Years of getting caught up in the Hollywood machine meant putting off parenthood until the right time. The loaded question was when is the right time? It turns out the answer is never. It’s never the right time to have a child because something can always be more ideal.
When I was thirty-six, my husband and I figured we’d better get shaking if we were going to add parenthood to our ever growing resumes. Pregnancy one came with much excitement and expectation. I bought booties and teddy bears, books on pregnancy and enough prenatal vitamins for a small Slovakian village. I was nauseous, gaseous and exhausted. I loved everything about being pregnant because it meant I was growing life.
The first heartbeat was a thrill, the second even more so. The third heartbeat never came.
The second pregnancy was again met with great excitement. The doctor assured me miscarriages are common but once you’ve had one, your chances of another drop exponentially. I didn’t buy anything new this time because I didn’t want to jinx the life inside of me. It was still a thrill to hear every heartbeat. We began discussing names and nursery décor. Then the spotting came. Then the trip to the emergency room, then no more.
The third pregnancy was a blur. We discovered it and lost it within two short weeks. We never heard a heartbeat.
The fourth pregnancy was met with fear, trepidation and dread. If we could lose three babies in a row, we could certainly lose four. We no longer fooled ourselves into thinking a child was inevitable for us. We were at the mercy of a force greater than we could conceive. Our collective sadness was taking its toll and we knew if this baby didn’t take, we were done trying. We were done sacrificing at the altar of chance.
My eciah moment finally came in my fortieth year of life, when the doctor pulled my daughter out of me and laughingly declared, “She just peed on me!”
How could my child urinating on my obstetrician change my life? Because after three miscarriages, two in the second trimester, multiple heartbeats, more blood drawls and tests than I could count, I finally had a keeper. I had a baby. I was a mother.
I remember the moment with super human clarity, almost like watching it in a film. My doctor’s twinkling blue eyes, her messy bun under her surgical cap, the bright lights and shockingly cold room. There I was, splayed out on the operating table, probably with my pancreas lying on my sternum waiting to be shoved back in. All the years of yearning and praying for a child of my own, years of loss and heartbreak, years of uncertainty and finally, finally my dream had come true.
My child had just tinkled all over the doctor. She was real.
Whitney Dineen writes award-winning romantic comedies (she suggests you start with The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan) and middle reader fiction. She lives with her husband and two daughters (they had another!) in Oregon.