…and the measures I’ll be taking, as a result.
So, not trying to be too raw here, but this has never been a place where I “blow sunshine” for myself or anyone else. Let me shoot straight: being pregnant after losing a child isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It’s a bi-polar roller coaster of emotional highs and lows, and quite frankly, it sucks with a capital “UCKS“! I’m jaded. However, I don’t think that is all bad.
Don’t feel sorry for me. Not that you might. I’m just saying, if I don’t write my guts out here and process this whole pregnancy I know I’ll be a pretty messed up lady. Therefore, step one in the measures I am taking: I need to write.
I realized it the other day. Well, I’ve known this part for a long time…I am a tactile learner…a hands-on type of girl…show me…let me see…totally that Thomas guy…you know the one. It goes against every fiber of my being to live by faith yet, thanks to The Fall, that’s just how it is. Actually, I am not alone in that expectation…we are all meant to live by faith. To live, trusting in the unseen…and also trusting that, like in the book of Hebrews, whether I ever see the promises unfold, God is still good and His promises will be fulfilled…is really difficult for us humans who were born with senses meant to be engaged. My eyes were designed to see. My nose created to smell. My body made in such a way to touch or sense heat and cold, sharp and soft, rigid and smooth. My ears, though not the best, were intended to hear even the drop of a pin. And, of course, my tongue in particular, was designed by God Almighty to taste chocolate from miles away, say, especially German or Belgian varieties.
No. Instead, we literally have to live by our hearts, our minds, our guts…all parts of us that we can’t physically see by looking in the mirror, but all led by the Spirit of God, directing us like a compass. Sooooo, as a result, having a sweet, growing baby tucked quietly in my uterus that I can only see or sense through ultrasound or a doppler heart monitor just isn’t cutting it for me. It’s a trial of faith that has lost it’s giddiness and as a result, step number two of measures I am taking: I need to engage.
So, this is kind of what has happened:
Now, believe me, I know there are women all over the world that wished they were pregnant at this very moment…even if just for a moment…to say they were. I know. I am not asking anyone to feel sorry for me. Believe me. Honestly, in sharing my journey of pregnancy after a miscarriage, a healthy baby, a baby that lived and died and another miscarriage, I am simply trying to encourage others who may walk this same road, or have friends, family or women in their circles of life on a similar path.
So, found out I was pregnant. A bit surreal. Felt crummy for several weeks. Wanted to avoid a visit to the doctor until, oh, who knows, maybe delivery. Only told my parents, and Em, of course…with the whole rodent thing. Finally went in at 10 weeks. Saw a really cute baby. Saw a really cute heart beating. Let my heart engage a little and actually get excited. Set follow up appointment for which I was qualified…since I’m geriatric and all. Actually, I naively agreed to the appointment to check for chromosomal disorders thinking that I’d just sneak another peek through ultrasound. Had that appointment. Kid’s nuchal fold was decent…not pink flagged or red flagged, but of course, couldn’t just be in the clear. But, still left the appointment with a semi-mediocre sense of, “Well, it’s heart was beating and it’s still cute.”
Continued random thoughts in no particular order: So during this whole time, “whole” meaning the last 15 weeks, I’ve just figured the kid would sleep in our room for 3 to 6 months since A: it would be hungry in the middle of the night; and B: we don’t have a bedroom for it…so, that meant no nesting necessary. I did want to know the sex of the kid, but Jason didn’t really, so the other day I figured, “Ahhh, skip it…we’ll meet it when it comes.” A couple people have told me they want to buy me presents and throw a shower, but I have declined. First of all, if it’s a girl, I saved all of my favorite age groupings of Em’s clothes, so the kid is set until it’s at least 5 or 6. If it’s a boy, I have baby boy clothes of Noah’s that we just threw in a box and taped up after he died…they are obviously brand new. Still have all the props, too: crib, car seats, you name it.
Add this to the fact that I’ve felt better since 13 weeks, I went from a size 10 to an 8 (thanks, no need for applause, but yes, I’m pretty happy about it…not gonna lie), I have no “pooch” and I can’t quite feel the bugger kicking yet. This equation, when you throw in the fact that I am a tactile person, has left my head spinning…
It hit me. The perfect storm for “disconnect” or “disengaging” was taking place in my heart and head. Finally my heart said to me what my head had been thinking all along:
“I’ll meet this kid when it comes and see how long it sticks around…”
“I’ll see if this kid makes it past 7 weeks…” (pivotal time we took Noah to hospital)
“We’ll see if this kid can live through its 7th month and then we’ll paint its room…”
I recognized it. I wasn’t letting myself engage because I didn’t want to love and lose and hurt again. Therefore, step number three of measures I am taking: I am going to go to grief counseling…again.
I did a practical thing yesterday, (with a friend who I think secretly and strategically suggested it) and went to BabyGap, as well as the maternity section. I bought two pairs of pants…size 8! Why am I skinnier pregnant than in real life?! Anyway, the pants are super cute and I realized that I really needed to do this simple thing. And by “needed” I mean needed.
After Noah died I donated ALL BUT ONE item of maternity clothing. I was angry. I was purging. I sure as hell didn’t need maternity clothes. I am still going to try to get by with as little maternity clothing as possible, but buying those super cute white pants and the semi-dressy ones helped my heart engage.
Fast forward to today: I got a call from my doc’s office. “Do you have a minute?” was the question on the other end. My preliminary blood results were in from the testing I had done. I really had only wanted to check out the ultrasound picture…I had forgotten about follow-up calls and the remaining tests.
“Because of your age…you have a 1 in 86 chance of having a child with such and such a chromosomal disorder…but because of your nuchal fold reading, combined with your age, you have a 1 in 125 chance.”
I was waiting for her to add the comma and say “thousand” or even “hundred thousand” after the above numbers. She didn’t. “That’s a 1% chance, but I wouldn’t worry about it.”
Now, before anyone bashes my head in or sends hate mail, I love the kid. It is who it is. And, we’re having it and welcoming it into our family no matter what…but that call screwed with my head and heart and I had a solo freak out session and then public crying display once I met up with Jason for lunch.
I do not deserve, nor am I entitled, to have any sort of “perfection” on this earth. I live in a fallen world and I am a fallen person. I am tired of people being so happy for us, thinking with Jason’s new job and this pregnancy that our lives will just be so “great, perfect”. Unfortunately, the reality is, after loss, you look at life differently.
This isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The tail spin of emotion and disappointment and unknown combined are enough to drive me to drink…something non-alcoholic, and without caffeine, of course, but something!
Everyone and their dog can try to encourage and reassure me that everything is going to be just fine…whatever the hell that means…but the truth is, I have to live by faith and trust that this is part of our story, a story God is writing and only if I am willing to be the paper, and be still, will He be able to scribe the masterpiece He has designed.
So, on the way home I called the office back and said I was done. I wanted to cancel all the rest of my perinatal tests, besides finding out its sex, because my heart just could not take it. The kid is who it is. I cannot change it or eat more Omega-3 to change its chromosomes. I’m not terminating my pregnancy, so why the hell should I torture myself, even out of scientific curiosity? She understood completely, was so supportive and encouraging, and asked if I knew a good counselor…
She didn’t know the measures I was already taking…like the appointment I just made for March 23rd. Oh, and the brainstorm sheet I drew up last night decorating its room…
I will get through this…but just one day at a time.