Yesterday was twenty weeks. Halfway.
I had planned on celebrating, really making a big deal out of getting this far in the pregnancy. My confidence has grown leaps and bounds over the weeks. The baby’s kicks several times a day remind me that all is well. I smile and say, “Thank you, Baby.” after each little thump. I really had begun feeling that I had arrived.
Three days ago I realized I had not felt the baby move all day. It had been a busy day and so I told myself that I probably had been too active to notice. By six PM I was in a bit of a panic. We had the baby’s heart tones checked. Thunk-a thunk-a thunk-a. All seemed well.
For just a few moments the baby’s heart slowed down, then popped back up. It happened twice. Then resolved and became the little metronome that every mama wants to hear. Assurance was given (that I would have -and have- given to other moms…); babies are not robots. They often have little shifts. If we listened to babies’ heartbeats continuously throughout pregnancy the cesarean rate would be 100%, because at some point we would hear something so alarming that we would rush mothers in to rescue their little ones from that precarious-seeming nest. I often tell moms that babies like to stick things in their mouths and bite down, and that on occasion they might do it to their cord. I imitate a dizzy baby in the womb saying “Whoa! Dude! I ain’t doin that again!” It always gets a laugh.
I was not laughing.
Faith is a fragile thing. Confidence is fickle when its foundation is unstable. Joy becomes a visitor.
I prayed for kicks, vigorous, comforting kicks. Occasionally there was a weak flutter.
The whole next beautiful Spring day, a heavy winter cloud followed me threateningly. Though I had heard the heartbeat, my reassurance was only halfway there. As the day wore on and the baby gifted me with the occasional thump, I thought of all the women I know who have lost babies in their second trimester. For a tragedy that occurs only 1% of the time, I know an inordinate amount of women who were that 1%.
That evening, while I was on the phone, the baby began a kick fest. I wondered at the randomness of the timing. Why couldn’t you have done this yesterday, when I really needed you? I decided to accept the communication as having come when God felt I needed it, not necessarily when I thought I did. I was grateful, and began to announce every kick to the family. Comfort came with their cheerful responses.
But I know that my tender faith was tried. That dark place was too easily found, the terrain of it too familiar.
My halfway day was not what I expected. Though there were a few calls from dear ones with joyful, “Happy 20 Weeks!” ringing in their voices that forced me back to the here and now, to this current reality (the one where all is, really is, well), even though I had spent a day in an alternate reality, I was solidly reminded of the blessing that I should not, even for a moment, take for granted. I was also given a measure with which to clearly gauge the constitution of my faith. It cannot be a thing that I lose simply because the evidence before my mortal eyes calls me to question. God never told us to believe only in that which we see (or hear –thunk-a thunk-a-, or feel –kick kick).
Faith cannot be fleeting. It cannot be halfway. Either it is ours because it is planted firmly in our love of God and our knowledge and understanding of his love for us, or it is a house built upon the sand, buffeted by wind and wave.
I step out on the second half of the journey. The one where my feet learn to fall on a path that I trust will be beneath me, without having to look down to prove to myself that the ground will be there to meet my next step. The one that teaches me faith is not getting to the end of the path I want to be on, but trusting that God placed me on His path, regardless of where it leads.