It’s kind of backwards, the manifestation of nothing at the manifestation of Jesus.
It had been a week late. We already have four kids. I’m hopefully a semester and the summer away from having all the kids in school all the time. My goal is to end my 8 and a half year run of diaper-changing this spring. We were 100% consistent in our birth control choices, even if we hadn’t quite managed to bring ourselves to make any permanent ones. We were doing our best to set our path straight.
It had been a week late. We already have three miscarriages. While I was up at night freaking out about this possible life change, my mind shied away from thinking about that first trimester that I now know isn’t, the agony and anxiety of 8 or 9 weeks of is this baby safe do I want this baby to be safe. Can I absorb one more of this specific grief. “Eight pregnancies! It is a period!” I misquoted Jane Austen in my head.
Our house that we moved away from a year ago finally got rented. We’d hoped to sell. I hoped Jesus would sell it for us at some glorious profit to reward us for choosing the job that wasn’t financially the best but did seem like the best chance for my preacher-husband to build the kingdom of God. Jesus chose not to, and we went through a year of paying for two places to live, accumulating credit card points trying to reconcile our lifestyle, our mortgage, our rent, and our paycheck. Assuming our youngest goes to preK in August, I was looking, at for the first time in almost 9 years, seven hours of free time to do with what I wanted (Spoiler: earn money to offset the Year of Two Houses’s affect on our finances and also laundry). For a week I skirted around on the margins of wondering if I’d be able to trust God if he chose to disrupt the future I’d begun envisioning by entrusting us with another body and soul to keep together and love.
I love newborns. I love babies. I love the glorious genre feel (Lord-willing) of pregnancy and birth. I know how it happens — a sperm and an egg meet — and I know how it ends — a mother and a baby meet, but I love retreading every single different kind of path that it takes to get there — years of infertility finally succumbing, a ill-fated one night stand, that annoying couple (it us!) that only has to look at each other without protection to conceive, the bitter glory of infant adoption; the different pregnancy experiences, the ladies that glow, the ladies that fade, the ladies that grump their way through (it also me); the perfect home-birth midwife orgasmic glow birth stories, the barely saved by the extreme skill of medical doctors stories, the unwanted c-section but I got a healthy baby stories, I am here for all of it. And, of course, I’m here for the epilogues as mothers and fathers reconcile their realities with their dreams, the truths of parenting with their inaccurate expectations, the sweetness of their babies with the traumas that accompany them — the unexpected medical or hormonal crisis and/or the quotidian daily drag of a body recovering from birth, and parents learning again and again to live outside themselves with less sleep than they’ve ever experienced in their life.
But hey, seven is the number of completion. So I will take my seven pregnancies — my four kids and my grief and loss, my plans to teach our two year old that she’s not actually the queen of the world, my quiet fierce anticipation of that time coming when I’m the only person in our home, and hold them in my heart. I will put the star up over our door, and ask Jesus to bless this house again, because we need it. We’ll take the fire hazard-dry Christmas tree down, and I’ll crochet a few more rows on the blanket for someone’s first baby due next week.