Two months after Natalie passed away we found ourselves with an unexpected pregnancy. We had talked about adding to our family but planned on waiting until we had some time to get back on our feet emotionally.
In reality, I would probably be long into menopause before I felt emotionally ready to take on another pregnancy, so in retrospect I am grateful that we were caught by surprise.
It is hard to explain what this was like-hoping to welcome a new life all while reeling from the loss of a beloved child. After my miscarriages all I wanted was another baby. After losing Natalie all I wanted was Natalie. It was hard to imagine making room in my heart for a new person. Some things worked themselves out easily on their own-the first time I saw this baby move on an ultrasound my heart jumped and I thought "well, of course I am going to love you!" Other aspects of being pregnant remained a struggle to the end.
Frankly the pregnancy with Natalie left me feeling traumatized. The idea of living with that fear and vulnerability again was overwhelming. This was my 5th pregnancy and I had one living child. I no longer looked at a positive pregnancy test and trusted that we were having a baby. I could no longer think of a rare complication and trust that it would not happen to me.
Every pregnancy milestone was an emotional battleground for me. I can not say that I spent those months in a happy, peaceful glow. Emotionally I was curled in a ball with my hands over my ears and my eyes squeezed shut. I was just trying to hold out and reach the end, hoping that we would have a little one to bring home. I could not relax and look forward. Talking about the pregnancy set me on edge and I had a hard time sharing the news.
We waited several months before telling Annie. She had been asking daily for another sister so I knew she would be excited. The night we told her she was just thrilled. It was bedtime and she went from sleepy to hyper instantly. I stayed up late with her while she paced the floor and made plans for her new sibling. So much of what she said mirrored her plans for Natalie and it was bittersweet hearing her make those plans for someone else.
When she finally crawled into bed she became quiet and stared into space. She said "Mommy, I don't want the baby to be sick.....I want the baby to come home." I told her that I know, I want the baby to be healthy and come home, too. It broke my heart that at 3 years old this is what she has to worry about. Her biggest worry should be having to share her toys, not worrying if the baby will live.
We were so fortunate that emotions were our only complication this pregnancy. Baby Boy Teegarden was very well monitored the entire time and he thrived. He does have bilateral club feet, but after all we have been through it was a small concern. Certainly I wish he did not have to endure the treatment, but I also have a whole new perspective.
On August 31, we welcomed sweet Elliot. He has been a wonderful addition to our family and is dearly loved. He clearly resembles both of his sisters and has traits that are just his as well.
And now here he is.....
At one day old
As he is now at 6 weeks old
With his adoring big sister