March 26, 2015
I should be 8 weeks and 4 days pregnant today. I say that because the only time I’m confident that I’m still pregnant are those couple moments a week when I’m laying on the exam table and I’m watching this baby’s heart beat. Then I text Justin and my mom and my sister and Kate and let them know, that at this moment in time, this baby’s heart is still beating.
The first time I saw that little flicker of a heartbeat, I cried. Tears of relief that there was in fact a heartbeat. And tears – not ones of relief – that that heartbeat couldn’t instead be Lydie’s. That last time I had an ultrasound, it was at the hospital, as I was about to be induced to deliver my little girl, to ensure that her heart had in fact stopped. And it had. It was just her bum floating around, pushing against me that I felt. The heart was still. So, so still.
I would trade this heartbeat for Lydie’s heartbeat in a second.
I don’t want to be pregnant. I want Lydie to be here.
But since that’s not possible, I’ll instead live in constant fear of the moment this heart stops beating too. Right now, I tell myself there’s nothing I can do about it. Obviously I already miss the wine. And I’m trying to exercise but not too much. Maybe I did too much with Lydie? And I’m trying to force myself to eat when I don’t want to. Losing eight pounds in the first trimester with Lydie could not have been good. And I was hungry when I was pregnant with Ben. So in my mind, eating = living baby, not eating = dead baby.
A week or two ago, I was eating Greek yogurt, strawberries, and granola and realized I ate it often when pregnant with Lydie. What if that’s what killed her? I thought. Totally irrational I realize, but I can’t eat that anymore.
It’s a total mindfuck.
I don’t know any other way to explain it.
Last night, while laying on the couch in a total sobfest, I realized that I was pregnant two years ago, I was pregnant one year ago, and I’m pregnant now.
No wonder I’m tired.
I’m so tired.
Grief +the first-trimester of pregnancy = one tired mama.
Not to mention the almost-two-year-old or the full-time job.
Every day, I just tell myself to get through the day. It doesn’t matter how well I do it, how often I tear up at work, how many phone calls I ignore or emails I delete. I just have to do it. I have to get one more day down without Lydie and one more day where this new baby continues to grow inside me. (Hopefully).
I wish I could fast-forward until Lydie’s first birthday. To know what the outcome is, either way. If I’m going to lose this baby too, just tell me. If this baby will actually come home with us, just tell me.
I don’t want to live this.
I realized the other day that 1 out of 4 pregnancies end in a loss. 1 out of 4. I’m so programmed for loss that it came as a revelation to me that there’s a higher chance of bringing this baby home, then not.
But what the fuck do statistics mean to me anymore?
When Dr. B told me that this baby will be here by Halloween, I told her not to say that. DO NOT MAKE ME PROMISES. You made me promises before. I bought my little girl a Christmas outfit. She was supposed to be here before Christmas. And she wasn’t. So do NOT make me promises.
I’ve told myself that I don’t want to miss the next 5 months of Ben’s life. That knocking me out until the end of October isn’t a good option because I want to experience every day with my little boy. (As if that’s the only reason it’s not an option).
I really don’t know what I would do without him. I need his kisses and his hugs and his wanting to play with me all the time as a distraction.
And I want a sibling – a living one – for him so badly.
March 31, 2015
If I’m still pregnant, then I’m 9 weeks and 2 days pregnant. I woke up this morning thinking, “Today you’ll find out you had a miscarriage.” It sucks to be so programmed for loss. I want my invincibility back.
A few weeks ago, I looked up the statistics for miscarriage. For a moment, I was happily surprised to see that the chances drop dramatically after a heartbeat is detected. And then that moment passed and I thought, “Who cares?” When you’ve been the .5%, it’s pretty hard to convince yourself that you won’t be the 5%.
I am surprised to find myself desperately wishing to be out of the first trimester, and I don’t know why. Is it the old mentality, the mentality that every other woman seems to have lingering on? As if there’s a safe time?
With both Benjamin and Lydia, I thought if you didn’t bleed, you hadn’t miscarried. So although I tempered my excitement, I didn’t actively worry about miscarriage. Now? I am just waiting for it. I brace myself. I tell myself before my doctor’s appointment, that if there is no heartbeat, there is wine in the fridge at home. I really wish I didn’t know so much now.
And if this pregnancy is going to result in another loss, I would rather that loss happen sooner than later. I would never wish my time with Lydie away. I would never wish Lydie away. But if I’m going to experience another loss, I’d rather it happen sooner than later.
And after that last appointment, where there was still a heartbeat, I told a couple more people. I’m going to tell them if I miscarry, right? Still, I find myself not wanting to acknowledge this pregnancy, not wanting it to seem real yet. I figure, as long as this pregnancy continues, these 37 weeks are going to be LONG and there’s going to be a point that I won’t be able to help but feel attached to this little one. So if I’m still a bit in the denial stage, then maybe it will make the pregnancy feel a bit shorter?
It’s not that I don’t think about this pregnancy. I do. It’s just that I can’t – I cannot – think about the end game. There’s a chance we could have a living, breathing baby home with us by Lydie’s first birthday, but I absolutely cannot count on that or plan for that, and I really don’t even want to imagine it yet.
And the last thing I want to hear is “congratulations.” What a load of shit. I heard that hundreds – maybe even thousands – of times when I was pregnant with Lydie. When I was walking around with my beautiful Lydia bump, thinking that once you got past the first trimester and all looked good on the 20 week anatomical scan that you were pretty much guaranteed a healthy (living) baby. No one – not one person – congratulated me when my daughter, my beautiful and perfect daughter, was born. Because she was dead. So I do not want to hear it now.
The funny thing is, I have a little bump. I didn’t show with Lydie for so long and that surprised me, since they say you show sooner with the second. 9 weeks in now, and I’ve got this little bump.
Justin and I haven’t talked about this much yet. We’re waiting I guess. He asked me recently when we’re going to start celebrating this pregnancy. I responded, “I don’t know, but not yet.” What are we supposed to talk about? How our children would be Irish twins, but I don’t know that that works if one is not living? How devastated I’ll be if it’s a boy? How we may or may not be able to make use of all of Lydie’s things next fall?
I have to remind myself that I felt guilty when Lydie died because I thought we didn’t celebrate her enough, we weren’t quite ready for her, she was a bit earlier than planned. That was the guilt talking. And when that guilt started to subside, I saw how clearly that little girl was wanted and loved. She still is. She is wanted and loved. So if this pregnancy is going to result in another loss, do I really think that it would be better if I hadn’t celebrated it? Right now, yes, I do. Later on? No. No, there will come a point where we have to embrace it.
It’s not that we don’t want this child. It’s that we want this child so badly, and we know what it feels like to have all our dreams dashed in an instant.
I never thought I could survive what I have survived. And I sincerely think I would not be able to live through it again.
April 22, 2015
I had my first real breakdown of this pregnancy the other evening. I’m surprised it took so long.
We were at Andy’s house in Indy, and we had finally gotten Ben to sleep, and the boys were pouring back the craft beers. And discussing them. “Oh, taste this one” and “Oooh, this one is really good.” And I’m tired, after a late night the night before and spending the last day and a half with in-laws, and you know, grieving all the time and taking care of a two-year-old and being pregnant. And I want a fucking beer too.
And I’m sitting there, feeling how familiar this is, how I was at the end of my first-trimester with Lydie last time we were at Andy’s house. And the boys poured back the beers and I sat there, sober and tired and jealous.
Except Lydie died, it’s almost a year later, and I’m doing this all fucking over again.
And it occurred to me that I have no idea whether this pregnancy will result in a living baby. I have no idea if later, I will think this was worthwhile. Or if it will end in another heartbreak.
I go upstairs where I have this complete breakdown in the guest bedroom. I’m sobbing by myself, hoping I’m just loud enough for Justin to hear so he’ll come up. But that doesn’t seem to be the case, so I sneak downstairs and ask if he’ll come up for a minute. And he does, and I let it go, sitting on the bed, screaming and crying, “I just did this! And I am doing it again, and I have NO idea whether this will be worth it. I have no idea if this baby is going to be born alive. And I can’t do it again! I can’t deliver another dead baby! I never thought I would be able to survive what I have, I never thought I’d be able to do this, so maybe I could live through it again… but I really don’t want to! I don’t want to! I just did this! I just fucking did this!”
Justin rubbed my back and didn’t say much of anything. What’s he supposed to say? He can’t promise me this baby will be born alive.
It’s going to be a very long 37 weeks. I hope so anyway. I hope it’s 37 weeks.