I allowed myself to daydream about you today. Holding you. Damp and clammy in my arms. Feeling breathless at the accomplishment of birthing you. My final baby.
I know you are the last. At least, it seems as though you are. I wonder if your dad could be swayed to want more, as he finds the baby stage addictive. But I don’t know how many more times I can put myself through this.
The desperate hoping.
By this time tomorrow, I will know what to expect when you are born.
I will cry either way. Tears of heartbreak. Tears of relief and joy. But once I have cried, I will carry on. It doesn’t change how I feel about you. And I remind myself, with every slip into worry and upset, that I am lucky that I have you on the way at all.
I took your big brother out for lunch today. Once upon a time, he was the only baby I could imagine loving. Your sister made me realise that those thoughts simply were not true. I could never have imagined how much the heart can grow until she arrived. She has paved the way for you. Because loving you is easy.
I sat there beside him. We were colouring in between bites of food. And chatting. Just about little five year-old boy things really. Like Jasmine’s party. And why Summer is his favourite season.
When I think of having a son, I think of him and those early days. Your brother was a healthy baby. He was born on the 12th June 2012. He weighed 8lb 6oz. And had dark hair and very wide-awake blue eyes. I would push him around in his pram with so much pride. I could have burst. I breastfed him and marvelled at how I was actually able to do that. I never much minded, until he was born. And then suddenly all I could think about was trying to do that for him.
Those thoughts crossed my mind today, and, as if you knew what I was thinking, you started to move. And you moved more than you ever moved before. Fighting for space against the dough balls I imagine. You moved so much that I felt a shift in my organs. The highest I had ever felt you. And you made me feel a little bit like my tummy had flipped on the loop-the-loop of a rollercoaster ride, I’d never ridden on before. It made me smile to feel you.
And so I began to imagine you. I don’t often let myself to do that. I feel like, until I know the score, I daren’t let myself daydream too much. Because I don’t want to feel sad over you. I want to be strong and brave and ready to fight alongside you. I can’t let a syndrome be a disappointment. Because I’ll tell you something, your big sister is the best girl I know.
But today I just imagined. You have dark hair in my dreams. Warmer skin, like your sister. You mostly resemble your dad, as a baby, because I don’t really know if you can look like me without having Stickler Syndrome. You are, of course, healthy in my dreams. I took you home the day that you were born. I cried tears of happiness all day long. And I drank Prosecco too quickly, so that the bubbles went up my nose, as we raised a toast to you. I winced as you latched. And I joked about the late nights we were going to have. My pelvis ached. And my stomach had the sensation of a water bed. Halfway between feeling solid, or feeling like nothing at all. You lay, legs pulled up, froggy, and curled, in the bassinet of your pram. Your sister riding along with you. Your brother running on ahead. And we went to the park. And for a coffee. Just to do it. And your dad couldn’t stop smiling at me.
In an alternate reality, that might not happen. But please don’t think that there was never any joy or hope, or love and happiness, in your sister’s first weeks. The simple everyday gift of life was what we celebrated. We cried. But because we loved her. We pressed hands and noses to plastic walls. And we watched her with everything we had, when all we could do was watch. We fed her my milk, and our hands shook as we did it for the first time through her feeding tube. But we grinned at each other because we were doing it. Her parents. We howled with laughter when she shot newborn poo across the high dependency baby unit at Manchester. And every other parent in there laughed with us. The relief we all felt for something to laugh about. We didn’t miss her first bath. We didn’t miss her first smiles. And we were so proud of this kick-ass little baby girl who never gave up.
So if that’s your path too, baby boy, we will celebrate all of that with you too.
I really do love you. I think about you every day. Tomorrow feels like the start of forever. I just want to be ready for you. I want to know if I need to come with armour, and the strength to fight for you. Or simply just to come as I am.
I really want to do right by you.
I think you have a name, you know? We have one that we are testing. Seeing how it feels on our lips. Does it roll off the tongue? Is it us? Is it you? We are seeing how it feels in sequence with your siblings. Naming you is harder than it ever has been before.
You’re our last baby.
Last, but not least.
Loved, and not here yet.
I just want you to know that, whatever happens tomorrow, I would choose you every time.