I am sitting here in utter disbelief. The ornaments that adorned our first Christmas tree are now boxed away, which sadly makes our tree just that: a tree. The photo frames that once held pictures of my sorority sisters now hold ultrasound pictures of the baby girl that we already love so much. The textbooks have been replaced with baby books, Wolfe novels, and my bible. The downstairs office is now a nursery. The shot glasses in the sink have been replaced with coffee mugs. There is laundry humming in the washer, football on the television, and a silver tabby sitting in the window across the room from me. My life honestly couldn’t be any different than it was one year ago, and I truly couldn’t be any happier.
In previous years, January 1st always found me with a sense of renewal, a false sense of change and a mentality that with a new year came a mythical and imaginary reset button that everyone, from every walk of life, acknowledged and respected. This year, January 1st came and went, and that change, that renewal didn’t come. Call me crazy, but I’m sure it has everything to do with this little baby growing inside of me. There is no more reset button. I am now responsible for the life of another human being, no matter how small she may be right now. Every little movement from her reminds me that someone in this great big world is dependent on me, at least for the next two decades or so. I am indebted to her for teaching me that I am so much more important to this world than I ever could have imagined.
In less than one week, Zach and I will be entering into the third trimester of this pregnancy, and all of the warning signs are here. I get heartburn from drinking too much water, I find myself waddling up the stairs, and breathing like I just sprinted after walking across a room. Oh, and forget sleeping through the night. A month ago, I was diagnosed with hydronephrosis: a painful, yet harmless, condition where the positioning of my uterus is such that my ureters are constricted and my kidneys swell with fluid. If you have never in your life experienced kidney pain, consider yourself lucky and knock on wood, for good measure. After a week of doctors visits, blood tests, ultrasounds, and a short hospital stay, we were finally diagnosed and sent home. I was put on a pregnancy disability leave of absence from work, and have since lost my mind. I don’t do well when I have nothing to do, but all of this time to myself has given me time to think and bond with this little baby.
A few mornings every week, I wake up early and make a pot of coffee. I go into the nursery and pull out a baby book that Zach’s grandma Barbara gave us for Christmas and I read to her. The book that I’ve read most often is called “You Are My I Love You,” and the first time I started reading out loud, I felt ridiculous. They say that your baby has the ability to listen beginning around 14 weeks, but halfway through my second trimester I was reading a book and staring at my belly with the door closed because God forbid Zach hears me talking to myself and thinks the same thoughts that are running through my mind. After reading the book, I sat there for a moment in the silence and felt one of the strongest kicks I’ve yet felt throughout this pregnancy. No matter how silly I felt, I knew I could continue to read for her.
Zach and I have grown tremendously over the past year, and our lives have changed drastically. I don’t think many people plan on becoming parents just a year after graduating college, and I definitely didn’t plan on having a baby before getting married, but life has a tendency to humble you in ways you could never imagine. I have been humbled, in the biggest way through realizing that this journey in motherhood will be a daily reminder that my life is no longer my own. My twenties will not be my selfish years. Instead, they will be selfless. I was given the opportunity to imagine an entirely new story for my life and to start living it the day that those two lines appeared on that test. This year, although I have no overwhelming sense of change or renewal, I resolve to be more selfless, more responsible, and to listen instead of speak so that I can begin learn how to be a mother and a better human being.