It feels unreal that we have made it this far. How am I 36 weeks pregnant? How is it that I will be holding my baby in just a few weeks?  Every morning I find myself waking up and being thankful that I didn’t go into labor the previous night (which is so strange to think). We have everything we need prepared and ready to go for Jelly Bean’s arrival yet I can’t help but want them to stay safe inside me and keep growing, at least for a little bit longer.

Emma's 36-week bump: Find your community - Pregnant after loss couple with their baby's name on big screen at a field

Author’s Personal Collection/Emma DeVanzo

At the end of last week, our midwife came for our home visit. All of our supplies are in order and we have run out of questions to ask. People always say that you will never be fully ready to have a baby, but I think we are ready. After over two years of preparing to become parents to a living child, and instead becoming bereaved parents in the process, we are ready for all of the things people think of when they haven’t lost a child – sleepless nights, baby coos and snuggles, feedings, diaper changes, tummy time, and everything in between.

I’ve spent some time this month reflecting on my motherhood journey and had a revelation.

While I was pregnant with Austin, I often found myself saying that it felt too easy. I barely had any symptoms during the first trimester, any questions or concerns I brought up were explained away or dismissed, and every test came back normal. Why did women complain so much about being pregnant? What was missing from my experience? When was something going to happen like the painful, rib jabbing kicks that keep you up at night? When was the other shoe doing to drop? Well, the other shoe dropped at the very end and in the biggest way possible.

Candles lit for the Wave of Light

Author’s Personal Collection/Emma DeVanzo

The early days after losing Austin were isolating to say the least. Not only did we not know anyone who had ever lost a child before, but we were stuck at home in quarantine. After our second loss in the form of a chemical pregnancy, we were tired of feeling isolated in our grief. A year later, my husband and I are amazed at the communities we have found around us. From the remembrance ceremony last week to the Wave of Light on Friday, and from the Empty Stroller 5K we attended over the weekend to the PALS community, we no longer feel alone. No one asked to join the loss community, but it is one of the most supportive communities we have ever known.

I haven’t wondered when the other shoe was going to drop with this pregnancy which is a nice change.

The few key differences in pregnancy I hoped for came true – posterior placenta instead of an anterior one and more movements that are well defined. The last key difference I hoped for was a different ending. Being pregnant after loss isn’t easy, but right now I feel optimistic that we will welcome Jelly Bean into the world alive and well. Occasionally there are creeping thoughts of what if we have another full-term stillbirth, but for now I am able to push those aside and focus on channeling positive energy into the universe.

Jelly Bean, mommy and daddy love you so much already and can’t wait to meet you!

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