Almost a year and a half ago, Renee and I were completely blindsided while anticipating the birth of our next child-at a routine doctor appointment, we were told the baby did not have a heartbeat. After Renee went through two D&C’s to remove Brit, we both wrestled with how to grieve after such an unexpected and heartbreaking loss. In many ways, we’re still figuring that out…it’s been quite a journey for us and has been the most difficult year of our marriage. Even more difficult than the first year, and that included Renee locking me out on our 3rd floor apartment balcony!
Before we lost Brit, we knew of several families dear to us who struggled with infertility or had a miscarriage. We tried our best to be supportive and pray for them, but it’s such a unique situation to discuss with people. You try to balance empathy with hope, and there’s such a fine line between supporting through grief and and playing the “God has a plan and I know you’ll be pregnant soon” card. Not to mention how hard Mother’s and Father’s Days are. The thing that we didn’t know or realize is that miscarriage is a possibility for people who have had a healthy baby already. We (naively) assumed that miscarriages only happen when you first start trying to get pregnant…if they continue, then it’s time to try infertility treatments…if you carry to term, then you should be set for the rest of your pregnancies.
After losing Brit, we came to know several more families who lost a baby to miscarriage after having a normal, full-term pregnancy. Most of these friends had other children soon after losing their child and were a great hope for us as we looked to the future of our family. As the months went on though, we began a different grief process as we wondered why we weren’t pregnant yet. Honestly, Jonathan was a (most welcome and joyous) surprise and we were pregnant with Brit the first month we tried. As six months went by with false pregnany tests and hopes dashed, it was like we lost Brit all over again. And then we started going through the comments that all parents who want a child but don’t have one get.
“So when are you going to get pregnant again?”
“Do you just have one child?”
“It’s about time for Jonathan to be a big brother, huh?”
“Do you want more kids?”
And honestly, there is absolutely nothing wrong with these questions. But you start to feel incredibly bitter and inadequate when they keep coming. When so many of our friends started getting pregnant we would attempt joy and be envious. When doctors told us nothing was wrong and to just keep trying, each month that went by caused us to question our faith. I just scoff at those who say that faith is just a crutch for weak-minded people to get through harder times. I think one of the hardest things I have ever done is to trust in God through this time. It would have been easier to just call it quits. Sometimes faith is work.
Anyway, I bring this up now because during this designated holiday of thankfulness, our family has much to be thankful for. We are in a new home, at a job we love, among people who have fast become friends, with a marriage that has stood through hard times, and a beautiful, exceptional son who brings joy to everyone he meets and is excited to be a big brother. Yesterday Renee went for her 19 week ultrasound and we saw a healthy baby boy(!) squirming around inside.
The past 3 and a half months have been pretty stressful…we found out Renee was pregnant the weekend that freshman moved in, had a scary night when Renee was bleeding a bit (everything was fine), adjusted to new jobs and held our breath through every pain, cramp and weird feeling in Renee’s tummy. But we are now half-way home–baby boy is due April 21 (three weeks before graduation)–and we are able to breathe a little easier now. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers for us over the past year and a half. We know it is awkward to know what to say, and we so appreciate the thoughts and questions as to how we are doing. So, this Thanksgiving we are thankful for many things…and you are all up there on the list.
No, you can’t know the name (when it’s decided) and yes, Jonathan is excited. He said last week that he wanted a brother and says good night to the baby in mommy’s tummy. He initially thought that the baby lived at the doctor because we had several ultrasounds and Jonathan could see him on the screen. Now he knows the baby is in Renee’s belly, but still doesn’t quite get that he used to live there too.
I’ll try to get some pictures and the video of the ultrasound up in the next few days…Happy Thanksgiving!