I heard the heartbeat, not last week, I think it was the week before. I was on my couch, and the midwife next to me, B. sitting on the floor and our cat on the other couch. She didn’t react when out of the echoing, whooshing sounds of my uterus came the rapid patter of this new person’s new heart. I shouted and B.’s face opened in surprise and the midwife laughed at us. I kept laughing which came super loud out of the Doppler machine, so that she had to keep lifting the wand off my belly. She moved the wand over to play us my pulse and it was slow and gurgly and heavy in contrast to the light hurrying of this new heart. Adult hearts beat around 80, and this new one beats between 110 to 160. It was steady and fluttering and, I have to say it, adorable. I won’t be needing to take anymore pregnancy tests. (I only took one after the first positive, but I really wanted to keep taking more. I just kept wondering if I was really and actually pregnant. It’s official now. I am.) But the other best part was how spacious it sounded in there; looking down at my belly did not match the echoing sounds playing out of that machine. It sounded like I had a cave inside of me, with water and wind flowing in and out, and the midwife told me that that is what the baby is hearing and my body, my belly, my core became this lovely place to be. This new little person has no idea what a small space it’s occupying; to it, I’m an entire universe.
Whoa, those last words just settled on me like a balm. I do this thing, have this knack for taking any plenty and making it feel like scarcity. And for me, it’s always time. I always want more time. I woke up today looking at the week to come and already it feels parceled out, a checklist I’m going to live out one item at a time with no space for anything beyond the daily tasks of living. And then the days become a locked in tunnel, all sense of possibility leached out. And when I’m thinking like that, it becomes the month, and then it’s the season, and then it’s the year, and then in my mind, the baby is born and I didn’t have any time to myself, any time to prepare.
“When are we going to get diapers?” I asked B. over dinner last night. “And, like, a bottle?”
“We have time,” he told me.
I’m trying to feel like we do. I keep on telling myself this baby is going to come a few weeks late, as if those weeks are the ones in which all the tasks will get done and also I’ll finish my book. That week of hearing the heartbeat I felt the horizon open to me–like everything was all possibility–and I want that back. It’s only Monday. Maybe there’s another way to look at what seems like a very small space and discover just how much is hidden inside it.