April 1st has passed, but the challenge for Write…Edit…Publish this month is April Fool. So here’s my only April Fool story, a true one.
* * *
A long time ago when I was in my early 20s, I had a dream of a little girl with big brown eyes and long, dark hair. In my dream, she was standing in a group of children, radiant and smiling at me. I realized that she was my daughter. Several months later I became pregnant—or at least I thought I was.
When the symptoms of pregnancy began to appear, I was excited to go to the doctor for confirmation. I was certain that little girl was on the way, but I failed the pregnancy test. The doctor said there was no way I could be pregnant. I had imagined it all. Of course, this was back in the dark ages when pregnancy testing was not as simple as going to the drugstore and buying a test kit. In any event, I finally convinced the doctor that I was pregnant by the time I was in my third month.
Pregnancy did not agree with me. It made me feel fatigued and I threw up on a daily basis for most of my pregnancy. Instead of expanding my abdomen, the baby grew under my ribs until there was no room for my stomach. I didn't really look pregnant and could wear my regular clothes and sleep on my tummy for my entire pregnancy. I wore maternity outfits so that I looked pregnant. Nevertheless, by 9 months I was ready to be done with pregnancy. I wanted to feel normal again and not be tormented by a baby turning cart wheels morning, noon, and night. I wanted to be able to digest a meal and keep it down. I wanted to be able to bend in the middle. If nothing else, the suspense was killing me. I wanted to see if my dream was true.
Finally, my doctor announced that my baby was ready to come and that I could pack my bag and check into the hospital. I hurried home to give my husband the news and, well, he stood there and laughed at me. Was I trying to pull an April Fool prank? There was no way that baby was ready to come. In fact, it didn't look like there was a baby in my belly at all. I insisted it was no joke.
So on the morning of April 1st we rose to see a light dusting of snow on the ground—far too late in spring for snow. We thought it so unusual we took a photo of it before we left for the hospital and the arrival of our brown-eyed girl. She arrived early evening—a tiny, fragile 6 lb. scrap of a girl with lots of dark hair and spider-like arms and legs. At first, she certainly didn't look like the robust, plump little girl of my dreams, but in a few months she began to evolve into that dream image. Every April Fool day since, I have been reminded what a tricky business motherhood is and that dreams are not to be ignored.