When Sarah and I got married, we decided, as many people do, we wanted to take a few years to enjoy life as a family of 2 before having a child. We wanted the freedom to roam for a bit, untethered. So that’s exactly what we did. We roamed and traveled lots, sometimes with friends or family, but often just the two of us. And when we felt the call to go even further into parts unknown, we were incredibly fortunate to be able to put life on pause for 4 months and travel through much of South America. Afterward, we came home, went back to work, got a dog, bought a house, and reacclimated to the rhythms of normal life. After a year or so of being home, we decided we were ready to add another human to our small family.
It didn’t take long to feel frustrated by our unsuccessful attempts to get pregnant. This sad irony sets in when, after having tried for so long not to get pregnant, you find yourself trying month after month with no luck. At times you feel this twisted sense of injustice about all the 16-and-pregnant types who became pregnant so easily and so seemingly undeservedly. At other times, you just have to laugh at yourself for your naive preconception that trying to get pregnant would be an outrageously fun month or two and then you’d quickly move on to the being pregnant part. And with each new period that comes, you make a sad and half-hearted attempt to find a silver lining by splitting another bottle of wine to soften the edges of your disappointment.
And then, after 7 months that felt so much longer, Sarah tested positive. Instant excitement, relief, and wonder washed over us. We told just a few close friends and family and hoped things would progress. Less than a week later, the pregnancy ended, and our small flicker of hope was extinguished. Early miscarriage, also known as a chemical pregnancy, is incredibly common in first-time mothers and happens when the egg is fertilized but fails to attach to the uterine wall. Approximately half of first pregnancies end in miscarriage and most of these are chemical pregnancies.
Afterward, everyone would say how common it was and they knew so many other mothers who had gone through the same, but that did little for our grief. To outsiders, I imagine a chemical pregnancy seems relatively inconsequential. If you weren’t paying attention, you’d experience it as nothing more than a late period. But after months of trying to get pregnant and then finally testing positive, you instantly attach so much hope and love and excitement to this tiny life. To lose that was awful, and my heart breaks for those who have lost babies much further along in their pregnancy. That is a grief that I can’t imagine bearing.
In the weeks that followed, we made the decision to try again that month, rather than waiting through another cycle. We had read many women’s stories online of becoming pregnant immediately after an early miscarriage and found hope in that we could indeed get pregnant, even if the first hadn’t succeeded.
The next month, August, we were elated to test positive once again. Of course, we were terrified of another miscarriage, but the pregnancy progressed without any issues, and now, as I write this on May 3, 2017, Sarah is 40 weeks and 1 day pregnant, and we are so eager and excited to welcome Harper Elizabeth Moody into the world.
Below, I’ve included some of our ultrasounds along the way, marking the amazing growth of this life over the past 40 weeks.
Harper’s very first ultrasound at 5 weeks and 5 days. It’s funny looking back on this. We were so enamored with that tiny white flicker, we excitedly showed our families and some close friends. There was hardly anything to see, but they humored us with love all the same.
At 8 weeks, Harper had grown enough to show up as more than just a blinking white dot.
10 weeks, 4 days
At 16 weeks, we decided we couldn’t wait any longer to find out the gender. Kaiser won’t determine the gender until 20 weeks, so we went to a 3rd party ultrasound office and found out we were having a baby girl. We couldn’t have been happier.
This one was my favorite from 16 weeks. So tiny, but already curled up and sleeping like a baby.
At 27 weeks, we went back to the 3rd party ultrasound provider for a 4D ultrasound, which is a high-quality 3D ultrasound video. At this appointment, we got the best and clearest look at our baby girl.
This one shows the placenta covering half her face while she holds the umbilical cord in one hand
In most of her ultrasounds, Harper has her right hand curled up next to her face.
After getting home from the ultrasound, we watched this video about 3 times on repeat.
As the end of the pregnancy approached we had some lovely pictures taken by our friend Emily Poole. Thanks to Emily for doing such a wonderful job capturing how beautiful Sarah is in this stage of motherhood.
This experience, the journey of bringing life into the world has been so rich, so difficult and joyous, so beautiful and frustrating, and now, we are finally nearing the close of this stage and the beginning of parenthood. Thank you to the many people who have loved us so well during this time. We love you and are so blessed to have you.
And to Harper, my beautiful daughter I’ve still yet to meet, I already love you fiercely. Your mother and I will do our best as your parents. At times, our best will not be enough, but we will keep trying. I can’t promise you a perfect childhood. I can’t promise life will treat you fairly. I can’t promise to protect you always from the rich pains of life. I can only promise you one thing: you are loved and there’s nothing you can do to change that. No matter the path you take in life, you are loved. No matter what you look like, no matter your imperfections and insecurities, no matter what the world tells you, no matter how your decisions, choices, beliefs, doubts, identity or orientation differ from my own, no matter whether you believe it or not, no matter whether you love me back you are loved and there’s nothing you can do to change that.
I love you and I’m dying to finally meet you,