September 14, 2015.
I try to stretch my brain to remember every little detail about the last day Keller moved inside of me. It was the last day that Keller’s heart pumped life.
I’m fairly certain my neighbor and forever friend Christine came over that morning. We sat and watched our kids play together. We were both pregnant, and we both had toddlers. We loved motherhood and watching our kids become neat little people. We loved just sitting together with heaps of toys around us. We would smile like idiots because we knew our lives were pretty magical at that moment. We would also eat lots of cheese and Costco hotdogs (like I said, she’s a forever friend).
That afternoon my friend Lydia came by. We were both vastly pregnant. It’s nice having a friend right in the very same life spot you are in. We were both expecting boys any day now! We spend the afternoon painting with Mary and talking about pregnancy and motherhood. I remember Lydia asking if Keller still moved a lot. It was the first time I noticed he hadn’t been as wriggly that day. I still felt little twists, but the movements were a bit different from the flips, stretches, and kicks. Hyper aware of my tendency to worry, I decided this was due to the fact that Keller was indeed due TOMORROW and he had much less space to somersault. I also remember I drank a can of green tea. I felt really guilty about that dumb green tea for a long time. It was the only thing I did differently that day. I had never had that type of green tea before. My mind blamed that dumb green tea for a while. I don’t blame that dumb green tea now, but I don’t think I’ll ever want to drink it again.
Lydia left. Nathan made dinner. He put Mary to bed and I worked on my OCD therapy and took a bath. In the bath I couldn’t get him to move. I scratched all over my belly. Keller was so ticklish – this always worked. It didn’t work. I moved side to side. I poked and prodded. My mind always goes directly to panic and worst case scenario. “No,” I told myself. “This is normal. He’s a big boy and due any moment. He doesn’t have as much space. Everything you read tells you movements slow down. Pray and leave it.” And so that’s just what I did. Nathan and I then went through all the clothing I had purchased for Keller. We organized it by size and commented on how excited we were to have a our little boy here with us. We both prayed and went to bed. (I slept in the bed and Nathan on the couch. At this point I was too big and used far too many pillows to fit two humans in a Queen sized bed.) Looking back, I feel like I would/should regret not being more of an alarmist over Keller’s lack of movement, but oddly I’m at peace. Everything I did I still believe was the right course of action. Knowing what I know now, nothing could have been done regardless of my timeliness.
Mary woke up around 3 am and Nathan went in her room to get her back to sleep. I decided to stay up for an hour to see if I could get our little boy to wiggle just once. Nathan came in to tell me Mary was back down and I told him I planned on staying up for a bit to check in on Keller. He went back to the couch and prayed Keller would wiggle a bit for me. I scratched. I drank ice water. I walked around. I laid down. I drank orange juice. Nothing. For a whole hour I felt no movement. I called Labor and Delivery at the hospital to get their read on this situation. Contrary to nearly everything in my character, I really wasn’t worried throughout all of this. “He’s fine. I know he’s fine. Even if he is in some sort of distress, I’ll go to the hospital and have a C-section and get to hold him sooner.” The nurse told me to come on in and we’d get hooked up to the fetal monitor just to make double sure. Neither of us were worried. I told Nathan and just incase I grabbed our hospital bags. Our neighbor Christine came upstairs and crashed on our couch. We’d just be gone for an hour or two.
It’s bizarre mentally going back to that day. I tend to push that day out of my mind. I feel a little dizzy. It’s filled with hazy memories. It’s filled with memories that seem almost unreal, dream-like. The day before your world stops is a weird day. It’s a weird day because there is usually nothing that weird about it. It’s so normal. There is no foreboding music like in the movies that lets you know something ominous is around the corner. There’s no cliff hangers cluing the reader in that something major and catastrophic is about to happen.
I think I’m glad that there isn’t. Living presently is a gift of God. When you are young, you foolishly wish you could peek into the future and see what your life will be like. I’m so thankful God did not give us crystal balls. Right now is all we need. Right now is the moment we are in and the only moment that matters. I think about Heaven a lot this way. “No yesterday. No ‘morrow, but one eternal day.” I think of Heaven as an eternal moment. No past to feel guilt and shame over. No future to worry and fret over. Just an eternal, glorious, joy-filled moment with our Lord. That is Heaven for me. So thank you Lord for not giving us a musical score to forewarn us of events to come. Thank you Lord for the gift of being present. In being present, we have a tiny taste of Heaven.
Today I had a tiny taste. A “Heaven moment”, if you will. Mary and I sat outside on our patio eating popsicles. She stood next to me with her arm resting on my shoulder and we both just silently and contently ate our pink lemonade popsicles. It was a brief moment, but it was a “Heaven moment”. It was joy and communion with our God and His loved ones.
One day Keller, there won’t be any “day befores”. There will just be one day. You, your dad, your sister, myself, and our God can sit in perfect joy and communion in that eternal moment.
My favorite line: “The day before your world stops is a weird day. It’s a weird day because there is usually nothing that weird about it.” So, so true.