Last year, I replayed *The Last of Us* in late June, early July. This isn’t new for me. I think it was my eighth time through the beginning of Joel and Ellie’s time together (correction: turned out to be my [ninth]( . This time was going to be a different go around though. This run was going to be the last time I’d play the game before becoming a dad. My wife Abby and I had found out she was pregnant a few weeks prior on my birthday. In the middle of July, we lost the baby. In late November, I played *God of War* for [[S2 - God of War|Chapter Select]]. Just one week prior to starting, Abby and I lost our second pregnancy. I wasn’t trying to make a distinct BF (before fatherhood) and AF (after fatherhood) playthrough of some of my favorite games. I didn’t see the positive pregnancy test and think “Aw man, I better take Ellie to the Fireflies for the ninth time!” or hear Kratos say “Boy” for the umpteenthtime. I have to scratch that itch to play *The Last of Us* far too often and Chapter Select dictated [[S2E7 - God of War (2018)|my return to Midgard]]. But the idea that I would soon become a dad influenced my perspective of these games and the world. I processed everything different after these miscarriages. A new filter has been placed over the lens in which I view the world. I have a newfound empathy for Joel and Kratos. Not that losing / killing your own child is close to our miscarriages, but we’ve experienced loss of something entirely out of our control. When a second chance came back around for these anti-heroes neither of them let go of control, and in the cases of those narratives, often to their detriment. After beating *The Last of Us*, I dove into *Part II*. My fourth round with Ellie and Abby (not my Abby) didn’t last long. I was not in the space to play a darker tale on parenthood, especially considering two pregnant women play prominent roles. I get that it is odd, or even out of touch, to work through and talk about miscarriages through video games. Even as I write this, I feel like there is a twinge of diminishment. I can see it as a coping and/or processing method. But now my life is even more tied to those games than I ever could have imagined. Miscarriages are common. This was news to me. You never think it will happen to you. The entire process of a miscarriage is excruciating, both physically and emotionally. --- There was a seemingly endless flood of baby announcements entered our lives. I am extremely happy for these couples, truly I am, but bitterness creeps in. “How did they get pregnant the first time?” “Why is theirs sticking and ours isn’t?” It’s hard not to be pelted with imagery of how easy becoming pregnant is in media. Just look at a woman the wrong way and she’ll become pregnant. Reality is far from it. Deciding to get back on the saddle is emotional investment. Rigid schedules can sap out the intimacy. Outside of the emotional hole you find yourself in, the physical toll on the mother is immense. Hormones are produced rapidly. Then when the loss occurs, they deplete bit by bit. A miscarriage takes months of recovery. Then you hope that it sticks the next time around. We had family and friends support us through each loss. There’s an inherent desire to surprise the world with the news that you are having a baby. It starts out as the best secret spouses could share. Then you creep closer and closer to the ultrasound only to see emptiness. No one truly knows why this happened; what didn’t sync up. It’s remarkable how blind parents are while a little human is supposed to be growing inside them. I imagine [[|visibility]] doesn’t improve too much once the child enters the world. After a year of trying, we finally saw someone on the inside. ![[ultrasound-crop-post.jpg]] Say hello 👋🏻 This little human would not have been possible without the strength and resolve of Abby. She was and continues to be stunning throughout this entire journey. She is remarkable. I am in awe. Another helping hand was reading and hearing other stories of couples that had difficulties conceiving. Those stories taught me how difficult creating little people can be and how vastly different challenges manifest themselves. - Casey Liss’s *[Finally](* and *[Sometimes, It’s the Same as It Ever Was](* - [Greg and Gen Are Having a Baby!]( – The Kinda Funny Podcast (Ep. 135) - *[The New One](* by Mike Birbiglia They are part of why I wanted to share ours. Maybe it can help someone, some day. These miscarriages have been the toughest situations in both our lives and our marriage up to this point. I would never wish this on someone. As we move further away from the miscarriages themselves, Abby and I do see how it has drawn us closer together. As difficult as it has been, I wouldn’t want to go through this with anyone else. It all culminating with a pregnancy certainly helps too. I also know that this may be another success story to those in the throes of trying to have a baby. A year and some change may seem like a blip to some struggles couples have had. I do hope our story kindles encouragement and hope for you. Our little human makes their debut in October. I’m not sure I’ll scratch *The Last of Us* itch until after they arrive. Maybe the rumored remake and *Ragnarök* will come out after they are born. All I know for sure is that after October 2022, our lives will never be the same. We cannot wait.