If you were to ask me what my favorite memory of my pregnancy was, I would probably tell you that it was just a mere 9 days before my world stopped turning.
Tuesday, June 2nd was a day I was dreading for weeks. I was also excited. But it was more dread. After the loss of our twin at 8 weeks, and the subchorionic hemorrhage, I knew too well that things can go wrong in pregnancy. June 2nd was the day of our anatomy scan. The scan that would tell us if something was wrong, or if everything was right. The scan that would tell us if we were having a boy or a girl. We never did any of the testing early in pregnancy, the tests that show the "probability" of something going wrong, because I couldn't put myself through that. Also, I knew it wouldn't change anything. If there was something wrong, I wouldn't terminate the pregnancy. I didn't see the point in getting myself all anxious for a "probability" of something bad happening. I know myself all to well, I'd focus on the negative part of that.
I remember people asking me that day, "aren't you excited??!" and my honest answer was "no". I didn't really tell them that though, my robot answer was, "oh yes I can't wait." I had gone to work that morning, just to keep my mind off everything, and left around noon to meet Dave and head down to St. Joe's. We had decided to have our scan there because we heard from a few people it's a better experience. I remember walking into the hospital and sitting in the waiting room and Dave saying his usual, "everything is going to be fine." I was on the edge of my seat. I felt sick.
What if this would be the time they couldn't find a heart beat?
What if something was seriously wrong with the baby?
Would I be walking out of here in an hour, crying? Or would we be happy?
It's like I knew, I knew, something was coming. I could feel it.
It just wasn't June 2. Not on this day.
We were called back and our tech was so nice, she spent a lot of time with us and said she would talk us through everything that was happening. She also said that sometimes she would have to concentrate and go quiet, and not to worry if that happened. She asked if we wanted to know the gender, we said yes! She scanned and scanned, for 45 minutes. She had to practically put me on my head to get a good look at the baby, who was so squirmy!! We saw the head and the arms and legs and the baby did a full somersault in my belly more than a few times. It was amazing. Then, out of no where, she said, "This baby is a boy!!"
A boy!! We were having a baby boy! Dave was as happy as ever, squeezing my arm and kissing my head and just ecstatic. I remember asking him, "are you happy I am giving you a son?" With a big smile on my face. "SO happy!" he answered.
The tech left to go get the doctor, at St. Joe's doc name Kataco, the very same doctor actually, who would tell us 9 days later, that our son was gone. She came in and said everything looked great. She wanted me to come back in 3 weeks or so, to check on that hemorrhage and make sure it was shrinking, but it looked all dried up at that point. She said the heart looked healthy, but they were having trouble measuring it because he was moving around so much. These are things they have a lot of moms come back for, and her words were "Everything is just fine. It's routine. We just need the measurements." I relaxed. Routine. No problems. It's a boy. I could finally be excited for this baby. We were past 20 weeks. What could go wrong, right?
Dave and I left St. Joe's on a cloud. I called my mom, because she had texted me and called me 3 different times, just to tell her everything was good and healthy with the baby! I had to text 10 different friends and family - all who knew how nervous I was, all who knew the problems that we had had, all who were praying that everything would be just perfect. Dave & I were throwing a small gender reveal party that evening at our house, with just our families. So we raced home to start getting ready for that.
Oh how much fun we had that afternoon! We refused to tell Ashley if she was getting a brother or a sister, not until everyone was together. We joked with her and pretended to let it slip. We banished her to her room while I filled the cupcakes with icing. I remember whispering to Frodo, ever so quietly, "You are getting baby brother!" I had fun decorating the house. Everything was pink and blue. I couldn't wait.
Finally, around 7pm, our family showed up. Almost all at once. My parents, my brother and SIL, Dave's mom and her boyfriend, and Dave's grandparents. We hugged and chatted and everyone sat down and I asked, "Ok. Are you guys ready?" I remember my mom looking like she was ready to burst. She couldn't wait any longer! Dave and I handed out the cupcakes and told everyone that the icing in the middle was the clue, and they had to bite into it to find out.
What a mess! Everyone was ripping into the cupcakes. I didn't get any pictures of that part. Maybe that was meant to be. All at once people starting cheering or yelling, "Ohhhhhh!" and "Oh my gosh, its a B--" but then stopped in case someone hadn't seen yet. Finally, I just said, "Ok we can just yell it all together!" and everyone yelled, "ITS A BOY!!!" We called Dave's brother and his wife, and face timed with them as we told them - they were equally excited. A boy!
Our families got up to hug us. I remember my dad, he had tears in his eyes. Tears!!! He was so happy that we were having a boy. His grandson. I asked my mom if she was disappointed, I knew she wanted a girl, because of the "clothes"...girl clothes are so much cuter, in her opinion. Of course not, she said. She was so happy for us. Jonathan and my dad started talking colleges, and where he would go and which team he would play for (Notre Dame of course) and how the baby would be born into a legacy of fall Saturdays screaming at the TV and oh, shouldn't I play the ND fight song as he was born? But, whatever you do, don't go into labor on a Saturday in October!!! I was due October 21st, and I had a feeling that he would come on a Saturday, just to spite everyone. He was part O'Leary, you know!
For the first time in forever, I was genuinely excited for this baby. I thought I had passed some magic threshold, where all would be ok from here on out. I had even said to people how stressful the first 5 months were, and that I was hoping that the last half of my pregnancy would be great. I could just relax and enjoy growing and being pregnant. I was happy. I was giving my family, our families, such a special gift - a baby boy!! It was the happiest I had felt in a long, long time. Our baby was ok.
That happy, pregnant girl...she had no clue. Well, maybe she did. But she didn't want to think about it. I wouldn't ruin it for her. If I could go back in time, I wouldn't tell her that a week later, that very next Tuesday, her water would break. I wouldn't tell her that her world was about to be turned upside down. That her heart was about to be smashed as her baby's heart stopped beating. No, I wouldn't tell her because even if I did, in the name of helping her do something different or trying to save him, it wouldn't have mattered. Because God was going to call him Home, for whatever reason, and if everyone praying for me to have a healthy baby couldn't change that, then me warning that girl wouldn't help either. It sucks and it's heartbreaking and no bereaved mom wants to hear this, but it was...it was meant to be. There is nothing we could have done to save him.
No. I'd let her have her night. Her one, pure stress free night, where everything seemed to be ok and she thought she had a happy and healthy baby growing inside her and where she thought all her stress and heartache was over. It was a great night. I am happy I had that evening. I went to sleep, hands on my belly, thanking God and the baby for such a great day. I remember feeling like I could get through anything.
As all the events of the next week unfolded, I thought about that night a lot. How I was so happy to have that special memory. At first I thought I was cheated, because I don't have a lot of memories with Jackson. But then I realized, I do have tons of memories with him! He wasn't born yet, no, but he was here. He was with me for 5 whole beautiful months. We made lots of memories together. That night was the first time that most of his whole family was in the same room together, celebrating him. It was special, and I am glad we have that last beautiful memory.