While we knew it was the most responsible decision to temporarily separate our family, it was also the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. If you asked my friends and family to describe me, I think a lot of them would say that I’m strong, but in that moment, faced with the thought of finishing the third trimester of pregnancy with a toddler and no spouse, I was terrified.
I think the days leading up to our departure were the hardest. For me, every day was heavy with the agony of separation. I thought about every moment… trying to afford Kyle as much time as he could get with Ella…Encouraging them to do solo dates to the park or the museum, letting him do her bath and tuck her in, putting her in his lap to watch a movie. It is such a bizarre mix of emotions to wait to say good-bye. You are so wrapped up in the all-consuming sadness of the anticipated departure that you can’t enjoy your last moments together.
And to complicate things even more, there was a part of me that was also happy and excited to go back to Canada. It was no secret how hard our move, and lives in North Carolina had been on me, I desperately missed the company and support of our families and friends. Of course these feelings of excitement brought with them a heap of guilt, because I felt it was wrong to have any positive thoughts about splitting up our family.
At the time that we left, Ella was just shy of her second birthday and while we tried to explain to her that she would be living without daddy for a while we knew she didn’t quite understand. Saying goodbye at the airport was tough. I cried…which made Ella cry because she didn’t understand why I was upset. I knew Ella wouldn’t remember the time away from her Daddy, but I would…and he would… We tried to keep things light, we said our I love you’s and that was it, but the sadness was palpable, and I felt there was a lot hanging in the air unsaid, because what do you really say in a situation like that?
When we arrived in Canada we were greeted by my mom, my brother, my sister in-law and my niece. My dad had flown down to help us with the long travel day. Within days we were visiting with Kyle’s sisters and parents, my best friends and their families…and I started to realize how big our village was. We had a vast network of support. Friends and family were flocking to visit us and I had never been more grateful for the company or the help. Somehow I knew that no matter what happened with the baby we would be ok, because we were surrounded by so much love.
Kyle visited once a month for a 3 day weekend, and every time he came home ella was elated. She was always so excited to see him, but with that excitement came new heartache, as we knew we would have to say good-bye over and over again. Thus began the unbelievably unfair juxtaposition of feelings between the joy of being together, and the sorrow at knowing it would soon come to another end. We continued like this for 4 months…FaceTiming every day, trying to keep each other updated on what was happening at our respective homes. It was so impersonal, and so rushed. The time change and Ella’s early bedtime, combined with Kyle’s pressures from work never seemed to give us enough time. There was never enough time. Every time he visited, I secretly hoped I would go into labour so he wouldn’t miss the birth but I knew that was wishful thinking.
Overall, the 4 months before I gave birth were really hard on us. It was hard on our marriage, and hard on our daughter. Seeing her hold up the phone crying and asking for her Daddy, was enough to break my heart into a million little pieces. But we made it through, and after every storm there is a rainbow, and our rainbow was the birth of our son.