I never thought I’d be here, but here I am! In my life, I pictured a husband, house, dog, and two beautiful kids. I didn’t picture a husband, house, two dogs, one baby who died, and who knows how many kids we’ll decide to have now (maybe a whole litter). I never pictured my life with loss, but here I am today facing pregnancy after loss.
I’m 16 weeks (time’s flying by). My baby can now hear. I told my husband that he could only whisper sweet nothings to me from now on since the baby can hear him (or more-so yell them so the baby can hear through my tummy and all the fluid). Since the baby can now hear me, I’ve started reading again. For quite some time after Joshua died, I still read to him. I read to him so much while I was pregnant, it was a way for me to keep that bond. As life caught up with me, the reading slowed from every day, to every week, to maybe every couple weeks. I’ve started it back up. I want our new baby to know my voice and know the same love Joshua did. Although, I admit it’s odd to be doing the same things again. I should be reading to an 8 month old, but now I’m reading now to Joshua and his sibling.
At 17 weeks, I felt Joshua move for the first time. It was like someone was lightly sweeping their finger on the inside of my stomach. I’ve started feeling movement with this baby! It’s not like the light sweeping finger of before, it feels more like someone is gently tapping my stomach from the inside. It’s comforting to feel the baby move and to have a reminder that the baby is alive. It makes the pregnancy feel that much more real. No, I’m not just getting bigger, I’m growing a baby…a baby that’s moving and interacting with me. I’m excited to feel the baby move and see how differently the baby moves compared with Joshua.
Every morning in the shower, just as I did with Joshua, I suds up my loofah and rub my ever growing belly. I think about how much I love the baby growing inside of me and revel at my tummy. However, instead of focusing just on one baby now, I have two. I tell my rainbow that I love him or her, but then I always remember that I have another baby to tell that I love.
When I was pregnant with Joshua, everything was new. Everything was so exciting. As with many second pregnancies, things aren’t as eye opening as they once were. I’m trying to experience everything with those newly pregnant eyes that I did with Joshua, but the reality is, it’s different. I rub my belly, I talk to my belly, but in the back of my mind, I can’t help but think of Joshua and that I was doing the same things with him just 13 months prior. When I imagine life after pregnancy, with a baby in my arms, I see Joshua’s face. I know this baby is not Joshua and never would this baby replace him. Heck, this baby may not even look like Joshua. But when I pictured my life after Joshua was born, I pictured a generic baby. When Joshua was born, I saw what my husband and I had created. So now when I picture our future baby, I picture an image like Joshua since that is what I know of what we are capable of producing.
Bonding with this baby has been different. Part has been a normal bonding that many mothers experience with the excitement of having a new baby. Part of the bonding has been scary, like I’ve wanted to forget that I’m pregnant until the baby arrives and is in my arms. But I know the greatness of bonding that I experienced with Joshua and I want that for this baby as well. I want to experience as much love and knowledge of this baby before his or her arrival, just as I did with Joshua. I don’t want to miss out on the bonding, no matter how hard it can be, no matter how much I need for force myself to do it. Sometimes it’s a conscious effort to bond with the baby. Other times I surprise myself and realize I’ve been rubbing my belly just as many do out of love.