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Dear Sweet Autumn Baby

Autumn Wedding Day

Our perfect autumn wedding day in November 2008

Dear Sweet Baby,

After a long, hot summer, the weather has finally started to turn cool. It’s beginning to feel like autumn: the season of your birth.

Your father and I were married in this season, on a gorgeous fall day nearly three years ago. There’s something so peaceful about this time of year, so mature and deliberate. Spring, with its wild abundance and infinite possibility, has always been my favorite season. But autumn seems like such a perfect time for you to come into our lives. It’s certainly become a special time in my life, and becomes more so with every passing day as we draw closer to your arrival.

I’m fully in preparation mode now, doing all I can to feel ready. It never seems like enough. I know there’s nothing I can do completely prepare my heart for the day it grows huge with love for you. Nothing in the human body can expand that quickly without some pain involved — without aching at least a little bit. I already feel my heart swelling and being stripped raw at the same time, just by having you inside me.

People talk so much about crazy pregnancy emotions, but rarely about why expectant women get so soft and vulnerable to everything around them. Perhaps it’s a kind of practice run for how fully and helplessly we love these babies when they finally arrive.

This pregnancy — the process of creating you and growing you into something real — has not been brief or fleeting. It feels like I’ve been pregnant for ages and I still have more than a month to go. I can feel my body readying itself to bring you into the world; now it’s just my heart that needs to get itself into shape. I fear it will truly burst when I finally lay eyes on you.

It’s been more than 10 years since your dad and I first met. We were so young — in years, but even more so in spirit. We took our time growing up: moving to new cities; changing jobs and careers; collecting experiences and friends along the way. It took a long time for us to get here, and a lot of people haven’t always understood why.

But we know.

We know it took every one of those years — every week, every month, every season — to bring us here today. We anticipate your arrival with hearts that have grown broader and stronger with every passing year. And still, we know you will turn us upside down and inside out. That our lives will never be the same again.

Ten years. Ten autumns. And now, the autumn of you. Of new feelings, new experiences — a whole new chapter for us. I wait for you with bated breath, knowing this is only the beginning of the rest of our lives.

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118 Months Pregnant

BabyAheadAll of a sudden, I’m a hundred months pregnant, and it happened overnight.

A couple weeks ago, I went to bed 32 weeks pregnant. I woke up the next morning with a belly twice the size it was the night before. Did I unknowingly sleep-eat after midnight and turn this baby into a Gremlin?

Ever since this sudden belly expansion, complaining is my drug of choice. I can’t go more than an hour without it. The other day I was whining to my sister over the phone, and she asked pointedly, “Is there anything that is okay to say to a pregnant woman?” After a long pause, I came up with the answer:

“No.”

Not at this stage, anyway.

Part of me is dying for it to be over. Part of me is terrified for it to end. Most people — seeing how slowly I’m waddling around these days — assume I’m more than ready for it to be over. On many levels, they’re right:

I’m ready to be able to climb into bed without lying on my back and panting, struggling to roll over like an overturned cockroach. I’m ready to stop mopping sweat from my face while all my co-workers complain about how cold the A/C is. I’m ready to hold my baby in my arms instead of balanced on top of my bladder.

But am I ready to have a baby? In addition to the fact that this baby still has some cooking to do, I still feel a long way from prepared to be a mom. And yet, the baby’s arrival suddenly seems imminent.

My feelings of unpreparedness were compounded by a recent doctor’s visit. My husband and I saw a different OB-GYN at my usual practice and, while we liked her a lot, she had a lot of questions. We didn’t have too many answers.

“Have you started interviewing pediatricians?”

“Have you considered taking infant CPR classes?” (My husband made a note on our to-do list: “infancy PR class.”)

“Have you toured the hospital?”

I meekly offered, “We’re taking a childbirth class at the end of this month …”

“Great! Have you pre-registered for the delivery yet?”

Sigh. It’s cram time.

As my college roommates can attest, I was never good at planning ahead for tests and assignments. Any impending exam or art project deadline had me up late the night before, working furiously to load my brain with a semester’s worth of knowledge.

Here I am again, clueless in the eleventh hour.

As always, though, I’m ready and willing to learn. If this were college, I’d be brewing a big pot of coffee and laying out my drawing pencils, finally inspired as I can see in my mind’s eye exactly what I’m going to make.

It’s the most important, exciting, life-changing creation I’ve ever brought to life.

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