As I am writing this note, I am 30 and you’ve not been born yet. I’m 27 weeks pregnant and my belly doesn’t really show a lot but you’ve already made me put on 13 kg, can you believe that?!
A couple of weeks ago, the doctors told me you’re still measuring small for your gestational age. And I also don’t feel you move very strongly because I have what they call a frontal placenta. I’m sure one day you’ll relate to everything I’m experiencing now. And you should, because pregnancy really is something!
I write this in English because that’s the language we now speak on the day-to-day. We live (and you’ll be born) in The Netherlands. I’m sure one day you too will learn to “live in English”. But to start with, I’d love to hear you speak Portuguese with me and Spanish with dad.
You’ll also notice I call you baby. That’s because we’re not sure of what your name will be. We have a couple of options and I’d love to know what you’ll answer to in a few months from now. But we can’t decide and so luck will have to make a decision for us! Yes, we’re literally throwing a couple of pieces of paper into a bag for me to pick one at some point on the day you’re born. Crazy mama you’ve got here, hein?
Now, as much as I’d love for you to have no idea of what I’ll be talking about next, I think it is both interesting and important that you know how you’ll be born during a mad time of pandemic. We call it Covid-19 because it is a disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus (yes, Corona, just like the beer you drink in Spain these days, but not related at all!), and it started in 2019.
I know! That’s an insane amount of time. And can you imagine that we’ve all (and I mean “worldwide all”) been wearing face masks and quarantining for the most part of it?
Some people joke that couples are now making more babies because they’re bored at home and “couldn’t respect the social distancing requirements”. But I promise you that you really were a project of ours. Ok, maybe being at home, together and less busy, also helped a little!
Oh, about being busy… I’ve lost my job shortly after I brought up the pregnancy news but before that, I’d been working from home for what would be a year now. Daddy is likely to lose his job too. We haven’t been in The Netherlands for very long and that doesn’t help.
Well, if it happens, we’ll move back to Spain a few months after you’re born and you’ll be raised in a much warmer part of the world. Wouldn’t that be cool too?
As much as we love our cute 100+-year-old Dutch home, where we live with Simba and Lili (your first-ever pets!), truth be told, this country is not for us! Don’t get me wrong though, we’ll definitely bring you here one day. You know, on holidays!
But we’ve already lived in so many places! We’re more than ready to set roots somewhere familiar.
Life as expats has brought wonderful experiences to us both. It even brought us together. But after 10+ years away from home, we’ve begun to feel like we need a nest. And you’re part of that nest too, of course! 😊 We’d decided not to have you before because we weren’t really living that kind of life yet. Having a stable long-term home with you will be a whole new adventure for all 3 of us!
I also wanted to tell you, again, how you will be born with an abdominal wall defect called Gastroschisis. But I hope this strange name means nothing to you by now. Hopefully, by the time you’re reading this, it’ll only be another one of those long, past-tensed stories that close friends and family might bring up from time to time.
I was 15 weeks pregnant last December when we went to a place called Echo Amsterdam, for what should have been a fun pregnancy scan. It wasn’t part of my care routine, but we were curious to see you again and hopefully know, on that day, whether you were a boy or a girl.
I really thought I was having a boy first, for some reason. No, it wasn’t a preference, just a feeling! But the technician told us you were a girl. We were ridiculously happy for a second there… until she saw something wrong on your body.
We left that appointment in tears and mourned for a few days. We read a lot about Gastroschisis, and cried all day long, certain that ending the pregnancy would be the next logical step.
But hey, here you are! And you know why? Because AMC is right there, in Amsterdam, and it just happens to be one of the best-known European medical centers for fixing this problem. From the moment we first set foot in there, the medical team has assured us that everything would be ok. And we chose to believe them!
We’ve also joined a group for Gastroschisis parents online, through a social media platform that we use now, called Facebook. It has been great to connect with parents and fellow pregnant women from all over the world and to learn that this “rare” defect is not so rare anymore. And it has been wonderful to see them post about their newborn babies who, very often, are nicely fixed and cared for.
Yes, as you will, they also stay in the hospital for a few weeks or months before going home. But many times, these babies leave with no future implications. I hope you’re one of those best-case scenarios.
I know you’ll be! I’ve had a feeling for a while now.
Thank you for reading this letter of love and hope to my future teen! Now, come along and check these out too:
- Honey Gift Boutique – recently started shop with unique gifts for Mom & Baby, including Gastroschisis awareness items, matching products, and birth announcements
- WeareTLC – among several other planners, journals, and printable inserts, also includes a large collection of pregnancy and motherhood planners