A year ago, I was pregnant. I am today, too. What a difference a year makes.
A year ago, I was nervous about every twinge I felt in my belly. Something didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel like the first time.
Today… when was the last time I felt him kick? I try to jostle him awake for my own peace of mind. C’mon little buddy, tell me you’re there. I know you were hiccupping last night. And I felt you move this morning. But have you moved since? Sometimes I get distracted and forget to pay attention. That fear creeps in every so often. It’s hard to push it away, especially today. It consumes me… Tick tock, tick tock. 7 minutes later – there you are. A sigh of relief. There you are again. Sweet, sweet kicks. I cherish them all. But especially the ones today, on this day.
A year ago, I was googling my symptoms. Trying to find women who maybe felt what I did, but then had everything turn out okay. Maybe all of this tugging and cramping was normal? Maybe I was being paranoid?
Today… I’m googling birth affirmations. I’m working on getting in the mental space I need to for birth. That place where I feel relaxed yet powerful. Where everything will come on its own time, in its own way. Where I trust my body, and I trust my baby, and I know we can do it together. My excitement about meeting this next little love of mine grows and grows each day.
A year ago, I saw red. So. Much. Red.
Today… I see my daughter’s face. I find myself trying to memorize it. Like I’ll forget what she’s like in this moment, this last time that she’ll be my only child. I’m falling more and more in love with her every day, which I didn’t even think was possible. This morning, unprompted, she threw her tiny arms around my neck, squeezed, and exclaimed I love you so much. How do I make room for 1 more in my heart when it’s already bursting? I know I will, I already have. But I’m memorizing her face, all the same.
A year ago, I laid curled up, sobbing in my bed. The tears were fat and hot and salty. There was no more what if. The wondering was replaced with a solid, firm, resounding, yes, this is a miscarriage. My husband held me until I had nothing left to say, until my throat was hoarse from the crying, until I wanted to be left alone again.
Today… I sit here proudly rubbing my round belly. Astonished by the miracle growing inside. Bewildered that it can and does keep getting bigger. Soaking up this last time that my body will be a vessel for another life. Swaying my hips back and forth to make my back more comfortable, but careful to not outwardly complain too much, because I’m lucky. So very, very lucky. And the feeling is not lost on me today.
A year ago, I searched for stories like mine. Once the tears had dried up, I looked for comfort in the words of friends who had shared their own losses publicly. I was just looking to not be alone that night. What I found was that I was far from alone… this secret world became unearthed. I was flooded with stories of loss. And of rainbows after the storm. These women had survived… maybe I could too.
Today… I’m searching for tiny socks. Sorting the smallest ones from the bigger ones, matching them all up into pairs. Organizing them into drawers, ready to grab a new pair the moment one falls off and is lost forever in the depths of my house. I’m preparing for the chaos I know is about to ensue, despite the fact that I know it’s pointless. I’m already in the chaos. There’s a little shadow following me around, pulling neatly folded blankets out of drawers and using them for her baby dolls. She’s trying to climb into the baby swing I took out of storage, and it’s creaking under her weight. She’s littering baby wipes everywhere as she pretends to be Cinderella wiping the floor. But then she has her lips on my belly, singing sweetly to her baby brother. Chaos can be lovely sometimes, if you just let it happen.
A year ago, I saw an empty womb on the ultrasound, confirming what I already knew. I felt numb, like I was in a trance. There were pregnant ladies everywhere in the doctor’s office; I was not one of them. I was empty.
Today… I heard my sweet baby’s heartbeat. He predictably always hangs out on my left side – and while that’s predictable, I never take that heartbeat for granted. It’s the sweetest sound in all the world. It fills me up; today I am full. Full of life, full of calm, full of gratitude.
See you in a few weeks, little one. It’s been quite a journey.