This weekend was the first that the fierce cold really whipped me in the bones.
It has been dancing around, and gotten close, but this weekend it hit me, and got under my skin.
When we went outside for some brief errands on Saturday I felt so chilled that it was hard for me to warm up, so I decided to put a long sleeve shirt over my tank top that was under my cashmere sweater.
I don’t know why, but I looked in an unusual place in my closet (not where I keep my long sleeved shirts, but rather my “exercise” clothing, despite the fact that I do not exercise) and peeking out was a very special shirt.
It was my Valentine’s Day present in 2013, the month after we had moved into our new home.
It was a surprise, because my husband picked it out himself, so out the blue, because he saw it and thought it was soft and sweet and it was so thoughtful. And what I now know is that I was given that shirt the very day that my son was already a bunch of dividing cells, taking a ride into what would be his little nest for the next 9 months.
But the first time I wore the shirt was not until a few weeks later, on March 2.
At that time, I was a week late. It was the first month that pregnancy could even be a possibility and I tested early and it was negative. But for some reason, I really felt like I was pregnant. I had no symptoms, I just felt something. The parents of the students in my class said I was glowing, and I swore to them that I had no idea what they were talking about (because at that point, I did not! I still maintain that I did not! Pinky swear!) I told them that I was likely just gaining a little weight. My pregnancy test was negative, after all. Well as I mentioned in talking about his birth story, I found out I was pregnant on Saturday morning, March 2, while my husband was out to brunch with our family and family friends. For some strange reason, I pulled the last test that I had in my linen closet and I peed on that stick, home alone with my then 2 years and 11 months old daughter. I remember looking at the instructions carefully. I remember seeing that the control line would appear on the right, indicating that the test was done properly, and that the variable pregnancy line would be on the left. But what happened was strange; the control line did not show up, but instead, a dark maroon line on the left. It was not until a minute later that I saw both lines appear. I had two lines, the pregnancy one was just the first to arrive at the party. As a matter of fact, my son liked to be early for everything, coming out 4 days before his scheduled C-Section at 38.5 weeks.
I was in shock and amazement. “I’m pregnant!” I told my daughter. She didn’t quite understand (thank goodness) and then, I can say I really was glowing. I could not believe the miracle that was happening inside of me. I can still feel the swell of emotion as I type these words. I remember wrapping the stick carefully in a box for my daughter to hand to my husband upon his return home from brunch. I remember his face. Surprise and joy. I remember Face-timing my sister, the first person we told. She was ecstatic. I remember having my dad stop by and having the test displayed on our mantle. He hugged us all. I remember calling my mom, who had just landed in St. Thomas, to tell her (she claims she already knew). But more than anything, I remember the feeling that I had, which was the sheer awe and gratitude that we would be growing our family. And I think that because I already knew the magic kind of love that comes with motherhood, I loved this baby instantly.
I rubbed my belly, under my pink striped shirt.
I have written so much this year about my difficult pregnancy, numbness towards the baby, postpartum and my struggles, but I want to make sure to write how much I cherished the baby growing inside of me from the second I found out that he was in there. It was like my heart grew instantly. As did my belly, which seemed to pop out the moment those two lines appeared.
Today, I put on that pink shirt again to get the chill out, but I had my son to keep me warm.
And with him in my heart two years ago, I felt happy. And with him in my arms today, I felt even happier.
This photo makes me want to smile, and it makes me want to cry.
If I’m being honest, I am not writing this post with dry eyes.
It’s that thing about the magic.
I have so much, more than I could have ever hoped for or imagined, but I will never have that experience again,
of waiting for two lines to appear
and knowing that a life was beginning inside of me.
Please please know that I write this with the utmost sensitivity. I realize that some will never experience that joy; I realize that for some, two lines on a test is not a happy thing.
But for me, I am still coping with this loss, and it is still something that I think about every day.
Just like the cold wind today, it dances around me, when I see a pregnant person, or a baby announcements or newborn photos.
I will repeat, I have so much.
I have a loving family, a devoted husband, a beautiful daughter and an adorable son.
I may not have everything, but I have so much.
I have so much.
I have so much.
I have so much.
And I have a warm pink striped shirt,
and two babies to snuggle up into it.