I told my husband yesterday that I could easily spend all day just watching my stomach move and then prodding it to make it move some more.  Some of that is pleasant bonding with the baby.  Some is abject terror of anything going wrong.  Bubs has, for the most part, refused to settle into a routine that I can use to judge what is ‘normal’.  Counting kicks is therefore a terrifying process.  I’ve had a couple of tearful mornings terrified that my sleeping baby was poorly.  There are few things I can imagine that would be more horrific, more heart and soul and life destroying than the prospect of still birth.  It haunts me.  Oddly I never feared early miscarriage,  the far more likely possibility of the two,  I just knew that wasn’t going to be a problem but stillbirth, that I can’t rationalise may way away from, it’s just too terrifying.

It occurs to me that we often forget, while we are pursuing our careers and buying the latest gadgets, worrying about debt and progression that we are all of us, living on a knife edge.  Even as I am working to create a life, I am never more aware of the fact that I am but a few steps away from death.  Should we think of that more often I wonder?  How many of us would change our priorities if we really understood how close we are, every moment, to losing the people we love?

Earlier this week I watched ‘Calvary’.  At one point the central character of the priest goes to a hospital to meet with a woman who has lost her husband.  I cried at that point, not for her or for him but for me, for the possibility that I could walk her path.  After Pete’s accident last year, in the moments after I knew he had come of his bike and before the race organisers came to get me and tell me of his condition, I felt like the ground had fallen out from under my feet.  I was convinced that I had heard someone say into a walkie talkie that they thought he was dead.

Once I knew that wasn’t the case, once I’d spoken to him and had been sent out for a moment while he was removed from his leathers and t-shirt, I sat down and cried.  Cried for sheer relief.  Cried to let out all the pent up terror and heartbreak that I’d held inside myself for those long minutes.  The terror didn’t end there though.  His original misdiagnosis and his apparently disproportionate pain left me on tenterhooks for days.  I worried that he should have had a cat scan afterall, that he might have a bleed on his brain,  that the clicking I could hear in his chest might result in a punctured lung, that his poor pneumonia scarred lungs couldn’t cope with a chest injury and that he’d become sick again.  That I might go to sleep one night and wake up and he would be gone.  For days I woke up every few moments to check that he was still breathing.

Last night I woke up needing the bathroom and to eat something and to top up on fluids as pregnant women do.  I climbed back into bed, wrapped my arms around my husband and focused on my belly, determined to count ten movements before I went back to sleep.  It occurred to me that the most important things in the world to me were all lying in that bed and that they were both as fragile as porcelain.

I dare you tonight, to hold your partner’s hand, to think about the texture of their skin, the warmth of their flesh,  the feeling of their fingers against yours, rough and thick or soft and slender and imagine, just for a moment, what it might feel like to never be able to hold that hand again.  I dare you.  Then look around you at the stuff and things that you surround yourself with and tell me that you wouldn’t happily give it all up in a heartbeat to guarantee the safety of those you hold most dear.  We forget how precarious life is.  How precious and brief.  We shouldn’t.  Not ever.  Not for a moment.

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