Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Psychological Warfare

So . . . here we are at 21 weeks. Somedays I can't quite wrap my head around how I exactly ended up HERE in my life--six and a half months away from my baby girl dying, four and a half months pregnant . . . again. What? How?

I sometimes feel guilty, as though I have stumbled upon an abundance of procreative luck. Three babies! And, as it turns out, I'm so far an easy conceiver. And then I remember: one baby girl dead. Yes, we conceived her easily. Yes, my pregnancy was smooth sailing with her. But she died. And part of me died right along with her.

And now the third--again, he landed and implanted and started to grow so quickly, without my knowing. That, indeed, is something for which to be grateful. And, all wishes granted, all hopes realized, he'll be here in the blink of the universe's eye. I hope, I need. But it's the meantime that's truly the mean time.

I went in for a fetal echocardiogram today. Due to a variety of family history issues, I've had them with each pregnancy. The last one was a month before Calla died. It was shortly after Thanksgiving, and the pediatric cardiologist joked that he'd barely beaten me at the Turkey Trot only a few weeks before. Ha ha ha, yes.

Leading up to my appointment today, I could feel the tension build in my body, piling on itself over and over again. I got a fitful night's sleep, waking nearly each hour trying to feel this little guy move. And then the theme song to a certain mouse's clubhouse got stuck in my head--terrible. And throughout the morning I became more and more convinced that this little dude wasn't any longer alive. I would feel movement, and then imagine it was a muscle spasm, or gas, or simply a wish.

And it's about a billion degrees and the thunderstorm this morning steamed everything ever-so-unpleasantly. I was a wreck. By the time I got to my appointment I was a complete basket case. I was shaking and nervous and on the edge of vomit. The waiting room slowly filled with newborns and their mothers, and pregnant ladies like me. When it was finally my turn to go back for the echo, I has held together with emotional dental floss.

And everything's fine. Whoosh whoosh whoosh, thump thump thump, four-chambered wonderfulness right there on the screen. I had to explain to both the sono tech and the doctor my recent history, and they were beyond kind to me.

Grim is the only way to describe how I feel going into these things anymore. I grit my teeth, hold my breath, and hope against hope. So far, things have been good. But things were good every time before, until one night they were not. And THAT'S the image thats stuck in my head, refusing to budge no matter how many good things I see and hear. It's my own personal PTSD, and here I am, willingly doing it all again.

If you've not been through anything so traumatic happen to you as, say, having a human being who was part of your heart die inside you, or even squeezing said dead human out of your ladybits, you might want to say to me, "Oh Mary Beth, suck it up! You're being over dramatic! Everything's going to be FINE! It can't happen twice--it just CAN'T!"

Oh, really. Oh. Really.

One last bit of melancholy. One of my favorite brain-free activities is watching those shows where people buy their first homes, or look at three different houses and choose the one best for them. And I'd estimate at least half of these people--couples, usually--buy their homes with the intention of having one of the bedrooms be the "baby's" room.

And this irritates me.

It shouldn't, I know. I suppose that's the natural order of things, yes? Love, marriage, baby carriage and all that. But what about when it's not? Oh, I've said it a million times before, and I'll say it until I die: to be blissfully naive again.

I guess because I came to this baby-longing later in life: I was never a picture-my-wedding-and-future-husband-and-children kind of girl. It wasn't until after my 30th birthday that I even thought I'd want children, ever. So I have a difficult time imagining how it is to be half of a young couple, planning which room will be Susie's and which will be Billy's.

Maybe that right there is the root of it all.

It's everywhere, huh?


  1. It is everywhere. I hated being in the waiting room, seeing those pregnant women who looked just like me, yet weren't (at least I didn't think so, they had that smug look about them).
    And girl, I thought things moved fast for me but it took us six months to conceive again. Things have moved VERY fast for you. It must leave you feeling like your head is about to spin off.
    In any case, I'm here with you, waiting and wishing, hoping against hope.

  2. I can't imagine going to those scans. It gives me shivers thinking about it. Hang in there, you are halfway done. One day, one breath at a time. I'm thinking of you and your little guy and crossing everything I have that all goes well.

    And yes, to be that naive again, even though I never really was. But I didn't know how bad this could be and I wish I could go back to the me that bought baby clothes as soon as I passed 12 weeks. I don't think anyone here will think you are being pessimistic. But maybe we can hope for you when you find it too hard.

    Take care of yourself. ((Hugs))