On a walk last night, I "saw" a young couple, with their year-old puppy, walking in front of me- the wife was heavily pregnant, and they were talking excitedly about the baby that would be coming. Who would this baby be? Is it a boy or a girl? What would this new little person bring to their lives?
Okay, I hallucinated a bit. I think it was the extreme deja-vous I was experiencing, due to the unnaturally high temps on a mid-March evening in Metro-Detroit, Michigan. It could almost have been June of 2007 again. Only this time, it was Mr. Clarateaches, a now nearly four-year old Dogasus, and an adorable, perky little girl who will be three years old this summer, along for the walk in her wagon. Just 25 days away from my "Guess Date," I found myself walking in my own footsteps of almost three years ago, thinking similar thoughts. Who is this individual I am carrying? Is this the little sister, or the little brother of my sweet baby girl? What will they bring to our group? What will change?
Life, of course, being what it has been for a little more than the last year (oh what the heck, a little more than two and a half years), has jaded some of the view. I know now what labor feels like, and I also know what it feels like when all the best laid plans fall horrifyingly to the ground and go up in flames. I know what the insanity of cognitive dissonance feels like when you simultaneously feel so fulfilled and complete while looking at the tiny baby in your arms, and at the same time feel like you don't know whose body this is, but it surely can't be yours, because your body just doesn't fail. I know the mind-numbing, head-banging-on-a-wall experience of battling hospital staff for the most basic of choices. I know the strange, "beyond the looking glass," "I am now blank and separate forever" sinkhole of post-partum depression. The repeated rise and fall of hope as I twice hold a positive pregnancy test in my hands, and follow it twelve weeks later with a tiny shell of a baby who is no longer earth-bound.
I also know the exhausting, exhilarating, boundless love of a small child who shares some of my genes, with some of the genes of the love of my life. I'm sure that she's just about as close to perfection as we will ever achieve. I know that the same little person who stretches me, as a mother, to the point where I think I can never be this tired or frustrated again, is also the same little person who amazes me with her capacity to learn and to come to her own conclusions, and be her own person. How could I be so lucky?
In approximately a month or less, my questions will be answered. The morbid ones, and the mundane- will this baby live? Will I actually have a living baby at the end of this? How will this baby arrive- will my body fail me again, or will my labor be hellaciously wonderful and result in a victorious VBAC? Who IS this little one, who, as I type, is bumping little limbs out at me, and waving around what is probably a little rear-end? Will Gianna have a little sister, or brother- is it going to be a new experience of what we already know, or will we embark on a new adventure, that of raising a little boy? How will I come out, on the other side of this? How will we all sort out the change from a family of three (plus dog) to a family of four (plus dog)?