reflections on a pregnancy

It is a strange feeling to have someone hiccup inside of you. And yet, also strangely comforting.

I’m in the final month of what is likely my last pregnancy. Sometimes I look down and watch my belly shape shift and wonder about the creature breaching like a dolphin beneath my skin. I feel aquatic. And I feel lucky.

This baby came so easily after the last pregnancy faded. I remember standing in the bathroom after my third pregnancy test just waiting to see the double blue lines appear. But I never really doubted them. I just silently noticed when a new week turned over and the baby was still here.

Sometimes, in this era of modern medicine, I think we forget how risky childbirth can be. How the body, growing another body, is risking its own. It is a burden that only women carry. And there are no guarantees. Just best intentions.

I know a woman who tried for years to have a baby – just one baby – until she could not try anymore. I know a man who waited for nine months to hold his child and never once heard it breathe before he put it in the ground.

Once, I interviewed a 16 year-old who lived on the streets of Austin and was pregnant with her second child. Perched on the exam table in her doctor’s office, she held her  tummy and talked about her hopes for her baby. Mostly, she wanted to be a better mom than she was with her son, she said wiping away tears.

“Well, you’re here now,” I told her before turning my face to my notes so she wouldn’t see my eyes.

At the time, I was struggling with infertility. I was heartbroken. For her, for me. Both in situations we desperately wanted to fix, but didn’t quite know how.

Two thousand miles and four years later, my life is unrecognizable. It’s snowing. Flakes so tiny they look like dust. Toy trucks are scattered on the floor.

The baby has stopped hiccuping. I think it is sleeping. Rest up, little one. I have so much to tell you.

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