MJ is 20 weeks pregnant. We’ve had several ultrasounds but as many of you have noticed, I haven’t posted a single picture. We have them — lots of them actually, in all their grainy black & white goodness. But I couldn’t bring myself to put them online and share them. Mainly because I’m scared out of my mind, and scarred beyond belief.
It was 2 years and 9 months ago MJ was 13 weeks pregnant with Alexandra. We had already suffered two miscarriages and I was pretty wary about getting too excited too early. But at 13 weeks we had an ultrasound, I saw the picture, and my heart — as well as my defenses — completely melted. I ended up writing this post with a picture of my unborn baby. I went on and on about how it was finally time to be happy and celebrate the pregnancy instead of worrying about things that could go wrong. After more than 3 months of driving myself nuts, I actually let myself be happy and got it in my head that we really were having another baby.
Less than 24 hours after hitting “publish” we got a call about a potential abnormality involving the baby, which ultimately ended with us terminating the pregnancy due to a fetal condition incompatible with life. And so this time around I vowed not to get suckered again.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy we’re having another baby. Beyond happy. I’m just scared. Scared to fucking death. This is our sixth pregnancy with all but one (Will, obviously) ending in heartbreak. That’s a ton of really high highs when we see plus signs on the pregnancy tests, to crushing lows when we end up losing the pregnancy. And that says nothing of the hell in between that is getting up and dusting yourself off to chance it again. You start to feel insane, doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. You start to question why you’re putting yourself through it and if it’s doing more harm than good.
You start to wonder if you’ve done something to deserve all the nightmares.
Since November MJ has asked me if I think everything is going to be OK. I love my wife with my entire being — which is why I chose to lie to her and tell everything would be fine. Someone has to say the right things and stand firm at all costs. It’s a role I’ve embraced quite a bit over the years in this department. I know I’ve said it before, but the truly cruel thing about repeated miscarriages is it robs you of hope and joy. The positive pregnancy tests are no longer a celebration, they’re a necessary milestone. The first ultrasound isn’t a sigh of relief, it’s a stay of execution. And since we lost Alexandra well into the second trimester, even the 12- and 16-week ultrasounds haven’t provided me any relief from all the pessimism.
MJ is 20 weeks pregnant. Her belly is round and hard. She can feel the baby moving, and soon I’ll be able to feel it from the outside. By the time most of you read this we’ll be getting our 20-week ultrasound. And Will is coming with us.
I know some of you think that’s crazy and ripe for disaster. I don’t blame you. I thought it too. It was my first thought when MJ told me she wanted to bring him. Even though we haven’t experienced any problems and the baby seems fine, the thought of walking into that room with Will only to find a lack of a heartbeat or any movement…it’s terrifying. It turns an unthinkable tragedy into an unimaginable nightmare.
So why do it?
Because at some point you have to be happy. Despite the ample and justifiable reasons to remain guarded, this is a new baby we’re talking about and we’re past the halfway point. New life and new hope shouldn’t be clouded under a veil of fear and pessimism. And I figure what better way to break on through to the other optimistic side than by wielding the brightest and most awe-inspiring weapon in my arsenal — Will. He’ll get to see the baby, ask the doctor questions, and get his first live glimpse of his new brother or sister.
And as for all of you, allow me to introduce you to my new baby!