It never really goes away, does it? The fear. The anxiety. The wonder and worry. Sure it subsides sometimes, even for long periods of time, but it is always happy to rear its ugly head and hit you smack in the face when you’re not expecting it. I guess I should’ve expected it in pregnancy after loss, since I’ve long-learned to accept it in life- and parenting after loss, but it still catches me by surprise.
Case in point, this past Sunday was an errand-running, tire the kids out while keeping them cool on a ridiculously hot for June kind of day. I don’t think I sat down from the moment they woke me at 5:30, which is what happens when you save finding sandals for your kids until the day before camp starts. When I finally caught my breath and sat down for dinner, I started to wonder if I had felt the baby move throughout the day. I started poking and prodding my belly to see if I could get a response, but this dude was laying low. He’s fine, I told myself. He doesn’t move much until you lay down for bed, I reasoned. Plus, I had vague recollections of feeling something throughout the day.
My mind wandered and started to go “there,” but I wrangled myself back to being present. Presence is something I struggle with in most aspects of my life, and it is particularly a challenge when you’ve been down the baby loss path I’ve walked. It’s easy to let myself hit play on the devastating scenes of the past, and I consciously have to choose not to. Every minute, of every day. From the start, I was convinced that all will be OK with this pregnancy and the baby, and I know I need to trust my gut. Yet trusting my gut—and my body—during PAL is hard when both have let me down so many times in the past. So I find that I need to remind myself that I’ve successfully done this before, and while that has little bearing on this pregnancy, I have gotten through this. I have had success. And I can do this again.
40 weeks is a long time. And so far, we’ve made it through 24 of those weeks. Together, Aaron and I take it day by day, and sometimes we have to break it into smaller increments than that. We grasp onto the moments and milestones: the biweekly scans, increased movement, and my ever-growing bump. We breathed a sigh of relief to hit viability this past weekend, and yet know that we won’t fully relax until he’s here healthy and breathing. I allow myself to feel all of the feels—good and bad, scared and excited. I know that I have to honor all of these emotions for if I don’t, they’ll bottle up and explode.
The truth is, I don’t know for sure what the outcome is going to be, on this, or most things in my life. And so I have to make a choice to bring my focus back to the present and appreciate where things are at this very moment. It isn’t always easy., and I don’t always succeed. But when I take a step back, take a breath, and look into my boys’ eyes and smiles, I realize there’s no better place to be.