I have so much to say and I am struggling to put it all out there in a way that makes any sense at all.
Today is the 7th. Do you know what that means? It’s the day I mark special on the calendar for your oldest big brother, Ryan. In the early days of missing him the 7th was sacred. I seldom did much else but think of him. As the years move on though, reality changes, and the 7th of the month becomes a “regular day.” Still marked by a butterfly on the calendar. My heart still full of thoughts of him. But the minutes of my day are spent doing all of the things I have come to love these past few years: making Brayden smile, spending time as a family, and now, sharing thoughts and tender belly pats with you.
I wanted to write this letter to let you know so many of the things that have been on my mind these past few months with you.
This pregnancy has been so different compared to Ryan’s and Brayden’s. People are always asking: “How is this pregnancy compared to the others?” I always say it’s more or less the same. But there are lots of differences I don’t talk a lot about. I tend to keep quiet about how guilty I feel that the past 5 months have not been all about you as they were with Ryan and Brayden. With each of them I had little else to focus on. With Ryan, it was the wonder and mystery and excitement of it being “the first.” With Brayden, the “rainbow.” Simultaneously grieving the raw, fresh grief of Ryan and hoping hard for Brayden’s little life inside me.
With you, it’s different. Same fears. Same hopes. But so much less time for introspection and reflection. So much less time to lay still, feeling the flutters of a new life growing inside me. So much less time to just be with you and feel connected to you. I’m sorry about that.
We are so anxious for you to arrive safely. Up until recently, I haven’t felt your movements – at all. No initial flutters or subtle pokes. Just stillness. This has been owed to the unfortunate position of my placenta which has been called both anterior AND previa. Which essentially made me a slave to my Doppler and checking for blood from about 11 weeks until now. It never once occurred to me how fortunate I was with both Ryan and Brayden to feel their movements constantly from relatively early stages in my pregnancies with them. It’s only been in the last couple of weeks that I have felt the wonderful and unmistakeable sensation of life moving inside of me. Each kick and roll and wiggle brings a smile to my face and my hand to my belly to feel as much of you as I can. I’m hopeful in a few weeks when I go for a follow-up ultrasound for good news that my placenta is in a more ideal position.
Another question I’ve heard a lot of which I admit always feels like a bit of an accusation is why I have not taken or shared more “bump photos.” People tend to laugh this off to me as a “3rd child problem.” And yes, I know there aren’t many pictures of us together right now. I haven’t been doing obsessive weekly bump documentation like I did with Brayden (may I remind everyone I didn’t do many with Ryan either, though, but I digress). Again, this is something I’m sorry about, but that I blame on anxiety. With Brayden I didn’t want to take a single second for granted. I anticipated losing him at any moment so wanted to document and share every moment we had. This time, I’m once again balancing on this thin wire of hope and knowing that bad things happen. The trepidation with which I entered this pregnancy – that we were “pushing our luck” to hope for another healthy baby – is very much still there. Yet, I feel it’s important to say that I am enjoying you. I am treasuring our moments. But I’m scared to flaunt them too openly. I think that’s the best way I can explain it.
Despite holding back in some areas, I’m cautiously charging ahead in others. We have begun to prepare a space for you. This means making pretty big changes to what was originally Ryan’s room. It’s harder than I thought, even after 3 years, even after it’s belonged to Brayden for 2 of those years. It’s the end of a chapter in a lot of ways, but a hopeful start at a new one. We didn’t have to prepare a space for Brayden. It was there. Ready. Waiting for him. Creating a nursery for you is a big commitment to the hope that you will get to come home with us. It’s scary and takes my breath away to think of for too long – so I will leave it at that. But I want you to know we are preparing for you.
You are such a treasured gift to us. We take nothing for granted. And we want you to know how loved you are already. The timing of this letter is intentional. You're 24 weeks this week. Your first "viability milestone." And although milestones like this bring me little comfort, they're worth acknowledging. So today, share in Ryan’s special 7th day because you are so very special, too.