“I might actually have this baby and get to bring him home.”
I don’t know if this feeling is common even to women who have not encountered a loss but this is what I find myself thinking more and more. It’s strange but I didn’t going into this pregnancy assuming the end would show me holding my baby. I guess I look at having a baby in three very distinct steps and I’ve never achieved all of them so I didn’t have any reason to assume I would this time. The first step is getting pregnant. I’ve jumped this hurdle three times, the most recent being the most difficult, yet I wouldn’t say we had trouble getting pregnant, it may have felt like we did but our troubles were certainly not in comparison to the struggles that many endure month after month. Getting pregnant in itself is sort of crazy when you think about how perfect the timing of so many things has to be. It becomes amazing that anyone can get pregnant to begin with when you think about that.
For me the second step is staying pregnant. There’s so much excitement that a positive pregnancy test invokes but that is just the beginning of what seems like a very long journey ahead. We lost our first baby near the 8 week mark. Early miscarriages are very common but still devastating because with each positive test comes so much hope. I think getting through that first trimester marks the end of the second step. I know people like to refer to it as getting to the “safe zone” but I’m convinced that zone doesn’t really exist. Maybe we should refer to it as the “SAFER zone” instead because yes statistically speaking your odds of losing your baby do go down quite a bit after that first trimester but that doesn’t mean the odds are nonexistent.
The third step for me, one we’ve yet to make it to, is the delivery of a healthy baby. Joshua and Caleb were stillborn at 20 weeks and 6 days gestation. The 20th week of this pregnancy scared me. Now we’ve past that point and it just feels like uncharted territory for me. I don’t know what to think at this point but that “We might actually have a healthy baby” feeling is becoming more and more prominent. Sometimes I will follow that feeling with the thought of all the other mommies I know that have lost babies farther into their pregnancies than I have and it kind of sucks the wind out of my sails if you will. Suddenly the pregnancy still seems very long and scary. Other times that feeling of confidence is followed by a discussion of the future, whether that includes purchasing a crib or having a baby shower and again my mind is flooded with all the sad endings that so many have had to survive much later in their pregnancies than me. I guess talk of the future just scares me. It scares me that people still assume pregnancy ends with healthy babies. It scares me that those people could be hit with a reality that feels impossible to get through (and would have been for me if I hadn’t had Jesus as my tour guide).
We had ordered two cribs the weekend before we lost the boys, we had registered at Babies “R” Us, and we had set a date for a shower about two weeks before. The thought of repeating these events for Dotson feel somewhat like triggers that take me back or remind me that there are no guarantees. I’m excited to do all these things and they still seem like fun to me but at the same time they scare me. I guess it’s similar to jumping out of a plane for the first time… it must sound like fun or you wouldn’t do it but there has to be a fear in the back of your head until the moment your feet safely hit the ground. I’ve pretty much avoided all these things this time around but it is becoming increasingly apparent that we are really going to have to start thinking about them soon. We’ve already gotten the shower question; however no one dares to ask me themselves, they go through mom (I do appreciate this because it doesn’t put me in a position to have to make a rushed decision). As for the crib, well when we ordered the boys’ it was going to take up to 4 months to get it. That calls for some major advanced planning. It makes me think that Target or Wal-mart might be the way to go this time around. Registering I still think can wait. I want to emphasize again though that I am VERY excited about doing all these things I just wish I could do them with the same innocence that I did the first time.
I hope this post doesn’t give you the impression that I live each moment in fear of how this pregnancy is going to end because by God’s grace I don’t. I am actually very comforted and at peace but there is also that very realistic voice in the back of my head that isn’t going to be quiet until “my feet safely hit the ground”. I have a better understanding of the possibilities than most but I know that this baby is not my own. Dotson is God’s creation and only God knows how this little boy is going to be used to achieve His plan. My trust is in Him and I will continue to pray for His grace and comfort to surround me, to give me the ability to enjoy and see the blessings, and to give Wayne and me a perfect little Dotson to love and snuggle in 4.5 more months. A Dotson that will bless our marriage and that we will sit side by side and watch grow into a man that loves and serves the Lord.