Mid-Term Ultrasound!

Tuesday we had our mid-pregnancy ultrasound at the perinatal specialist.  We were referred to the specialist for a high level view of our baby since we don’t know what happened with Joshua.  What an amazing day to be able to see my little peanut!

We sat down with a nurse who asked us basic questions like, “have you had any health issues, do you feel safe in your relationship?”  Then she told us, “the ultrasound tech won’t be able to tell you anything about the ultrasound, but you’ll meet with the doctor right after.  She’ll be watching your ultrasound from the other room.”  Hearing that made my slightly anxious.  This ultrasound had been highly anticipated and if something was wrong, I wanted to know right away.

Once she put the wand on my stomach and we saw the baby, all that worry went away.  The baby was adorable.  Everything looked perfect to me!  10 fingers, 10 toes, a cute little nose, and perfect lips.  The baby was so wiggly that I think the tech was getting irritated.  She was having a hard time getting a good view of things.  But I was enjoying watching my little munchkin on the screen being so active.  The baby is super active in my tummy, it was amazing to see that activity on the screen.

The baby had its hand in front of its face the entire time.  When we tried to get a shot of the face straight on, you could see both arms and behind just a little nose and mouth.  So adorable!  Once I saw the profile, I thought of Joshua.  They look so alike (at least in the womb).  Here’s a picture of my two kids!  The top one is Joshua.  Twins!

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Towards the end, we found out the gender.  We didn’t find out the gender with Joshua.  I loved the surprise!  Part of me wanted to keep it a surprise again, but this pregnancy is so different.  It has been met with a lot of fear and anxiety and I wanted to know the gender to be able to have a new level of bonding with the baby.  One that I didn’t need.  I didn’t want to get to birth and for some odd reason be disappointed with the gender.  Not that it matters.  I want a healthy baby!  As explained in the post Boy or Girl, I want a baby boy for certain reasons and I want a baby girl for certain reasons.  Both reasons even out for me and I don’t mind which gender we have!  Just a baby in my arms.  A breathing, lovely baby that I can grow old with!

Anyhow, I digress!  The baby was so squirmy, we didn’t get an amazing view, but it’s a girl!  I’m having a girl.  It’s hard to believe!  My husband was convinced from the beginning that it was a girl.  I wasn’t sure.  I have felt so differently this pregnancy that I thought it may be a girl.  About 80% of the old wives tales pointed towards a girl.  But I thought Joshua was going to be a girl and I was clearly wrong, so I wasn’t confident in my thoughts that this time it was a girl.  Plus, I thought that since I had a boy last time, I’d have a boy this time.  I know that rational doesn’t make any sense!

The ultrasound tech moved onto other parts to check and at the end, I asked, “can we just double check the gender?  I want to be sure.”  To my surprise she responded, “I’ve seen it a hundred times, it’s a girl.”  Okay!  I guess I’ll trust her.

Once we were done, we met with the doctor.  She walked in and congratulated us on the upcoming baby.  I was on the edge of my seat, “so, everything looks good?”  She responded with a yes.  “So, the heart, the kidneys, everything looks good?  The baby is growing properly?”  She smiled and responded with a yes again.  She probably thought I was a little crazy, but I was just so anxious to make sure everything was okay!

The doctor started asking us about what happened with Joshua.  She had some of my charts but asked what happened, if he looked normal or if he seemed to have any abnormalities, what size he was.  It was hard to relive those memories.  I almost wanted to ask her to stop probing, but she’s trying to help me bring this little girl home with us.  She is recommending a few extra test to my normal doctor as well as a few “wellness” ultrasounds in the later weeks of pregnancy.

It’s hard to believe I’ll be bringing home a little girl.  Since we didn’t find out the gender last time, it was all baby.  Not he, she, him, her.  Just “the baby”.  I understand the concept of having a baby, but it’s hard to believe I’m having a little girl.  Will she be into tutus and dolls?  Will she like Tonka Trucks and cars instead?  I can’t wait to see what she’s like!  Only 4 more months!  And I’m thrilled she’s healthy!

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My Friend had a Baby

About a week ago, my good friend had a baby.  A healthy, beautiful baby boy.  This was a long anticipated event for me from the time she told me she was pregnant.  I was incredibly thankful when she told me she was pregnant in private (just in front of our husbands), instead of in a big group of people.  The news came a few months after Joshua was born.  When my husband and I left their house, we got in the car and I started to cry.  I was so happy for her, but at the same time sad for myself.  Especially as my husband and I had just started trying again.  I wanted to be the one who had that announcement.

I had told my friend that I loved pregnancy and that she could ask me anything she wanted.  Over the course of her pregnancy, she texted me all the fun things like kicks and appointments, as well as any random questions she had asking if I experienced the same thing.  We met for lunches and coffees and chatted about pregnancy.  It was so great to be able to experience that with her.  I had an amazing pregnancy with Joshua and even though I didn’t get to take him home with me, I love talking about a time in my life where I was incredibly happy!

Then came the ultrasound.  From a few old wives tales, I was sure she was having a girl.  Or more so, I wanted her to have a girl.  Her having a girl seemed easier for me.  I had a boy and it may seem silly, but every boy announcement that came after our boy passed was met with a grimace.  It’s hard to explain, but girl announcements were so much easier for me to accept.  Of course, my friend’s announcement was a boy.  Again, I was happy for her and sad for myself.  I wanted my boy, and she was going to experience all of those boy things that I was had been missing out on.

I got over the fact that she was having a boy quickly.  It didn’t matter the gender.  People are going to continue having boys and I needed to accept that.  Once she reached the end of her pregnancy, a couple weeks before her due date, we were in touch a lot discussing appointments and those fun cervix checks.  She’s was giving me updates on how dilated she was.  It was fun to hear, but hearing it brought me back to my appointments.  It brought me back to that highly anticipated time when you don’t know when you’ll be going into labor.  Is it today, tomorrow, three weeks from now?  The anticipation of my friend going into labor made me anxious and jealous.  I cried one night to my husband that I was jealous of the stage she was in right now.  It didn’t make much sense, I’m pregnant myself.  But thinking of how excited she was and how close she was to labor brought me back to how excited I was and it made me miss Joshua that much more.

I almost dreaded the day I would get the announcement that he arrived.  However to my surprise, when he arrived, I wasn’t jealous or sad, I was just happy!  I was happy mom and baby were healthy!  Plus, he was pretty darn cute!

Then a day or two later, it hit me.  I cried again.  My husband asked me what was wrong and I told him, “I’m sad we didn’t get to have a happy experience like she did.”  I kept thinking of her in the hospital doing all of the things we missed out on.  Family/friend visits, first bath, breastfeeding, diaper changes, anything you do in the hospital with a newborn.  I felt robbed of that happiness.  I know it’ll happen.  I’ll have that happiness one day, but it won’t be the same.  I will always have the sadness that was experienced when we lost our firstborn.

She wanted me to meet him.  I wanted to meet him too but I was working myself up.  I kept thinking, will I cry?  Will this be difficult for me?  Will I be happy?  Will I be jealous?  Will I be able to do this?  I prayed that God would give me strength.  I met the baby as soon as I could which happened to be about a week after he was born.  I went to my friend’s house and spent a few hours with them.  It was much better than I expected.  I was happy for her.  We talked about labor and birth.  It was fun to see a little baby again.  He was just 1 oz bigger than Joshua when he was born.  The first time she put in him my arms I thought, wow, I haven’t held a baby this little since Joshua.  I forgot how little he was.  The time spent with her was good.  The anxiety I had before meeting him was unneeded.  Her baby boy wasn’t mine.  He wasn’t the same.  He was so different than Joshua that the jealousy I expected wasn’t there.  I’m happy to know that I could be there for her during her pregnancy and now she’ll be able to be there for me when I have my second baby and have a million questions for her!

*To my friend, if you ever read this, I’m so happy for you!  The sadness I experienced along your pregnancy would have happened regardless if it was you or any close friend that was pregnant during this time in my life.  I can’t wait to be able to share in the experiences with you in a few short months!

Question for Grandma: “Is this your first Grandbaby?”

We just got back from an amazing trip to Alaska with my parents.  Alaska is beautiful!  God really knew what he was doing when we created this world!

My mom can’t stop talking about how excited she is for our baby to arrive.  It started on the trip to the airport.  She was saying how excited she was and I snapped at her, “Yeah, but you were excited last time too and it didn’t work out, did it?”  I can’t help but be annoyed by her excitement.  I don’t know why.  I’m so cautiously excited for this baby.  I’m overjoyed and really scared.  I love being pregnant, I love picturing life with a baby, but for me, those initial dreams came crashing down when Joshua was born and pronounced dead.  I want to be naively excited like so many moms are, but my reality is that I was excited, I had so many hopes and dreams, and they all came crumbling down.

On the last day of our trip, we went on a bus tour of Denali National Park.  When we got on the bus, the lady sitting in front of my mom was making small talk with her.  I wasn’t paying attention until I heard her say, “Oh, I see your daughter is pregnant, is this your first grandbaby?”

“Yes,” my mom responded.

YES?  Excuse me?  I could have punched her.  Not really, but I felt like I wanted to.

The lady went on, “oh, your life will totally change after having a grandbaby!  You think you’ll have fun now, but once they are here, you’ll have so much more fun than you anticipated.”  Clearly not intentional, but thanks for making me feel worse lady!

The conversation ended, I looked across the aisle at my mom and mouthed, “This is NOT your first.”

She mouthed back, “I know”.

I started bawling.  I was thankful that we were in the back of the bus and no one could see my tears.  I probably cried for the next half hour or hour….and if I’m totally honest, tears came randomly on and off throughout the day.

After about 5 minutes, my mom noticed I was crying, she walk over to me to say she was sorry.  I told her I didn’t want to talk to her and to go away.  She tried talking to me through my husband to which he responded, “I’m not getting into this.”  He hadn’t heard the conversation between my mom and the lady.  He just knew how upset I was at the time.  He sat there and put his arm around me and rubbed my leg while I sobbed.  All while not having any idea what happened.  He knew I was crying for Joshua though (it wasn’t the first time that week, more on that in later posts).

Since it didn’t work to talk to me through my husband, she started talking to me again, “this is the first time I’ve answered it that way.  I didn’t want her to ask more questions.”  To which I responded, “I don’t fucking care.  She doesn’t know if you have more kids (I’m an only child) or if I have more kids that we left at home.”  Excuse my French.

All throughout the day she was trying to say she was sorry, but I didn’t want to hear it.  It just made me relive how hurtful it was to hear those words come out of her mouth.  For her to disclude Joshua from her lineup of grandkids right in front of my face.

Later in the day, my mom and I were alone walking to our hotel rooms.  She said, “Christina, can I just say something?”  I turned back to her and she had tears in her eyes.  “I’m so sorry, that’s the first time I’ve answered it that way.  I didn’t want her to ask more questions.”

At that point, I wasn’t angry like I was earlier in the day.  Still very hurt, but not angry.  I said, “Mom, I heard you the first three times, that doesn’t make it feel any better.  If you would have said ‘yes’, she probably would have dropped it.  When people ask me if I have kids, I say ‘yes’.  Usually people end the conversation there.  If they ask how old he is, then I just say he passed away at birth, but most times, the conversation doesn’t get that far.”

“You’re right, I shouldn’t have answered it that way, I’m sorry.”  Our conversation ended there and we didn’t speak of it again.

But even a few days later, I keep thinking about how terrible that made me feel.  My own mom, one of my best friends, Joshua’s grandma was forgetting about him.  Was afraid someone would “ask questions” so instead she just left him out entirely.

Reading other blogs has made me realize there is no right way to answer this question.  Some people are more comfortable just including the living children when asked how many kids they have.  Some people choose to answer based on who’s asking.  I suppose that’s what my mom was doing.  She didn’t know this lady.  She didn’t want the lady to ask more questions so she answered in a way that would make her not ask questions.  I understand.  I do.  I’ve struggled with how I’m going to answer these questions going forward.

Right now, Joshua and this unborn child are my only kids (and my two dogs whom I love like my own).  I don’t feel comfortable leaving out Joshua when people ask me if I have kids.  Maybe that answer will change as the years go by, but I hope that’s not the case.  I’m a proud mom to Joshua.  I don’t care if I have 3 more kids and people ask me how many kids I have.  I can proudly say 4.  And if they look puzzled because they only see 3, I’m okay with that.  I have no issue talking about Joshua and the impact he’s made in my life.  My “situation” won’t be swept under a rug to only speak his name to those who knew him.

Crazy Train Has Arrived

18 weeks now!  Almost half way there!  The baby has been moving a ton!  It’s so comforting to be able to feel the baby move.  Before the movement started, I would hold my breath when we went to the doctor hoping the heartbeat was still there.  Now that I can feel movement, it’s a nice reminder that the baby is still alive and kicking.  I simply cannot wait until December to come.  Then I want my world to stop so I can soak in every ounce of our baby.

I’ve officially gone shopping crazy!  I told myself I wouldn’t buy anything more until we found out the gender…3 more weeks!!!  But then I went on the Gap’s website and they are having a phenomenal sale on baby items.  Onesies for $2.00, yes please!  I bought both boy and girl items.  27 items in all for $99.  I couldn’t pass it up.  I’m going to keep everything tucked away until 3 weeks from now when we find out if we are having a boy or girl.  Then I’ll return what we will not need.  Now I seriously need to stop shopping!  Take away my credit cards!

On a less positive crazy note, I’m feeling so overprotective of myself and my child.  Understandably so, considering what life has thrown at us.  I want to do everything in my power to bring home a living, healthy baby!  I don’t know if it’s the “first time mom” instinct….as if I can use that term.  I’m not a first time mom.  I’m a second time mom, but I have all those first time mom fears and quite possibly more!

Last night we were with my husband’s parents for dinner.  My mother-in-law asked if we were going to travel with them after Christmas.  They go to their vacation home every year after Christmas and spend New Year’s there.  We’ve gone with them here and there, but not consistently.  I told her that if the baby come as scheduled, which is December 1st as of now, that we wouldn’t be able to come.  Per the pediatrician, babies should avoid planes for the first 4 weeks.  She got defensive and wouldn’t look straight at me (which she always does when she doesn’t agree with me).  “Your husband was on a plane when he was 2 weeks old.”  I looked at her and said, “Well, a lot has changed since then.  That’s what the pediatrician recommended.  And I’m not taking any chances with this baby.”  People may not agree with me and that’s okay!  Each person should parent how they wish; that’s the beauty of it.  For me, I’m playing by the rules.  I don’t want to take chances.  If we went on the plane, likely everything would be fine, I get that.  But what if it wasn’t.  What if the baby got really sick because of something I chose to do out of selfishness or because I felt pressured to do it?

I was talking to my mom a few months back about our family Christmas party.  We typically have one a couple weeks into December.  I told her how nervous I was to potentially have a 2 week old baby with 30+ people around wanting to hold him or her.  And being December, half of them will be sick.  I told her how I don’t want to be the person who says, “Stop, don’t touch until you wash your hands.”  But I will be that person.  I want to be able to protect my baby from illnesses at such a young age.  When we were having the conversation, my mom looked at me like I was being a little silly.  A touch crazy.  But then again, she didn’t go in public with me the first 6 weeks because that’s what her doctor recommended.  The next day she came to me and said to me, “Christina, I understand what you’re saying and if you feel you’re not up to going to the Christmas party, that’s okay.”  Ahh, that made me feel good.  Not that I needed her permission, not that I’m planning to not attend, but it felt good that she understood where my fears were coming from and didn’t judge me for whatever decision we made for our family.

Now, December might roll around and I may be totally unlike what my fears have made me think I’ll be like.  I may be that relaxed mom who passes her kid around to everyone just to get some time alone, or to be able to drink a glass of wine!  But, I might not be.  I might be neurotic and overprotective for who knows how long!  I’m hoping I can find an easy balance where I can protect my children yet let them experience all the joys this life can bring!  I’m excited to see what the next few months bring and once December rolls around (it can’t come fast enough) I’m excited to see what kind of parent I will be to a living child!

 

 

When Jealousy Strikes

Jealousy is ugly.  It hurts others and frankly, it hurts yourself the most.

When Joshua was born and I wasn’t able to take him home, I was jealous of every one else who took their baby home.  I turned away when I saw pregnant people and couldn’t stand the site of a new baby.  I turned away, yet part of me couldn’t help but stare.  I was jealous of the pregnant people’s nativity and jealous that they would probably be bringing their baby home.  I was jealous of the new baby’s mom who was able to happily birth their baby and bring them home alive.

I met with a friend about 6 weeks after Joshua was born.  She had a 3 week old at the time.  I asked her how she was feeling and she said, “I cry a lot.  I’m having a hard time adjusting.”  I just responded, “Yeah, me too.”  I was envious that she was crying because she adjusting to a world with a new baby.  I wanted to be crying for that same reason.

I kept telling myself, when I get pregnant again, I won’t be jealous anymore.  It’ll be different.  In a way that’s true.  It’s not as difficult to look at pregnant bellies or new babies.  I’m not sure if that’s time as a factor or if it’s the fact that I’m pregnant again.  I’m able to look at those things without jealousy anymore, but that doesn’t mean the jealousy is gone.  Whenever I see a pregnancy announcement, it still hurts.  I’m happy for them, don’t get me wrong.  I want their pregnancies to go smoothly.  But part of me is jealous that they may likely go through a normal and heartbreak-free pregnancy unlike mine.  I don’t wish them pain, in fact, it breaks my heart when I hear of anyone who experiences a miscarriage, stillbirth, or even has a baby with a health issue.  I want all babies to be born healthy!  But it doesn’t lessen the fact that I’m still envious.

With every call or text I get from my mom that her friend’s kid is having a baby, I roll my eyes.  It stings.  I don’t know why, but it does.  The only sheer happiness is when I hear of a loss mom having another baby (not that I’ve always felt that way, I feel it vanished now that I’m pregnant myself).  Not that a loss mom deserves it more than anyone else does.  But it’s a happiness from a pain I know all too well.

The Bible even gives us stories of jealousy when it comes to children.  God knew this would be a continual issue in our world.

“When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister.  So she said to Jacob, ‘Give me children, or I’ll die.'”  Genesis 30:1

Later in the story, Rachel is able to conceive a child.  Did her jealousy disappear or was she still envious of those who were able to conceive with no issues?

I want my jealousy to stop but I don’t think it will go away on its own.  It’ll be a conscious effort.

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:30

God blessed me with a wonderful 41 weeks with Joshua.  I wouldn’t take that back.  No amount of pain would be too much for me to trade my time with Joshua.  But that doesn’t change the fact that I wish he was still here with us.  However, I’m looking forward to a future with Joshua’s sibling and believe that this baby that’s growing inside of me is meant to be in our family.  I’m grateful for the time I have with this baby and know that if it weren’t for Joshua, this baby would not exist.

Next time jealousy creeps up on me, or slaps me in the face, I need to step back and reevaluate why I’m feeling this way.  Am I jealous because they are pregnant?  I was (and am) pregnant too.  Am I jealous they got to take their baby home?  I am hopeful that I will be taking a baby home one day too and I’m so happy for the time I got with Joshua, even though I didn’t get to take him home.  It’ll be a continual effort to be grateful for what I have rather than being envious of what I don’t have.  Like the Proverbs verse says, envy rots the body, but a heart at peace gives life!