Those of you that know me in real life or have been following my journey for a while now will undoubtedly remember where I was at this time last year. In March of 2010, I had completed my first cycle of IVF and discovered that it had worked and I was pregnant with my little Sprout. By April, both mine and Chad's emotions were in a tailspin of hope, worry and sadness as betas and ultrasounds began to reveal that my pregnancy would not be a viable one. It was and still is the hardest time of my entire life. And the irony of my miracle baby girl being born during the exact same time that my first pregnancy ended in heartbreak has never escaped me. I have often marveled at the coincidence of it and the emotional effect it has on me.
I know to many, Sprout's short time with us doesn't seem so significant, but it is a loss I still feel and probably always will. That will always be my first pregnancy, my first ray of hope and unconditional love for a child of mine. I had a necklace made to memorialize Sprout and have worn it during every major moment during my FET and pregnancy with Snow Pea. I found peace in the belief that Sprout had left my body ready to nurture new life and having that charm close to my heart for transfer, each ultrasound, labor and even Eliana's birth, has helped me keep that connection and that peace. What's really amazed me is the moments I have felt the connection between Sprout and Snow Pea in very unexpected ways.
When Chad and I were hanging by a thread toward the end of my pregnancy with Sprout, we heard the song "Imagine" by John Lennon as we drove to the RE's office and we both felt the comfort of it. We actually heard it nearly every time we went to those appointments and decided very quickly that it was Sprout's song. After the pregnancy ended, we didn't hear it played again until the morning we drove to the office for my beta after Snow Pea's transfer. I will always remember the moment it started playing, Chad and I both froze and looked at each other, with tiny tears in our eyes, and he said "I think Sprout is giving us a sign" And of course, hours later we got the call that the FET had in fact been successful, I was pregnant and this time it went the distance.
In the days right before Snow Pea was born, an even bigger and more surprising connection nearly beat me over the head. I was days from my scheduled induction and trying to stay busy while also finishing any tasks I could pre-baby. I decided to visit the mall near my house to get some yummy chocolates to bring to the nurses when we went into the hospital. As I walked out of the candy store, I saw that a scene had been set and ready for the Easter Bunny's arrival. I was immediately giddy. Holiday fun like that is one of the things I was most looking forward to about mommy-hood and this was the fist time I realized I'd get to celebrate this fun holiday moment with my daughter so soon!
I excitedly called Chad to tell him we just had to take Snow Pea for pictures with the Easter Bunny after she was born, and began looking around the scene for signs indicating how much photos would cost. I couldn't find a price list, but instead I saw a sign that instantly made my eyes water. It said "Sprout, the Easter Bunny, will arrive April 9th". How could my jaw not hit the floor? The Easter Bunny's name is Sprout? And he is coming on my baby's birth date? Does it get more ironic? Why yes, it does. I looked more closely at the scene set for his arrival and saw that on his bunny chair sat a great big Easter basket. Inside there were two big, brightly colored eggs and a pea pod and that was it, nothing else. Sprout had a Snow Pea in his basket. Whoa. I know the whole universe didn't conspire to make all of this happen just for my benefit but suddenly taking my baby girl to get pictures with the Easter Bunny took on new depth. Snow Pea was going to meet Sprout.
Of course, the actual meeting was uneventful for both Sprout the bunny and my Snow Pea, Eliana. She slept through it all in her adorable Easter dress and he held her carefully and sweetly so as not to disturb her, both of them sitting next to the pea prop I made sure was in the picture. But for me it was a bittersweet and wonderful moment. Not only were we there together taking part in our very first holiday tradition as a family of three, but somehow it all made a crazy connection in my heart and gave me a feeling of coming full circle. One year ago exactly I was saying goodbye to my Sprout and now here I am saying hello to my Snow Pea. Last year for Easter, Chad made a basket for Sprout which included an adorable, soft plush chick that for months I had to hide away in a box because the sight of it made me cry. Now it sits in the nursery, a gift from Sprout to Snow Pea.
As I said, I know that to many I may be making way too much out of lots of little things, but it gives my heart a sense of peace to see these connections, whether they are real or imagined. After years of struggle and heartbreak, my first pregnancy was a dream come true and nothing in my life has ever hurt as deeply as when it ended without a child to show for it. And as deeply as I love my daughter, a part of me will still always remember that loss and wonder what might have been. I know this sounds crazy but I continue to find contentment in a thought I had just after my pregnancy with Sprout officially ended. I felt as if Sprout somehow left my body in a state even more ready to grow life. As if, like a truly protective and loving older sibling, Sprout left some special unseen energy to ensure that the next one would grow healthy and strong. These moments, occurring just before learning I was pregnant and just before my daughter's birth, may be coincidence but to me they are signs that my feeling that day was right.