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The System
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“Put you hand here,” I told my partner. I positioned his hand on my side belly. A little foot or elbow kicks and swings.

“She’s swimming,” he said, his face brightening.

“Or playing tennis,” I said. “There’s a lot going on in not so much room.”

“She’s warming up for a big entrance,” he said. We laughed.

I pushed myself up on the bed to sitting. My heart beat was slow and solid. All this activity of another being inside me made me forget about my own organs. It was her heartbeat we’d seen on the ultrasound, her heartbeat we’d heard during amniocentesis. I kept sending it love and prayers and encouragement to grow stronger. Yet mine was nearby, the power of the whole system. The source of all the love.

“Tea and cereal,” I said. I pulled on my bathrobe and padded down the hardwood hallway, filled the kettle, and turned on the flame. I chose an herbal blend of rose hips and waited for the boil. I walked outside to find the newspaper and after finding it, I went back inside. Even that small effort raised my heart rate, and I smiled. Me, the person who normally dances for at least and hour every day, or hikes, or rides a bike. Me being slightly winded by picking up the newspaper.

My husband bent over his computer, checking for snide emails from clients.

My heart was full, thinking of a baby healthy enough to kick and wriggle, after all the uncertainty. My heart was soft but strong and steady and already full of wonder at the tender person it was helping grow.

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