The Winter is past

11 “See! The winter is past;
 the rains are over and gone.
12 Flowers appear on the earth;
    the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
    is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree forms its early fruit;
    the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
    my beautiful one, come with me.”
Song of Solomon 2:11-13
After I lost our baby last October, I felt truly empty inside, gutted. We had made it to 11 weeks and was counting down to the moment when I could feel her kicking. I craved it. Maybe because it was a feeling I had already known and been without for just long enough. I wanted to call her by her name, to respond to her movement with my hand. I was advised to wait for at least one menstrual cycle before trying again. I know some women take 3 months to a year to try again, but something in me was defiantly refusing to wait any longer than necessary. I needed this emptiness gone.
I went with my dad and son to Target the day after Christmas. I had been taking pregnancy tests for a week, they were negative, but… I was so sure I was pregnant. I think my husband thought I was delusional but I felt they were wrong. So… like any woman who is “trying” does, I bought yet another multi pack of pregnancy tests. I handed off my son to my dad and went to the restroom with my little pack of 3. The results were in. I sat in the Target stall, crying. I was so grateful. I thought my heart had been healed in that singular moment. As if the rainbow made the storm not exist.
My face dropped into my hands
I couldn’t hide it in my eyes
Just how much you were wanted, in our lives
I was wrong, the storm not only still existed inside me, I was drowning in it. When I miscarried, I thought, okay, I got this, I’m not the only one to experience this and so many friends of mine have known far worse. Get over yourself, you have a child and you can likely have another. I thought that was healthy and honest. I thought getting pregnant again would purge all that sorrow. It didn’t. It highlighted it. I realized quickly that though I was ready to be pregnant again and have another baby I was no where near ready to lose another baby. I was terrified of myself, of who I’d be if I suffered another miscarriage. I needed my sanity intact to be a mother to my one year old and I feared losing that.
The mental spiraling made it hard to function. Did my water have lead in it? Is this old house why I miscarried before? Is the City air too polluted to breathe in? Am I on my phone too much? Am I eating enough protein?  Drinking enough water? Maybe I need more vitamin D, but maybe my body isn’t absorbing it properly. A bath sounds nice but is this too hot? What if I get the zika virus? Stop stressing, stress is bad for the baby. Waiting to hear the heartbeat was slow torture. I was deeply depressed and found myself staying inside and numbing my thoughts in any way I could, usually through TV.  I also had a one year old to watch, teach and play with, when I wasn’t overwhelmed with my anxiety I felt guilt for not being a more vibrant version of myself for my son. I wanted to skip ahead to the second trimester, I wanted to shut off my brain. Honestly, I wanted a bottle of wine and vacation that involved dancing in the streets until I fell asleep from physical exhaustion.
My brain never shut off but the week to listen in for a heartbeat was fast approaching. I feared laying in the midwives office as the moved the doppler across my body and we all hoped to hear something but heard nothing. I imagined them saying “we don’t always hear the heartbeat at 10 weeks” and me leaving as if someone had reached into my body and ripped out my heart. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t wait and hope for another day or another week. I broke my no ultrasound without medical reason rule and called to schedule an ultrasound 4 days before my scheduled midwife appointment. He came to my house and I lay there on the sofa, stiff, fidgeting and rambling until the ultrasound tech said, there it is, do you see the heartbeat? Here, let me turn up the volume. My tears caused my entire body to tremble.
I felt myself breathe.
A piece of me that I recognized started emerging. I was making real dinners again, I was deep cleaning the house, I was hosting friends, hosting play dates. I was leaving the house with my little boy and searching for names late into the night on my phone.
We heard nothing when we went in for the doppler appointment and as expected it took me back to the doppler appointment we had last October but this time. I held onto that tiny heartbeat I had just seen days earlier. Though, I’m not going to lie, the fear was still strong.
Two weeks later, we found out that we were having another boy and I began to let myself think that this baby was really ours. I considered plastering the news on social media, but I still wasn’t ready. When I went in to listen for the heartbeat via doppler again, my son cried when they took my blood pressure and reached for me when I laid down to listen in for the heartbeat. He snuggled up close to me and we lay there together while dad was at work. My little boy was stepping in as my protector, he knew. He knew I was scared, vulnerable. Together, we lay there, listening intently. And there he was. The three of us.
For the first four months, I held my breath
Cause the last little one, had stopped breathing theirs
But here you are, with your heart beating next to mine
Your brother’s nestled into me, every time we listen in
I think he knows that you’re comin’
But not exactly what that means
You’re going to play, you’re gonna fight
You’ll share a love, like no other
And I will be the most grateful mother
A house of trains, trucks, books and toys
You’re gonna make me, a mama to boys.
To this little boy inside me:
You are loved, fiercely protected and very much desired. I’m trying to teach your big brother how to be “gentle” and “careful”. I bought him an anatomically correct baby boy doll, so he can get used to the idea of a baby. Your dad and grandfather are both middle boys and I have a feeling you will be too. We love you, we named you weeks ago and can’t shake the name. It feels right. I’m undoubtably crazier this pregnancy but it comes from loving you so much that I fear a life without you. You move a lot, more than your brother did. I think it’s your way of reassuring me that you’re there. You move quickly away from the doppler as if to say “can’t catch me” and… sometimes we can’t. I’m likely going to fail you in some way at some point but I promise you, I will always try to be what you need. For now, I’m just trying to get enough water and protein to you. 🙂
With love,
Mama A

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