Quickening

A baby woke me up at 1 am last night, but it wasn’t the one who has a name and a face and a crib. It was a baby who is still just a fuzzy outline on a black and white print out, a heartbeat over the monitor, a life so new it can’t survive without me. It was my girl, my daughter, barely even half way here but already making herself known. I can finally feel the kicks and twists and jabs the ultrasound tech could see so clearly on her screen, the Kung Fu moves every pregnant woman anxiously longs for even as we make Alien references and complain about the punches to the bladder. They’re the closest thing to a voice our babies get, saying “I’m here! I’m living! Wait for me!”

They call this time The Quickening, a term I’ve always loved, which refers to the quickening of the baby’s movements from the slow, floaty flutters of a peanut sized fetus to flippy-floppy real-baby-sized twitches.  But for me it also refers to the quickening of time, the realization I am 20 weeks into a 40 week adventure, with 140 days (give or take) to go before I am a mother. A mother again. A mother some more. A mother of two.

The reality of that hasn’t even begun to sink in. I haven’t pulled the boxes of tiny gowns and onesies out to sort through and wash. I haven’t dog-eared the pages of my Ikea catalog with must haves for a new nursery. I don’t have a plan or a name or a calendar full of baby-prep classes. I just have a wish in my heart for her to be healthy and happy and whole, to come into our lives smiling and dancing, like I know she’s doing now in the warm comfort of my womb.

The truth is, none of the preparations matter. Having a crib doesn’t bring you a baby. Buying stuff doesn’t make you a mother. It’s a lesson every first time parent learns a few months too late, after the registry and the shower and the four hundred baby items crowding up your rooms. The fact that a parent cannot love a child with things is one of the fairest truths in this world – a millionaire has no advantage over me, nor do I rank over someone who lives in a mud hut and sleeps on the floor. All that matters is love and caring and patience and understanding, the kind of trial-by-fire lessons you only learn at 2 am when you’re totally failing and ready to give up and admit to anyone who asks that you must be the worst mother in the history of the world so would they please help you return this baby?

Oh, I have learned those lessons.

So for every week I forget to take a bump picture, for every day I don’t paint a nursery, for every kick I don’t take a moment to savor, I am sorry Baby Girl. But don’t be sad. I’ve kept all that love – the love-as-stuff, the love-as-money, the love-as-things – in my heart, where it grows right along with you, a little more every day.

Baby, I’m here. I’m waiting. I love you.

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24 Responses to “Quickening”

  1. merin says:

    so sweet. and true!

  2. Robyn says:

    ok, you made me cry at work…how embarrasing.

  3. Robyn says:

    even more embarrassing…i spelled embarrassing wrong..

  4. becca says:

    crying at 9:30 in the morning is unacceptable. especially at work. but you made me do it anyway, didn’t you? what a sweet, heart-felt post. loved every single word of it.

  5. MKP says:

    *sniff*

    That’s lovely :)

  6. lalaland13 says:

    Blinking furiously at my work desk. Thinking of mom pregnant with me 26 years ago. I hope you put this in her baby scrapbook, and have it readily accessible so when your daughter comes home for her birthday in, I dunno, 25 years or so, you don’t have to promise to look around the garage for it, then forget and vow to next time.

    Not that I’m upset with my mom. Not at all. Just trying to imagine her in the 80s, with the long hair I’ve seen in pictures, talking to me in the womb, singing to me, reading to me, even. And how my grandmother, who died 16 years ago yesterday, bought her an entire box of maternity clothes because my mom and dad were so poor at the time. And my brother at the hospital when my mom was in labor, telling people he was “waiting on my sister.” Even though no one knew for sure if I was a girl or not. Well, Mom had a feeling.

    Thanks for this, Suz.

  7. barbra says:

    that was beautiful, thank you.

  8. Jen F (from Robinson) says:

    Ugh, I’m with the other ladies. Not cool to make us all teary-eyed at work, Suzanne! Gives a whole new meaning to NSFW ;)

  9. Meg says:

    *sniffle*

    My, uh…allergies. Yeah.

    That’s lovely, Suzanne. Your little girl is lucky to be born into such a loving home.

  10. afteriris says:

    What a lovely post

  11. jill says:

    as imuch as i love make-me-crack-up-with-every-post suzanne, i equally love she-just-totally-made-me-cry-she’s-so-sweet suzanne!

  12. Aw Suzanne what a beautiful post. So touching and so true!

  13. Made tears in my eyes. Makes me want to have another one. ANOTHER ONE ALREADY! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

  14. sarrible says:

    I just sent that to my mom. I bet she’ll cry. I did.

    • mom says:

      No, you didn’t make me cry, but you do write very, very well and thank you Sarrible for sending it to me…I don’t remember feeling the quickening so much, there were 2 of you not so much room.

  15. TMae says:

    What a wonderful homage to her…

  16. Emmie Bee says:

    This was beautiful Suzanne. BEAUTIFUL. You are an amazing writer when you are trying to make me laugh & even more so when you do posts like this one.

  17. Jenn Smith says:

    Suzanne,

    Add me to the ever growing list of mothers you have crying at work. LOL This is beautiful. I so wish you lived closer, cause I would love to teach you how to scrapbook, this would be the perfect start. I am forwarding this to my mother who will also be crying at work.

    Jenn
    PS – you also have me wishing for another one, I would love to feel that quickening one last time, and maybe possibly do a room in pink :-) Then I wake up and realize that my oldest boy is 18 and my youngest boy is 12, with 2 in the middle, I am nearing the big 4-0, and I must be crazy to think that.

  18. Londonmum says:

    lucky baby girl to have you as her mum x

  19. Krista T says:

    Well I don’t work, but if I did, I’d be crying there too. So since my work is in the home, I guess you did anyway, LOL. Add me to the list of “crying after reading”. Awesome post!

  20. Erin (You know which one) says:

    Tears! Love it!!! Love you and your babies!!!!! :)

  21. Julie says:

    That was just the most beautiful post. I love your line about “the fairest truth”. Thank you for writing this.

  22. Katrina says:

    Wow Suzanne–this really pulled at my heart. Even more than that crying baby at SS today! :-) Thanks for posting!

  23. andrea says:

    Suzanne!! What a beautiful post and what a great surprise to know you are having a baby girl! Baby E is going to be a great big brother. I am very happy for you four. You are going to make a great mother of two.
    I am obviously VERY behind in your blog (and every other blog there is, including mine), but it is very nice to read your blog and go back in time to see what has been going on in your world. I am slowly (very very s.low.ly) getting back into blogging after what seems like forever and reading your blog is a nice way to get started.
    Love you! andrea

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