When I Was Pregnant With You...

May 17, 2017

By Sanda Rathamone
May 17, 2017



This is a reflection of when I was pregnant with my son, Elijah. It is also my only memory of my first born child. "Sometimes you have to look back to realize how far you've come."

A Sweet Discovery

Before I knew that you had arrived, you caused this pain in my body for a week. I didn't know it yet, but you were trying to tell me that my wish and prayer was answered.

When I found out that I was pregnant with you, I thanked everyone and all above. You were a gift and a sign that heaven exists, that God answers prayers. I started imagining life with you from the very, very beginning; before you decided to enter my life. When you arrived, my imagination grew even bigger. It was like I could taste and feel the gift of everything that came with motherhood. 



Knowing that you were finally here made me smile for days. I couldn't help but melt at the thought of having a round, pregnant belly, feeling you inside of me, and holding you in my arms. I already wanted to hear the sound of your first cry.

The third and fourth time I took a pregnancy test to finally claim you, made me feel like I had finally accomplished something worthy in my life. I waited for a long, long, LONG time for you.

When I was pregnant with you, your daddy was excited, but was also nervous. It took him awhile to really welcome and warm up to the idea of you. He wanted to make sure that he was able to take care of all of us. We argued every now and then about you, because when you came, you were unexpected. I was still in school, studying to become a counselor, but luckily, I was able to graduate very soon -- before your second arrival into the world. And your daddy needed a new [different kind] of change to his life. I regret ever thinking of giving you back. I'm sorry if that made you hate me or want to leave me. I wanted you more than I have ever wanted anything else in the world and will always pray that you remember that.

Love At First Sight 

The first time I got to see you, I didn't ask your daddy to stay with me in the room. I should have. Even though you were only just a small, tiny bubble, the feeling of seeing you for the first time was indescribable, priceless. It was exhilarating! It was a breath of real fresh air. Because you were the new beginning of a happy family. When I showed your daddy the first picture of you, he didn't have the same reaction as I did. Because he should have been there. Because you didn't look like a baby, yet.


 

A few weeks later, I got the chance to see you again and was when your daddy finally got to see you, too. I know it made him feel so proud. It was also when we both got to hear your amazingly rapid heartbeat for the very first time. The sound of you was like nothing I've ever heard of -- coming from my own body. You also looked like a little gummy bear and that picture of you was my favorite and still is. I named you "baby bear."




We were now a family of bears: Soukie Bear, Sanda Bear, and Baby Bear. I loved the sound of that! I couldn't help myself after I saw your tiny head, limbs, and body. I wanted to imagine what you would look like in clothes. So, I did. One day, your daddy and I saw this tiny yellow nightie with ducklings on it. We bought it in a newborn size and decided that this was going to be the very first outfit you'd wear. It was funny taking it home, hanging it on the wall to look at, and cuddling its formlessness as if it was you.


I remember waking up every Sunday morning, happy to read the latest update on your development; like it was my weekly newspaper. I was excited as weeks passed by, because that meant that I was getting closer to meeting you.

The Hard Work Of Pregnancy


Yet, I wasn't always happy being pregnant with you. You made my appetite for food a disaster. You made me think that food wasn't natural. You made me worry that I was malnourished, guilty of not feeding the both of us; you even got your daddy to again, argue with me, but this time about refusing to eat. Thank God, you helped me find a solution later down the road. You wanted nothing but cold foods. You liked yogurt, salads, and sandwiches. You made me hate meat and eggs for awhile. I guess you got me to eat better, you even persuaded me love vegetables more than I have ever had before.

But, you also gave me addictions. You LOVED sour gummy worms, pickles and spicy sauces and flavors. I was so worried that all of those bags of gummy worms would give me gestational diabetes! 

What did make me happy was that my morning sickness wasn't all that bad, like many other mothers. You didn't make me throw up all day or night; just a couple times. Instead, you made me wake in the mornings having to sit for a little bit to heave and gag, but that was it. You also made me hate the smell and taste of toothpaste and forced me switch to those kiddy bubblegum ones... I still have it in the drawer in the bathroom, no longer in use. It is now a reminder of you.

Maybe you were right to keep me away from certain foods and scents. Maybe you were just trying to keep me safe, us safe. 

Although, I've always wondered how you kept me from gaining any weight. Like how could you keep growing, but didn't make me any heavier? I guess I should be grateful for that. Why complain? But still, it made me worry. Because I wasn't sure you were growing at all and that I was just being filled up with weightless water. It turns out that this was actually normal and we were both healthy... even though I'd lose a couple or few pounds every now and then. 

I'd worry too much about you. I'd check to see if you tried to leave me. I wanted to make sure that you were safe. It was a relief knowing that you were OK. Still, I couldn't help but worry that one day, this was all for nothing. 

The Joy Of Being Your Parents

Some days, we couldn't help ourselves. Your daddy and I loved browsing the baby aisle, your aisle, the aisle we have explored numerous times before you came... It is now the aisle that stings my heart... We got clothes in neutral colors because blue and pink was just too risky at the time. 

Constantly, I questioned if you were real. I was still in a state of disbelief. How could I be pregnant with you? Was I really pregnant? Were you really IN there? But, then, slowly, I could see that you were making yourself comfortable inside of me. Ever so slowly, I could see that you were making space for yourself. Ever so slowly, we were making space for you. I couldn't wait to feel you. I couldn't wait to scream for your daddy and tell him that you were saying "Hi!"

Nevertheless, as you were making yourself at home, you also caused me more pain. You often made my lower back hurt. You gave me ligament pain. You gave me sciatica for the first time in my life! You made me feel as though my ribs and skin where being stretched out to the point of no return. You made my body so sensitive and tender. Yet, I was happy that you were the one to blame. I was happy that all of this was for you. AND, I was happy that you made your daddy give me massages! 

The third time we got to see you, we went to a different clinic. We saw that you grew! You made the ultrasound technician angry. She called you a "tough kid" because you wouldn't move to the other side, so that she could get measurements of your body. She made me angry because she put so much pressure with the probe to my belly and jiggled us like crazy. It made me laugh, but still, she wasn't very nice to us.

Perhaps, she just wasn't in the mood to be happy for and with us. When I saw your movements, it was again, just so indescribable. Of course, YOU CAN MOVE! I don't remember if we got to hear your heartbeat that time, but looking at the photos of your new and transformed  self, I could see the lines of your head and ears. It looked as if you were laying on your side with the back of your head facing me. It looked as if you were sleeping and telling me (err, the technician) not to bother you! I could see your hands in a fist, as if you were just about to wake. As if all that stomach jiggling woke you up from your peaceful nap. 

We also got your crib shipped to the house. Shamelessly, we set it up. We just loved the thought of you sleeping in it, right next to our bed. It was the only thing in the room that was really meant for you. We couldn't wait to see you in it. But, we waited for you anyway. 



I think a few days or so later, we went to see my doctor to check in after that measurement/sonogram. She wanted to make sure we were both doing okay. She performed a physical exam, checking to see if we were in healthy condition. We also got to hear your heartbeat again. This time, we got to hear the difference between my heartbeat and yours. Your heart sounds like it works harder than mines. But, that's normal, it's normal that you had a 130+ beats-per-minute heart rate. Which is like double or triple to mine. I know that your daddy loved hearing you. I think it makes him fall more in love with being your daddy.

Waiting For You

After that, we had to wait 6-7 whole weeks to see you again! There was just so much waiting!! It was a thrill to be patient for you. After 7 weeks, it would be when we could finally get all of your measurements AND know if you were a boy or girl. It was the longest 7 weeks we have ever waited for. During those weeks, I walked the stage with you in my belly! It was wonderful knowing that you were part of my commencement, that you were also cheering me on and proud of me. I graduated after 3 years of college at 18 weeks pregnant with you. I was looking forward to my next journey in life; my life with you and your daddy for the rest of our lives.

From then on, I couldn't imagine life without you. You were in my everyday and nightly thoughts, feelings, and actions. Everything about me, was now about you.

I remember we had a WIC appointment. We watched a video on breastfeeding. It was such a funny and awkward experience watching a mother breastfeed her baby (in front of a stranger) in both real and animated form. Little did I know that I would go home, obsessed with learning how to latch and hold you to my breast. I was obsessed with the idea of feeding you from both the inside and outside of my body.

2 weeks left and everyone was asking if you were a boy or girl. You told me you were a boy long before I saw that you were. You gave me dreams. You even led me to finding more names for a boy than a girl.

It's A ....

At 20 weeks, we were so excited! This was it! But, I also hated this day. The ultrasound tech told me that I had to drink this huge gulp of water in one sitting, so that we could see you nice and clear. That day, I peed so many times, more times than you have ever made me go early in the mornings. The technician measured my uterus and cervix. Then, I had to take a pee break. And then, we finally saw you on screen.

You definitely grew even bigger. This time, I could see more of you, I could see a whole arm and foot, even leg and knee. I could see a bigger face. Your heartbeat still sounded very strong. When the tech finally asked if we wanted to know if you were a boy or girl, I had asked her to write it down and put it in an envelope, so that your daddy and I could enjoy that moment privately. She didn't want to, because "the doctor was going to tell me anyway." WHAT-EVER. 





I held my breath. I saw this little bud and I knew.... she said, "BOY." I was right all along. Your daddy and I looked at each other with huge smiles. He was a little in a disbelief and wasn't sure what he was looking at. He asked what "it" was, the tech and I both said in unison, the "p" word. 

For me, you were "Kaiden" for awhile, but as minutes passed by after the word "boy" settled in, you were Elijah.  

That day, we celebrated you. No more yellows, browns, neutrals. Now, we can move onto blue. You now had a small collection of clothes, blankets, and a diaper bag in blue. I remember your daddy left to go fishing later that day. It was nice having the permission to now imagine you as a boy fishing with your daddy. It was what we were both hoping for. But, if you were a girl, we still would've imagined the same. Mommy fishes, too! ... And sometimes I think I catch fishes because of you ... It was just that deep down, we imagined our first child as the son of a fisherman and the protector of his mother.

The Unexpected Turn

The next day, our imaginations, our dreams, our plans -- they all faded away. One by one, we were being torn from our every dream and plan for the life with you. That next day, we didn't know that we were going to lose you a few days later. 

When I was no longer pregnant with you, you were only just 20 weeks and 4 days; another 19 weeks and 3 days away from when you were supposed to make your full appearance into the world. A few days after your birth, my breasts were leaking. Instead of milk, they were liquid drops of sorrow, pain, emptiness, disappointment, and a harrowing reminder of your death, of a chance I will never have with you,

I didn't know that losing you would feel THIS bad. And even the word "bad" doesn't describe it.
Nothing and no one could save you, not even me. I couldn't even protect you. Shame on me. But, then, I remembered that you forewarned me. You gave me a dream a few days before we knew you were indeed, a boy. You told me that something was going to happen, something bad. Why didn't I think about it more than I did? I was blindly way too excited. I was convinced that you were promised to us.

You told me that you were a twin, the one I couldn't save. You told me that I couldn't raise you, that I had no power to. 

I'm deeply sorry that I couldn't do anything to keep you, even though I "wasn't" supposed to. Why did you tell me not to? Why did God call you back? But, I'm not sorry that I didn't want to give you back. I want you back. I want you to continue growing. I want you to stay inside of me, until you were expected to come back out. I'm not sorry if that sounds selfish. I'm not sorry that I love you more than I should. I'm not sorry that I can't and won't let you go. I'm not sorry that I can't forget about you.




Life Without You  

When I was pregnant with you, I wasn't sure if I could be the mother that you needed and wanted me to be. 

Now, without you, I am sure that I am the mother you were meant to have. 
I am sure that you were the child that I was meant to give birth to. 

The question is, was I supposed to give death to you, too? You left without telling me why. You left me wondering, crying, desperate for you. 

When I was pregnant with you, I was blind. I couldn't see that I was strong. I couldn't see that I was meant for great things. I couldn't see that I needed to make changes in myself. I couldn't see that I needed to make a better home for you. 

When I was pregnant with you, I didn't know what real love was. Now, I know.

I love you, Elijah. And I will love you forever.

Read "The Dream That Foretold My Stillbirth" Here

* Read the full story about Elijah:

4 comments

  1. I was very scared, when you first told me the news. But your happiness, excitement, made it a little more bearable. I was angry at you the first time at the clinic, when they called you up, and you just got up and walked away quickly, without looking back at me. If you had, you would've seen that I got up too, but you walked away so quickly, I just sat back down. That is forgiven, because I know that you were way too excited to wait any longer.
    The next time, when I got to hear his heartbeat for the first time, my heart melted. I was so happy. The only thing I wish I would've done then, is I wish I would have recorded it. Now, I miss hearing his heartbeat. I miss getting to change his diaper. I miss the chance of getting to wake up in the middle.of the night to tend to his crying, because I know you would be too tired, and I want you to rest. I miss kissing him lightly. I miss the idea of him automatically calming down in my arms, after wailing uncontrollably in the arms of his aunts, uncles, and grandparents. I hope that he will return to us, one day.

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  2. I also miss picking out clothes for him. I miss the time the three of us spent together.

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  3. Very beautifully written. I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful angel!

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  4. Thank you so much, Rae, for reading and commenting. You have reminded me to reread this blog post and when I did, it gave me such love and optimism that I had at that time when I wrote it. Thank you for the kind and encouraging words. As you know, your acknowledgment is very much appreciated and I send lots of love and kindness in return. 💖

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