Dear Baby Princess,
I need to tell you about something very sad.
First, I should make it clear that you will not read this story here for the first time. It is important to Daddy and I to have an open, honest family and that means you will hear about both the good and the bad, gradually and in the appropriate context, as you get bigger. I am eternally grateful, though, that you are relatively unaware of what's happening at the moment. The upshot is, sweet girl, that for 23 weeks there was a baby in Mommy's belly, and now there isn't.
I haven't written about the pregnancy here because by the time we were telling people in general, we knew there was a slight, one-in-a-million chance (we should start playing the lottery) that there might be an issue. Without going into a ton of medical specifics, when I was pregnant with you I tested negative for a virus called CMV, and during this pregnancy I tested positive for it. CMV exposure in and of itself is generally not harmful to healthy adults and kids (it's likely that all 3 of us have now been exposed via daycare) and depending on who you talk to, somewhere between 50 and 80% of the population "has" CMV and most people will never even know it exists. Problems only occur when you are exposed to it at basically the exact wrong moment in your pregnancy, which is what happened to me.
For a very long time there was nothing we could do but go for regular ultrasounds and keep a close eye on things, and in general everything looked great. I am so superstitious that if I could, I'd wait until I had delivered a healthy baby before telling people I was pregnant, but that's obviously impossible. At 13 weeks we made a conscious decision to get excited about the baby and to avoid talking about CMV with almost everyone except each other, since odds were everything was fine and we didn't want to worry or frighten anyone unnecessarily . . . we just wanted to share our happy news with family and friends as we normally would. But I had an amnio after 21 weeks and the information became worse and worse as we got more and more detailed results back. Even knowing all along that bad results were a possibility, I wasn't at all prepared to have my worst fears confirmed. How could I have been? Even now I keep replaying the phone call from the doctor in my head, hoping for a different outcome.
There is no need to go into detail here about the logistics of ending a pregnancy at 23 weeks. If you ever want or need to know the full story, baby girl, I am more than willing to share it. But if you'd rather not, I very much understand that too. I think you can imagine, regardless, that for Daddy and I it was the hardest thing we've ever done and easily the worst day of our lives.
But. We made it thorough the worst day of our lives, and somehow we are okay. And that is due in huge part to you, Baby Princess. I don't mean we're okay every minute, because that would be impossible. We are sad and angry and hurt. But in the last few weeks, we've gone to work. We've watched TV. We've paid bills and run errands and done paperwork for our new house, which we close on next week (!). We've hung out with friends and genuinely enjoyed ourselves. We've laughed, a lot actually. And most importantly, we've watched you grow and develop and change in leaps and bounds, which is why I couldn't stay away from this blog any longer. I didn't want to miss the opportunity to tell you that when we went out to dinner last week, Daddy told you that your food was hot and you blew on it! Where did you learn that? (I'm guessing school.) I wanted you to know that you can now tell us what a sheep says, along with a cow, a horse, and a pig (you pinch your nose for that one). You now say "night-night" and "nana" for banana and "turkey" (kind of) and "no" (I'm sure that will quickly become a favorite of yours). And you are truly walking, toddling back and forth between Daddy and I in the living room before dinner.
Baby Princess, it's been a hard month. And actually, the week that everything was happening, you were sick and miserable as well. In retrospect, it appears that you may have had at least a mild case of hand, foot and mouth disease that went undiagnosed by the pediatrician. (Daddy later got it, which is extremely rare for an adult.) But I wonder if some of your crying and general crankiness that week was due to your being able to sense that something was wrong? I may be reading too much into things, but I am amazed by how much you understand. In any case, I started to say that it's been a hard month but that will never change how much happiness you bring to Daddy and I overall. We very much hope to give you a sibling someday, but if that isn't possible, we will never be unsatisfied with our lot in life. You are everything to us, Baby Princess, and as I've said before, if you are our only child we will still be the luckiest parents in the world.
I love you, baby girl. Oh and I forgot two words that you understand very well now, and not a moment too soon: "hug" and "kiss." Thank you for all of your hugs and kisses over the last few weeks . . . you will never know how much they mean.