We’re just calling to let you know that your blood work is all normal, but you are newly pregnant—Congratulations.”
I first found out about you (very early) since I was getting blood work done to figure out why I was going on over two months of Bronchitis. It wasn’t for another month and continuous up-all-night coughing that I finally saw a Pulmonologist, who finally diagnosed me with adult asthma—the beginning of a long, hard pregnancy—for keeping you safe & healthy was mine and my body’s first priority.
Those simultaneous feelings of excitement, love, and fear. Love and excitement for the possibility of you—but fear because I had been so sick and now needing asthma treatments, a new (& scary) phenomenon to me—that I was concerned every second that getting me healthy would hurt you. My asthma soon was under control, but early cervix bleeding and moderated bedrest soon followed—each health scare very different from the very easy pregnancy I had with your sister, where I was healthy, writing my dissertation a million hours a week, but able to be very physically active until the day I went into labor. All I wanted was you—for you to be healthy, for you to make it through.
As if the multiple medical pregnancy complications weren’t difficult enough, at 5-months in utero, I experienced the very unexpected to me and premature collapse of my marriage—the life I knew was unraveling in front of me and no matter what I did, the waves kept crashing—and again, all I cared about was getting you (and your sister) safely through this unrelenting storm.
As I’ve come to realize—life unfolds in sometimes wondrous, and other times heartbreaking ways—and you just need to focus on the good and the things within your control. I spent the rest of my pregnancy solely focused on you and your sister—our next steps as a family of three. It’s been a bumpy, heartbreaking, but overall, beautiful ride—and I just couldn’t wait to hold you in my arms—to thank you for being as strong as you are and for giving me the best reason to keep moving forward. Every day as your “birth day” grew closer, I yearned to have you here—I needed to see you, to hold you, to love you. I needed to know you were in fact, healthy and OK.
You and your sister are your dad’s and my number one priority, and we’re figuring out a way to make our “new normal” healthiest and happiest for all of us with the cards restacked as they are. Unconditional love is something you will never go without— you are loved more than you’ll ever know or realize, until maybe you too have kids of your own one day. All the clichés are true—kids overwhelm your heart with more love & happiness than you could ever deem possible.
Your dad had moved back into the house and into the guest room near the end of my pregnancy—to be there for the homestretch since he had missed most previous innings—a situation that actually allowed me some relief and sleep those last few very uncomfortable weeks. He even went with me and the dogs for beach walks and to my final prenatal Obstetrician appointment, when I got my membranes swept as I neared 40 weeks—everything to urge you to make an appearance.
The next two days after that last prenatal visit, I was extremely crampy from the sweep and laid low besides taking Kaiah for a beach walk earlier that day, so when the contractions finally came, I didn’t take them seriously—I just figured they were more of the same—until the cramping became routine, closer together, and stronger did I text your dad that I thought we should go to the hospital. It was nearing midnight on December 2nd. I called your great- Aunty Jan, who lives 10 minutes down the road, and thankfully she was home to come watch your sister while we left for the hospital. Consistent contractions 3 minutes apart throughout the drive to Mass General, a brief 25-minute drive thanks to no traffic at midnight. We arrived at Labor & Delivery to find out that despite the consistent contractions, I was only 2 ½ centimeters dilated and 80% effaced. The doctor had us go downstairs and walk to hopefully speed up the process— but it was only after 15 minutes downstairs when the contractions became unbearable, squeezing your dad’s hands and starting to cry, I looked at him and said we need to go back upstairs. I was then unable to walk through the contractions and at 5 centimeters dilated—things were progressing much faster than we or the doctor expected. They quickly got me into a room and paged the anesthesiologist to give me an epidural for you were on your way. They sent your dad out of the room as the Anesthesiologist attempted to give me an epidural—when I told the nurse that she needed to stop the baby was coming NOW. Sure enough, the nurse turned me around, called three doctors and your dad back in the room and 4 minutes and 3 pushes later, you were in my arms—all 7lbs and 20 1/4th inches of you.
I was finally holding you, this perfect, healthy baby boy with the cutest button nose and dimpled chin. A flood of emotions overtook me—you were here and healthy. You and I both successfully made it through one hell of a pregnancy in every sense of the word.
Always wanting two kids—I felt a sense of “completeness.” Knowing you two will always have each other, no matter what life throws at you, puts me at such ease.
Your Nonnie and Papa were the first eager visitors later that day, at only a few hours old—followed by your sister, Charley, who already adores you, Grandmother Denise and Aunty Nikki, who made you the most beautiful blanket—and “Aunty” Ash, one of your mama’s lifelong best friends. Trust me, you’re surrounded by many pseudo- “Aunties” who already adore you. Everyone can’t wait to meet you!
The two nights in the hospital flew by, filled with lots of feedings, your circumcision, and visitors, both medical and personal. Your dad and I fell more in love with you with each passing second—you are a gem, have been so easy-going and chill, picked up breastfeeding without any issue—and are just pure love.
After such a long road and internal debate for months whether I wanted him at your delivery, I was so grateful to have him there—for those two brief days, I was brought back in time to much happier days in our marriage and reminded again of the good person he really is underneath what’s occurred over the past 7 months—and how much he loves you and your sister. I knew then that no matter what happens, what our future holds, if we’ve made it this far and are able to co-parent in the midst of such a hurtful situation, the rest would be a bit easier—each new day would bring greater ease, until one day it is just natural. As Glennon Doyle always says: “we can do hard things”—and your dad and I can and will do hard things—to make sure you and your sister are always the most treasured part of our now separate lives.
At one point though on the second night, as breastfeeding hormones raged through my system, I sat wide awake watching you both sleep and silently cried tears that soon became uncontrollable. I kept thinking how differently this picture is from what I once imagined the day I first found out about you. The multiple battles I’ve fought and lost in the past few months, but how far I’ve come despite them, the tremendous tribal love and support I’ve received.
Your father had been so lost in the “infatuation” stage of his new relationship the past few months: that exciting, enticing and addicting butterfly-in-your-stomach newness we all love feeling in the beginning of a new romantic relationship—that he temporarily lost sight of knowing that what we had, was actually “the good stuff,” holding my hand as I pushed you out and watched as you took your first breath of air, sitting in a hospital room watching you sleep peacefully and wondering what your future holds, introducing you to your big sister, watching the awe on her face—being there for the best and worst days of each other’s lives and supporting one another through life on both sides of the spectrum.
I knew in that moment that I wanted to find “the good stuff” again—something the infatuation stage of love pales in comparison to. I want to cultivate the real thing with someone— someone emotionally available who would chose me everyday. To possibly experience the forever thing, the “I’ll stand with you through the fire” thing gives me such hope; but that is a blog post for another day. I’m getting to that– and I’m actually very hopeful right now that life will give me another shot in the arena. At least I hope so.
But I still couldn’t help but feel robbed for myself and for you—I would not be raising you and Charley alongside your dad—you wouldn’t be able to look up to us, your parents, as role models of what romantic love should look like, family vacations would never happen, you would not have a single “home base,” and you may one day have step-siblings. Me having to rip apart the picture in my head is what has seemed to hurt the most throughout this whole journey: the life I pictured on our wedding day vs. the reality of how that picture dissipated rapidly over a few months of your dad’s work lunch dates, social media conversations, & secret escapes with a coworker that I was neither invited to nor alerted of.
We were discharged Tuesday morning and we ventured back home to introduce you to your fur-siblings, our beloved dogs, and to be reunited with your sister. Unsure what Charley’s reaction would be towards you—we were both astounded at how overly excited about you she was, how easily she accepted you into our lives, and how great she has been. She simply ADORES you, gets so excited to see you, runs to give you a binky any time she hears your slightest cry, and actually named her doll she never previously showed interest in “Teddy”—Heart melt. Watching her love you is possibly the sweetest thing I’ve ever been witness to—that pure, innocent, sibling love. You are so lucky, my dear boy. You both are. And no matter what happens, you two will always be so very loved by two parents who have never wanted anything more than we’ve wanted you two—even if we no longer wanted our marriage.
In the midst of your father being away and needing your birth forms filled out, I decided to name you Teddy Abbott after your two maternal great-grandfathers and two of the greatest, most loving, kind, and genuine men I’ll ever know. The WWII generation of really good men– I figured you needed one hell of a strong name and although they are big shoes to fill, I have no doubt in you, my little love warrior. I may have given birth to you, but in many ways, you and your sister are the ones who breathe life into me, everyday.
As I always tell and sing to Charley, and I now sing to you, “you’ll never know how much I love you.”
Love you forever,