When I was pregnant with Lydia, I crocheted a big yellow blanket, with edges of bright pink and bright blue, for her. I hadn't quite finished it when I found out she had died, and I debated bringing it to the hospital: do you pack the blanket you've been lovingly working on for months, envisioning it holding your living child, once you found out your child is dead? I'm so glad I brought it, and while I labored through the early hours of the morning, Oma Jo finished it for us.
This is the blanket that held Lydie, that is stained with her blood, that stayed wrapped around her while her dad and I said our tearful goodbyes. It held her as she made her way to the funeral home, and it was returned to me later. And each night since she died, I have curled up with her blanket. It's the last thing that touched her, and I feel like it connects us.
I've tucked Lydie's blanket under my Bowie belly as it has grown. Her blanket supports my belly much better than any pregnancy pillow. And I like to think of the blanket that cradled Lydie cradling Lydie's sister. I like to think of Lydie's blanket surrounding Bowie with love. I like to think of it connecting all three of us.
These are the thoughts I try to return to when it's 2 am and Bowie's not moving and I am trying to slow the panic. These are the thoughts that help me breathe when I am crying into my pillow instead of sleeping, when I'm begging Bowie just to give me a kick so I know she's still alive. So I can maybe get more than a couple hours of sleep.
But sometimes, no matter how hard I try to let the loving thoughts be the ones that invade my brain in the middle of the night, I think of how cord accidents often happen when the mom is sleeping. How I was likely sleeping when Lydie slipped away, how I'm terrified that I'll wake up but Bowie won't. How am I supposed to sleep, knowing that?
I think about how I can't lose another daughter. How I don't think I could keep on living if silence filled the delivery room again, if I had another urn on my mantle, if my milk came in and there was no baby to feed. How it's been hard enough to be a part of society after losing Lydie, but if Bowie were to also die, I don't think I could ever bear to leave my home again. I tell Justin if Bowie dies, we're moving to a remote cabin in Montana and I'm only giving my contact information to other BLM's. I think about what it was like to watch Lydia deteriorate in front of me. I think about the closet full of adorable girls' clothes that haven't been touched since last November. I think of the two little girls who should both get to wear them.
I poke and I prod and I try to stay calm as I wait for Bowie to respond. And I try to think of Lydie's blanket holding her sister in love.
I have been realizing I feel like Bowie has a 50/50 shot at coming out alive. Like really, it could go either way. Sometimes it surprises me to realize that her odds are actually much, much better. But what do odds mean anymore? Anytime I picture myself bringing home a living baby, I worry I am setting myself up for devastating disappointment. I think if I gear myself up for another death, maybe it won't hurt quite as bad. I think about how blindsided I was when Lydie died.
I'm going to three appointments a week now. I'm trying to look ahead to the next appointment only. I'm trying not to look past that, but it's hard. Who else is almost 33 weeks pregnant and not thinking about the end game? Dr. B has been talking about delivery at 36 and 5, and though we hadn't scheduled anything, my mind still found it impossible to not engage in a countdown. So when I heard that the MFM has nixed that plan, I cried. I sat there in my OB's office, and I cried to her.
I asked: Do you know how hard it is to be pregnant again after your perfectly healthy baby, who could have lived outside you, died within you? Suddenly and without warning? Do you know hard it is to be at that point again?
I know, I know that prematurity is no joke. But I can't seem to worry about Bowie needing a little bit of time in the NICU, because it would mean she was alive.
I'm pretty sure I'd have them get her out now, if they'd let me. Get her out now, while we know she's alive. Get her out of my death trap of a uterus.
Clearly, my doctors aren't going for that. And yesterday, the news was sprung on me that the MFM wants me to have an amnio first, to check lung development. We can't plan a c-section, as I thought we would. We will instead plan an amnio. If Bowie passes, she'll be delivered that day. And if she doesn't?
We have to wait until she does.
I told Dr. B, through my tears, that she may need to have me hooked up in the hospital at that point.
"Okay," she told me levelly. "We can talk about that."
I hope she doesn't think I'm joking.
So somehow, I have to keep going for another 4 or 5 weeks. I have to keep working full-time, keep taking care of my precious and crazy toddler son, and keep trying to keep Bowie alive inside me. Oh, and missing and grieving Lydia, let's not forget that.
Tomorrow, we are one week away from our point of loss with Lydia. I wonder if I'll feel different once (if) I make it past that mark. Somehow, I don't think I'll feel any better until I hear this baby scream.