“First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes…” Well, my guess is that if you’re reading this blog, your journey to that baby in a carriage hasn’t been the childhood rhyme you pictured.
When we suddenly realized we were pregnant, years before we intended to be and just months after we were married, we were nervously excited. A new baby was going to change our world in many ways, but when our daughter arrived at 27 weeks, the picture we had of bringing home our first child a couple days after her birth shattered. Preeclampsia stole that fairy tale picture, but it also brought so many questions, the main one being – would we ever have another baby?
The day we brought our daughter home from 12 weeks in NICU we had a quick “errand” to attend to before picking her up. That “errand” was signing the papers on our new home. We moved in a few months later, and I vividly remember that first night. Four bedrooms, two of them empty. It was like preeclampsia had risen up and slapped me in the face once again. Would those bedrooms ever hold the family we had once dreamed of?
We spent the next few years busying ourselves with life, work and raising a micro preemie, but that question of a sibling loomed. Reflecting on those years, I realize now how we filled the void with life. We pushed the questions aside, enjoyed the moment and refused to think about the future.
Slowly, but surely we sought answers. Appointments here and there, always leaving though with the unknown answer of what a future pregnancy might look like.
The time came when we finally knew we were ready to face what might be and see if we could add to our family. We felt confident in the plan we had to attempt to keep preeclampsia at bay and the support around us. My anxiety surrounded the second half of the pregnancy – the unknown, what if’s of preeclampsia. Then, at our 8 week ultrasound, we received the devastating news that our baby had passed a couple of weeks earlier. It was the one thing we weren’t prepared for.
Our miscarriage felt like the lowest blow life could hand us. We had been through the dark valleys of prematurity, medical issues for myself and my husband and now loss, all within the first four years of our marriage. But in the darkest moments are where you find the strength to truly appreciate the fresh starts in life.
The few short weeks we spent excited for the future with our baby were the very things I needed to truly appreciate our next pregnancy. Week by week went by, and each week brought us closer to full term. We counted the milestones, passing viability, hospitalization with our first, delivery with our first, experiencing the third trimester, a baby shower and finally a full-term, healthy (for everyone!) delivery!
Leading up to our second daughter’s birth, I didn’t realize the new start our family was about to have. There’s a picture that hangs in her bedroom and it simply says “storms end.” We had endured the storm for many years, but finally it had ended.
Moving forward as a family of four into the new year has been amazing. Yes, we still deal with prematurity-related issues for our oldest, but our youngest has been a joyful distraction!
If you are finding yourself in the storm as this new year begins, keep moving through it. Don’t let the storm of life overtake you, because there are new beginnings ahead. Fresh starts and beautiful days follow the darkest, stormiest days of life.