Lu is laid out on the bed with her feet propped up on a pillow, a magazine dropped haphazardly to her side as the pages softly flutter in the breeze of the fan pointed directly her way. Her mouth is slightly agape as she breathes slowly, sleeping. She is a vision of pregnancy that perfectly captures the beauty and exhaustion of this momentous, ongoing event. I wonder if the baby is sleeping, too.

Yoga pants and a tank top is her typical evening wear these days. But the best part is the tank top is always pulled up to reveal her ever-growing belly. The tattooed flower around her belly button is easily three times the size it was when this all started.

That rounded skin is soft but taut and the linea nigra is clearly visible. For some reason she hates it when I say that I can see it, but the facts are the facts. And another fact is that her belly button is going to pop. This also makes her crazy, hearing me say that, but it is clear that this is something that is definitely going to happen.

I do not understand why she doesn’t want either of these things to be true, and so far she has not even tried to explain it to me. She just insists that her button won’t pop, and shakes her head in defiance when I say that it really looks like it will. She also denies the existence of that faint, dark line. Did you know that no one really knows why the linea nigra appears? That seems like something people should know. But they don’t. If anyone has a theory I would love to hear it.

Woman have been giving birth for thousands of years, and still mysteries remain. Just like the mystery of why Lu refuses to accept the inevitable pop of her belly’s button.

She glows and grows, fast asleep on the bed. The baby swims and thumps within. And I stare at the faint dark line, the subtle stripe that marks her as special and precious, and I gaze deep at the tattooed flower that is blooming big with life behind it, and I wait for the moment when the innie goes outtie and I win the battle of the Belly Button War.

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