I’ve been thinking a lot about time travel recently. A couple of weeks ago, we spoke with someone from our surrogacy agency who does these check-in, quality control type of calls with the families going through the process. We chatted with her for about half an hour, mostly saying that G was fantastic and that the entire process had been smooth and better than we could have expected. As we were wrapping up, she thanked us for our time and said, “Is there anything else we could do for you?” I said, yes, let’s travel in time until when the baby is here. She laughed, saying, I wish I could, but unfortunately I cannot.
Mark and I laughed about that and shared it with some friends as well, who all laughed and understood completely why we so wanted this.
To be at week 18 is fantastic, but also scary. It is hard to not compare this pregnancy with Colette’s and to remember where we were at week 18, how we still had not had any bad news yet, that everything seemed to be progressing along well. To imagine that our hope is to play this waiting game for another 22 weeks seems ludicrous and well far off. It, of course, does not help that we live in the Midwest and the last couple of weeks have been long, gray, dreary days that seem to go on forever and make it hard to imagine July, to imagine warm weather and sun.
So the thought that there would be a way to speed this all up is enticing and the stuff dreams are made of. I think about how great it would be to have our child at home, our first child that we get to leave the hospital with and bring home. I think how great it will be to feel more at ease (while also living new fears), for this house not to sound so damn quiet, to have tears and cooing, to not feel like this house is too big for just the two of us and our little dog. The daydream of being able to skip ahead is one that I have spent so much time doing.
But, as the complexities of pregnancy after loss always show you, that daydream is not so easy either.
The further we get away from Colette’s pregnancy and birth and the closer we hopefully get to LL Cool T’s birth, the further away we get from Colette. And if we’re daydreaming about time travel, then I also want to daydream about going back in time. When my anxious mind starts working in overdrive, the reason why I daydream this is to go back and do things differently, to do things better, to attempt to be Marty McFly and change the course of history. Yes, this will always be my dream wish, the first wish of the proverbial genie bottle—to save Colette, to bring her back, to have her here with me. But, honestly, if I can look at it in a less anxious way, I would love to go back, knowing what I know now, and even if I could not save her or bring her back to me in today’s age, then I would want to be able to appreciate her more.
I had a tough pregnancy, nothing seemed appetizing to me, and when I did eat, I usually got sick. My hair was a mess, both oily while also having a dry scalp. I had teenage-style breakouts and dragged myself around most of the time. I complained about what was wrong with me that other pregnant women looked amazing and here I was, looking like Frankenstein’s monster and feeling like crap day in day out. If I had known what was going to happen, I would have enjoyed the pregnancy, even those icky moments more because it would have been more time that I had to enjoy Colette.
When Colette was born, whether it was due to my physical recovery, postpartum depression or anxiety, normal fears of being a new mom, fears of having a micro-preemie, or a combination of factors, I found it hard to talk to Colette, to really appreciate her being there.
Most of the time, it felt surreal, like yes, I knew my daughter was there in that incubator, but I could not understand why and so I could not do what I would have imagined doing. Again, if I had known what was going to happen, if I could travel back in time, I would have told her everything I ever wanted to tell her in life. I would have told her about how hard we tried, prayed, begged, and pleaded to have her in our lives. I would have told her about the amazing dad she has, a man who has a huge heart, a big smile, is incredibly smart, knows how to make me laugh, but also knows how to hold my hand and let me cry on his shoulder. I would have read some of my favorite books to her and told her funny stories. I would never have left that NICU because I would have enjoyed every single second I could have had with her.
Since time travel does not exist, I will always live in two worlds—the world I wish I had with Colette and the world I hope to have with our little LL Cool T. It will be my job the rest of my life to be the bridge between those two worlds.