My six-week postpartum appointment was this morning. It felt like a definitive “end” to such a long journey. No more pregnancy-related appointments, ever. I spent time picking out what to wear, as if I wanted to convey “See? Even five years older, tired, and dealing with a baby after loss, I can still bounce back!” The medical staff would not even notice my effort. It was more of an assurance for myself. Continue reading
Use the belief others have in you until you are strong enough to carry that same belief in yourself.
Last night, I said to Ger “I’m doing ok.” Then I woke up shortly before midnight, drenched in sweat, and realized “I’m really not ok.” It is now five days. And by the end of the day, it will be four and a half. Continue reading
Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire. -Jorge Luis Borges
I remember so distinctly those first few hours in my hospital room after Quentin was born. One minute, I was feeling constant movement of a baby inside of me, and then he was born and that feeling gone. I have been feeling this baby move for months. Much as I tried to keep myself detached, thinking that distance would help if something were to happen, it became unavoidable as a steady stream of movement captured my attention throughout the day. In those early days of movement, I had to place my hand on my abdomen to feel it, since the anterior placenta made it tricky. It became easier. I could see the movement from the outside. A constant reminder. It doesn’t mean that I loved Nelle or Iris any less, but the time I had with them was shorter. The bond here has had more time to develop into something tangible. Continue reading
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.
My obsession over every little detail regarding this pregnancy culminates when I have to go to my doctor appointments. Today was no different with my regular OBGYN visit. With Theo, I was the regular amount of first-time-mom nervous. With Quentin, the appointments were boring and the definition of routine. I hate what this pregnancy has done to me: making me question everything and become unhinged by everything. That’s normally not me and it is an uncomfortable place. I sometimes ask the same questions at every single appointment, just because I want to make sure that I’m not missing anything. I worry that I will somehow miss a “sign” of something being wrong, and suffer guilt and blame if tragedy strikes us again.
My appointment today was with my favorite doctor in the practice. The drive in and the short wait are always a fighting game of “hold it together… as long as possible.” The doppler was moved over my uterus, and the heartbeat was going in and out, to which the nurse said “Active baby, keeps moving around!” (of course I had a brief moment of panic, even though I knew the reason that the heartbeat kept vanishing) Then she asked me the seemingly innocuous “Is this your first? How many children do you have?” I wanted to scream at her “Didn’t you look at my chart before I came in here?” Instead, lying on my back and staring at the ceiling, I said “I have two at home… and we lost two.” And started to cry. She was immediately apologetic for making me upset. Wanted to know if we had a name picked out, to which I told her that we did, but are keeping it a secret because all we want is a healthy baby. But that conversation did it for me, and I went through multiple tissues waiting for the doctor to come in.
The doctor pulled up a chair close to me and asked how I was doing, to which I confessed my ongoing fear and stress every day. He tried to soothe, saying he knows how difficult this is for me. He said “You took a leap of faith in getting pregnant again. I can see on your necklace the word ‘dream’ and I want you to remember that dream that you have.” Even through my tears, I was astounded at his attention to this detail; my necklace did indeed say “Dream.” Before we got into the medical stuff, he said “I want you to take five minutes a day and be joyful about this pregnancy. And I know that’s hard because you were robbed of that joy before. But we’re not going to let that happen again.” He tried to assure me in every way possible that everything has pointed to the fact that this pregnancy is normal. He did a uterus growth measurement and it was exactly on target. Talked through my c-section date change (moving up a week) and the medication switch I will eventually need to make when it gets closer, along with talking through my daily kick-count checks, and my ongoing elevated white blood count. I told him I was worried about the impact of stress on the baby, but he assured me, as every doctor has before, that my stress only causes me harm and will not harm the baby at all.
As he helped me up from the exam table, he said “Even though you are not happy yet, I’m happy for you.”
Shortly after I arrived home, my Causebox was delivered. The artwork this quarter contained the word “RELAX” and it also included a journal with a bookmark that said “She believed she could, so she did.” All words that I needed to hear today.