I had a big day out, and I wanted to share with you some news! I have had twelve weeks to consider how and when I would share this news on my blog. I continue to find it challenging to create a well-organized space where I can share parts of my life here – parts that are relevant, informative, and hopefully helpful to those who read and follow my blog.
Some parts are easier – a delicious recipe; what we’ve been planting in the garden including plant care and symbolism; our parenting wins, fun crafts, and entertaining reads.
Others are more difficult – the parts where I share my emotions, my grief, my thoughts on Millie (our stillborn daughter). I am sharing the holes in my heart that cannot be filled. I am creating this vulnerability in the hopes that by putting my stories out there for all, maybe it will be helpful or provide comfort to someone, somewhere.
The blog is still fairly new, with not much traction, so I am not sure how impactful this site has been, especially with such a wide audience of readers – those who subscribe for recipes, others for gardening or craft ideas. Then there’s my faithful and forgiving audience – family and friends. I am especially grateful to have readers who have found me and follow me because of the content I choose to publish. I’m thankful to everyone who does read and I hope that I have made a positive impact.
I am pregnant again. I just had my twelve-week check up and ultrasound today. So far, so good.
It wasn’t a matter of if I would share this news, but when and how, and I’m not sure that I would ever find an acceptable-to-me way of sharing this with my readers.
But there’s the simple fact. My intent is that through sharing this pregnancy, others will find meaning, inspiration, and hope in the honesty and transparency of our continuing journey.
I am exhausted, anxious, and hopeful. It depends on the day and time of day. Chouchou and Mon Cœur (MC) usually go with me to my prenatal appointments. It’s a family affair. Chouchou enjoys being involved and I appreciate it. With Covid19, I’ve been going to the appointments by myself.
Driving to my first appointment, I found myself alone in my thoughts for the first time in a very long time, and I cried the whole way to the appointment. Absolute train wreck. It’s true. I started wondering what if…then during the ultrasound, as the technician is pointing out all the details, I found myself crying again, just knowing everything was okay. Okay for now.
I had the horrible thought – “Why am I doing this to myself?” Because I know that if everything does work out, what a wonderful joy it will be to have another child, and so does Chouchou. Our Doctor told me, “You are doing the brave thing.” We could have given up, we could have chosen to not try again. We are being vulnerable and giving it a go again. A mix of stubbornness and really wanting this has been our drive.
Chouchou and I are happy. We really are. And we’re simultaneously so scared. Scared to be happy, scared to hope, scared to share the news, because of what happened last time. I feel safe every time I feel queasy, because that’s a good sign I’m still pregnant, and since I’m just exiting the first trimester, my biggest worry was a miscarriage.
MC asked me today as I was getting ready to go to the appointment, “Mommy, where are you going?”
“I’m going to the doctors. And if all goes well, I’ll have some more photos of the baby.”
Eyes light up, big smile…”Oh…that will be…so exciting!” as MC wrapped her arms around me.
Yes, yes it would be, MC. And so I hope for you, and me and Daddy that everything goes well.
I felt stronger this drive. I didn’t wonder what if, because I would find out what is in less than an hour. I asked more questions during the ultrasound and wasn’t a blubbering mess. I was decisive about the genetic testing offered, and I explained to the doctor (because I saw a different one this time) what my “pregnancy plan” was (more on this below).
I am walking this road with the information that is not openly shared with pregnant mothers. Information about the chances of stillbirth – the uncomfortable truths of what is possible in the third trimester. Facts no one talks about because we are blindly happy and hopeful and anticipatory for our little bundles of joy to arrive.
It still angers me that despite the statistics –
Stillbirth affects about 1 in 100 pregnancies, and each year about 24,000 babies are stillborn in the United States. That is about the same number of babies that die during the first year of life and it is more than 10 times as many deaths as the number that occur from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).CDC.gov
– stillbirth isn’t something that pregnant mothers are educated on until it’s happening to them.
It’s not something mentioned during prenatal visits, and there is just a short paragraph in the Mayo Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy about decreased movements during the last trimester.
Despite stillbirth being a taboo subject, I did find comfort that more parents are sharing their stories and experiences, and that there is a community to lean in to. Historically, this has not always been the case for parents – this was something we just didn’t talk about just decades ago. Luckily, now people do talk about their experiences. We have been blessed with doctors, nurses, a chaplain, family members, friends, and others in our village who have shown us compassion, listened to our stories, shared their stories, and have been there for us.
We are taking one day at a time and one trimester at a time. One down, two more to go. At each appointment I ask, “When is my next appointment? What do I need to know now to get me through to my next appointment?”
Because I’m not looking at the due date, I’m not planning the nursery, I’m not worrying about the labor and delivery – I just want to make it from mile marker to mile marker, ignoring the exit sign until it’s within view.
I made the explicit request (something I wouldn’t have done in the past) to see only the doctors that were present at Millie’s L&D, bringing it from about a practice of 20 to three doctors. I’m really lucky, because honestly out of that practice, there aren’t any that I don’t like or don’t trust. But these three doctors have been by our side and an active part in each of our previous pregnancies, from the miscarriage, to MC, to Millie. I trust them with my life and the lives of our babies. Since I anticipate being on pins and needles, I only want to meet with them.
COVID-19 has also thrown us a curve ball. Now telemedicine is being used more than ever before, and as convenient as that is for many, and what a blessing it is to keep people safe at home and also have their medical needs answered, it’s not for me this pregnancy. I need to go physically go in to the office and be seen by a human being, hear the baby’s heartbeat, and ask all the questions I may have formulated between appointments.
We’re not preparing anything. When we were expecting Millie, I set everything up during the third trimester with my mom – the swing, the crib, the clothes. I packed my hospital bag with clothes that Millie had been given – a UVA onesie (they were the basketball champs in 2019!) and a purple hand-knit sweater among other clothes. We had the base of the car seat in the car.
There’s nothing like taking down a nursery that you had prepared to make you realize that your dreams for your baby are no more. That you hadn’t been living a nightmare for the past 72 hours, that this is real life. I am not preparing anything this time, other than what will go in the hospital bag, and the car seat of course. All nursery preparation has been delegated to family who will be watching MC while we are in the hospital.
I’ve had some questions, from professionals and family:
Q- How are you going to get through this pregnancy?
A- One day at a time, one trimester at a time. We are not looking too far forward, and trying not to look back either. Focus on the present. We are spending a lot of time as a family, gardening, having tea parties, and being active participants in MC’s creative, imaginative play.
Q- Are you going to find out the gender?
A- Absolutely. We always like to find out the gender. Especially for this pregnancy, we don’t want any surprises. We like time to think of names, we want to know. With both MC and Millie, I enjoyed talking to them in my belly, calling them by their names, and interacting with them early on. So did our friends and family that saw us often. Since we don’t have Millie, those are my only memories of her, and I cherish them.
*MC has already begun using the male pronoun “he” and told her Mooma it will be “a brother” when asked.
Q- When are you due?
A- Early November, but I don’t want to give the exact date, and I don’t want to focus too far ahead of this pregnancy. Hopefully, all will go well, and I will have the option to request an induction at the 38 week mark, since I delivered Millie at 38 ½ weeks. We will make that decision as we get closer and with the information we learn about throughout this pregnancy.
As I’ve said before, I am sharing my story with you in the hopes of being helpful. Is there a question you have that you want me to answer? Email me at mamansmonde(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them.
Thank you all, for being a part of our journey and the journey here at Maman’s Monde! Sending you big hugs.