I keep reminding myself that every family has it's own timeline. Ours just looks a little different than most family's. We have had three children in 20 months, yet only one of them is home with us. We also had one miscarriage smack in the middle. Is our family complete? I don't know.
Micah and I planned on having two, maybe three children. When we discovered we were pregnant with twins we were so happy. Our family was complete. I was ready to schedule my tubal ligation right then and there. Early in the pregnancy I suffered from hypermesis. This meant that when I wasn't vomiting I was dry heaving. I had never felt physically worse in my life. All throughout the first trimester I would cry to Micah that I could not get through it. The days went by so slowly, I never thought I would see the day that I could keep down my saltine crackers and sprite. During week 6 I pronounced that this was the last time I would ever be pregnant. I told Micah that I didn't care if we had another miscarriage, this was it. Gwenevere could be an only child, she was enough for me. Nothing could make me go through this torture again.
Now the question comes to me frequently. Will Gwenevere be an only child? I was an only child for nine years. I had a wonderful childhood. I had both of my parent's undivided attention and love. I was the center of their world and I loved it. Then, the summer before 4th grade the news came that I was going to be a big sister. I was thrilled! Although I had moments that I resented my new sibling about the time and attention that she took away from me, I loved her. Now in adulthood I can't imagine my life without her. Who would I call when our Dad showed up at my house wearing flip flops? Who could I complain to about my Mom thinking that yogurt was a perfectly acceptable lunch? Who could I laugh and cry with and know that no matter what she would always be there? She is my sister and I am so grateful to have her in my life.
Lately, I seem to see pregnant women everywhere. I feel a deep sense of envy. I should be pregnant. Today I would be 30 weeks pregnant with my twins and I would be huge and uncomfortable. I would be loving and hating every moment. When I see a pregnant woman I am most envious of her ignorant bliss. Of course I am assuming that she has never been through the loss of a pregnancy or child. I remember very well my first pregnancy with Gwenevere. At times I felt concern, but I assumed that I would give birth to a perfectly healthy baby. I didn't know at the time that sometimes healthy babies die. Now, the thought of being pregnant is terrifying. Forty weeks is an awfully long time to live in terror, especially since pregnant women can't take Xanax.
Can I overcome my fear? Micah and I have discussed our options. We know that we may have a normal pregnancy that results in a healthy baby. We also know that I may go into preterm labor again and lose another child. We know there are medical interventions available for single pregnancies to prevent preterm labor. We also know that because we conceived twins naturally we have double the chance of twins again. We know that if we become pregnant with twins there is not much that modern medicine can do to prevent preterm labor. We know that if we lose another child we may be broken beyond repair. But are we willing to sacrifice having more children because of fear? Maybe.
For now, my spirit and body need to heal. I gave birth to twins just 7 weeks ago. They were born and they died. This is now part of my life, part of my story. I have to take the time to honor their existence, they are my son and daughter. I have to honor myself and give me time to make peace. I have a new identity. I am the Mom of 3 children. I have one living child and two babies that died. James and Penelope are part of our timeline. Strangers may ask when we are going to have another baby. They don't know our family's timeline. They don't know that Gwenevere has two siblings already.