Though you are but the size of a grape in my womb and your future lies ahead without any certainty, I want you to know that you are loved. Our doctors discouraged us from having any more children, but you are a welcome surprise. The moment I knew of your existence, you cemented a place in my heart as one of my four children.
I will tuck my two Earthly children into bed tonight, while one child was robbed of the chance of ever living due to a neural tube defect and probable Trisomy that was “incompatible with life.” And then there is you…a tiny bunch of cells with a flicker of a heartbeat and so much potential wrapped up in your yet to be formed body.
Whether we have days or weeks or months or years or decades or a lifetime together, and whether or not you will ever breathe a breath of air in this world, I choose to give you all of my heart and soul. I’m crowding out the terrifying what ifs and why me’s and looking ahead to the what-could-be’s.
We’re awaiting the results of your genetic testing, which could come back telling us that we’ll have a perfect little baby with just enough chromosomes to survive or one more to make you extra special. We visit the specialist in two weeks to take an close look at how you are growing and we may learn that you are perfectly healthy with all fingers and toes and body parts accounted for, or maybe you’ll have some differences that will challenge us, but not defeat us.
I’m not looking for perfection, but I already know you are perfect. While we’re waiting to find out more about you, I can only hope that God and my body have provided what you need to form into a baby that will grow strong in my womb and be able to enter this world with joyful cries and open eyes. I have brought one sleeping baby into this world already, and wonder if I have the strength to do it again. I would rather not have to find out.
If we are blessed enough to welcome you into our lives, I can only pray to be alive to witness your first smile, your first words, your first steps, your first lost tooth, your first dance, your graduation, your wedding and your own babies being born.
After suffering life-threatening complications from the birth of your brother, I know that childbirth is dangerous and not without risk. With a team of doctors and medical professionals by my side and the power of knowledge and awareness, I’m hoping for the best. Even once the risk of complications passes, I know I will never stop worrying.
Worrying is part of motherhood. I will worry as you grow from a grape to a coconut to a watermelon. I will worry about whether you will be healthy enough to start your life in my arms instead of in a NICU bassinet. I will worry about how much you are nursing and sleeping and pooping. I will worry about whether you are learning enough in school or choosing the right extracurricular activities. I will worry about your choice of friends as a teenager. I will worry about you going to college and whether you will find “the one.”
As I stand here beyond the rainbow hoping for my final glimpse of the beauty of a new baby on the other side of a storm, I hope I get to hold you tight, smell your sweet head and soak up every ounce of baby goodness. But if I don’t, remember that you were loved dearly, desired greatly and will be carried in my heart for the rest of my days.