Each month since the miscarriage, I guarded myself from the disappointment that I was anticipating when only one pink line showed up on the test, not two. It had become a sick game that had consumed my life since the loss of your sibling this past September; the baby I never got the opportunity to know.
I manically scoured the internet in search of fertility advice, magic pills, potions, and herbs that would surely get me what I longed for - you. My rainbow baby. And each month, I was thrown into routine despair, the countless hours of crying in the shower and hidden under the covers, and the ache in my heart that I carried as I smiled through baby announcement after announcement, in envy of their growing bellies, while mine remained sadly flat.
For the months thereafter, I continued. I continued to suffer as only a masochist would in this game of procreation after miscarriage.
I went in each time, playing each month, this wicked game, full of passion and relentless hope, only to be thrown out a loser, with an empty stomach and heart.
So when the time came for me to roll the dice, I didn't think anything of it. Losing had become routine. Even when I craved dolmas and spicy Cheeto fries, even as my breasts grew tender and sore, even when the dice had rolled, and two lines, not one this time, so vividly appeared - I still felt like a loser.
It wasn't real. It couldn't be, I thought.
And as the weeks wore on, and my waist thickened, no longer a size 2 and now in need of maternity clothing, it still wasn't real. When my nausea left me debilitated week after week, until I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel on week 15, it still wasn't real. Even when your father and I saw you for the first time at 10 weeks, and then at 14, a tiny blip on the ultrasound screen, I remained guarded and out of touch with this new reality.
You must have known my reservations. The day before Mother's Day, you fluttered. You fluttered in my no longer flat, but rounded stomach. Like popcorn popping, you moved. Twice.
And they say a wave of emotion can overcome you, but this wasn't a wave. It was a flood. I was flooded with contradiction. Grief and happiness swirled around me in a current I couldn't fight. So I let myself drown, and as I awoke from a tear filled nap, having felt like I had slept for years, it hit me.