m: due date

Things nobody tells you about late pregnancy...

• it’s PAINFUL being kicked from the inside

• you will waddle

• people treat you like you are ill/require their help and it will annoy you

• when people don’t give you special treatment/don’t help you, it will annoy you

• everything is annoying

• you always need to pee. Even when you don’t, you feel like you do

• sleep isn’t a thing any more

• you will need to buy more pillows for your bed so you can create an epic pillow fortress surrounding you in an effort to create some measly degree of comfort

• but the pillows will annoy you

• lightening crotch (exactly as it sounds - a lightening bolt of pain in your vagina) becomes more frequent and more painful and nobody ever warns you about it

• every day that you are not in labour is annoying and you will complain and verbalise your frustrations. A lot.

• you forget what it feels like to be a normal, rational, able bodied, human being. You dream of moving freely, being able to bend and stand up without making old person noises

• you forget what your vagina looks like and look forward to the day you see it again

• breathing is hard work sometimes

• you are afraid of everything: the fourth trimester, labour, waters breaking in awkward places, not realising you are in labour, how to look after a baby, are you prepared enough, what will your vagina actually look like afterwards?

• every single thing is annoying

Today is my due date.

You’ll notice, though, that I don’t look pregnant. And that’s because I’m not. It’s been 6 months since I called the midwife to tell her about…something. Something that just wasn’t quite right. Not blood, not pain, just something I knew wasn’t nothing.

Aaron waited in the car. He had just had chemo, and I’d waited beside him as the poison drip, drip dripped into his arm. “It’ll just take five minutes,” I told him, “it’s no big deal.”

The next morning, after they’d put me under and scraped her out of my body, I laid next to him in our bed, my head swimming.

We were sure it was a girl the way we were sure Ralph was a boy. We spent nearly 12 weeks intoxicated by her magic, unaware that somewhere along the line her light had extinguished inside of me.

I didn’t have time to be sad, not for a baby that hadn’t existed, not when across town my own father laid dying in the ICU, not when my own husband was fading away beside me.

So, I am sad now. Today I will cry for her and all that she represented to us. I will cry for the sibling Ralphie doesn’t get — not yet at least— I will cry for the way my father squeezed my hand and whispered “I’m so sorry” when I leaned down to kiss him in his hospital bed. I will cry for Aaron and how he told me on his deathbed that he’d be holding her forever. I will cry for the fact that some babies get born and some babies don’t, for every single woman who has felt the agony of almost.

I will cry because life is not fair and I still have it better than most.

I am grateful for the life that I have and the one shining star of a human I birthed into this world. I know that there is no could have or would have, that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. But I will still carry that almost with me forever. Her loss will not always sting this hard, but it will never not be sad.