Months and months ago, I told your Big Brother that we'd know it was getting close to time for you to be born when the weather started to get cool and the leaves on the trees started to change to red and yellow and orange and fall to the ground.
A couple weeks ago, late one afternoon, he was playing in the back yard. I was in the kitchen, starting dinner. I'd left the door open, as I do most of the time when he's playing outside, in case he needs something. He was up at the top of the hill, exploring. I'm sure it's a place the two of you will spend many summer days. Maybe someday, we'll even put a swingset or a clubhouse up there.
I heard him shouting before I could even see where he was. "Ma-maaaaaaa! Maaaa-maaaa!!!!!!" I ran to the door, and he came out from behind a little tree. He had something in his hand, and he ran down the hill as fast as he could.
"Mamalook! It's. It's. It's a! It's a!" he was so excited he could barely even form a sentence. "It's a leaf! A read leaf! It's so, so red." He put the leaf in my hand.
"That means my baby's ready, mama! My baby's ready!" He pulled his arms into his chest, smiling so big that his eyes squinted almost closed and his face scrunched. He curled into himself and shook and wiggled the way he does when he can hardly contain his excitement.
"Woo hoo!" he shouted, finally letting out his breath. "My baby's ready!!!"
Sure enough, though all the other leaves I could see anywhere around the neighborhood were still green, he'd found the very first red leaf. It was just what he'd been waiting for. His Baby Sister. That's what it meant to him.
Almost all the leaves are golden and crimson now, baby girl. As I was driving up our street a couple days ago, a chilly fall wind was blowing. The leaves fluttered through the air like a beautiful ticker tape parade. A parade of colors just waiting to celebrate you. To welcome you into this world.
Toward the end of my pregnancy with your brother, the little spring flowers were just starting peek their heads up through the thawing ground. Tulips and daffodils. I used to tell him as we'd walk, "You'll always know that your birthday is coming when you start to see the flowers bloom in the spring and the little green leaves start to sprout on the trees."
I tell you, little one, that you'll always know when your birthday is coming because those same little leaves will light up the world with their bright colors and then start to fall to the ground. The smell of the cold and the warm scents of apple and pumpkin will be what you know first in life.
My two beautiful babies; my two wonderful children. I know you will change me profoundly. You already have. Each fall and each spring as the seasons change, no matter how old I get and no matter where you are in the world, I will always be reminded that I am your mommy. And I'm the luckiest mommy in the world.
We're ready to meet you, baby girl. Our little family suddenly seems not quite complete knowing you're not yet here. Know that we love you, and we can't wait for you to love us.
Sorry, that was a mean trick. Pretending I had my baby and all, just so you'd read this post. Really, though, nobody would be happier than me right now if I'd had my baby, so I can legitimately say I feel your pain.
"It's ok," everyone tells me. "You're not even at your due date yet."
And they're right. I shouldn't be anxious. I've complained before about how "they" start telling you at 37 weeks, "It could be any day now!!" It's a very, very cruel trick to play on a woman whose last baby was born at 42 weeks.
And I knew better. I knew I shouldn't listen. But I half-believed it. Or at least I let myself hope it would be true. That I just might have this baby before my due date.
I know, there's still a chance, right? << And that right there, folks, just goes to show you what a truly hopeless optimist I am. With 28 hours left 'til my due date, I'm still clinging to a sliver of a dream that my baby might be born before her due date.
When will you come out of there, baby??
I'm not actually all that anxious for this pregnancy to end. We've got a decent thing going here. I'm getting a good amount of sleep (not enough, but definitely more than I'll be getting soon). I'm not feeling totally huge and uncomfortable. I get a little stuck like a beached whale if I find myself on my back, but overall I can move around pretty good. I'm not swollen or itchy or in too much pain.
As I'm sure you know by now...I'm anxious to go into labor. Or, more specifically, I'm anxious that I won't go into labor.
I've started googling things like "what's the longest recorded human gestation?" (and i kid you not - the answer I found was 375 days) and "what day will my baby be born" (apparently nobody on the internet is even willing to venture a guess).
But mostly, I'm trying to be patient. I'm trying to enjoy the days we have left. I'm telling myself that she will be here - one way or the other - within the next 15 days.
I'm trusting her, and I'm trusting my body that we can do this.
In the meantime, there's a whole package of Oreos calling my name...