From the beginning, Elka was interested in the baby. In fact, she told me it was in my tummy before I had done a pregnancy test.
At six weeks, I lay in the bath with her, and she told me I looked like Humpty Dumpty. I was amazed she could even tell I had a tummy, but apparently it was like so obvious, Mum.
At seven weeks she told one of my closest friends that I had a baby in my tummy. “Really, Zanni?” my friend looked over at me. I couldn’t keep a poker face. Elka proceeded to tell half of my friendship group, until keeping my pregnancy a secret for twelve weeks was impossible.
Greg had to work, so Elka came with me for the twelve week scan. She sat next to me on the bed, and watched with fascination as the lady scanned. She could point out the legs and the feet, the head, the arms. For days after, she talked about watching the baby on the video.
She came to all my appointments with the midwife, and listened, her little face open and attentive, for the heartbeat, which she told us sounds like water.
She came to the twenty week scan and again paid close attention. The new game at home became propping mum up on the couch to check the baby. She covered my legs with a bath towel, clutched her hand into a fist and moved it around my bare tummy. She told me she could hear the heart and see the legs and the arms and it was all looking good. Then she entered the details into her ‘puter.
When people ask if she’s excited to have a little brother or sister, she pulls up her own shirt and says she’s having a baby. She is fascinated by the little baby clothes I have been washing and is rapt by the double pram we just just picked up on the Gold Coast. Just the thought of sitting next to her baby in the pram lights up her little face.
In the last week we have been talking about how the baby goes from the tummy to the outside. A friend recently had her baby, and Elka seemed to grasp the concept that the baby came out. Rubbing my belly the other day, she asked, But how?
I’m all for openness and honesty, so we got out the old lily pad (iPad) and pulled up movies of women giving birth. Potentially she could have been grossed out or scared. But she leant into me, and beamed as the baby’s head emerged from the woman’s vagina. I was weeping and she was bouncing next to me excitedly. The baby came out! The baby came out!
I know it isn’t conventional, but part of me hopes Elka will be able to be present at the birth of my next baby. She sleeps beside us, is with us every waking moment…it feels weird that she might not be there for one of the most significant moments in our lives.
Gone are the days when the stork delivered the baby to the front door, and the older sibling had to just suck it up. I’m glad Elka has been with me on this journey and seems to be taking it on board. It’s a privilege to share it all with my darling girl.