Elephant and Mermaid 1
Elephant and Mermaid, New Zealand (Miranda Hernandez)

Two years ago, I was pregnant with my first child. As a single woman, he was both planned and gloriously wanted, and despite the typical complaints of pregnancy, I was happy.

At the start of my pregnancy, I was thirty five and slightly overweight, two things which doctors may or may not consider serious. I had no other risk factors. I thought my pregnancy was going well.

On 21 June, 2017, the day before my son was due, I told my providers I wasn’t feeling as much movement. I told them a few other things, things I now know are serious red flags. They told me I was fine. Eight days later, my son died.

I spent the first year after his death in a fog. I went to support groups. I journaled. I crawled inside myself and screamed. I lost good friends who couldn’t watch me in pain. I tried and failed to make sense of the incomprehensible.

The second year was harder. I had moved to a new city where few people knew. Children became a difficult subject. People expected me to be “okay.” I lost track of the number of times I was told to “have another baby,” as if children are interchangeable. Everything finally started to feel real.

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I’ve always wanted a large family. My original plan had been to have my son and then foster older children. I’ve been a CASA before. There are so many teenagers who need love and a home. My arms and my heart both ache.

Last September, I felt ready to try for a second pregnancy. I used the same donor. It was important to me that my son have a full-blood sibling. On 20 September 2018, I took a test. She was real.

I’m pregnant now, 19 weeks. I feel her fluttering, and I smile. She is both a dream and a constant reminder. She is not a replacement. She is wrapped in my love.

This pregnancy won’t be easy. I’ll never live carefree like I did with my son. I see my doctor sometimes weekly, and I live with the knowledge that nothing is guaranteed. It’s something I hold on to. Like she holds my heart.

Like they both do.