My baby girl arrived on March 15, 2009, exactly two years and five months after the loss of my first pregnancy. That first one came as a shock all the way around – shock to find out I was pregnant in the first place, and shock to find out, five days later, that I was going to miscarry. Having kids wasn’t the first thing on our minds in those days. Sure, we had been together six and a half years. We were married, we had a house, we had two dogs. We talked of kids, but that was in the future. We were having fun! We were spending our disposable income, going on trips, taking long naps on weekends.
Then, suddenly, pregnancy.
But it felt right. We couldn’t have been more excited. We knew this is what we wanted.
And then, it was over.
The next months were spent reflecting, considering, mourning. We knew what we wanted, and we set out to have our do-over. We were confident – it had happened on accident, right? How hard would it be?
The next year proved to us how hard it could be. Each month came. And went. Each month brought disappointment. And fear. Was it possible that this may never happen for us?
On our 12th month of trying, one year and two months after that first pregnancy, I was pregnant again.
I’ve always been a worrier. I’ve always feared the worst. I’ve always considered the worst case scenario and worked back from there. On an airplane, I consider everything that could go wrong. I think about the wing catching fire, the engine failing, a flock of birds, the free fall. Preventative worrying. If I consider it, if I worry about it, it won’t happen. Right?
The first weeks passed. I worried. We saw the flicker of a heartbeat. I worried. Had an ultrasound. I worried. Started our registry, planned some showers, bought our first little outfit. I worried.
I couldn’t get the pain of loss out of my head. I couldn’t get the fear out of my heart.
Halfway through, and another ultrasound. The big one. Fear was giving way to hope, to excitement. My husband was joyful, so excited, facing our future without fear. I clung to him, to his optimism.
And then. A fluke. An error on the very first cell division 20 weeks and 2 days ago. There was no chance, no hope. They tried to sooth us. Not our fault, nothing could have been done. “A biological mistake.” “Bad luck.”
Our hearts shattered, we made a choice that nobody should ever have to make.
We pulled ourselves together. We held up our heads. We told ourselves that this would not break us. We brought home a tiny urn full of ashes.
Then, two months later, two pink lines.
And again, shock. We were not ready. I was not ready. I had not picked up the pieces of my heart.
The first weeks passed. We saw the flicker of a heartbeat. Had an ultrasound. Had another. The halfway point came, and went. I soared with hope while my heart was gripped with fear. I knew early loss. I knew loss at 20 weeks. I knew I could survive those things. But at 24 weeks, 30 weeks, 37 weeks….I expected relief at each milestone and got none. I spent the last weeks of my pregnancy in a panic.
Finally, labor. She came out blue and not breathing. She recovered. I recovered.
She is beautiful and perfect and everything I hoped but nothing I expected. I am not the mom I thought I’d be. I’ve surprised myself with patience and flexibility, but feel disorganized, scattered. I don’t use the cloth diapers we bought. I couldn’t breastfeed. I am stronger than I imagined, but feel I am lacking in a million ways. I try every day to be good enough for her, to be everything that she needs and wants and deserves.
But the fear. The fear still grips me.
ALW and Sweet Baby Girl