I've always been a pretty optimistic person. I generally don't worry too much about things. I don't often get super stressed out. I like being optimistic. I like assuming the best without mentally enumerating all of the things that could go wrong. And while I still feel like an optimist overall, it's different now somehow, and I miss it. It's like I lost a little bit of that along with losing Dexter.
I went this week to another ultrasound. As I watched the screen at the beginning, our little girl didn't seem to be moving around at all . Previously, I would've thought nothing of it; babies don't move every second of the day. But this time, I felt myself searching desperately for some little movement, looking forward to the part where they check the baby's heartbeat and let you listen to its rhythm and see the beats graphed out on the screen. And when I did see her move and heard that nice regular heartbeat and heard the Ultrasound Technician declare that everything looked healthy and good and normal, I felt relief instead of, well, what I used to feel. I don't want to be paranoid or pessimistic. I miss assuming that everything is fine. I mean, back when I was pregnant with Dexter, I had a second ultrasound and they found an abnormality in his brain that wasn't there at the first ultrasound. But when they told me that, I wasn't worried at all. That used to be my immediate reaction, even when there were things indicating that everything may not be fine, I felt fine. I felt peaceful. I felt very clearly that everything was going ot be OK. And I assumed that OK meant healthy and whole like my first two children. And then I learned that there are other ways for things to be OK. Everything was OK with Dexter--it was just how it needed to be. The "OK" I first imagined was very different than what "OK" turned out to mean. But when it got to that point, I was no less OK with the reality than I was with my assumption of what OKness would look like. In fact, everything was so fine that I specifically remember the same week that Dexter died discussing with Aaron that I felt ready to have another baby whenever the Lord wanted to send one to our family. I felt so strengthened and supported and reassured that everything was as it should be, that I felt ready because I was willing to provide a body for another sweet little spirit even if his or her mission was the same as Dexter's. Because I KNEW that the course of his life was the will of God and I felt so confident that whatever happened with any other child God sent to our family would be the Lord's will, too, whether that meant a long or a short life on Earth. I felt such peace and trust. I felt ready.
And so I was surprised last summer when we were pregnant with our fourth and I felt hesitant to share the news with family or to even let myself get too excited about the prospect of another little baby to raise. I tried to convince myself that it was OK to get excited, that everything would be fine. But I didn't feel it. I wondered if I had lost my optimism. And then when we miscarried in the first trimester, I felt grateful for what I then recognized as the Spirit preparing me to face another challenge. It was much easier on me since I hadn't told anyone. It was easier on me because I hadn't assumed that everything would be fine like I used to. I felt peace and confidence mixed with my sadness.
Now, with this pregnancy, I have felt that everything is fine from the time we found out we were expecting. It felt different than last summer's pregnancy. I didn't have to convince myself that it was OK to get excited; I just felt excited and OK with that, like I didn't need to guard myself from hurt. I still do feel peace. I feel like everything will go well. So I was surprised that my former optimistic assumptions were no longer my first reaction at the ultrasound. I guess I just learned from Dexter that I don't necessarily know what "OK" means. OK might mean whole and healthy, but OK might mean that it's all in the Lord's hands and will go as it should. I don't think I've lost my optimism at all, really, it just looks a little different.
Perhaps the blessing of Dexter's life helped me learn not to take life for granted. It is a gift--both the giving of life and the sustaining of life day by day. As I felt the relief at the ultrasound, I felt such gratitude, along with a renewed, deepened sense of awe at the miracle of life. A new little person of her own is growing inside of me! I can feel her! I saw her sweet face and her little hands and feet! Pregnancy is just amazing! I love being such an integral part of this miracle.