If there’s one thing my body does well, it’s create and cradle new life. I always knew I wanted to be somebody’s mama. I can vividly remember dressing up in my mom’s housecoat and nightgown and pretending I knew what it would be like to have a baby.
I knew you gave the baby your breast in order to feed it. I knew how to change diapers –and wash cloth ones. That’s what having a semi-crunchy mom and two baby sisters will do for you.
Once my sisters grew too old to be swaddled and too curious to be cute, I started spending as much time as I could with infants I saw at church, on the streets, etc.
I will never forget the ache of being told to go away and not to speak to or touch the baby. Around 15, my desire for a baby intensified. I was thankfully able to think logically about this and made the wise decision not to become pregnant at 15.
Fast forward five-six years later. I’m married to my son’s father. By our 6 month wedding anniversary, I was pregnant.
He wanted me to have an abortion. I couldn’t understand why. I knew I didn’t want to have the procedure. I told him he could leave if he saw fit. I loved my baby before I met him.
Every pregnant milestone I celebrated sent his father deeper and deeper into the doldrums. I welcomed my bouncing baby boy, Chai, the day after Hurricane Frances breezed through Tampa.
And then, for eight years, there was nothing but yearning and sadness and disappointment. Every time I felt those tell-tale twinges in my pelvis, I would hope against hope that new life had taken root deep within me. Every month, I went in search of feminine products with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat.
Month after month, my body bewitched, bothered, bewildered and ultimately betrayed me with false reactions, ubiquitous symptoms and nothing to show for it besides embarrassment, frustration and bitterness.
And then, in spite of all the odds, it happened. One day, one moment and my long-held hopes were realized: I was enceinte–with child. Between bouts of nausea and vomiting, I exulted in the knowledge that Bridgette was having a baby.
Then, at eight weeks, fear and pinkness froze me in my tracks. The OB said it was a subchorionic hemorrhage–basically bleeding from the placenta left over from implantation. She told me that I’d be fine and more than likely the embryo would be, too. Today, that embryo is my 4.5 year old daughter.
The night she was born, all I could do was cry post-delivery. At last, After the years of deferred hope and nine months of jockeying my health and my unborn’s health against the enemies of asthma, Type 1 diabetes, RA and hypertension, she was here. My Faith. Every doctor’s appointment, every moment of shame, embarrassment and inconvenience had been so worth it. My second miracle babe was nestled safely in my arms; her time to come into the out was finally here.
Four and a half months later, I was feeling odd. Wondering why I was short of breath and nauseous when climbing the stairs. Happily loving on my loquacious eight year old and 4.5 month old chunk of adorable-ness.
He was the one who called my attention to it. I scoffed; what did an eight year old know about lady parts and menstrual cycles? As if!!!!
The first test I took was negative because I took it wrong. I remember shrugging in relief and then realizing that I had dunked it incorrectly. Reasoning that it was probably negative anyway, I dunked it correctly. Bing! A BFP (big fat positive)!
Nah, can’t be right! I told myself. I took another. And another. And another. I probably took at least six tests. I splurged and bought the fancy digital version….all tests showed the same result. After an eight year drought and serious contemplation over my womb’s barren state, I was now preggers for the second time in less than a year.
Guess I’m NOT barren. Oh my God, how am I gonna do this?! I was about to be ushered into the two under two club!!!! I had some mixed feelings about my membership, but I said, “God, if this is how You planned it, You gotta help me through this!”
And indeed, He did. He was there through the morning sickness. He was there through the vexation of dealing with other people’s children while you’re incubating your own. He was there through the horrendous pain and inflammation that is RA during pregnancy before remission. He was there through my endocrinologist leaving the practice. He was there through me having to go on leave a month earlier than planned. He was there through the repeat VSD issue. He was there through prodromal labor that kept me awake at night and made me vomit to no avail. He was there through rides in my pressure when the OBs kept telling me to lie down and rest–while I was waddling around after a crawling nine, ten and eleven month old baby.
And He was there on D-Day, which wasn’t planned, but was very much expected–no April Fool’s baby for moi! My little six-fingered victor, Justice, was my third miracle babe.
It’s been almost four years since we brought Justice home and the reality of two kids who cannot walk upstairs on their own recognizance gobsmacked us squarely in the face. And still, I yearn for one more. I’ve made no secret about this. I’ve tried talking myself out of it, I’ve ridiculed my feelings both alone and aloud. I want an even five. Laughing but very serious.
But due to some little penny ante things such as my husband’s wishes, the state of my health and the health of my bank account–whoops, our bank account–I may never get that starting five.
I’ve been working through the grief for a few years now. I despair of ever seeing its tail end. How do you heal from the loss or grieve for a person you’ve never met except in your dreams?
When I find out, I’ll be sure to let you know.