Nick let out a deep audible exhale and moved his right hand off the steering wheel and over to my hand, “I hope so,” came tenderly out of his mouth.
“I hope so too.” I replied.
I was looking out the passenger window and watched the houses blur while the car moved forward down the road. I asked Nick without taking my eyes off the melting snow, “Do you know what my therapist said the other day?”
“Hmm,” Nick responded while squeezing my hand.
“She asked me if I had thought about what it would be like if everything turns out to be OK with this baby. She is curious if I have prepared myself for bring the baby home. And you know what? I don’t think I have. I mean I feel really unprepared for what it might be like to bring home a LIVING, BREATHING child this time.”
There, I had said it out loud. I thought to myself as I took a deep breath and courageously continued, “I know that this baby, a healthy baby is what we have wanted for the past two years, but it still scares me to think that we will be new parents in a different way. It makes me nervous that we haven’t really done anything yet to prepare for this baby. Is that strange?”
“No,” my husband, a man of few words when it comes to feelings, responds. “What can you do to prepare then?” That answer was more in line with my always analytical problem-solving military husband’s demeanor of trying to ease my emotional turmoil with logical solutions.
I decided it was time to share my fears with him again. “I’m scared to think about preparing for the baby. When I think about it, it just reminds me of how our first baby never came home. We were so ready, in every way. And to have to think about putting all the diapers never to be used back in storage or taking the Pack ‘N’ Play down again makes me sick to my stomach.”
“I know you haven’t wanted to do it, honey, but maybe we should start,” he responded.
And since that conversation last week in the car, Nick and I have been hesitantly preparing for baby No. 2’s arrival. This past Sunday, we indifferently packed the hospital bag, mindlessly washed the baby’s coming home outfits and reluctantly brought the baby furniture out of storage. I have also occupied my time by cooking freezer meals along with sporadically putting the finishing touches on the nursery. As we did all these things, I was reminded of how we have done all these things before, but last time with more joy and anticipation and this time with much trepidation with a hint of cautiously optimistic excitement.
Many parts of this pregnancy have been difficult. It has been an emotional push and pull of wanting to connect to the possibility of this baby and be excited for her, while at the same time being fearful of last pregnancy’s devastating ending in loss happening again. This has been the biggest burden to bear these last eight months. I think the conversation Nick and I had in the nursery last night sums up the emotional confusion that pregnancy after loss can have on parents expecting again.
As we stood in the nursery, looking over our first baby’s clothes never worn that now were to be baby No. 2’s clothes and struggled to pick out matching booties and hats for baby No. 2’s coming home outfit, Nick turned to me with a lack of excitement and more a tone of unease and said, “It seems real now.”
“Hmm.” This time I was the one with few words.
Nick continued, “It just seems like pregnancy is the main event. It’s hard to imagine bringing home a baby this time.”
“I know. I hope it happens,” I replied with a whisper.
Nick reached for my hand again and said, “I hope so, too.”