I’m sitting here on my bed, feeling my little girl do what can only be described as some form of jujitsu in my belly. I think she has the hiccups and she’s kicking my ribs and punching my hip. Maybe she wants me to move? I don’t know, but I’m not moving. And so the mother and daughter battle of wills begins early.
I’m almost 34 weeks pregnant today and she is coming soon.
These are still small moments that I cherished with my first two daughters knowing they would be some of my only moments with them. I spent those pregnancies anticipating the loss that was coming while trying to memorize every movement I felt and figure out what their personality was like. I’ve since forgotten so many of those movements and moments. And that has made my heart ache. And yet, sitting here feeling this little girl feels all too familiar. I am transported back in time to those moments with my first two daughters, remembering how I felt— how I ached and how I delighted in them. And I remember knowing that as they grew the looming anticipation of not only life but death grew as well. Walking through two pregnancies, cherishing life while anticipating death became my “normal”. I learned or at least accepted the reality of what my story and my pregnancies would be like.
And now I sit in this space where for all intent and purposes this pregnancy has been wonderfully and strangely normal. And I’m not sure how to think of what’s ahead. I don’t know how to sit and enjoy these moments of movement knowing I will most likely get to meet and bring this baby home alive. I’m truthfully still in awe and shock that this little one I’m getting to know in my womb I will most likely get to know outside of my womb for longer than a few hours.
I don’t know how to anticipate the moments in the hospital without thinking of how all of what I know when it comes to delivery is both the joy of getting to meet my child and the fear of when I will have to say goodbye. The mere image of holding this little girl in my arms as I am wheeled out of the hospital sends me over the edge emotionally. I cannot go there, it is too overwhelming. Too unbelievable. And so I don’t and trust that God will meet me in those emotions where the joy of what I am experiencing then and the remembrance of all the ache in those moments collide and He enables both to exists together.
When asked if I am excited, I don’t know how to respond. Excitement is when you anticipate something joyful that you know or think is coming. But when you grasp and have seen how utterly frail life is, it can be difficult to be excited about something that you are brutally aware is not a guarantee. I don’t sit in the pessimism of what may go wrong, but I do sit in the realities that there are no guarantees. And my experience in pregnancy creates this hesitation to be excited. And while I am very thankful for a growing baby girl who is healthy and strong and hopeful for a safe delivery I still feel the tension and tepidness in my soul to dare to believe that this birth experience will play out far differently than what I know when it comes to pregnancy and delivery. What is normal for many has not been normal for me.
I still can not bring myself to buy any baby girl clothes… the ones that I had bought in faith that our first two girls may wear hang in the closet ready to take with me to the hospital in the hopes that this little girl can wear them. That seems beautiful to me. I have avoided the baby girl section in stores for nearly 5 years… every glance that way often a trigger of pain and longing for what was not to be. And now, I can buy those clothes because everything points to the reality that this baby will live and get to wear them.
How do you shift your mind and heart to now embrace that those things you longed to experience but knew you couldn’t are now yours? It is a new season of learning afresh to allow both the joy and the pain to exist together. I tasted some of this with Jaden. Yet, the mere fact that he is a boy brought a sense of newness and freshness without as much pain attached to it. I had never avoided a baby boy section, I had never imagined having a son and then missed all of the things a mother would get to do with her son.
But I see those things now with a little girl. Every milestone I miss with my two oldest girls a reminder of what was not to be. And now, I get to be a mom to a living daughter and a living son. I have surrendered so often these longings, trusting that God would meet me in those broken places in my heart (and He has) that it is harder than I thought it would be to now in my surrender of this baby, receive the new gifts God has to give in this season.
In just a little over 4 weeks, we will have a scheduled C-section. And barring this little girl coming on her own sooner, we will welcome her into our arms and then into our home. I have not thought beyond bringing her home from the hospital. I have not processed many of the emotions inside of me. Pregnancy after loss is filled with so many conflicting emotions. I remember some of these with Dasah before we found out that she would not live as well and then everything changed and well… I was familiar with that journey.
I have no resolution and pretty bows, but simply wanting to let you and those perhaps who are walking through similar scenarios of when normal doesn’t feel normal know you are not alone.
I would love your prayers as we as a family navigate the next 4ish weeks. Would you pray that our little girl would arrive alive, healthy and full of life! Would you pray that I would rest in whatever emotions surface along the way? And would you pray that God would meet us in fresh and sweet ways in that space in the hospital? In the midst of the joy of welcoming our first two girls, there, of course, has been much trauma. Especially for me in both the emotional and physical toll on my body. I am nervous to enter that hospital space again… would you pray that in the midst of my fears I would experience a fresh joy, embracing no doubt the grief that comes from being in that space but also remembering Gods presence in those sacred moments and experiencing His presence again in fresh and new ways in those moments to come.
Grateful for all of you who continue to journey with me and our family!