Somehow, this year, I managed to hang two wall calendars in our little apartment. They were both free and both had pretty pictures, so I found space for them. It’s not like I use them, though. John and I keep our appointments on a shared electronic calendar that he can access from work. The only things on the wall calendars are a couple of birthdays, the occasional doctor’s appointment, . . .
. . . and Ethan’s due date.
Sunday morning, I woke up for a routine four a.m. bathroom trip. I was wise enough to get myself a glass of water afterward, but even with that, once I got back to bed I couldn’t fall asleep. Nothing in particular was bothering me. My mind just kept playing through random little thoughts of things to do, emails to send, and prayers to get back to sleep.
At ten to five, I still wasn’t asleep, and I decided to accept what my night/morning had become. I got up, had a bowl of cereal and sat down on the couch to read. About an hour later, I was ready to head back to bed, and slept until Jacob woke up a whopping forty-five minutes later. I let John sleep and gave the little man some breakfast of his own. That’s when I realized the calendar pages needed to be changed from June to July.
I flipped the page, having been uncertain of my reaction to this moment for the preceding six months. Somehow, the numbers denoting weeks of my pregnancy that I’d scribbled out on the previous months hadn’t bothered me. But when I got to the page with “No. 2 due!” written in a different-colored ink, something in me flipped. Maybe this was why I couldn’t sleep, I wondered.
I regained my composure, but confirmed my suspicion at Mass. By the end, I was a mess. I wasn’t stifling just tears, but a total face combustion, if you can imagine what that means (and I hope you can). John asked what was wrong on the way home, and I burst into tears on the street. I got home, took down the calendar, and while I’m beginning to dread the actual due date, I’m back to okay now.
We have had so many changes to our plans this year. We lost a baby; we are growing another. We’ve almost moved to London three times. We’ve rescheduled or cancelled half of our summer plans, only to have new ones crop up within days. There’s a reason we use an electronic calendar to schedule our lives. Well, now there are two.
The other side of the story is that, as I’ve mentioned, I’m very nervous about this new little one. I recently talked to a friend’s mom, who had a miscarriage at the same gestational point I did and then went on to have two beautiful children. Even though her experience was years ago, she validated that what I was feeling was normal. She told me that once I got farther along with this pregnancy than I did with Ethan’s, I’d probably start to relax. She was right. She also said I wouldn’t totally relax until I held that new little one in my arms. It was what I had suspected, and again, I think she’s right.
From the outside, everything looks great with this pregnancy thus far. But, as in any situation where one’s been hurt, it’s more difficult to hope and to trust the next time around. I don’t have the weeks of this pregnancy written on any calendar. If I want to know precisely how far along I am, I have to go to a calendar (if I can find one) and count. I’ve only checked what size fruit our baby is equivalent to once, after our second ultrasound, in a conversation with John when we realized we had no idea, even after seeing him/her.
I think a big part of me is in an odd denial; I’m hoping I can just eek out the next six months and then, poof! a little girl (or boy) will appear for us to care for. That’s not the way I want this pregnancy to go, though. I want more faith, more trust, more hope. I want to be able to believe without seeing, if you will.
But then again, I can’t push myself too far or too quickly. As with many things in life—and yes, the pun is absolutely intended—I need to take baby steps. Sunday, that was putting the calendar away for a while. Today that was getting a book of baby knitting patterns from the library. Tomorrow, who knows?
P.S. For the record, I was fourteen weeks on Wednesday, and our baby is the size of a lemon.