Today I’m 14 weeks pregnant, and have just shunted my second anxiety attack of the day. It seems I’m doing that much more often lately. My husband and I are expecting, what we so lovingly call “The Parasite,” on January 24th, and we’re thrilled. Absolutely over the moon. This baby is more wanted than chocolate on my worst PMS days, and yet I can’t keep from thinking about the baby that came before.
In July of 2008 I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. He had dark blue eyes that stared into me the moment he was placed on my chest. His hair was light brown to red, depending on the light, and it was wavy. He had ten fingers on his hands, and ten toes on his long feet. Feet just like his momma’s. He was vibrant and alert and so much more than I ever imagined he could have been. And most importantly it seemed, he was mine. My own little baby. I was finally a mother, the only thing I’d wanted to be since I was a young girl. The only thing I knew I was put here to do.
One week after he was born, our sweet, blue-eyed, vibrant little boy passed away. After countless hours in the ER, and two cardiac arrests, our little man just couldn’t hold on anymore. We found out weeks later he had passed away from contracting the herpes virus during delivery. Even though we had told our doctor from day one that my husband had the virus, and as far as we knew I didn’t, we were never once told of any potential risks or complications. And yet with textbook symptoms and incubation time, that was what had taken my son.
So here we are. Five years later, expecting his brother or sister. Our doctors are made aware of the situation, and have already discussed with us the incredibly simple steps to ensure another tragedy doesn’t befall us. And yet I find myself struggling.
Even before trying to conceive my husband and I had discussions about how we might handle another pregnancy emotionally. We expected to be ravaged with anxiety and dread most days. We expected to live in anguish for nine months, fearing the worst. I’m happy to report that isn’t the case, for either of us.
When that second pink line showed up I was overwhelmingly happy, and not an ounce fearful. At least, not anymore than a typical newly minted mommy. And most days that remains the case. We’ve seen the peanut three different times now, and have marveled at its heartbeat, and giggled at its hiccups. We’ve started to clear out the guest room, and have purchased a onesie (or seven). So far we’ve both been really surprised by our lack of freak out. And we’ve both been just so overjoyed.
But then there are some times, when my breath feels short, and my palms feel damp, and my head feels light. And I sigh, and I wonder, and I hope. That this time will be different. This time it will work. This time it will be for keeps.