As Shane and I walked around the neighborhood last night, I remarked that a year ago, I was waddling this same walk every night, in an attempt to coerce a baby out of my uterus. It made me think about how much I love the end of pregnancy. I do. I really do. That's not to say that I don't get anxious to meet my baby, because oh my goodness, I cried in my midwife's office on my due date when she said I'd made no progress (PREGNANT WOMEN: I delivered a baby within 48 hours of no progress, so take note that progress can mean nothing!). I didn't cry so much because I was done being pregnant, but I cried because I just wanted to meet the baby in my belly.
But still, the end of pregnancy is beautiful in its mysteriousness. Somehow, you have a full grown infant inside of you. Somehow your body works just right to keep a baby safe and warm and growing for forty weeks (and oh, how lucky you are in this). Somehow the baby doesn't jab right through your stomach with big movements as they run out of room. Somehow your body will continue to work right by delivering this baby into the world when he/she is ready. You don't know when, but you know that no one is pregnant forever. You know that the baby is going to pick his/her birthday, which you have to admit is pretty neat. And depending on when your due date is, you may start out a month knowing that you're going to have a baby THAT MONTH. People smile when they see you. They ask what you're having, and if you don't know the gender, they make guesses based on your belly. They ask if it's your first child. They congratulate you. And sometimes if you're really lucky, they have a hard time believing that you're nine months pregnant (but then other times, they ask if you're having twins). You daydream about your baby. What will labor be like? Will the baby look like me? Will it have hair?
And then, all in one fluid movement, you have a baby in your arms. He nurses constantly. Sometimes you wish you could put him back in your belly just to sleep for a few uninterrupted hours, but mostly, you love being able to look into the eyes of a sweet new baby. When Tommy was just 48 hours old, he woke up in the bassinet next to the bed. Without even thinking, as if on autopilot, I scooped him up, laid down, and started nursing him. Without turning on the light. Without even stopping to think about what I was doing, until he was latched and contentedly nursing. I just did. We moved together, as if we'd been doing it for a hundred years, as if it wasn't his very first night home from the hospital. Just like the moment he was born, as he slid into my hands, and I caught him like that's what I was supposed to do, like I'd done it a million times before. Moving together, in the rhythm that both of our bodies just knew how to do, not even pausing to think. And we've moved together ever since, this boy and I.