Past tense carries so much weight these days.
I was pregnant.
Can you read between the lines there? Do you see what I am telling you now?
I am not pregnant.
This is not the grand announcement I was hoping to make. This ordinary declaration lacks the celebration I was looking so forward to sharing with the world.
For seventeen weeks and four days I was pregnant. I was filled with extra life, a second heartbeat, a fever for the future that would never quite come to pass. Every ultrasound reinforced my confidence that I could dare to believe in happily ever after again.
I saw his hands, his feet, his nose, his cheeks, his brain… all perfect. I heard his heartbeat… strong and fast just like his brother’s was years before. I was certain we were walking in those beautifully set tracks on my previous journey through an unexpectedly perfectly healthy pregnancy. All the wonder was so familiar. The joy sprung up. The fear dissipated.
I allowed myself to dream of filling this house with more chaos. I vividly saw my two boys tumbling through these rooms, climbing all over this furniture, tearing out into the yard, down the block, into the woods, playing hide and go seek, manhunt, and riding through the streets on their bikes until the sun went down. I saw Alexander smothering his little brother with suffocating kisses and hugs that were too rough. I saw myself exasperated with their energy, struggling to keep up — laughing and sighing my way through my days sustaining myself through double the little boy bear hugs, double the kisses, double the dirt, and double the giggles. I saw my husband being transformed into a human jungle gym, while he battled to introduce both of his sidekicks to all the superheroes the world had to offer — both fictional and factual. I saw his boys listening intently, secretly believing their daddy was the greatest superhero of them all.
I took tests out of precaution. I optimistically denied any option for bad news — sure, my body had a history of throwing some pretty nasty curve balls, but it knew how to build a healthy baby boy. I looked forward to the easy confirmation that all was well.
Calls came in. There was “an anomaly,” she said. I never heard of trisomy 18 before. Another rare disease, I thought, my body likes those… I asked her to repeat it, unsure I heard the words correctly. She sounded so sad, so apologetic, even though the test wasn’t diagnostic. “It could be a false-positive,” she said.
did she sound
I was shaken, but sure my funky body was just throwing some curves the blood test didn’t understand. Trisomy 18 was bad news — particularly for boys — but my boy was strong, healthy, perfect. My conclusion? This was a false-positive.
I scheduled an amnio. I needed the test that had real answers. I needed the science to show the world where all my confidence came from. He was fine. The greatest horror was the risk of the amnio. We just had to get through the test. Minutes before the test, in the quiet of the tiny hospital bathroom, I cradled my bulging belly and told my little boy, “We’ve got this, Baby. Nothing to be afraid of…
Mommy’s here to protect you.”
I wiped the tears from my eyes, certain I fixed it all, certain my maternal power was omnipotent.
It was a lie to us both.
I had no idea.
Neither did anyone else. There were no complications during the test. In fact, the test went perfectly. My baby boy looked as healthy as ever. The doctor and the nurse both smiled. “Everything looks really good!” was said a number of times. The sadness from the previous calls had evaporated. My team of confidence was building.
We were winning.
Valentine’s Day struck the final blow. The results were in. Full trisomy 18 present. Translation: you will lose this baby. Only one torturous question remained:
I only had to ask that question for four days.
That question only existed when I was pregnant. There were no more questions on the February 18, 2017, just one more angel in my army. Just one more soul to miss, because, on that day,