52 weeks ago tonight, I was headed to bed, a little sad and a little anxious.
This baby inside me had been due nine days before and, what concerned me most was the idea that the closer I got to Thursday without a baby meant the closer I came to facing an induction - the one thing I had wanted so badly to avoid with this baby. A Pitocin-free birth in the comfort of my home is what I had looked forward to since before this little being was even formed in my womb.
Going to bed that Saturday night without a baby in my arms meant waking up that Sunday morning to another crowd of friendly, sympathetic faces, with their looks of pity and surprise upon seeing my continually swelling belly. Another round of, "No, still no baby, yet!" with a false smile to hide the growing frustration.
What I was not expecting was to be sending my two oldest children to church the following morning as I snuggled my fresh-from-the-womb son in those very arms I had so lamented for being empty the night before.
I had not expected the early morning pains, the ones that made my toes curl and my words stop. The ones that were so sporadically spaced I could not determine if the call to the midwife should be made or if I needed to hold off. I had not anticipated the hour of longing to push while forcing myself to wait, trusting I could do all things through the strength of my Savior, knowing my panicked, yet re-assuring, husband was not at all ready to welcome a tiny life to this world on his own.
I hadn't even considered I might be pushing this baby into the waiting arms of an assistant I had met only once or twice before, whose baby-delivering skills were the most valuable asset in that room. Or that the midwife would be walking into a room newly calmed from the preceding chaos and a baby boy only five minutes old.
All before the other children even woke up.
I didn't know I wouldn't be the one dressing them up in their pre-Valentine's best or ushering them out the door.
More than anything else, I had no idea how my heart could swell to love another human being with the same intensity I felt for those other two who had previously passed from my womb.
Oh how pregnant with anticipation and surprise was that one Saturday night.
Fifty-two weeks ago.
1087. A not-even-one-year-old face smiling, "Cheese!"
1088. Birthday cake
1089. Siblings, bringing gifts to their brother, eager to help
1090. A birthday celebration covered with the love of family
1091. Precious conversations with my little ones.
1092. A precocious exclamation: "I feel like a woman hurting everywhere!"