This month I received a sobering reminder that it’d been one year since my miscarriage.
Usually my Facebook memories oscillate between semi-embarrassing college posts and photos of my two children. But when last year’s announcement that we had lost our baby at 12 weeks popped up, I sort of went numb.
I couldn’t bring myself to reread it, let alone the hundred plus comments that followed.
As I sat there not reading but no longer scrolling through my newsfeed, I thought about just how much can change in a year.
It took a year to get pregnant with my daughter, our first child.
I peed on so many sticks that year, praying for a plus sign, only to start my period an hour later. I remember how devastating it was each time to know that I would have to wait an entire month just to go through it all over again.
And then, twelve months after we first started trying and the day after a trip to my OBGYN to discuss our options, I got a plus sign.
My pregnancy wasn’t easy. I suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum a la Kate Middleton. I was hospitalized for dehydration and had to take anti-nausea medicine well into my third trimester just to keep some food and water down.
The labor and delivery wasn’t much prettier, but 23 hours later I was holding my beautiful little girl.
Unlike the year of infertility and excruciating pregnancy, my daughter’s first year of life flew by in an instant. And not long after she turned one, my husband and I were thrilled to find out we were pregnant again.
This pregnancy seemed much harder, because it turns out that running after a one-year-old while trying to swallow your vomit is pretty gross. And yet, I cherished those nine months more than I had the first time, because, no longer a rookie parent, my heart ached in loving anticipation for this second blessing coming my way.
My son was born 4 days before my daughter’s second birthday.
So much can change in a year.
The summer after my son turned one we took a family trip. Somehow in a hotel room with two napping toddlers, my husband and I found a way to get frisky. A few weeks later that plus sign popped up once more – but this time it was met with surprise, and right on schedule a few weeks later, extreme morning sickness.
As much as this third baby was unexpected, I quickly became attached and enjoyed making plans for our party of five. Unable to hide my nausea, I let family, friends and work know about our growing family.
It was at my first doctor’s appointment at 12 weeks that we learned there was no longer a heartbeat.
Even with my husband by my side, I have never felt so alone.
For months after the miscarriage, I wouldn’t even talk about having another baby with my husband. The idea of putting my body through another pregnancy to end up without a baby again was too much to consider.
A family of four we were meant to be, I told myself. I would try to convince myself that I shouldn’t feel so devastated, because I was fortunate enough to have my two babies at home. I constantly reminded myself again how lucky I was.
The truth is, my pep-talks weren’t working, and the months that followed didn’t get any easier. And a friend and neighbor’s growing belly was a constant reminder of what I was no longer meant to have.
As my precious lost baby’s due date approached, my emotions were unpredictable and almost unbearable. The whole experience had been so personal, and while my husband offered boundless support, I continued to feel incredibly alone.
My kids celebrated their second and fourth birthdays just weeks after we were supposed to welcome baby number three. I thought I had gained closure after the due date had passed, until two months later we were shocked to learn we were pregnant again.
I should have been thrilled! Elated! Or, at the very least, I should have felt something, right?
Yet from the moment I found out I was pregnant, I’ve felt completely detached.
I have no doubt that this has been my heart’s way of protecting itself. What if something goes wrong again? If I’m not emotionally attached surely it won’t hurt so badly.
Just like clockwork, I started throwing up at 6 weeks. Other than the fact that I struggled to keep food down all summer, I nearly forgot that another baby was coming.
At my first doctor’s appointment, it took the nurse forever to find a heartbeat and I didn’t even flinch.
How had I become so cold and shut off? Was I a bad mom? When was I actually going to care about this baby?
And then a few weeks ago I started feeling those familiar flutters. The flutters grew into movements. The movements grew into kicks and elbows that I can not only feel but witness as this baby grows inside of me.
My mind is beginning to ease. My heart is filling. And – thank goodness – my expanding stomach is no longer nauseated.
By the beginning of 2017 we will welcome a new baby into our family. Unlike with my first two, this time we decided not to find out the gender. The truth is, it really doesn’t matter. We are ready to become our party of five. And I can finally say I’m excited for all of the changes that will come with the new year.