What Never Was

When Jason and I decided we were ready to have kids it didn't take me long to get pregnant. I remember thinking there was a possibility I could be pregnant, but really couldn't believe it was actually possible, that it would happen so fast. He went out and bought me a pregnancy test and insisted I take it even though I assured him we were getting ourselves worked up for nothing. It is like an unspoken rule that people usually don't get pregnant the first month they try so the chances of me actually being pregnant were slim. I had been on birth control for years and before that day I had never had a pregnancy scare nor had I ever taken a pregnancy test.

I remember him standing outside the bathroom door as I peed on that stick. I remember the two of us waiting the few minutes that felt like hours for the results to appear. I remember telling myself not to get excited as I was freaking out inside. Jason was the one who read the results - positive.

We stood there staring at each other for a minute before the two of us held on to each other for deal life. There were tears and excitement and I remember asking him, "oh my God, now what?" The thing is even when you plan to have a baby and then make all efforts to conceive, it is still a complete shock when the test comes back positive.

That is what happens to people who are careful to NOT get pregnant for years - they can't believe what they've done when they actually do get pregnant.

I was so happy but so nervous too. I wasn't entirely sure how I felt about the whole thing and it admittedly took me a couple of days to wrap my head around the notion of a baby growing inside me. I can clearly recall Jason just being elated.

We told our immediate family and said we were not planning on sharing the news until after we heard / saw a heartbeat and were closer to 12 weeks. We had known so many people who spread the news they were pregnant and then miscarried and had to spread that news as well. I knew I didn't want any part of that.

I guess in my heart I just knew I should be nervous. I felt good and I thought that people who were newly pregnant usually didn't feel good. I had a constant worry about me. A couple of weeks after I peed on that stick, and a week after I actually became excited to have a baby, I started spotting.

I knew, in my heart, then that I would lose the baby. I remember calling my Mom in tears and her reassuring me that sometimes people spot and to just put my feet up and rest. I wanted to believe her and did what she said, knowing deep down that my baby was not going to be.

By the next morning I was bleeding so much the doctor ordered me in for a blood test and ultrasound. Just like I knew, and just like so many other women I know, I had miscarried. I sat on the exam table after the procedure to remove the tissue (a full D&C was not necessary, thankfully) sobbing and cramping. How could something I didn't even really have, or know I for sure wanted a few short weeks ago, make my heart hurt so much?

I can still hear the doctor explaining to me why miscarriages occur and that I should try and see the positive side of it, that my body was smart enough to know there was something not right genetically with the baby therefore it rejected it. That day, on that table in a gown bleeding and cramping, I could not see any good.

I grieved for that baby. The one I never really had and never knew. It changed me even for the few short weeks we were together.

I never went through another pregnancy without fear of miscarrying. I didn't feel the same excitement when taking the pregnancy tests that I did that first time, instead I felt worry. I told myself over and over for 12 weeks, please God let this one be okay and thankfully, they both were.

I still wonder about that baby, the one that could've been. I wonder if it would have been a boy or a girl or if he would've looked like me. I still think of that baby often and how my life would be different if we would not have lost it.

It was 7 years ago this month that I lost that baby...and 7 years ago next month I found out I was pregnant with Jack. Sometimes losing something that breaks your heart leaves you just enough of a hole that can be filled with something you never thought you could love so much.

Giving Thanks

One of the kids teachers mentioned to me today she thought it was a full moon. Apparently all the kids were in rare form today and she thought the full moon would explain a lot. After all isn't it full moons we blame on the crazies coming out, babies being born and werewolves?

The thing is, if I am going to start blaming the phases of the moon on my kids bad behavior that damn thing better get full and stay full. I can't have the moon making me look like a bad parent when it's not full and my kids are acting like assholes in Target.

I feel like I say this alot, like every week, but it has been a rough few days with the boys. I feel frustrated and tired. I feel like a failure at parenting and each time one of the boys screams at me, talks back to be or just blatantly disregards me I am convinced I've lost the battle. I feel like giving up.

I don't succeed at everything I try. I am not one of those people with the horseshoe up their ass that just always has things going their way. I also have never really crashed and burned at anything. Right now, today, I feel like I am burning up.

I have been trying to be firm, to follow through, to threaten them with things I will actually take away. None of it seems to be working and I am embarrassed by their behavior in public multiple times per week. Things are rough between us right now. I am screaming all of the time. They are listening never.

I have found myself wallowing in the self-pity only a Mom can feel when she comes to grips with the fact that she is doing it wrong. That she is raising boys who are often disrespectful, say poop more than any other word they know and are sometimes just plain mean. I feel discouraged and sad.

I have been brought to tears out of frustration over my kids three times in the last five days.

And then. Then I learn about a 5 month baby named Avery. Avery has Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a disease that is all too familiar to me. I learned about SMA after one of my dear friends received the diagnosis that their sweet baby girl had Type 1 SMA and would only live for a few months. She, Cameron, passed away at 4 months old. I don't think anyone that knew her will ever be the same, she touched us all and taught us so much in her short life.

My friends created a foundation to honor their daughters memory, Angel Baby Foundation. I try and help as much as I can with this organization that helps families who have a child with SMA. It provides things for these families to try and ease the burden of a disease that has no cure.

While talking with my girlfriend last night (who is one of the strongest people I am lucky enough to know) she asked me to look up Avery and offer her family the help of Angel Baby Foundation. Avery's parents created a Bucket List blog to talk about all the things they wanted to do with their daughter before she left this Earth. They wanted her to live her life, while she had it. My friends did a similar thing with their daughter. They took Cameron on walks, out in the rain, on a family vacation, etc. They lived her life to the fullest with her while she was still here with them. Avery's parents, like my friends, are inspirational in so many ways.

They have been dealt the worst hand imaginable and still, they smile, they laugh and they love.

I contacted Avery's family last night to tell them about Angel Baby and how I hoped they would contact us so we could help make one of Avery's bucket list wishes come true.

After dropping my boys off at school this morning, frustrated by our morning craziness, running late and no one listening to me, I read my facebook feed.

The first thing I saw was the news of Avery passing away last night. She was 5 months old and like the angel I knew, changed so many people.

I can not imagine, nor will I try, to understand the loss her family is feeling. I can not fathom what it will take to make them get out of bed today and face the world, the one that keeps moving forward as theirs just came to a screeching halt. I can't understand.

I woke up this morning and yelled at my kids for screwing off while brushing their teeth. Shame on me.

As crazy as today was and as frustrated as I feel, today I am grateful. I am so incredibly thankful to have these boys to make me feel like a failure. They are my life and I am so blessed to have them.

Tonight Avery's family is in my thoughts and prayers. I hope Avery finds our angel, Cameron, and they live the most wonderful life in heaven.

I will squeeze my babies a little tighter tonight and thank God for all I have.

To learn more about SMA please visit, Families of SMA

To read Avery's story and see how she lived her life to the fullest, read Avery's Bucket List

To learn more about Angel Baby Foundation or to make a donation to help a family affected by SMA, to help make prenatal testing more readily available or most importantly, to help find a cure, please visit www.angelbabyfoundation.org