Giving thanks and onesies.

Thanksgiving day this year was interesting. I wasn’t going to be spending it with family because of the pandemic. Usually at this time of year, I would be knee deep in dry brining and trifles. This year however would be quiet. I wasn’t feeling well. My body felt off and I was overcome with an impenetrable sadness. I kept thinking about my grandmother because it was the anniversary of her passing. I cried and sipped on wine thinking about how much my life has changed. Little did I know what tomorrow would hold. I wish I could say this story has a happy ending, but it doesn’t, not yet anyway.

The next day I drove to the drug store and bought ten pregnancy tests. I used six that day. They were all positive. Given my age, I didn’t think it was real. Perhaps this was early menopause? I called my sister before I did anything else. I was in panic mode now. This couldn’t be happening to me. She suggested I call the doctor and I did that immediately. The doctor asked some questions and finally said “Congratulations Jodie, you are pregnant.”

I fell to the floor. I was scared, confused, and alone. Having a family was not something I thought I wanted, yet here I was pregnant in my 40s and single. I started to question my ability as a person. No wine, no coffee, could I even do this? I can barely take care of myself. I trembled asking the father to meet me so we could talk. We had a good thing and I was about to turn everything upside down. I knew the minute that our conversation ended, this was a journey I needed to take.

Because of the high risk nature of my pregnancy, I had an ultrasound right away. I was so nervous that I stopped at a church to pray. The last time I prayed was probably in grade school and that’s because I went to Catholic school. On the way to the doctor I saw a statue of Mary outside a Catholic church on Christian Street and felt compelled to say a few words. I don’t even remember what I said but I definitely word vomited in hopes that someone would hear me.

As I got settled on the table at the doctor’s office, I felt the technician place the machine on my stomach. That was the moment I heard the heartbeat of my Little Smoosh. My life changed instantly. Little Smoosh happened to be the name I blurted out during that first ultrasound and the name kind of stuck. Baby’s heartbeat was nice and strong. I watched them do backflips and show off for everyone in the room and we all giggled. It was exactly the same thing at each ultrasound. Little Smoosh wanted me to know they were fighting. 

I embraced the nausea, the food aversions, and the exhaustion. Most days I couldn’t get off the sofa or look at food. I was grateful for cereal, toast, and red vines. I was fine with all of it because I knew it was for my little one growing inside me. I started reading books and started a journal for the baby. I celebrated with the few people that knew and bought a cute onesie. I started to show and took pictures of my bump. I was embracing being pregnant and pending motherhood. I even used the rest of the pregnancy tests to make sure it was real. Each time when it ended up being positive, I would look at Frankie and Arya and say, “Yep. Still pregnant.”

I had a plan. Being a single mom during a pandemic was not ideal, but suddenly there was nothing that I wanted more. Frankie and Arya even posed for the perfect picture so we could finally announce it to the world. I was now in my second trimester and I wanted everyone to know.

Then on February 1st I got the call. I thought it was the doctor telling me the gender so I answered excitedly but it was the call no one ever wants to get. There had been some early indication that there could be problems. Now, the diagnostic tests confirmed that my pregnancy was in jeopardy. I spent days on the phone with doctors, counselors, and nurses trying to get all the information. Then a few short days later my pregnancy ended. That entire week is still a blur. It was a series of phone calls, tests, and tears. I was completely numb.

I remember the doctor asking me if I wanted to be induced so that I could hold my baby and say goodbye but I didn’t have that strength. I don’t know if I will regret that some day. I was struggling and in so much pain that I made the best decision I could at the time. My mom says that I have an angel now. I haven’t told anyone their name or their gender. If they are an angel now, that will be between the two of us and something I will carry with me forever.

I’ve been through every emotion. This is a new kind of pain. I’ve shed a million tears and I know I will never be the same. Right now I feel broken. I’m not only grieving the loss of a baby but also of a life I envisioned for me and this little one. It’s hard to grieve a loss that isn’t tangible to everyone. To me however it’s the most real thing in the world. I heard the heartbeat, I saw the pictures, and I felt it every day.

Thank goodness for my family and friends. Their endless support and love is getting me through this. Also I’m thankful for my Frankie and Arya, who I haven’t stopped hugging for one second.

I’m sending so much love and many hugs to everyone right now because even though this has been traumatic, my heart has been opened even more than I could imagine.

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