…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.
Just had to chime in as someone who’s ridden that roller coaster. I dont have any special advice except to say just do what you feel is right at that moment in time. I do know there’s a reason God designated us females to do most of the work, as my husband had to temporarily be put on anxiety meds toward the end of our last pregnancy! Carli is 2 now and her room still isn’t quite finished. I’m starting to realize that I may not ever complete it like I would have “before” and that’s okay too.
i have never been through what you have…so i can’t understand all that you are going through. i have read your words, cried over your story, grown stronger because of it. thank you for always sharing. it makes others more sensitive and to what others are going through and us not even knowing it. your honesty is thought provoking and leaves me to pray for you. for every motion that you experience…that He would squeeze your hand as He walks along side you.
i look forward to all that you have to share with us. i thank God for purpose in your story…your journey and that He shows up in all of it.
keeping you close in thought and prayer for you and your family.
goodness, where were you when we i was pregnant last year…pregnant after loss. i would have found great comfort in your words…still do. you just have a way of laying it on the table…and i love it.
praying for you as you navigate this road. i know its not easy….
I’m not a comment poster….but, I’ve read your blog for a while now and have always appreciated your open heart and ability to say it like it is. I’ll be praying for you, your family and experience with the new family member to go as smoothly as possible 🙂
Have read your blog from the beginning but never commented. I, too, have been down this road and I must tell you that I had to take it one day at a time, one moment at a time throughout the pregnancy. I respect you because you are so real about your feelings. No sugar coating. I could relate to everything you said in this post. Reality is that there are no guarantees… not in life and certainly not in pregnancy and parenthood. Well, ok, I guess there is: it’s that God loves you and He has a plan for you. Keep the faith that He has you right where he wants you at this moment. 🙂
praying for your peace…
your words have really spoken to me tonight. thank you for being so honest…
if it is any comfort to you at all, know that God is using you and your situation in my life.
I’ve only commented maybe once before but just had to say, keep telling it like it is, it will help you get through it. I have to say that, so far, it seems that everything you’re dealing with is pretty normal. I do realize how odd that sounds when you just want to scream “there’s nothing normal about this!”. It is, it’s just a different normal.
One day, one hour, one moment at a time…
I experienced much of this when pregnant with Little Man after a miscarriage. Can only imagine that that was just a shadow.
I think you are completely normal, and great job on doing the things you need to to make it through.
Fight the fear as you are doing!
So many of the things you said in this post are true for me, too. You touched my heart with this post and I want to thank you for saying some of the things I’ve felt, so I know that I’m not alone.
Adrienne, Your honesty is refreshing and beautiful as always. First of all, congratulations. I will be praying for you, and your baby, and your whole family. Second, this reminds me so much of my fear to engage or be excited about a new job (for my husband) after years of painful endings to previous jobs. I didn’t understand it. The job seemed really promising. I had a “Eureka!” moment on a walk, realizing that God didn’t want me to put my eggs in the basket of “New BBQ Restaurant venture.” He just wanted me to trust him. . .and if the restaurant failed in 6 months, He wanted me to still trust Him.
I was struck as I read this that your situation is EXPONENTIALLY more complicated. Christ is still sufficient. . .but oh, the pain you have suffered. I think you are wise, wise, wise to forget about any future testing, and just take this pregnancy one day at a time. . .I’ll be praying. Love you, Sister, ERika
I don’t know you personally, but I have followed you since before Noah passed. I just want you to know that I appreciate your “realness”, if that is a word. I love how you lay it all out there. Thank you for sharing your journey and allowing us to come alongside you. I especially appreciate how you give God the glory even when things suck. Know we are praying for you.
All of the emotions that you are feeling are totally understandable. And you know what? Those tests, even on non geriatric patients like us(ha), can have false positives. My cousin did them and had to go her whole pregnancy thinking her baby had down syndrome because of those tests, and her baby was just fine.
I am praying for you.
Love you Ade!!!! And I’m here praying for you and supporting you any way I can!
every pregnancy…even of the most ‘routine’ types can be wrought with worry and anxiety, i can not even imagine the extra burdens you carry through this. but i pray that you will be able to lay that all down at the cross, in His time, and be able to enjoy this pregnancy for all that it is. and in that process, our family will be saying prayers for yours.
I can’t imagine the emotions you are dealing with during this pregnancy, but I want you to know that I am praying for you! 🙂
From one AMA Mom to another, I’m all for cancelling anymore tests. I did the same. It was too much and too stressful (and, frankly, too expensive…we saved $1,000 minimum by calling them off). Abigail was born as is 3.5 years ago and she’s awesome.
For those of us who haven’t gone through even a little bit of what you’ve gone through, thank you. For keeping it real, walking the walk, letting us in.
Prayers for peace and guidance each step of the way.
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Ade, I’m glad you are sharing your heart and your feelings, just as you did in the darkest days. I, of course, hope and pray for everything to be absolutely perfect and uneventful in your pregnancy, and your baby, and your own heart. I can’t imagine the things spinning in your head. I remember having my own fears in my pregnancy, and even now with a newborn, thinking what my friends had gone through when they were at the same stage in their pregnancy and home with a newborn. It’s so scary, life is so precious. I truly hope you have gone through all of the loss you are ever meant to endure. I hope and pray for you and this sweet baby growing quietly inside of you. I pray for peace, I pray for healing, I pray for happiness for you. Much much much love dear friend!
Amen Adrienne! Our first daughter,Lauren passed away a day after her birth at 23 weeks gestation. I went through exactly the same feelings you are experiencing..I was almost 23 weeks into my next pregnancy before I would allow maternity clothes into my closet, as if somehow, by being sneaky and looking like I wasn’t really attached to the pregnancy I would fly under the radar for anyone who might want to take it all away. I felt God “owed” me a healthy pregnancy and baby the second time around because of our devastating loss the first time. The words you shared about how we are not owed any kind of perfection in this fallen world rang so true for me. Taking each day of pregnancy one day at a time, sometimes even one hour at a time is what gets us through. Letting in that excitment and hope piece by piece as your heart allows is a good thing. Blessings to you and your family:)
P.S. I have your friend Amanda’s daughter in my 4th grade class this year. We put two two together when Amanda came to parent teacher conferences wearing a pair of your earrings which I recognized! Small world!!!
thank you for your honest approach to God. It’s refreshing to know I can come here for truth, in all of its beauty and ugliness.
After 4 miscarriages and one faltered adoption, I found that I was afraid to get too excited about our Ellie (from ethiopia) until she was in my arms at last.
But, oh how i’m enjoying her now…
He is the God of all the is, that was, and that is to come… here’s to good things to come for you!
One breath at a time….I will be here to remind you to breathe.
I love you
Thank you for being real. I also get encouragement from all those who comment on your posts. As a mom of a prodigal, I appreciate how you say what you feel and let your pain show. It encourages me (and others) to be weak — and strong because of that! Blessings…