Monday, June 3, 2013

Another chance

When my husband and I first met, and all throughout our courtship, whenever the question of children came up, I made it clear to him that I. Was. Done.

I had the three most wonderful, amazing children. They were at great ages and I felt complete. However, I promised him then that I wouldn't make any permanent decisions, leading myself open to possibilities in the future if I (laughing inside) changed my mind.

Years go by and my husband supports me through the begging of my ex for not only child support but to make responsible decisions for the kids. He holds my hand as I fret over the care they are given at their father's, he misses them when they're gone right along with me, and he loves them as if they were his own.

I have marveled so many times at how I got to have a second chance at marriage. I got a real marriage proposal, a wedding that I loved, a husband who adores me and shares the sames dreams as me, everything I always dreamt of but had given up on.

So when circumstances in our lives began to change: our business took off, my husband began working with me at home, our free time increased, our youngest started kindergarten and the house became too quiet, it suddenly dawned on me, why not give myself the one experience I never got to have, a pregnancy and baby with a man who loves and supports me? What is that even like?

My ex husband was present for all of my children's births, and stood by my side as I labored, but we had no connection. I couldn't look into his eyes and ask for help, I put my head down and got through my emotions alone. Asking him for anything was met with immediate resistance and passive aggression. Instead of encouraging me, his words came across as yelling or teasing or taunting.

At the birth of my very youngest six years ago, I had just learned 3 weeks prior that he had been cheating on me with various women for at least the past year, and our marriage was likely over. I hated him. My entire pregnancy was wrought with suspicion, nightmares, and stress that I couldn't understand until I caught him, 35 weeks pregnant and unable to confide in anyone but a therapist, because my family and friends would all have to deal with him as the baby arrived. I hate that this is my last memory of childbirth.

My husband, on the other hand, came into this family a bachelor and became an instant father to three children that he is forced to share with another man, no matter how hard that is. No matter how much he loves them, sacrifices for them, or thinks of them as his, he must take second place as "just the stepfather" in so many situations. Were I to die, he would have zero rights to visit with them, even though he spends more time caring for them than their father because of our custody arrangement.

So back in September, we were sitting at the State Fair together just the two of us, sipping wine and cuddling under the lights of the Midway as families strolled by. A woman with a baby in her arms and her husband with his loving arms around them both went by, and I just knew. I knew I wanted this. I didn't know how we would do it, if we could do it, I didn't know anything except that I wanted to have a baby with this man by my side, my soul mate whom I love more and more every day.

I told him this, and he grinned, because he knew it too.

As has always happened when you make the decision to follow the signs of the universe, everything fell into place one by one. Doors opened where there were only walls before. The impossible became possible.

And then, this April 3rd, a positive test.

And then a few weeks ago, a tiny beating heart flickered on an ultrasound, as our 10 week old baby danced and waved at us, and my husband reached out and held onto me as I sobbed with joy. I looked into his eyes and was met with a knowing look, a connection that this incredible love we share created this life.

It feels like the first time in so many ways.

Our children are beyond thrilled and already fighting over who will hold the baby first. This baby will connect all of us in a way that is beyond words, a mutual love and blood that takes us all one step closer together.

I can't even come close to describing how gratifying it has been watching my husband be able to have this experience, the one he missed with our three older children. His giant grin the first time he noticed my belly growing, his emotions at hearing the heartbeat for the first time, watching him tell his family, and just a general softening of his whole being.

He deserves this more than anyone, and you know what? I deserve it, too.