Playing Pregnant

Sunday, December 3rd, 2017 at 8:22 pm

I remember it clearly.

My mother drawing the hopscotch board on the driveway in sidewalk chalk. Drawing it properly – with a big square at the center, diagonal lines dividing it into four equal triangles numbered 4 through 7.

My mother, showing us how to hop on one foot and then on two. One. Two-three. Four. Five-six. Seven. Eight-nine. Ten. One last hop across the line.

My mother, showing us the tricky part. Throw the beanbag on a number. Hop across, skipping that number. One. Two. Four. Five-six. Seven. Eight-nine. Ten. Hop across the line. Returning to pick up the fallen beanbag. Ten. Nine-eight. Seven. Six-five. Balance on one leg on four while picking up the beanbag on three. Now two. One. Hop to return to the starting line.

I was five. Anna was six. Joshua was almost four. This was our homeschool P.E.

As clearly as I remember it, one detail escaped my notice.

Thankfully, it didn’t escape my father’s notice. He took a series of pictures, which made plain upon later inspection what my memory does not.

My mother taught her four oldest children to play hopscotch while heavily pregnant with baby number 5 – at least eight months pregnant with baby number 5.

If pregnancy slowed her down, we didn’t know it. Pregnancy was part of her life, and of our lives by extension. We had no idea that pregnancy meant altering much of anything.

Maybe the relative ease (at least to all outward appearances) with which my mother carried and bore her children influenced my early desire to have a whole slew of children myself. Certainly her example made me confident that healthy pregnancy, natural childbirth, safe homebirth was possible. After all, she had seven healthy pregnancies, seven natural childbirths, five safe homebirths (the other two were planned hospital births).

And then I had two pregnancies that were anything but healthy. I had two births that were about as far from natural as you can get. I had a month’s worth of hospitalization between the two births.

Our maternal fetal specialist told us he didn’t see any reason why we shouldn’t continue to have more children – but that we should expect similar outcomes each time. We should expect preeclampsia, preterm delivery, NICU stays.

And so we did. I wrestled with the idea of hoping for a normal pregnancy for a while before deciding that the specialist was right. Better to expect the most probable circumstances and be pleasantly surprised if things don’t turn out that way than to set myself up for disappointment by hoping for an improbability.

And then we passed the point where we had been hospitalized with Tirzah Mae. We passed the point where Tirzah Mae was born. We passed the point where we were hospitalized with Louis. We passed the point where Louis was born. I was more pregnant than I’d ever been.

Then I was term.

And then, today, just shy of thirty-nine weeks, over eight-and-a-half months pregnant, I stood with my preschool Sunday school class and led them in singing:

“Hallelu- Hallelu- Hallelu – Hallelujah
Praise ye the Lord
Hallelu- Hallelu- Hallelu – Hallelujah
Praise ye the Lord
Praise ye the Lord
Praise ye the Lord
Praise ye the Lord
Praise ye the Lord”

The gals who had been visiting at the desk outside our classroom’s big window turned around to watch as I squatted down low to the ground on each “Hallelu” and popped up with my hands in the air for each “Praise ye the Lord.”

And I thought of my mother, eight and a half months pregnant, teaching my siblings and me how to play hopscotch. And I rejoiced, thankful that I’ve now been able to experience what I never imagined, on this side of preeclampsia, I’d be able to experience: a perfectly healthy pregnancy.

39 weeks pregnant and still playing with the kids.

Reader Comments (3):

  1. Lisa notes says:

    This is so awesome! I’m happy each week to read that you are still pregnant. But hopefully not too much longer now. :)

  2. Davene Grace says:

    Very well written!

    I continue to rejoice at God’s good gift to you!!

  3. Erin C says:

    This is so sweet! I love this! What a wonderful example your mom was and I’m so glad that’s what is remembered and treasured in your heart.

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