Being pregnant again is no cake walk, as many of you already know. While I am not completely terrified 24 hours a day, I do think about her safety most of the time. I have begun keeping a kick-count chart per my doctor's orders. Three times a day, I have to sit with my feet up for an hour while I record the amount of times she moves. That's a tall order for a teacher. If she moves at least 10 times, I can stop counting. Usually, I can get all of her kicks in within the first 30 minutes. My students have been fairly cooperative with this new development, which is very helpful. However, if she kicks less than five times in an hour, I have to start over. If she still doesn't make ten kicks, I have to go to the hospital. That's a scary thing to specifically focus on three times a day. So far, so good though.
During the day, I'm fairly active and distracted with work and other things. She's always on my mind, but I can usually remember the last time I felt her move, so I can keep myself calm with those thoughts. Night is different. When I wake up in the middle of the night (and I do - every night), I don't know when she last moved because I was sleeping. I don't know how long it has been. I know I've been asleep for at least three or four hours, which already surpasses the two hour maximum for my kick counts. A study I read once, which was a terrible thing to do now that I think about it, said that the majority of cord deaths that occur before birth occur between the hours of 2am and 4am while the mother is asleep. Looking back on this, that was probably what happened with Kenley. She left me in the very early hours of Sunday morning. I can't let the same thing happen to Bean. It's probably why my body won't let me sleep at that time. I wake up every night without fail. I can't lose her too. I just can't.
So, the darkness and I have become old friends. It greets me with a soft silence when I wake. In the darkness, I lay my hand upon my belly and will my daughter into moving, trying my hardest to stay calm, but often failing. Once she reassures me that she's not going anywhere, I can settle back in with a little calmness - into the still of the night.