My son Jack will be four this September and I have cherished every minute with him. As an endo warrior with severe endometriosis, I had a very difficult time conceiving and had to endure multiple uterine surgeries and an oopherectomy before the thought of even potentially carrying a child would be possible. My baby boy was worth every tear and every scar. As he continued to grow from an infant into a toddler, he grew even faster than the average child. He was wearing six month old clothes when he was three months old and his height and weight continued to double from that point on at warp speed. By the time he was a year old, he was already wearing 18 month clothes. There were times I felt gipped of him not being little for long enough. But genetically, with myself standing at 6-feet-tall and my husband at 6-foot-three-and-a-half, our boy was off the growth charts just as my husband and I always were when we were children. It was his destiny.
As he continued to grow, I would cry as I boxed away clothing that no longer fit him. It became a bittersweet ritual for me that would happen every three months or so. I would rewash every item in Dreft and I lovingly sealed my precious memories into Ziploc space bags. I would hug each item of clothing to my chest before I folded it and tucked it away—all the while thanking the clothing for keeping my precious boy covered and warm and acknowledging that it served its purpose and it was time to let it go. I never imagined I would open the bags and boxes again.
Four years later, I am getting to do something I never thought would be possible—I am opening my treasure chests and rewashing the clothes in Dreft to prepare for the arrival of our second son, Patrick. As a teen and even in my twenties, I have to admit, I never pictured myself becoming a mother. I was more worried about designer bags and shoes and building my career as a fashion writer than diaper duty or swaddling. In fact, becoming a mother frightened me so much, it was a notion I tucked away in my heart and rarely glanced at. “I’m too young,” I’d think to myself. “I have to travel. I have to build a life.”
Well, I didn’t travel quite as much as I should have but I did all the rest and I seemingly blinked and was suddenly 33 years old. I had just gotten married and then we decided it was time to have the talk about children. I still wasn’t “ready” but my body was not only beyond ready, it was downright “expiring.” My ovarian egg reserves were lower than usual, due to endometriosis and I had more scar tissue than a Red Hot Chili Peppers album due to all my previous surgeries. After discovering I had such advanced endometriosis, my doctors urged me it was “Now or Never” like the old Elvis song. After a lot of failed attempts, I finally got pregnant with my son Jack and four years later, baby Patrick is on his way. I don’t know what I was so afraid of when it came to motherhood. It’s a role that I now couldn’t imagine NOT having. It’s everything to me. My boys are my life. To receive one miracle let alone two makes me wonder why God has chosen me to receive such incredible blessings.
On Dec. 15, I was admitted to the ER at Boca Regional Hospital—the same place where I had delivered Jack. I was experiencing severe bleeding and only eight weeks pregnant at the time. With the amount of blood that was pouring out, I thought I was having a miscarriage. The hospital already had intense memories for me. It was where my beloved grandfather died, but also where my precious son was born. When they rolled me through the hallways of the ER, I was reliving the sad march we took behind my grandfather’s stretcher. The entire time, I was begging Jesus, Mary, St. Jude and my grandfather to help me through this and save my baby. As I lay there awaiting my much needed ultra sound, the strangest thoughts were floating my mind. I remembered all the boxes of Jack’s stuff that I thought I’d never get to use again. Those damn boxes kept coming into my head. “Stay with me, Patrick,” I silently whispered toward my belly. “I really, really need you to stay with me. We have prayed for you all our lives and we need to meet you.”
The ER doctor matter-of-factly warned me to stay positive but that it was either going to be ok or it wasn’t. I was discharged from the hospital after being diagnosed with a hematoma and put on pelvic rest for a few months. As the months went on, I was afraid to move at times, like my miracle was somehow going to slip away. But as Patrick grew, so did my faith and my confidence. As I embark on the final five to six weeks of pregnancy, I have realized I am not the same woman who was laying in that hospital bed, broken and terrified. I am also not the same woman who was too frightened to face motherhood. I now realize it’s what I was always meant to do and how all my life experiences somehow wildly prepared me for it.
In life, you will win sometimes and you will lose. You might lose it all, but at the same time, you may find what you were always searching for. You will do things you never thought were possible. You will find strength in the most unlikely places. And when you least expect it, you just may get a chance to reopen boxes or even a part of yourself that you thought was gone forever. In this life, never say never. This song my aunt J.D. Danner wrote pretty much sums it all up.