The diapers were stocked up, the bottles sanitized and ready. The car seat base was installed, the clothes were washed in Dreft and perfectly folded into little, sweet piles eager to be unfolded and slipped over my baby's head. The hospital bag had been packed for weeks and the house had been cleaned from head to toe. Sleepless nights were common. The effort it took to flip from one side of my body to the other was ridiculous. Waking up all hours of the night, stumbling through the dark until I found the bathroom. I even kept a granola bar by my bed and a glass of water. About 3:00 am, my stomach would begin to growl and keep me from sleeping until it had been satisfied with that chocolate and oatmeal bar, even though waking up to unwrap it and eat it was such an annoying hassle. I got to where I could unwrap and eat it in the dark without giving it an extra thought. My husband would make fun of me later for this saying, "I remember being woken up every night by a loud crinkling noise and then I would hear 'nom nom nom'!".
He had NO idea what I was going through! He just knew that all the restless, sleepless nights for me meant that he would be woken up at least once because of me. But we won't even talk about the husbands now.
37 weeks hit and the waiting game began. I remember thinking, "I could go into labor at any moment!!!" Each day seemed longer and longer and longer. I felt so prepared and ready for my little man to get here. The pack and play with the bassinet was set up right beside my bed. My boppy was sitting near my overstuffed chair, waiting to cradle my infant while I nursed him. My electric breast pump was all set up, as well as my breastmilk freezer storage bags. I literally couldn't be any more prepared! Or so I thought...
37 weeks turned into 38, then 39 and then 40! 40 weeks and my baby still wasn't here and not only that, but he seemed very content inside of my belly with no signs of even thinking of coming out. I just wanted to MEET him! To hold him and kiss him and to stop feeling like a beluga whale walking around...after all, at this point I was 60 pounds heavier than I was 9 months earlier. My youthful, thin figure had been transformed into a waddling, 200 pound blob with a rear end protruding out in the back almost as far as my 9 month baby bump was in the front! How much longer was I going to have to wait? I was trying to be patient but was failing miserably.
I never thought I would be induced but by the time 40 weeks rolled around and I wasn't in labor by any definition of the word, the idea of induction seemed like a wonderful, miraculous thought. A week later, I was admitted to the hospital and induced. The pitocin was a monster! My natural contractions were somewhat manageable, but when they kicked that pitocin up, woo whee nelly! It was a pain I just can't describe. Something I had never felt before and something I have yet to feel since. 21 hours later, on the dot, my sweet Caleb was finally born! He was plump and had the perfect shaped head with little, sweet, rosy lips just asking to be kissed. I was expecting him to come out with a big cone head like most babes, but he was my little beauty. Weighing in at 8 pounds and 2 ounces and screaming to the top of his lungs. They finally handed him over to me and I just couldn't stop staring at him. Here he was, finally! All those months of waiting and wondering what he would look like and all those hours of labor, the pains and the rude things I said to my husband and the oxygen masks and the wonderful, wonderful invention they call an epidural and my favorite person through the entire labor and delivery process, my anesthesiologist....the entire long process of pregnancy, labor and delivery and he was finally here!
I loved that little sweet boy before I even met him. I loved him from the moment I read that shocking positive pregnancy test, because I knew, no matter what the doctors said, he was a BABY! A real person from the moment he was conceived. Even in those early few weeks when the ultrasound pictures don't show a very "baby-like" figure, I knew he was my babe.
This past January, I went through that same excitement of reading a positive pregnancy test. I made a sign for Caleb that said, "I'm gonna be a big brother!" and I eagerly videotaped Caleb walking into the living room holding the sign up for Seth to read. Seth was so excited, I was so excited and Caleb, even though he didn't know WHY, was excited with us!
Then that dreadful day at the end of January came when our worst fear was confirmed. We had lost our little baby and knew that in this life on earth we would never have to chance to meet him or her.
Much like the indescribable paint of labor, it was an indescribable feeling of confusion, sickness and heartbreak that I had never felt. I remember sitting at home trying to think of something, anything that would cheer me up, but nothing seemed to sound like a fun idea. I remember holding Caleb tighter and kissing him longer during those weeks of sadness. I realized even more of the miracle he was and is to us.
February went by and we celebrated my sweet Caleb's 2nd birthday! We had a great February and the pain of losing our little baby the month previous was less and less every day. Not that we would ever forget completely, but the sting and freshness of the pain of losing the baby had dulled itself, something I was so grateful for and the phrase "Time heals everything" made a little more sense to me.
Then the middle of March rolled around and we were once again filled with the joy of finding out we were expecting! We didn't know it would happen so quickly for us again and we were elated. I felt so sure that this pregnancy would be healthy like my pregnancy with Caleb was. Plus, what were the odds of miscarrying twice in a row? A few days after we found out we were expecting, we found out we had indeed miscarried.... again. What was going on? WHY was this happening again??? The pain returned, but this time with the pain came anger, worry and confusion. What was wrong with me? Were we ever going to be able to have kids again? Questions clouded my mind and I was overcome with sadness.
I was afraid to tell anyone because I felt as though they might question or criticize our decision to try again so quickly after our first miscarriage, so we kept it a secret for a few weeks. I went to the doctor where they ran every test possible. Thankfully, all tests came back normal, which was a huge answer to prayer.
Now, we are just wondering what God's plans are for us. We are trusting His timing completely for when, if ever, we will have our second child and I find comfort in knowing that one day, in Heaven I will meet my other two babies that I never had the chance to meet here on earth.
It's been more than 2 months since our second miscarriage and since then, so many aspects of our lives have changed. We found out we would be moving, Caleb finished his first school year and is talking up a storm. We've met new friends, one of which also experienced the loss of a baby at 21 weeks. I know God placed her in my life for a specific purpose and it has been so freeing and healing to be able to talk with another Christian mom about the babies we lost, even though our stories are completely different, but I'm so grateful for her story and her friendship, especially at this time in both of our lives when we are left with more questions than answers.
I look back at the 60 pounds I gained when I was carrying Caleb and the sleepless nights of pregnancy and the first few months of having a newborn in our house and the adjustments that come with that and the pain of giving birth to Caleb. I remember being so tired from being up several times a night, nursing Caleb and changing his diapers for the first few months of his life. But those few months went by so quickly and even though I was exhausted, I wish so badly to have those newborn days back now. To have a sweet little infant in my house and a brother or sister for Caleb to love on. But today, I will rest in the peace of Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God..." and the words to one of my favorite songs, "It is Well with My Soul":
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,when sorrows like sea billows roll;to say,It is well, it is well with my soul.whatever my lot, thou hast taught meIt is well with my soul,it is well, it is well with my soul!
If you are a mama and you're reading this today, I hope you will stop and forget about the messy house, the dinner that needs to be made, the kids that aren't listening to you and the frustration and feelings of being overwhelmed and just take some time to love on your sweet babies, no matter how old they are! They are precious gifts that God has graciously given to us and even on the days when they are driving us crazy, they are still little miracles from God!