I'm pregnant. I'm really pregnant and I'm starting to say it with hope. When we started this attempt to conceive, I was in a place of deep sadness. I was broken and aching and so afraid. I would be lying if I said I had abandoned my fears entirely, the miscarriage is a shadow that will probably hang over my entire pregnancy, but I'm starting to feel a little better each day. It could be that the hormones are finally waning, as I approach the end of my first trimester, and maybe this vacation was just what we needed. We are down in Florida for a couple of weeks. My parents flew in from New York to join us for a Boxing Day celebration my Jamaican father-in-law throws every year.
The sun, the sand and being with family has been helping me get through these early days. And on this trip I can talk about the pregnancy as much as I want, because who else can you talk non-stop with about what stage of development the baby is at, if not your own mother? She kept saying, "What's the baby doing today?" And I would oblige her with the tidbits my pregnancy app gives day by day. Fingers and toes separating; if it's a boy, testosterone is a brewing and if it's a girl, ovaries are forming. The head is half the size of the body. He's moving his hands and feet and dancing around in my belly even though I can't feel it. I've been maintaining my distance as best I can but after my last ultrasound and seeing those little feet kicking, I can no longer hold back. It's my baby in there and I'm filled with hopes and dreams and fears.
I catch myself whispering stuff to it like, "Hey, you're in the Atlantic Ocean, little one. It's your first time." Or asking it, "How do you like Bahamian-style conch chowder?" I find myself thinking beyond the pregnancy, of holding him in my arms, I'm convinced it's a boy since I want a girl. I can see myself wiping his little butt and just staring at him all day. I can see my husband holding him in his arms and saying, "He looks just like me." Meanwhile, I'm thinking, Dammit, I wanted him to look just like me. I've been thinking about how tired we'll be and the fights my husband and I will probably have because we will be so damn cranky.
I've been maintaining my distance as best I can but after my last ultrasound and seeing those little feet kicking, I can no longer hold back. It's my baby in there and I'm filled with hopes and dreams and fears.
One of my goals for this vacation was to try and start to enjoy my pregnancy, something my fears have been preventing me from doing. I decided to fake it 'til I make it, so I have been making demands all week. I've been having my husband wait on me hand and foot, asking him to get me things I could easily get myself. I made him upgrade my seats on the plane for extra leg room. I make him stop at Walgreens every time we leave the house so I can pick up a treat for myself. I think he's happy to do it. Well, at any rate, he's not complaining. He kisses my belly and cuddles me and tells me I'm beautiful several times a day. And you know what? It's helping.
Sometimes I feel happy thinking about the baby. Everyone is so glad that we're pregnant again and the congratulations are starting to feel good. I don't mind ordering my virgin piña coladas and well-done steaks, because I'm pregnant. I'm really, truly pregnant. Our journey is just beginning and it's going to get weird and wonderful. After all this heartache and healing we are on the road to having a baby and it's meant to be a joyful time.
I started writing for the Conception Diaries this past summer after I lost my baby, in part as a way to make it through the pain. It's been six months since the loss. Writing these diaries and receiving so much love and support has shown me not just how wonderful my friends and family are, but also how sharing my miscarriage experience and conception adventures has impacted others. I've had many people reach out to me and I feel really good knowing that my words have offered some comfort and helped people know they are not alone.
To all my sisters out there struggling to get pregnant, and to all of those who have suffered a loss, I'm so sorry. But I really believe your baby is waiting for you. How he or she gets to you might vary, but have hope; it might be a long journey and your heart may break over and over again but you are not alone. I pray you can find some comfort in that, because trying to conceive is not for the faint of heart. For some of us, it tests us in ways we didn't even know we could be tested.
The disappointment of that negative pregnancy test, the joy and fear when it's positive, the grief when that tiny heartbeat cannot be heard, the look in your partner's eyes when they realize, no, you're not having a baby yet. But the key word is "yet;" if motherhood is what you want, your baby is on its way. I'm thinking of you out there, crying and hopeful and scared and I hope you're thinking of me too. I'm wishing you the best of luck and I'm sending you so much love. Be well in this new year and stay strong, your future baby is going to need that strength.
EDITORS' NOTE: This is Rebekah's last post for the Conception Diaries, but you can now follow her pregnancy journey over on our blog roll!