Five Days (or one)

It’s crazy to think that, good outcome or bad, this pregnancy will be over in no more than 5 days.  By the end of the week, I’ll be done being pregnant (again) for the foreseeable future.  Some women say that they dread the last days of pregnancy because they don’t know when, or if, they will get the opportunity to do it again… not me, nosiree.  Especially with the emotional stress of pregnancy after a full-term stillbirth, I cannot wait to have a break from carrying babies.  I had a dream where I went for a nice, brisk fall run, and even in the dream I was just so darn happy about the freedom that dream-me wept a little.

I had a pretty great weekend, not going to lie.  I decided to treat it as a last hurrah of sorts, and spent it shopping and hanging out with several people who are near and dear to me.  I even went to the movies two days in a row (after not going once for… at least 8 months?) and a friend and I did a miniature maternity photo shoot, which was awesome to get done.  The caveat, of course, was that my husband wasn’t able to make it, and it strikes me as a little odd that it’s a bunch of photos of just me… also, I felt some strange guilt at getting maternity photos this time when I never did any with Brock, but there’s really no getting around that.

On Sunday, I had my scheduled NST at the hospital in my hometown.  It was a bit triggering, to be sure, since it was the same hospital that Brock was delivered at, and the same room where we had Brock’s last (live) NST (and then, two days later, found out he had passed).  There was a particular cubby that I was worried about being put in because it was where both of those things happened, and where we were put when we had to call our families to break the news while we waited for a room.  Fortunately, we were put in a different bed this time, which made things slightly more bearable.  It still wasn’t pleasant to be back there.

Mercifully, the NST went very well.  Nathan was very active throughout with a good, stable heartbeat and no decelerations.  In 45 minutes, there were no incidents and very typical coverage – and, this time, we had the results reviewed and signed off on by a doctor, no second guessing here.  The only surprise we had throughout the scan was when, at one point, the nurse who was looking after me informed me that I was having quite a few Braxton Hicks.  I have very rarely ever noticed any contractions at all, but the monitor was picking them up once every 10 minutes or so, lasting 45 seconds to a minute each.  I spent the rest of the time trying to pay more attention to what my body was doing and realized that I have been mistaking BH contractions for baby movements – usually, I’d just mistaken them for him stretching or moving slightly and pushing against my belly when, in reality, it’s the opposite (my belly shrinking and contracting around him).  It was also easier to notice them on the monitor because his heartrate would typically accelerate a little whenever I had one.  I’ve become more aware of them since and continued to have quite a few last night… though I’m pretty sure they’re not doing much of anything, so I’m not too worried about it (not to mention that, with an induction date looming, it would actually be ideal if they were doing something).

Anyway, now I’m just counting down the hours until my next OB appointment, which might very well be my last.  If things don’t go well, I might be admitted that day.  If things do go well, my appointment on Friday might be cancelled, which would just leave us needing to go in for our induction on Saturday morning.  Either way, we’re very much in the home stretch, and I should probably be working to finish setting up the nursery instead of writing!  I could write so much about how nervous/anxious I am that I will be admitted tomorrow to have my baby, and how I feel completely unprepared for how inevitably emotional this will be, but neither of us has time for that. 😉  If all goes well tomorrow and I get sent back home, I’m sure I’ll find time to ramble about it between then and Saturday.

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Happy October… 9 Days (Maybe), Complications, and Other Musings

Happy October, everyone.  Can’t believe it’s come around to this time of year again already.  October is always one of the busiest months in my life, even under normal circumstances (tons of birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Halloween) and it’s going to be even more turbulent this year.  Brock would be turning one a few days after Nathan’s expected arrival, and I really have no idea how that’s going to sit, emotionally or otherwise.  I suppose I’ll have to cross that bridge when I get to it, though.  Trying to predict how it will go now would just turn out to be wasted effort, I’m sure.

Our induction to meet Nathan is scheduled for October 10th presently, which means I’ve only got 9 more days to get ready (at most).  I am term today, so really, it’s anyone’s guess what happens from here.  I’m not really expecting anything to happen on its own because of how Brock’s delivery went – even being induced at 40+5, it was really hard to get him out, my body just seems to hold onto babies a bit TOO tightly – but I’m also not willing to rule it out.  I am dealing with some pretty significant pressure and aching in my pelvis that I don’t remember getting with Brock, which makes me feel like things might be moving in the right direction on their own a bit quicker this time.  Honestly, I really hope that this is the case for several reasons.

I wish I could say that things were going smoothly in general, but they’re really not.  I was reasonably calm and collected until this morning, when I received a call from my obstetrician’s nurse about my appointment yesterday.  The ultrasound had some unusual results, but nothing that I thought were jarring red flags; for example, this sonographer seemed to think that he was in the 85th percentile for weight (where the one who had scanned me only 5 days prior said he was 60th), and this one also measured almost 15mm more amniotic fluid than the previous one did, which puts me back into pretty severe polyhydramnios territory.  I had dismissed it, finding the results being that different only a few days apart very strange, but chalking it up to a margin of error on one tech or the other’s behalf.

Anyway, my OB had a look at the results today and did not like them in the least.  They are radically different in bad ways, and she is less passive about that than I am.  Not only do they want me to go and have an NST over the weekend (which, at least, I can do at the hospital in town), but they are also calling me in for yet another ultrasound next Tuesday.  Oh, joy… more trips to Toronto… more missed hours at work for my husband… and, best of all, more worry.  As someone who’s had a previous stillbirth, telling me that I had suboptimal results on something is a surefire way to make me freak out.  It’s weighing really heavily on my mind, and I don’t know how I’m going to make it to the end at this point without freaking out.  I keep trying to will my body to get things started on its own… if my water broke right now, it would actually be a mercy, even though my apartment is a war zone and I haven’t even finished painting the nursery yet.

I keep trying to tell myself that it’s only 9 more days at most, and things could start happening at any time, that the odds of something going wrong again are really slim… and that this should be enough to placate me, but my husband and I are just so collectively scared and stressed out that I can’t reason with myself.  Heck, I have humoured the idea that the kidney problems that they’re claiming now require additional attention are actually a front for a secondary issue, like that he’s managed to get tangled in his cord the way his big brother did, and they’re just not willing to tell me that because then I’d really lose it.  I don’t know.  I can’t picture a happy outcome right now, and it’s terrifying me.  I just want him out and here, safe and sound.  I’m so done.

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.

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.

Religious Views (or Lack Thereof) & Some Updates

It’s taken 9 months, but I have finally basically nailed down what I want to tell people when they ask about Brock.  I have had time in the last month or so to refine my strategy because, now that I’m very obviously pregnant, I’m getting more questions and people asking those ever-tactless questions – “Is this your first?” and so on.

I have known from the beginning that I would not feel right about not acknowledging Brock in pretty much any situation, even if it makes people a bit uncomfortable from time to time.  The silence surrounding pregnancy and infant loss is beyond baffling to me, and we bereaved parents deal with enough other stuff in a day to also have to worry about censoring ourselves.  So, when people ask, I tell the truth in the most tactful way I have been able to come up with: this isn’t my first.  And, when they inevitably ask how old my first is, I tell them that he would be 9 months, but he passed away shortly before birth.  Why bother lying about it or stepping around it?

Usually, people will get contrite at this point and regret bringing it up.  90% of the time, they’ll say “I’m sorry” or “that’s really sad” – something akin to that – and I will say “thank you”.  (It took me a while to figure out to say “thank you”; for a long time, all I knew was that I couldn’t possibly say “it’s okay”, because it’s not.)  Usually, that’s the end of it, and people will leave it there.

In the other 10% of cases, things get really, really weird.  Some people just like to have opinions about everything, I suppose.  After the basic conversation has been covered, a couple of my favourite follow-ups have been, “Well, it could have been worse” (they went on to explain that I could have lost a toddler, and “at least I’m able to have another”) or “I guess it just wasn’t meant to be”.  I will usually just grit my teeth and concede, because I like to think I am a pretty reasonable person, and, as I often remind myself, people don’t mean to say horrible things.  They are honestly trying to help me, and they don’t realize that their comments are hurtful.  If our situations were reversed, I’d have no idea what to say or do either, so I can’t fault them for being tactless.

My most awkward encounter to date came up last week at a very inconvenient time, while I was doing in-car driving lessons with my instructor, a middle-eastern man in his late thirties or early forties.  I suppose I am finally becoming a relatively skilled driver, because instead of being given constant direction, my instructor and I have moved on to small talk while I drive around town and practice techniques.  He finally asked me about my pregnancy, and the truth came out: it wasn’t my first, and my first had passed away.

I realized it was going to be a very long lesson when he almost immediately rebutted that losing my first was God’s way of testing me, because what was the purpose of life if it was always easy and we never encountered trials?

I find these comments the hardest to swallow for a couple of reasons.  One is that arguments like these just don’t make us feel better.  They don’t make the hurt go away, and as much as I’d like to believe in a relative karmic balance existing, telling a good person that they’re undergoing a horrible, life-long trial because bad things just happen sometimes, or because some deity or another wanted to help you build character, doesn’t make you miss your child any less.  I don’t want character, perspective, or strength – I’d rather just have my baby, thanks.

The second reason is simple: I’m not a religious person.

I have avoided mentioning as much for a reason, and I am no longer totally sure why I felt that it was the best course of action to take.  If I can be so candid about the rest of myself, why did I feel like I needed to hide that?  I’m not sure, honestly.  I think it’s just that religious views are such a heavily controversial subject that I really didn’t feel like having to defend my choices, and I certainly don’t want to debate it with people.  My philosophy on the matter has always been to live and let live, and respect the decisions of others as long as they respect my own.  I am not a confrontational person and I really don’t mind if other people’s opinions differ from my own.

Unfortunately, after a while, this also came up.  When asked if I was religious, I admitted that I wasn’t, and that I prefer to leave people to make their own decisions about those sorts of things.  This cued the beginning of an hour-long rant about God’s grace, the meaning of life, where we go when we die, and his insistence that, if I searched hard enough for the meaning of life, I would also find God and eternal salvation.

That’s great and all, but… I wasn’t really looking for someone to try and coach me on existentialism, and it was quite a distracting conversation to try to have – neutrally, no less – while trying to work on my driving skills.  I don’t think I really learned a whole lot that hour, but I did glean that, in this man’s mind, my loss was perfectly justified and I’d come to realize that if I looked hard enough.  It’s hard to not be insulted when people try to tell you that you were meant to lose your baby, or ‘everything happens for a reason’, or other such comments.  I like it a lot better when they just express their sympathy and we move on.

He hasn’t called me back about scheduling my last lesson.  I have a funny feeling I’m going to have a different teacher for the last two hours of my in-car practice now that my instructor knows I am a soulless, moral-free heathen. 😉

I know that people tend to feel very strongly about their religion, and I hope that those of you who are religious aren’t overly offended by my decision to not practice.  I hope we can all agree to disagree, and realize that just because we aren’t in complete agreement about some things doesn’t make us any less human.  I have always liked this church sign in particular, and I hope some of you will, too!

god-prefers-kind-atheists-over-hateful-christians-pastor-tom-tate-rose-city-park-united-methodist-church—–

I have received some interesting information about my pregnancy since I last wrote about it, so I thought I would provide a few updates on those things since I’m writing anyway:

I ended up going for my 2-hour glucose test a week and a half ago, and received the surprising news the following day that I had passed after all – no gestational diabetes for me!  Absolutely not what I had expected, but I was definitely happy to hear it!  I have still been making a point of eating healthier and being more responsible about my choices, because eating better is never a bad decision.  I didn’t fail my first test terribly badly, and I think the results were skewed because I’d eaten a bagel and had a big sugary tea less than two hours before my test started.  That made me quite happy; however, I’ve received a lot more news that’s not quite so sunny.

I had my second biophysical profile on Friday.  Unfortunately, Nate’s kidneys are still a bit dilated, and I still have mild to moderate polyhydramnios (excess amniotic fluid).  Additional bad news was that, at the time, he was breech and he is growing exceptionally fast.  They estimated him to be a little more than 3 lbs already at 28 weeks, which is in the 90th percentile for weight.  Brock measured large for a lot of my pregnancy, too – it seems like I just make big babies.  It is what it is, I suppose.

I am starting to get a bit annoyed because I haven’t seen my regular OB in almost 2 months now.  There’s been a stand-in at the last two of my appointments, and she won’t be there for the next one, either.  The guy who’s standing in for her also made a couple of questionable decisions on her behalf (things that my nurse raised her eyebrows at and called “overkill”): he has sent me for additional testing to check for other conditions because of the polyhydramnios, and is sending me to see a dietician anyway – even though I am not diabetic – because he still thinks that dietary decisions might be affecting Nate’s size.  We also talked about scheduling a c-section “just in case” if he is still breech at my next appointment.  I really, really, really want to avoid a section if at all possible because I won’t have much help at home (my husband is a contractor and can’t afford to take more than a week off of work) and I think I’d get pretty overwhelmed with trying to keep up while recovering… and, let’s be honest, who really wants major abdominal surgery?  I’m not overly thrilled about any of his decisions, but I’ll do whatever needs doing in order to have a successful delivery this time.

Where I’ve Been (a Very, Very Long Update)

Well, I’ve done it again: I said I wasn’t going to vanish, and then I did.  You’d think I’d get better about this (well, I thought I would, anyway).

I’ve had a very long few weeks.  I realize that I seem to say this every time I go for an extended period of time without posting, but it really has been a very trying time period for a number of reasons.  I’ll try to be brief in summarizing where I have been and what I’ve been up to.

Life in general:

I have been doing my very best to keep busy over the last month or so because I find I am less likely to fret and worry about senseless things if I’m busy.  Big endeavours lately have been:

– I ate up a week of my time by attending driving school (though I still have the in-car lessons to do).  I’m a bit late to this, seeing as I’m 25, but at least it’s getting done… right?  I’m actually writing while I wait for my first in-car lesson at the moment.

– I volunteer 1-3 times a week for a local blood donor clinic, which has been a very satisfying experience.  I have actually been with them since February, but there have been an abundance of in-community clinics over the last month or so, and I have been covering a particular time slot for someone who’s out on vacation.

– I have been spending a lot of time online researching and preparing myself for a big new undertaking.  I’ve decided that I want to move towards much more sustainable living (getting rid of disposable products and putting extra focus on fresh, home-cooked food – no more processed junk and fast food), so I have been focusing energy on cleaning the rubbish out of my fridge and pantry to make room for cleaner living.

It’s been surprisingly hard, to be totally honest – you don’t realize how attached you are to TV dinners and bottled water until you stop buying them, and how hard it can be to pack your spouse a lunch without using plastic baggies and other disposable containers.  We’re still adjusting and transitioning, but I am definitely already noticing big changes in the way our household runs – and oh man, do I ever do way more dishes now.  I do feel good about all the trash I am keeping out of landfills, though, and I’m really excited for how inevitably good we are going to feel when we’re eating nothing but real, whole food the vast majority of the time. 😀  However, I haven’t even touched the probable biggest challenge of this style of living yet…

– I’ve decided that I’m going to try my very damnedest to cloth diaper our son.  This has been an immensely controversial decision and I have got a LOT of negative feedback from my friends and family about it already, but I’m determined to give it my very best shot.  If I am already going to great lengths to avoid adding trash to landfills, how can I, in good conscience, use disposable diapers?

It’s interesting to note that, when you account for the extra loads of laundry and the water/hydro consumed, cloth diapers aren’t actually that much greener than their disposable counterparts, but with a high-efficiency washer and a clothesline to dry (what I plan to do), it should still be the better option of the two.  Besides, cloth diapers are just so darn cute, and far more affordable.  I’m extremely thrifty, so the saved money is the biggest appeal for me, and I’m hoping that, since I will be home for the first couple of years anyway, the extra time invested in laundry and such won’t end up being a huge deal.  It can’t hurt to try, anyway, right?

– I’ve also been nesting like a mad woman.  I have been working really hard on our baby’s nursery and am finally starting to feel like the room is coming together.  I am sure I will do a full reveal eventually to share all of my hard work over the last several months (and more to come in the months ahead, I am sure).  I’ve also been nesting in other areas of the house, trying to get everything clean and organized.  It’s slow going, but I’m getting there.

Alright, I think that covers all of the basic stuff.  Let’s move on.

Health:

I’m 27 weeks pregnant today, which leaves me just over 11 weeks to my scheduled induction date – how crazy is that?  I’m now scheduled to see my OB every two weeks for biophysical ultrasounds and to check up on how I am doing physically and emotionally.  I had my first one last Friday and baby scored an 8/8 with a couple of minor side concerns (more on this later).  Overall, he is looking very healthy and happy, so we’re hoping this continues to be the case.  Here’s a nice profile shot we managed to snap of him at our ultrasound.

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Physically, this pregnancy has been a lot harder on me than the first one was (it would seem that my body isn’t pleased with me for carrying 2 pregnancies almost consecutively – go figure).  I obviously wouldn’t will to have our son debut any sooner than he’s ready to, but I am quite anxiously awaiting the finish line in the hopes that I will return to some semblance of feeling normal postpartum.  At this point, I’m rearing to get back into shape, and looking forward to maybe having a glass of wine once in a while.  Accounting for pumping time after Brock passed, I have had at least some level of diet restrictions for all but three weeks of the last 17 1/2 months.  That’s a really long time.  I truly feel I have done my time and need a break!

Anyway, on to the other important news I have gotten in recent days… while he scored 8/8 on his BPP, they did have a couple of minor concerns they want to monitor going forward.  One thing was that his kidneys are just a little bit swollen, suggesting there might be some backflow of urine in his bladder.  It’s a relatively common condition, especially in boys, so they’re not terribly concerned at this time that it is anything major – and, in a lot of cases, it corrects itself entirely without intervention.  They might normally have some concern about a blockage if my amniotic fluid were also on the low side, however, I actually have too much fluid, so they really don’t think that that is the case.

Returning to that note about having too much amniotic fluid… it’s not in a particularly troublesome range, it’s just on the higher end of normal, which is sometimes indicative of other underlying conditions.  Their first suspect was the possibility of me having gestational diabetes, which I was then promptly tested for.  And… go figure… I failed the 1-hour test.  In my defense, I didn’t know it was being done that day, and I had just finished knocking back a big, slightly sweet tea when they told me I was scheduled to take it.  I suppose there’s some possibility that it interfered with the results, though I’m not too optimistic about that.

Either way, I have also since had my repeat 2-hour test (which is done with fasting blood), so I should have a definitive answer on whether or not I actually do have GD in the next few days.  I’d rather not have it, of course, but I’m just looking forward to having a definitive answer, regardless of which side it falls on.  I’m sure I will manage if it does turn out that I do have it, and that it will all be worth it in the end.

Emotional:

Holy crap, have I ever been a neurotic mess lately.

I think, until a couple of weeks ago, I went a solid two months without crying about Brock – there were sad, hard moments, of course, but they weren’t too hard to manage, nor were they too frequent.  Then, suddenly, it seems like everything caught up with me all at once.  My husband and I went out and bought a decorative trunk for his memorabilia (clothes, blankets, condolence cards and such) because we’d been keeping his things in a box until then, but felt he deserved something better.  I decided to move all of his things over a few days back when I felt that I was in a pretty good, stable mood… I bet you can guess how that ended.

I also ended up having a good cry in the hallway outside of my driving school classroom one day when we were being shown a film by MADD about drunk drivers, and a bereaved father got into a bit too much detail about how it feels to lose your child.  He was talking about a teenager, and I lost my son before he ever took his first breath, but the raw, base emotions are all the same.  When he started talking about how you can’t fathom the hurt you feel upon losing a child until you suddenly find yourself in that position, I left the room in a big hurry.

Setting up the new nursery has been a weird experience – it’s often therapeutic, sometimes frustrating, and occasionally really, really hard.  Of course, the big thing is that we’ve needed to go through all of the things from Brock’s old nursery, and it’s hard to decide which is too intimate to use for the new baby and which is okay.  There were some things which were specifically intended for Brock that I don’t know if I will be able to use, like an outfit that was given to me as part of an online baby shower for my old due date club.  I’ve decided not to rule much of anything out just yet, and I’ll make the hard decisions later on.  I still have lots of time to think about it.

Somewhere along the way, I also ran out of that weird, encompassing certainty I had in my gut that everything was going to turn out fine.  I don’t know when or why it happened, but I’m now super worried about a bad outcome all over again.  A couple times each day for the last few weeks, since the fear crept back into my life, I have been finding myself rubbing my belly and thinking, “Please don’t die.  I don’t think I’ll survive losing another one.”  I really don’t know that I would.  I try to take a couple minutes each day to just sit or die down and enjoy a few minutes of quiet with him, just to appreciate him moving and try to capture a few of the moments we’ve had together already… just in case.  Nothing in life is certain.

Closing note:

We are all but certain that his name will be Nathan.

27w

Here’s Nathan and I today, at 27 weeks (forgive the messy room, and the bored Corgi).  People keep making remarks about my size, asking me if I’m totally sure there’s not two babies in there.  I’m not tiny, but I sure don’t feel like I’m big enough to warrant questions like that, either.  It’s funny, though, because in the grand scheme of things, questions like that don’t even really phase or offend me… I’m usually glad that they’re saying things like that instead of asking me if it’s my first, or how old my first is, and so on.

I think I’ve written quite enough for now… ’til next time.

Movement

On the majority of days, I think I avoid thinking about the fact that I am pregnant at all.  It just doesn’t come to mind for some reason.

Maybe it’s a defense mechanism, and I’m just subconsciously keeping myself from thinking about it to protect myself from further possible heartache, but honestly, I just feel like I am so preoccupied with other things that I fail to think it’s important to think about a lot… until, of course, I start wondering why I’m not holding a Mojito at this particular moment, or I suffer such an intense bout of back pain that I wonder what I did to deserve this.  Even having all day to look at my obviously pregnant belly doesn’t really make it click very often.

Until recently, at any rate.  Lately it’s been a bit more prominent of a thought because I have started to get semi-regular movement over the last few days.  I think I first noticed movement around 19 weeks, when I was laying quietly in bed, hands on my belly, and really looking for it.  I noticed the lightest series of taps on my right side after a few minutes.  I’m now 22 weeks, and it has become much more obvious in the last week and a half or so.  Some of his rolls and jabs are even painful now – already – which leaves me wondering how I ever made it to 24 weeks with Brock without feeling him once.  This baby is measuring a little bit ahead, but Brock was as well, so I’m not sure what to make of that.  I guess it’s just easier to notice and feel the second time around when you’re already broken in a bit.

How do I feel about getting movement?  It’s really hard to say.  It’s bittersweet, first and foremost.  Before, even when I was doing things for him, like shopping for a crib or working on tidying up the nursery-to-be, it was easy to not think about the fact that he was there (is there).  It kind of just felt like going through the motions.  Now, though?  I have to come to terms with the fact that, probably very soon, I’m going to be getting very constant reminders of his presence… and every time I think about him, it brings a lot of tough emotions.  It reminds me that I’m going to be a mother again soon, and all the things that I should, but don’t, know about having a baby… because I was robbed of the first one.

And all these constant reminders just serve to frustrate me because I know all too well that just because I’m 22 weeks along and getting movement doesn’t necessarily mean I am getting my take-home baby this time, either.  Heck, I know that hitting 40 weeks doesn’t guarantee a baby.  There is always time and room for things to go wrong all over again.  I don’t exactly think that they will, but even the fact that there is that room for error stresses me right out.  I really miss having my pregnancy innocence, and being able to pretend that things never go wrong.  A loss is never not terrible, but I am particularly irritated that my first pregnancy had to end in a full-term loss because I will never be able to enjoy a pregnancy again.

Anyway, I haven’t posted a whole lot lately because I have been keeping the pregnancy at arm’s reach to keep my anxiety down.  I found I was coping better when I was not thinking about it that much, so I have been trying hard to keep busy with other things and not give myself the time to dwell on the harder stuff.  The one positive thing about this avoidance is that I have actually been delightfully productive lately; I have immersed myself in my volunteer work, am finally getting driving school done so I will have my G2 before the arrival of our second baby, have got lots of work done on the nursery (I’m just wrapping up the refinishing and painting of an old dresser that I salvaged for him), and, best of all,  I have finally written my final exam for high school, meaning that, when I get the marks, I’ll be able to apply for my high school diploma.  FINALLY!  I realize I’m a good 7 years late, but better late than never, right?

As if on cue – trying to force me to think about him – our dear sweet son has started kicking me in the back.  I thought I would be happy for the reassurance when this day came, but right now his jabs are still too sporadic and inconsistent for me to really track them, so I’m actually more just concerned that he will stop moving and I won’t notice.  After all, Brock stopping moving all at once was how my journey down this path began in the first place…