Feb 28, 2014

I Get Knocked Down

I had a What-Did-I-Get-Myself-Into moment last night. How in the world did I ever think I was strong enough to go through another pregnancy?

You see, as much as I love this baby, for me she/he is not a given. Just because we already suffered a third trimester lost, just because we had an early miscarriage, just because all the screenings came back well this time, just because we made it past the first trimester, just because we make it to twenty-weeks, just because we have a great ultrasound, just because we make it to thirty, thirty-five, thirty-eight weeks... none of it is a guarantee that we'll get to meet and bring this baby home.

Having a baby die is the worst thing that can happen in pregnancy. And just because this baby doesn't have Triploidy like Calvin did, does not protect us from the worst happening again. It just means that the cause of the worst thing happening would be different.

What I'm trying to say is, losing Calvin has opened up a whole new world of ways I can lose this baby too. So, even though the odds are in our favor for bringing this baby home, there are millions of other reasons (aside from what lead to Calvin's death) that can cause this baby not to come home too. In fact, sometimes there is no reason found at all for losing a baby to stillbirth.

I don't know if I can do it again. I mean, I know that I can. And I know that I would, because never in my wildest dreams would I think I could survive losing a baby and yet, here I am alive while Calvin is not. But the thought of having two baby's ashes on a shelf... the thought of telling the girls that another baby died... the thought of going to Labor and Delivery for death... It's just too much.

I know what you want to say. It's going to be okay, Christine. Don't worry. This baby will be fine. I get it. I appreciate the fact that you want to reassure me. But honestly, it's not reassuring. It feels more like my fears are not being taken seriously. I know that the odds are in our favor. I know that this baby will very likely be coming home with us come July. But in the depths of my heart, the fear is there. Reminding me, over and over that nothing is safe. Nothing is a guarantee.

I want this baby, more than anything. But that doesn't stop me from having some moments of How-Did-I-Think-I-Could-Do-This-Again that knock me over.

xoxo, christine

Feb 24, 2014

These Boots are Made for Splashing

I bought myself some rubber rain boots yesterday. I am so ready for spring.

Apparently, Mother Nature didn't get the memo. She and I aren't on speaking terms right now.

But, that's alright. I am perfectly happy to trade in my clonky snow boots for some cute (although also clonky) rain boots. Even if there's still approximately 100 inches of snow on the ground. And more frigid temperatures in sight.

Spring might not make an appearance until June this year, but, by golly, I'm going to do whatever I can to make it spring, for me. If that includes drinking iced coffees instead of mochas and rain boots instead of snow boots, I am all over that.

(Unfortunately, I have to draw the line at wearing a spring jacket, etc. I do value my warmth and well-being.)

I have a feeling it's going to be a loooong time until it feels like spring. But I am ready. Rain boots and all.

xoxo, christine

Feb 20, 2014

Complications of a Pregnancy After Loss

Pregnancy after loss is a field I am constantly trying to navigate. Although I suspected a lot of the emotions to arise, they have still taken me by surprise as well as been difficult to muddle through.

When we found out I was pregnant this time, I was, of course, happy. Getting pregnant was what I wanted, after all. The happiness, however, did not include excitement. Most of what I felt initially (and long after, if I'm being honest) was simply the terror at the idea something could go wrong. I never actually thought this baby would have Triploidy like Calvin, but I still spend countless hours afraid that this baby will have something else wrong with it, or something else will cause it to die.

Unlike with previous pregnancies I felt no anticipation to share the news. In fact, I didn't want to tell even our close families. And it's not that I was afraid of what anyone would say. I knew that people would be happy for us. But when my own excitement was lacking, it was very difficult to smile and fake excitement for the benefit of those around us. Of course because the possibility of avoiding all human contact until bringing the baby home from the hospital was impossible, we (obviously) ended up sharing the news. But hesitantly. Always hesitantly.

That first trimester I found myself afraid to feel a connection to the baby growing inside me. My mentality (unintentionally) was thinking of this whole thing as "just a pregnancy" instead of "a baby". And even though I know I would have been devastated had we lost the baby those first few months, I rationalized that I was just trying to protect myself from becoming too attached. Luckily, as the weeks go by, and especially after telling the girls about the baby, it is less of an internal battle to think in terms of "baby" instead of "pregnancy."

In the beginning, I also found myself thinking and talking in "ifs" not "whens". If this baby comes instead of When this baby comes. Or, When I'm not pregnant anymore instead of When the baby is here. Everything feels unknown and up-in-the-air. It is still very difficult for me to talk definitively about the baby being here, although I do it more now simply because I don't want to upset or confuse the girls. They already know that some babies live and some babies die, and while this baby is currently healthy we just don't know what will happen, so I don't want all the "ifs" to constantly remind them that we could lose this baby too.

I imagine that there will be a sigh of relief once we have the twenty-week anatomy scan with a positive result (that being the moment during the last pregnancy that we found out something was wrong). But I know that any relief for me will be short-lived. After experiencing a pregnancy like that with Calvin, nothing feels safe. No test results feel good enough.

Everything seems different in this pregnancy after loss. Highs are not so high and there is such fear of the lows. And the mix of emotions is exhausting. Joy and Terror. Happiness and Guilt. Fear and Fear. The fear is always there.

But I am doing my best. Doing my best to be excited. Doing my best to make a connection to my expanding belly. Doing my best to dream of a future with this baby in our arms.

xoxo, christine

Feb 12, 2014

Good Bye Minnesota, Hello Walking Pneumonia

I'm going to New York this weekend. I decided to splurge on myself and take a long weekend to visit my sister. I'm not really getting away from the cold, but I'm getting away, so that counts. It's my Sister! It's New York! Win/win.

I'm leaving tomorrow (crossing fingers for cooperative weather), so naturally Paige woke up yesterday sick. Again. But instead of waiting a few days like I normally would, I decided that with all her illnesses this winter and me being gone over the weekend, a prompt visit to the doctor was in order.

We spent two hours in the office this morning and left with a diagnosis of walking pneumonia and an ear infection. My poor girl.

But I am terribly relieved that this one time I decided to be proactive because now we have antibiotics and a nebulizer to help get her on the road to recovery. And I can feel better about leaving my sick baby for a few days knowing that she is getting something to help her back to her regular self.

Never before have I had a child so sick that she willingly crawls into my bed in the middle of the day and sleeps for three hours.

(Side note: Technically this means that I should be getting a TON done, but instead I feel the need to curl up next to her and just be with her.)

I know that it's going to be hard for me to say goodbye tomorrow (and maybe for her too). But I take comfort in the fact that she will be in the very capable and loving hands of her Daddy, who took a few days off to spend with the girls while I'm gone.

Still, I'm sure I will worry about her while I'm gone. It's just how I am. But I'm also sure it won't keep me from enjoying my much-needed time with my sister.

xoxo, christine

Feb 9, 2014

My Very Quiet and Hesitant Announcement

When we found out that Calvin was going to die, there were so many overwhelming emotions that flooded my body. My husband and I spent the hours between our ultrasound and our appointment with the specialist and the hours after talking and talking and talking. And even though I didn't even know exactly how I would answer the question, I asked him a question that I desperately felt I needed to know.

Do you think you'll ever want to try again?

And to my surprise his answer was a firm and resounding "yes". I wasn't sure what I would feel months from that moment, but at that moment in time I could not imagine wanting to be pregnant again or even feeling ready to try.

As the days turned to weeks, I felt more and more certain that I would not be wanting to try for another baby.

The day that we left the hospital without our son, my husband lovingly told me that having another baby was completely up to me. That we could be done with our two girls in our arms, we could start trying in two days, or two years. It was completely my decision.

These words filled my heart and made me cry.

At my first doctor visit, post delivery, my doctor informed me that there was a possibility that they would recommend waiting a year to try for another baby. Not feeling ready to think about it, I just brushed it aside.

But the more the thoughts twirled in my head, the more I realized I was not okay with that. It was one thing for me to not want to have anymore kids, it was a completely different thing for someone to tell me I couldn't. (Or in this case, that I had to wait.)

In just a short while, I realized that I wanted to try for another baby. That, for me, even knowing that how things would turn out with Calvin, I would go back and do it all again. Even though I know he would die. Having those few months with him was better than never knowing him at all. This made me decide firmly that I wanted to try for another baby. I will never regret trying for a baby. Never.

And as frightening as it was (and is) to think about something going wrong again, a firm and definite feeling has taken ahold of me and confirmed that trying for another child is where I should be.

So, the decision was made, and even though I am terrified and worried and extremely hesitant to make any official announcements. This is my unofficial-official announcement: I am pregnant, due at the end of July.

xoxo, christine

Feb 5, 2014

I Be Crazy Up in Here

Clearly, I am not in my right mind because, this:

And yes, I let it happen. Paige (who, I remind you, is not even four) and I went to the mall. She just had to bring her money, all five dollars, so that she could buy something. Here I am thinking there's no way she's going to find something for five dollars. But she did.

A gigantic lollipop. (NOT a sucker, Mo-om, as I was told numerous times.)

I debated for probably ten seconds before deciding. What the hell, might as well let her get the color-dyed-cavity-stick. We set down a few ground rules (like that she does not get to eat the whole thing in one sitting, or even one day, for that matter) and it was done.

Of course, my favorite part was when she grabbed a second one to buy for her sister so that they both had one. My three-year-old used her own money for her sister, without me saying anything. (Heart. Melt.)

But yes, obviously I am in need of a break as clearly if I was I was in my right mind this would've never happened.

Looking forward to a calm afternoon ahead. (Yeah, right.)

xoxo, christine