I watch everything I put inside me: stay away from bad noises,
read labels on boxes, eat well-cooked meals and rest easy.
The weeks pass by, and you are whole and still tiny.
I have not seen you yet; still, I can see you dancing.
We place shades of yellow on your wall,
and hope to capture a summer day.
I sense the gentle weight of you, while lying on my back;
this tougher sleep, these stranger dreams.
The need to sleep on one side only,
my body rocks on the bed like a ship's hull.
I practice lullabies, and try to etch you in my mind's eye;
who will you be? With you in me, I stand in your room and dream.
Your walls will be yellow, and mimic sunshine.
Your ceiling will become the moon and stars.
A tugging around my belly button: you?
Trying to crawl through to the other side?
I dream the shape of your tiny feet poking out of my middle;
like a mogul or rock face: your forehead, nose, little arms.
These sudden dreams that come: babies born beside swimming pools.
The long struggle, rewarded with a fierce cry of arrival.
The showing of you: a shy turtle;
my hand resting on this little home of growing into.
A rush of fever in my chest, up my throat -
carrying two hearts, and a dinner that filled us both.
We begin to strip this space, where the walls will hold you;
make room in our lives for your precious presence.
You tug on your first toy, your life line:
my inverted belly button, tender to touch.
I rest my hand on the outside of you:
your back, forehead, wherever you are.
A small stretch in my sides, a renovation of sorts;
moving into this warm abode, thickening walls.
We hear the swoosh of your small heart
under water; less frantic, the rhythm of a rocking chair.
I practice baby tunes, nursery rhymes: you don't hear me,
yet, you won't forget the sound of my voice.
Your Dad primes your room, while I muse about you
sleeping sound inside soft yellow walls.
An open and close of butterfly wings, deep within;
your first announcement of self: an awakening.
The slim scope of your shape, as you open and close
like scissor skates on ice: a magical glimpse.
We catch a view of your small arm raised, to be seen
and counted before you are hatched.
I stroke your head or back, that curve at the top of my belly
and wait for a quick hand slap, small kicks.
Your quiet, fragile frame: dormant, sleeping;
saving your strength for well-chosen cries.
A defiant jolt: turbulent somersault.
A hand made into a fist: a foot extends out, touches.
I bend over our little garden, push my hands into the ground,
pull out all the deadness, and think of how new life grows.
Every day the cramps are worse,
my stomach looks like an overstuffed purse.
You catch my attention in the night, a little butterfly,
stretching inside your warm cocoon.
Your body grows, realizes its containment,
as your defiant force kicks out.
Our kitty curls up next to you, and purrs; she knows
something is there she needs to protect.
Your soft kicks and somersaults, letting me know
you are there, happy and well.
We organize our space, making room
for your room outside of my womb.
We wake you from sleep to see your small, intentional gestures;
your half-grumpy grimace, curled arms and legs.
Your feet crossed, knees bent. You meditate in water,
wait for a new mood or thought to take you.
Sweet hands pushed into your closed eyelids;
the brightness of the outside world, an intruder.
The toss and turn, like the hull of a boat, I move around
in the dark. Dry mouth and warm skin; a state of unrest.
The stretch lines on my body - belly and breasts -
trace our journey: you and me, working to bring you here.
Pounding foreign pavement; hot sun and swelled ankles.
You are easy to carry: short demands for random rest stops.
On the hour, clamber out of bed: a bladder alarm clock.
A preview of early hours rising; sleep deprived and alert.
Your constant wave of movement. A sweet disruption
of feet propped up, tummy jumps, hands on flesh.
A water vessel: heavy on land, buoyant in water.
You do your dolphin dives, somersaults in the sunlight.
Short, deep breaths and stairs like mountains.
The bulge of bulk and stretch of road ahead.
My will to drink more water; keep us both afloat
and ready to make room. Soften our thin, pliable skins.
Engaging down: getting ready for entry. I feel you
squirm and drop, roll and bump.
Slow and heavy, I waddle through the halls,
and get stuck in the couch cushions.
An increase in my blood, hardly able to contain the love
for you: days of rest, feet up, tummy rubbed.
This countdown to life: We fold tiny clothes and soft blankets,
read our parent manuals and take slow, deep breaths.
An enduring pressure; the soft, prolonged urge to stop and listen,
to question the sudden ache. A million questions wait for one answer.
The low hum of the fan blows through the house. A retreat
from the heat wave coming through the windows and doors.
A new awareness of pelvis, hips, slow-bending knees. The effort
to elevate myself, stay still, turn inwards and quiet the busy bee.
Everyone wants you to arrive too soon; they try to poke and prod
your little body out. You have your own agenda and clock ticking.
The rhythm of your heart rate doesn't coincide with the doctor's chart --
this rude invasion of us. The blood flows as it will, makes its circuit sound.
Long days creep and scurry into night; horizontal sleep and meal trays.
Needles pressed into supple skin: these modern instruments to look inside.
The colour of the walls hurt my head: this false pleasant room.
Pea sticks, arm bands and ultrasounds. A prisoner made sick.
They want to force you out, but you stay firm and tucked in:
I cheer you on. We all bend to your steady will.
Nine months of Baby on Board.
We wonder who you will be.
The shifting of your back, and head down:
signs of wanting out, we wait for the appearance of your small crown.
Memories of cramps return, edging you down:
hedging bets on your birthday. Everyone says the pain is good.
My tummy, a hard basketball thrust out;
you wriggle inside the tethered womb.
Your daddy pulls me out of chairs, a slow, gentle push
into standing: the solid weight of you, he only imagines.
An invitation by phone call to bring you into the world:
a scheduled baby, a surreal beginning.
A small leak: an alarm bell, and a crack spreads
in the river's dam. Everything slowly changing.
Small needles pushed in me -- to push you out.
A rush of discomfort for us both.
Strange air sucked hungrily into my lungs.
The walls fade away, seconds at a time.
An IV trails behind me. My new friend.
Back and forth to the bathroom: no privacy.
A small violation of body: I lend myself to the experience,
in smaller slices of me. I am your mommy, as a whole.
Sunshine floods our room. An activity of people outside.
Inside, we are creating a new day: a turning world.
Your daddy holds me steady: makes me slow my breath.
Tells me to look into his eyes, and breathes with me.
You are wedged high, holding onto your living space.
My door is not wide enough for you to enter the sunlight.
The chance of pushing you into the world, slim.
The choice of bringing you out of my belly. On the table.
Your birth time decided. A flurry of action.
Change of room and scenery.
A crowd of blue-clad people.
I am rendered numb, waist down. Waiting.
Your daddy appears in a transparent mushroom cap:
His large eyes sparkle. He is the only one I see.
The doctor pushes and tugs on my belly. Your cry fills the white space,
you are welcomed by people and light. Our gift.
I hear your disembodied cry and the determined word 'he':
I strain to see you, my baby boy, and let fly questions like arrows in the air.
My arms shake without thought: a flood of love through me.
Eyes wide like saucers, and your daddy without his camera.
You are settled in my arms, a small bundle and surprised face.
Wailing at the newness of sight and sound, the bareness of birth.
Another kind of warmth on your body. Touch.
A new language: the vibration of words no longer kept under water.
Your grandparents wait for you outside. A transition.
One generation meeting the start of another: a fragile moment.
The day disappears in short intervals of waking.
A half-lucid dream ends in the happiness of you.