Thursday, May 21, 2015

the wall, an anterior placenta, and gender anxiety

Thank you for the responses to our news.  It means a lot to us, it helps make this real, it helps me feel supported and loved.  And feel the support and love for Lydie and this baby too.

Because there's this wall.  There's this defense mechanism that I don't seem to have control over.  I am trying to step around it, trying to make a point to acknowledge this pregnancy.  Trying to feel some hope despite all the fear.

Trying to remind myself, that if I were to lose this baby too, not being attached wouldn't actually make me feel any better. (And in fact, it would probably make me feel a whole lot worse).

The reality is there's not going to be a time I feel safe in this pregnancy.  There's just not.  And I have to, I have to, preface all my statements with "if all goes well..." or "hopefully..." My dad asked me not to talk that way, and I told him that I have to.  It's hard for me when others don't. 

Maybe it's the wall talking.  But I'm unable to picture us bringing home a living, breathing baby.
I've been hoping to bond with this baby more when I started to feel movement.  I was feeling movement with Lydie by this time and I've been waiting for it.  But last week, at my appointment, my doctor told me that my placenta is anterior.  Which means it's sitting between the exterior of my belly and this baby, and it's cushioning all the kicks and punches.  And many women with anterior placentas don't start feeling movement until the third trimester.

It also means that it will always be harder to feel movement, which takes away the little ounce of control I felt like I might have, being hypersurveillant about this baby's movement.

That scares the shit of me.

Please ignore that whoever made this graphic did not know how to spell "explanation"
I've read way too much on Google.  I've talked to other mamas who have had anterior placentas.  I'm trying to remember, as far as bad news goes, this isn't that bad.  And believe me, I'm familiar with bad news.

And I'm trying to find other ways to step around this wall.  The bump photos are one way to do that.  Sharing this pregnancy is another.  We are also trying out the nickname "Bowie" (thank you, Jen Watanabe).  Benjamin and Lydia were both "the baby" while in utero.  But we like the idea of nicknaming this Rainbow baby, thinking it will help us to connect.

And then there's the huge issue of gender.  We found out at 20 weeks that Ben was a boy and 19 weeks that Lydie was a girl.  We didn't see any reason to wait (Justin always comments that he's just as surprised at 20 weeks as he would be at birth).  I am was a planner and don't particularly like surprises and I always wanted to envision my baby, to find all those consignment sale and garage sale bargains, to call the baby "he" or "she," to decide on a name.

This time around, I've been tempted to not know.  That's because I want this pregnancy to be as different as it can be.  Also, and mostly, because I want a living daughter so very badly.  I hear this is normal when pregnant after loss, to desperately want the same gender as the child you lost.  And I've gone on and on about how I convinced myself in those first 19 weeks that Lydia was a boy, but only because I wanted a girl so much.  How I was so shocked, so happy to have the opportunity to raise a daughter.  How her nursery still holds enough clothes to outfit her until she turned two or three.

The thing is, I'm grieving that I didn't get to take home the daughter that I was promised for 15 weeks.  That this mother/daughter relationship doesn't look at all the way it was supposed to.  That those clothes sit there untouched.  I'm grieving Lydie.  And I'm grieving the loss of the relationship I was supposed to have with Lydie.

And I desperately still want that relationship.  I want a little sister to wear her hand-me-downs.  I want a daughter to sign up for soccer, not cheerleading.  I want ponytails and rants about how stupid boys are.  I want the girl who calls me when I'm 60, just because we like to talk.  And I want Justin to have that father/daughter relationship too.  I want him to have a daddy's girl, the way I have a mama's boy.  I want him to walk our daughter down the aisle and share a first dance on her wedding day.  He talked about those moments when I was pregnant with Lydie.  And it hurts so much that he'll never have them with Lydie.  And it hurts so much that he may never have them at all.

Hence the temptation not to find out.  Would I really be upset if a living child was placed in my arms, and he happened to be a boy?  



Not knowing the gender is making it so much easier to stop myself from picturing bringing Bowie home.  And I don't think that's doing Bowie, or me, or Justin, any good.  I think we need to work on bonding with Bowie.  We need to continue to take small steps around the wall.

And I think knowing whether Bowie is a little brother or a little sister for Benjamin and Lydia is one way to do that.

If it's a boy, it's a boy.  There's nothing I can do about that.

If it's a boy, there's the chance that Ben could have a living brother.


We find out in a week and a half now.  Of course, that's also the big anatomy scan with the MFM, so we're also hoping that Bowie, no matter whether a girl or boy, looks healthy.


  1. Whoever this baby is, he or she is very loved.

  2. Looking forward to reading your pregnancy updates Heather. I just wanted to say that I am sure Dr Collins says something about anterior placentas being lower risk for cord accidents (less likely to be compressed I think). So swings and roundabouts! (Um Dave said you might not understand that as you guys don't have roundabouts). Sending love x

    1. Tell Dave we have some roundabouts! They are way better than stoplights!

      I hadn't heard this from Dr. Collins! I haven't talked to him for a while since I think he may just raise my anxiety. Maybe it's time to get back in touch...

  3. Rainbow pregnancies are so so hard. Just keep going, one day and week at a time. xoxo

  4. I completely get the gender anxiety. I also didn't want to know because I wanted the pregnancy to be as different as possible. Also, I didn't want to hear people make comments about the gender because I was so annoyed at people who would just assume that I would be bringing home a baby.

    We did find out, partly because I knew I would be sad if the baby were a boy. I thought I should go through the mourning while I was pregnant rather than after the birth. I so badly wanted Eleanor to have a living sister. I'm sure it's even harder when you've lost your only daughter (so far). I was sad when we got the boy news, but of course I now love my son like crazy. I don't want him to be a girl. I just want his other sister to be here, too.

  5. I had to find out the gender of our Rainbow baby... I didn't want to be "disappointed" if it wasn't what we wanted, but needed to convince myself if it was what we wanted, that we weren't replacing her... I know this is hard, thinking of you!

  6. Thank you for sharing this. It brought tears to my eyes. I'm so sorry you have to go thru this and had a lose. I am currently 17weeks pregnant with my 4th child. I have an 8 year old and I have lost twins (boy and girl) at 23weeks. I completely understand the situation you are in. I also was told I have an anterior placenta as well. It is very hard to grow attached to something inside you when you have so much other things going on.. please keep your head up and moving forward. I hope the world's best for you and your family♡♡♡♡


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