After miscarrying for the third time, I was terrified to try again. Pete was ready — but I didn’t know if I would ever be. Together we decided to try, to do our part to bring another life into the world but to expect nothing in return.
Until we were holding our baby, we decided to say to ourselves and to everyone else, “we are trying to have a baby.”
I found out I was pregnant in February. We were officially trying to have a baby.
A few weeks later, I heard a heartbeat. We were trying to have a baby.
A few weeks later, I felt the baby’s body flutter inside my belly. We were still trying.
My second trimester came, then my third. We kept trying, just trying.
One calm morning in October, she was born. It was intense, emotional, and it felt perfectly complete. I held her. We did it. We had our baby!
And then, after the celebrations, I realized something was wrong.
She couldn’t breathe. My baby was born and she couldn’t breathe. Breathe baby. Breathe please.
I was terrified and felt completely helpless. I could not make her lungs better. I could not breathe for her. I had to just hold her for as long as I could. They taped oxygen tubes around her tiny head and told me we had to wait. I watched her monitors, listening to the beeps and the alarms. I stared at her. For five days I stared at her. I stared at the walls of our little room. For five days I sat and slept in a cheap recliner in a little room holding her. This was all I could do. Sit there. Hold her. Stare.
I wanted to shut off my heart from her and not care about her fate. This was the only way I might survive because, if she died, I would too. I didn’t want to care or to love or to want her so much.
I loved her so intensely. I wanted her so much. I wanted my child to live.
I watched her go through dozens of procedures, check-ups, needle pokes, IV’s, and oxygen treatments. Through every procedure, I locked eyes with her and talked to her and sang to her. I sang her songs my mom and grandmother had sung to me. I smiled and told her about what her brother and sister were doing at home. I told her over and over how strong and how brave she was. I told her I was proud of her. I was so proud of her. She was so brave.
Her first birthday was last week. Every time she coughs or yawns or sighs I am transported back to our first week together. She is so brave. They are all so brave. We are all so brave.