During a conversation yesterday, my mind wandered off to how things were this time last year. Looking at these pictures in particular helped me remember. I was somewhere between 24-25 weeks along. In the pictures and in person I put on a happy face, smiled, and answered all the pregnancy questions strangers in the grocery store threw my way as politely as I could. But at home with Jimmy, it was a different story. This time last year we sat quietly in the room the OB directed us to after my ultrasound. Jimmy stared hard at him as he spoke, and I had my head hung low. We were given a list of the abnormalities within the ultrasound, our son’s growth, my placenta, the possibility of Down Syndrome, and on. A list. After his warnings to be prepared to deliver the baby before 32 weeks we thanked him, and left. The car ride was silent, until the first stop light after pulling out of the hospital parking lot. It was then that I rested my arms on the dash, put my head down between them and wept. Loudly. I could tell that Jimmy was trying to hold it together for my sake. That he needed to be the strong and stoic one, because I certainly wasn’t. He’s always been that way. When we got home, we were so drained that we just laid in bed and I attempted to express how scared I was through sobbing hiccups and blubbering words. Unfortunately soon after, he had to leave as he worked the night shift. I cried myself to sleep and napped. I woke up to a message from my sisters-in-law asking to Skype to plan what would have been my baby shower in California. They excitedly told me about the list they made and pictures they pinned for ideas, but I had to tell them that I wouldn’t be making it home after all since I was now having biweekly ultrasounds to monitor my son’s fragile health. I choked through my words as I repeated everything that we were told at our appointment earlier that morning. I stopped to sob as I told them that I didn’t care about the number of chromosomes he had, I just wanted to carry him longer. I watched tears stream down their faces when it became too hard for me to speak and I just needed to cry. Both of them took turns praying over me and the tiny baby in my belly. Jhen had to stop a few times in-between words to collect herself while her husband, my brother-in-law, had his hand on her shoulder and a solemn expression on his face. Jacky prayed with a passion and encouragement I’ve never seen. From that point on until the day of Auggie’s birth I lived in a state of constant worry. I obsessively measured his kicks and I had Labor and Delivery ready to call the second I noticed a lack of movement, I had nightmares almost every night of giving birth to a stillborn baby, I cried when I looked at pictures of my friends beautiful babies and hoped that my baby would be “normal”, too. This time last year was one of the hardest periods of my life.
But that was last year. This time last year, I cried out of fear. This time last year, it took everything in me to get out of bed in the mornings. This year, I cry out of sheer joy. This year, I wake up with a smile from hearing the cooing sounds of my beautiful little boy in the next room and I get a smile in return when I greet him at his crib. There is one thing I am absolutely sure of, and it’s that even though some of those “fears” I had for my son came true, those fears have turned to complete happiness and contentment.
A lot can change in one year.