So many of my appointments are solo visits. I waver back and forth between wanting Ger there, and thinking “I should be able to do this alone. If this were a normal pregnancy, I would be able to go alone.” In the back of my mind, I still have an inkling of blame, where I feel like this is my cross to bear: my body that failed, therefore I need to take on all of the burden of the pregnancy, and not make it harder for him.
These final, now weekly, appointments have an added logistical issue that they are scheduled early in the morning and Ger has to drop the kids off at camp. But in my mind it would be even worse to have an afternoon appointment and spend the day stressing about it. Today was my first nom-stress test. I was strapped to monitors, one for my heartbeat, one for Baby’s. I was handed a button to push whenever Baby moved so that heart rate could be monitored against movement, for 20 minutes. Abnormalities would be sent to Maternal Fetal Medicine right away (within an hour) for a biophysical profile, similar monitoring, but with the added visual of ultrasound. When giving me the results, the doctor said today “Baby was a rock star!” No issues.
I have been quietly dreading this appointment, not because of the NST, but because of the doctor. His manner is brusque, and he was the doctor who told me that Nelle had no heartbeat. I haven’t seen him since, and that was now 22 months ago. He tried to make small talk, asking me about my family. I told him that my kids are excited for the baby. He asked me their ages, and I replied 7 and 5. “Geez, they’re getting up there, aren’t they?” was his comment. I stiffened. I couldn’t let it go, so I said “Well, I had two losses in between, so we didn’t intend for them to be this far apart.” I wanted to scream “Don’t you remember me? You were there for one of my losses. It’s right there in my chart.” I don’t even remember how he responded. Probably just moved to his next question in the lineup, asking me if I had been experiencing any cramping or bleeding.
I went to SHARE last night. Always an entire gamut of emotions. Hearing stories of other losses always fills me with fear, even if the cause is unrelated to mine – but these women have become my tribe and I’ve fond it helpful to be around the people who understand, outweighing the accompanying sadness and anxiety. I’ll have one more SHARE meeting before my c-section date, at the end of July. The meetings are on my list of “everything between now and August 8 so that was one more thing to cross off the list, along with the NST this morning.
I always arrive home late, as I usually spend time after the meeting talking to people, then I usually recap the night for him when I get home. I told Ger that it stirs very irrational fears in me about other things that could go wrong. His fears at this point are around bringing the baby home: we haven’t had a newborn in over five years. Ger also asked me if I will continue to go to SHARE after the baby is born. I told him I would likely take a hiatus, since the meetings are so emotional, but then yes, I would go back. Some women have been in the group for many years, there as unflinching support for newcomers trying to feel their way through darkness in the immediate aftermath of loss.
And yet again, I found I could not say their names out loud, and I come home angry and ashamed of myself. The other mothers who honor their babies by saying their names, and I still say “my first loss, my second loss.” I can’t write so easy, but cannot say their names in that setting. Why do I do that? I let the pain of their absence overtake honoring them.