Today I am mourning, and celebrating my child’s next milestone like a crazy person who should probably be sedated. These are moments that I wasn’t sure I would ever get the chance to have, and now I am here and praying they slow down. Or at the very least that I never take them for granted. My baby is growing, and learning, and changing, and truly finding her voice. And growls, and squeals, and animal noises that we have not figured out what animal they belong to quite yet.
This is a weird time of year for me. It has been weird for the last three years. Three years ago, almost to the day I found out that I was pregnant with our first child. We were terrified. We were ecstatic. We were pregnant. We were going to have the first grandchild on both sides of our families and we could not wait to tell everyone.
We decided since mother’s day was just around the corner we were going to surprise both of our mothers with “Grandma” themed gifts. No one has ever called them that before and we got to give them that gift. I had three gifts picked out, and waiting in my cart to purchase. I had seen my family twice before our appointment and almost burst trying to keep it a secret. But it was just a few weeks away so it would be worth it. Side note, hiding daily vomiting from family and friends is a lot harder than it sounds. My boss knew about the pregnancy before almost anyone else. Then life took us down the hardest road we have ever been on together.
We went to our first ultrasound appointment. The technician was so calm, so sweet, so excited for us. Then she started asking us so many questions. Then she left the room. We have never done this before. We didn’t think anything of how she handled herself as warning signs as to what was coming next. Our doctor came in and sat down on the other side of the very yellow room with photos of perfect families, and babies all over the walls. She folded her hands on her lap and said the sentence that forever changed my life. “There is no heartbeat”.
My heart stopped. My head started spinning. The room was all of a sudden a suffocating box. She was wrong. She had to be wrong. This was not happening. Michael slid is arm around my back and rested his hand on my hands that were now white knuckled on my lap. He saw me crumbling before I even realized I was in pieces.
We were given hope that I was just earlier than we expected and I had to wait one week to come back and do blood work and another ultrasound. But after waiting the longest 7 days of my life we returned. Our doctor did the ultrasound this time. She was somber. She was quiet. She was warning of the outcome. Then she told us what deep down we already knew to be true. We were losing the baby.
We did eventually tell our families what was going on. We chose to be open about what was happening to us and what we were going through. We had an outpouring of love, shared tears, and support. We also had crass comments that were meant in the best intentions but fell oh so short. Unfortunately we waited weeks for the baby to leave on their own but they were definitely filled with my stubborn genes and refused to leave. So we had a D&C scheduled, because you know, losing a baby wasn’t bad enough now we got to be temporarily hospitalized with a surgical team that just looked at you with sad eyes and came and prayed over you and everyone just kept apologizing for your loss. Over the next three weeks five people in my life shared their news and announced that they were pregnant. Two of which were family members. One on my side of the family. One on his side of the family.
So much was taken away from us three years ago. And as our daughter grows we are learning more and more of what we truly lost in 2017. If we had not lost our first baby we wouldn’t have our Zoe. The little spitfire that is the zest of our lives. We choose joy. Always. But regardless, this time of the year is hard for me. It always will be. My emotions are all over the place, and I still miss the tiny nugget we only had for a couple months.
All of that back story to say this. . . when our daughter reaches new milestones we celebrate. We cheer. We rejoice that she is happy, healthy and full of joy. We also mourn the life we lost and the milestones we never got the chance to celebrate. When I look at Zoe I truly see the rainbow that from the moment there were two pink lines with her life, she started healing my heart in a way I never thought would be possible. I never thought I would find joy again. Not like this. Zoe’s name means “life”. She truly brought life back into our world. Life that is loud, and messy, and full of new achievements and milestones.
Through it all. I wouldn’t trade this life for anything.