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By now we’d have a newborn. But we don’t.

Life would look like this:

My mom would be here. I’d camp on the living room recliner, aching from the c-section. I’d be engorged and sore, shaking my head at the ridiculous notion that if it hurts, you aren’t nursing correctly. It hurts, at first. But you deal with it, knowing it doesn’t last forever.

We’d have the plastic mauve hospital tub stocked with a little stack of newborn diapers and alcohol swabs for the cord. The bulb syringe would assault the baby’s button nose, clearing out the last of the amnionic goo. The baby would sneeze.

I’d have to keep readjusting the pink and blue striped hospital hat, which I keep on the baby for a good two weeks after birth. It always slides crooked during nursing. There would a bit of dark brown hair peeking out at the baby’s nape, which I’d inhale at every opportunity.

My husband would do all the swaddling. He’s a master swaddler.

I’d go to bed every night at 8pm, anticipating an 11pm feeding. My husband would stay up with our little night owl.

But it isn’t that way.

Instead, I played outside with Beatrix yesterday. She went down the slide all by herself. I lifted her high into the air without fear of rupturing stitch or staple. I took pictures of her reveling in the sun, being licked by the dog, kicking a ball, chewing on a dirty red toy dinosaur that she found by the fence.


Those are pictures I wouldn’t have now, if we had a newborn. You can argue I’d have different pictures—dozens upon dozens of someone pink with swollen eyes, bundled in my arms. I’d be smiling in those pictures, I am sure.

But I am smiling in the pictures of Beatrix. Can’t see me?

I’m there.


Edited to add: I added this post to Calliope’s day of remembering the “almosts”.

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