Always Winter, Never Christmas

It is bleak and cold outside, the hours of light short and weak. All this seems a good match for my current state of mind. I'm just a few days past due, and yet I suddenly feel as if the pregnancy has been going on forever.

Funny—I have this faint memory of a few weeks ago, back when I was euphoric, and I was telling people that every day felt like Christmas Eve because of the anticipation. And yet every morning that Natalie didn't come I was still happy because I had a little bit more time to work and relax. That was a great feeling. Now, in my own body, I feel as if I'm lugging the weight of the world around. I've been having contractions for days, but they don't seem to be doing much, except for wearing me out. I guess I've entered the "Always Winter, Never Christmas" phase of the pregnancy.

It amazes me how different pregnancy looks from the outside—I remember seeing very pregnant women and how clear it was that they were soon to deliver. And yet, I could never have imagined the chasm of doubt and fear that they could be experiencing. Or how impossible it could feel.

Last Advent, when our friend Jarrod was dying of cancer, he quoted Paul Westerberg in his online journal, who wrote, "Miracles always happen when they have to." Jarrod wrote about how Advent is full of expectations—and demands. The darkening days only seem to add to the intensity of our jumbled felt and real needs. "As it builds up, we realize that we will not be satisfied in a waiting room of sorts," Jarrod wrote, "So we get up and actively long, yearn and crave, pretending that we we're actually doing something to bring the miracle about."

Like Jarrod, I can't will my miracle into existence. I feel the tug of her, though, as she struggles to find her way out. I try to be patient, because I know she has never done this before and it is dark and cramped in there. And I try to remember, as Jarrod did, that miracles happen when they have to.

Image provided by freefoto.com.


Argument #5764398

From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I felt that our bed situation needed some serious reconsideration. It was my theory that I deserved about 2/3 of the bed, because I was now two in one. John pointed out that the baby was quite small at the time, no larger than a grain of rice, actually, so my calculations might need to be reworked. But, I said, "I'm sleeping for two!"

Well, the bed situation hasn't improved too much, especially because of something I mentioned in my last post--each time I get up during the night, my dear hubby rolls to the center of the bed and falls into a deep sleep. When I return, it takes some serious coaxing to get him back to his proper location.

When we were in Michigan this summer, I managed to get poison Ivy. That first night after my diagnosis I woke in the middle of the night thinking, "Wow, I'm having my best night sleep in ages, poison ivy and all!" I looked over at John and in the moonlight I could see that he was clutching the edge of the bed, trying to stay as far away as possible. Even after I discovered that poison ivy rarely spreads from person to person, I liked to admonish him each night with, "Poison ivy is a HIGHLY contagious disease."

After the rash cleared up, I lost my best weapon. A few weeks ago, I came back to bed and found John in the dead center of the bed. Only this time, as a special bonus, not only was he sleeping in that forbidden region, but he was also talking in his sleep. I couldn't manage to wake him to get him to move over. I kept insisting, he kept hedging. He complained about the cold, I complained about the heat. I asked him, no begged him, to move over. And then he said, "Aw just put it in the archives as argument #5764398."

Freda the Long-Suffering

This photo was taken when Anna was two and sick with a fever. Freda never left her side. Freda also stays with her every night as she settles into sleep. I can't say Freda exactly enjoys this job (I think she especially loathes listening to Leo the Lightening Bug on repeat ad nauseum) but when she looks up at me and groans I reply, "Do you pay rent?"

We found Freda running alonside the highway two years ago. She was wet, cold, and had no collar. I pulled over and opened the back of my car, and she jumped in. None of the neighbors knew her. I posted a sign with my contact info at the local police station, and she is yet to be claimed. I still marvel at the timing of her arrival into our lives, as I had just told a friend, "I'm not ready for a second child just yet, but I could go for a dog."

Last night was rough. I'm due this week, and I am huge and lumbering and loose-jointed and Natalie can't keep her toes or fingers or something off my jelly-bean-sized bladder. I had to get up and go about 328 times. Anna also woke multiple times, first because she was thirsty, then hot, then cold, then scared, then lonely. To complicate matters, each time I returned to bed, I discovered that my husband had rolled into the dead center of the bed. At night he is like a boulder--immovable and impossible.

In the morning, Freda wakes at my first stir. She parks just outside my door. She does not make a sound, but I can see her furry outline beneath the crack. It is as if she is saying, "I know you have a lot on your plate. Whenever you get around to taking me out, that will be just fine."