I was twenty-five years old and had been married for almost three years when I found out I was pregnant for the second time. This time everything had been planned out. My daughter was old enough, and we were ready to add a second baby. I desperately wanted her to have a little sister.

One Saturday afternoon while our husbands were working, I sat on a friend’s back porch while we watched our kids play in the yard. She knew we’d been trying and asked for an update. My face betrayed the somersaults my stomach had been doing all morning. I was pretty sure but hadn’t taken a test yet. She rushed inside to get a test she happened to have on hand, and I tried my best to temper my excitement. This wasn’t like last time, I wouldn’t fall apart when I saw those two pink lines, I would be ecstatic.

I held my breath as we made small talk waiting for the test to be ready. I lost my breath when I picked it up and saw the faintest little lines telling me that what I’d been dreaming was now a reality. We laughed about the fact that she knew before my husband, and on the way home I stopped at Target to buy a tiny pair of newborn sweatpants to surprise him with. I was only a few weeks along, but I’d spent so my of my first pregnancy consumed by anxiety that I was determined to wholly embrace this one.

My husband figured it out as soon as he saw the tiny sweatpants covered in navy blue foxes. We spent the rest of the evening chattering about being a family of four and suggesting ridiculous baby names. There was no talk of loss or fear or worry that we’d made a mistake. There was only the perfect sense that another part of or family had slid into place.

The nausea started almost right away. We laughed remembering how I’d made my husband eat in a different room during the last pregnancy. I knew all the sickness and discomfort that was ahead, but I was so in love with this tiny baby that none of it mattered. It had taken me so long to give my heart over to my daughter; I didn’t want to make that mistake again. I wrapped my dreams for this baby up tightly and held them close.

Then I woke up one morning ten days later, and I immediately felt the blood. I called my husband to come home from work so we could go to the emergency room. I already knew the truth, but they said we should confirm. As I waited for him to make the half hour drive home, I held my daughter and silently cried while she watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

I only knew my second baby for ten days, but those ten days were filled with love and laughter and joy. I wear a stack of rings every day, three of them have names engraved on them in the tiniest little letters: Lana, Avery, Jude. My three babies may never be able to build forts or eat Goldfish or watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse all together, but my dreams for them all are wrapped up together in my heart.

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