It's snowing right now, and it's absolutely beautiful. I love snow. I've always loved snow. Two years ago, when I was pregnant with Owen, Dan and I were snowed in at our house for almost two weeks. We didn't have anywhere to go, or anything to do, and we spent those two weeks playing Scrabble, watching movies, laughing, playing, and imagining what our life would be like 3 months later when Owen joined our family. We walked around the neighborhood, slowly and carefully, and made snow angels out in the yard.
Last year, we didn't get a single flake. Nothing. Nada. We didn't mind, really. The city shuts down with just the idea of snow, so it was fine to go along with our lives, enjoying the winter with our son. We knew we'd have plenty of snow in Owen's future, and it would be better when he could walk. Heck, he was just starting to crawl somewhere around this time last year.
But this year, we got our first snow early. The first little flurry wasn't much to celebrate, but it was still exciting. The following afternoon, Monday, it started snowing like it meant business and it started to stick. How exciting! We were beginning the "worst winter in 55 years" here in Seattle, and we were just three short weeks away from another little boy to join our family. That night, I started having contractions. They weren't painful, but they were definitely noticeable, and they were coming every 3-4 minutes, and lasting around a minute each. Now, most books and doctors will tell you that if this pattern keeps up for an hour, it's likely that labor is starting, and if things get painful, it's time to go to in. I tracked my contractions for three hours, and they kept coming, almost like clockwork. I was very excited, but also nervous that we may have trouble getting to the hospital. I decided to go to bed, and if the contractions were strong enough to wake me up, we'd head in. I think my biggest regret now in the loss of our dear Elliott is not going in to see if labor had started. Maybe if I had been hooked up to their monitors, someone would have realized he was in trouble and he'd be here today. But I can't know for sure, and I can't change what has happened...
Anyway, I woke up Tuesday morning, still pregnant, and there were a few inches of snow on the ground. Dan and I dropped Owen off for a play date and made our way to the hospital for our 37-week appointment. Everything looked good. I was measuring a little big, but I had been for a while, and Elliott's heartbeat sounded good and strong. We picked Owen up, went back home, and played in the snow. Owen didn't know what to think of it at first, but when Dan started tossing snowballs at his coat, Owen really started enjoying it! When his hands started turning red from the cold, we went inside, much to his dismay. He spent the rest of the afternoon asking to go out in the snow. It was a great day, and we were feeling so much happiness.
I look back at that day in a few different ways. It was a very satisfying day -- good appointment, fun in the snow, joy, excitement, anticipation. But it was also the last time we heard Elliott's heartbeat, and the last day that we know for sure Elliott was alive. I look back at who we were, and how innocently we imagined our future life with our two boys. I look back at someone who didn't know the pain of losing a baby just two weeks before his due date. I look back to a time when I was someone I'll never fully be again.
These days, I have brief moments of peace where I can see a future with hope and joy and days without tears. These moments are bittersweet. I won't ever forget Elliott, nor would I want to, but I do want to be happy and hopeful and pregnant again some day. I don't know when that day will be, and I'm okay with that (at this moment), but I know it will come. In the mean time, the snow is accumulating outside -- cold, clean, pure, and full of possibilities. It's supposed to melt overnight or tomorrow, but I hope it stays long enough for Owen to play in it. And if it's gone when we wake up, we can add snow to the list of things we can look forward to.