Circa April 1st
Well… we made it.
Without much fanfare or revelry, we crossed over into safer waters yesterday. By safer waters, I mean my risks for miscarriage have dropped significantly in the past twenty-four hours.
I could do this a million times, and every time I will wake up in a cold sweat or start panicking at the first twinge of cramping or the first spot of blood on tissue. No matter how much I want to believe that my baby is safe and healthy and protected, I cannot even begin to imagine that I am immune from the fate that befalls so many women.
The fate of suffering a miscarriage. Or a tragic diagnosis. Or pregnancy complications.
With the Pickle I spent the first ten weeks in fear, praying every day for the safety and health of my child. I worried. I wondered. I doubted. I didn’t breathe a word of it to a soul outside of our closest friends and family, because how would I handle it? How could I survive telling the world, only to have my sweet promise become an Angel?
You would think after having one perfectly healthy, happy pregnancy that resulted in a perfectly healthy and happy baby that I would ease up a little. That I wouldn’t worry so much. That I would rejoice even more at a second pregnancy.
Not because of anything in me or in our family. But because in the past four years I have come in contact with more moms than I ever have in my life. And I’ve talked mom stuff. And I’ve heard pregnancy stories and fertility stories and birth stories… and death stories.
Now I know that I can in no way be immune to this encroaching reality- that nothing is certain.
If three out of five of my friends can have a miscarriage (or multiple miscarriages) in attempting to get pregnant with their second child, then what is keeping that from happening to me?
If I can watch a friend lose her baby girl at 31 weeks to a Congenital Heart Disorder.
If I can pray for a friend who has suffered six miscarriages as well as the removal of both of her ovaries and then watch her lose their final attempt at IVF treatment.
If I can stand by as a friend’s Facebook light up with congratulations on an exciting but unexpected pregnancy only to have to announce mere hours later that she is in the middle of miscarrying.
If I can see the frustration on a friend’s face after months and months and months of fertility drugs and tests and treatment with no answers in sight.
These aren’t stories on the internet. These are friends. Some of them people I see every week. These are real lives that intersect with mine.
No… I cannot be immune. It can only be a breath away. It can only be one wrong move. One missed prayer.
Now I know that every day this little heart beats is a frickin’ miracle.
Now I know that every moment this child grows healthy in my womb even though I’m eating like crap and not taking care of myself and spinning circles around a three-year-old, a new house, and an exhausting job, is a moment gifted from the hand of God. A miracle. A blessing. A sweet moment to cherish.
So now that we’ve reached ten weeks. Now that I see light at the end of our tunnel of nausea. Now that I have two DVD files documenting a life that each day becomes more viable and full of hope. Now I wonder what I’m supposed to do.
Am I allowed to be joyful?
A friend of mine just spent two weeks on her blog sharing stories of infertility. The heartbreak and the loss and the Angel babies. The bitterness, the heartache, the insensitivity of others.
Today is April Fool’s Day and the only picture that painfully rings in my head is the one saying, “before you make your April Fool’s Day joke about being pregnant, think about how much your joke could hurt someone who has suffered a miscarriage or infant loss…”
And while I want to share how challenging it is that I can not enjoy my healthy pregnancy because I am always supposed to be more sensitive to everyone else, just this week I learned about my friend’s failed IVF treatment. And my heart BUSTED into a million pieces for her. I cried. I asked “why?!” Her loss of hope and her beyond disappointment and her limping, angry, surrendered heart was tangible to me.
So now what do I do?
Because my news will show up on her page. As it will show up on hundreds of other pages. And people reading this will know.
And what am I supposed to say?
I’m so sorry… I’m pregnant. I’m so sorry to share knowing that so many of you have not been able to get pregnant. Or have not had a healthy heartbeat well into your second trimester. Or have faced the unthinkable. And I’m sorry that I complain about nausea when you wish you could be nauseous… and pregnant. I am so, so, so sorry.
Why can’t I just be joyful? Why can’t I just believe? Why do I have to worry so much about the fact that no matter what I say or do, something in my life may in some way inflict pain on someone else’s heart?
Am I any less grateful for this baby because I have not yet suffered loss? Is my heart any smaller because I don’t have an Angel baby to love? Am I ignorant and unfeeling and uncaring and insensitive because we have prayed for two children and God has, thus far, given us these two blessings? Am I really a horrible person because for some reason my body does not fight this part of life?
Am I less of a woman because I have been blessed with two healthy pregnancies? Am I not as strong. Or not as faithful. Or not as legit.
The truth is, I want to shout out to the world that we’re pregnant! I want to post a million ultrasound pictures for people to decipher. I want to vent my nausea and share my cravings and I sure could use a little sympathy for living in a house full of boxes when I barely have the energy to wash the dishes. I want to blog endlessly about what I think this baby might be. What our name choices are. How this baby came to be and the amazing miracle that it was. How God has wiggled and twisted my soul even in this new pregnancy with his ridiculously clever and mysterious ways. I want to blog baby’s room and tell stories of how the Pickle lays on my tummy to “hear the baby’s heartbeat.”
But this time. After knowing what I know now. All I can do is be thankful. All I can do is praise God quietly for the blessing of this little secret inside of me. And all I can do is hope that I will cherish this pregnancy and this baby and this gift of motherhood in a way that brings honor to all of those women who have suffered loss.
It’s all I can do.
This was hard for me to post. But early on in my pregnancy this is what I was really feeling. I read and heard so many things from so many hurting women that it almost felt offensive to announce our second pregnancy. I felt that sharing the joy and the struggle and the experience would somehow make someone else hurt. Which is why I waited until 20 weeks to even announce it. Which is why only friends and family knew. Which is why even to this day I keep my Facebook sharing and Instagram pictures to a minimum.
Each of the women mentioned above, I have prayed for, and hugged when appropriate, and shared condolences with. I know that none of them would wish their pain on me. And I pray that if God asked me to face the same situation, that I would still find the courage to celebrate the healthy pregnancies around me. Thank you to those who have celebrated with us… despite the ache in your heart. You have given us the high calling of cherishing each and every moment with our children- those born, and those yet to be.