As the end of our pregnancy draws near, I am struck with the realization that this will be one of the last letters I write to you. Your daddy had the idea for me to write to you and to share with others the journey we are going on in preparing for your arrival. These letters have come to mean so much to me. They make me stop and think – about you, about us, about life. I hope that one day you will read these letters and know the joy, anticipation and many lessons you taught us even before we could hold you.

My letters to you tend to focus on the interactions I have with you. Primarily how you have affected my life and my thoughts. But your presence has reached so many other people. Some are strangers that simply smile as I walk by (because your presence is so evident). Some are people who have read these letters to you and in reading rejoice in the importance and presence of life. There are my co-workers who are not only excited about your arrival but who have begun to re-live their own pregnancies and the birth of their own children. There are 18 children who have watched us grow each day, who have heard about and felt your movements and who not only know but believe you are very much alive and very much a human being. And of course there is our family, excited about your arrival from the moment we told them of your existence. Our family has been preparing and talking about you each in their own individual way.

Your daddy has begun to spend more time looking at other babies and baby accessories. I watch him as he imagines you. How small you will be, what you will need, the joy you will bring to his life and the awesome responsibility for fully caring for and loving another human being.

Your brother Michael is constantly talking to you and rubbing you. Michael has many plans for what the three of us will do once you are born (he is going to stay home with us, for a while, at least) and how we will spend our days and what his jobs will be as a big brother. He is also taking great joy in the fact that he “is the only one in our family to be a little brother and a big brother.” I often wonder if Michael has any sense how different his life will be when you arrive. Although I anticipate moments of frustration and confusion on Michael’s part, I also believe that he is ready for you. He has already fallen in love with you, proudly calls you our baby and says he is your big brother.

Patrick is a little less overt in his affection for you. Being 12, Patrick doesn’t seem quite as comfortable just reaching out to rub my stomach or talk to you. However, he has found his own ways to communicate and express his feelings for you. Patrick talks a lot about preparing for you. He wants to make sure everything is ready and we have exactly what you need. He often asks what the plan is when I go into labour and how he can help out. Patrick can often be heard giving Michael advice on being a big brother. From things like “we will need to help mom and remember to be a little quieter when the baby is sleeping” to tips on how to successfully bother a younger sibling. Patrick has realized that when he and I cuddle and talk, you almost always move. He loves this. He will come over, sit very close and start talking – watching my stomach the whole time. Patrick is well aware of the changes that are to come and they do cause him some fear. However, Patrick also knows the rewards of being a big brother and is counting down the days until your arrival.

My darling, I never want you to underestimate the impact you have on other people. How your actions and your presence make our lives so much richer. This may be the ending of my letters to you. Letters that have caused me to stop and more fully reflect on your presence. It has been an experience I will always cherish. Now, my love, I cannot wait for the next chapter of our lives to begin.

May you continue to grow in peace.