a comfortable sleeping position. I took this photo the next day, one in my collection of weekly(ish) belly shots I've been taking since week six:

That's my cousin, Erica in the background. Hi, Erica!

I don't remember how far along I was the first time I felt Archer kicking but I feel like it was much later than sixteen/seventeen weeks, or perhaps he had been kicking me for a while and I just assumed it was gas. The second pregnancy you kind of just know more I feel like.

With Archer, my pregnancy was very lonely. I was barely twenty-three, a child, myself. I had no friends with children, had spent little time with babies and knew not what to expect at the end of the nine-month gestation. I wrote Archer letters, asked him questions, played him music, could not imagine his face or how it would feel to hold him in my arms, to watch him grow from tiny dancer to human being. (I have questions for her, too, of course, but this time, they do not come from a place of fear.)

This time, I'm not lonely. I have friends with children and am suddenly surrounded by babies. I have a community of mothers and parents I turn to, reading their words, relating, feeling support from. I have a best friend on the same journey. I have more than a vague idea of what I'm going to experience the moment I meet my new baby for the first time...

...So clearly I remember the moment Archer emerged, covered in guts and was handed to me. Shock and awe.

Awe that grew more and more punch-drunk through the weeks, months, years that followed.

Fall: 2005.

And now, three-years later, never have I been more in awe of him or anyone.

There's something very special about this pregnancy. Something I wasn't prepared for-- the double whammy of feeling the kicks of my unborn baby at the same time I'm wrestling with the one who was. Archer will always be my "baby" of course but he's a big kid, now. Old enough to pick out his clothes in the morning. Old enough to tell me "I'm being mean" when I tell him to put on his shoes before he goes outside. Old enough to ride the helicopter ride at the Del Mar Fair all alone.


The other night, Archer woke up screaming, so we let him come into our bed, sleep between us, like he did in his infancy, on a pillow between Hal and me, his little hands wrapped around my seemingly enormous fingers.

"Cu-doh me, Mommy," Archer said.

He turned his back to my chest and pulled my arm over his waist like a seat belt. And we lied like that until morning, the two of us as close as we could possibly be and yet... separate. Meanwhile, the baby was kicking me from inside, dragging her feet, poking a knee against my abdomen as Archer squirmed in my arms.

Such moments produce feelings I will most likely never experience again: holding such loved life in my arms and my body, Archer's hands pulling on mine on the outside, as foot-taps on the inside become familiar.

I'm getting to know you by the way you move inside me.

Week twenty-four

Clearly I am most excited about this pregnancy because of Archer. Because he was once kicking the same walls she is. And now, three and a half years later I have this perfect little person by my side, bouncing in my lap, rocking my world, loving me back, which can only mean that very soon, she will be too. And preparing to fall in love all over again?

Love on horseback.

I can't begin to imagine something better in all of life.

GGC

34 comments:

MamaVee | 12:07 PM

This is such a beautiful post, it has made me cry like a crazy person in the coffee shop. Thank you!

Listen Up, MoFos! | 12:38 PM

Awesome post, so well said! I have a 19 month old and I often wonder if I could love anyone else as much. I think it is possible, it's just maybe different? Meaning we love different things in our children and about them, but we love them just as much. But what do I know. Congratulations on your pregnancy, you are very sweet.

zakary | 1:01 PM

I totally know where you are coming from. I also was scared shitless and pregnant at 23. I had no idea what the hell was going on. It didn't work out with my daughter's dad (he's gay...seriously) and 8 years later I am a kick ass mom with an amazing little girl and new baby.

I do know that your daughter will be the total hotness because you guys make lovely babies!

Yvie | 1:01 PM

:) Beautiful. And Archer is so adorable, look at how much he's grown.

I am so with you on this one. At 25, I was the only girl in my group of friends who had a baby. Everyone was single and could not understand what I am going through. Thank goodness for internet, it makes us all Moms come together. :D

Rikki | 1:26 PM

First time poster here! Hi!

I went through the exact same things with my two rugrats.

I actually bawled like a sissy-girl when I had to go to the hospital to give birth to my second. Not because I was scared, but because I was so sad it would be the last time I had my firstborn all to myself.

Don Mills Diva | 2:01 PM

I love this post. I can't wait to get pregnant again because I feel like it will seem so much less abstract the second time around because I have tangible PROOF that the baby I am carrying is going to turn into a person...

avb | 2:46 PM

So beautiful, I had to email this post to my mom.

xAshley

Heather | 2:56 PM

I'm twenty eight, and the only one of my friends with a baby! They're all finally getting knocked up now, and when they come to me for advice I laugh and laugh. When did I become a fountain of knowledge?

Any.Way. This post kicks ass. I am so scared of having another child (for a variety of reasons), but the whole love thing...it terrifies me. The pulling in two directions, the desire to devote to a second child the way to did to your first...I don't know how I will do it. So I'll just keep my eyes on you and see how it's done. ;-)

Anonymous | 3:11 PM

your blog is amazing. your son is beautiful.im in my mid 20s and no where near having a child. but i love your blog and i cant wait to be a mother (in a few few few few years) =)

SciFi Dad | 6:07 PM

Such an amazing post... it captures the innocence of first time parents (all first time parents, not just young-ish, surprised ones) and the knowledge that first child offers when the second comes along.

Beautifully written.

Petunia Face | 6:18 PM

I don't know if I'll ever have a second baby, both for reasons of timing and money. But this post is making me re-think that position. Beautiful...

Ali | 6:57 PM

"Because he was once kicking the same walls she is"

ah. love that.

Rachel F | 8:30 PM

So, Bec, you really let him wear Crocs?

Shannon | 10:26 PM

Such an amazing post Rebecca. *sniff*

Just wait until you see your firstborn fall in love with their sibling. It makes all of the struggles of the early days of trying to balance 2 children, and somehow spilt yourself in 2, so incredibly worth it. I know it sounds totally cliche, but your love grows exponentially. I have found that my youngest has reminded me of all the sweet moments I had with the oldest. When he started crawling it brought back all of these memories of my first being at that stage. I had forgotten so much of that, especially when surviving the terrible 2's (&3's), and having a baby again has restored a lot of the tenderness to my relationship with Caleb.


/mushy stuff.

And you will be kissing the ground the maker of Croc's walks on come August. Big baby belly+heat+bending down to put shoes on= TORTURE. Let him rock the Crocs, they make life easier.

Cara | 4:25 AM

You really hit the nail on the head. I started to cry. I also remember that same feeling, holding my toddler while feeling the baby inside.

Ashley | 6:21 AM

Love this. Love how you pull things that we are feeling deep out of our gut and into words. It's like you're a Heart Translator.

*HUGS*

mama's got moxie | 6:34 AM

awwwww... that was so beautiful!!!

The Mommy | 8:05 AM

Beautiful.

Erin | 8:32 AM

You definitely made me tear up. Thank you so much for sharing this. I'm not pregnant with #2 yet, but we're definitely thinking about it.. and I sometimes wonder, Will the pregnancy be as magical? Will I love a new little person as much as I love my son?
But I believe you've answered those worries for me.:)

Queenie | 8:48 AM

My daughter was 3 1/2 when was son was born and I totally agree with you that going through a pregnancy with a 3 year old by your side is way more fun then going through it alone. It's like a fireworks of firsts everyday with your 3 year old constantly discovering new things and becoming more independent and your baby growing inside of you.

Now my "baby" just turned 4 and my daughter finished 2nd grade and we are getting to the point of independence that we left off at when the "baby" was born, which is also a very exciting time!

BTW - love the picture of Archer on horseback. So cute!!

winomom | 9:23 AM

We've had four children now. I am still in awe of how big my heart can be. It just keeps growing with the capacity for love for each new life we're blessed with.

MadWoman | 1:29 PM

It's a wonderful feeling isn't it? I have two children and I remember being so much more at peace with the entire process the second time around.

Your heart will grow exponentially when that baby girl makes her appearance.

Love the pics by the way!

jaime | 2:24 PM

"I'm getting to know you by the way you move inside me." Wow. Bec, that was beautiful. And though slightly painful to read, because I most likely won't have that experience b/c of the genetic stuff, beautiful at the same time. Cherish every moment of it.

Don't you just love how kids make your heart expand infinitely?

Rogue | 9:39 PM

OH my god,you are so great! I love your blog!! I've linked to you, so drop me a note sometime...
and for my similiar experience... go read the blogs I wrote with baby girl. www.lemiye.vox.com
or you can drop by my current one. (the one I sign on with here.)
CONGRATS ON THE GIRL!! You're going to have fun!!

Mom101 | 6:20 PM

These are the moments that you'll be so glad you blogged because when you do forget (as you might - time has that sordid effect) you'll come here, read your beautiful, perfect words, and it will all come flooding back.

Lovely Bec.

Windy | 7:56 PM

wow girl I wished I would have been the first to read this one. This should be on the first page of her baby keepsake book (if you do things like that), However you probably have many other beautiful things to say besides this, you always keep me wanting to read more. Your gift of the written word is truly a blessing. Thank You for saying what all of us feel but can't find the words to explain.

kittenpie | 11:15 PM

Look at him!

And me, I'm finding the kicking different this time, and it's freaking me out a bit because I wonder if it doesn't indicate how much different his personality will be from my Pumpkinpie's. She would stretch languidly inside her pool of water and was a pretty calm kid, while this one, he is all jumps and jabs and energy already. Yikes.

Mariselle | 2:55 AM

Today I am scheduled to have my second baby at 1:30 this afternoon. The baby is also a girl and her brother is also three and half years old and let me just say, reading this post could not describe better on how I am feeling right this very minute about her and my boy. You are a wonderful, expressive writer and I wish you all the luck in the world!

Jessica | 2:45 PM

Beautiful

sean | 2:46 PM

Such nice things to say! Your children are very lucky!

Elisa | 3:03 PM

Isn't it amazing how a hug from our children can make us feel? Stella is finally sleeping in her crib so sometimes I have to fight my urder to lay down with her in the big bed so we can cuddle while she sleeps! because during the day she is mostly running around making a mess :-)

Rock and Roll Mama | 7:14 PM

Rebecca, that is gorgeous. I remember cuddling Ella while pregnant with Wyatt. and how she'd say, "That baby is kicking me!" And now she loves him soooo much. That's another great thing about the new one, is how much your big kid adores them. Sure, it can be rough at the get-go, but more because we have to let go of the big one being "the baby". Mine was fine with it, I had the problem!:)
Great post, sister.

Asianmommy | 5:06 PM

It is a wonderful feeling to stare at your older child and feel her wriggling in front of you while feeling little kicks inside you at the same time and imagining what the little one in there will look like someday. Thanks for reminding me.

Wendy Caffrey | 3:40 PM

I had my 3rd baby 4 months ago and when I was pregnant with him I wondered how I could possibly have room left to love him as much as the other 2. I wasn't as excited with the 3rd pregnancy because it was not in my "plans." But as soon as I felt him leave my stomach my heart grew bigger to accomodate love for him, too. I'm thinking that must be where all the baby weight is... my heart

www.notesfromthesleepdeprived.blogspot.com