You are going to get pregnant again when baby number one is nine months old. You are going to be surprised at the quickness of it all. You expected it to take at least six months... You are going to smile at people that express shock that you are pregnant again. You will yourself to ignore any stares that you think are judgmental. It was planned; it just happened earlier than expected. You will buy your first house with your husband when you are seven months pregnant. At eight months your blood pressure is going to worry your doctor who will put you on light bed rest for a week or two. Your parents will bring you a blood pressure machine and you record your blood pressure twice a day and take your notes to your doctor to prove you are fine. You are. The day before your birthday you will go into labor. You are excited and when you get your epidural you make the nurse take a picture. This is not common but everyone thinks it's funny. Your doctor will come in and tease you. Around 11pm you are ready to push and the baby will have the cord wrapped over it's shoulders so you have to pause so the doctor can unwrap it. Then at 11:28pm you deliver a baby boy. You and everyone else thought it was going to be a girl. The ultrasound said so. This baby is going to change you more than you ever expected. He will make you stronger. He will make you speak up. His bravery will make you brave, too. His incredible strength will make you stronger. You will back away from your beliefs. You will tell people your baby's birth defect is all meant for a greater purpose. You will try really hard to believe God has this under control.
You are going to make it. Your second baby, a boy, is healthy in spite of his bladder exstrophy. He is a fighter. You will love him so much. When he is four months old you will try to console his cries in a quiet bookstore while you wait for your mom. He is in his car seat and when you bend over to unstrap him and hold him you meet eyes with a middle aged man that has a look of "you are too young, you don't know what you're doing" on his face. You will feel yourself turn red and be embarrassed that your baby is crying. And then you'll not care. Because babies cry. They don't care where they are when they cry and you'll be okay with that.
Your husband is going to venture out and start his own business and you will find out that you're pregnant with baby number three around the same time. You are scared. You know the chances of having a baby with bladder exstrophy is greater now, so your doctor orders a high tech ultrasound. You find out it's a girl. She is healthy and there are no problems. You allow yourself excitement and joy after watching the ultrasound. Everything will be fine with this baby. You will still worry until her birth, though. You are going to move during this time. You are swapping houses with your in laws. Your husband got a night job to make ends meet while his business gets started. There is stress and more stress but you push it aside. You grow closer to your husband during all of this. He barely remembers his daughters birth because he is so exhausted. You will smile and say it was not an easy time even though back when it was happening it seemed unending and immensely difficult.
Your daughter is born. Healthy. Everything in place like it should be. You thank God. Quietly and reserved. You aren't sure about it. You are afraid that you've rejected Him and He will reject you, but you see every good thing and every need is met. You cannot continue to deny these things. These blessings that happen right on time. Miracles that happen daily.
You have been down a long road. A difficult road at times. You have made it this far. I still think you should relax. You are too uptight sometimes. You are not who I thought you would be. You are better. All those hard times were surrounded by good and happy times. Like a blanket. I want you to remember those... birthdays and quiet nights, long walks to feed the horses while your hands are freezing, the way your kids spontaneously hug you around the knees and say Mommy, I'm happy! And you'll know you are doing something right...