It’s really, really hard to believe that in 1 week, this baby bump will be gone. The swollen ankles will stop. The getting up every 2 hours at night to pee will cease. I will be able to lie on my back or on my stomach without worrying that I’m crushing my baby. My hips won’t ache with every wrong movement. I won’t grunt and moan every time I have to change directions in bed. Getting out of bed won’t entail a monumental effort of rolling my beached whale self to the edge and using momentum to roll to my feet.
You would think I’d be looking forward to these things, but I am beset by fears. What if this is the last baby I ever carry? What if I never see myself with such a glorious baby bump again? I hated pregnancy the second and third go-around, but I have not hated becoming ready to be a new mother again. I am 37, and with everything about James’ birth and life so uncertain, this may be the last baby that I ever carry. I was possibly maybe slightly ready for that when I was expecting a healthy pregnancy. Now I am not ready in the slightest.
I am tired of being miserably pregnant, but I am not tired of my body taking care of James, of doing what it needs to do to sustain him. I’m not tired of feeling him moving around, hiccuping, rolling over, sticking his little butt out of my side. I know that every precious movement is one movement closer to losing him. Yet each movement reminds me that he is here with us right now. I know soon that he will not be inside me anymore, within me, safe. He will be out in the world for good or ill, and I will have to face all that it means for him.
Today was a hard day in the pregnancy and motherhood world. I received bad news about a dear friend. Shortly after that, I learned that Caroline Boggs, a beautiful little girl with trisomy 18, did not recover from her heart surgery. She was 14 months old. She died at 3am this morning.
Hug your babies tonight, parents. Remember that every day is a gift – even when you want to scream because your 2 year old has pushed you to the edge of sanity or your almost 5 year old slammed the door in your face and told you she hates you (5 going on 15?). It’s easy and trite to say – but even the easy, trite things are true. No matter how healthy our babies are, we never know what the next day will bring. Love them ferociously.