It started today.
I felt myself say, ‘I love you.’ How I know you are now ‘there’. No longer the bones and flesh I have worked on creating by eating ice cream, turkey skin and tomatoes and tomatoes and tomatoes. Your soul poured from the heavens through me to you.
The beginnings of remembering. Remembering what I forget best, labor. I don’t like to be touched. Please don’t molly coddle me. Don’t forget me over here, Hey, I’m in labor! How my body begins to work with the baby. First reminding me, as now, how it all begins. These nine weeks are the warm-up. Preparing me for when you take over and decide to join us out here.
It starts with the I love you. I love you because you are now here.
Solemnly witnessing my rituals, your blessing given as a kick and a scuffle. I fold your tiny clothes and debate with anyone that will listen which is the best first hat for you to wear. Are these diapers scratchy? This waistband too tight? I dream of setting another little baby in to my favorite baby outfit, rubbing the soles of your feet on my lips and then snapping up the gown. I will lift you to my chest, nuzzle my face to you. How can I get closer? We can be no closer than we are right at this moment. These nine weeks are the last drops of you all to myself.
Next it will be time to get practical. Lists are started to be jotted. Rooms to scrub. Pillows to be gathered with covers to be sewn. Floors to be mopped. Soon we will drag out the homebirth supplies of yore to see what can be used. How can we have so many leftovers? My ‘midwife box’ carefully packed and set in the closest corner. Items ticked off a list. My last surge of energy to get everything just right. Only after I realize it can never be so especially with a gaggle of children keeping the entire home in constant use.
On to the cooking. Double, triple batches of everything. Marking containers, freezing, making lists of meals no one will ever read. I do it because I have to. Perhaps to introduce you to my pursuit of order. My laughable pursuit.
And finally, finally there will be those last weeks before the due date of blissful silence. I run out of energy and sit. Sit, watch and wait like a happy Buddha while the other children make paintings, ask me how I am feeling and undo cleaning.
Then maybe I will again get that last week of overdue bliss. When silly errands are run. I decide to embroider an outfit you will never wear because it is so ridiculous. We go out to eat because we are on borrowed time, giddy. Like we are playing hooky. Those lovely phone calls home from Husband, ‘I am going to lunch. How are you feeling? I will only be gone for 20 minutes and will call you when I get back.’ We always laugh when Husband bursts in at the end of the day and I am on the phone, cooking dinner, walking around without a care in the world. He says, ‘How about tonight? It would be a good night tonight.’ Go to sleep, not tonight. In the morning, stirrings. It will be that night, tie up your loose ends. Let’s get the dishes done. The house is such a mess and there are piles and piles of laundry.
You, my darling, will want to join us as we are. Rough around the edges. Waiting for the state of general chaos to return. You are already part of us. I could see in your Sister’s eyes this morning as she heard your heartbeat through the fetoscope.
I love you.