I remember how it felt to be the only one who held them.
As they sat cradled under my heart, sometimes resting in my ribs. Tucked in beneath the warmth, and love, and layers—there they sat. They heard the beat of my heart, the rush of my blood, they were more a part of me than the hair on my head, or the pounding in my chest. So, the other night, when I sat there pleading my case as to why another baby just felt right, I understood his confusion. When he asked me, “Why? Don’t you remember how hard it was, how sick you were, how can you forget all of that?”
I remember how it felt to be the only one who held them, and that is something he will never understand.
I felt them grow, watching with my own two eyes, sometimes in disbelief that anything so magical could be happening to my body. I felt their first kicks, and jabs at 2 a.m. I slept restlessly, trying to find any comfortable position. There were bathroom runs every hour, and chugging apple juice from the carton at midnight. At times, I was curled up in the bathroom, next to the toilet, telling myself to be thankful for this sickness because it’s a sign my baby is healthy. Moments I sat quietly asking my body, and God to give them the best parts of me, no matter the cost. Calculating every morsel I put into my mouth, remembering religiously to take my vitamins. Feeling the pressure to make sure they were OK, from the moment I knew they arrived.
I remember how it felt to be the only one who held them, and that is why.
It’s why I pee when I laugh, or sneeze, or release my inner child on a trampoline. It’s why I have ripples that sit somewhere between my belly button and pelvis—and why I run my fingers over them, appreciating every single one. It’s why my breasts are softer, and my eyes are more tired. It’s why I can be happy, and sad, and everything in between within a matter of seconds.
I remember how it felt. Because of that, the pain, the hurt, the sacrifices, and the ache in my bones will be a small price to pay for the weight of their body in my arms, and the joy they add to my life. It’s why my heart aches for my husband, that it’s impossible for him to hold them the way that I did, and why I thank God every night for giving me the opportunity.
I watched their movement under the skin of my belly—wondering what they’ll look like, and who they are going to be. And then they came, and I forgot how hard it was, it somehow washed away all the difficult parts, because really . . . anything pales in comparison.
And I will never forget how it felt to be the only one who held them.