To very-soon-mothers-to-be walking along my street, in malls, and parks: my heartfelt sympathy. I gave birth to an August baby, too.
My final month, I holed up in our bedroom, the rental’s only air-conditioned area. Trying to buckle my shoes, I wriggled like a June bug on my back for two hours, then sallied forth in bedroom slippers to buy slip-ons.
At the store, a terrified teen clerk eyed me.
He came through … and probably vowed lifetime celibacy to shield him from cranky, pregnant women. Women wreaking vengeance on people with flat stomachs, no stretch marks and normal body temperatures. On anyone not carrying August babies.
My helplessness gave way to well-shod confidence. No more June bug imitations. With God’s help, I could do this.
I even volunteered to conduct my church’s evangelistic survey. I walked on my heels, as with any shift toward my toes, my watermelon-sized stomach would have dropped me onto my nose.
But I wore cute shoes. With no buckles.
Most residents, after glances at my stomach, demonstrated kindness. Crusty homeowners collared Chihuahuas and offered glasses of water. One irate lady shooed me into her recliner. Did my mother know I was doing this?
Later, fellow volunteers and I discovered my survey had proved the most successful! However, our team leader nixed the others’ tucking pillows under their shirts for follow-up.
I did not participate. August Baby had other plans.
The day before her arrival, I weeded flower beds. Throughout my pregnancy, I had charted a religiously healthy diet. But that day, I deserved chili dogs drowned in beans, cheese, onions and mustard.
Stuffed, gritty and exhausted, I announced, “I’ll shower tomorrow.”
My husband, a sleep-deprived resident physician, yawned. “Me, too. Don’t go into labor tonight.”
We collapsed. But August Baby woke us at one a.m. to announce her imminent arrival.
Not only did I have to confess my heinous dietary lapse to the nurse, but every hospital staff member came to meet me.
“That’s Dr. Phillips’ wife?”
“Yeah, the one with the dirty nails.”
August Baby, however, made me forget everything. So what if the overflowing obstetric wing made us spend our first hours together in a hallway? Since many staff were on vacation, my long-awaited bath was postponed. …
August Baby and I spent many sweet, sweaty, squally summer nights cuddled too close, her soft skin and hair damp against mine.
But my daughter learned early to go with the flow. Her sunshine-tinged hair, eyes, and smile always have reminded me of August richness, of the treasure I received, dirty nails or not.
August Baby, you were — and are — golden.