I miscarried our second baby on October 1, 2020. The irony of this date was not lost on me, as October is the month to remember Pregnancy and Infant Loss.
I spent one horrible month wondering if I would ever have another baby. Deep down, I had always believed my Genevieve was a once-in-a-lifetime miracle, that the years of abuse my body had endured would result in lifelong infertility. Surely, after everything I put myself through, there was no way I would be rewarded with the "bouquet of babies" (I saw this line on an Influencer Mom's bio and I loved it) I have always dreamed of.
And then, on November 10, I texted my friend a photo of the tiniest, faintest pink line. Could it be real? I decided to wait another day before telling Matthew, just to be sure. The next morning, the line was darker, so my friend and I ran out to find a "big sister" shirt to put on Genevieve, as my way of announcing this little miracle to their daddy.
I prayed for this baby. I want this baby and I love this baby and I am so excited to meet this little soul, to hold him or her in my arms for the first time. I'm full term now, the dresser is full of neatly folded newborn clothing, I've washed the swaddle blankets, the bassinet is ready and waiting.
This entire pregnancy has felt like a sort of mourning period. Mixed with moments of joy and hopeful anticipation, to be sure. But overall, the feeling hanging over me has been more negative than I ever expected. No one ever told me how hard it is, knowing things will never be the same.
I knew that the first time, of course. Now I KNOW. I know because I've done it, the sleepless nights and the feeding struggles and the crying (both of us), the doubt and oh, so much fear. They say the memory fades, but it hasn't for me. I look at photos of Genevieve in those first few months and I remember so clearly, waking up every morning and feeling a pit in my stomach, wondering what struggles lay ahead of me and wondering how I would survive until Matthew got home.
But that isn't even why I feel sad.
It got so much better. Around 8 or 9 months, it got GOOD. I fell in love with my daughter in a new way, I enjoyed our days together and I stopped being afraid.
Now, I miss her when she's sleeping, I get excited thinking about waking up with her and getting to watch her laugh and listen to her new words and cuddle her and tickle her and oh, everything. I love her. I love our life together and I love it exactly how it is; just the three of us. Life feels so easy right now, she is such a joy to mother and she makes everything more fun and worthwhile.
I'm sad because I'm scared for that to end.
Genevieve is everything to me. She is my sunshine, my little buddy, my precious girl. She gave me the greatest gift; motherhood. Her birth and those first 8-9 months after were the hardest of my life. And I am so grateful for that period of struggle. It made me who I am now, and I actually kind of LIKE myself? I haven't been able to say that since I was a small child.
I don't know if I'm ready to lose the life we have together.
I have felt SO guilty this entire pregnancy. Instead of thinking about bonding with this new baby, imagining what he or she will look like, coming up with names and just generally dreaming about meeting him or her... I've mostly been focusing on Genevieve. I am desperate to soak in every second of our one-on-one time. Every afternoon I lay down with her to put her to sleep I wonder how I am going to manage to cuddle my girl and care for a newborn. When we go out to run errands or to the park or out for lunch, I revel in how easy it is and dread having to keep up with her AND lug around a baby in a bucket seat.
I worry about how she will adjust; if I will be able to give my all to two little souls instead of just one. I so often feel like I am slacking off, not giving her enough attention or losing my patience because I'm not being present. How much harder will that be with two?
People have started asking me if I'm at the point where I'm over being pregnant, if I'm getting impatient, if I want the baby out already.
Unlike last time, the answer is very confidently, no.
I wish I had more time. I wish I could drag out this time of just me and my baby girl, I wish I could freeze it and live in it until I DO feel ready. I HATE change and I especially struggle with the notion that this life I love, beautiful the way it is, is about to end as I know it.
There's a line from one of my favourite movies (Avengers: Age of Ultron in case you were starting to take me too seriously), and I think about it all the time these days. It's been an unexpected source of comfort.
The movie is almost over, one of the heroes has the villain cornered, and the villain is trying to convince the hero that humanity is doomed. The hero replies, "Yes... but a thing isn't beautiful because it lasts."
That's the thing. My time with Genevieve wouldn't be special if I could pause and replay it over and over. It wouldn't hold the same meaning or touch my heart in the same way. Yes, this time with her is beautiful... but it's because I can't get it back. It's because I know I can't take it for granted.
I do hate change, I do still wish I could selfishly hold on to this easy, comfortable period of time. But if given the chance, would I actually change anything? Would I stop the end of one happy chapter and never get to the next one?
No, I don't think so.