It’s fairly easy to talk myself into a “rational” state this pregnancy. For a while.
I will not get too invested. Invested just enough.
I will not plan for after.
I will not allow myself to daydream too much.
I will stay calm and practical about this all.
I will not be surprised by pain again. I will be prepared.
However that happens.
And then I feel baby kicks. I see her little face on the screen, her hands waving wildly. I hear Bella say her name, and watch Sam put his head on my stomach to talk to her. I carry her with me everywhere I go, my mind wanders to a nursery theme, cloth diapers, packing a hospital bag.
It’s in these moments I know, so deeply, that if I were to hold myself back, to only give a small part of my heart to her – and something happened again – I would grieve just as hard, but differently too. I would grieve for the months I didn’t just let myself fall in love and hope.
I did with Kaden. Around 30 weeks – you all remember? I let myself buy clothes. Pick out an elephant theme. Dream. Anticipate. Plan. It was all going to be ok.
The shock of hearing he was going to die too – I can’t even describe it. I was so, so angry and hurt that I got to the point of letting go only to have to reel my emotions in again, to come home and put it all away, to lay in bed and sob in the very place I’d dreamed of holding him.
Those feelings have slowly changed in the past nearly two years. The hurt, the shock is still there. But so is the realization that I loved him deeply in the months before I even knew him. Somehow it all ended up intertwined. I have very few regrets about my pregnancy with him. I allowed myself to feel anxiety and terror of losing him like Preston and Julian, and I also allowed myself to hope.
I think back now and wonder – what else could I have done in that case? Pretend I didn’t want them? That they didn’t matter or their lives didn’t shatter mine into a billion pieces and change it all in a matter of minutes/hours/days? I did exactly what I needed to do, I gave them my whole heart the best I knew how.
And so it is with this little girl. I may hesitate to buy a car seat, decorate a nursery. I’m ok with those feelings – even if I send Sam to buy a carseat while we wait in the hospital. That would actually be the best – because she’d be coming home. What wonderful words to say, “Would you go buy a carseat so we can all go home?”
What I’m working on is being able to hope for that moment, for her with every fiber of my being. Of knowing that I let myself fall head over heels with her, regardless of my heart and head both screaming, “Oh no, no, we can’t do this again. This hurts so much.”
I know. I know how hard it is to do it again. I already did this. I already hoped, I already cried at night in fear, I already prayed for my baby to be spared, I already woke up convinced my water broke, I already held my babies and wondered if my heart would stop from the pain of doing this. Again. My mind recoils when I find myself thinking of the “what if…” – and yet human nature is to find hope where it might seem a little crazy.
But I want to. I would rather hurt from incredible love and my hopes being crushed, than hurt from knowing I didn’t get to that point with one of my children. I don’t know exactly how I’ll do this again, intertwining pain and terror and hope in every step, yet I don’t know how the rest of this has happened either and somehow we still have a life and a story.
Now I’m praying so hard we get a different story to share with this new life. I know so many of you pray that with me as we count this down. Thank you.