Ethan (One year old)

Dear Ethan,

Happy Birthday, my handsome boy! In a couple days, you will be officially ONE YEAR OLD! Just another 18 years to go, you can buy vodka all by yourself!


I’ve been thinking what to tell you on your birthday. Not that you haven’t had any developments this month – you’ve learned to identify fat ladies to point at in grocery store, to fart like a trooper, to bite like a mouse…just name a few, but I really want to let you know how badly I wanted to have you.


The desire of having you was the only reason your father and I got married. We had been living together way too long to even consider marriage. If it’s not too hard to find a wedding dress for pregnant woman, we’d definitely start trying right after we decided to wed. The joy I felt when I found I was pregnant two months after the wedding was unmeasured by anything. I would say my very first ultrasound image that I had received from the radiologist was the most extraordinary art in the planet. Now, I am talking about abstract art, of which only drunk people could tell you exactly what they see. I was too thrilled to keep it inside myself. I told EVERYONE! Yes, probably every single human beings in the world.I was not surprised about my being fertile. I eat well, exercise regularly, barely get sick, quit smoking few years back. Yes, I did smoke. But I would’ve not even started if I realized how hurtful it is to my body. I saw no reason why I couldn’t conceive. Everything just went as expected until 4 weeks later when I started bleeding. I went through a-million-year long weekend trying to tell myself that things would be fine, though Google kept showing me tons of evidences of miscarriage. Finally the sonogram confirmed it. Devastatingly torn, I was hiding myself being face-washed by tears. Tons of compassionate and encouraging messages came by, but nothing could help, nothing could undo what happened. It took me a lot of ways to get over it, to think about something else, but that was purely impossible. There was a day, an afternoon, a moment that struck me so hard, completely out of the blue, that my first baby should have been starting babbling that very day. I should have been pushing her stroller jogging around the park…

Then it came the second pregnancy after almost a year. If being pregnant two months after wedding is some kind of fertility assurance, I can prove it WRONG. Every time when I felt like I was going to start my period again, I sighed knowing that another month of gruelling sex had started. That year, if your dad would ever tell you, is one of the most fantastic years he has ever had in his life. The amount of sex we had was way too much for any normal couples.

This time, we decided not to tell anyone until the first trimester genetic screening was done. Breaking more hearts doesn’t help heal ours. We passed the first four terrifying weeks, we made the screening too. Just the result came back abnormal, meaning the baby would have a 99% chance of having genetic problems. I was sent to take a 100% accurate amniotic fluid test which took another trillion-year-long two weeks to come up with the result.


I knew something was wrong. I just needed some kind of science proof. But I was still hopeful. I wanted to have a baby badly. I tried to explain it away. Maybe I did have that 1% chance. Maybe? Something? Anything? I would believe into anything, please, I just want to have this baby.

Then bad news came one December evening from my doctor telling me my baby was confirmed to have serious genetic problems if she’s born. Just days before my scheduled pregnancy termination surgery, the fetus passed from my body naturally. It was awful, but I was glad that it happened this way instead of having an invasive medical procedure. Ironically, it occurred on a Boxing Day as if I was given a gift of truth “when it’s not supposed to be yours, it’s not!”.


When I thought I had a perfect life, these tragic spots ruined it. I would never forget that Christmas. That’s my “emptiest” Christmas! The family was told that we were going away for a vacation. Yes, we did a “home getaway” from faking Christmas happiness, from going to friend’s baby shower, from pretending nothing happened. I was trying not to let my mind go there, but lots of “what if” burst out. What if I am unable to carry a full term baby? What if the genetic issue is from one of us that we cannot have a normal baby naturally? What if we have to adopt when I long for the labor experience as a real mom? What if I can’t love the adopted child as much as my own child? After another I-don’t-even-remember-how-freaking-long days, blood test report came back confirming that neither of us have any kind of genetic diseases. This case was just a random thing which could happen to any completely healthy couples.

Ethan, you have a mom whose brain can come up with countless impossibly negative thoughts, where only your father can refrain the situation from getting worse. Sometimes I think he’s the only reason I’m still here out of any psychiatric facilities. The last time I saw him weep was when we were at the Hong Kong airport, and he needed to move back to Vancouver a year before my immigration was done. This incident was the second time. During this difficult time, when I had no one to talk to, he, as heart broken as I was, was the only one who tried to calm me down in every tear-filled rampage where I threw out tons of gloomy nonsenses.¬†Your father has no sweet mouth nor handsome face, it’s his genuine care for me that made me decide to marry him.

My recovery went perfectly well that I was pregnant again after two months. Not feeling as excited as my previous pregnancies, I was haunted by the demon of fear for quite some time…until I felt your feisty kicks, until I saw you perform somersault in my tummy via ultrasound, until I truly believed we would be seeing each other very soon. As weeks slipped by, your father and I had inched closer to the moment we would hold you in our arms for the first time, the gratitude we felt about being the parents had grown so huge that completely concealed what we both had suffered in the past. The devastation I’d gone through before just confirmed to me how ready I was to have you. It also reinforced just how much of a miracle you are, how many things could have gone wrong, but didn’t.


Here you are now, Ethan, a year after you were laid on my chest while I smelled your first scent. Those first few months with you was the toughest months of my life. Not that you were bad in any way, just I was not as confident as I thought I would be. I wasn’t prepared for what you would do to my capacity of love and worry. During that time, I felt like my soul was shattered and flew away.But you’ve changed me. Look at what a ride it has been between us. I’ve managed to last 12 months. I am a super mom now! And you’ve made it too. You’ve become a totally different little boy from the first day we brought you home. Your personality only gets more adorable every single minute. Ethan, I have to say, to know you is to love you, to be deeply in love with you. My life was not even a life before you came along.

We will never forget what we have encountered, but now we have you here, nothing matters more than that.


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