The pregnancy test was positive. And for once, I wasn’t happy about it.
I spent the better part of my twenties dreaming of babies, and most of my thirties trying to become a mom.
Three miscarriages. Six lines that lied to me and said I was going to be a mother.
Fourteen months of negative pregnancy tests, of watching the women I knew and loved parade their swollen bellies past me and cradle their newborn infants as I smiled and cooed.
Three rounds of fertility treatments that broke my heart and tested the boundaries of my morality.
And then, two lines that didn’t lie. Two lines that promised me I would be a mother this time.
That is, after fourteen weeks of bed rest, forty-eight hours of labor, and two weeks sitting in a Newborn Intensive Care Unit waiting to bring my twins home at long last.
Another baby nineteen months later and another two years after that. I had the four children I had always dreamed of having. I was a wife to one and a mother to four and the life I had always wanted was coming together like a perfect little novella.
I had gotten it all before age 40—my cut-off age. My “no-babies-past-this-age” age because it was too scary and too much could go wrong. I was safe.
And then there was a cancer diagnosis that changed everything. One of our sons was going to die. We were going to lose one of our precious, much loved, desperately wanted children.
Thirteen months of imagining what our lives were going to be like without him. Thirteen months of trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I would no longer have four sons, but three.
I turned 40 years old the month before my son died. My cut-off age. Not only was I mourning the passing of my son, but I was mourning the passing of my fertility. It was gone, over in a self-imposed ban on procreation.
Three months of mourning and healing, and then . . . two lines again. My stomach dropped as I thought certainly I would miscarry. I had before. Please let me now, I prayed. I’m not strong enough.
I had forced myself to get used to the idea that I was done with babies. I had lent my maternity clothes to someone else. I had sold all of my baby items at a garage sale. I was moving forward, and this felt like going backward.
I would be 41 when I delivered the baby, and that terrified me. I wouldn’t look at the screen during ultrasounds. I didn’t want to fall in love. What if something was wrong again? I didn’t feel strong enough to start all over again.
And then he was here, in my arms, looking at me wide-eyed and shiny and new. He and his two lines had broken through my self-imposed ban on procreation and had assured me that I really could start over again.
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