Overwhelmed.

This has been an absolutely horrible day – one of the worst I can recall.  I have cried so much today that I actually ended up researching at one point if there is a point where we run out of tears because I’d cried for nearly a solid three out of four consecutive hours.  (Yes, you can… but if you do, it means you’re severely dehydrated; always drink lots of water after a big cry because your body takes water from other places to supply your tear ducts with moisture.  The more you know…)

I think I was feeling emotional from the start.  I’m not too sure why, but Brock wouldn’t leave my mind much at all today, and I found myself looking through his old photos – first ultrasound pictures, then bump pictures, then the photos the hospital took after his birth.  Cue weepy episode #1.

Next, after I’d had a good little cry about that (and, subsequently, thought I was feeling much better and could move on with my day), I was reminded that it was the birthday of a different (sadly deceased) child – the other woman I knew of in my due date club who’d had a loss celebrated her departed daughter’s first birthday today, and it obviously hit very close to home.  More tears!

I discovered the worst piece of news of all, though, almost immediately after that one… if you’ll recall the couple I talked about in my last update, whose son was battling for his life in the NICU: it was discovered on Thursday evening that he had a small hole in his bowel that required surgery.  While the surgery itself went very well and he tolerated it well to begin with, a post-operative infection set in, and it was more than his tiny body was equipped to handle.  He passed away earlier this morning.

I was totally despondent for a good two hours after that.  I had already endured one loss (which was how we met them, through a local bereavement group) and we had that much in common, but I couldn’t begin to fathom how it would feel to lose two babies, especially consecutively… and under such similar circumstances.  Both babies were lost to complications of being immature, one after living for 8 weeks and the second after only lasting 8 days… and, in both cases, it was the result of an infection.  I cried for them, for their son, for the unfairness of the universe… and then I cried some more as a result of my own anxiety, because if life can be so unfair as to let the same thing happen to them twice, what’s to say that I’m not going to find myself going home with empty arms again, too?  Then again, if we do get our rainbow, aren’t they just going to resent us for having our happy ending when they didn’t get theirs?  In their situation, I would, especially since they now face the very real possibility of not getting their baby, especially not without serious intervention since it’s now clear that she can’t presently carry a baby to term.  It was a lot to try to process, and my heart hurts so bad for them… I really can’t put my emotions into the right words.  I know I’m not putting the feelings to real justice in how I’m writing, but I can’t think of a better way to word them (I blame the headache that I’ve acquired from crying so much).

Nate has responded with quite a lot of movement – and I’ve also had a couple of Braxton Hicks, probably in relation to the stress – which should make me feel better, I suppose, but it’s not.  I’m just over everything today.  I want to go back to a point where life was easy and I didn’t understand what overwhelming grief was and how absolutely unfair things can be.  There’s a different, possibly shittier version of myself in a parallel universe who would see a post about an infant dying and think, “Oh, that’s really sad,” maybe feel a bit blue for a few minutes, give Brock a big hug (because in a perfect world, he’d be here), take a big swig of wine because I wouldn’t be pregnant, and then move on.  I’m not saying that would be the appropriate reaction, but I feel way too close to tragedy now.  Instead, hearing about others losing their children turns me into an inconsolable, weepy mess and gives me flashbacks to the moment where I found out that my own son had died.  Post-loss Sevyn may be more philanthropic and compassionate, sure, but she’s also world weary and just needs to know that, sooner than later, there’s going to be a break from all this tragedy and drama.  I feel like it’s been nothing but bad news as far back as I can remember… or maybe I’ve just lost my ability to appreciate or focus on the good, who knows?

Hopefully, by this time three weeks from now, I will have a healthy, screaming baby, and my faith in life will be somewhat restored.  In the meantime, there’s not much I can do except wait and hope that I’m right.

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The Home Stretch, & Seeking Positive Thoughts for Friends

Almost there…

I’m 35 weeks today.  My induction is scheduled for 23 days from now, and I can’t decide what to feel, even now.  It varies from hour to hour, and sometimes even from minute to minute.  One minute, I’ll excitedly look forward to not being pregnant anymore – I’ve been pregnant for so much of the last two years that I don’t really recall what it feels like to NOT be pregnant at this point – and the next I will be totally terrified because we’re still living in a state of disorganized chaos and I don’t feel at all ready for parenthood.  Isn’t that preposterous?  I’ve had almost two years to get ready to bring a baby home, how can I still have such a deep fear of what lies ahead?

Regardless, that’s pretty much the long and short of it; most prominently, I want him here and safe, and as a close secondary thought, I worry about whether or not we’ll be good parents or how we will handle it emotionally.  I have several relatives (husband included) who think that I am going to get hit hard by postpartum depression, and I also have my own fear that I’m going to have trouble bonding with or feeling the right kinds of feelings for Nathan.  I worry that I’m going to resent him for not being Brock, especially if they happen to look similar.  Add all of that on top of the still-lingering jitters and worries that something is somehow going to go wrong again, and I am a pretty stressed out person right now.  I just have to keep trying to remind myself that the odds of what happened the first time happening again are incredibly slim, and that it’s all going to be over soon… and, if I do end up struggling emotionally or otherwise after his birth, lots of people will be available to help me work through that, too.  I’m well looked after, and I know that, but it regrettably still doesn’t stop me from having irrational thoughts from time to time anyway.

I actually don’t really know what else to say that I haven’t already said before.  I am scared, but I’ve been scared since the beginning of this pregnancy, even before it in some ways.  I’m actually fighting off a cold at the moment, which isn’t helping my jitters any because I got sick around this time with Brock as well.  It would mean a lot to me if there WEREN’T so many parallels between my pregnancies.  It’s hard to imagine a different outcome at this point because I feel like I’m just living the same thing all over again.

Speaking of parallels… my husband and I made friends with a couple that we met through our bereavement group shortly after we lost Brock who were there because they had lost a son to prematurity.  She went into premature labour because of an incompetent cervix, something they didn’t find out until he made an unexpected, extremely early debut at 24 weeks’ gestation.  Sadly, he suffered a lot of complications and passed away after an 8-week fight in the NICU.

She found herself pregnant again 10 weeks after I found out I was pregnant with my rainbow, and she was immediately referred to the same high-risk hospital I go to who made a point of keeping an extremely close eye on her.  For a long time, things seemed to be going perfectly well… until 21 weeks, when an ultrasound showed that her cervix was bottoming out again.  She was given a rescue cerclage and put on limited bed rest while they tried to determine if the procedure was successful or not.  A week later, everything seemed to be going well, and they started to gain hope for carrying to at least 30 weeks for the best possible outcome…

Unfortunately, as we are all too well aware, things don’t always go as well as hoped, and she went into labour again last Friday.  By the time she made it to the hospital, it was too late for them to intervene and her second son was born at 24 weeks, 2 days.

We went to visit them on Sunday afternoon and their new son is just adorable – tiny, yes, but adorable.  The good news is that he seems to be doing much better than his older brother did.  He was substantially larger (enough that they are speculating that her dates may have been wrong, and he might be older than they’d initially thought), is tolerating treatment better, and having an easier time with breathing, feeding and handling.  Either way, I can only imagine the stress and worry that they are going through right now, especially since they know all about the NICU battle ahead of them.  Like me, they must be so terrified to be going through something so similar to their first experience.  Please, send them and their son your positive thoughts, vibes, prayers – whatever is your style – for the shortest and least eventful NICU stay possible and a healthy take-home baby at the end.

Life doesn’t really have much of a sense of a humour, does it?  I just hope that we are all fortunate enough that we eventually find splits in the road and are lucky enough to walk down different paths at some point.