For the last year I have maintained a private blog where my intent was to quickly get pregnant and have one last baby and document my pregnancy and its first year. My hope was for a December baby. My first posts were about fertility and then I got the magic “+” sign on my home pregnancy test and discovered I was due December 17th. I was so excited! At 8 weeks I started spotting. An ultrasound showed that the baby was only measuring 6 weeks and had no heartbeat. A follow-up ultrasound showed no progress. I was devastated.
A year later I tried again. This time I was due to have a November baby. I was a little more hopeful because unlike the first pregnancy I actually had symptoms this time. But again at around 8 weeks I had a embryo measuring 6 weeks, this time with a slow heartbeat. My midwife was hopeful, because it rate was pretty normal if the heart had just started flickering, which happens around 6 weeks. But I knew. I knew when I ovulated, knew when I tested positive, knew that there was no way I was only 6 weeks along. I lost that baby too.
A few months later in July I thought, “Screw it, I’m going to go for it” despite my desperation to not have another April baby. And I became pregnant again. This time I took tons of HPTs and watched the lines get darker, and then lighter, and then darker. That is scary (lighter means you have less pregnancy hormone and can indicate a miscarriage.) At 12 weeks I was just about to breath a sigh of relief when I started spotting again. And since I’d only ever spotted two times before and both ended in losses, I figured I’d just ride this one out at home. No midwife, no ultrasound, just me. Alone. Then the next week I thought I felt flutters. But I could pick up a heartbeat on a home doppler device. Then more spotting. Then stronger flutters. Finally at 15 weeks I found a heartbeat at home. I immediately called my midwife and made an appointment. She felt my uterus and knew I was measuring correctly. She found a heartbeat. She ordered an US to see why I was spotting. (We never found out and it stopped the day of the ultrasound.) And I cried tears of joy. And 24 weeks later birthed my sweet ginger baby I wouldn’t have had if I’d lost my other two. I don’t know what the future holds after we die. I don’t know if I will meet those babies some day and be able to thank them for their small time with me and for allowing me to have Iris. I hope so, I really do. I hope I can say I am the mom to 10 children.. I don’t feel some kind of otherworldly relationship with them. I don’t know. I just don’t. And I still get sad on their due dates and on the days they passed. But I have my Iris and that is what I concentrate on.
All of this was to say that my one year project turned into a 3 year project and with Iris turning 1 I am closing that blog and charting her adventures here. I plan to turn those blog pieces into a book (just for me, no high aspirations for being published!) but keeping up on one blog will be much less complicated!
So. Iris turns one! This is my last monthly letter to her! I love her so much!
“Last night I stood by your crib and watched the clock turn to midnight, signally the day of your birth. I have to admit, I cried. Some tears were of joy, for the wonderful baby you are, and some were of sadness, for the wonderful tiny baby you were and grew out of far too quickly for my taste. This year has been amazing. I feel so blessed by your presence in our family. You are such a gift to all of us- even the ones who didn’t warm as quickly to the idea of a new sibling, I promise they are all in now! I love your sweet smile and your sassiness and how you love to nurse, and how you only say my name when you are sad or mad (when you are happy you give a kiss when I ask you to say my name!) You are stubborn, feisty, and you don’t like solids right now and you are impatient and determined and I love all of that, I do! You are also so beautiful and smart and funny and you like to do things to make us laugh and you know your own mind. I love all that too, I do!
You love to spin in circles and walk backward. You say Dada, Mama, Hi, Hello, Bye, Bug, Buddy (the last two sound like “buh”) Go, Whoa, Ooh, Oh!, On, and my personal favorite (because you enunciate it so strongly) “WOW!” You like to be outside, nurse, dance, pretend to read books (complete with gibberish) and play with your siblings. You do not like cow’s milk so far, and love strawberries and ham. And probably a bunch of other stuff I am forgetting.
For your birthday party we are having a rainbow theme and serving spaghetti and garlic bread, two of your favorite meals!
I have really loved this last year. I just can’t verbalize what it has meant to me. I have loved getting to know you and nurse you and cuddle you and read and sing and dance with you, bathe you and comb your hair and worry over your owies and hope that you were okay and dream about your future. I will love to continue to do those things. I’ll even spend more midnights standing beside your crib shedding tears of joy and sadness, knowing that one day those tears will be shed over your bed the night before you leave for college, and I’ll love that too. Because life is precious. Even the hard moments that make us feel more than we want and grow more than we planned.
This blog was going to be a one year project. And it turned into a three year journey. And now I bid it farewell and lovingly sign off and move on to my regular family blog. I have learned so much about myself. I have gained so much much. It hasn’t always been easy or fun. But it has all been worth it.