I haven’t been super open about our journey through pregnancy after our loss of Teddy. During our 38 weeks together I felt very closed off, I also felt very protective of Zooey and what people might feel about our choice to try our luck at bringing another baby into the world. I also didn’t always know exactly how I felt but I knew I wanted it all kept close to my chest where it was safe.
One of the biggest gift I received from Teddy was learning to live in the present moment. He taught me to treasure today and worry about what tomorrow brings tomorrow. I lived by the mantra “Today my baby is healthy, today I am healthy”. Somedays it was super easy to believe fearlessly and other days I had to face all the what ifs that crept in. I spent many quiet moments writing to our Sweet Pea Zooey, talking to her, sending her love, and praying for strength should life take another turn down a hard path.
I was so blessed to have a handful of friends who honoured how my heart felt and didn’t judge. There is this balance that I was constantly fighting, enjoying my pregnancy knowing it would be my last, and wishing it away because I physically felt terrible while pregnant and it was my fourth pregnancy in five years and it has taken a toll on my body. I honestly felt done. I struggled feeling guilty at times. How could I want to rush a gift of new life after I lost one only a year prior? How could I complain my back hurt when I should be finding the gratitude in that pain resulting from my body holding and growing my Sweet Pea who I loved dearly? How could I see a stretch mark (only ever had them in the fourth pregnancy) and it not feel worth it? The list of moments such as these big and small is long, I was constantly balancing my gratitude and real life struggles of pregnancy only feeling safe to express the truth to a few and always reminded by those few that I was human and I was able to honour all the emotions, they were all real and all okay to feel.
As the end of our time together as one was coming closer and closer I realized how the birth of Zooey meant the end of a long journey to create a family. Ryan and I started our journey to create a family in 2009, it included our first year of naively trying to get pregnant, to a few heartbreaking rounds of failed IUI, then IVF with a few complications resulting in a miscarriage and the birth of our first son in 2013 and was followed by our second son in 2014, and Teddy at the end of 2015 and now our daughter in 2017. Realizing we are moving on to the next stage of our lives was exciting and also emotional. Looking back and seeing all the tears shed while trying to conceive, to the tears shed over our loss, to the tears of joy from each child that joined our family made me see what a gift it all was, I could see the layers of the foundation our family will firmly stand upon as the years go by being laid as each tear was shed, each moment that felt heartbreaking and each moment our hearts bursted with love. None of it was easy, but I am grateful and see the purpose of it all.
September 13, 2017 Zooey Helen Williams joined our family. We were so fortunate to be surrounded by the same healthcare providers and doula as we have for our previous births, who have supported us so lovingly throughout each one and this time was no different. Birthing Zooey wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine, but I felt the warmth from the rays that did shine upon us. Being so present in pregnancy, worrying about tomorrow, tomorrow worked super well until “tomorrow” arrived. I desperately wanted Zooey’s birth to be about Zooey. She in my mind deserved for me to be 100% present for her but it was impossible. Emotionally I had work that needed to be done, wounds that needed to be healed that presented themselves during labour. I had moments that I felt excited to be meeting my daughter, but I also had moments where it all felt too big, too hard and I wanted it to stop. I shed big tears, I faced huge fears, I spent time right back in Teddy’s birth with each contraction, and with the support of those beside me I worked my way through it all. To me the most significant moment, one that I am sure I am not alone with feeling was that moment you need to push the baby out. Tomorrow is no longer a day that never arrives, it is the moment you need to lay all your cards on the table, and even though you know the deck is stacked in your favour and the hand you have been given couldn’t be better, you know in real life shit happens, and it doesn’t always work out. I wasn’t ready, well my body was but my heart wasn’t, I was terrified to see if I would be given the greatest gift or another tragedy. So I dug deep, I knew the time was now, I was as ready as I ever would be (which is not at all) and I needed to be brave and just do it. Within three contractions she was out, and cried the most beautiful cry. But I needed a moment, I needed to pause. You would think after all we have been through my reaction would be one of relief and tears of joy, but it wasn’t. It was one of panic, it was hard to breath, it was totally and completely overwhelming. Then after the pause and feeling grounded I was able to see her, to see how healthy and alive she really was and how much she looked like her brothers. From that moment forward the love and joy followed.
When you live today for today and worry about tomorrow, tomorrow you really don’t allow yourself to sit in the future. You don’t envision your life bringing the baby home, and what all of that would be like. It took us sometime to truly feel all that had happened and soak up our new beautiful reality. The warmth from the sunshine is stronger each day, and our hearts are filled with gratitude for our healthy little girl. But the truth of it all is the past 38 weeks of pregnancy and Sweet Pea’s birth wasn’t all beautiful rainbows. Our family finally feels complete and so do our hearts, it was all worth it. It is all exactly as intended.
Now on to our next stage of life, firmly planted on the foundation we have laid during the past 8 years.
Wish all six of us luck! I am sure it will continue to be a wild ride filled with love and life lessons! ❤️