A friend posted a picture of her new, tiny baby girl the other day. She was lying amidst the early-morning sheets and blankets of an unmade bed – the first and earliest-dawn bits of morning light just barely reaching her from the nearby window. The sleeves of the soft, little gown she was wearing extended down to where they folded perfectly over her small hands – keeping her safe from her own miniature fingernails; but the end of the gown, elastic though it was, had managed to work its way up past her scrawny and slightly bowed little legs so that there they were – free and unbundled -- a reminder of their newly discovered range of kicking motion (unconfined by a womb as they now were).
More than anything thus far, that image set off small fireworks of excitement through my system. I’ve been waiting for our little girl. I know there are all sorts of people in this world of ours – and many who find the concept of being able to know things beyond what our five senses can tell us to be utterly ridiculous; and while I can respect and even, I think, understand that, it makes me sad. It is such a beautiful thing to open your heart and mind to knowing things from both somewhere beyond and bigger than us, yet, strangely, deep inside of us as well. When that type of knowing comes, it is worth acknowledging and nurturing. It is worth watching it unfold into something strong and solid and amazing. I’ve known this little Summer was still waiting for us. I’ve known we were still waiting for her.
But, all that knowing hadn’t made her a complete reality yet. Even with her nudges and kicks (along with my enlarging belly) there to remind me that the development of her mortal body was not simply my imagination (as it sometimes seems in the very beginning – when there is nothing but tiredness, sickness and a little pink line on a stick to tell you anything is real). Even with my having gone through our stored baby clothes – and swooned at the idea of another, tiny girl in an already adored dress or pajama set. Even with my occasional ignoring of the fact that I already have all those boxes of clothes (so that I can buy new and irresistible little outfits). . . . Even with all those things, it still felt a bit like playing house – a bit like pretending. . . .
At least, until I saw that picture, saw those little legs. And, suddenly, it was so real – and, simultaneously, such an unbearably long wait still ahead ‘til she would be here: her own legs kicking with new-found freedom; her own tiny hands needing bundled to prevent scratches to the delicate, impossibly soft, newborn skin of her perfect little face; our own early-mornings full of unmade, baby-containing beds.
I always fear the newborn stage a little bit. Life gets turned so absolutely topsy-turvy for awhile. There are those few months where every simple and normal activity suddenly needs to be juggled and balanced, renegotiated and refigured. Throw in even a hint of post-partum depression (which I’ve had with some of my newborns, and escaped wholly with others) and life feels utterly overwhelming for a spell.
But . . . then . . . I also feel that a newborn is the most spectacular, fleeting, and sacred thing to exist on this earth. I am always awed when I get to experience one; always desperate for that brief time of the impossible (suddenly possible, and alive, and real) not to end; to last just a little bit longer.
The job to create a little body has seemed extra difficult this time around – relatively, of course (my pregnancies are so incredibly easy compared to what they are for some, that, even with struggles, I feel ungrateful to complain at all). I don’t know if it’s being older, the fact that it’s the seventh time doing this, the whole “each pregnancy is different” thing, or just a combination of it all; but my symptoms have been on overdrive. I’ve felt more like a woman going through menopause than a woman about to have a baby; and, mostly, I have been so utterly exhausted. Usually that ends for me with the passing of the first trimester, but, near 21 weeks in and I am still nearly useless. I slept ‘til 10:00 am this morning. 10:00 am!! And I could have gone on sleeping deeply for several hours had I not felt so weird when I saw the clock and had I not wondered how many cartoons and bowls of sugary cereal my kids had watched and eaten while I’d slept (Mike was still sleeping by me – apparently all my tiredness rubs off on those in close proximity).
But, that’s OK. I am so excited to have my little Summer here; so excited to watch her little eyes taking in the world for the first time; so excited to see her little legs after they’ve kicked themselves free of a swaddle and to see her little mouth open and try to eat her own fist as it bounces past her face.
And mostly, I am so excited to watch us stretch to make a spot open up for her in our full and wild home – to see things unfold as she fits her way more securely and perfectly into that hole until none of us, Summer included, can imagine that we ever existed for a spell without one another. Of course . . . maybe we never truly have.
-- Sometimes you discover one of your loveseat pillows has a face . . . and makes demands (nice one Goldie)
-- Office shenanigans at a Kindergarten exam with Uncle John (my brother/our pediatrician)
-- Goldie and Penny both still loving self-photo shots
-- My view when I leave the gym (and an almost fully constructed temple)
-- A new humidifier for Jesse
-- Awesome faces from Mike as the kids, one by one, beat him in arm-wrestling