April 9th, 2000
I remember the day so vividly. It was our last day as a couple....the following day would make us a family.
We woke up to a freakish snowstorm....the kind that looks really ominous for a couple hours but has completely melted by the end of the day. And in my overly-hormonal state, I gazed over our backyard and cried. "It's SNOWING and I don't have a SNOWSUIT for the baby and I'm already a HORRIBLE mother! What kind of MOM doesn't have a SNOWSUIT for her BABY?!" Luckily, Nick talked me down from the ledge mumbling something about using lots of blankets to keep the baby warm and that the snow would probably be gone by the time he came home with us.
Yes. He is a smart guy. No. You can't have him.
We had a Christening to attend that day for a friend's baby who had been born in February. But before we left, I had an uncharacteristic burst of courage....I handed Nick the camera and asked him to take my last belly picture. Why not, right? My hair was freshly coiffed and I might have even had some makeup on. So in my super-duper-stretchy pants and my sport bra, I posed.
Well...."posed" might be an overstatement. I actually just stood there and tried not to weep uncontrollably over the road map of stretch marks that now covered my abdomen. (Yes. I do exaggerate sometimes. No. This isn't one of those times.)
I remember.....being at the reception and watching the new parents in awe. That will be us. Very soon.... I couldn't take my eyes off them and the tiny pink bundle everyone was fawning over. I couldn't stop looking at Mr. and Mrs. L and wondering, "What's it like? How does it feel to be a parent? Will it be okay? Will I be good at this?"
I remember.....looking at the cake and laughing with Mrs. L. She pointed out that someone had spelled the baby's name as "Clara" instead of "Ciara." And to this day, that's how I remember the correct spelling of her daughter's name.
I remember......being so crippled by carpal tunnel that I couldn't cut my own food. Nick had to do it for me. Despite the painful tingling, I was able to hold the fork and feed myself. But I had to put the fork down between bites to rest my hands.
I remember.....the questions. Let's face it....carrying around a big baby belly is like giving the world an open invitation for questions. "Step right up! Ask anything you want!" I'm sure we were asked the same questions repeatedly. How are you feeling? You look GREAT. When are you due? Oh! You're having the baby tomorrow?! WOW! Do you know if it's a boy or girl? Did you pick a name? Are you nervous? Is your mother coming out for a bit to help you? What hospital will you be at?
The questions didn't bother me. Truthfully, I was just happy to be NOT sitting at home counting the hours until delivery!
I remember.....the belly rubs! Many women I know are disgusted by the way people feel the need to touch a pregnant belly. I always found it to be sweet. There's something about that big bump that makes people smile. Maybe it brings back a memory for them. Maybe they're silently praying for a healthy baby and a happy Momma. Maybe for one brief second, they're wishing to relive that time. Whatever the case may be, I never saw the harm and it never offended me.
I remember....the drive home. Staring out the car window. Trying to mentally prepare myself for the next day. Running my hands over the bump that held my son. Smiling when he kicked me in response. I've never even met him. How can I possibly love him so much already?
I was excited. Terrified. Joyful. Swollen and uncomfortable.
It was our last day as a Party Of Two.
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Part 3 will post tomorrow.