Gabe asked me today how it felt after Raychel was born to not have her in my tummy anymore. It was odd, but not in the way I thought it would be. It felt like my stomach wasn’t mine. I had become so used to Baby Berry making it her home that I no longer thought of it as just “my” belly. When she was gone I remember not feeling confident that I could stand up straight or really do anything involving my abdominal muscles because I think I did not feel I had control over them anymore.
Anyway, I’m sure you really wanted to know all that. What it then brought me to was the pre-RJ mindset. Because we didn’t know her gender I didn’t feel like I fully “knew” her. Obviously I adored her, but she was still a huge mystery to me. I remember how I would wonder about her and how my imagination had to stop quite short of her full glory. I’m sure every mother feels this way, but it was made more so by the fact that I wasn’t even sure what to call her.
Now that I am on the other side of our full acquaintance, I look back on what was blurry and see in focus. Before we took a test, when I was sure I was pregnant, it was my baby girl telling me she had begun to grow. On my birthday when we were sitting in the theater listening to Baroque cello solos and I felt her move for the first time, it was my sweet little miss enjoying the concert with us. In the doctor’s office when we first heard that most beautiful sound on the doppler, it was Raychel’s precious heart that was beating. The moving bumps Gabe freaked out over that first time were her arms and legs and head exploring her surroundings like she does now. At the ultrasound appointment when we were so disappointed not to find out her gender, it was RJ curling up and hiding, moving about while we pushed on my tummy. It was her, all along it was Raychel Joye. The moments after birth, before we finally found out – the moments in which she was still the ambiguous Baby Berry, but we didn’t care because she was our very hearts – it was Raychel.
The first thing I said when we found out was, “It’s my baby girl. I got my Raychel Joye.” Somewhere deep inside me, I think I knew; or rather, my Spirit knew. Several weeks before her arrival I was half awake in the middle of the night with cramps and very worried about my not-yet-ready child. I began praying for “her” without thought. Instinctively. It wasn’t until the next morning I realized what I’d said. God taught me how to pray for my child – not the unknowable child in my womb, but my beloved Raychel Joye. He held my hand and whispered to my Spirit what to pray on her behalf. I love to think about the ways in which God picks up the massive slack we create in this fallen world and how fortunate I am that He does no less with parents.