It was on a Saturday afternoon in April that I learned I was pregnant with Kiri. I had been irritable and anxious all week, wanting to know but afraid of the answer. I had just returned home from helping to clean a neighborhood park in honor of Earth Day, and I didn’t bother to shower or change into clean clothes first. I had even tramped up the stairs with my sneakers on. My hands trembled as I tore off the wrapper, and my heart pounded heavily against my chest as I waited for the answer to emerge. When the second line on the home pregnancy test began to pinken, I dropped to my knees and thanked God.
As a child I was taught to do good so that good could happen upon me. I did not live a cushiony childhood, but it was comfortable enough. I did not have to endure war like so many kids in other countries did. I was not handicapped physically or emotionally. I could hear and see clearly. I possessed intelligence, a bubbly personality, and a face that adults doted on. Compared to many children, I had it easy. Did this mean I was favored? And, if so, what had I done to earn God’s favor? And what had those children done to have pushed God into placing them in a state of hunger, fear, or isolation? Were they convinced that God was treating them unfairly?
Ever since a little girl, I had been told that God knew me better than I knew myself, which made sense. He did, after all, create the universe. I had been told that God helped those who helped themselves — this was evident in how far we as humankind have come in terms of science and, I would like to think, compassion for one another. And I had been told that God answered prayers, of which I had witnessed. I had prayed to Him for a baby, and I was gifted with one. It had taken many years before Daffy surfaced, but she did, nevertheless. I hadn’t been prepared for losing her, though. So after she passed and after I made amends with God, I decided that I needed to tweak the verbiage of my prayer. I had to be more precise. God had to have known what I meant about having a baby, but maybe He still required of me to be more deliberate and precise with the language. So, even before Kiri’s cells began to divide and multiply, I had prayed to God to only allow me to become pregnant if I could keep the baby. (I was afraid that He might further test my strength, so, for good measure, I made sure to add that I would handle anything He put before me but to please spare me from more losses.) I was confident that I had covered all bases. So, on that April Saturday afternoon, when the test stick revealed that I was pregnant, peace fell over me. For certain, God had heard my revised prayer and was satisfied with it.
I couldn’t chance a risk, though. I continued to pray to God, asking Him to keep the baby healthy. And just to be safe, I asked Him to keep my body, as well, healthy for the baby. I knelt beside the bed in the nursery, folded my hands, and prayed every night. Every night after dinner I prayed. I was overcome with gratitude for this baby that was growing within my body and for love for God who had heard my prayer. With the night sky on the opposite side of the sheer curtains, I opened my heart, and I prayed. I prayed for our baby, for my body, for Danith and our family and friends, and for the doctors in our lives. I thanked God, too, — for our baby, for my body, for Danith and our family and friends, and for the doctors in our lives. Some nights, as I spoke to Him, I included those individuals who I thought could use extra love and help. Then, I moved over to the glider. With the yellow light cascading from a nearby table lamp, I opened my notebook on my thighs and leafed through it until I reached an empty page. Depending on what had taken place earlier in the day, I wrote to God, my biological mother, Daffy, Kiri, or the Universe.
Tuesday, July 19, 2016, 5:00 AM
In less than two months, it will be the anniversary of my daughter’s passing. I remember being up at this time of the morning in the days that followed her death — the stillness, the glowing darkness, the hum in the air. My heart still aches at how painful those days were. I ache for losing her, for us.
Ten months later, here we are. I’ve been given a new opportunity. I am carrying a new baby — this time a boy — in my womb, and slowly I am falling in love with him. I still can’t imagine his facial features, and there are many moments I wish he were a girl, that he were Daffy. Then, I become grateful that he will become who he already is.
I am fortunate in many ways. For my husband. Our health. Loving family. Friends. Still, I want more. A baby — a living one. The one growing inside my womb. I’ve come a long way, understanding the profound love of a parent. The idea had been elusive to me at one time, but now I know. I wonder if God will grant me my wish now, now that I know.
A life could end at any moment. If I’m fortunate, I will have only 29 more weeks of fear. The fear is excruciating, but I’ll take it if I could see our baby.
I pray for utter belief, for peace, for strength, for patience. I pray for the days to go by fast so that I could hold and smell our baby sooner, and then for it to slow down so that I could stay with our baby for as long as possible.
I don’t feel foolish for having believed in prayer even though I know now that God does not listen to them. Someone might challenge me on this front, and I might have to return the challenge. What had she done to be placed in God’s good graces and to have garnered herself “answered” prayers? Had she loved God more than I, believed in Him more, begged Him more, fought for her children more, recited a more precise and clearer prayer? Every day, when I think about Daffy and Kiri, I believe in God’s existence. Every day He does what He does, most of which I do not know about. But I do know that He doesn’t answer prayers, and I’m okay that He doesn’t. Actually, I’m at peace that He doesn’t. Because now I know that I couldn’t have believed more or prayed more. Because now I know that God doesn’t have favorites, answering someone else’s prayer over my prayer or preferring someone else’s son over my son. God loves fairly. It is life that does not.