If there is one thing that can be said for the past 13 weeks, it is that I don't like being pregnant.
I thought I would be able to handle this, that knowing that this was a gift for Peeta would help me get through the fear of being pregnant, but it hasn't. My mind is constantly riddled with the fear of keeping our daughter safe. I'm terrified to sleep, not just because of the dreams, but because it is the time that I cannot feel her move. The very first time I felt the flutter of our little girl, my heart stopped. Reality came crashing down on me when I finally realized there was a living being inside of me, and my mind went into panic mode. From that point on, every second I don't feel her move is spent in immobilizing fear. It feels like her lack of movement means that she is gone and I lost her. She was another little girl that I just couldn't keep safe and that my body betrayed me and rejected her. I stop by the doctor's office constantly while Peeta is at the bakery just so that I can hear her heartbeat. It's the only thing that keeps me somewhat sane.
Before, I was terrified I couldn't love her enough or the right way, but now, I feel like I can barely think because I love her too much and I am terrified of thought she may be taken away. I try my best to keep this from Peeta, which that in and of itself is causing me great stress. I don't keep things from him and I know that he knows something is wrong. I barely go into the woods, too terrified to exert myself too much, and it is starting to make me stir crazy. The winter has exacerbated the situation, the dark days mixed with my sleepless nights and debilitating fear is making all of this too much for me. Most days are spent just laying in bed. I force myself to get up before Peeta gets home, I am trying my best to not let him know how bad things are, it will just make him worry and he does that too much as it is already.
I have also been hiding this from Finn the best that I can, even though, he sneaks over for lunch almost everyday just to check on me or warn me that Peeta is coming home. He knows things haven't been going well for me since he caught me coming from the doctor's office one day during his afternoon deliveries to the new part of the district. I have also sworn the doctor to secrecy. He is not to tell anyone how often I come into the office. Peeta would be very upset if he knew I was going all the time without him. He hasn't had an attack since the first time we went and now he counts down the days between appointments just so he can see her. It's terribly sweet, and it makes all of this even more unbearable.
Last week, we moved Finn out of the bedroom across from ours to turn it into the nursery. Peeta could barely contain his excitement when the shipment of paints that he ordered from the Capitol came in. He has since turned her bedroom into one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. It's the meadow in full bloom. Every wildflower you can think of sprinkles the soft green grass. The sky is a blue as vibrant as Peeta's eyes and he even painted the ceiling to look like the midday sky. It is filled with the fluffiest, whitest clouds I have ever seen. He said that even though it was morbid, since the meadow is where his father now lays, he felt it was the closest he could have him in her life. I thought it was wonderful and we both stood in silence and held each other for a long time afterwards.
He keeps me constantly fed with cookies and cheese buns. He says he is ecstatic with every pound I gain, and it means that he is doing his job. All of my clothes are too tight. He ordered maternity clothes for me when he realized most of his shirts had been stretched out only in the stomach area. I avoid wearing them as much as I can, and I will never let him know how much more comfortable they are until I absolutely have to. And no matter how trivial it is, it just feels like another deception. I don't know how much longer this charade can go on.
I haven't left the bed all morning. I have just stared at the wall and the pillow is wet with the tears I didn't even realize I had been crying. I hear the front door open but it's not Peeta's heavy stomping or Finn's graceful quick steps, its the uneven gate of Haymitch. As I realize he's coming up the stairs I throw the blankets over my head and hope that he will just leave me alone.
Suddenly, I feel the jolt of cold air as the blankets are ripped off of me and thrown on the floor. "Sweetheart, what the fuck is going on with you?" He practically yells the words as he glares at me. I wipe my runny nose, and politely tell him to "go to hell" while I snatch the blankets back from him and try to regain some of the warmth I just lost.
He doesn't have any of it and takes the blankets again and throws them in the hallway. "I'm going to ask you again, what the hell is wrong with you? Mini says that you have been at the office once or twice a week for a month now. There something wrong with the kid?"
I sit up, first I'm angry and can feel my heart rate jump, but then the extra jolt must excite her, because I can feel my daughter move for the first time today and I am instantly relieved. "I'm just scared, going to see Dr. Pine calms me down. Please don't tell Peeta."
"Why can't you tell him? Do you know he's been completely out of it lately at the bakery? He burns more than he sells and his memory hasn't been that great. Maybe if you weren't so caught up with your own ridiculous bullshit, you'd realize that. Your kid is fine, Mini says she's healthy, suck it up and deal with your husband. You know, he kind of needs you sometimes, too. He deserves better than this and you know it. He's been pretty much coddling you more than usual, which is already too much, and you can't take two minutes and ask about him? You're even more selfish than I thought. This kid is supposed to be for him, right? Then why the hell are you treating this like some kind of punishment? You're blocking him out, and this has to stop."
I put my arms around my stomach, savoring every movement I can feel from her. "I haven't been sleeping, I'm in a constant state of panic, and I don't want him to worry more than he already is."
"That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. You know when you don't sleep, he doesn't either. And you know that lack of sleep is kind of a big deal for him. He's going to have another attack if you don't get this shit under control. He hasn't had a bad one in a long time and you know he is overdue for one. He's a ticking time bomb and you're lucky he hasn't hurt himself at the bakery. Get your shit together, tell him what's going on, and get the fuck out of this bed."
With that he walks out of the room and throws the blankets back at me. The last thing I hear from him before he leaves this house is, "Dammit, I wish I still drank. These kids are going to kill me before alcohol would."
I take a deep breath and decide that it is time to tell him. Today is the day. It's no where near time for lunch yet, so I can't just wait for him to come home. I need to do this before Haymitch's little... pep talk, wears off. I get up and put on one of Peeta's long sleeve flannel shirts, unable to completely button it over my stomach. I was already wearing one of his thermal shirts underneath it, so it shouldn't be too bad. I do put on the jacket he got me that fits over everything, so I have compromised on that. My feel are starting to swell and I cannot get on my hunting boots, so I have to put on the warm shoes that he also had brought in at my mother's request.
I make my way through town, trying my best to avoid eye contact with everyone I see. I just want to focus on talking to Peeta, I don't want anyone to derail me. I'm sure most people already know I'm not overly friendly, and I do have the added benefits of blaming my hormones for any rudeness on my part. It's been the only perk of being pregnant so far. I make it to the bakery just in time to avoid Delly, she had just turned the corner near the bakery before I made a dash for the door.
Peeta stands up from behind the counter just as I walk into the bakery. He sees me and instantly smiles while his whole face lights up. It's so endearing that no matter how long we've been together, he is still excited to see me, no matter how cold I've been lately.
"Katniss! I can't believe you're here! You haven't been here in months. Is everything okay?" He's practically bursting at the seams with the fact that I'm not just holed up in the house.
"Everything is fine, I just need to talk to you." I try my best to smile, while wrapping my arms around myself, just now realizing how cold I am.
"Yeah, come on back to the kitchen and stand by the oven. You look cold." He walks over and puts his arm around me, leading me back like it's been so long since I've been here I may have forgotten where the ovens were. He takes my jacket and grimaces at my shirt choices. "Seriously? Other than the jacket and shoes, do you ever wear anything that fits?" I smile in defiance, forgetting for a moment why I'm here.
"It's more comfortable, and my fashion choices are not why I came here to talk to you." I sigh it's time for the truth, "Actually, the stuff you got me is more comfortable, I just don't like wearing clothes that look like a tent and dealing with all the extra fabric. They depress me."
He smiles and rubs up and down my arms trying to help warm me, "Is that what's been eating at you lately? You could have just told me."
I shake my head, "No, it's so much more than that. I can't sleep anymore because I'm scared when I can't feel her and I can't feel her when I am asleep. I'm constantly worried that I've lost her. I've been going to see Dr. Pine at least twice a week for the past month, just so I can hear her heartbeat so that I might be able to sleep for an hour or two."
His entire demeanor changes from caring and warm to completely heartbroken and he drops his arms. "Katniss, why wouldn't you tell me?"
I drop my shoulders in defeat. "Because of this. Because of the guilt of breaking your heart. I don't want you to worry any more than you already do and it's been tearing me up inside."
A/N: Thank you again to everyone for their patience and I hope you like it! Thank you to everyone for your reviews, follows, and favorites. I hope you'll leave a review for this chapter and let me know what you think.
I also just wanted to let you know that I will be starting another story soon. I'm going to work on that one several chapters in advance before posting anything on it so that there won't be the big gaps in time like there have for this one. But, for that story I was thinking about seeing if anyone would be interested in being a beta for it. You could PM me if you were interested.
I really appreciate everyone that reads this. It has been so much fun writing this story and I have so many other ideas that I really want to get out.