I kept my first pregnancy close to my heart, hidden from the rest of the world. Obviously I couldn’t hide the physical aspects of the pregnancy, (and to be fair I never tried), but I didn’t talk about it much and I didn’t share it much on social media. I didn’t talk about it much with colleagues of friends. It wasn’t that I thought speaking about it out loud would jinx it or anything, I think I was just too afraid to acknowledge this precious gift I was so terrified of losing. I was too nervous about loss to talk about it.
I promised myself that this pregnancy would be different and I think I’m actually managing to keep that promise. My anxiety level this time around has been MUCH more manageable. I definitely have my 3mhz doppler to thank for that, but I also think I’m just handling the uncertainty better. My belief (erroneous or otherwise) that this pregnancy was meant to be (no matter how it ends) has also assuaged many of my fears. I still think about stillbirth EVERY SINGLE DAY (for some reason preterm birth does not worry me, I’m much more concerned about my baby dying inside me without my realizing) and I still wonder how I would ever survive the loss of the this baby boy that I already love with all my heart, but I don’t let the fear of his (improbable) death dictate my experience of this pregnancy.
All of this has allowed me to share this pregnancy with others in a way I never did before. It started with the announcement on Facebook. I really wanted that to be something special and I poured a lot of love and intention into that announcement. I feel it perfectly encapsulates what I hope to achieve by all my sharing of this pregnancy–a delicate balance of honoring my struggle and reveling in my good fortune.
I know some people don’t want to share too much about their pregnancy because they fear the fallout of a loss after everyone knows. I have found the opposite to be true. I find great comfort in sharing my pregnancy. The more other people celebrate with me, the more they will understand my devastation if something goes wrong. Of course they can never feel the light flutters inside me which bond me ever closer to this son of mine. Of course they cannot truly understand all the infinite ways he is already a part of my life, but if I share of this baby in all the ways I can, he will become a presence in their lives as well and if he were to die, they would experience his death as their own loss and maybe better understand my grief.
And so I am embracing this baby’s life. My son’s life. I’ve said that a few times since I found out we’re having a boy; my son. At first it seemed premature but then I realized that if he died tomorrow he would still be my son. It wouldn’t just be a baby I had lost, but my little boy.
After I learned of my diminished ovarian reserve and Mi.Vida’s crappy sperm I let go of my dream of being pregnant again. I knew we wouldn’t choose to go into debt attempting IVF and our chances of conceiving on our own, or with IUI, were so slim. Having this chance to carry another baby inside of me feels like the ultimate gift, and I cherish it always. I feel it is my responsibility to celebrate this gift, to appreciate it every day, to never take it for granted.
And so I smile every time I feel this baby move inside me. I breathe deeply at the sound of his heart beat. I celebrate each scan that suggests he is healthy and will arrive safely. I talk about him with others. I share his name and speak it aloud. I sit his sister on my lap and we poke at him and ask him to play. I make him a part of my life. We make him a part of our family.
Because he already is a part of my life, a part of our family, even though he hasn’t fully arrived.