Friday, July 26, 2013 was the first day of Nate’s family reunion on the Oregon coast, and the exact day I had been waiting for since 28 days earlier. I woke up before the sun and sneaked out of bed to the bathroom. As I watched the little blue lines appear the room started to spin. I was dizzy and nauseas and in disbelief. A POSITIVE PREGNANCY TEST!
I tip-toed back to bed racking my brain for cute and clever, Pinterest-worthy ideas on how to tell Nate he was going to be a dad. Turns out my brain wasn’t exactly working and isn’t cute and clever to begin with so I let Nate in on the secret with a “BAH!!” and a peed-on stick in his face.
I immediately started planning for my baby. First, I figured out his due date. Then when he would start kindergarten. Then the year he would graduate from high school…and so on.
We talked about family bike rides, Nate coaching soccer and T-ball, and argued if he would be allowed to wrestle or not. (Wrestle, yes – cut weight, NO.) He would of course be a mommy’s boy, and I would teach him to be the perfect gentleman. Always open doors for ladies, give kisses on the cheek (because that is SO CUTE), etc.
I spent the first 20 weeks getting to know my little baby. I would sneak into the back of the ER on slow nights with the ultrasound machine and catch little glimpses of his swimming around in there, kicking up a storm. Oh my goodness, that little fetus was ADORABLE. I talked to him, sang to him, and planned his life for him.
I went to my 20 week ultrasound the week after Thanksgiving. It was December 3 and the Holiday season was in full swing. Christmas happiness was in the air, and I was ready to get up-close and personal pics of the little guy, excited that Nate could finally get a piece of the ultrasound action. We waited with anticipation as the tech got everything set up and started looking around. She was very quiet. I was smiling so big and showing off my little baby to Nate, and thought the tech to be slightly socially awkward, because HELLO, can’t you see the adorable fetus, how’s about you talk about his cuteness!! That’s the socially acceptable thing to do after all….
But then she stood up and said she was going to get the Dr. because there were some things she wasn’t sure about.
The room was dark. Josh Groban was singing Silent Night over some invisible sound system.
A few minutes later the Dr. walked in. He started looking, and starting talking, telling me to “look at this, it shouldn’t be like that”, and “this right here isn’t normal”, and “here are your options”.
I felt like I was in a vacuum, or a tunnel, or a black hole, or one of those rides at the fair that spins you around and around and you stick to the wall and you can climb up and down the wall because right then gravity was confusing, and you wanted to throw up but you had heard that if you threw up you would choke on it and die. Nothing made sense.
I held back my sobs somewhat effectively until the Dr. left. I felt abandoned, confused, guilty, and alone. Alone because the baby I had gotten to know and come to love was no longer there. He was gone, replaced by a new baby that I didn’t know anything about besides his brain was all wrong, and maybe his foot too, and his spine, and HE WAS ALL WRONG.
I walked down to the lab alone to get my blood drawn. It was full of old people, and they were openly staring at me because I was openly sobbing. An older woman came over to me and put her arm around me and started talking to me about a foundation for stillborns, and her own stillborn baby, and how many weeks am I?, and that’s when she lost hers. I didn’t bother correcting her. I felt even MORE awful because my baby was still ALIVE, but he wasn’t my baby anymore, and how could I possibly make any sense to this woman when I didn’t make any sense to myself.
When I got home I laid in my bed with my pillow over my head for a long time. Maybe days. I can’t really remember, it’s all a blur. What I do remember was the strong connection I had previously felt with my baby was gone. I didn’t know this new baby, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to.
The first thing the Dr. had asked me after explaining the situation was, “Would you like to terminate this pregnancy?” I looked at him with wide, confused eyes, and shook my head no. I knew I meant it…but at the same time, I didn’t know if I meant it.
I wanted to start over. To try again, and get it right this time. I remember praying, wishing that it could all just go away.
Something I couldn’t imagine considering, something I judged other women for… was something that I wanted. I didn’t tell anyone, not even Nate. I couldn’t speak the words because they were so awful, and I was so awful for thinking them. But I was on a crashing plane, and I saw a chance for a parachute…and I wanted it.
When I hold Calvin now I feel nothing but love, so much love, and hope, and peace, and comfort. He is the sweetest little baby and melts my heart every day. It is still so stinking hard, but when I hold him and snuggle him close I know it will all be OK. But I didn’t have that back then – the sweet little guy to hold and to reassure me over and over.
These last few weeks whenever I’ve thought about our upcoming first anniversary of “Diagnosis Day”, my heart has pounded and ached as I have felt a shadow of those awful emotions all over again. The fear, the anguish, the guilt, the despair, the darkness, the loss – that day and the days that followed were hard. It seems like a lifetime ago and it’s hard to believe it’s only been a year. So much has happened since then, so many miracles, so many hardships, so many blessings, and I am such a different person.
I still miss them, though. That first little baby who went away that day, and the young and innocent, excited and hopeful almost-mom. I think about them sometimes, and wonder what their lives would look like now.
But then I snuggle Calvin and hug Nate and thank my Heavenly Father for the wonderful life I’ve been given instead.