Driving home on a grey day back in the summer, my gaze fixed staring into the dreary tarmac ahead, I asked Matthew with a weary sigh, when will this pain go away? In particular: this discomfort, this bitter jealousy of looking at our relatives’ babies like a headache I can’t seem to shake off, will it ever stop, when? He answered: it will, in time; the gap will heal, the painful void will be filled with something happy, with new life.
Little did I know that at that very moment, deep down in my womb, the tiny seed of a new life was already snuggling into place.
Then, in my quest to put myself in a vibration of positivity and act out in the present what I wished to attract, I went to a quaint shop in a village and hunted out a present that I would buy specifically for my next child. I chose a miniature model of a wooden rocking horse. A horse for a hurdle already overcome, I just didn’t yet know it. Not only had nature began a new life but its destiny was coded: a healthy child was in the works… a baby who was here to stay.
For it was not only the devastating loss we had to face upon the diagnosis of our first son’s fate in September 2013, but also, the shadow of apprehension sundialling in varying shades across my mind for our future childbearing. It was most likely that nature’s thunder bolt would not strike us twice (bilateral renal agenesis / Potter’s Syndrome) but we’d already had a bitter taste of the rare, which lends a temptation to snarl a cynical scowl even in the face of astronomical odds. Or with the total of all the rare conditions possible, what if something else was wrong? Reluctant to get tangled in fears, but some days darker in emotion than others, I concentrated on celebrating reaching the second trimester, the milestone every expecting woman hopes for. Then, I thought more of the fluid and kidneys, fatally absent in Evan, praying they were active in full force in my new bodily resident.
16 weeks arrived. Breathless for 2 days prior, travelling through the rain to the hospital, I hoped this was the day I’d be granted my breath back. With both Matthew and Virginia beside me, we glimpse into that inner cocoon in waves of mysterious monochrome, to admire that little thriving body we’d seen a month prior when we first saw the heart rapidly and reassuringly winking on the screen. Now, 3cm bigger, our baby reclined and stretched luxuriously, chin dipping as little lips sipped the surrounding liquor like a fine wine. Fluid. Kidneys. The words I’d visualised through an entire volume of daydreams, now become real from the mouth of the obstetrician herself, and my breath is already returning, a balm of calm is falling over me but not before I take a minute to cry out loudly, to release it all: love, relief, joy, in an anguished sound, that falls away slowly to smiles and sighs as I peer through slitted wet eyes to view my flexing black-and-white son/daughter with cautious fascination. We all laugh as the baby appears to wave, one outstretched arm more prominent than anything around it, captured in print by a timely click that now sits at my bedside.
Never so pleased to see that usually banal word ‘normal’, repeated four times across a printed sheet I cannot believe I hold for real. A healthy child grows in my womb and it is no exaggeration to say it’s the best news of my life. I just can’t believe it… I did believe it… I had to believe it. But now belief meets reality. I already knew I loved my new baby no matter what, but to be on the path leading to the ‘hello’, and not the path to ‘hello and goodbye’, feels just… incredible.