October 20, 2013

Pregnancy After Loss, Revisited

I posted this picture to facebook last night and immediately was sweaty and nervous.

It was the first pregnancy related thing I've posted, thus "outing" myself in facebook land. Comments are nice and sweet. But it makes me feel crazy vulnerable to have done such a thing. But the twisty part is that I decided that if the baby dies, I would want people to know that he/she existed.

And obviously those close to us, and anyone who reads this blog, have known for a bit that I'm pregnant again. But I guess this part of me that's messed up by grief and loss knows what sort of reaction I would want should things go south (again) and I am more inclined at times to prepare for that potential reality. Though good gracious, I hope it's an unlikely reality. But even if statistics are on my side (ha! as if that means anything) I still feel vulnerable having such precious and important news "out there" where people don't understand the true complexity of it all and how fragile I am about it.

But here's the thing - it's so much better this time than it was when I was pregnant with Finn.

I can literally envision bringing home a baby easier this time around. I'm planning to actually decorate the nursery (once Finn is out of it) and would like to get a lot of it done before the baby arrives. When carrying Finn, I could barely reopen the things that had been packed away in tupperware. It felt too risky. Like I would jinx myself if I did any such planning because the first time I was foolish enough to prepare for a baby, we had no baby to care for. I have even bought a few things - like an Ergo that I got on a super sweet deal on zulily! I pin pictures and daydream about a future with two living children.

I'm gaining more weight than I did with Finn. I seem to be on the same weight gain path that I was with Cale and I think that has more to do with the stress incurred during Finn's pregnancy and not the insane amount of ice cream I've consumed this go around - though I shouldn't rule that out.

When I was pregnant with Finn I rented a doppler before I was even out of the first trimester so that I could listen to the heartbeat at 10 weeks. I used it pretty much every day. When Daren was killed and I flew out to his funeral I forgot the doppler and asked a friend to mail it to me. I needed it. Even when I could feel Finn move, I needed to just listen to him. It was practically a ritual. This time I do have a doppler, lent to me by a wonderful friend - but she had already loaned it to another friend and I didn't get it until I was about 20 weeks along. And I was fine with that. And even now that I have it, I don't use it much. I enjoy it when I do, but don't "need" it the way I did when carrying Finn.

I don't always, but many times I feel at peace. I feel a sense of calmness that helps me savor the moments with this baby - the kicks and the nudges and enjoyment that comes with the gift of carrying a child.

I think part of that is the fact that I have been so very lucky to have had a good outcome. Finn's safe arrival proved to me that I can carry a baby and birth him, bring him home, and live out a version of happily ever after, you know the version that stems from the cruelest and darkest of stories. And just maybe, we'll get so lucky to do that all over again.

Another aspect that keeps me more relaxed is that I'm busier. Sounds like an oxymoron, but even though I'm not working like I was last pregnancy, but I'm chasing a two year old and playing choo choo's and reading stories and going to the library. Finn is such a wonderful distraction from my own thoughts and fears and therefore relaxes me. He's a constant reminder that sometimes, things work out in the end.

But of course the fear is still there. It creeps in at night when I'm alone with my thoughts. It creeps in when I worry it's been too long since I last felt the baby move or I just hit a grief trigger that sends me right back to losing Cale and knowing I'm not immune to lightning striking twice. When I check out eBay for double BOB's there's a thought in the back of my head telling me to wait until I have two kids to actually put in such an expensive stroller, that I shouldn't even look now. When I talk about the baby I still tend to preface things with "if" and not "when" and it took me until my sixth month in this pregnancy to even want to talk to Finn about my belly and a baby. Miles asked once why I wasn't ready and I said "I don't want to have to un-explain it to him."

In fact, one of the most difficult thoughts I have is that if we lost the baby, I don't know how I would be able to grieve and still be a decent mother to Finn. It's a thought that scares me and stresses me out and makes me cry just typing this. Because he's such a sweet boy and he's so happy and he deserves a mom that gives him her best and snuggles and laughs and tells him over and over what noise a garbage truck makes or a digger even though I don't really know what a digger sounds like. But I don't know how I would be that person if I lost this baby. When pregnant with Finn I feared going through the same grief process we did with Cale, I feared how I would handle it all. But now the worry isn't just for myself, but for the boy I did get to bring home.

So . . .things are different this time around - they are a little easier, a little more optimistic. But the fears and the stress, it hasn't gone away, not by a long shot. And all we can do is wait. Wait and hope and pray and cross our fingers and toes that in about two months, the cute little guy in this picture will have a sibling he can hug and kiss, and even poke and pester. Oh, how I wish.



  1. If it makes you feel any better, I got a little sweaty for you when I saw this on FB. Only because I know how I would feel and that outing yourself comes with so much more than just excitement over another baby. It gives me hope to read that things are slightly better this time. I don't know when/if we will ever go down this path again, but I would like to think if we did I would be a little less neurotic. A little. ;) I am also of the mind set that I would want people to know about the baby no matter the outcome although I hope hope hope this baby comes home for Finn to love on and maybe pinch a few times as well. Xoxo

  2. Oh the paragraph about wanting to be the best Mama possible to Finn choked me up. I get it. I really get it. We know first hand what grief does and how impossible it is to survive it, never mind the damage it does to those close to us. I have thought about that a great deal, who would I be after another loss? What type of mother would I be? What about if Lillian lost her MOM? To HELLP or psychologically.

    I get it.

    I am so relieved there can be an ease in pregnancy after loss. I am so glad you have this sweet, effervecent little boy guiding and distracting you through.

    You are an incredible Mama to all of your babies. Never forget that fact.

  3. You look absolutely perfect holding Finn while carrying that babe. Just so sweet.
    I'm glad Finn is keeping you busy, and your thoughts at bay. I'm so happy to hear that there is a level of confidence that comes with baby #2, post loss. Things will never be as wonderful as they were during that first innocent pregnancy (or at least I can't imagine them ever being again) but I'm relieved for you that things are easier this time around.

    I've always wanted lots of kids. Like 3 or 4 kinda lots - not 5 or 6. But I don't know if I'd ever be able to do this again...and then again... Pregnancy + newborn + crazy infant sleepless nights.... More than one time? Please let me know that the second time around, post loss, EVERYTHING feels easier. You are a warrior mama nonetheless.

    Hoping for a speedy 2 months, and a beautiful healthy babe at the end <3

  4. What you said about how this pregnancy is easier than Finn's but that you fear the grieving part the most if this baby doesn't come home because you still have Finn who needs you and needs to know things are okay? That's how I feel exactly with this pregnancy. Like, there is even more investment now that I have Benjamin involved. I don't like putting him in harm's way, and in an odd way, I feel like I'm doing that. But what reward is great without risk? And he's still so young. And GAH. I want him to have a sibling to grow up with and to pester.

    Also, I'm going to need you to send me the link to that skirt because I would like it yesterday. Thanks.

  5. You look beautiful. And happy. And it makes me happy to see you happy.

    I found my ptregnancy with Abigail to be quite a bit easier on my nerves than with Addalee. I still got scared at times, and dealt with fear and grief, but it was overall lighter. So I'm glad you're experiencing at least more 'breathing easier' days.

    Prayerfully awaiting your sweet littlest one.

  6. I'm so glad you posted the picture. I immediately thought of Cale too as I looked at Finn looking up at you and his little sibling...and thought of how much more meaning there is to this picture than what you can see with the eye.

    Thanks for sharing and teaching the rest of us. Hoping and praying as always.

  7. You know I totally understand all of this. Clearly we've had the "outing" conversation at great length. You look fabulous in these pics and Finn is super cute as always.

    I agree that being pregnant with Caden was easier than being pregnant with Mason. Because I had actually given birth to a living child before. Because Mason kept me on my toes running and playing and laughing the entire pregnancy. Because my doctors kept me on a plan I was comfortable with and knew had worked with Mase. But you're right the fear does kick in- mostly in those quiet moments when you're alone with your thoughts. For me it got harder towards the end of the pregnancy. I began reliving those last days and moments with Aiden and thinking of every possible thing that could go wrong. And you're also right that one of my biggest fears was how would I be the best mama to Mason and still deal with my grief if I lost another baby. Because that boy deserves the world.

    Somehow I did it. Caden is here healthy and alive. I don't ever forget the fact that anything could happen to my children at anytime. That thought is paralyzing. But I'm trying to be the best mama I can to all my kiddos and push all that fear away.

    Praying for you and this baby Hidalgo every day my friend.

  8. I was nodding along with everything you wrote here. I'm not there yet, but I can so imagine it. The easier hope and the weightier fear, knowing that if you lost yourself in grief again you'd be depriving Finn of the mama that he needs. It IS scary.

    Wishing you the very happiest of endings to this pregnancy, and weeks that pass quickly.

    Also you and that skirt are adorable.

  9. Oh, I worried so much about what it would be like for E if M had died, too. She'd already had a year of 'sad mommy' and I couldn't bear to think of what another loss would do to her, to our family. This is definitely an added dimension of fear and worry when you have a living child to worry about; I could not really let myself think about it when I was pregnant with M because I would immediately go just sick with worry - I worried more about her than I did about myself. Sending love and best wishes for all of you.

  10. What a gorgeous picture. I think and pray for you and your little family often. Only positive thoughts! I do think you should at least order the car seat attachment for the Double BoB stroller... it took ours almost a month to get in the mail (Peg Perego)... so I recommend getting that if you aren't comfortable getting the whole stroller just yet. That stroller is amazing though and gets heavier each time I run with my two boys - since they get heavier each time!

  11. Well I love the pictures. You two are adorable! Second all your feelings about having to grieve while parenting made me all sick inside because on top of the guilt of Camille's death I have guilt over being a complete and total sad grieving mama while parenting Kai. That job is so overwhelming. The thought of it make me feel heavy again. Because.... It was harder than I can even put into words. Wanting to curl up and never resurface was impossible when a small 2 year old boy needed me to play trains with him. OMG this post really hit me in my heart. I lived your fear. I have big hope you won't have to do that. I hear you saying you want people to know your baby is real. I'm rarely on FB but I'm going to go look for your post. Sending you big big love my dear friend.

  12. I really get this feeling of vulnerability. I go through the same thing when it comes to sharing about infertility and pregnancy loss, and I felt the same way when I was pregnant with my H -- it was like when people just talked about the pregnancy in a fluffy way I felt unsatisfied. I needed them to know what this pregnancy meant, what I'd been through and how I'd had to fight for it. And I know if this cycle works and I end up expecting #2, I'll feel the same way about sharing with the world. It is brave to believe enough to share. And I admire you for it -- and hope and believe it will be rewarded.