First off, thank you SO MUCH to everyone who left comments on my last “This is Me” blog. It’s a little scary to step out of my comfort zone and post something all about ME as opposed to my clients, but y’all made it much less scary and so look at me now! We’re doing it again!
I kept thinking and thinking about what to write about that would be interesting for you to read. At first I thought I should stick in the photography realm and my journey with that, but the nagging topic on my mind is not that at all. It’s something a lot more personal…a lot harder to write.
So here we go…this post is about how I became a mom.
Let me start by saying 2 things. First of all, I’m not adding any photos from my pregnancies to this post because I don’t want there to be ANY misconception that I am currently expecting. That ship has sailed. Secondly…full transparency here…the “momming” has been rough lately. I don’t know if it’s the ages they’re at, or if it’s being around each other 24/7 this summer…but the fighting is INSANE and I am now the proud new owner of about 3 more wrinkles. (Discount codes for Botox accepted and appreciated.) As sad as it is for summer to end, I think we will all benefit from a little routine and a little less togetherness. 🙂
That said, my sons and husband are the most precious things in the world to me. I thank the Lord every day for them and would never change anything about our life. I think my journey to being their momma makes me MORE grateful than I would’ve been if it would’ve come easier. It’s just that…motherhood is hard. But that is another topic for another post.
Let’s dive in. The short version of the hardest part of my life.
When Adam and I were in college, I remember not knowing if I ever wanted to have kids. I hadn’t ever babysat much, and when I did, it was always older kids. I had zero experience with babies, I knew nothing about them. After we had been married for awhile, a switch flipped. That’s the best way to describe it. One day, I was flippant about if I even wanted kids, the next day I was all “I NEED A BABY NOOOOOOOOWWWWWW!!”
Just like waiting to get married til one of us had a “real” job, we also decided to wait to have kids until we could afford a bigger house. About 2 years after we were married, we decided it was time for both things to happen. The house thing happened. The pregnancy thing did not.
Once I decided I wanted to be a mom…that was it. That was my purpose in life. It was all I could think about, and it was more than just “want.” It was longing, it was truly something that God impressed on my heart…I. was. meant. to be a mom.
So when it didn’t happen those first few months, it was rough. As a society, we are used to instant gratification and there was absolutely nothing I could do (beyond what we were already doing) to make this come to fruition. I’m sure I was a joy to live with during this time. I think I’ve blocked a lot of it out, but I do recall quite a bit of crying. Poor Adam.
We hadn’t told many people that we were trying for a baby. As desperately as I wanted that positive pregnancy test, I also desperately wanted to surprise my parents and Adam’s parents with baby news that would hopefully be completely unexpected. So this was mostly a silent struggle, and it was very hard.
Here’s where I’m gonna try to really condense the details.
Around Christmastime in 2008, we finally made an appointment with my OB-GYN. After a few months of tests (in “trying-to-get-pregnant” time, months feel like years), my doctor put me on a fertility medicine.
We got our first positive pregnancy test the first month taking the medicine, on April 1, 2009.
I don’t even know how to tell you how we felt. Right now as I’m typing, I can still feel that unimaginable joy. Your heart beats faster, your ears are ringing, you’re scared to believe it’s true but there is real, tangible evidence in your hands (in the form of FIVE pregnancy tests). We were beyond thrilled…and this new life inside me consumed my every thought.
I didn’t have many pregnancy symptoms. No sickness or anything like that. I went into my first appointment and we had a sonogram. Due to all of my calculations, I should’ve been 9 weeks along. Adam couldn’t come to the appointment because he had to work, so my mom came with me. Mom and I saw the tiny little bean, with the heart flickering and it was amazing. However, the baby was only measuring at 7 weeks even though (due to the fertility medicine process) I knew exactly how far along I should be.
I didn’t know a ton about pregnancy at this point, so I just figured that some babies measured smaller and some measured bigger. I didn’t dwell on it, and at 10.5 weeks, Adam and I announced publicly that we were expecting. So much fun.
I believe it was exactly the day after we announced our news that I started having some spotting. Now, for the task of condensing the saga of the most painful weekend of my life.
May 25, 2009. The spotting got worse and I started having terrible cramps that I later came to realize were contractions. I have one particular moment burned into my brain, where I was sitting on the couch in our basement with Adam, watching a movie. I was writhing in pain that would come in waves every few minutes. When you are giving birth, there is pain, but it is pain with a purpose. In this moment, I felt like my insides were being torn apart and I didn’t know why. All I knew was that something was terribly wrong, and this dream of mine that had finally come true was being taken from me.
I had been on the phone with my doctor on and off through that weekend. She had basically left it up to me as far as if I wanted to go to the ER or not…but she told me that if I was miscarrying, they wouldn’t be able to do anything other than confirm it. The pain was so unbearable that I told Adam I couldn’t endure it anymore, so we went to the ER. They did a sonogram and couldn’t find a baby anymore, much less a heartbeat.
The years have dulled my memories of that night. But a few things remain very vivid. One is that I had to get a special shot in case the baby’s blood had mixed with mine and in case our blood types were incompatible. That strangely made things more real. The fact that this was a real person. With real blood, that was different than mine. Another memory I have is sitting for so long in silence in that room with Adam while we were waiting for them to finish paperwork. I remember looking at a wall that had a tacky floral wallpaper border and thinking, “It’s okay. I’m okay. I can get through this. It’ll be fine.”
But that’s not at all what the days and months ahead were like. I wasn’t okay. The day after our ER visit was Memorial Day. Adam and I went out to Lake Afton with our dogs, Diesel and Axl. I sat on a blanket and made a phone call I’d been dreading. I called my mom. She answered the phone in a happy voice, and it was so hard to form the words to tell her that I had lost the baby. She wasn’t going to be a grandma anymore. I remember the phone call was short…both of us processing.
The rest of that year was hard. Beginning the weekend after Memorial Day, I had a wedding to photograph every Saturday, all the way until September. So I was busy, with little downtime. I saw pregnant people everywhere and always tried to judge how big my belly would’ve been in comparison to theirs, if my baby had lived. When my December due date came and went, I mourned. I was supposed to have a baby in my arms that day. And instead I was left wondering…was it a boy or a girl? What day would his or her birthday really have been? I still to this day, see or hear about friends’ kiddos who have birthdays in December of 2009 and think about how my first baby would be that exact age.
But there was something that made things a little easier. I was pregnant again.
To be continued…