On time

I woke up this morning to a 6-month-old baby.

Every few weeks I still remind my husband that this child has lived longer in my womb than he has out in the world. I need someone else to feel the gravity of that statement. I was pregnant forever, I often groan.

There are so many complicated factors when it comes to growing life. None of them confound me more than time.

First came a faint line on a test. I foolishly took it at the wrong time of day. I had to wait, hours and a lifetime, to take another one. This time, no line.

But things happen when you think you have your answer. A letter arrives. A flight is missed. A dog ends up on your doorstep. Little, inconsequential happenings, collectively whispering “It is time.”

A line appeared.

I waited for it to fade. I scolded my husband about getting excited. It’s foolish for us to think much about that line. It is irresponsible to our future grieving selves. The only thing we could do with our line was wait. And worry.

There are rooms made specifically for waiting. They have televisions in the corner, magazines strewn across surfaces, and well-worn paths where the carpet has been rubbed thin from the soles of restless shoes. I tried to put myself in that type of space every day to survive the waiting. Keep busy. Stay distracted. Rattle the snack machine but don’t ask for help. It is a chamber more than a room.

Then there was a flicker on a screen. A familiar site, not unlike flickers I’d seen before. There was a small tug on my heart, a little bounce in my step, a slight lessening of pressure in my chest. Maybe this time it will stick, my Dr. said.

I imagined myself like fly paper. The days were long and the nights somehow even longer. I oscillated between wanting to remain pregnant for one more day–each day– and wanting it to be over at any moment so at least I would know how it would end. At least I would save myself the time it takes to recover. Let me have your forever or not at all.

It stuck. He stuck. We did tests just to pass the time. This test shows an X and a Y chromosome, with no extras to be seen. This one proves he has a kidney. We collected each picture, each result, and each factoid of knowledge we could gather and locked ourselves back in that room. With each test ultimately we heard the same conclusion: we’ll just have to wait and see.

At some point, someone grabbed the knob of time and gave it a furious crank. Suddenly, I was full bellied, incredulous to the fact that I might meet my baby soon. His due date was rapidly approaching and all I could do to keep up with the speed of progression was to Google ‘Do babies need socks in April?’

A sharp twist returned the knob to the slowest speed imaginable. My patience was diminishing as quickly as my Netflix options were. All I could muster the strength to do was look up certain animal’s gestational periods. I was probably in a better mood than a donkey, but far worse than a wombat.

Due to an unexpected and devastating situation, we had to give our dog away a few months ago. My daughter sobbed uncontrollably at night, every night. Her tears an ocean, my words a stick. My guilt, compounded by her sadness, loitered through the halls of our house, making each moment painfully long. Finally, driving in the car one day she asked me “What is the purpose of feeling this sad?”

A response, but more a reflex, found its way to the surface. “So you’ll notice when you are really happy.”

On April 25th, 2018 the tiny whispers turned into a gigantic roar. IT IS TIME. Time to relearn how to breathe. Time to plead and pray. Time to grasp onto a blend of hope and science while putting all my trust into a few perfect strangers. Time to forgive my body and remember such deep, deep sadness. Time to meet my son.

When Calyx Anthony was born into this world I took one glance at him and immediately knew I would do it all over again. Each test, each restless night, each pregnancy. I would be pregnant as long as an elephant if I had to, just to have that moment. I begged myself to always remember how smooth his back felt, how sweet his cries were, and how for a few brilliant, beautiful seconds, time really did stand still.

What is the point in waiting for all this time? So you’ll notice how precious it really is.


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