posted by groovychicklisa
Finally, it was December nineteenth, and I was free from the stares and whispers for two glorious weeks. Renée and Phil flew up the día before navidad Eve; I was looking adelante, hacia adelante to all of us spending the holidays together for the first time.
"Look at you!" Renée exclaimed as Charlie and I met them at the airport in Port Angeles. She pulled me into a bone breaking hug. "You've really got that pregnancy glow going. Hi Charlie." I heard Charlie mumble a greeting in return behind me.
"I know." I hugged her back tightly.
Angela had told me the same thing a couple of weeks earlier, but I had insisted that the whole "pregnant women glow" thing was just something someone had come up with to make tu feel less like an oversized hippo. Which, por the way, did not work.
Angela had promptly googled it and announced that it was no such thing. It had to do with the corazón rate picking up and increasing the volume of blood, o something. I still didn't see it, though.
"Hey, Bella, good to almost see you. Charlie." Phil piped up from behind the overloaded luggage carro he was pushing in front of him. I peeked around the bags to get a look at him.
"Hey Phil. Did tu bring your entire wardrobes?" There were three large suitcases and a number of paper bags on the cart.
"No, silly, they're navidad presents." Renée said, looping her arm with mine and following Charlie towards the exit, Phil tagging along behind us, trying to maneuver the carro without hitting anyone.
"All of them?" I sighed. "Mom, did tu not hear me tell tu to not go over the top? tu can't afford all this!"
"The wonder of outlet malls, honey."
Renée had been sending baby stuff on a weekly basis lately; clothes, bibs, toys, bottles, pacifiers, anything she could think of. And now this.
"You'll be filing for personal bankruptcy if tu keep this up." I complained.
"Don't worry, Bella, I've got everything under control." Phil assured me, catching up to us in the parking lot. "Your mom's just excited."
"She can't be excited somewhere other than Toys'R'Us?" I replied, spotting a big bag from the store precariously perched on parte superior, arriba of a suitcase.
"Oh, come on." Renée poked me in the ribs. "Don't be such a spoil sport. It's Christmas."
I was grateful for everything she got me, really. It meant that I didn't have to spend as much money. But I didn't want her to waste her entire salary on stuff for me and the baby.
"I'm sorry mom. Thanks." I tried to amend as we watched Charlie and Phil try to fit everything into the el maletero, tronco of the cruiser. They didn't succeed completely, and a few bags had to be stuffed into the backseat with Renée and Phil.
They weren't sleeping at the house, since it would be a little crowded for the four of us, and probably más than a little awkward. We stopped por the cama and breakfast where they were staying on the way to the house, and dropped off their luggage.
"I see you've started baby proofing the place." Renée noted as she entered the house.
"It's all dad." I replied, and saw Charlie turn a little red.
"Well, we can't have open electrical sockets and sharp edges when the kid starts crawling around." He muttered before heading into the kitchen.
"He was the same with you." Renée told me. "The entire place was done six months before tu were even born. I swear, if I hadn't stopped him, he would have wrapped everything, including me, in bubble wrap."
I didn't have trouble picturing that, and laughed. Charlie's overprotective side seemed to grow at the same speed as my belly.
"He means well." I defended him.
"He does." Renée agreed. "He just goes a bit over the top."
"And are tu the pot o the kettle?" I replied, eyeing the navidad presents that she was arranging under the árbol in the corner of the room.
"Oh, shush you." She put the last brightly wrapped parcel in place and stood up. "So, the ultrasound is on Monday, right?" She had managed to get enough time off so she would be able to go with me to my check-up the following week.
"And have tu decided if tu want to know the sex yet?"
"I've decided that I can't decide, so I'm going to wait until then and just go with my gut." I had finally dado up trying to make up my mind on the subject.
"Sounds smart." Renée nodded. "And is anyone moving around in there yet?"
"Not yet." Doctor Jamieson had told me that I could expect to start feeling movement around twenty weeks, but so far there had been nothing. She had also dicho that I probably wouldn't know what it was at first, so I could have missed it.
"Don't worry, it'll come."
And it did. Renée and Phil came over early on navidad día morning, and we were opening presents when I felt something weird. I froze in position, hands reaching for a box, and concentrated on the feeling.
"What's wrong, honey?" Renée asked in a concerned tone.
"Hang on." I sat up straight and pressed my hand to the area where I thought I'd felt something. And there it was again. "It feels like butterflies." I mumbled quietly.
"You can feel the baby moving?" Renée was quickly at my side, her hand covering mine.
"I think so." I removed my hand so Renée could feel it too.
"Oh, she's definitely moving." Renée was, like Angela and I, convinced that the baby was a girl. "Hey, baby, it's Grandma. I hope you're nice and comfy in there." She rubbed the spot on my stomach.
I was surprised at how easily Renée had adopted the term Grandma. I had been expecting her to refuse, saying that it made her feel old, but she seemed to be really looking adelante, hacia adelante to it.
"She has perfect timing, doesn't she?" Renée noted. The fluttering stopped, and she removed her hand from my belly.
"Best navidad present ever."
rosado, rosa o Blue?
I went over to Angela's place later on navidad día to exchange presents. Mrs. Weber opened when I knocked on the door.
"Merry Christmas, honey. How are tu doing?" She stepped aside and I passed her to get into the house.
"I'm good, thank you." She took my parka, and ushered me ahead of her into the living room.
"Hey Bella, Merry Christmas." Angela greeted me from the couch. She was playing some kind of video game with her brothers.
"Merry Christmas." I replied, joining her on the couch.
"Would anyone like some hot chocolate?" Mrs. Weber asked from the kitchen.
"Sure mom." Angela replied.
"That would be nice, Mrs. Weber." It was freezing outside.
Angela paused the game, under wild protests from her brothers, and we went into the cocina to drink the hot chocolate.
"That's a pretty necklace." Angela noted, pointing at the silver corazón charm that was dangling against my stomach.
"Renée gave it to me, it's a baby chime." I moved the chain, and a low, chiming sound filled the air. "The sound is supposed to be soothing for the baby."
"That's really cool."
We finished the chocolate and headed out of the kitchen. In the middle of the stairs, I felt the fluttering movement in my belly again, and I grabbed Angela's arm, pulling her to a stop.
"What is it?" She wondered, but I just pressed her hand to the spot on my stomach. After a moment, her eyes went wide. "She's moving!"
"Yeah. I felt it for the first time this morning."
"Wow." Angela pressed her hand harder against the fluttering. "It feels kind of like a pescado moving."
"I think it's más like butterflies." I replied, and she nodded.
"You're right. And a much nicer image, too."
We continued up the stairs and into Angela's room. I pulled my present out from my bag and handed it to her.
"Merry Christmas." I dicho with a smile.
She pulled a box from underneath her cama before taking my present.
"Merry Christmas. tu have to open the box first; it's not your actual present, just a funny thing I couldn't resist."
I saw that there was an envelope attached to the box and removed it before tearing off the wrapping paper. I couldn't help but laugh out loud.
"Does it look good?" I pulled the t-shirt over my head. The words BUN IN THE horno was written on it. "Because it's just not obvious enough as it is."
"You don't have to wear it." Angela laughingly promised. "It was just a funny thing."
"I amor it, thank you." I gave her a one-armed hug.
"OK, time for the real presents."
She unwrapped the small box I had dado her, and I opened the envelope to reveal a gift certificate of some kind.
"Thank you, this is going to be great!" She exclaimed.
I had gotten her two tickets to a concierto in Seattle with a band that I knew both she and Ben liked. I pulled a card from the envelope and my eyes went wide.
"Oh my God, Ang, this is amazing." It was a gift certificate for a massage at Renaissance in Port Angeles.
"They have something called MoMA, that's supposed to be great when you're pregnant. I figured you'd probably get tons of baby stuff anyway, and I thought tu would like something that was just for you."
"Thank tu so much." I hugged her tightly. A massage sounded heavenly.
I was working a couple of hours the following Monday, before my doctors appointment at four. Mike greeted me with a cheerful "Merry Christmas" as we met in the parking lot.
We didn't work together during the school week, and it was a nice change to get to hang out with him for longer than a couple of minutes, and without having to worry about Jessica mostrando up. There weren't many customers in the store, and we spent most of the time sitting on the counter, talking about this and that. It felt good to know that Mike had meant what he'd dicho that día in Gym – he was actuación just like always around me, like nothing had changed.
"Are tu heading out soon?" Mike asked in the afternoon.
I glanced at the clock on the muro and saw that it was a little after half past three.
"Yeah, I should probably get going. Do tu need me to come back after I'm done at the hospital?" I climbed down from the counter as I spoke.
"Nah, I think I'll close up soon, anyway. The place is dead." He was right; there hadn't been a customer in the store since right after lunch.
"OK." I grabbed my bag. "I guess I'll see tu tomorrow, then."
"See tu tomorrow." Mike agreed. "And hey, bring a picture!" He called after me.
"I will." I waved as I left the store.
Charlie and Renée met me in the parking lot at the hospital, and we walked through the corridors together. Doctor Jamieson was already in her office when the nurse let us in.
"Hello Bella, Chief." She smiled at us. "And a new addition, I see."
"I'm Renée, Bella's mom." The two women shook hands.
"Ah, visiting over Christmas, I suppose?"
"Exactly. Thought I'd tag along."
"That's perfectly fine, as long as Bella's OK with it." Doctor Jamieson nodded at the paper vestido lying on the cot. "You know the drill."
I quickly went behind the curtain and donned the vestido before getting on the scale.
"121, that's good." Doctor Jamieson nodded in approval, and I took that as a sign to get off the scale. She quickly checked my blood pressure as well, and it was still OK.
Charlie slipped quietly from the room as I got into the examination chair, but Renée came over to stand siguiente to me.
"Have tu felt any movement yet?" The doctor asked as she pulled on some rubber gloves.
"Yeah, just a couple of days hace actually." I told her.
"Exciting, isn't it?" I knew she was trying to distract me from what she was doing, and happily played along.
"It felt a little like butterflies."
"I've heard that analogy." She nodded. "You'll probably feel a lot más of that in the siguiente months, and tu might even be able to see it."
Doctor Jamieson finished the examination and tossed the rubber gloves before taking down one of the pictures that were covering the muro behind her escritorio and handing it to me.
"Wow." It was a picture of someone's very pregnant stomach, and right siguiente to the belly button, there was the distinct imprint of a tiny foot.
"It's pretty amazing." She put the foto back on the wall. "OK, time for the fun stuff."
I quickly got dressed while Renée went to get Charlie and Doctor Jamieson got the ultrasound machine ready.
"OK, let's see here…" She moved the probe around a little. "There we go." The fluttering sound from last time once again filled the room. "Nice, strong heartbeat, sounds just like it should."
"Can tu see if it's a girl o a boy?" Renée wondered impatiently, and Doctor Jamieson nodded.
"Do tu want to know?" She gave me an inquisitive look.
"Yeah." I decided spontaneously.
"Well, then I can tell you, perhaps not with a hundred per cent certainty, but at least ninety nine o so… that you're having a girl."
"Really?" I felt a smile spread on my face.
"Oh, I knew it!" Renée squeezed my hand.
"I'll print a couple of pictures for you." Doctor Jamieson left the room.
"This is so exciting." Renée exclaimed as I slid off the cot. "Why aren't tu más excited?"
"I am, mom, I'm just not as obvious about it as tu are."
"Leave the girl alone, Renée." Charlie said, reminding me of his presence. He had been so quiet during the ultrasound that I had almost forgotten that he was there.
"Thanks dad." I gave him a grateful smile.
We sat back down in the visitors' chairs, waiting for Doctor Jamieson to return.
"Here tu go." She dicho as she reentered the room, handing me a couple of photos. "I got a few extra, thought tu might need them."
The picture from the first ultrasound was already pinned to the fridge, and this one would registrarse it as soon as we got home.
"Thanks." I put the pictures into my bag, carefully so as not to damage them.
"I wanted to talk to tu about a couple of things today." Doctor Jamieson sat down behind her desk. "Have tu decided who tu want in the delivery room with you?"
"I'll be with her." Renée answered in my place. She had already told me that she was going to take time off from work to be here when the baby arrived, and I was very grateful for that.
"But tu don't live here, right?"
"No, but I'll be here."
"OK. I would also recommend that tu sign up for a Lamaze class; there's one starting in two weeks in Port Angeles." She took a folder from the escritorio and handed it to me. "It really helps with relaxation and breathing during the labor and birth. But you'll need someone to go with you."
"I'll ask a friend." I replied. Angela would no doubt come if I asked her, and I had a feeling that Charlie would be happy to be let off the hook.
"Good. It's a twelve week course, with a one hora class every Wednesday at six. All the information tu need is in the folder."
I'd have to talk to Mrs. Newton, but I was sure Mike wouldn't mind switching so I could have Wednesdays off every week.
"I think that's it for now." Doctor Jamieson said. "Leave a urine sample with Sarah, as usual, and I will see tu siguiente month."
Since I didn't need to go back to work, I stopped por Angela's on the way home.
"So?" She dicho expectantly as she let me in through the door.
"We were right." I beamed and handed her the picture from the ultrasound.
"It's a girl! Yay!" She was almost más excited than Renée had been, and that was saying a lot. "We need a girl!"
"Why do we need a girl?" I asked incredulously, still smiling – I hadn't been able to get the silly grin off my face since I had left the hospital.
"I don't know, aren't there enough guys walking around out there?" Angela replied, laughing.
"That doesn't make any sense whatsoever." I pointed out.
"I know. Come on, this calls for celebratory ice cream!"
She pulled me with her into the cocina and grabbed a tub of Phish comida from the freezer. I got a couple of spoons from a drawer and we went into the living room and curled up on the couch.
"Now we have to go baby shopping for real, no más beating about the bush!" Angela announced, pointing at me with her spoon. So far, I had only gotten neutral stuff, things that would work for both a boy and a girl. "I saw the cutest little dress last time we were at The Kids Closet."
"Saturday?" I suggested. "Everything's on sale now, and I need some new stuff too."
"Hey, Ang? I have a favor to ask."
"Well, I have to take this Lamaze class thing in Port Angeles, and someone has to go with me, and I really don't think Charlie would…"
"Of course I'll go with you." She interrupted.
"Really? Thank you." I squeezed her hand gratefully.
"When is it?"
"Wednesdays at six, it starts in two weeks."
"OK, no problem."
Angela turned on the TV, and we watched old reruns of friends for a while.
"Now tu can start to think about names." Angela noted a little later, when we were sitting at the cocina table, drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows. Or, in my case, eating marshmallows slightly dampened por hot chocolate.
"I have actually been thinking a little about that already." I replied.
"Really? Any good ones?"
"Well, there is one…" I paused. "I want her to have a name that means something, tu know. Not just something random."
"I get that." Angela nodded.
"My dad used to tell me this story when I was little, about his great grandmother Lily. She lived in Londres at the turn of the century, and when her husband died, she took her five children and went to America all por herself." I remembered asking him to tell me the story every night when I had visited in the summers. "She managed to make a new life for herself and her family with hardly any money, in a strange country, with nobody to help her. She's always been a kind of role model for me."
"Lily. Lily Swan." Angela seemed to taste the name. "I like it. And with a story like that…"
"I haven't talked to Charlie about it yet, but I think he'll like it."
"Do tu have a back up? They can't be a hundred per cent sure, can they?"
"Doctor Jamieson dicho about ninety nine per cent." I explained. "But no, not really."
The truth was, I had avoided considering the possibility that the baby wasn't a girl. It was just too easy to picture a little boy with bronze colored hair and bright, green eyes, and if I started down that road...
"You don't have to think about it now." Angela said, as if she knew where my mind had wandered off to.
"It's just… hard." I bit my lip against the familiar stab of pain. It had gotten better, but was still very much there when I let myself think – which wasn't often. I had perfected the art of repressing uncomfortable thoughts.
"I know." She squeezed my hand comfortingly.
"He didn't even tell me they were leaving until they actually were." It was the first time I talked about that day, but it felt like it was time to let go of the past and focus on the future. And I knew I needed to go through my memories in order to do that.
"Like, the same day?"
"Yeah." I nodded. "I'd known something was off, remember we talked about it? He dicho that he'd wanted to tell me, but that he just couldn't."
"What kind of excuse is that?" Angela huffed.
"That's what I thought too. So I got mad. I accused him of wanting to get out of our relationship, and using the mover as an excuse to be able to do that. He insisted that it wasn't like that, so I asked him what he'd thought would happen, saying that long distance relationships never worked."
"Oh, sweetie." She wrapped an arm around my shoulder, and I realized that I had tears in my eyes. But it didn't hurt as much to talk about it as I had thought it would.
"He didn't tell me where they were going. I guess I didn't give him a chance, attacking like I did. And when I finally called him, it was too late. His phone had been disconnected."
"Did tu try to call Alice?"
"Same thing. I even called information to get Rose's number in Seattle, but they didn't have a listing for her o Emmett o Jasper." I sighed. "I just assumed that they moved with the rest of the family. Wherever they went."
"I'm sorry. I know how hard this has been for you."
"It actually feels good to finally get it out there. I've been holding on to the memories of that día for too long. It's time to mover on. I have to." I ran a hand over my stomach. "If nothing else, then at least for her. She deserves that much."
"Good for you."
I gave her a weak smile. I hadn't completely gotten to the moving on part yet, but I was on my way.