One of the smartest decisions I have ever made was becoming a mother but it wasn’t as easy as checking off a list.
We struggled to have a successful pregnancy to be able to have Nora. Jamie and I are Rh incompatible, my hormones are imbalanced from PCOS, and every subsequent miscarriage increased the scar tissue in my womb. Nature laughed at our misery and my body was enduring it all with every passing fetus.
All the while, I had a vision in mind of a little girl. She was holding my hand, laughing, and walking with me. Excitedly telling me a story and looking up at the trees in the park. I would wake from dreams with thoughts of you and cry. How was it possible that you felt so real, so loved, but you weren't with us?
I would ache with sorrow at every passing. Note the start and ending for myself and mourn in silence as much as I could without being consumed by the pain. No one wanted it spoken of.
It was a taboo to grieve for what hadn't lived as if I had somehow failed personally. It filled me with a sense of guilt as if I could have prevented my body's rejection of the fetus. The guilt turned to resentment and anger. An almost obsessive determination to have a child that began to drive me nad with bitterness and despair. My arms felt heavy with the loss of what they felt they should be holding. I wanted to adopt or foster but we weren't ready.
We were falling apart. I agreed to stop the treatments but I didn't give up hope. Even when they thought I might have an ovarian tumor. I didn't give up.
We relaxed, we focused on other pursuits, I immersed myself in my job, we began socializing more, and I scheduled a surgery for the tumor.
I suddenly couldn't button my pants, I was exhausted, but the doctor assured me that it wasn't possible for me to be pregnant. I asked for an ultrasound and they scheduled it a week before the surgery to reassure me.
Jamie tried to distract me with talk about traveling and focusing on other plans but something told me to keep questioning my symptoms. Suddenly I was sick with a horrible chest cold and my procedure was delayed. I missed my period, not unusual for PCOS, but I knew.
The first day I was back at work it ripped through my mind as I was driving. I pulled into the parking lot of a Fred Meyer's, bought a three pack of pregnancy tests, and hovered over one in a bathroom stall. I couldn't breathe, my legs were going numb, I was holding a pee covered piece of plastic as I cried in a public toilet. This was it, I could feel it, you were here.
I didn't want anyone ruining my excitement with reminders of the past miscarriages. I knew to wait so that I could make an event of telling your father to build his excitement. So I booked a table at the London Grille where he proposed to me and told him I wanted to go watch the 4th of July fireworks downtown.
The waiter asked what wine we wanted at dinner and I politely declined saying I couldn't because I was pregnant. Your father grabbed my hand, teared up, and said, "Really, babe?" I managed to nod and asked if he was excited and he said, "Of course, I love you."
I'll never forget hearing your heartbeat on the ultrasound and that feeling of joy. Every time I was in the shower I would rub my belly and sing to you the Ronettes song, "Be My Baby". Every kick and twinge sent me into a panic and I would hug my belly and sing to you. I loved being pregnant with you and would lay on my side, rubbing the growing mystery within, and talk to you.
It's been five years now. You're more than I ever hoped or dreamed for in a daughter. Every day. Even the days where we fight, I always have loved you and always will.
I see you. I see you when you help your brother with his shoes, share your toys and snacks with him, make a card for a friend, or hold the door for a stranger. I see you struggle at times, when a friend hurts your feelings, and I ache when I know I shouldn't fix it for you so you can find your own solutions. I see you finding your way.
I see your anxiety over starting “big kid” school and try not to add to it with my own fears. I’m trying to spend as much alone time with you as possible to soak up these last days and reassure you I tell myself.
I see your kindness, your innocence, and your imagination. I see very little of myself and for that I’m thankful. I’ve yet to hear you say “&$#%”.
My mind snaps back to the present and I smile at you as I wipe my eyes. You're looking up at me as we sit in the park sharing a sandwich, "Are you ok, mama?"
"Yes, sweets, I'm just so proud of you."
"Aw, thank you, mama," she giggles, "You're silly."