Exactly one year ago this week I was sitting in a hospital bed thinking about our little family of three. Just the week before, at almost four months pregnant, I was finally starting to plan a new nursery in our home.
I grew up in a very supportive home where both of my parents went to work each day. I have two younger brothers, each of us almost five years apart. Being the oldest, most days the morning routine duties were my responsibility. Although I babysat for neighbors regularly and enjoyed spending time with children, I never felt a desire to have babies of my own. I was not the girl that grew up dreaming about becoming a mommy. I had dreams and goals but motherhood was not something I included.
I met my husband while I was in college at just 20 years old. He is 7 years older than me and had just recently moved from Connecticut to Arizona when we met on a blind date. We were married 4 years later. He is an only child and claimed to be perfectly okay with the idea of not having children. Parenthood is not something either of us regularly brought up.
At the age of 25, I learned I had several ovarian cysts. It is quite common but my doctor advised it may be difficult for me to conceive. The thought of a challenge put me in full on baby making mode. I was determined to get pregnant. By the end of the next year, we were expecting our first daughter.
As any parent would proclaim, our first child is the light of our lives. She is smart and funny. She is sweet and caring. She is sassy and makes me laugh hysterically daily. Watching her grow over the past four years has been the most amazing experience. Every part of our day fully revolves around our roles as parents. Although I never thought I would enjoy motherhood, my biggest and best accomplishment is being mommy.
I know my husband feels the same and wouldn’t be complete with out our daughter. They have an amazing bond and I’m so lucky to get to witness my husband as a daddy.
With my husband being an only child, he would love to add to our family. He wants our daughter to grow up with siblings. Knowing how much my husband wants another child and seeing how amazing of a big sister my daughter would be, I am completely on board with an addition to our family.
Last year, just after returning home from the SNAP conference in Utah, I was feeling very ill. I had some pains in my side that led me to my primary care physician. He was sure I had appendicitis and called the hospital to advise I was on my way for surgery. My husband was supposed to be traveling to Boston that day for work. When I called to tell him I was on my way to the hospital, he cancelled his plans and left the airport to meet me there. Before my husband arrived, I had blood work done and was getting prepped for surgery. I had my daughter sitting on my lap waiting when the nurse came in to tell me I was pregnant. My daughter yelled out, “we’re having a baby!” She was so excited. My husband arrived and we went on to learn I was in fact pregnant but it was too early to see anything in an ultrasound. Over the next few months I was at my doctor’s office every other day having my blood drawn. My hormone levels weren’t rising as they should have been initially. We weren’t seeing anything in ultrasounds. Then, finally, everything seemed normal. My blood results were good and we had a normal ultrasound. The tech wrote “baby” on the photo and reinforced that our only daughter was going to be a big sister later in the year.
We hadn’t shared our pregnancy news publicly yet. Only close friends and a handful of family members knew I was pregnant. With my daughter, the pregnancy was completely normal and healthy. This felt different. The week following our confirmation of a healthy pregnancy, I just wasn’t feeling well. Other than a very mild stomach ache I had no reason to believe anything was wrong. My ultrasound appointment at the end of that week confirmed I had a miscarriage.
A few days later I had a D & C procedure completed at the hospital. The days leading up to the procedure I was in a complete daze. My husband and I felt from the very beginning something wasn’t quite right but the doctors were very reassuring and made our few months of pregnancy as comfortable as possible. My devastation came at the thought of my sweet little girl not being able to understand why she was no longer going to be a big sister. I had no idea how I would explain to her that we no longer had a baby on the way. The day before the procedure, my daughter said to me, “mommy, I know I was going to be a big sister and now I’m not. That’s okay.” She never brought it up again. She set the tone in our home for an easier transition back to the idea of our little family of three. I am still in complete awe of how she handled the situation. The conversation I dreaded the most never had to happen.
Following the procedure I had a difficult time getting back to a healthy place, both physically and mentally. The following week I had a very high fever and had to return to the hospital because of an infection as a result of the procedure. It took well over a month for my hormones to get back to my normal levels. I was miserable and cried uncontrollably all day for weeks.
Then one day it changed. The tears stopped and I felt okay. I started to look at things differently. My circle of friends changed and I let go of many time consuming responsibilities. I started to focus on myself and committed to only doing things that truly made me happy. Instead of always looking ahead, I started simply living in the moment. More than ever, I felt like the luckiest mommy because of our daughter. She is a true gift and lights up every moment of our days.
Maybe one day our sweet daughter will get to be a big sister, but for now I’m happy with our little family of three.