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Dear baby, if you were born today you might live.

You would be the tiniest doll-like thing, and you’d spend months behind glass in the hospital being more wires and machines than baby, but it’s possible. You are officially grown enough now to have a chance even if the worst happens.  

Luckily, there is no reason to believe that you’re coming out any time soon. In fact, you seem to be very comfortable in my ever-growing belly. Your kicks feel stronger by the day, and you’re always stretching and turning and moving about as if to tell me that I shouldn’t be silly, you are perfectly fine, and you’re only coming out when you’re good and ready!  

But still I felt a little sigh of relief on crossing this date. The first threshold, the magic number that turns ‘nothing to be done’ into ‘here is your baby’. Every week more makes the maybe of you into a reality, and that’s something to be celebrated.

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One year ago we started this blog and went public with our desire to have a baby.

It was scary. We weren’t sure how everyone would take it with us being two women. We had done our research and we had an inkling about exactly how complicated it all would be, but most of it was in front of us still. I remember telling Jo that I didn’t think I would have much to write about! 

I was wrong though. There was the baby-making speed date I had gone on back when we considered co-parenting with a gay man and having a  baby that way. There were the completely different dilemmas when we changed our mind to using donor sperm. The most logical place to go do that was in a local hospital, so we went for a fertility consultation at the UZ Gent, and left overwhelmed by their demands and questions.

We thought about fertility, and what it all meant. Jo blogged about why she doesn’t want to be pregnant, and she will tell you that no, seeing me go through it has not changed her mind at all!

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Assuming I will make it to 40 weeks of pregnancy, I am now exactly in the middle. The baby is half-baked, like a pan of brownies that’s still too sticky to take out of the oven *g*

Considering our last experience with a horrible gynaecologist I was less than enthused about seeing yet another doctor, but at 20 weeks a structural scan is recommended to see how the baby is developing. We did want to have another look at this little one and we received a recommendation from the midwives of a ‘kind’ doctor at a completely different hospital, so one more try…  

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The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning these days is to press my hand against my belly and ask the little one whether she’s awake, too.

Usually she noticeably moves then, and I smile because how could you not? There is another human growing inside of me! It’s still a mind-blowing concept to me that she’s actually in there. My body holds two now, I am less alone than I have ever been.

But in truth pregnancy has been isolating as well.

I had assumed the opposite, I was so sure this would bring me closer to everyone around me, but maybe I was naïve. Other than my mother and grandparents not a single relative of mine has congratulated us or even acknowledged that there is a baby coming. The same is true for some of my more distant friends. No calls, no emails, no texts, not even a Facebook like. So many people who matter to me have been notable in their absence of saying anything. And their silence sounds deafening.

Even with the people who are close, (and there are still those luckily!), it has been more complicated than I thought. Jo has never been pregnant nor does she want to be, so I am left with trying to describe to her what it feels like, but I’m not always sure I do it justice.

It’s like everyone is on one side of a mountain top, looking at a normal, average sort of sunset. The kind that’s nice enough, but there are hundreds of them. Only I suddenly find myself on the other side of the mountain, and it’s storming there, strong winds are nearly blowing me over, dark heavy clouds, the ground rumbles, and the sky, oh it’s brilliant orange and violet beyond anything I’ve ever seen, it’s overwhelming and terrifying and gorgeous!

But when I walk back to the other side and I try to explain to the others watching the normal sunset what just happened to me, some of them say ‘well it was your choice to go out there, what did you expect?’ Others nod when I tell them about it, but their eyes glaze over after a few sentences. Even with the ones who try to listen, I can’t fully explain what it was like. I desperately want to but I can’t seem to find the right words to make them feel it, too.

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At exactly sixteen weeks and two days pregnant, I felt baby Sunshine moving!

I had been trying to feel something for weeks already, usually when lying in bed at night, pressing my hand this way and that, trying to feel the slightest of sensations. A few times in the last couple of weeks I felt like there was something, a buzz or tickle or a soft little shift under my skin. But it was so small that it might as well be imagined, and I just couldn’t be sure. 

Until now! I was in the bath, holding a hand on my belly, when I felt the fluttering feeling in one particular spot. I kept my hand there, and it came back, I felt it again. And again. For a good fifteen minutes I could feel the baby move every few seconds.

It’s different from what I imagined, there is no discernible kicking yet at this point, it’s like a fish swimming up to the edge of a pool. Like gently moving some popcorn from one hand to the next. Small, barely perceptible taps. It’s like the tiniest elf is writing in Morse code on the inside of my skin. I wonder what she’s saying.

I felt surprisingly emotional feeling it. Someone is alive in there!

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