According to Joseph Campbell, a hero’s birth is marked by miraculous or unusual events, such as a virgin conception (or getting born straight out of Dad’s head, a la Athena). The hero arrives into an ordinary world, only later to discover his calling to a strange world of unusual powers and events.
Well, Valor’s conception was a surprise, which is pretty miraculous if you know our über-planner personalities and history of infertility…but his birth sounds like it’s going to be pretty scripted (which is good news for John’s head). Valor is scheduled to burst into our ordinary world via c-section in two weeks, on August 27, at 38.5 weeks! His birthday will be exactly a year and a week after our firstborn, James, died.
At his ultrasound a week ago, Valor was almost 36 weeks and measured 6 pounds 3 ounces. He was head down with his face to the back, and he’s getting pretty scrunched up, so we didn’t get any good face pics. Here’s the extreme edge of a profile with his arm partially in the way. Don’t feel bad if you can’t figure it out, it’s a tough one!
We did get the obligatory footprint shot, though. We probably have eight different stages of them by now. Definitely putting on the padding, eh?
Valor’s first baby shower was last week, too. It was a sweet time of praying Scripture over his life with some great friends from church.
At the shower we shared Valor’s life verse, which we picked out on our vacation back in June. It’s 1 Cor. 16:13-14: “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.” We chose it because it summed up our definition of valor: bravery and sacrifice, based on hope in God. To us, a life verse is a goal and a guidepost, something to pray for and strive to live by. James’s life verse was Romans 8:28, and Dora’s was Job 1:21.
It has been interesting to compare this pregnancy with my first one. In both, my bellybutton has stubbornly refused to “pop,” although now it is so thin, flat, and shiny that it almost seems like you could put your eye up to it and see inside. I’m bigger now than I ever was with James, with more stretch marks, and I need longer maternity tops to cover my bump. Valor definitely responds to sounds, like Daddy’s loud singing or clattering pots and pans, and I remember James doing the same. I think that’s because the fluid James was in during the pregnancy conducted sound to his skull.
In the third trimester, James used to press on my diaphragm and make my breath short; Valor lies lower but tends to give me more heartburn. He has also started this hammer-on-my-bladder thing that James never worked up to, which sends me on sudden trips to the bathroom. I’m not complaining! I’m very happy to be pregnant, and I think I have had easy pregnancies (it was just the getting pregnant that used to be difficult). When people ask how I feel, I just say “big and hot.” I’m usually reasonably energetic too, at 36.5 weeks.
James was delivered at 35 weeks with a c-section, so it’s strange to think that he had been born and was in the NICU for over a week by now. We would be just starting to get to hold him and kangaroo him on our chests at this point. He would be still under 3 pounds, less than half what Valor is. With James, we had a day’s notice of the time he was to be delivered; with Valor, we have two weeks’ notice—unless he decides to make like a hero and do something really unexpected!