In one week, I will be delivering my baby girl.
The baby girl that I have known in my heart was coming for a long time.
Each time that I started to lose hope, when all the odds seemed against it, she has left me little signs in the universe.
That is comforting, but also a bit frightening.
This is a strong soul we will be welcoming.
Like all children, I know that she will teach me many lessons and provide more insight into my relationship with God. I also know that there could be real pain in there. Not because I believe in a cruel God, but because I know that he puts challenges in our lives to help us grow and refine our spirit.
When I was first pregnant with Sydney, I thought that our challenge may be Down's Syndrome. Over ten years ago, when I was driving over a short bridge in Northern Kentucky on the way to work, I felt a sudden truth fall upon me:
"You will have a child with Down's Syndrome, because you will have the ability to love and be loved more than you have ever imagined."
I won't say that I heard voices, per se, but rather just a sudden flash of something outside of myself. Since I was bopping along listening to pop music and prepping for work, it was rather unexpected, to say the least.
Of course I thought of it when pregnant with Little Man. And since Sydney has seemed so destined,and I am now of "advanced maternal age," I have thought it might be her. Testing has seemed to indicate not, and that is a relief simply from the standpoint that I worry how we would care for her while so stressed economically. It's not something I hope for. But at the same time, I have a certain peace about it. After all, it's not often that I get such interesting messages. I think, perhaps, that it may be a choice someday, brought about through fostering, mentoring, or adoption.
When pregnant with LM, everything was so focused on him. Classes and prepping and dreaming of him. Trying to do everything just right. This time, life has been very topsy-turvy. It's been hard to take a moment and simply imagine what will be. It continues to amaze all of us that our lives will be completely changed in just one week. I've never been in natural labor before. With LM, I was finally induced a week after his due date. After two days on pitocin, it was clear he was staying put. We often joke that he might still be in there if not for the c-section. We haven't been through classes this time. We have a scheduled c-section, but I wonder often about going into labor before then. Will I even recognize the signs?
I've repressed and romanticized much of what it was like to give birth and to have a new baby. And infant. And toddler. And preschooler. LM was a rather easy child. While I'd like to think that our parenting had a whole lot to do with that, I have read and seen enough to know that second children are when you learn all over that parenting is a contact sport.
And I want to prep my LM. While he used to ask for a sibling, he's also had seven years to settle into being the center of our universe. I know how it feels to be the much older sibling who welcomes a new being into the world. In my case, there was an almost instant competition set up for "Who will win the deathmatch of love and attention??" I don't want that for either of my children, and I've been trying to be so careful to set up good dynamics. Nevertheless, some of it is there and I have to just try to manage it as much as possible. A few nights ago, LM and I were hanging out in the nursery and talking about the changes to come and he said, "Can't she just stay in there a little longer? That way I can get to know you and Daddy better?"
I even worry about our kittens, who are very much babies. One of them demands to be held and rocked multiple times per day, and then wants to be cuddled at night. Poor little fur-children have no idea what's coming...
Do any of us?
Despite this, I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to finally meet this little soul who has been waiting for our family for quite some time.