I was scared to lift the blanket that covered his face the first time we met. A handsome young man named Brandon brought him to our house. I couldn’t help being surprised that they let a single young man deliver a baby but he was just as qualified as any other, I suppose. And I was scared to lift the blanket. Scared and excited and hopeful. Hopeful that the face I was about to look into was the face of our child but scared too that he was just a fill-in until our real child arrived. Secretly scared that he might have three eyes or two heads. Secretly scared that I could love no one like Jackson. And then we lifted the blanket on top of his carrier. I unbuckled the straps and lifted his tiny scrunched up body to my shoulder and fell in love. Completely in love.
And now as he sleeps in his bed, even more beautiful than the day we met, I stand in awe. A complete stranger became a piece of me. A piece of me that I felt was missing but never really knew. A complete stranger completed me. Completed us.
When I think of the pregnancies, I often think of them as one thing. One time in our lives. I like to sum them all up by simply referring to them as “the pregnancies.” It seems more pleasant that way. More easy to comprehend. We were a family of three, happy-go-lucky, and then “the pregnancies” happened. There was our life before “the pregnancies” and there has been life after them. It’s like this piece of pie that I sometimes just want to remove. Just take that little sliver out and nobody would ever know the difference. But in reality “the pregnancies” evolved me with each moment I lived them. Each drive to Houston. Each doctor visit. Each parking garage ticket paid. Each time cold gel was squeezed on my belly. Each heartbeat heard and each heartbeat not heard and every moment surrounding all of those other moments.
And each of those moments, whether triumphant or gruesome, brought me closer to him. To the one who sleeps in the next room, the one with the floppy hair and angel eyes. The one whose mother I was always supposed to be from before there was time.