True Human Experiences

My preggo belly this morning.

My preggo belly this morning.

A few days ago, I entered my 29th week of being pregnant with our second boy: nothing remarkable happened.

Thank goodness. Almost two years ago, a few days before turning into a 29-week preggo for the first time, my husband and I had a scare. What started out a fun trip to Tahoe turned into a frenetic search for a local hospital after I discovered blood in the toilet.

That day will live on in infamy, as they say. The initial fear I felt at seeing and dealing with the blood pulsed me between worlds. But that fear soon faced competition. Later, the kind nurse at the Truckee hospital searched for the baby’s heartbeat, asking me if I had felt the baby move that morning.

Yes. I think so. Maybe? With everything that had happened, I couldn’t remember, couldn’t think. Why hadn’t I paid more attention to the star of the drama rather than the drama itself?

The seconds clawed by. On the outside, I was calm and composed. On the inside, I wondered: if the baby’s heart has stopped, will my own be able to keep beating?

When the nurse finally found the heartbeat, I burst into tears. Burst into tears. Had I ever truly burst into tears before, sudden like a popping water balloon? The phrase took on new meaning, no longer trite.

After several weeks of bed rest, something else burst: my bag of waters. This time I was (relatively) calm on both the inside and outside. Our first son, six weeks early, spent two weeks at the hospital. Much better than the two months he probably would have spent in the NICU had he been born at 29 weeks.

I really hope boy #2 stays in longer, but as I look back at that tense day in Tahoe, I feel deeply grateful.

I had a true human experience. Extreme low. Extreme high. All in the same day.

Though my thoughts certainly flew to the past (have I not been careful enough during my pregnancy?) and future (what if? WHAT IF?), I was very much here. Living in the now, present in the moment.

Though the experience felt surreal in some ways, it mostly felt real. Very real. Too real, at times.

The consequences, whatever they would be, mattered. A lot.

In the moment. Real. Vital.

How can I help my readers feel those things about my stories, about my characters? How do I help them feel that if my story stops, they doubt their hearts will go on? (in a good way).

I don’t know, exactly, but I’ll do my best. And in the mean time, I will try to cherish every true human experience that comes my way.

Ps. I am writing this early in the morning. I can’t wait for my son to wake up so I can hug him and tell him I love him. Being a mother is a true human experience.

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