Hard Stuff

Day 9: Remember

You were loved. It doesn’t matter if you were in me for 10 seconds or 9 full months. You were my baby. You were loved.

I must’ve taken two dozen pregnancy tests. The Dollar Store sells them so I didn’t feel all that guilty for peeing on something that only costs one dollar. Sometimes I’d test in the morning, rush home from work and test again. In my head, you had the ability to “spike” my hormones in a matter of hours and make your presence known through a test.

In the downstairs bathroom, before work, I tested. In between putting on my mascara and straightening my hair, I thought “take a test. Why not?”

Ever-so-faintly there was a line. Soft pink. Barely visible.

But I was desperate for you. I knew it was there.

It was a few days before Thanksgiving. School was energized with anticipation of the upcoming holiday break. I had a different energy though.

I had you.

The next day, I tested again and the line was darker. So, I took more tests.

Pregnant.

Pregnant.

Pregnant.

How was I going to tell your dad? On my day off I decided to prematurely decorate for Christmas. The day prior, I had bought a snowman ornament with two snowmen, one with an expectant belly with the words “baby” over its body.

The kids and I decorated while dad was at work. We replaced everything with red and green and I dragged up my artificial tree from the basement. Many years ago, I bought it on clearance and for good reason: it sheds and looks barren. It’s an actual piece of shit and your dad hates it, but it’s all I had to work with on this particular day.

He came home with pizza and a positive mood about being off for a few days. Surprised that we had decorated the house, I pointed him to the solitary, sullen tree in the corner of the dining room.

It only has one ornament on it.

Go look at it.

He ran over to me. He picked me up off the ground, spun me around like some type of Nicholas Sparks book-to-movie adaptation. He kept asking “really?! Seriously?!” as the kids asked “why are you guys so happy?”

Soak it in, I remember thinking.

He was so excited. The best husband and father I could have ever imagined wanted another baby. Our third. Lord knows he knew what he was signing up for: dirty diapers, sleepless nights, a hormonal wife, expensive formula and a life restricted by a needy infant.

But he was still so excited.

My love.

He was giddy to have another baby. It was never a question of if we’d expand our family, it was only a matter of when. We are in love with being parents and we were immediately in love with you.

You were our little secret. We couldn’t wait to share you with the world.

And we did.

Your little soul was so loved. People cried at the news of your existence. Most had known dad and I had been trying. They were just waiting for the confirmation and there you were…

Existing.

Growing.

You made me tired. So tired. Your poor brother and sister had to endure forced episodes of Disney Junior shows so I could nap. “Why are you always so tired, Mom?” they’d ask. Too tired to build LEGOs, too tired to play Barbie’s, too tired to pretend that I wasn’t dealing with first-trimester lethargy. But I would have done anything for you. Napped, puked, cried, whatever you needed.

I love you.

You do anything for the ones you love.

One of my favorite aspects of being pregnant is that feeling of never being alone. As a mom of two, I guess I’m never alone as it is. It’s something I regularly complain about actually. I can’t pee without an audience. If it’s not the kids budging their way in, it’s the cats or dog. I’m always surrounded. But pregnancy is different. There’s something inherently beautiful about being attached to your growing baby. I had to make better decisions for you. You were always with me and that was reassuring and exhilarating.

Now it’s just all just different.

Empty.

There’s a dark space where you used to be. I remember the inconspicuous smiles triggered by your  occupancy. Just walking down the hallway, I’d remember that I was pregnant and a sense of happiness would wash over me. I loved remembering that you were there…

But I also forgot you were there sometimes.

You were a quiet, pleasant, tranquil little house guest. You made it easy to forget that you were in existence. The first-trimester is notorious for making mothers ill, resentful and a walking, struggling being of intolerable symptoms. But you made it easy. Too easy.

I had to remember not to forget you.

You were there.

Quietly.

But you were there.

In hindsight, I believe that you were so favorable and passive because you knew you wouldn’t be around forever. What an added level of cruelty to make me sick and to disappear so prematurely.

It’s funny to look back and think of how there were moments I’d forget that I was pregnant. Brief moments of “pregnancy brain” when I had to remind myself that it wasn’t just me anymore. Now, I find myself remembering that it is just me now.

People are moving on. The concerned texts, inquizitive voicemails and periodic “check-ins” are dwindling. People are going to forget this. For some, they already have. Some never cared to begin with.

But I won’t forget.

You were loved. It doesn’t matter if you were in me for 10 seconds or 9 full months. You were my baby. You were loved.

I will remember. Forever.

Day 9: Remember.

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