4/11/16

Oh the Circle of Life


Aw, look at that! You've got a little thumb-sucker. My midwife moved the wand around as we both stared intently at the image on the screen. Little feet kicked around and I marveled at the miracle of life inside of me, at the little toes and fingers and side profile of my precious baby.

Today is the day I look forward to most each month, the day I meet with my midwife for a prenatal exam. The wisdom and motherly advice I gain from this amazing woman is invaluable, she's been through labor and delivery many times, both with her own babies and the multitude of babies she's helped bring into this world.

But the thing I love the most about these visits is hearing the steady, rhythmic heartbeat as the Doppler moves across my taunt skin, and today, it was the impromptu ultrasound. My untrained eyes strained to see the profile and identify the limbs and torso, searching for a clue as to what gender this child is. I will know for certain in a few weeks, but the suspense has been, well, suspenseful.

My mind and emotions have been in a million different places this month. I have struggled with this weight gain, angry and frustrated at myself when the jeans I had hoped to wear were too snug, causing me to resort to a maxi skirt which isn't my preference. (I'm wearing those jeans right now. They still fit; my meltdown was all hormonal.) I've felt the anticipation and excitement at the thought of holding this child in my arms, yet I have been trying hard to savor these last few weeks of having only Carson to care for. And I've been thinking so hard about life, the sacredness of it, how fleeting it is...

After that first stop I had about five other errands to run. Carson and I were both ready for new books from the library, I needed to purchase groceries at Aldi, because like so often happens our fridge was nearly vacant since the last grocery run, I had a package to mail, and a few other odds and ends to wrap up.

Living in a small town has many advantages, one being that almost any time I am out and about I see people I know. Today it was a childhood neighbor I hadn't seen in years. We chatted about life and I asked about his wife and children. Even though it's rather obvious, I always feel the need to let people know we are expecting another baby. I don't want them to think I have a love affair with burritos. He congratulated me, then with a sad but matter-of-fact tone, he told me that yesterday his wife had a miscarriage. She was eleven weeks along and so eager to welcome a forth child to their home. At times like this no words can suffice, an I'm so sorry was all I could muster. Long after we said good-bye he and wife was were still on my mind - my celebration of new life mixed with their grief.

The next stop was the post office. As I pulled open the door and walked in, the curly haired man coming out smiled and said hello. Reaching out to shake my hand, he introduced himself as Thomas. You're our neighbor, right? I asked. He and his wife live about a half mile up the road from us, and every time I run passed their place I think to myself that I need to stop in. With a small farmstead boasting sheep and goats and chickens and children, I know we'd get along well. We always wave at each other, but in the 3.5 years of living on this hill, I've never taken the liberty of stopping by to say hello and introduce myself.

Today I told him I would stop by sometime, that I wanted to get to know their family. I asked about his kids; they have four. And it was with an eager grin that he told me baby number five is on its way.

Oh the circle of life.

The month of April use to be just that, another ordinary month. Last year changed April forever. It now marks life and loss of life, when what should have been a cause for celebration, the beauty of precious new life, turned into deep grief and lament as my cousin and her newborn son both died during childbirth.

As both the anniversary of her death and my due date draw near I can't help but think of it. I see so much beauty in childbirth, but life has taught me that nothing is certain, and it is that that I think of too. Of an outcome that we expect to be joy-filled, but of trusting, no matter what life brings our way.

Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful, and in the words of a friend who has experienced deep grief herself, "because of circumstances, 'wonderful' doesn't always look the way humanity would typically describe it."

All of this is to say, that as April 28th nears and my heart aches for heaven, and as May 7th draws closer and with it the arrival of my baby, I am choosing to celebrate life and to trust in a outcome I have no control over. I will grieve with those who are grieving, and rejoice with those rejoicing, and I will give thanks, for every day is a gift and every life a cause for celebration... one not to take for granted.

3 comments:

  1. Today again I cry while reading; shedding tears for those who have lost precious babies, loved mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers. And at the same time my heart rejoices with new life, with families made whole, expanded by adoption or birth...

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  2. This is beautiful Sarah! Ahh the clothing meltdown. I ended up in tears in the middle of H&M trying to find SOMETHING that would fit me properly! Congratulations again on your baby!

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