Monday, December 26, 2011

Putting on My Brave Face

I wrote this in July of 2011:

22. 24. 28. What do these numbers have in common? A bunch of things, really. They're all even. They're all twenty-something. And each is the age I was when I had a child. Two girls and a wiry little boy to keep me on my toes. I spent my 20s surrounded by child rearing manuals, play dates, and preschool applications. As time went on, "Good Night Moon" was traded for college text books and play dates were replaced with study groups. I've nearly finished my degree. Several months before my son started first grade, I started a part time job that allows my husband and I to pay for the kids to go to Catholic School. I had a path and a plan. Soccer, scouts (both Girl and Cub), church, school, and a job I truly love and am grateful for about 90% of the time. Mixed into all of this child-centered chaos, I've been married to the same remarkable man since I was 21.

And then a few weeks ago I came home from my wonderful job, ran through the front door, and barely made it to the powder room where I promptly tossed my cookies. My husband joked he knew what was wrong and winked. I told him it was food poisoning. In the back of my mind, I was thinking he was evil for getting my hopes up. At 36 and having heard the phrase, "We could be looking at cancer" during a recent hospital visit that involved much poking at my ovaries, I had given up on the possibility.

Only he was right. It took three home test kits and a blood test to convince me, but I'm... pregnant!

And Holy Mary Mother of God, am I scared.

On September 5, 2011, Andrew Charles was born 20 weeks premature. He had been strangled by his umbilical cord several days before. I was right to be scared in July. Now 2012 is staring me in the face and that same fear is staring back at me.

Between now and August, I have to figure this out. How do I tell my kids that we're trying this again? How do tell my mother? She lost two unborn grandchildren this year. How do I tell my sister? She's still reeling from the loss of her son earlier this year. How do I feel excited about a new baby when the lost of Andrew is still something I think about nonstop?

The ornament we hung on our tree this year in honor of Andrew. It says "You will always be in my heart" on the back.

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