One year ago today I woke up and tip-toed to the bathroom, barefoot and shaking with excitement, nervousness, and anticipation.
At first I didn’t see anything, and my heart dropped.
Then, as I wrapped up the pink and white plastic test back up in its aluminum wrapping to toss in the garbage, I decided to look one more time.
That’s how I found out about you.
With your sister, there were immediate tears and frantic calls within minutes of the test and a frenzy of emotions. With you, daddy and I decided to keep the news to ourselves for one day. It was so early it was scary. It was so easy, it seemed impossible. I prefaced everyone I told later – “But its so, so early still.”
I became quickly, extremely sick. My excitement gave way to depression, to just wanting to fast forward time, wanting this part over, over, over. To praying that you were ok because I didn’t think I could ever, ever do this again if you weren’t.
I survived on lemon water and English muffins with cinnamon sugar. I lost weight. I cried a lot. I had to give up my sacred bubble baths that saved my sanity for the past 2 years. I couldn’t concentrate enough to read a book. That summer was shiny and bright and beautiful, and most of it I spent curled up in the fetal position on the couch, praying your sister wouldn’t remember what a lackluster parent I was during this time. And also praying not to puke.
I should add I’m not much of a pray-er. But I was with you those first couple months. I was bargaining with God, pleading with him. I already loved you like crazy but I didn’t know if I could do this.
We watched Iron Chef at night before bed and I’m not sure how I did it being that sick. On mine and Daddy’s anniversary my one goal was to get through a movie at the theatre without having to leave part way through from being sick. Miserable was an understatement.
We walked into a new OB/GYN practice when I was 6.5 weeks along. They asked a million questions and gave me a thorough exam. A man with long white hair and the most peaceful, calming demeanor took my blood in the most gentle way I can imagine it being done. I wanted to leap up and kiss him after, but I was too sick and woozy to move. Our doctor was in a hurry that day, the only time over the next 9 months she would be running late. She breathlessly asked after turning around at the door- “OH! Did you guys want an ultrasound?”
Fuck yeah, we wanted one.
It was less than 5 minutes, probably more like two, but I saw you – just a clump there attached inside me, your heart beating wildly already.
That was the first time I saw you.
We went to Walgreens immediately after for pretzels and Sea Bands. I clung desperately to that little black and white print out of you as a little clump – I looked at it all the time, hung it on our fridge, hoping it would help put this sickness in perspective.
I felt you move for the first time at 9 weeks. Everything said I couldn’t, but everything also said I couldn’t get a positive pregnancy test as early as I did either. It was gas, they said. If it was gas, it was in the exact spot you were attached, that felt identical to the movements of your sister in the womb. I figured it was a little gift from the universe on account of my terrible sickness – a little “hang on, mama” from G-O-D or someone else up there. I hung on.
The first time I heard your heartbeat on the Doppler at the doctor’s, they kept catching mine instead and thinking it was yours because my heart was beating so fast. Every appointment after that I held my breath when they went to find your heartbeat. Every time the doctor laughed and told me to relax. And I always did, once I heard that thump thump thump.
The sickness drug on and on until slowly, slowly, slowly it began lifting.
And then, things were beautiful. I really mean it. It was a beautiful pregnancy, even for someone like me who just doesn’t love being pregnant. You were so easy on me after that.
We walked into the ultrasound room again a couple months later and before the tech could say a word, I saw you were a boy. Daddy was completely shocked – I can still see the look on his face – he was convinced you were a girl. I was so happy. I would have loved another little girl, but if I got to pick, I would have chose boy. I would have chose you, in a heartbeat.
I talked to you all the time – from the first day I knew about you. I talked and meditated with you as often as I could remember. I told you I was going to do my part to get you here as safe and healthy as possible, and your job was to help me. I envisioned delivering you as the sun shined down on a beautiful day, with a quick, easy labor. I told you about what it would look like outside, in my vision. Just so you would know when to come. I told you I would let you pick when to come. That I would trust you would come when you were ready. But I was really hoping you’d pick that beautiful day in my vision.
The days flew by after the sickness lifted. I felt so good, I often forgot I was pregnant. I took a million pictures of my belly because I knew you were our last baby. I documented everything I could. Every night around 10:30 you had a party in my belly. We debated names for months. Your sister ended up picking. We said “Noah, Kai, or Elijah?” and she excitedly chirped “E-LY-SHAW!” over and over and refused to call you anything else.
I ate approximately one million oranges and clementines while pregnant with you. I stopped enjoying pasta (one of my main diet staples) and only wanted HuHot noodles drenched in teriyaki sauce, garlic oil, and soy sauce. I ate a lot of bulgoki skewers and rice and miso soup from the local sushi place.
I only had a handful of bad days, all towards the end. I felt like my water was on the verge of breaking all the time. I told daddy I just had a strong feeling it would break before I went into labor. Each time I had a bad day, I’d be convinced you were coming early. Then I would wake up the next day feeling like a million bucks again.
We walked into the doctor’s office one afternoon at 37 weeks pregnant on one of the bad days. It was the first time I ever said I was in pain. Our doctor examined me and I tried so hard not to cry but I couldn’t help it. And she felt so bad, it looked like SHE was going to cry. And she said, I hope I don’t see you for your next appointment. It would be so nice if he came before that. She said that a lot. Everyone was a little worried about how big you were. Everyone on edge fearing a repeat shoulder dystocia like I had with your sister. The earlier you would come, the less likely that scenario would repeat itself.
We were set to see our doctor one week from that day. But this ended up being our last appointment.
A few days later I got a pretty red pedicure at a spa. I sipped lemon water and walked out in flip flops in the middle of February.
And then on Sunday, I woke up knowing you were coming. Daddy told me I was glowing when we woke up. Gam Gam had said weeks ago that this would be the day – she just felt it. We had rainbow waffles for breakfast and took a leisurely Sunday drive. It was the most beautiful, sunny day – not a cloud in the sky. Ridiculously, unseasonably warm.
And you know the rest of the story.
When my water broke before any contractions started, I was scared. I had a talk with you on the drive to the hospital. I reminded you that I was going to do everything in my power to get you here safe and healthy, and it was time for you to do your part.
You were so easy on me.
Only an hour and a half of strong contractions and two pushes later and you were on my chest.
And I looked at you and I don’t know how I am still sitting here able to type because that moment in February my heart exploded.
And I was filled with a joy I won’t ever be able to find the words for.
And daddy cried and cried.
And I kept laughing and saying I did it I did it I did it over and over and over.
And we brought you home and you were perfect and hard and easy and happy and mad and everything else new babies are. And I felt a little sick like I always do with big changes because HOLY SHIT ready or not, our lives are completely changed for eternity and honey, there’s no going back now.
And now you are four months old, on the one year anniversary of day I found out about you for the first time.
You look at your sister like she hung the moon. You smile those huge, crinkly eyed smiles for daddy every day when he walks through the door. You are filling a piece of me I didn’t even know was missing. You completed our family.
June 28th was a beautiful day.