Dear Evie,

You are already such an experience, every day, scary and thrilling.

Being pregnant was an abstract concept for a long while in the beginning. While there were some physical things to get used to (morning sickness – though I’ve been lucky in that regard, weight gain, the ‘bump,’ constant fatigue, etc), things didn’t seem quite real until I felt you kicking steadily. Not just one move here or there, but the now-daily bump and thump of you doing your business in there while I go about my business on the outside world, where you’ll soon join me. That’s only come up recently.

It’s exhilarating and frightening all at once.

You started as a speck and now you are the size of a mango! We found out about you when you were the size of a poppyseed, and now – mango! You used to be something that would have fit on my fingertip, and now you are the size of something I could hold in one whole hand! You are now the size of something edible that requires chewing, not something normally swallowed whole or something that gets stuck in my teeth! But you aren’t a mango, you are a baby, and you move and move and move and move.

Some days you are very still – Sunday was one of those days. I was a little concerned. Granted, I worked all day at work and I have a theory that when I am in constant motion, as I am at work, you are lulled to sleep, and when I am resting, you are up and at ’em. This is probably just the beginning of opposing sleep schedules for us! The next day, my day off, when all I did was housework and relax, you made up for all that lost time, kicking and thumping and punching and bumping and head-butting all. day. long.

People ask me if it’s uncomfortable. It’s not. It’s comforting, and reassuring, and sometimes sudden, and it’s weird, I’ll be honest, and when you kick my bladder I suddenly have to go, but it’s not uncomfortable. One time I got a ‘roller coaster’ feeling like one gets driving fast on a hilly, rolling country road that dips and swells with the land. I just wonder what you’re doing in there. Are you practicing karate? Are you swimming? Are you kicking soccer balls like your papa and your Overgrootmoeder? Are you riding a horse, like your mama? Are you dancing? What song do you like the best? Do you have a hard time falling asleep like I do? Are you tossing and turning while you sleep? Are you snuggling? Will you be such a squirmy wormy on the outside?

The first time I pressed my hand to my belly and you responded immediately with a kick, I cried. I said “oh, oh, oh,” and I cried – happy tears. Now I smile and say “hehehe.” It is wonderful and weird to be able to feel you both inside and out, and it’s something I’ve never ever experienced, both spooky and amazing.

I have held babies before. I have hugged and kissed and cuddled them and smelled the tops of their newborn baby heads, and I have rocked them to sleep and patted their backs and rubbed their bellies and sung them songs and held them close to me, but I have not done any of this with you yet, and it already feels like it will be different, because you will have known the touch of my hand and the sound of my voice and the beat of my heart from the very, very beginning.

Because of our overwhelming proximity, I worry that you hear me when I’m angry with bad drivers on the road or swearing about my work schedule or that you feel me when I’m overcome with the “how can I possibly make this all work?” worry that is somehow very particular and unique to my pregnancy or that you feel me cry when I have had a bad day at work/life, like when my car broke down. There is no way I can hide those aspects of my life from you right now, though I know I will have to curb them once you are here. For now, you are inextricably part of me, and I do the best I can by you, for you, with you, every day. I hope that for every bad day at work or person who cuts me off on the freeway, there are ten peals of my laughter, ten songs I sing happily, ten (hundred thousand million billion infinity) feelings of love for you and your papa and my mom and Frankie and Gabby and everyone who loves me and who loves you also.

I am also at certain points absolutely terrified of you. For some reason your little kicks here and there make me think of everything to come, and everything you will need or want. I will say right now that your needs will always be covered, but your wants might be a little harder to come by, though we will raise you to be as conscientious and knowledgeable about this as possible. There seems to be a never-ending litany of Things Evie Will Require, from the time you are born till the time you are a Grown-Up. I will do my best to put a pony on that list, though your papa might need some convincing.

I love your little kicks and tumbles and flips and punches, for now – probably not in the third trimester, and probably not when you are a rambunctious toddler. I just hope you let your papa feel soon!

Today you are 23 weeks, the size of a mango, one whole pound of baby, exciting and unnerving, loved, (eagerly, anxiously) awaited.