A Premature Delivery

TL HEMMING / NOV 30, 2018

I’m writing this from the land down under, currently vacationing in Australia to stand in one of my best friend’s wedding... a wedding I wasn’t supposed to attend because I should have been 28 weeks pregnant right about now. I wanted to give my friend ample time to find a new bridesmaid, so at only 9 weeks I revealed I had bittersweet news: “I’m pregnant (yay!) but can’t come to your wedding”.

Just over a week later the exact opposite was true.

Let me begin at week 4, day 2: the day I learned I was carrying my “speckle”; the day my imagination first began to run rampant. For someone who didn’t always believe motherhood was the path for me, eyeing that positive test result was surprisingly the most beautiful moment of my life. I don’t even care how cheesy that sounds because it was so freaking beautiful. I screamed; I cried; I thought my heart was legitimately beating on the outside of my chest, and even though the embryo was barely the size of a poppy seed, I felt like the entire world would know my little secret just by looking at me. For a solid week pure joy jolted me awake by 5 a.m. like a kid on Christmas.  This next-level elation might be why, despite being aware of the 1 in 4 statistic - and contrary to popular practice - we did tell our immediate family and a few of our closest friends early on. How could I not when it consumed my every waking, positively blissful thought?

With mumus and elastic waist pants in my near future, I giggled at the notion that soon my jeans would simply refuse to button and I didn’t give a damn that not long after that I’d be waddling down the street with my coat wide open in the dead of winter. I also conjured up images of post-baby life when I’d endure exhaustion that would closely resemble jet lag… times a thousand! I imagined myself with dark circles and greasy hair, but happy AF as I bounced my babes to sleep. I saw us taking brisk walks as winter thawed and spring sprung. And when summer rolled around we would definitely take the baby swimming at the cottage. I even planned baby’s first trip (tentatively set at 5 months) to her mama’s homeland to meet all the Cape Breton relatives and celebrate the grandparents 40th anniversary. I saw it all. We even discussed nursery designs and baby names and made a general timeline to complete basement renovations where my parents (first-time grandparents-to-be) would stay when they visited. Of course we didn’t yet act on any of this, but in our minds, this was our reality. We were living 9 months in the future and it felt so right.

At 10 weeks this future family fairy tale I had so eloquently written burned to ashes in the blink of an eye. We had only known of our speckle for six short weeks, but if you break it down that’s 42 days and over 1000 hours - the majority of those awake, I spent relishing in this future. And without warning it was all over. Apparently it had been for weeks. As missed miscarriages go, I had no symptoms… no reason to believe our speckle wasn’t the size of a strawberry. Instead, it was a small blueberry at best; a blueberry without a heartbeat. 

I know what you’re thinking: how could I have been so reckless with my heart? And you’re not wrong. I often question how we got so far ahead of ourselves; why we made so many plans and told so many people. More specifically, why we told my parents they were finally graduating to grandparents only to break their hearts too?

Reflecting on this whole experience, I waver back and forth between being regretful over my emotional recklessness, while at the same time acknowledging I was simply living my truth in that moment - letting my heart be the guide. Now though, it’s clear why many wait to share because no matter how cautious we tried to be delivering the news prematurely (pardon the pun), it was still a cause for celebration. And because we celebrated this future, we were even more devastated when it was taken away. Not only was our world crashing down around us, we brought our family along for the turbulent ride too. And while I’m still gutted my parents can never hear “you’re going to be grandparents” for the first time ever again, I’m optimistic there will be more meaningful firsts for us all.

Next time around (positive affirmations), I do intend to proceed more cautiously, taking things day by day, not looking too far into the future. But apart from turning the news into a grand, celebratory-worthy declaration, it’s likely we’ll still share early on with our nearest and dearest. For one, I have no desire to orchestrate a charade where food and drink is concerned, but mostly because we’ll need the support more than ever should another heart break ensue. And it doesn’t hurt that my mother continues to remind me that my loved ones aren’t only here during the good times, they’re here for the sad times too.

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