Oh Hey PTSD!

A week from today is the dreaded NT scan. The scan that triggers anxiety, stress and an epic meltdown. I have such a clear picture of that first NT scan, with the first baby that made it to 12 weeks…

As we approached the hospital, I stopped dead in my tracks, held my stomach, turned to my husband and questioned ‘what if something is wrong?’ He brushed away my worry, without words, telling me I was being a nut. In my gut, I had known something was awry. I shook off the doubt attributing it to this being the ‘first’ pregnancy (or one that has made it this far). However, as much as I tried to reassure myself, I knew something wasn’t right. My biggest fears were confirmed. I remember the color of my nails, the clothes I was wearing, the silent ultrasound sound tech who refused to answer any question or reassure my fears, the color of the doctors hair, the sound of his voice and thick accent, his body language as he entered the room, and the unforgettable feeling of finding out something is terminally wrong with your most wanted child.

This day becomes clearer as we approach this baby’s NT scan. I am prepare for a slow increase of anxiety as the day approaches and most likely an epic, two year old style meltdown as we enter the room.

Boy, would I love to know what innocence and ignorance feels like. I have been robbed and it doesn’t get easier, even after a healthy pregnancy…

Take a stand?

I haven’t forgotten. As we approach October 15, pregnancy and infant loss awareness day, I find myself thinking more frequently about my babies. I think about what it would be like if I had never experienced a loss. What does that innoncence feel like? I often wonder that when I see early pregnancy announcements. When I announced my pregnancy at 35 weeks on social media, I wonder if people thought, I too, were of the innocent mindset… 

I contemplate writing a social media post acknowledging my losses prior to my live birth. My motive would be to make those with similar experiences feel less alone. However, with family attached to my social media pages (mostly my husbands), I feel uncomfortable taking such a personal stand. Funny right? I can post almost daily pictures of my daughter and family and yet when it comes to the journey of getting there, it’s oh so taboo. 

So I’m torn- do I take a stand to publically recognize my babies who didn’t make it? Or do I go about my business with the notion that people probably incorrectly preceive me as ‘innoncent?’ 

Should be 

I should have a one year old. 

You were due October 3, 2015…

Just because I have a rainbow doesn’t erase the pain, the loss of innocence, the memory… 

One Year Anniversary

A year ago today, we terminated a pregnancy. We made the heartbreaking decision to let our daughter go after a grim diagnosis. This was by far the worst day of my life. I remember the day very vividly. I remember entering the operating room and just breaking down. One of the nurses took me in her arms and reassured me that a sick child wouldn’t have the life she deserved and this act was out of love and to spare her a lifetime of pain and suffering. She assured me that I was making the right decision for me and my family and understood my emotional turmoil.

The weeks following this procedure, I cried continually. I cried myself to sleep, I cried when I woke up, I cried throughout the day. I ached for my baby to be back inside of me. I ached for her to be healthy. I hated the card that I was dealt. I resented anyone with a healthy pregnancy. I hated anyone who welcomed healthy children into their lives because it seemed easy for them.

I look back on this past year and I recognize that a lot has changed. I am not religious and I am minimally spiritual, but for some reason, I feel like I have to thank my first daughter for sending me her sister, who is happily kicking away at the moment. In honor of our first daughter, we are naming our second daughter with the name we had chosen for her. I toyed with whether or not I wanted to name her with the same name, or if I wanted to choose a different name before I got pregnant and when we found out it was another girl. Ultimately, we decided to keep the name. The name is not only one we love, but it also honors her memory and gives more meaning to it, at least it does to us.

A year ago today…

A year ago today, my husband and I went to the hospital for a routine NT scan. This scan forever changed the course of our much wanted pregnancy and my outlook on life. We were given the news that there was an 80% chance our baby was sick. After 2 and a half weeks of waiting… We were given a diagnosis. We had to make that heartbreaking decision. 20 days later we said goodbye to our daughter.

A year ago today I was raped of my innocence. I became forever cynical when it comes to pregnancy. I am now cautiously optimistic. 

A great deal has changed in the last 366 days… 

I was in the throws of hell a year ago, yet today I can feel her sister wiggling around in my belly, getting stronger everyday. 

To my rainbow- I can’t wait to  hopefully meet you in 6 weeks/whenever you decide to make your appearance.  

And I feel like an asshole 

Last summer I worked summer school. It was a rough summer for many reasons, but the main reason was that we were trying to conceive after our TFMR. Every period was a stab in the gut, reminding me of my losses and pushing the dream of a baby a month longer. During this 6 week summer school session, a woman announced her pregnancy. The second she told me I had to fake the ‘oh congratulations.’ I was completely monotoned and I was pissed. I was pissed it wasn’t me. I remember the moment like it was yesterday. It was emotionally charged. It sucked. I remember counting down the minutes until I could leave the classroom and get a reprieve. I needed a moment to get my shir together. The whole 45 minutes as I enduring being in her classroom while she enjoyed her lunch, I fought back tears. For the next couple of days following this- I was forced to over hear her talk about her pregnancy and her natural excitement. In those moments- I was living in hell. 

Today I found out that this woman had her son before the holidays. She was due in February. I also found out her son was born with Down syndrome.

I am not sure if she opting out of testing and the diagnosis was a surprise at birth, or she knew and she decided the continue with the pregnancy. However, I can’t imagine the greiving of a ‘healthy’ baby this woman has gone/is going through. When you get pregnant, you never imagine a baby with special needs and when that a reality, I believe there is a greiving process of what could of been. Despite all of this, the woman is a special needs teacher, and a phenomenal one at that. I am pretty positive that this boy will receive the best care/education and his needs will be met. 

So… Needless to say I feel like an asshole. I was so resentful of this woman’s pregnancy because I had to terminate mine, because my baby had a chromosomal abnormality. I feel like I cursed it. I know that’s unrealistic and these abnormalities occur at conception, however, I feel awful…

Jinxing myself

Yesterday I wrote a post about maternity leave and how the system I am in doesn’t support new mothers. I realized after writing that that I am assuming I am bringing this baby home. I know I am planning for this baby; nursery is painted and I am working on painting her furniture, but what if there is no baby. What if all this planning is for nothing? Why am I assuming that this is going to be my take home? I know this is morbid to think about and maybe rather unhealthy, but its hard to stop my mind from wandering there… I have had two previous loss, although much earlier than this current pregnancy (5 weeks and 15 weeks), and its hard to wrap my head around an actually healthy baby.  According to textbooks- I am in a ‘safer zone’ at almost 25 weeks. Statistically, I should be bringing my daughter home in April. However, through people I know personally and those I have met through blogging, I know there is no such thing as ‘ safe zone’. Anything can happen at any given time.

I suppose I am just having an anxiety inducing day. I am worried than anything I do to plan for her arrival will come back and slap me in the face.  I know the alternative is doing nothing, which means we will be scrambling when and if she comes. And, truth be told, I am want to nest. I deserve to nest. I think its so unfair that my losses have raped me of the innocence I so desperately yearn for.

My fear of gender disappointment 

This is super petty. All I should care about is the health of my baby, but I have this overwhelming feeling of finding out my baby’s gender and being disappointed. During the last pregnancy, we found out the baby was a girl through highly recommended invasive genetic testing. Prior to knowing she was a girl, I thought it was a boy. To be hornet, in that pregnancy I didn’t really care about the gender. However, my feelings have shifted during this pregnancy. When we found out the lst baby was a girl, I envisioned my life with a daughter; to her an infant, toddler, child, teen, adult, married woman, mother, etc. My life had a daughter in it. I loved the idea. Two weeks after we found out the gender, we found out our baby was chromosomally abnormal. We decided to terminate the pregnancy, as the prognosis of the pregnancy and her life were very unknown. I hate to admit this, but I am nervous that if this baby is a boy, I will grieve the life I envisioned with a daughter. 

Ultimately, I am so beyond grateful to be pregnant. Every morning I wake up and I thank the baby for sticking around and for choosing us. I feel unbelievably lucky to be having this experience, regardless of how terrifying pregnancy after loss is. 

If my baby is a boy, I will not love him any less. I know my dreams will shift and I’ll hopefully surprise myself with imaging a life with a son. Regardless, I love this baby growing inside of me with every part of my being. 

Capture your Grief: Day 23- Love Letter

Dear Husband,

Everyday, you impress me with your ambition, accomplishments and your actions. I have never met someone who is so genuine in their actions.  You lack the judgmental quality that I struggle with. You wholeheartedly accept people for who they are in you care about the in spite of their faults. I know you are not someone who likes to discuss their feelings and emotions, but that is okay (even though at times, I might complain otherwise) because you prove your care, commitment and love through everything you do- big and small. Thank you for always thinking of me and, at times, putting me before yourself.

The experience of our loss was very differently for the both of us. I am pretty certain that although you were sad and wished the situation was different, you are more or less ‘over it.’  It is okay. I do not fault you for it.  You didn’t know her like I knew her, and I wouldn’t expect you to feel the way I am feeling. Despite not being able to empathize, you have been incredible.  You have allowed me to feel what I needed to feel and without making me feel like how I am feeling is wrong or unacceptable.  You accepted my grief.  You have allowed me to talk about her and I thank you for that. I also want to thank you for being such an incredible support during the diagnosis, through the termination, and the tumultuous weeks that followed.  You stood up for me when I couldn’t, you held me when all I could do was cry, and you force fed me when I couldn’t eat. Most of all, you allowed me to feel. Although it was the hardest thing we have gone through thus far as a couple, it allowed me to see a side of you that is profoundly compassionate.  I loved you before this, but now I love you more.

I apologize if I struggle with expressing this gratitude daily, but I want you to know how much I love and respect you. You are invaluable and I am so proud to call you my husband, my friend, and my partner. I love you.

All my love,

Your wife