Permission for Joy

I once wrote a post in which Fr. D gave me permission to grieve. Grieve the motherhood I was letting go of, the dreams of a child and all that came with it. Not just pregnancy, but motherhood entirely. I shared some of the things I mourned here, and in my journal I wrote the rest. All of the things I hoped and dreamed of that I was accepting would no longer come true.

A lifetime unrealized.

A life unlived.

It was some of the hardest journaling I'd ever done because, you see, I never really let myself go there. Sure, I knew it was always about more than just a positive pregnancy test, but I never really let myself dream the dreams of childhood and growing up. It was a way to protect myself, a way to ensure my heart didn't completely shatter. And so, in writing those dreams down, I not only had to acknowledge they existed, but I had to let them go all at the same time.

And I did.

And then so much happened. (Understatement, I realize.)

And one day I found myself looking at that positive pregnancy test.
And having it confirmed with a blood test.
And seeing a tiny heartbeat in the right place (my history of blocked tubes puts me at high risk for ectopic pregnancy).
And hearing that progesterone was good, so good it didn't need monitored.
And seeing a squirming little person at 7 1/2 weeks.
And again (twice, due to said squirming) during the second trimester.
And kicks.
And heartburn.
And cankles.
And a growing belly.
And the realization that people no longer looked at my face, but at my belly.
And Braxton Hicks.
And a tiny foot in my side.

It all happened.

I cherished every minute of it, but I never really let myself dream. I fought hard to stay focused on the moment at hand and not either 1) wish it away too fast or 2) dare to dream of what would come next.

Infertility takes innocence away from us. I knew that none of this meant that I would hold a living child at the end.

And then my water broke.
And I was in labor.
And I delivered her.
And I heard her cry.
And I held her.
And I fed her.
And I brought her home.
And both my midwives and her pediatrician released us because we are doing so well.

And finally, on Day 9 of her life, it happened.

I dreamed again.

As I fed my daughter, I let myself imagine her growing up.
I pictured her playing. As a toddler, as a child, as a pre-teen.
I pictured her at prom (wha?!?!).

And I let myself dream.

And tears of joy and hope streamed down my face.

And for a moment, despite all that has been over the past 5 years, and specifically in this past year, I gave myself full permission to have joy over this beautiful, tiny, person in my arms.

She was born at 4:06 am on Aug. 7 after about 40 hours of labor that started with my water breaking at home, included cer.va.dil, pi.toc.in, st.ayd.ol, 9 doses of penicilin (thank you Group B Strep positive test :-(.), and 2 hours of pushing. 6lbs, 15 oz and 19 inches long.

Her name in this space will be "Sugarbeet" - given to her by my stepdad while in utero in response to one of the ridiculous weekly "your baby is the size of (insert fruit or vegetable)". Someday I will share the full story of her actual name.

She is amazing.

I am grateful.