Last night, as we were gathered around our dinner table, I had a thought. I glanced at the four chairs and Bubba in his high chair and felt like something was missing. Something just wasn’t right.
I pictured Bubba, older and able to sit still through a meal, occupying that fourth chair. I pictured another baby sitting in the high chair, laughing and giggling at his/her older sister and brother. I pictured our house overflowing with three children. It made my heart ache.
I am so incredibly thankful for our two children. They’re happy, they’re healthy. God has blessed us twice. Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m worthy of these wonderful creatures, so full of life and love.
But I can’t help but wonder “what if” when I think about my miscarriage last year. What if we had a third, beautiful child in our lives? What would it be like to be a family of five? I call it an “aftershock”. They creep up when I least expect it. Sometimes I know they’re coming, like when a friend announces a pregnancy or I see photos of my friend’s newborn babies. Those I know are coming. It’s the aftershocks like last night that I don’t expect, don’t anticipate, those are the ones that seem to hurt the most. To throw me for a loop.
And, it’s strange because I’ve almost come to terms with my first miscarriage before Bubba was born. It is almost as if I’ve reconciled, without that first loss, Bubba wouldn’t be in our lives today and I can’t imagine our lives without his sweet smile, blue eyes and blonde hair. That doesn’t mean I don’t miss that baby I loved for the short time it lived inside of me. Because I do. Every day I do. But the aftershocks of that loss don’t show as often.
But this last loss? It hurts in a different way than the first. Maybe because it made everything seem so final. We weren’t trying to get pregnant. We were planning on being complete as a family of four. That pregnancy surprised and scared me, but I instantly loved the life growing in my belly. In the few short weeks I had the privilege of carrying that life, I fell in love. I pictured the overflowing dinner table and squeezing three car seats in the back of our small car. And then when it was over, I knew we wouldn’t try again. TH was going to make appointments and I went back on BCP. We are a family of four and would stay that way. I imagined ending our journey with the joy of the birth of a healthy baby, not with the sorrow and pain of a miscarriage.
These pangs of longing for our family of five have become fewer and farther between. I guess that’s the good (?) news. Time does seem to heal wounds. I don’t know that they’ll ever be completely gone, though. Maybe they will. What I do know is I continue to be thankful, everyday, for what I do have. And those shadows of things that may have been? I’ll just have to deal with those as they come. It’s all I can do. It’s all anyone can do.