I’ve wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember.
When I found out I was pregnant in 2015, you could have knocked me over with a feather. My husband and I were using the “if it happens, it happens” method of contraception, and I was beginning to worry. I had been taking pregnancy tests every month for nearly a year, and was always sorely disappointed and feeling like the most barren 20-something to exist. Girls from my hometown seemed to be able to just look at a baby and end up in the family way. But, on month 11, I stood in our bathroom weeks before Christmas with a positive test.
I shook. I WAS shook. I quickly tried to look for cute ways to announce this to my husband on Pinterest. He’d be coming home soon, so nothing elaborate. I’m not crafty and the dog isn’t dependable with anything in stick form. No, I’d simply put it on an ornament and hang it on our prematurely decorated Christmas tree. The joy of both were premature, come to think of it.
Fast-forward to our trip home in January. We lived in Alaska at the time and would be making the trek crosscountry to North Carolina to surprise everyone with the news, and to go on vacation with our best friends. It was going to be three weeks’ worth of love and celebration, and our families were elated when they found out the news.
I was in the presumably safe home stretch on week 12 while I wept in a bathroom stall, staring at the blood that just would not stop coming. It was my birthday, and that of the baby who came into our lives as quickly as she left.
For the days to follow while still on vacation, my husband and our best friends tried their very hardest to alleviate the pain. I tried to remember my husband too in these dark moments: Wasn’t he suffering, as well?
We got back to Alaska and and every conversation had to be prefaced with the news so the questions wouldn’t pour in that would drain me of the will to speak to people. The bleeding continued, complications arose and four ultrasounds in the months to follow made what should have been a more expeditious healing process one that was long and drawn out, continuing to pour salt in the wound.
We felt kicks and I experienced some truly joyless food aversions, but I couldn’t conjure up the happiness that so many others described.
A few months later, over oysters and mimosas, I half drunkenly told my husband I was tired of not being a mom. I wanted to try again.
Little did I know, I would take a pregnancy test days before Halloween because something just felt different. It was positive and again I was positively shaken by this plus sign. Isn’t the plus meant to signify positive? This was a positive thing, right?
I was bogged down by my simultaneous feelings of joy and fear. The anxiety of What-if Land consumed me, and Dr. Google became my best friend and worst enemy as I checked into every little symptom, driving myself and my sweet husband crazy.
But in the spirit of enjoying whatever time we got with this little one, we celebrated. Every milestone we passed, we celebrated—getting past the first trimester, passing my birthday again and finding out the gender.
We felt kicks and I experienced some truly joyless food aversions, but I couldn’t conjure up the happiness that so many others described. I essentially floated through the pregnancy in a state of numbness, but prayed and loved the little girl I was growing with a strength mightier than I could have ever known I was capable of.
Reaching L-Day, my fears seemed to subside a bit, and a sense of calm that we would indeed meet this sweet girl replaced them. I didn’t want an epidural or C-section, because dammit, I could do this naturally.
Our precious rainbow, Eva, made her way into this world in June via non-emergency caesarean. This little babe wanted to come out listening to the world rather than head on. I think she’ll be observant like her dad in that way, but they called it asynclitism. Whatever. All I know? The storm came first and it came strong, but the joy that she’s given us was worth the wait.
I would never wish the loss of a child on anyone, but it is far more common than I ever realized. I opened up about our loss, fearing it would isolate me further, but instead, it drew me closer to other moms who had endured the same pain.
It has also given me a new community of mamas and papas experiencing pregnancy and parenting after loss. For those who have given me a kind word or prayer (it’s not necessary to check her temperature a dozen times a day, it turns out), I am forever grateful.