Post by Missy Lanning
My feet, buried in the sand, anchored me to a spot on the rocky shore where I watched my 9 month pregnant wife stand firmly atop a set of submerged rocks. The photographer on the shore, was snapping photos repeatedly, but all I could focus on was the beauty of the moment. Sure the sun was setting in all it’s glory and the crystal blue water was splashing across her feet, but that’s not the beauty I was focused on. The beauty was a milestone we never imagined reaching.
After losing two sons previously, it’s hard to keep your focus. I have been and am currently still on high alert throughout this pregnancy. Every sneeze, every gasp, every loud bang puts me on edge. I’m always asking my wife if she’s okay, squeezing every little detail and ounce of feeling out of her. It’s probably annoying as hell, but I couldn’t stop it if I tried. It’s something that manifested itself out of our previous experiences.
Milestones. These are what helped us stay focused. My wife standing on those rocks and staring off into the sunset was more than just a pose for a photograph, it was an act of defiance toward the idea that you had to be scared during your pregnancy. Gripping her belly tight with every slow deep breath she took assured her that he was still growing, still kicking, and still waiting for just the right time to meet his parents.
The positive pregnancy test, the first doctors appointment, hearing his heartbeat, feeling him kick, revealing his name to the world–these were all ways we celebrated milestones. The maternity session was just the cherry on top.
I learned quickly though that, regardless of your focus, you never forget that feeling. That feeling that overtakes you when you realize you lost him, when the doctors sighs heavily at the monitor, or when you know that he won’t make it any farther. It was a feeling that grabbed me by the collar and shook upon seeing my wife strapped up to monitors and a hospital bed, just mere days after our moment of rejoicing on the beach.
Luckily for us, there was no emergency and everything was fine, but it was something that taught me that you can’t forget. You can’t forget because it was so real, so profound. It wasn’t something that was meant to be forgotten. It makes you who are you–a person that is not only capable of feeling such pain, but overcoming such pain.
By the time my next month’s post is live, I’ll be holding my son and I’ll know that all that pain, all those milestones, and all the worry was absolutely worth it.
View the gallery of our maternity pictures below.
Diana is owner and editor-in-chief of Still Standing Magazine and blogs her own life story at Diana Wrote. She and her military retired husband have two girls and three sons who passed away after birth; Preston and Julian, identical twin boys who were born at 20 weeks, and Kaden, who unexpectedly had cardiomyopathy due to a rare virus called ciHHV-6. He died in her arms at 3 weeks old.
In 2014 she traveled with World Vision to learn about maternal health and infant mortality in Zimbabwe, and later with them to Ecuador. She is working on a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. You can also find her work on Babble, Liberating Working Moms, She Reads Truth, The New York Times, and The Huffington Post.