Before Steve died, he and I thought long and hard about having another baby. We already had two wonderful, adorable, strong, smart, perfect girls. And for the longest time, two felt like enough. We used to say that if you had more than two, you didn’t have enough hands! We had moved to the Seattle area from Massachusetts in 2005 and started a new life here, with new jobs and family close by. We made lots of friends and were happy in our new house and new environment. In September of 2006, we started talking about having another baby. I think we had both been tossing the idea around in our minds for a few months prior but we didn’t talk about it together until then. All of a sudden it was the right time, it was the right choice. It felt exciting and happy. We had just gone through some experiences that brought us closer than ever and made us so grateful for each other, for our children. So we said, let’s try. In October, we realized I was not pregnant so on to the next month. You know what’s funny? I had a deadline in my mind regarding getting pregnant by a certain date. I was all wrapped up in not having a baby born in September because of the hassle with school, etc when your birthday is then. Often you have to wait to start until the following year. So I was determined to be pregnant in November – because of the school nonsense. Little did I know that I was feeling that urgency for another reason. God and the Universe had a bigger plan for me – as is always the case.
I found out that I was pregnant several days after the funeral. You would think that your husband dying and suddenly being the only parent of 2 girls would be the weirdest feeling in the world. Nope. I topped it. Being pregnant was STRANGE. I had such conflicting emotions around it. How on earth do you get happy about expecting a baby when you are in the midst of such intense grief? How do you grieve such a huge loss when you are growing a new life inside your body? How could you not only manage your own grief but also your children’s grief – and do THIS? How do you tell people? People were already treating me so differently – how would this effect how people viewed me? Am I in a Lifetime Original Movie and someone forgot to tell me? So many questions and not nearly enough answers.
I tried to put it out of my mind for a while. Tried. I had shared the information with just one or two people right away but talking about it was so overwhelming. I would send the girls to school each day and then lie down on the couch and think. And try not to think. And think some more. I realized that my current health insurance would be running out any day because it was through Steve’s company, so I made a Dr.’s appointment to get in and confirm this pregnancy and get as much done as I could while still covered.
That first doctor’s appointment was…I am not sure how to describe it. Surreal is one way. I can remember talking to Steve as I walked the halls of the huge building that was new to me, asking him to be close. It was a new doc to me so of course I was handed the New Patient Information sheet to fill out upon checking in. I sat down in the waiting area and began to fill it out, same information I had filled out so many times before. Name, address, phone number, birth date, marital status… Marital status. That damn question fell all over me like a ton of bricks and almost knocked me out. Married? Of course I’m still married. Of course I am – I did not choose to end my relationship with my husband. We took vows. I am married. I checked married – because the other options could not apply to me.
The nurse took me back to the exam room and eventually I saw the doctor. She was unprepared for what I was about to lay on her. Who wasn’t? I told her my story and she looked, in the words of my darling daughter, “shook”. We did a blood test, an ultrasound, all the early pregnancy tests and things that you can do when you are only 4-ish weeks pregnant. This baby was confirmed through all the tests – it was real. It was coming. The doctor looked at my New Patient Information sheet and glanced up at me. She had seen where I checked “Married” on the form and I had just finished telling her my husband had died. I said, “Well, we are. We were. We….” I stammered something about family and marriage and felt my eyes tear up. She very sweetly, and with much compassion, said to me that the information on the form had to reflect right now, what was reality right now, in this moment. She quietly crossed off “Married” and put a big fat X in the box that said “Widowed”.