Sharing Pregnancy News after Pregnancy Loss

I’ve hit the 12 week mark.  I’m getting closer to the 2nd trimester…after that, I’ll be in the “safe zone”.  Wait, what “safe zone”?  That’s a silly term that all those baby websites give newly pregnant first time moms to ease our minds that absolutely nothing bad will happen after you’ve passed your first trimester.

At our 9 week appointment, we heard the most magical sound – the heartbeat.  The nurse told us once we heard the heartbeat, the risk of miscarriage goes down to 3 or 4%.  Comforting, but what if I’m that 3 or 4%?

My husband and I have told all of our close friends the good news.  Most cried…just like we did when we told them.  No family members know yet outside of our parents and siblings.  Work doesn’t know yet.  I’m nervous to tell everyone.  I want to blurt it out, but my secret is safe within the ones who know.  I’m scared that if I tell everyone else, something will go wrong.

It’s getting so hard to hide this bump that’s partial leftover from Joshua and partial new baby.  I can’t suck it in anymore, it’s just there.  I know people are speculating at work.  One close friend at work knows and told me another coworker asked her the other day if I was pregnant.  She speculated because I got a veggie sandwich at Jimmy Johns and stopped bringing coffee to work every morning.  She caught me – she’s right!

I’m waiting until our next appointment on June 9th (14 weeks) to hear the heartbeat again.   I keep telling myself that once I hear the heartbeat again, it’ll be okay to tell people.  But once I get to June 9th, will I feel any different than I do today?  I know at any time something could go wrong, but I have to stop living in fear.

The truth is, I’m so incredibly excited about this new life growing inside of me.  Excited enough I could shout it out…and cry and laugh all at the same time.  My secret is safe here.  It makes me nervous to share the news with others because it makes it more real.  It makes Joshua’s loss more real.  It makes my “moving on” known to everyone (as if that’s possible, because anyone in my shoes knows you never move on).  It makes this new baby more real.  It makes the potential of losing it more real.  But it also makes the excitement of bringing it home a living baby much more real and thrilling.

The countdown has begun.  Only 12 more days until I can shout the good news to everyone!

 

What I wish I did with the little time I had…

Thinking of how cute babies are makes me miss Joshua.  Those cute leg rolls, their cute little tongue that they have no control over, seriously adorable dimply butts.  How I missed out on those things with Joshua.

I went into the hospital in labor and Joshua died somewhere between that last push and the outside world.  We went to the hospital expecting to take our baby home.  I didn’t have time to “prepare” for what I wanted to do in the hospital with a non-living baby.  I fully expected to be engrossed in breastfeeding, swaddling, bathing.  Not mourning the loss of my son, trying to remember every detail with the little time we had, and frantically figuring out which funeral home we wanted to come pick him up.

That day was a whirlwind of sorrow and joy.  Something that’s totally unexplainable to someone who hasn’t been through it.  That day was a total shock to us, but as I think of having another baby and all the joys that will come with it, I can’t help but think of the things I missed out on with Joshua.

Here are some things I wish we would have done in the hospital.

  • I wish I would have seen his eyes.  I was too scared to peel back his perfect eyelids because I was afraid his eyes would be rolled back and I’d forever have a picture of that in my mind.  But I wish I would have just to see those cute baby blues.
  • I wish I would have dressed him.  He was handed to us swaddled and perfect.
  • I wish I would have undressed him and taken in every little inch of him.  I unswaddled his arms, legs, and saw his perfect chest, but I wish I would have totally undressed him to see his cute little tushie, his back, and his round tummy.
  • I wish I would have asked the nurses to leave us alone longer.  Our nurses and doctors were great, but between the nurses checking on me, the doctor briefing us on what happened, the chaplain checking on us, our parents coming, and the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep photographer coming, we barely had any time to ourselves.
  • I wish we would have gotten an autopsy.  Then, it didn’t matter.  He died, nothing was bringing him back and answers wouldn’t calm our sorrows.  Or worse, no conclusive results.  When he was initially handed to us, he had tubes and IVs everywhere from the attempt at resuscitation.  If we wanted an autopsy, we would have had to keep those in.  We wanted to see our baby without a tube down his throat and IVs all over.  But now as our second baby is coming, I can’t help but wonder if the autopsy would have given us any insight as to why he died and if we could prevent anything this time around.

My emotions are so up and down lately.  I’m happy for this new baby to come, but it reminds me of Joshua, the things I missed out on, and the things I miss about him.  I’m happy about pregnancy, but I’m scared we are going to get to the big day and it’s all going to happen again.

Non-Stroke of Luck

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Soon after Joshua died, I met with a coworker who had a very similar experience 7 years prior to me.  She has been so great along this journey!  She now has two living children and has been able to help me understand that my emotions and feelings are totally normal.  She expresses how she felt, and although it’s not always the same as how I feel, it’s good to hear her experience through the stillbirth of her own son.  She said something to me that day that sounded so strange at the time.  Something along the lines of:

“My husband and I separately started buying lottery tickets without telling each other.  We never bought lottery tickets before, other than the occasional time when the jackpot was really high.  But we both felt like life had dealt us some really shitty cards and that life owed us something.  We felt like we were bound to be lucky.”

I thought this was a silly concept when she told me, but recently I’ve been struck with the same feeling.  Lately I feel like every sweepstakes or drawing I enter, I’m bound to win.  I’ve not really won anything before so I’m not sure why I feel like I should win now, but for some reason I feel like I am going to win.  Not that I deserve to win, not that I’m lucky, but like my coworker said, I feel like life owes me.  Logically, I know life doesn’t owe me anything, but that’s how I feel right now.

I don’t know what’s gotten into me.  I entered into the Ellen Mother’s Day Show and thought for sure they were going to pick me to go.  Even yesterday I was at an event and there were 4 prizes to enter into.  I knew I was going to win….I didn’t.  I called my husband afterwards and told him how much I felt like my name would be picked and I was upset it wasn’t.  It sounded so silly coming out of my mouth.  I knew what I was saying was senseless.  I knew feeling upset about not winning was downright dumb.

Being a Christian, I don’t truly believe in luck or karma.  Sometimes I use the terms: “that was lucky”, “good luck”, “karma…what goes around, comes around”.  I believe that God has a hand in what happens in my life.  Not luck, not karma.  If I win, God had a hand in it.  Life doesn’t owe me anything, and neither does God.

Mother’s Day Recap

My heart goes out to all those out there who are without their mothers this year, without their children this year, and those longing to be a mom.  Two of these three are dear to my heart as I had longed to be a mom for so long and now that I am, my child is not here to celebrate Mother’s Day with me.

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This weekend was lovely.  I went to lunch with a friend on Saturday and came home to my wonderful husband planting our vegetable garden.  A couple weeks prior, I was looking at it thinking how much I wanted it planted but didn’t want to do it myself.  My husband read my mind, it was such a wonderful surprise to come home to!  Our garden now has a few herbs, tomatoes, peppers, jalapenos, carrots, and green onions.  I can’t wait for the plants to start producing!

On Sunday, Mother’s Day, I expected to wake up sad.  No tears were coming.  I feel like I’m to the point where I’m just so grateful for that small amount of time we had with Joshua.  He was so special and thinking of him makes me happy.  I took a shower and deliberately used the shower gel that I used the day I went into labor.  That smell reminds me of him.  I’m almost out…I need to get more!  Then I went to the side of my of the bed where I have my favorite photo of Joshua.  I stared at it for a bit and then gave it a big kiss and told him how much I love him.

We went to church were we teach 3rd grade Sunday School.  Our class was small on Sunday, only girls.  We were making Mother’s Day cards for their moms and one of the girls asked if we had kids.  I said, “yes, one”.  Then they asked Boy or Girl.  “Boy.”  Then they asked how old……now I was stuck.  Do I tell them 6 months (his “would be” age) or do I tell them the truth?  I said, “he died when he was a baby.”  One girl, bless her heart, said “most times babies die because of something the doctor gives them.”  I didn’t know what to say so I just moved on to the next thing in class. That whole conversation made me want to cry because my baby wasn’t here anymore; especially on a special day like Mother’s Day.

I walked out of Sunday School sad.  But was soon cheered up by going to lunch with my parents.  We had a great time and my parents are always so great at acknowledging my mom as well as me as a mom.  My parents are simply the best.

For dinner we went to my in-laws and made his mom dinner.  Before dinner my father-in-law always prays.  It went something along the lines of “….and thank you especially for Mom and all she’s done….”.  Wait, what about me, the other mom in the room?  What about my son and what about the child I’m carrying?  Is that selfish?  I wanted to kick my husband so he could add onto the end of the prayer with something like, “thank you for my wife, the mother of my children and all she’s endured this last year.”  I didn’t.  I sucked it up and internalized it.  After dinner I had a bit of a stomach ache so luckily we were able to leave quickly.

When we got home, I was sad.  I’m not sure if it was the prayer where I wasn’t recognized for being a mom.  I’m not sure if it was the long day.  I’m not sure if it was all the Facebook posts of how blessed people are that they are a mom or pregnancy announcements.  I sat on the couch and told my husband, “I’m kind of sad.  I just thought it’d be different.”  He said, “I know hun, but next year will be different.”  It’s hard to believe him.  I’m so positive about the pregnancy and that pregnancy will go well, but I can’t see passed it.  Joshua’s life and our future with him ended at birth, so I’m having a hard time picturing life with a baby after December.

Mother’s Day.  Another day on the calendar.  I can only hope and pray that next year will be different.  This year, I’m pregnant for the second year in a row.  Next year, I’ll be a mom to two babies.  One in Heaven and one in my arms.

First OB Appointment

Today we had our first OB appointment.  We had our ultrasound a few weeks ago to check “viability”, but we didn’t see a doctor.  Today I’m 9 weeks 3 days and I’m bloated!  I don’t know how I’m going to be able to hide this for 3-4 more weeks.  At 9 weeks, I look like I did at 15 weeks last time.  There’s no hope for sucking it in.

We checked in and sat down in the waiting room for a bit.  The nurse came out and called my name.  “Hey, you’re back soon!  I recognize you guys.”  I figured I could just play along for a little without announcing to the waiting room that my baby died.  “Congrats, how old is your baby?”  We were out of the waiting room at this time, so I said, “our baby died during birth.”  Her whole demeanor changed.  She said she was sorry and asked a couple questions which I was okay with.  She took my height, weight, and brought me to the room to check my blood pressure.  She hardly spoke another word to me in the room other than “the nurse will be with you soon”.

When she left the room, I wanted to cry.  I turned to my husband and told him I was surprised she didn’t know.  I figured my chart would have red flags all over it.  Maybe she didn’t look.  My husband turned to me and said, “it’s okay, these are just the things we’ll have to go through”.

The nurse came in.  “How are you feeling…..Scared?”  I know her intentions were good, but do you need to rub it in my face?  Yes, I’m scared but I’m trying to forget about my fear and move forward with excitement like my last pregnancy.  The appointment went well.  After a couple Q&A, I asked if we’d be able to heartbeat.  “Maybe.  9 weeks is still a little early.  It’s usually between 10-12 weeks that we are able to hear it but we’ll try.  Just know, if we don’t find it, don’t be nervous.”  She started the Doppler on the left side of my stomach.  Then moved to the middle where she found my heartbeat.  Then to the right where Joshua’s heartbeat was always found.  That’s the sweet spot.  She found it!  A quick 168 beats per minute.  That is seriously the best sound in the world!  It made my day.  My week.  My next 4 weeks until I hear it again.

I walked out of the doctor’s office so happy and relieved.  After seeing the heartbeat at 6 weeks and hearing it at 9 weeks, my risk of a miscarriage is decreased!  But I know a miscarriage isn’t the only thing I need to worry about.  I know things can happen at any time.  Still, it’s great to know everything is going well so far.  I feel a huge sigh of relief.

Now I want to fast forward to my perinatal ultrasound at 18 weeks where they’ll take a detailed scan of each and every little thing about the baby.  More-so than the typical 20 week anatomy scan.  Only 9 more weeks until I get to see the baby again!!

Announcing my Pregnancy after Loss – Mixed Feelings

I admit, it was hard for me to write that first post about my pregnancy.  Still, only 2 blogs since the announcement, it’s hard for me to talk about things that may hurt someone reading it.  Up until now, my blog has revolved around the stillbirth of my son and the pain that’s surrounded it.  I didn’t know how to announce my pregnancy to my friends or those who follow my blog but I knew it had to come out sooner or later.  My life is evolving.  It’s growing into something I never planned.  I planned to be pregnant a year before I was but it took a year for me to get pregnant.  I planned to have a 6 month old right now, not to be pregnant with my second child because my first died.  I planned to get pregnant the month we started trying again.  But life doesn’t always go the way we plan and I have to believe that’s for a good reason.

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I am truly sorry if my announcement has caused a tinge of pain to any of my followers or friends.  I’m hoping that isn’t the case, but I was afraid it may happen.  Those feelings are okay and they’re acceptable.  I understand, I’ve felt it before.  The pain of seeing that someone else is pregnant while I am not.  I know that feeling.  I’ve been happy for that person and sad for myself.  Loathing the fact that they can have happiness again and I’m just not there yet.  Avoiding their blogs and focusing on others that are still in my shoes.  If it’s easier for some to not follow my blog at this moment in time, I’m okay with that because I understand.

My blog is about my journey through the stillbirth of my son and that will not change.  My son is the reason I created this blog.  My son is the reason we are having another child so quickly.  My son is the reason I’m a mom.

Reading blogs of others in similar life circumstances has helped me tremendously through my deep, deep sorrow and helps me today as my grief comes and goes.  The community we have here has help me feel less alone, feel more sane, and has help me feel more me again.  For that, I thank all of you!  Your support has been amazing!

I’m hoping to jump into new writing.  Writing of my experiences of life after death where our second baby can bring renewed happiness and renewed strength.  I write that hoping that this is all roses and butterflies but I know that’s not the case.  I’m happy and sad, excited and scared.  I know this will be a long road until a baby is safe in my arms – breathing.  This is my life and this is my journey!

Is “Scared” the Right Word?

I’m scared.  Or am I?  I’m not sure that’s the right word.  I’m excited for this new pregnancy and excited to take a baby home, but will it happen?  I’m scared that it won’t.  I have to believe fully that we will bring this baby home, but I’m 0 for 1 so far.  What if it’s 0 for 2?  I guess that’s the risk we take trying for another child.

In my first pregnancy I was plagued with fear that I’d miscarry.  After the first trimester was over, that fear vanished.  I didn’t think my baby would die.  I feel the same way now, except, I know my baby could die at any time, not just in the first 3 months of pregnancy.

It feels odd going through these stages again.  It was just over a year ago that I went through it for the first time and still feels so fresh.  We had our first ultrasound at 6 weeks.  When I made the appointment the receptionist described it as making sure it was a “viable” pregnancy.  Viable?  You mean, this one could die too?  That was the wrong word to choose to describe why I’m having an ultrasound at 6 weeks.  The wrong word to use for someone who’s previous baby died.

When I went in for the ultrasound, the tech was so sweet.  She did our first ultrasound of Joshua at 7 weeks to verify the date.  She gave her condolences and was very positive the whole time.  When we walked out of the room, a nurse caught my eye.  She drew my blood so many times over the last pregnancy.  I had bonded with her right away because she was also pregnant and we had the same due date.  This time when I saw her, I wanted to hide.  She has a baby at home and I don’t.  What did she think when she saw me again?  Does she know?  It hurt to see her.  I’m happy she didn’t experience the same thing I did, but it hurt knowing that she has what I want.

Morning (all day, rather) sickness has hit me like a ton of bricks just like it did last time.  As miserable as I feel, I’m happy to feel crappy because it reminds me that I’m still pregnant.  It’s comforting to me to know that my hormones are making me feel out of wack because my hormones are busy supporting a life.  But still, I’m scared.  I tell myself that my last pregnancy was perfect and that this one will be too.  It was during labor when Joshua died.  So I’m changing labor.  I’m opting for a c-section this time if my doctor will approve.  We briefly discussed it during recovery in the hospital so I’m hoping we are still on the same page.  I don’t want to go through labor again.  I’m not strong enough.  Is my body not capable of handling labor?  Are my babies not strong enough to withstand that pressure?  I want to make the exit as easy for the baby as possible and if that means surgery for me, go for it.

I’m scared these next 7 months will drag on forever.  I was so busy planning when I was pregnant with Joshua.  Finding the perfect nursery items, buying cute gender-neutral clothes, researching and reviewing all the products before registering for them or buying them.  Now, the nursery is done, I have all the clothes I need, and I’ve already purchased the products I spent so much time researching.  What will I do these next 7 months?  My last pregnancy I was preparing for a baby, now I feel like I’m already prepared.  I wish I could fast forward to my due date, but then again I don’t.  I don’t want to miss out on the amazing things that happen in pregnancy.  The amazing things I hold onto so dearly about Joshua.  The kicks and turns and hiccups.  Feeling the baby’s personality and imagining our sweet life together.

I’m hoping the next 7 months fly by.  I cannot, will not, and downright refuse to be plagued with fear.  I must be positive.  I once read a quote from a book saying something along the lines of, if this baby were to die, I would want it to know how loved it was.  I have to do all of the things I did with Joshua.  I have to love.  I have to bond.  This baby will not know fear.  This baby will only know love.