Sunday, June 24, 2012

When Your Heart Grows

It was just a year ago.

We were chatting on the phone.

"Are you pregnant, yet?"

"No.  Are you?!"

"No."

For months we had both been trying to get pregnant--me with my 3rd, and Erin with her 1st.  We thought it would be so cool if we could have kids at the same time.  But then there came the dreaded moment when Erin found out she in fact did have indometriosis and I didn't have the heart to tell her I had a positive pregnancy test.  My heart just sank because I wanted for her to be expecting a baby first, and now we didn't know how much longer it would take for her.  I finally worked up the courage and told her and, bless her heart, she was SO NICE.

And she was happy for me.

But I knew what it was like to be in her shoes.

As weeks went by and I got sicker she was nice but sometimes I could kind of hear in her voice, "Okay, Deej, just suck-it-up.  Being pregnant can't be that bad."  And then I added what I thought she was probably thinking, "At least you ARE pregnant."

Then we had our Girl's trip to DC and Erin had an extra dose of fiestiness...and so did I.  But then came the wonderful realization after the trip in November, when Mike and Erin announced that they were expecting, and she was due ON MY BIRTHDAY.  How special was that?  And we laughed at our trip.  We were both pregnant together and we didn't even know it.  No wonder we were so fiesty. : )

And then came Christmas, and we rubbed each other's bellies, and I talked to her tummy, and she talked to mine.  Never in my life had I been so excited to be expecting AT THE SAME EXACT TIME as someone else.  It's a totally cool and special thing to be expecting at the same time as friends, but I've waited for YEARS to be able to be expecting at the same time as my sister.  It was so neat.  And we took our first belly pictures.


Then there came Erin's morning sickness and suddenly she KNEW how bad it is to be pregnant.  And she would ask me how I was feeling all the time, and she would cry with me, and she would validate my feelings, because she KNEW what it was like to be in my shoes.

And there were wonderful moments when I'd be surprised with messages:  "Your baby is the size of a mango."  And hers was a kidney bean. 

And she remembered when my doctor appointments were and called me for updates, "Are you dilated?!" 

Then there was her shower, and she finally looked pregnant, and I looked ridiculously pregnant, and neither of us could bend over very well.  She was proud of her ability to pick things up by doing squats, though.
But we were so happy to have a party for her.  And our husbands were in the Grand Canyon.  And we played a joke on Mitch and sent him a picture mail of my friend Merri's infant baby, and Erin told Mike we had a crazy night.  The joke didn't last very long, but we thought it was hilarious.  Her shower was a huge success and I just wanted her to have the world and have everything she needed for her baby, and we both HOPED that I would have the baby while she was still here.

But she flew home on Sunday, and I had my baby on Monday.

Then came 6 weeks of a 3-kids-vortex for me, and an increase of anxiety and check-ups for her.  Mike was worried about being packed and ready, and they needed the gift cards mailed from the shower so they could shop, and they had funny birthing class stories.

And then yesterday came the lump in all of our throats when we heard her water broke and she was driving to the hospital.  "Do you think this is the real thing?"  She had to quit talking because the contractions were so strong. 

And I told Miles that his cousin was being born and he totally smiled at me--not a coincidence! 

And this is the clincher for me.  Erin asked us to pray for her, and so we did.  What's funny is that I prayed that this would be an amazing experience for her, and that she would feel love in a way she's never felt it before--which is a given, and not even a necessary thing to pray for since that's EXACTLY what happens when you have your own kids.  All of a sudden a whole new world of love opens for you and it's precious, and you love your parents more, and you realize how they feel about you and it's a feeling you could have never imagined.  But what happened for me is that today, when my nephew was born, I felt love in a way I've never even felt it before.  When I got married, I married into being an aunt, and I adore my nieces and nephews and love all of them.  But for the first time in my life, one of my own siblings has had a child.  Someone I grew up sharing memories with--holding hands as we fell asleep in bed, getting in trouble with for being up too late.  Someone I've spent my whole life growing up with is now a mom!  And I feel like I'm an aunt for the very first time.  And it's so special!  I have felt such sheer joy for my sister all day.  I also feel like all this time something has been hidden from me, like there was a compartment of my heart I never knew existed, but now it's opened.  And I can see the world in a way that I never even imagined, and it's beautiful.

"How does it feel to be a mom?" I asked her this morning.

"It's amazing," she answered.

And that's how it feels to be an aunt, too.