I’m up in the middle of the night with heartburn. Until this week, this pregnancy has been relatively comfortable. No morning sickness. Slept through the night. Could even wear some non-maternity clothes with a bella band. Now, I suddenly have to be surrounded by pillows (a nightly stacking ritual Steven calls “building Megan’s pillow wedge”) and helllllo heartburn. And am I suddenly waddling? I was lamenting to Steven the other day that I used to have the body of a swan. Now I’m a duck complete with waddle!
All for love of Sam! And he is so easy to love.
I’ve anticipated this point with both excitement and dread. I look obviously pregnant now, which invites the question from total strangers, “When are you due?” April, I answer, A spring baby! “Is it a boy or a girl?” A boy. “Are you excited?” is the inevitable next question. Yes, I answer. Because I am. But I don’t mention I also feel an intense dread that grows with every day that passes. Part of me hopes that when Sam is born, we will be shocked at how healthy he is, that the doctors will shake their heads in surprise at how very wrong they were. But the other part fears that it may be the saddest day of my life, the day Sam has to leave his safe little house and sever the life support.
Those short conversations with random strangers in the grocery store are pretty easy to navigate as they don’t last long. Can I confess something ridiculous? It’s my blog. I’ll confess it. I have avoided getting a haircut because I don’t want to have a conversation with a stranger about my pregnancy that lasts for more than a few seconds, and from which I cannot quickly escape. I am afraid I will be caught covered in shampoo suds and start to cry. Tears are my valve, and I find myself so often needing relief these days.
There was a day this week in which I considered both the color of crib bedding and a burial site for Sam. Can emotions rip in half? Because I had no idea they could stretch so far in either direction in such a short span of time. I’ve heard of women in situations like this, shopping for treasure chest caskets at 8 months pregnant. Steven and I have decided not to consider every detail regarding death for now. So I won’t be shopping for caskets just yet. It’s more than I can handle right now. However, we do have some loose details set in place, and are considering a burial site, which is hard to fathom in contrast to my growing belly and the growing pile of stuffed animals Sam has accrued. Steven refers to the pile as “Sam’s entourage”.
Some days I’m grateful we have time to prepare keepsakes, have a photographer ready, cherish the moments. Other days, I’m just plain furious, and, if I’m honest, jealous. I’m in my 20s, and all my girlfriends are having healthy babies and complaining about 3 AM feedings and considering the merits of attachment vs. babywise parenting. I’m just hoping I have the chance to raise my baby, even for a short time, and the last thing on my mind is the merits of different styles of parenting. If I’m honest, I envy them, wish I were in their place. The feeling lasts as long as I let it, and then I make myself think about Sam, and how much I want him, just the way he is, even if it means I can’t be like everyone else. And in the moments I choose to think about my life as mine, and realize that it’s not my girlfriends’ healthy babies that I want but my Sam and everything he entails, that ugly envy melts away and I am allowed to grieve in purity rather than bitterness. I grieve the loss of a joyful pregnancy. I grieve the loss of a happily anticipated due date. I grieve the loss of the child I thought I would have. I celebrate the life of a little boy named Sam, who has turned my life upside down, and I’m so happy he came into my life, even if his beautiful existence means a whole lot of grief mixed in with the joy.