With my first child, perhaps because my heart was hurting knowing that he would be born with a birth defect, God spared me any additional affliction. While pregnant with Enzo, I felt physically better than I ever have. It was the same with my second child, Ezra. Even after he died in-utero at 17 weeks, my body seemed to continue to thrive on the pregnancy hormones, refusing to let Ezra go.
This pregnancy, however, I have experienced just about every associated woe one can have. My medicine cabinet is now stocked with once unfamiliar remedies such as Milk of Magnesia, Tucks, Tums and Cortaid. Beneath the chic, beige-tone compression stockings I must wear to help reduce the risk of bed rest-related blood clots, my leg (just the left one) is veiled in asymmetrical (and very itchy) red splotches known as PUPPP (pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy). Most of the time, particularly after I eat anything bigger than a pea, I feel as though my sternum might split in two. My lungs feel like pancakes beneath the pressure of my expanding uterus.
But despite all the physical discomforts, I absolutely love being with child. I celebrate my growing belly. I love watching my babies wiggle beneath my skin. I am delighted by how they respond to my and their father's voice. I am thankful for every pound that I gain that represents my babies getting bigger and stronger. And while I am trying to avoid them, I won't mind any stretch marks that might remain. They will serve as permanent reminders of the precious life that was nurtured inside of me. For me, making other people from the seed of love is nothing short of supernatural. I feel so privileged to be a tiny part of this miracle.
This pregnancy is changing my body, but also my spirit. Although my babies did not originate from my own DNA, I feel a strong prenatal connection to them that I've never experienced before. As they grow, I feel as though I am thawing, my heart growing warmer and more tender, slowly returning to what it was once before. Yearning is gradually being replaced by peace and unrestrained contentment. Even from my often lonely vantage point on bed rest, the world seems to have acquired a novel sparkle - like I once knew long ago. I feel a heightened empathy, compassion and understanding that had been shrouded in mourning and bitterness for so long. The children growing inside are transforming me. My body is pregnant, but so is my soul.