Life Raft

After your first child is born still, your relationship with pregnancy is terrifying. “Completely fucked up” is a more accurate summation of the dynamic. The only outcome you know is devastating, heart shattering, and so viscerally painful that it makes you nauseated to recall. Your child was born dead. You gave birth to death. Faith, hope, and what is “fair” are fabled concepts. It’s hard to find comfort. You hold onto the notion that “it couldn’t happen again.” You also have the recurring, prevalent thought that “it could happen again” – because it already happened. That’s all you saw happen. The subsequent pregnancy is not one full of joy, it’s full of fear. Panic. And, in many ways, it’s torturous. 

When my wife and I got pregnant with our rainbow baby, Dallas, a glimmer of light appeared. Getting pregnant with Lila was difficult. Getting pregnant with Dallas was even tougher. But once that test came back positive, we were elated. That elation, internally for me, was immediately tempered. My heart, mind, and soul wouldn’t allow absolute happiness or relief to occupy my body. Before losing Lila, happiness flooded, and filled, my being. Now, it was being filtered through a tiny hole. Just a few drops a day, so I could function in the world. Just a few drops a day, to avoid the depths of absolute depression and hopelessness. That pregnancy with Dallas was the most anxious time in my life. I’d never had such difficulty being present. I’d never had so many pessimistic thoughts.

Trying again felt like a life raft. Despite all the uneasiness around pregnancy after losing Lila, it still felt like the only corner of the world offering a sliver of comfort. We had been tirelessly treading through an ocean of heartbreak for over a year. It felt endless. Draining, exhausting, and difficult. Everything was hard. I mean everything. Getting out of bed, focusing on tasks at work, even going to the supermarket (not just for the inevitable stroller run-in, but I always seemed to pass by the cabbage in produce. That reference will make sense to an unfortunate few) was challenging. 

Trying again wasn’t easy. For a while, everyone was pregnant except us. Would it be my wife and me and the memory of our daughter forever? Was that enough for us? That was a very real concept and conversation that we had to have with one another when getting pregnant again looked like it might not happen. That’s a tough fucking conversation to have with your partner when you two always dreamed of starting a family together. Getting pregnant, and being pregnant, after a loss is painstakingly difficult. We feel so lucky, now, to have a living child. But our living child does not replace the child we lost. We never thought it would, though I don’t know that the world sees it that way.

Pregnancy is still terrifying. While so much has changed, so much hasn’t. One thing that will never change is the hole in my family. I love you, Lila. And I miss you every single day. I wish you were here with your mom, brother, and me.

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