As we await the 20-week ultrasound for this baby, I'm finding myself thinking a lot about our experience with Elisabeth.
First of all, it's exactly the same time of year! The due dates are only 9 days apart, so all of the milestones are coming at the same time, particularly this one. Although I love the smell of a new season in the air, it brings some sadness and loneliness for me.
So here's the crazy part: the thing I keep remembering has more to do with infertility than with our loss. I'm not sure why, but here's the memory that's sitting in my gut:
Before we were able to have children I remember wishing so hard to imagine what it would feel like to sit in a hospital bed with that ugly gown and no makeup, hair a mess, with a swaddled baby in my arms. I would see these classic pictures on Facebook and shudder. What did that baby smell like? How did the mom feel? Were there visitors? How was her labor? (And how happy must she be to post that hideous picture of herself?!) When the mom was younger than me, like 10 years or more, it was particularly painful. Those were the moments I played with the idea of "no fair."
Even though my labor and general birth experience was pretty normal when we had Elisabeth, I was well aware that I still hadn't experienced that "picture." I think that's what this season reminds me of, the time when I realized I still wasn't going to have that kind of "normal" experience. And of course I've had three healthy babies since then, for which I'm indescribably grateful, but a memory is a memory and I can't change that feeling in my gut.
Sometimes I feel so far from infertility, and then I have those moments like this where I could be right back there grieving and waiting. I don't claim to be, nor do I want to be, the spokesperson for infertility, but I do hope these memories make me open to using my experiences to help others if opportunities arise.
I've been thinking the same about this pregnancy. When we talked on the phone earlier this week we realized we no longer think of the ultrasound as a way to know if we are having a boy or girl, but a way to know what will our baby be like. Are they healthy? Will they have special needs?
It's like we've walked through the door of a different dimension and we can no longer see how things used to be. Even though this side of the door is hard I wouldn't trade it. It's who we are today and again we pray our experiences can help others and even ourselves.