Sunday, July 24, 2011

A temporary appearance

"Do you feel that?" the midwife asked me. "There's his foot. Oh, and there's the other foot. Looks like he's got one leg crossed over the other."

The midwife has magic hands; they press and rub my belly and discern legs, elbows, feet, hands. I feel lumps that move -- something is there, but I have no idea what it is.

This time, figuring out the baby's position had a different purpose. The midwife planned to paint a picture on my stomach of his current state. She debated with the apprentice before deciding he faced my left, then pulled out a paint crayon to sketch his outline on my skin.

I lay still on the bed, the wet crayons and her hands cooling my stomach as they pressed and glided, and I saw the baby's bottom and legs take shape. Underneath the skin, baby wiggled at each touch and pushed one of those feet straight outward, creating a large bulge near my belly button. We laughed at his impatience -- what was happening out there?

I could see very little from my vantage point except the red placenta at the top, feeding my baby, and his little kicking legs, their tiny toes crossing my left side. He floated in a calming sky blue that made me envy his state. He sits in my belly, all his needs met, unaware of any other world. I carry him closer than I ever will again, yet it doesn't feel close enough -- I want him to be outside, laying on my chest so I can soothe him and stroke his head.

Soon the midwife had finished, and Stuart joined me on the bed for our first family photo. In my mind I imagined us doing the same after the birth, but with a writhing red baby in our arms -- many hours of laboring behind us, nearly forgotten as we smile at our son and he gazes back.

Not much longer now. Only a week until my due date, although he could come anytime between today and several weeks from now. We eagerly wait.

I didn't want to pull my shirt back down over the masterpiece on my belly; I wanted to show him off to the world. Soon I will hold his tiny hands, snuggle him close, and kiss him with a new kind of love that I've never known before.

That night I stripped and headed to the shower. The water splashed my belly and the blue, orange and red rolled down the drain. His external imprint was gone, but soon it would be replaced by something more real and infinitely better. Soon enough.


  1. Oh, Sarah, this is so beautiful. I've just finished reading it through tears, as I nurse Gus. I'm so disappointed I didn't get to see your belly painting in the flesh, and realize we may very well be out of town for your labor and birth:-(. I'll keep thinking of the phrase, "closer than I ever will again." Profoundly true. And very evocative as I hold Gus, knowing I won't be pregnant again.

  2. Thanks, Melissa. Maybe this shouldn't be read by someone with post-natal hormones. ;-) Enjoy your time out of town.