I had made peace with being done. I was excited about it. I wondered why in the world I had decided "starting over" with a newborn was such a great idea when I was so close to having all that time to myself and developing my career. I had even put out feelers about a possible midwife apprenticeship.
At the end of the last cycle, I decided I needed to take one more pregnancy test, to prove to myself that we were done. Then when it was negative, I reasoned, I could get back to the business of living my life and parenting my girls.
Except it wasn't negative. And we were thrilled.
Since we were being followed by a fertility specialist, protocol dicatated a "viability" ultrasound at 6 weeks. I was destroyed when the ultrasound showed no heartbeat.
"I'm sorry," the Doctor said "There's nothing there. We should see a heartbeat by now. I'm afraid this isn't a viable pregnancy."
I don't remember what else was said, except that he told me that I had less than 5% chance of having the pregnancy continue, and that I shouldn't get my hopes up. He scheduled me to come in four days later to do another check, and said we could talk about options for ending the pregnancy at that point.
Waiting those four days was excruciating. I have never experienced grief like that in my life.
We went back in on a Saturday, to find a blinking little heartbeat, and a Doctor who nonchalantly said "Well, it's a good thing we had you come back in to check."
Max's labor was complicated, long, and difficult. He was born with his cord wrapped tightly around his neck three times, and wasn't breathing at birth.
While I felt his spirit all around me, and knew that he was going to be fine, I found out later that my husband and my mom were very scared for his life.
It took some maneuvering by my midwife and some fancy resuscitation before we heard his first cry.
Shortly after he was born, we started on the crazy medical roller coaster. Besides finding out that he had a major skull condition, he was also having trouble feeding. We were told he was aspirating fluid into his lungs, which was a very dangerous condition, and that he couldn't breastfeed anymore because the risks to him were just too great.
Once again, I was devastated. Breastfeeding was the only thing I knew. I consulted with doctors, with lactations consultants, wth specialists. They all told me the same thing- no more breastfeeding.
I've talked a lot on this blog about Max's surgeries. They are, undoubtedly, the hardest things I've ever had to go through as a parent. There are no words to describe what it feels like to see your tiny baby hooked up to tubes, wires, and breathing machines in the ICU.
Everyone says kids are reslient. I would never have believed that a week after getting his skull opereated on that he would be beaming up at me, almost as if nothing had happened.
We celebrated Max's second birthday yesterday. He is a charming, hilarious, full of trouble little boy, like any two year old should be. It's been months since he has needed a trip to a Doctor's office, an instacare, or an ER. (And yes, I did just knock on wood.) His scar is nearly completely hidden in his mop of crazy curly hair. He shoots basketballs like a pro, (you mean you don't have a Fisher Price basketball hoop in your front room?) is learning new words at a rate of 5-10 per day, (his newest and cutest is "elevator,") and shows no sign of adverse effects from any of his crazy adventures.
He makes me laugh every day. He helps me not to take myself so seriously.