I walked into my Doctor’s appointment and found out my weight, making sure not to look at my weight during this pregnancy as it’s not about that for me. However, I noted that it is the heaviest I’ve ever been, and we’re still growing! It felt like I was suddenly feeling the extra weight of all the babies I’ve carried and been carrying.

Then I heard the heartbeat, exactly 130 beats per minute. The doctor did something I’ve never in all my pregnancies had done before; he allowed me to hear baby’s heartbeat and then mine on their own. Then he put the Doppler in between the beats, blending them together as one. I could hear both my and baby’s heartbeat at the same time, my base to babe’s higher-pitched synchronic double beets. It was a melody I wish to sync my life with–our song, our intermingled hearts always beating. One day, I imagine hearing a full symphony of heartbeats greeting me to my favorite playlist!

Carmen's bump day blog, week 25: lettuce begin again - sky

Author’s Personal Collection/Carmen Grover

It brings me back again to recounting our pregnancy journey as it always seems to.

How, with our first babe, I was so present. Life seemed brighter to be doing it with someone, every moment bigger and more cherished as I shared Amity with everyone. She was my little secret I couldn’t hide on the inside.

Our second loss, Will, brought us adventure, embracing our love of each other, traveling, and knowing that we Will keep trying.

With Kaia, we were just so elated to finally hear a heartbeat for the first time and finally hold a baby.

With our chemical pregnancy, it brought me hope again to start working on the baby room and rekindle my creativity.

Our surprise pregnancy allowed me to notice and experience the beauty of butterflies again, like I had with Kaia. They seemed to dance around us, making the time with my kids brighter again, knowing there was another soul with us during that time, sharing the moments!

With Jude, I came back to blissfully enjoying my kids again with no worries of loss, taking them completely in as I had no other time to do anything else. I have memories of Case and Maelie playing with my belly with Jude, giving him raspberry kisses, and I realize now that was the closest they could ever be to him as they had never seen him, and I know that they, as well as Jude, felt all of that love.

Our loss with Zach this past January, in having excitement for another pregnancy, brought time for reflection and community building.

Carmen's 25-week bump - lettuce begin again

There is so much that has come from all of our losses.

It renewed me in many ways–how hurt turns to gratitude and finding what we gained because we are growing another layer like the lettuce around and around that grief that is always there, always a part of us.

Where I’m at now, having had pregnancy before loss, loss after pregnancy, and pregnancy after loss, you never are the same after that.

I carry deep regrets for my living babies: not taking as many pictures with Case as I had with my first and Kaia during pregnancy after having four losses, preoccupying my mind with memories of Kaia, Case our first living baby, and being too busy with Case to take in Maelie’s pregnancy, realizing I had a lot of delayed grief and possibly depression, as how could I be sad when I now had another living baby on the way, and now seeing the extra pressure I put on myself.

All of my loss babies gave me my Diary to My Babies book. However, it served as a distraction from my pregnancy with Ayda. I didn’t allow the kids to play with my belly with Ayda as they had with Jude as I wanted to protect them and me somehow from potential hurt. Instead, I robbed them of those belly joys with their sister.

Growing around grief

Image Credit: Juliet Young

Lettuce begin again…

I will never be the same, and I won’t “enjoy” every moment as I can never be carefree again. But, what I can be is guilt-free, feeling my real feels and being here to the best of my abilities, not missing my children and this child within’s lives.

I may have guilt around my pregnancies, but I don’t have guilt about the love I gave and give my babies once they were out. I just couldn’t breathe until that moment came, and I mustn’t be so hard on myself and offer myself a grade now to see what that was.

Case says, “Wow, this baby is getting so big I better not sit on it!” Maelie hugs the baby, saying, “Good morning,” and does the same before beb. “Nighty night, baby.” She even sings to it, “I love you, little baby.” Ayda rests her head on my belly every time I read to her and gives my belly high fives before heading to daycare.

I peel back the layers and feel it to this baby’s core and cover myself back up again, allowing me to experience all this growth on so many levels all my babies have given us!

Carmen plays with her children

Author’s Personal Collection/Carmen Grover

I am excited for what this very wanted pregnancy means for us and to also be done with this family-building part of our lives. It brings more pressure in some ways, but also more renewal.

Our heartbeats are all grown together around each planted loss seed. Beating and growing as one family unit is how it will always be.

I’ve been allowing myself seven minutes each day to have thoughts of each of my babies.

I see so much differently now, and lettuce begin again, where we are right now as that’s all we keep doing–renewing, renewing, renewing.

My Doctor ended the visit by saying, “My grandma had seven losses and then had my mom. They named her Angela, and that suits her perfectly as she is an angel to me and the seven of her children.”

Read Past Bump Day Blogs from Carmen:

More on this topic:

Share this story!