May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
-Irish Blessing

Monday, January 31, 2011

A Repeatable Moment

Saturday morning I did not believe that I had really felt the baby move. I was prodding and poking and drinking and moving. Panic began to grow from deep within. I know that there is a very strong chance that my baby's heart will stop beating before birth but that is something I do not dwell on. I have a baby doppler and listened for baby's heartbeat which usually reassures me but that morning my mind was so frenzied that I could not believe the heartbeat I was hearing was not my own rushed beats. Finally, I lost it in the shower. My mind began preparations for a c-section and hospital stay. My next thought was pure rage, at God. After all I've been through, how could God deny me the opportunity to meet my child while living? Was I not owed that one little thing? The ability to see my child's eyes or hear his or her voice? Of course, I know there's no guarantee and that many many parents have suffered through the indignity of a silent birth and I should be no different. I just need to believe that I can make it through these next five weeks intact and that my baby will be okay.

Baby must have just been very sleepy, as was I, that morning. As I type this my belly is jiggling to and fro with baby's wiggly movements.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Coming Unhinged

I am having a very rough week physically and emotionally. The baby, and I, are getting bigger. Or at least just I am. Potter's babies are usually small but Wyatt defied those statistics weighing it at a whopping 6lb 8oz at 37 weeks so I am hopefully this baby will be a good size and I really feel like he or she is getting plumper! However, with that weight comes discomfort of course and it is getting harder and harder to get things done. I also fear the baby is stuck in a transverse position like Wyatt was. When I was pregnant with Wyatt I could literally see him stretching my stomach horizontally and it was an extremely unpleasant feeling. I believe this little one's head is on the right side of my stomach and the body curls down my pelvis though I think the feet may be more down than to the side. So when baby decides to do a full body stretch it is quite uncomfortable, especially considering that there is little to no amniotic fluid to cushion either of us.

Emotional pain is amplifying the physical pain, the pelvic discomfort, the backaches and the general exhaustion from lack of sleep. Tears flow easy and hard. I told my husband that I am on my last hinge, thank goodness it is almost the weekend. He picks up alot of slack in the mornings before work and when he gets home, but the weekends are my salvation, two whole days where I am not the sun and the moon for our children. They have been at each other's throats and consequently trampling my nerves all week long. We are all hurting so badly right now.

I Went to the Party

I went to the party, if for no other reason, than I couldn't bear to tell my babysitters last minute that I had changed my mind. It was not as bad as my imagination led me to believe it would be, but it was not great either. Not one person spoke specifically to my situation and only one person even asked how I was doing. I was there for almost three hours. If given a redo I would choose to stay home and rest my weary body and mind instead, but what's done is done and I made it through.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Sometime during this last week, my 30th, baby has begun having hiccups regularly. I remember this point in Wyatt's pregnancy very clearly. Because it gave me hope. We were told that Wyatt had little to no amniotic fluid in the womb and without that fluid to swallow and circulate his lungs would not develop properly. But hiccups occur when babies practice breathing in utero, right, so if Wyatt had the hiccups but didn't have working lungs, how could that be? I prayed even harder that the doctors were wrong and that a miracle would occur. If you have read my prior posts or Wyatt's story link on the main page, you know how that turned out.

So, now it is time for this baby to hiccup it's way through my days, and nights more often. I know now that it does not mean the doctors are wrong, that the baby still has no fluid and is likely sucking at air with his or her little underdeveloped lungs. What I do know is that if this baby is anything like his or her big brother he or she is doing everything necessary to grow big and strong. That underdeveloped lungs are better than none at all. That wonders are all around us, even if they are not miracles.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Baby's Day in the Snow

Yesterday we were all finally well enough and the temperatures broke through sub-zero so we had a day in the snow! At seven and a half months pregnant I was crawling through and sitting in the snow, probably at least a couple feet worth, building snow forts for my two oldest daughters. We have a maple tree in the backyard whose lowest branches are almost unreachable to me but yesterday I had to duck to get beneath its firm branches. I dug, cracked out snow bricks and stacked walls of pure white. It was about freezing outside for a change so neither the baby nor I caught a chill. I can only wonder what the the baby thought about being submitted in close proximity to so much cold. By the time we got inside I was literally wet and immersed in memories of stripping off similar, but much smaller sized, winter clothing throughout my childhood.

While digging through the snow I uncovered a perfectly wrinkled brown leaf which appeared to be from the willow. It gave me a chance to think about my garden and what I will plant this year, how I will introduce this new baby into our yard through the textures and colors of my flowers. It also gave me a chance to reflect on how far I've come since losing Wyatt. We moved into this house just a month after he was born. The yard was minimally landscaped and one of the first things we did was to plant his willow tree and make a space for flowers beneath. At the time I knew almost nothing about plants, not out of ignorance, but on purpose. My parents had beautiful flowers throughout our yard as I grew up, however my memories on the subject revolve around the endless hours we spent traversing from nursery to nursery looking for the perfect plants. It was with that conscious rejection that I made my first trip as an adult to a nursery and carefully selected plants for Wyatt's garden. It has been a project seven, going on eight, summers in the making. Each year it is more abundant and beautiful, just as I imagine my son would be. I imagine this year I will spend alot of time working in my flower gardens, aspiring to capture pieces of beauty which have slipped through my fingers.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Blessed Today

This morning I received a special blessing at church. My priest said a special blessing for me as a mother for strength and grace to continue carrying this child and ultimately offer him or her to the Lord. It was a small and brief ceremony but so beautiful and touching. I received a soft white prayer shawl and a Willow Tree Angel of Prayer. It brought some much needed reinforcement to my weary heart today. A reminder that amidst such sorrow and pain there are always blessings to be had and to be recognized.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I Have Nothing Left to Give

Yesterday I reached a point of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion that has left me with nothing left to give anyone. Monday my husband and I spent some quality time at the birthing floor of the hospital where I have given birth to all of my children and where I will welcome this one in just about seven weeks. In the same room as Wyatt left this world. We met with hospital personnel to create a birth plan for this little one, a mesh of hospital policy, forms and our own special wishes for this child. It was determined, primarily by me, that I will spend my hospital stay in the same room that I spent with Wyatt. I could feel him all around me and I can't think of a better place to welcome his little brother or sister. It was a day of anticipation and dread and one that left me satisfied but empty. Our wishes will be honored and I fully expect to welcome Wyatt's sibling in a very eerily similar way to the way we celebrated his birth and death.

Yesterday I spent almost my entire morning at the hospital, beginning with a one hour glucose test which always entails spending more than an hour in the lab. My day started off late and progressively ran later which did little for my stress level. I failed my one hour glucose test with my first two pregnancies and passed with my second two so it was a crap shoot at best and I could think of no worse torture than having to spend three plus hours in a waiting room with other pregnant women knowing that I would lose my pregnancy. I guardedly crocheted this baby's white blanket hoping no one would approach me or ask about my pregnancy. I was blessed that no one did. A double blessing later in the morning when I got the news that I passed the glucose test and would be spared from the three hour torture that follows a failing result. Of course, few roses are thorn-free, so I did have to endure a RhoGam shot for good measure.

I was able to schedule baby's birth date and can now share that he or she will hopefully enter this world no sooner than March 11, 2011. The events of the previous two days have left me completely spent, today with a rare headache. I pray for our little one to grow and thrive in utero so that he or she may be born alive and kicking on March 11th and be strong enough to spend some time with us before joining his or her little brother.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

To Go or Not To Go?

I am wrestling with this question as the date of my husband's office holiday party approaches. We have babysitters available so that is not a problem. The issue is me plain and simple. I used to briefly work and still do on a very part-time basis for my husband's office and I know most of the longer term employees there. However, when my husband broke the news of our baby's condition not one person said anything via email to me. My husband said everyone was very supportive to him but it stung a bit that no one said anything to me. I understand why. They didn't know what to say or how to say it and perhaps email is not the right medium.

Now, a month and half before giving birth I am faced with a night out. Mind you, it would be our first night out since finding out the bad news. (We ending up spending our wedding anniversary at home with sick kids.) My concern is mostly my emotional wellbeing. I suspect my presence will make others uncomfortable and might put a damper on our table's discussion. It is also very disheartening to sit at a table full of people when eight months pregnant and have not one person ask about the pregnancy. Regardless of whether this child lives or not, I am pregnant and it is a huge part of my life right now. My husband supports my decision either way and right now I'm leaning towards going but asking to leave if I don't feel right about it since I don't see the need to put myself in a position which will cause me further pain. There is just nothing easy about this.

To think, when I initially got pregnant by biggest concern by far was not gaining too much weight and then dropping it as quickly as possible after giving birth. Now that's merely a measure I will take for self preservation.

There's No Crying in Baseball

This post was to originally be titled "There's No Crying in Church" but...since I happened to run across a major league baseball team's manager and a few players this morning at the hospital, I couldn't help but to borrow a line from A League of Their Own.

I sat this church this weekend with my two oldest daughters and more than once teared up. (My husband is not religious and my youngest is not disciplined enough to behave in church so they keep each other company at home). There were no particular words that spoke to me, yet tears flowed anyway. In particular, my oldest spontaneously began singing the closing hymn very loudly and quite beautifully. She usually does not sing and it simply took my breath away. However, that put me in a position that I have been in many times. Sitting in a room full of people with tears in my eyes. Meanwhile, these people are unaware of my suffering and most probably do not notice. But it is uncomfortable nonetheless to be crying in public. Crying is such a private thing rarely exhibited in public. I hope this was an isolated event though I fear it was not. Many times during the end of my pregnancy with Wyatt I found myself at church with tears in my eyes. Those who noticed did not understand and of course, it only made me feel uncomfortable and weak. After Wyatt died those tears came easier and going to church became harder so I stopped. It is another stumbling block in my path and another something to figure out how to handle. I suppose I could picture everyone naked but that's not really appropriate for church so I'll have to give this a little more thought I guess.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Empty Crib, Bigger Playroom

We have carried this knowledge for about ten weeks.  Ten weeks of knowing there would be no baby to introduce to his or her Winnie the Pooh themed bedroom, the same bedroom that three little girls have come home to over the past six years.  Yet we have left the baby's crib standing in the bedroom, stripped but filled with my youngest daughter's overflow of stuffed animals from her own bed.  She moved out of the crib before she turned two late this summer which incidentally is when we conceived this baby.  I have made so many lists and prepared so many things yet it never, honestly never, occurred to me to remove the crib from their room.  I enter that room dozens of times every day and it has not once caught my attention or served as a reminder that there is no need for this particular piece of furniture.  I really don't understand why.

So when my husband asked me yesterday if he should take down the crib it caused me to pause for a moment.  Yes, I actually had to think about it before answering.  Of course the crib should come down.  It takes up over half of one wall in the girls' (two youngest) bedroom and by removing the crib it would give them so extra floor space to play in their room.  My husband nonchalantly mentioned that he didn't mind taking it down and putting it up again.  I love him so much for saying that, for believing that this is not the end, that there is hope.  Hope is ever elusive but he captured it for a brief second yesterday and for that I am grateful.

Meanwhile, our children are happily, okay boisterously playing in their newly spacious bedroom at the moment, probably completely unaware at how symbolic the removal of their crib was.

Building a Casket

It's been over two months since we found out about this baby and my way of coping has been precise, bordering almost obsessive list making.  Checking things off one by one.  I have delicately broached the topic of funeral and burial with my husband but not pursued the issue.  My husband made Wyatt's casket himself.  Actually, he made two, one tiny casket that as the pregnancy progressed it became clear would not be large enough.  He then set about making a larger casket that would accommodate a full term baby.  He spent many many hours in our garage cutting, piecing, gluing, nailing, sanding and finishing the casket.  Then he brought it inside and lined it with fluff and shiny white fabric.  He decorated it with tiny white pearls and crafted a perfect little white pillow for the baby's head.  I can't describe the emotions I felt as I watched him do all of this but the pride that I felt and still feel is unmatched.  He created our child's final resting place.

This weekend he began this baby's casket.  His silence and inaction had led me to believe that he may not be able to do another one.  I was wrong.  It just wasn't time yet.  Time is the only thing we have right now, but it is starting to run out, our clock is ticking and it's getting louder.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Beauty in the Blooms

I am more grateful than words could express for each of my children.  We did not send out birth/death announcements for Wyatt.  So it was a great pleasure to create our own announcements for the birth of our first daughter.  I found some wording on the internet about having two children, one who would forever remain a beautiful bud and the other a bloomed flower filling our house with fragrance.  I have since added two more blooms to the announcements and to our household with the birth of our other girls.  Those blooms are unique in so many senses.  They are uniquely colored, their petals have different textures and variations.  Their scents are unique to each, some stronger, sweeter, longer lasting.  One of the greatest gifts as a parent is to be able to look at your children, your flesh and blood, and see bits of yourself and your partner in your child.  To see a melding of your qualities, both physical and emotional.  To see how those qualities sometimes bounce around off of each other wildly and sometimes embrace as the best of friends.  When you have experienced the loss of a child, those thoughts are often underscored by musings of what the missing child would have been like.  They provide opportunities for the imagination to run wild and expound on what that child would be like were he or she here today.  Often, that can bring a smile to your face as you watch your living children do ballerina twirls across the living room floor.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Anger is a Three Pronged Fork

Obviously I am moving through an anger stage of my grief.  Though it is entirely possible it is also completely hormonal - no way to really tell I suppose.  One of the paradoxes of being pregnant with a baby destined to die. My temper is quick, my patience is short and  my words are harsh.  The targets are unfortunately my most faithful companions, my three children.  How unlucky they are lately.  Now, I could just say, "Hey, I'm grieving - deal with it."  But that would be supremely unfair to my children, who I'm sure in their own ways are grieving.  Grieving for the impending loss of a sibling and grieving for the loss of their formerly more fun and energetic mom.  Rather than excusing my behavior I am attempting to face it head on in the hopes that I can make a change.  The next week will be rough on me.  We are meeting with hospital staff to make a birth plan for the baby, I have my gestational diabetes glucose test, to register my middle child for kindergarten, an appt with my OB during which I hope to set my c-section date and a special maternity/child blessing with my priest.  I pray for mercy next week and for the strength to climb that hill.

Fairy Tales for Real People

Fairy tales have been around for a long time.  My middle daughter is particularly entranced by princesses and tales of love and valor.  I can understand why.  I imagine that fairy tales have always originated as an escape from the real world, from disease, famine, heartbreak and death.  What I find interesting is that fairy tales, classic fairy tales, contain so much of this reality.  In Snow White, the huntsman is asked not only to kill Snow White but to return her heart to the wicked queen.   In Sleeping Beauty, an evil spell promising an early death is cast upon Aurora.  In the Red Shoes, the little girl has to have both feet chopped off.  Cinderella was forced to sleep in the cinder.  Even Little Red Riding Hood's grandmother was terrorized by a wolf.  These are hardly sugar coatings of the difficulties one may encounter in life: jealousy, rage, anger, selfishness and vanity.   Many fairy tales have been glamorized by Disney and used to sell merchandise which promises unfulfilled dreams.  Modern fairy tales have taken on a modern philosophy of shielding our children from  reality, making sure that all children are winners and that no one's feelings are hurt.  This is not reality.  People are not created equally and will always be treated differently.  Individuals have their own strengths and weaknesses, there are different economic, educational, ethnic, social, geographic and family backgrounds which all lend to different experiences.  There is no way to get through life without having your feelings hurt.  Bad things will happen, they do happen all the time.  I am thankful for the fairy tales rooted in reality with an element of fantasy.  They let us know that sometimes in life the crappiest of things will happen to you no matter how smart, beautiful or strong you are.  How your fairy tales ends is up to you though, your fate is not held within the hands of whatever evil has taken you into its grasp, it is yours alone.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Choose the Birth Not the Funeral

This post comes from a selfish place.  It is very important for me to have as much family as possible at the birth of our child, to meet him or her.  This, at the outset, is not so much for me, as it is for them.  I want them to hold and touch our child so that he or she becomes a tangible human being to them, rather than just a picture or "something that happened to Mandy".  Somehow I feel that meeting the child will help them to understand my loss in some small way and I suppose I hope that understanding will minimize their future judgments or expectations.  I don't believe anyone can experience the loss of a baby quite like the mother and father, but perhaps witnessing the excruciating pain of letting go will give them a small glimpse of the grief that will follow.  That after watching such suffering they will be kinder in the future when they feel better, when the memory of that child has faded into the background for them.  When they want me to be me again and I'm not.

So I come to this struggle when I find out that a close family member believes (although I am hearing this second hand) that it would be better to support us at the funeral.  Honestly, it really doesn't matter to me who attends the funeral of our baby.  I don't know if that sounds callous or ungrateful but that's how I feel.  I remember Wyatt's funeral vividly and I recall nothing said that day that eased my pain or made me feel better.  Instead, I remember silently suffering through platitude after platitude.  "It's God's plan", "God has another angel", "You're young and will have other children" and on and on.  Those only made me feel worse.  It's not God's plan, how could a kind and merciful God strike my child down?  God has plenty of angels, people who have lived long lives and he could not possibly have needed mine.  While I am young , I am not guaranteed to have more children.  Yes, I did have more children after Wyatt but I also had a miscarriage and had to seek fertility assistance to conceive my last two children.  Now I'm losing another and due to the number of prior c-sections, I may be told that I cannot have anymore children.  This time I anticipate painful comments about how I should be thankful for my girls and take comfort in them.  Obviously I appreciate and love each and every one of my children, but they cannot replace the ones I have lost and I will forever grieve those children. Anyone who can say "But they already have three children" has not lost a child.  So, the selfish part of me wants people at the birth, not the funeral.  Funerals for babies  are just so difficult, there are no memories to share, people can't tell you their favorite qualities of your loved one or even share a humorous memory.  Just platitudes and tears.  It's no fun.

Who do you know who has lost a child?

If you had asked me this ten years ago or so I'd have probably given you an incorrect answer.  Losing a child was something that was not on my radar even though my maternal grandparents lost a baby right after her birth due to what may be a similar condition as what we're experiencing and my paternal grandparents lost five babies to early miscarriages.  My godmother had two stillborn babies.  Since losing Wyatt I know of so so many more losses.  I've made many friends through online support groups and boards and shared in their grief over the loss of their babies.  I've learned of co-workers and friends' losses and other losses have occurred within my distantly related family as well.  Myself, I have lost two babies, Wyatt to Potter's and an early miscarriage between my first two living children.  Soon I will lose another.  I know of losses at all stages of pregnancy and even early infancy and for all kinds of different reasons.  I probably would not have known of many of these losses though had I not had my own.  Pregnancy and infant loss is not something that people talk about.  There are so many reasons why.

I took my middle daughter to the clinic yesterday for a nasty lingering cough.  The nurse who took her x-rays was very excited to see my pregnant belly and asked if this was my second child.  I froze for a second, unsure how to answer.  For the past seven years it has just been easier to answer that "how many children?" question by referring to my living children, the ones people see.  Since I go to the clinic often, I answered that this will be my fourth.  Sometimes it hurts more than others to not mention Wyatt.  It's not that I mind explaining that we had a boy as our first child and that he died.  It's the look in other people's eyes, sometimes pity, confusion or discomfort.  No one asks the "how many children?" question expecting to hear about death.  Most families are blessedly untouched by an experience like ours, they don't know how to respond.

It makes me wonder how many times I have asked someone how many children they have and how many times that answer has not just slipped off their tongue because they didn't know whether I wanted to hear how many children they really had or how many children I could see that they had.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Our Little Red Riding Hood

Within the last week, I have received some amusing inquiries from my two oldest daughters.  At separate times they have each told me, "My Mommy, what a big tummy you have" and "My Mommy, what big boobies you have" (I'm only slightly paraphrasing due to my post title).  I have explained that my tummy is getting bigger because the baby is bigger and that inquiry is then resolved.  The question about my chest however has been a little more painful to explain.  I answer that my chest is expanding because my breasts are preparing for milk to come in to feed the baby after he or she is born.  This prompted my six year old to comment casually that the baby will not need to eat.  Of course she is right so then I had to further explain that my body doesn't know the baby is sick, it only knows that the baby is in there and it needs to prepare to care for it.  It was a very nonchalant discussion not worth of tears , just the curiosity of a child.  However, from the mother's perspective it was difficult.

Monday, January 10, 2011

How to Make Room for Two

I've been reflecting on our life as is, before baby arrives.  The question has come up more than once, "how do I  make room for two?"  If you will, Wyatt was our sacrificial lamb of sorts.  He is the one we shed tears for, the one we think about always, the one we memorialize and have special memories and special celebrations.  For me, I felt as if giving him up was the biggest sacrifice I would ever have to make, the hardest thing I should ever have to do in my life.  That I had suffered more pain than one person should have to bear and that I'd somehow paid a debt and was now squared.  The weeping willow picture on my blog page is from our backyard.  We planted it shortly after Wyatt was born and planted the most delicate baby-like plants beneath it for him.  I lovingly planted baby's breath, blue Jacob's Ladders, baby roses in all colors, lamb's ear because it's so soft to the touch and tiger lilies which outgrew my expectations but have refused to be relocated.  Each year it blooms more beautifully than the year before, a constant reminder of our love for him. We have decorated it year by year by adding garden ornaments such as Eyeore, Precious Moments animals like a duck and turtle, a praying boy angel and gardening boy.  We have special solar lights that we change with the seasons and holidays for him.  There are spotlights to light up the tree at night.

What do we do now?  Do I plant another tree and another memorial garden?  Do I add plants to this garden in the baby's name?  I'm sure that in time I will figure this out.  For right now though it's quite perplexing how to fit this child into that world, how to make special room for him/her while acknowledging his or her individuality, not just our other child who passed away.  Right now there is only that one special place in my heart, that huge gaping hole that stays pretty well closed up most of the time and weeps openly every year in June, every Christmas and at other random times and moments throughout the years when our living children hit milestones that remind me there was one before and I should have already experienced those moments with another.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A humorous aside on tight pants

This morning as I got ready for church I selected a cream colored sweater and tan pants.  As I pulled on my pants I noticed they were a bit snug but I told myself that they had probably just been washed and the holidays had just ended.  That, however turned to sheer panic when, after getting the pants up, I realized there was NO WAY that these pants would button. Thankfully, I decided to take off the pants and before breaking into unrelenting sobs realized that they were not in fact the maternity pants that I intended to don today.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Guilt of Parenthood

When we lost Wyatt, I was consumed by anger.  I found being in public very difficult.  Being around other parents, other babies, even other children.  It was so easy to judge and determine others to be not thankful enough for the blessings (children) in their lives, to assume they just took everything for granted.  It was also easy to tell myself that I would do better, that I would be better if I was given another chance to be a parent.  Well, about four months after losing Wyatt, I got pregnant with our first daughter.  I told myself that I would not complain about any part of my pregnancy, even morning sickness, because I was so grateful to be given a second chance.  I also told myself that I would not complain about my child or the difficulties that babies  and children present.  I held up my part of the bargain during my pregnancy but when she was born it all fell apart.  She was extremely fussy and slept very little.  She took a long and very painful time to adapt to nursing.  I was so sleep deprived and sore I cried and  cried.  Often, the only times I could get her to sleep was laying on top of me and even then it was sometimes only a half hour at a time.  Sometimes, only nursing would keep her from crying, which caused me to cry a lot of times and was more than exhausting.  I knew nothing about babies and had little time to learn between feeding, changing,  vomiting and trying to sleep.  I felt like such a failure.  This was the baby I had hoped and prayed for with all my heart and I wasn't doing a good job, I couldn't make her happy.  It was a terrible feeling.

Since then, she has turned into a very bright and for the most part very happy, she has a head of bright red hair and a temper to match, child.  We have added two other very happy and much more easy going children to the family as well.  They are all so special in their own ways and bring so much joy.  With that said, there are so many moments in parenthood where I as a mother find myself underperforming to say the least.  After those moments I find myself reflecting on the promises to myself after losing Wyatt and realizing that there was no way to keep those.  I have never taken my children for granted, but I am human  and I do stumble.  I don't have all the answers and I don't believe that anyone does.  I don't know what I believed children would be like after losing my first, but I think reality was not within my grasp, I expected too much from them and too much from myself as a parent.  All I can do is the most any parent can do I guess, which is to try do better every day, be willing to accept that I make mistakes and then to take those mistakes and learn from them.

Why carry a child that won't survive? Pt. 2

I've thought more about our decision.  I must admit that with Wyatt's pregnancy there was honestly no question as to whether I would continue the pregnancy.  This one, I paused.  My first thought was "how can I do this again?" knowing exactly what would happen and precisely how painful it was.   I was tempted to just make it all go away as quickly as possible.  But that was for my sake, for me.  Then, the mother in me kicked in.  Parents will go to the ends of the earth for their children, to ensure health, safety and happiness. This really isn't about me.  I can carry pregnancies and rather easily for the most part, other than that sticky baby dying after birth thing.  This could not be about me, it was about our child, a child conceived in love and a child that deserved my love and care without consideration for my own suffering, which really is only emotional.  I can do this and  I will just as I would give up any possible organ  if any of my girls needed it or camp out at a hospital bedside or even holding back their hair when they get sick.  I will give and give and give until I can give my child to the world and he or she can take it from there.  That's how it's supposed to be.  The only difference for us is instead of spending years raising our child to be a thoughtful, caring, responsible adult, we get to raise him or her for months to be an  almost full grown fetus who will enter the world as a beautiful baby and then leave shortly after.

Painful though this may be, I know firsthand that it is all worth it in the moments after the baby's birth.  All the worry, pain and fear temporarily disappear and melt into pure elation.  The excitement of seeing and holding your baby for the first time.  Touching baby's skin, inhaling baby's smell.  Absorbing every inch of baby's appearance from the color of hair to the shape of nose, skin tone, chubbiness will envelop all senses.  I will hold to this because I know it to be true, even on the worst of bad days.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Why carry a child that won't survive?

I've been pondering pregnancy and childbirth.  All the discomforts and difficulties that go along with it, the extra weight which affects balance, clothing fit, walking gait, bending ability, sleeping comfort and the sleepless nights, the shortness of breath, painful jabs, dry itchy skin, extreme hormonal shifts, etc.  I didn't know any better with my first pregnancy, it was  all new to me.  After having my other kids though, I can always tell myself that even the worst of days are worth it to have a warm wiggling newborn in my arms at the end.  To be able to watch that child open his or her eyes, smile for the first time, suck on a fist or finger, roll over, crawl and eventually walk.  To have my child's lovingly crafted artwork displayed proudly where I can see it.

It's not quite the same with this pregnancy.  I will have a warm newborn placed into my arms, yes, but that child will stop breathing and will soon turn cold.  Within days I will bury my child never to be seen again in my lifetime.  So why do it?  Why grow larger every day, more tired, more out of breath, more sad to face such a devastating conclusion?  For me, it's the chance to give my child life.  My husband and I alone chose to bring this baby to fruition and giving any child life requires sacrifice, this child deserves no less.  It breaks my heart to think about baby playing in my belly not knowing that he or she should be kept afloat in water, not knowing how deprived of space he or she is.  The baby is just doing what nature intended, preparing itself for birth, to join its family, and there is no way for me to let him or her know that meeting will be much shorter than it should be.  Blissfully, baby is enveloped in my warm belly where I can keep him or her safe as long as possible and allow baby to grow and change just like my other children did.  He or she will join our family by c-section as all of his or her brothers or sisters did and will be greeted by my husband and I first.  There will be tears and laughter just as there has always been.  This is the answer to my question.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Riding the Rollercoaster

Funny how sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down.  Today, I'm up.  Yesterday and most of last week, I was down, way down, not just hanging upside down but desperately grabbing onto the bar of the rollercoaster after falling out of my seat while upside down down.  I even had to talk with my OB's nurse about making a birth plan today and it didn't so much as jar me in my seat.  I'm at the peak of the climb, just waiting for the next breathless fall into oblivion.  Today I am enjoying the view, near the clouds, near where heaven is just out of reach.  I look outside onto a landscape blanketed in vivid white snow set against a dull grey skyline.   Just hours ago the sun brightly illuminated my dining table where I sat playing with play foam and my two youngest daughters.  We made ducks, cakes and princess castles and sadly my four-year old's designs were superior to my own.  It is nice to have a day like today.

Monday, January 3, 2011

All this Talk about Death

It is the big pink elephant in the room and there is no ignoring it.  Death hangs over me, but not really, me like a bloated raincloud.  My last OB appointment revolved around it.  No happy fundal measurements to see how much the baby had grown, because this was my first fundal measurement due to the lack of fluid.  No jokes about the holidays and pregnancy weight gain.  Talk of studies, autopsy, funeral, testing.  The hearty, meaty stuff that is really chewy and leaves a bad taste in your mouth when you finally swallow it down.  I do know that I will deliver baby early, probably around the time I delivered Wyatt.  I also know that my doctor has hope that my uterus will be able to sustain another pregnancy and that means the world to me.

The Holiday Letdown

Today, I am exhausted, through and through to every fiber of my being.  The baby, on the other hand, must have really enjoyed all the holiday goodies, because I swear it is now blessed with super strength.  Last night for the first time my husband was able to feel baby's movements.  Baby has been sitting so low in my belly that most movements are well below the belt.  But last night he/she was able to wriggle and arm or leg into my upper belly and really go at it.  It was so bittersweet for me because he's always been able to feel it much much sooner, I am 27 weeks now.  However, I am glad that someone finally got to feel this little one besides me, I know his or her sisters are chomping at the bit, especially the oldest, to feel this little one as well.  So I wish baby much strength and hopefully some movement advantage from a much occupied uterus in the absence of fluid.  Twenty seven weeks means I have ten or less to go.  My doctor will schedule a c-section for around 36/37 weeks.  It is hard to believe that I have made it eight weeks  already and have barely over that to go.  These eight weeks have been so long, yet in retrospect, not long enough if that makes sense.  I am glad to have gotten through the holidays and to have seen my family while I still have some semblance of myself left.  Surely the next time they see me I will be destroyed and but a shell of who I was yet again.  It all takes time and time is one thing that seems to be in abundance for me.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Distraction, Germs and Sleep

As previously mentioned, our family, in its entirety, was hit by some pretty nasty sickness.  It has been a windy road of high, never ending fevers (two kids ran fevers of 102-105 for 5 days each), three visits to the clinic, one blood draw, three throat swabs, one chest x-ray, two viruses, three courses of antibiotics and one case of pneumonia later, we are finally seeing rays of sunshine through the clouds.  During that time, family was in town, my parents, sister and her two kids whom I only see a couple times a year and who I anticipate I will only see next at the baby's birth and funeral.  I felt awful having kids here who were sick with a very contagious virus and wanting so badly to be around family but at the same time not wanting to expose them to the most minute germ for fear they would get sick too.  These sicknesses also really knocked our kids out too, they were definitely not themselves.  Ugh.  Then my brother and his new wife who we've never met came and we find out that she's a germaphobe, nice.  She kept her distance to say the least.  Not exactly ideal circumstances to meet someone.  I have to really say that everyone made such an effort, as much as I could have expected, to include us in the family activities despite our sickness (my husband and I also fell ill but not nearly as severe as the kids).  The distraction of the adults, kids and even the two dogs was a blessed interference in my roadmap of grief.  Somehow, I also managed to get some sleep.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...