Pregnancy After Loss. It’s a beast.
If I ever felt like my momma grief was misunderstood, it’s nothing compared to the misunderstandings around pregnancy after loss.
All is not better now. I am not over the moon excited. I still ache for Kohen. There’s still a hole in my family. I’m still broken.
After last week I’d kind of like to crawl in a little hole and emerge with a baby four months from now. That idea of confinement near the end of pregnancy…could I bring that back??
The last five months have been fraught with anxiety, fear, tears, hope, joy, laughter, uncertainty, optimism…confusing right?!? Tell me about it. From one day to the next I have no idea where my brain is going to go or what little thing I’m going to worry about.
I’ve been going to prenatal appointments every two weeks, just so I can listen to baby’s heartbeat and unload on my poor doctor all the emotions of the last two weeks. She has been amazing. Kind, gracious and compassionate…and she knows Kohen’s story inside and out. I am so so thankful that she is part of my team journeying towards bringing this little one into the world.
We talked about labour options. I can’t shake the quiet voice deep deep inside that says “my labour killed Kohen.” And even though I can’t give it credibility, and there is no evidence to support that statement (but none to refute it fully either)…I know deep down I still believe it. And oh, what I wouldn’t give to shut that voice up!! But thinking about labouring again led to many many sleepless nights, intrusive thoughts, nightmares of babies dying. Over and over and over. I just don’t think that’s the way for me to try bring this little one earthside. I don’t want to start life with a new baby deeply traumatized.
Someone said to me “God will give you the strength to get through labour again.” That statement made me so angry. Partly because it joined the chorus of other voices in my head that make me fear and doubt and question myself. Maybe God could give me that strength, but maybe he also gave me a brain to make different decisions this time around. How can anyone know what the best thing is going to be for me and baby? How can I? There are no guarantees. God is not going to give me this baby because my other one died. Everything does not always work out the way we want or hope or dream or pray.
We are not trusting God to give us our hearts desire. We are trusting that he will be there even through the darkest valley of this life. We are trusting that this life is not all there is, that there is a future with no more pain, sorrow, death. It’s just not here.
Every day I wake up and think to myself, I’m still pregnant today! Today baby is moving and kicking! Today is a good day.
I have fleeting thoughts about tomorrow. About diapers. About clothes. About where to put cribs and how to rearrange the house. But it all feels so optimistic. In effort to protect myself I shut those thoughts down and move on. But really. I can’t protect myself. It is far too late for that!!
And to me, this is bravery. Facing the fear and deciding to do it anyways. Facing the fear and continuing on. It might be limping and dragging and fighting, but continuing forward…always forward.
My deepest hope is that as I get closer to bringing this baby home, that I will allow myself to embrace the optimism. That I will get out those newborn clothes and blankets…wash and fold them…again…in anticipation of a baby coming home. That I will set up the bassinet. Again. That I will talk to big brother about the new baby coming home. That I will allow myself to dream and imagine life with two…again.
But so far, I can’t. These thoughts, they drop me to my knees.
My deepest fear is living this nightmare again.
Of leaving the hospital with a broken body and empty arms. Again. Of coming home to a house eagerly expecting a new baby, and putting everything away. Again.
And no, there’s nothing anyone can say, or anyone can do to make this better. This fear is real and valid.
But with the fear, I also have joy. I have been given the beautiful honour of growing another baby…for 23 weeks and 3 days so far!! I am so thankful for this life and the job I’ve been given.
I’d just like to live the dream longer than nine months.
I’d like to skip the nightmare this time.