the truth about my second pregnancy, miscarriage, perinatal depression and finding strength
It's been a wild journey these past nine months.
Your dad and I had just gotten back from Tokyo, Japan when your grandma took one look at me and said "I think you're pregnant." Isn't it funny how our moms know us best? And she was right, we were over the moon when the test said positive! We had planned for you, we just didn't think we would get you so soon. It was a dream come true.
At first I was so excited and buzzing with joy I couldn't imagine ever not feeling an overwhelming happiness and contentment with you growing in my belly.
And then...the morning sickness hit.
You are my third baby. I lost my first to miscarriage and then I had your sister. I naively thought morning sickness would be easier the third time around, but it was the hardest first trimester yet. Your sister kept me plenty busy and your daddy works overnights keeping Austin safe, so we were up early trying to stay busy out of the house to let dad sleep when all I wanted to do was crawl miserably back into bed.
At work, my poor photographers dealt with my nausea the best they could: by keep extra bags handy in case your mom got sick. And I did, several times...while stuck in Austin traffic, no less! But the news must go on, and we pushed through it, eventually sailing into the second trimester.
With each sonogram, you started to feel more and more real. After my miscarriage at 14 weeks, I was so worried with your sister, Joss. I never really allowed her to feel real until she was in my arms, just in case she was taken from me. But with you, I knew from the start you were going to grow big and strong in my belly and be the final piece to complete our family of four. I always knew I would get to keep you.
Something new and scary happened to me in your second trimester. While you were busy growing, I started to feel feelings of anxiety, sadness and despair I had never felt before. It happened slowly, so at first I didn't really acknowledge it. After all, we had a lot going on! Work and taking care of your big sister, in addition to making big decisions about our family's future and where we would live. Then it got to be too much for mommy, and around my 32nd birthday I felt like I had hit rock bottom.
But I knew I needed to keep fighting, for both of us. So I reached out for help and learned I had perinatal depression: a very common, but not often talked about symptom of changing hormones for both pregnant and new moms. Learning that it wasn't my fault, and that there were ways to work through it, gave me renewed hope. I must admit though, I'm still a little nervous about life after delivering you. I was warned by my therapist that these feelings of sadness and anxiety could get worse post partum, but I am prepared to do whatever it takes to fight and get better. For you, for our family, and most of all for me.
Now, in our final months sharing the same body, I am getting more and more excited each day just to meet you! I no longer focus on the physical or emotional stress of growing you. I just keep feeling your little toes and hands poking into my ribs and smiling, thinking of the moment I'll get to hold you for the first time.
Your daddy has been so strong for all of us these past nine months. Joss keeps pointing at my belly and shouting "Baby Sky!" and she's even started to give you kisses through my belly. I think she'll make an amazing big sister, you're lucky to have her. I can't wait to see you two develop a bond that only sisters can understand. I know because I have one with your Aunt Kate, and she's pretty rad :)
We saw your face on a 3D sonogram last week and it's crazy how much you look like your sister already! Your dad and I initially called you "Dan Jr." because we were so sure you were a boy. It was a big surprise when the nurse called and said we were having another girl. At first, we were disappointed because we both always wanted a boy. But once the news settled in, I couldn't imagine you being anything other than a perfect little girl. Your dad is the absolute best "girl dad" anyone could ask for. He will be wrapped around your finger just like your sister, Joss. One of the greatest joys in my life will be watching him together with his girls. That's why we're giving you his name, Skyler Danielle.
I wanted your room to feel special and different than your sister's. Early in my pregnancy, your grandma and I were out shopping when we came across a butterfly mobile. It was so breathtakingly beautiful, just as I know you will be. The strings were all tangled and it took me hours to hang it over your crib! But I did it with a smile on my face the entire time knowing it would make you smile when you saw the delicate butterflies moving overhead.
Joss is my little bird, and you will be my little butterfly. This pregnancy tested me more than anything else I've ever experienced. And just like a caterpillar must cocoon to blossom into its final, exquisite existence, so are you worth every day of struggle to be able to hold you and watch you grow.
I love you, little one. I can't wait to meet you.