Guest Post by Melissa Cao
I feel like up until now, I’ve been waiting for my life to start… I still feel that way.
First, it was waiting for high school to be over so I could start college – thinking that’s when my adventure would begin.
Then, it was waiting for college to be over so I could start my life with my best friend/boyfriend who is now my husband.
Next it was waiting for us to start a family. That’s all I have ever really wanted – to be a stay at home mom and housewife. I remember growing up, my mom was always there and that’s exactly what I want for my children.
Finally, I was pregnant! My life would finally begin, I thought.
I constantly daydreamed about what life as a mom would be like. When I would be doing laundry or the dishes, I would wonder where I could put the bouncer so that I could have my eye on Peanut while doing housework. And when I would be running errands, I would look in my rear-view mirror and think about how in less than a year, I would be checking on Peanut in that very mirror. I thought about driving to the doctor’s appointments, taking him with me to the grocery store and just about how he would be involved in every facet of my life.
Only… I never got there.
That future I had dreamed about my whole pregnancy was shattered November 26, 2011. I didn’t know what to do.
How was I to go on?
I had to create a new future for myself, without Peanut. It broke my heart to have to tear down that future my husband and I looked forward to so much, and to have to build a new one from the rubble.
We took it slow, moment by moment, but we got there. Little steps… getting his ashes from the funeral home, ordering the perfect urn for him, having to order another urn because the original was too small. Then it was up to me… I have steps for myself to help me carry on with life. I don’t like the term “move on” because to me it implies forgetting. I will never forget, just carry on, always remembering Peanut. Getting a job, or at least temp work, so that I can hopefully have a full-time job by the time we get pregnant. That’s one difference among the many things I will do differently during my subsequent pregnancy. I plan to work. I feel that the next pregnancy will be stressful enough, and I don’t want to be home, alone, left to dwell on what could happen.
And now, here I am, still waiting. After he was born, I had to wait to maybe find out why. Why he wasn’t here with me. Why I wouldn’t be taking him on my errands or why I wouldn’t have to take super fast showers because it would just be me and him at home. We never did get an answer; chalk it up to just being “one of those things”. Then, I had to wait for my postpartum appointment to see when we would be able to start trying for our second child. Even after that, I had to wait for my cycles to start back up. Now, it’s waiting to get pregnant and even when I do see that “+” on the test, it’s going to be 10 more months of waiting….agonizing!
The way I see it, if you’ve suffered a loss (which if you have, I’m so very sorry) and you get pregnant again, it’s even scarier. But depending on when your loss occurred, once you pass that point, it’s still scary, but everything is new. If you didn’t get to have a baby shower, and you have one with your subsequent pregnancy, that’s a whole new experience. Or if you didn’t get to even have a sonogram, that’s new. But for me, I have to give birth to a healthy baby to get to that “new” part. I’ll take all the pregnancy symptoms I had with Peanut and then some with a smile on my face to just have my healthy rainbow baby. It’s just the waiting that gets me.
Among the many things my time with Peanut has taught me is to enjoy the now. I’ve been waiting for my life to start and all along it was passing me by. I was so set on him coming that I put off so many things for his arrival. I wish I had taken more pregnancy pictures, had recorded the times you could see him moving inside me, had kept a pregnancy journal. All these things I didn’t do because I thought he was a sure thing; I thought I could start making memories when he got here.
Now I’m left with a half-empty baby book and a hand full of pregnancy photos…and my memories. But my memories are not tangible things that I can show others and say, “look, this is my son…he was real.” I know he was real, but sometimes I feel he was just a beautiful dream I had of a life I’ll live one day. But for now, I’m waiting for that future…trying to enjoy the now.