When I first found out I was pregnant with Avery I was terrified. I had a million questions : am I ready, how far along am I, did all that beer I just had hurt the baby? Jordan didn’t seem to have any questions instantly or if he did they were abandoned for the excitement of having a baby of our own. He was ecstatic about being a Daddy. While tears ran down my face and I reached for my bible for assurances from God that now was the time Jordan looked at me, grinning from ear to ear, and asked “why are you praying, it’s all going to be okay” as if he already knew the answers to my questions and felt the immensity of this miracle. As if God had already assured him now was the time.
Avery is just that, a miracle. We weren’t trying for him and in the very beginning I remember feeling guilty. We knew of many couples who were trying to get pregnant and couldn’t and here we were with this blessed surprise of a baby. Surprise and miracle are words I use to describe conceiving Avery but he never was an accident. He was always meant to be our son. Kids have always been our future but both of us were getting comfortable in our married life and neither wanted to admit we thought we were ready. In retrospect we weren’t ready and there is no time for anyone to be ready for how we welcomed our first child into our family.
I was still getting over the shock of the news but Jordan plunged headfirst into Daddy mode. The first few weeks were difficult for me between morning sickness and exhaustion so many days all I could manage was work and a nap on the couch. He took over household chores, grocery shopping, and cooking dinner. He insisted I eat healthy and tried to make all kinds of new foods that I smelled and ran for the bathroom.
At first I wanted Baby S to be a girl and I thought that until the anatomy ultrasound. The technician barely had the machine turned on when Jordan knew he was looking at his son. I couldn’t see from where I was laying down but from the tears rolling down his face I knew that I was carrying his boy. He repeatedly said “I just can’t believe it’s a boy” and I realized I didn’t really want it to be a girl. I wanted him to be exactly what he was. It was the week of Jordan’s 26th birthday and he said he couldn’t have asked for a better present.
Shortly after our 20 week anatomy ultrasound we bought our first home and started renovations with our Christmas due date as a deadline. For weeks, then months Jordan worked his regular work hours then went to the new house. Being pregnant didn’t allow me to be much help and I felt guilty for him being the only one of us doing all the manual labor. He was tired and exhausted much of that time but we reminded each other that it would all be worth it for our family to enjoy this beautiful new home in a few months. As they’re putting the finishing touches on the renovations now I have to remind him that there is no longer a deadline and he should use his downtime to relax instead (he doesn’t listen).
The most I’ve ever seen him cry was the day after Avery went to Heaven and I will always regret not knowing what to do. It was such a rare sight to see him lose it like that and I didn’t know how to comfort him. He didn’t always say anything through the tears but the one thing that broke my already shattered heart was “There was so much I wanted to do with him”.
I may have been the one carrying Avery but his Daddy loved him just as much already. He was looking forward to an energetic toddler to wrestle and play sports with. He wanted to take him to the Masters and tell him all about his work. He wanted to teach him how to drive the truck. He talked to him and read to him when he was in my belly and Avery went kick crazy at the sound of his voice. He would feel him often and ask me every day about his movements.
My heart broke all over again when I realized that I had not only just lost my little boy but I had lost this amazing man’s first son as well. Guilt crept up on me like a black fog and threatened to make me believe I had done something to cause this. Jordan wouldn’t hear of my guilt. He reminded me constantly that there was nothing I could have done differently to make him live.
Since that day in the hospital Jordan has been my strong rock. I know we all grieve differently. When I ask him how he’s processing he tells me he’s angry but accepting it and more importantly he’s concerned with my wellbeing; am I healing well physically and emotionally. Just because he hasn’t cried much since leaving the hospital doesn’t mean he’s not understanding of my emotions. He anticipates my triggers, makes eye contact, and says things like “I know” and “We’ll have that again someday”. In the early days home from the hospital I needed help with everything from using the bathroom to packing my incision wound. There was nothing that was too much for him to help with; no request that he was annoyed to fulfill. He stayed home with me for two weeks and although our moms were here I don’t think I would have gotten out of bed and through the day without my husband and his unconditional love.
We are closer than we have ever been in our two and a half years of marriage and five years of dating. He’s accepting of all the ideas I have to include Avery in our family even though he says its hard to remember. He doesn’t think I’m crazy when I tell him I talk to Avery or that over a month later I’m still carrying AJ the teddy bear because my arms still feel empty. I tell him I want my baby and he seems to know when I need to hear a simple “I know” and when he needs to remind me that he’s not coming back to this life. He says goodnight to Avery with me every night. He doesn’t let what happened to Avery create fear of having more children.
Everyone who has been telling me how strong and brave I am just know I am these with my husband’s unwavering support. He is my rock, my home, the love of my life. And I don’t thank him enough for being his amazing self.
Daddy makes me smile too, Avery.