When I started writing a little over a year ago I was in a much different place. This blog started as a result of the pain and suffering I was feeling after losing my daughter. It was helpful to me to be as open and vulnerable as I could, as a way to help myself - and a bonus has been that others have been educated on what an infant loss journey can look like.
I knew that eventually life would take us down a different path, and I envisioned that the blog would follow along with us. To an extent that has been true, but I've learned some things about myself through this pregnancy that I wasn't quite expecting. While I'm normally an open book (about pretty much everything in my life) when it came time to write about this pregnancy and this baby - I've been a little more closed off. My therapist refers to it as my "glass belly". You see, the innocence and naivete of pregnancy and birth is gone. Since losing my first child, I will never, EVER, experience the innocent bliss that most mothers face when bringing a baby into the world. I will never be one who knows the statistics of what *could* happen. I am the statistic.
That has made this pregnancy a bit different. In the beginning I was hesitant to tell people that I was pregnant, but at the same time knew that we may only get a short time with this baby and to share him with as many people as I could. But as my belly started to grow, so did my anxiety. With a growing belly comes many questions: "When are you due?", "Do you know what you are having?", "Is this your first?" Each question would hit me like a ton of bricks.
No, this isn't my first - it's my third, but sometimes I say it's my second. Truth is I don't always know how to answer. I usually leave it at that, but often times it's followed up with, "How old are your others?" Punch to the gut. I often feel worse for making the other person feel so horrible for even asking. It's a simple question, really. But the answer is anything but simple.
"It's a little boy." Such a matter-of-fact statement, usually followed with a response of "How wonderful, you'll love having a little boy!" True, I'm sure. But I didn't always feel that way. Truth is I had a feeling all along this was a boy, and while we are beyond excited for his arrival, I was not initially this excited. I wanted a daughter. I felt robbed of getting to raise the little girl I had dreamed of, and I knew that she may be the only daughter I ever get. There was a point when that was not good enough of an answer for me. People were congratulating us on having a little boy and I remember calling my mother, sobbing, because I didn't feel as happy as they did.
That may sound harsh, but gender disappointment is real - especially in the loss community. Please understand that if Olive had been a boy and I found out I was now carrying a girl, I would have felt the same way. It's longing for the baby you didn't get a chance to raise. It's shifting your whole mindset to a new way of thinking when you never really got to wrap your head around the other way of thinking. Some loss parents are upset if they are having the same gender, they want the other gender to help them process that this is a different baby, hopefully with a different outcome.
I've become very protective of my glass belly. When others ask how I'm feeling or how things are going, I usually respond with a short, "I'm fine" because I'm not interested in talking about the details. Not because they aren't important, but because they are hard to talk about. This pregnancy has been fairly easy, very similar to my pregnancy with Olive. That scares me. I know that just because things are going well doesn't mean they'll end well. That reality is becoming more apparent to me as the weeks fly by.
I've recently begun my third trimester, and I woke up in a panic attack. Most mothers are anxious because they only have a short amount of time to get the nursery finished, wash baby clothes and finish nesting. I am anxious because I may only have 12 +/- weeks with my son left. I know that sounds morbid, and I suppose it is. But it's also the world I live in now. Each week is a milestone for us. Each week another blessing.
"Lord, I trust you with my life and death and with the lives and deaths of my babies"
This is a prayer that I started praying after we lost Olive. I had to remind myself daily to trust in the Lord. Since then, life, death and baby have all become plural. We have lost two children. This is my third pregnancy and we still have brought no babies home. I have to trust in the Lord. It's my only option. But it's also a struggle each and every day.
People have commented on my strength, but the truth is I'm no stronger than the next person out there. I struggle each day to read my bible and make time for God. I struggle each day to pray meaningful prayers where I'm not constantly asking for things, but rather where the only request I have is that I am open and accepting to God's will for my life. The human nature in me struggles because I want to bring this baby home, I want to make all the right decisions regarding his care, I want to be the best mother I can be. But fear, self-doubt, unsolicited advice and opinions of others creep in and I find myself clinging to God for dear life, begging him to increase my faith, calm my nerves and trust that, together, we will get through this - just as we have everything else in life.
I do intend to document the end of my pregnancy here on the blog, and I ask for your prayers as I find the strength to open up and allow myself the same vulnerability I have had with Olive's story. We know that the next few months are going to be very exciting for our family and I pray that God would use me however He sees fit to help continue to educate others and accomplish His goal.
Thank you, as always, for joining us on this journey.