I remember seeing that little pink line. My jaw dropped in disbelief. A stack of white plastic peed- on sticks began forming on my bathroom counter, each one the same. A faint pink line.
I remember my hands shaking, and I remember finally deciding I should tell my husband. He was on the couch in our tiny basement apartment. His eyes closed, and his head leaned back. In his arms slept our tiny three-month-old boy.
The moment was perfect. I smiled, lovingly and reflected on how everything had just started to feel right. I was climbing steadily out of a bout of postpartum anxiety that had riddled me. My pre-pregnancy jeans were slipping off of my body- slipping off! I was feeling fine. (As in fiiiiiiine. You know what I mean.)
We had just enjoyed a lovely anniversary night out, and everything was a-ok. I mean, I was like, ready to be done with this child-carrying-birthing-stretching-tearing-recovering thing.
And now, another pink line.
I suddenly cried. My body lost strength and I leaned on the back of the couch, tiny sobs so as not to wake my sleeping boys. I was afraid. Afraid to do it all again- the intense nausea from morning till night. The aching muscles, the sleepless nights, the exhaustion. And to do it all again, with a newborn? It seemed impossible. Pregnancy has never been nice to me. And although I savor every moment of carrying my babies, it is definitely something my body resists and resents until the bitter end.
The end. What would happen at the end? What would happen when I brought another baby home, and I still had a baby. How would that work? I imagined myself, the typical “hot mess mom” cartoon character with the frizzy, curler-strewn hair in a pink bathrobe, hanging open, and covered in vomit. Two babies- one in each arm, and those bloodshot crazy eyes. Honestly, it was funny to imagine.
My heart was pounding, my palms were sweaty. Tunnel vision. Anxiety. Fear. Doubt. Curiosity. It all filled me in that tiny quiet-on-the-outside, blaring-on-the-inside moment, leaning against the couch. But suddenly it all stopped, and my mind cleared, and it went away. Because I realized:
I wanted it.
I wanted the new little miracle, already growing inside for who knows how long. I wanted him, or her. I loved it already. I know it was there, living, growing, a tiny heart pounding, and just like my sleeping newborn in his daddy’s arms, this one was mine too. I’d made this one just the same, and I wanted it.
That moment carried me through nine months that were harder than the first, if you can believe it.
When we received a few disapproving responses when announcing our very quick re- conception.
When my breastmilk dried up slowly, and I sobbed, rocking my tiny son. His little head resting on a very small baby bump- just big enough to prop him up while nursing. I knew it was the last time I would nurse, and I knew it was because I was pregnant. And I cried for what seemed an eternity.
When we decided to move- find a new job and a bigger home. My stomach would tighten every time we wrote that new rent check because it was more than double what we’d paid previously.
When I started experiencing SPD (or symphysis pubic dysfunction), a common symptom in people who get pregnant again “really fast” because their muscles haven’t tightened back up. The most excruciating pain I’ve ever had- save labor and delivery.
When I cared for my oldest boy just as I would if I didn’t have that big old bump. Changing diapers, my legs spread out and my belly often getting in the way. When I rocked him to sleep every night, his face leaning against his little brother who would kick along to my lullabies.
When I suddenly went into labor almost a month early, and was in so much shock, I was asking to go home after my water had broken!
When my now eleven-month-old baby squeezed me tight, resting on my belly contraction after contraction, until I couldn’t hold him any longer- the pain too great.
That moment carried me through. That moment where I decided to want this. It brought me through to the moment that they placed my second son in my arms.
And I stared down at his face, and he looked up at me with a kind of love I had never seen before.
His face was round, his hair was curly, his eyes were dark. He was new, and different, yet I loved him the same. Contrary to what I had thought all along, my heart had been saving a very special place for this second baby. And I didn’t care that he came “too quick”, or that it had been hard, or that the next year would, in fact, turn me into that pink-robe-wearing crazy mom character. I wanted him. I loved him. And the very first words that came out of my mouth were,
“This is right. You belong to me.”
He does belong to me. They both do. And whether or not they came close together, does not change the fact that they both came to me. And I’ll take them as close as they’ll come, forever and ever.
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