Exactly one year ago, in a North Carolina beach cottage, we found out Lexie was coming. It was our third positive home pregnancy test, so we greeted the news with neither excitement (as we did the first time) nor with cautious optimism (as we did the second time). By this time, we knew about my unicornuate uterus and understood the possible complications. So we greeted the news of our third pregnancy with equal parts hope and fear.
The next morning we were scheduled to drive back to Virginia. Before we left, I sat on the steps to the beach for a long time trying to set my head straight. Looking at the ocean always helps give me perspective, reminding me of my tiny place in this big world. At the time, I'd wished I could know what lay ahead.
It's probably better that I didn't know what we'd contend with through the pregnancy. At least in the early days, I had only my usual worry of miscarriage, and a few weeks of my second trimester were practically a cakewalk. Then it all came crashing down with 9 weeks of preterm labor in the hospital and a baby born 10 weeks too early.
But if I could send a message back to myself a year ago, maybe I'd just tell her this: It's going to be a bad, bumpy ride, and you're going to be more terrified than you've ever been. It will be the hardest thing you've done in your life.
But in the end, it will be worth it.