Monday, April 13, 2015
Someone asked me at a restaurant recently, was this my first.
"No," I smiled. "This is my third."
I am 31 weeks pregnant with my third child. And I am ready.
Actually, I have been ready for quite some time. I was ready when we started trying for a second. I was ready when we had to hand you away. I have been ready every day since.
I listen to this baby's heartbeat. Daily, I focus on the beauty of its potential. All of the accelerations, the inconsistencies. The blood that flows into and away from. The life that this sound allows for brings me so much joy, but I am ready for more. I am ready for so much more than this sound.
I want to feel it against my shoulder as I lay, content on a couch on some lazy afternoon, or at three in the morning on two hours sleep.
I want this heartbeat to scream at me, to wake me from my dreams. I want to rush into its room in a darkness, to scoop it into my arms and will it calm. I want to feel it slow against my chest.
I want to watch it run. And eat. And sing.
I want to admire it from afar, to gaze in amazement at all it has provided me. I want to hold it firmly in my arms, confident of its persistence by the warmth of a skin, the heaving of a chest. Never again the beeping of some monitor, some static reassurance of a life I cannot see. Cannot touch.
I want to hear it laugh, to chase it down hallways and soccer fields and place band aids on its shins. I want to watch it overcome, to aid in its reconstruction after the middle school dance, the quarrel at recess. I want to worry of its breaking. Never stopping. Never leaving. Never silent. Never still.
I want to know it's there, and not because some plastic instrument with a coil tells me so. These eyes squinting at some digital semblance of hope, numbers scattering, rising and falling with my pulse, without a promise to remain.
I want to see it in the bloodied knee, in the dirt under the fingernails at bath time, in the pair of widened eyes as they search mine, cautiously, after the milk is spilled. I want to smell it in white cotton and tuck covers to its chin. Pulses on hands on chests. I want to feel it from the outside.
Sometimes I sit back and I stare at my stomach, lay my hand across the top and I marvel at how close this baby is to my arms. How a matter of inches is all that separates us. I think of how close we were with you. How the inches feel like miles now.
I think, if I am so fortunate to hold this heartbeat in my arms, how I may never let it go. How they could try to pry it from me. How I will carry it always, how each step holds more purpose because of this life. Because of your brother. Because of you.
I think how someday, he or she could walk away from me. To the school. To the playground. To the park. How I'll be waving from a car or from a porch. How I will have to watch it leave me.
And I can see her looking back, achingly, fondly, and she is longing for this moment now. For this worry and for this very paranoia, for this unsettled state. She is longing for this time when she could feel you just inside, just beneath the skin.
Mostly, I think how parenthood must be the most excruciatingly painful, ridiculously difficult, most insanely euphoric roller coaster there is.
And I think, and this must be something you have taught me,
how lucky I am to be on it.