Baby Girl, we are in the middle of week 21 of your life in my womb, and already it seems you are growing way too fast. I’m not sure how we already passed the halfway point of this pregnancy, but it appears you will be here before we know it, while I’m still scratching my head wondering where Christmas went. I saw my favorite yogurt on sale at the market, with the sale’s end date marked as March 12. “Wow,” I thought, “I have a good month to come back to the market to get more of this before the sale ends!” On my way to my car, I realized it was March 12 already. How is it that the passage of time can deceive us so?
I’d like to think that I have a decently realistic perspective on how our lives will be upheaved when you arrive. These days, when I choose to sleep in, I am well aware that this is a limited luxury. When I sit down with a good book on my days off, I tell myself I better read fast because I won’t have much quiet reading time for years to come, unless you count the bedtime stories that will be on repeat as I (attempt to) lull you to sleep. When your daddy and I flew home from one final vacation, I foresaw myself in the shoes of the mom behind me as she tried oh so apologetically to keep her kid from kicking my seat on the plane, again. I did not take it for granted that for now, I still have full containment of all your extremities there in my womb.
This experience makes me realize anew how we make so many of our decisions depending on the assumptions in our minds of how much time or how many other options we have. All that home reorganization that I was procrastinating is now put on the fast track. I’m determined to get most of the nesting done while I have a decent amount of energy and can still actually bend over without a large watermelon in my way. I’m savoring all my quality time with friends before my conversations are interrupted with “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!!” I’m so aware now of moments that feel like wasted time, lost time.
Working as a pediatric ICU nurse also puts a unique perspective on this pregnancy. For better or for worse, my experiences with my patients have forced me to walk this uncomfortable line between what is simply reality, and what is flat out morbid. I know the odds are in my favor, but I do not assume that I will absolutely, necessarily have a healthy child. If she is born healthy, I do not assume that she will live a healthy 85+ years and simply die peacefully in her sleep at some ripe old age. In some ways, this makes me overly paranoid, and of this I am very well aware. In other ways, this perspective makes me thankful for every healthy kick I feel, and every normal ultrasound picture that I see thus far. But I don’t presume upon anything. I appreciate the fragility of it all. I want so much to guard her with my life.
And so, in this season, I echo the prayer of the Psalmist:
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.