The First Trimester
I was laying in bed with Josh going over our wedding invitation design when he stopped and said: "shouldn't you have had your period by now?" I did a little math and he was right. I should have. But I shrugged it off because I was under a lot of stress that could easily be wreaking havoc on my body. My plate was full. Beyond your average adulting, I was planning a wedding and working overtime to be able to accompany my dad to chemo appointments and check-ins with the oncologist. As we nestled in and said goodnight, I laid in Josh's arms reviewing the evidence in my mind - was I pregnant?
The next day I decided that I should probably take a test before I paid for our save-the-dates. After all, if I were expecting I would be due right around our wedding date. I knew I still had a test or two from when we first started trying so I decided to take one. I headed upstairs to have a quick shower and took the test. I laid it face down on the counter while I turned on the shower and grabbed my towel. I flipped the test over, thinking to myself "there is no way" but there it was. Pregnant (November 27th, 2018).
I showered and gave Josh some excuse before bolting out the door. I wanted to share this news with him in a way that he could look back on regularly. Josh and I are coffee lovers and we are serious about our mug collection, so I headed over to Indigo. I grabbed two mugs, one that read #MOMLIFE and the other that read #DADGOALS. When I gave him that mug, he lit up - I have never seen him so excited. We were elated. We just sat there holding one another and talking about the future. Our wedding would effectively be postponed, but we couldn't have been happier. Before going to bed that night he placed his mug in the Nespresso machine readying it for his morning coffee. The mug would become his favourite for the months to come. We shared the news with our parents and closest friends, but beyond that, we kept this news pretty quiet in the beginning.
The following day I brought my father in for an assessment at the hospital, and he was admitted. The next couple of weeks were a nightmarish haze. While I was facing my fears of miscarriage, enduring morning sickness and battling unrelenting pregnancy exhaustion, I was losing my dad - my everything. Once we found out that his cancer had spread and he wouldn't be leaving the hospital, I moved into his room. I only left the hospital once to shower and really let myself cry. I did my very best to be strong. To mirror the strength that my father embodied in the face of it all. In that final week, family and friends flooded that floor of the hospital. They brought food and clothes and watched the game with my dad on nights when the Leafs would play. There was one night in particular that our nurse managed to get the game on an oversized computer screen which he rolled into our room so that we could all cram in and watch the game with my dad. I'll never forget that night.
When my father would be visited by family or friends whose children he was close to, he would ask for photos of their children to take with him. He would say that he wanted their photos because he would never meet his grandchildren. It took me far too long to realize that he was talking about Lily.
The morning after he passed I called several hospitals in order to try and schedule an ultrasound right away. I drove to a hospital in Almonte where Josh met me from work. This was our first time having an ultrasound. Our first pregnancy was so short that we never had the opportunity. So we were not prepared to hear her heartbeat. It was the most beautiful thing we'd ever heard. There she was, our little peanut. I was 8 weeks and 3 days along. When I heard her heartbeat, I sobbed startling the technician. I was happy but I wanted so badly to share this with my dad. After apologizing to the technician and a few deep breaths, Josh and I left the hospital feeling hopeful.
On the first day of my Father's services, Josh and I had a moment alone with my father and we placed the ultrasound photo under his lapel - our secret. I stood stone-faced and nauseous in the lineup of the funeral; I was numb. I felt hollow and full all at once.
It had been a really hard year and I needed to find my footing again. I had just spent so much time juggling so many balls, making sure to smile despite all that was happening around me. And when all of those balls fell to the floor I needed time to collect myself. I needed to feel it all and move forward so that I could be strong for our daughter. I told myself that this was the worst of it, and if I could survive this the rest would be a cakewalk.
What got me through were the ways that Liliana was reminding me that in our lives, while there is death there is also life, and I was growing one in my belly.
In my miscarriage series, I talked about how my fear of miscarriage stopped me from writing to her throughout my pregnancy. But I did keep notes on my phone of notable moments and memories that I'd like to share with you.
I craved steak regularly but I could not go a day without eating nectarines.
Morning sickness and other pregnancy superpowers
All through the first trimester, I was dealing with moderate morning sickness. Luckily, Josh thought this was adorable and hilarious and would often be found by my side rubbing my back and laughing to himself and saying "I did this". I know that sounds awful, but we are weird like that. I found it comforting. I would laugh too and say something like "man, this kid better be cute.".
I started snoring like a grown man because I was constantly congested. Josh would often laugh because I would clear my throat obnoxiously desperately trying to rid myself of phlegm.
I was ravenous in the morning, If I didn't eat the second that my eyes opened, I would be sick. Occasionally this would lead to me downing two bananas back to back.
For the first time in my life I was experiencing heartburn on the daily. I did not go anywhere without a bottle of TUMS in my purse.
I normally ride pretty high on the emotional scale, so having my hormones cranked up meant that I cried all the time. If something was too happy or too sad, I was in tears. But I was usually laughing though it because I knew I was being ridiculous most of the time.
Notable pregnancy brain moments
I tried to unlock the front door with my car fob.
I threw a glass of water on my bed thinking it was my phone.
I left my oven mitt in the oven and nearly set it on fire.
I forgot my glass of water upstairs and had to stop my self mid-sentence while I asked our dog, Murphy, to grab it for me.
I tried to flush the toilet by flicking the light switch.
I tried to start my car by honking the horn.
Blowing on my ice cream because it was too cold.
I would forget literally everything including my birthday.
These are the memories that I kept despite my fears that I'd lose her too. While I was doing my best to survive the loss of my father, I was finding little moments of gratitude in the miracle within myself. I carried her through some of the most difficult moments of my life...and she carried me too.