Last year was a really hard year for our family. Things happened, crazy things happened. Things that were completely out of our control. But these things, these crazy thing, threatened every aspect of our lives as we knew them. Our employment, our financial security, our house, our ability to provide for our children were all threatened. They were threatened and the people making the decisions, the decisions that affected our entire life, the people making the decisions were not us. We had no control over our lives or what happened to us. We could only prepare to deal with the consequences.
For months we lived on the edge of a knife blade. We waited for a strong wind to come and blow our lives one direction or another. All we could do was wait. And pray. And hope. And plan for every contingency.
It was hard.
So very hard.
Through it all The Greatest and I clung to each other. When I was sad he would remind me that no matter what happened, no matter how things turned out, we had all the important things, and that would never change.
And he was right.
I had my Husband. I had my four beautiful, clever, funny, exasperating children.
I had all I would ever need.
We could live anywhere. We could work any job. We could do anything, as long as we were together.
It was going to be alright.
And in the end it was alright.
I still had all the important things.
And in December we had the great joy of discovering that we were expecting a baby. One more baby. A final baby. The missing piece of our family.
We couldn't have been happier.
Cookies, cake, chocolate, they all made me feel queasy. I craved chicken wings and tacos and spicy food. I loathe Doritos, and Ranch Dressing. But these foods had been transformed into manna from heaven. Nothing in the history of ever has tasted as good as ranch dressing tasted. The family was convinced I was carrying a boy.
Meaty would bring me comic books to read for his brother. He constantly reminded me to "think boy thoughts." I gently suggested to him that it could still be a girl. He was confident "oh it won't be a girl" he told me in a voice that sounded vaguely threatening. I hoped for the baby's sake that it was a boy.
Sweet Pea was ecstatic to learn she was going to be a big sister. She took her new role in life very seriously. She decided she was everyone's big sister and she set about taking care of her older sisters and brother. She spend one night sleeping on the floor of my sick Pork Chops' room, bringing her water and waking me to give Pork Chop her next dose of cough syrup when she felt Pork Chop needed another dose. She was going to be a very good big sister.
Bird mothered me to death. She encouraged me to "sit and rest for the baby." She walked behind me reminding me not to fall. She asked me things like "Are you sure you can drive with the baby?" and "What does the baby want to eat today."
Pork Chop had recently developed a fascination with babies. They're so small and cute. What's not to love about babies? I don't think any 12 year old girl has ever been happier to hear we were going to have a baby of our very own. I was fairly certain our baby would always be held. Either by me or Pork Chop or Bird or heaven forbid Sweet Pea, with Meaty declaring priority over his sisters if this was a boy.
We were all so excited and happy. It felt like we had been lacking joyous news for so long, we reveled in this long forgotten feeling.
Until we weren't.
Until we went for a check up and discovered our baby had died.
Until we had to have surgery to remove the remains of what should have been our beautiful baby.
I had the next year planned in my mind. The sweet end of morning sickness. The summer with my big belly, lounging by the pool, wearing sundresses. The fall, hoping I wouldn't miss Sweet Pea's first day of school because I was in the hospital having a baby. Looking forward to those first days of school alone to prepare for the baby, or if the baby came early, bonding with the baby. Baby's first Halloween. Baby's first Thanksgiving, so much to be thankful for this year. Christmas with a chubby four month old sitting on my lap cooing and waving a piece of wrapping paper.
But one scan with an ultrasound machine and my dream was washed away. My baby, so real I could almost hold him, was never to exist.
I keep telling myself I still have all the important things. I have my Husband, and those four sweet/infuriating children. I have all I need.
But that isn't exactly true anymore. It will never be true again.
I've lost my dream. He may never be as real to anyone as he was to me and The Greatest. But he was real. He was my baby. He was loved. And he is mourned.