For the majority of this pregnancy I tried my best to not make it real. When I gave myself permission to think about the pregnancy, I did so in a conceptual way, as if the pregnancy were happening to a future Mike and not this guy right here. I knew that once I accepted the baby was coming – and that this was indeed real – I’d be putting my heart on the line, and I wasn’t ready to do that just yet.
I had a similar attitude with our last pregnancy, so when Heather miscarried I wasn’t nearly as down as one might expect. Being all too aware that things could go wrong, I protected myself by not making it real, and when something did go wrong, I was able to handle it.
I’m in trouble now, though, because I’ve fallen in love with my son. Somewhere in the last few weeks – after seeing the latest ultrasound photos, after passing the twenty week mark, after feeling his little kicks – my son became 100% real to me. Now when I think about him my heart swells with love, and not conceptual love for a future child, but love in the here and now. And that scares me. Big time.
Last week Heather went to Labor & Delivery after feeling a few too many Braxton Hicks contractions, and I felt true fear for the first time with this pregnancy. Thankfully, everything checked out okay and Heather came home, but later that night, when we were talking about things, she mentioned something that unsettled me. She said that she’ll feel a little better about the pregnancy when we reach the point of viability (24 weeks), because if anything were to happen past that point our baby would at least have a chance.
“…at least have a chance.”
I knew it was a possibility that we could have another seriously premature baby, but until this conversation I hadn’t allowed myself to stop and really think about it. And while I agreed with Heather that if something were to happen I’d want it to happen when our son had a chance, the thought of watching another one of my babies fight for life was a miserable one.
Even more miserable was imagining what life would be like if we were lucky enough bring him home after an extended NICU stay. This time it would be much scarier than it was with Maddie, because then I had a naively positive outlook where I believed that, if we did everything right by Maddie health-wise and loved her to pieces, all would be okay. But I now know the world doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t matter if you’re a good person or have already been through hell, bad things can happen to you. That’s why, as a no longer naive dad who already lost a former preemie, I don’t know how I would sleep at night with another former preemie in the home.
The good news is that this pregnancy is moving forward as relatively normal as possible. We have a long way to go, though, before we have a healthy baby. I need to prepare myself for the possibility there are difficult days ahead, and not just with a conceptual pregnancy, but with a little guy I’ve already fallen in love with.
Beautiful post. I can feel the love you have for your lil man. I pray that the rest of Heather’s pregnancy is as smooth as possible!
Interestingly enough I just wrote a post similar to this. Of course our loss was very early, which is nothing compared to what you went through losing Maddie. Still, it was so hard to get attached to this little boy growing inside of me. I’m now incredibly attached and in love with my future son, and in a way that makes it scarier. Every week he stays growing inside me I feel like I can relax just a little more, but I know nothing is guaranteed and it’s still kind of scary.
That was a bit of a ramble, sorry. I just want to say thank you for sharing your feelings on this. It helps to feel like the feelings I had were normal. Wishing a long and healthy pregnancy for your little guy.
Sending you guys all kinds of good thoughts.
Love the Glamour Shots, Heather! You’re right–you hair IS rad! I can see where Annie gets her lovely locks.
Mike, I’ve been reading your and Heather’s blog for a long time…since just after Maddie died. You two have been through so much over the last several years and I just cannot imagine anything more going wrong for you. I pray that this pregnancy results in a healthy, bouncing baby boy for you and your family. You SOOOOO deserve it after everything you’ve been through, and because you are both amazing parents. I’ll be watching and waiting… xoxo
virtual hugs and well wishes from an internet stranger. will keep a good thought for you all until the acrobat lands safely.
Editdebs (Debbie A-H) says:
Big hugs to you.
I’m not going to pretend to know what you’re going through, because I don’t, but I can empathize with what you’re saying and I think you are 100% right to feel the way you do. I will keep my fingers crossed that this pregnancy progresses as Annie’s did (so far it seems like it has) and that at the end of this, you’ll have a baby a healthy, chubby baby, just like Annie was.
This post really touched my heart. I don’t feel like any of my words could possibly ease your fears or pain, but just know that you are being thought of. Hang in there.
You have both been through so much. I think my husband did the same thing and protected his heart. I am praying that your little boy arrives safely and mends you both a little more.
Scary thoughts and nobody can blame you. I too have read your blogs for a few years now ever since Matt Logelin wrote about Maddie when she passed away. I am sending all of the good vibes that I can muster up to you and will pray for everything to be ok for your family. The two of you have been through more than any couple should ever have to in a lifetime. I hope the time goes by fast and in a few months you will be holding your healthy baby boy and dreaming of your future with your little family.
What a beautiful post, sending love and strength.
I hope the weeks pass swiftly and safely for you all.
No words- just sending you love. I wish I could take your fear away and promise you that nothing is going to happen to your precious baby boy, but unfortunately I can’t. What I do know is that he is already one of the luckiest babies out there- with such amazing and special parents who already adore him so. For you to want to stay guarded (understandably), but not being able to stop yourself from falling in love with your little acrobat shows what a wonderful father you are. If only all babies were blessed with daddies like you! Love and hugs being sent your way, always.
Oh Mike!! Sending you guys so many love and prayers! You and Heather are so wonderful and such loving parents. I pray that this little guy will come into the world full term and healthy!
I can only imagine how you must be feeling. Of course it’s going to be tough if your son comes prematurely but it will just be what it is. Unfortunately you can’t control the future and that is fucking horrendously scary. But you have been an amazing father to two beautiful girls already and you will be an amazing dad to your son. Of that, we can all be sure. Sending you peace.
This is so beautiful Mike. Thank you for sharing. Please know that I am sending lots of good thoughts for you all. I keep your entire family in my heart and think of Maddie all the time.
Katie B. says:
I am not sure if this will work, but I just wanted to ask other readers’ input…
Fellow dads or dads-to-be (or girls, your significant others) have you gotten attached to your pregnancy(ies) like Mike has? If you have had to endure a miscarriage, have you been as hurt and Mike?
I know this sounds so crazy to ask and I hope I’m not offending anyone and I hope this doesn’t come across as selfish. I’ve had two miscarriages and my husband acted like they didn’t bother him. The first one may have a little, but I was devastated and he was fine the day after my d&c. I just want to know if Mike’s incredibly sensitive and supportive reactions and feelings are common with other men who have endured these tragedies? It hurt me to see my husband care so little and almost act if the surgery from my second miscarriage (ectopic) was a nuisance for him. I guess I am envious and wish my husband was as sensitive as Mike, and so kind and supportive of Heather. And Mike, I’m so sorry, you probably are truly creeped out by me saying all of this. It’s just great to see a marriage like y’all’s and how awesome you two are together. Just wanted to see if most marriages or relationships are like this?? Ok, I will stop typing now
It must be so scary to be where you are right now. Despite what people say about pain making people “stronger,” I think it makes people much more sensitive to the possibility of loss–to the chance of more pain. Kahlil Gibran called love a “threshing floor” that will “grind you to whiteness”–and I do believe that allowing yourself to feel fear and recognize yours and your son’s vulnerability also allows you to feel immense love too. Can’t have one without the other. He’ll be in your arms soon, and it’s going to be amazing.
Oh Mike! Your heart truly is on the line! I know that all of us are hoping and praying that all goes well and that your very valid fears go unfounded.
I can’t imagine how hard this must be as a parent. I know that after the loss of my nephew, when my brother and sister-in-law were expecting again, it was hard for me to be as carefree and joyous with my 2nd nephew as I had been with my first. And I hate admitting that. Admitting that I was afraid to love him unconditionally until he was born and safe and home and alive.
You and Heather went thru so much with Maddie, I think your fears are so understandable…and, frankly, normal
But the fact that you have fallen in love with your son NOW speaks volumes to your bravery as a parent and as a man. I think it safe to say that no matter what the future holds, you’ll never regret loving as early & as long as you can. Love for one’s child leaves no room for regret.