And at the end of the day, that’s what matters.
Because even if there had been something wrong there would still be unconditional love.
I approach ultrasounds with a mixture of curiosity and dread. I cannot wait to see my baby’s profile and beating heart on the screen but deep in the pit of my stomach is the fear that there is something wrong.
Much like the ultrasound picture I see the world in black and white. There are some shades of grey but I have trouble seeing them. When I graduated with my Masters Degree in Counselling I worked as a trauma and grief counsellor, mainly with the survivors (and their families) of motor vehicle and workplace accidents. Every day for two years I dealt with worst case scenarios. Of entire families decimated by accidents. Parents grieving the deaths of their spouse and children at the same time. Catastrophic injuries. Brain injuries. Long-lasting trauma. Heart-wrenching pain and grief.
And at the end of the day I had a hard time walking away from my job and not seeing worst case scenarios play out all around me. Because all I saw all day, everyday were the 0.01 probabilities play out before my eyes and I had a hard time believing that catastrophe wasn’t waiting around every corner.
We saw a lot of the firefighter’s chubby cheeks before he was born. Pregnancy-induced hypertension that escalated to pre-eclampsia meant bi-weekly and then weekly ultrasounds. A transfer to the high risk unit. Lots of tests. Modified best rest. And eventually an early delivery.
He was fine. I was fine. But every time they pushed the cold wand up to my belly to “take a look”, I held my breath.
The monkey started his journey with bells and whistles. A suspected ectopic pregnancy landed me in the ER for an emergency ultrasound. Shortly after the bleeding started. And it never seemed to stop. An intrauterine clot kept bursting and then healing and every week I returned for another ultrasound to “assess the viability” of the pregnancy. In other words, had somewhere, in amongst the horrifying bleeding, we lost the baby.
When they pulled him from my body at 38 weeks I sobbed. Not the tears of an overwhelmed first time mother but the tears of a second time mother who was in disbelief that he was finally here.
And I’m left wondering what this third baby has in store for us.
We have always shared the details of our pregnancy’s willingly and openly. But this time I was reluctant to share the gender of our baby. When we got pregnant this time we wanted a baby. Not a girl or a boy, just a baby. But apparently after two boys the expectation that you need to produce a girl is overwhelming.
“Did you try for a girl?”
“Don’t you want a girl?”
“It better be a girl!!”
“Will you be disappointed if it’s a boy?”
And for the first time I empathized with these parents. The ones who were lambasted this summer because (insert shock and horror) they are keeping their child’s gender a secret. I’m not saying I agree with their decision but I empathize with their reasoning.
You have your entire life to be a disappointment to your parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, teachers, coaches, everyone…and now the disappointment begins in the womb?
<Insert overly protective mama bear instinct here>
The ultrasound appointment was at 9:30 yesterday morning. We spent half an hour huddled in a dark room gazing at images of our unborn child. After our appointment I wanted to hoard the happy news to myself. Selfish, I know. But I have some weighty matters on my mind and yesterday I needed a little bit of extra joy.
And then I quickly remembered that when you share joy it multiples. Quickly.
I texted my best friends to let them know that all was well. Their excitement is contagious.
I bought a going home outfit for our baby. Those tiny clothes make my heart swell.
I told our boys about their sibling. Their giddiness is infectious.
I called my Grandma because not everyone gets to share the joy of great grandchildren and I appreciate that now more then ever.
And then because I’m doing my best to cast off the shackles of fear and doubt that sometimes clouded my first two pregnancies I hastily threw an impromptu “Hooray for baby!” party.
Some of our closest friends and family came over and we ate cake. And got all the kids pumped full of sugar and food dye and riled up just before bed.
It was awesome.
Our house is by no means huge but the love and support in our life is. And that makes it easier to cast aside the doubts and see things a little lighter and a little brighter.
You love them, even when they march to the beat of their own drum.
You hope they lean on each other. And you.
You’re always there. No matter what.
You hold their hands. Even when you want to run away.
You share your life with them. Because they make everything better.
And every so often you have a little fun.
Because no matter what life throws your way;
the tangled complications of everyday life;
or sometimes worse;
you know that it’ll all be okay.
Their faces say it all. We are overjoyed.