Friday, April 16, 2010

The things people say

We've all heard comments about baby loss and infertility that sometimes sting us, right?

One of the many things that has been strange for me with this pregnancy is that EVERYONE (besides my wonderful obgyn) talks to me as though this is my first pregnancy. It's as though becoming pregnant with baby number two simply erased the existence of my first son, Baby S.

Throughout the second trimester, which I just completed, people who know of my loss would often give me a "heads-up" as to what to expect week by week. Apparently they erased from their minds that I carried Baby S 2/3rds of the way through the second trimester- so I knew the symptoms, the appointments to expect, etc.

The comments from people are sometimes strange to me. It is awkward navigating how to respond...

Them: You've made it past the first trimester, no worries now! My thought: Really? I lost my son at 21 weeks- and know people who have lost babies as far as full term.

Them: Are you enjoying pregnancy? Me: It took me getting past the 5 1/2 month mark, but now I am enjoying it as much as possible. Them: Oh, I know the morning sickness- it's the worst.

Them: This pregnancy thing is SO HARD (first-timer, instantly pregnant, no problems). My thought: Um, yeah. ??

Them: I am so glad my child will finally have a cousin! My thought: They ALREADY DO have a cousin: MY CHILD- YOUR NEPHEW- WHO DIED!!

Even though I'm sure some people haven't forgotten our loss, I'm pretty sure the outside world sees a rainbow baby as erasing the baby who was lost. In addition, although most people do not know the lengths that we went through to get pregnant both times, they do know that it was difficult for us both times. Yet still friends around me constantly talk about getting pregnant as though it's something that is accomplished on-demand, exactly when and how one wishes. "We are going to conceive this summer." "We plan to have 3 kids, each 2 years apart." etc. Most of my friends have been very lucky in the fertility/pregnancy department, but clearly do not think that infertility is something that could possibly affect them.

The strange- at times painful- comments have been plenty over the past fifteen months. But I do want to end this post on a positive note and hang on to the comments from a few friends who somehow knew exactly what to say. I will never forget their words which comforted me.

After our loss, my dear friend Stacey said: "I want you to know that I loved your baby too." She is the only person who expressed love/care for our child.

My friend Amy called me explaining that her heart was breaking for me and she began crying on the phone. She is the only person (besides dh) who cried along with me.

When I shared the news of my current pregnancy with my friend Jessica she expressed her happiness for us, and also said "I'm sure it must be bittersweet." She is the only person who has acknowledged that we must miss Baby S.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Joy and pain

This topic is one that is long overdue for me to write about. There is a certain aspect of infertility and babyloss that has changed me in a way that I am not proud of and it is something that I struggle to get past.. The pain that sometimes accompanies the joy of other people's seemingly easy pregnancy success.

This isn't to say that I am not happy for the vast majority of people out there who do not encounter fertility/pregnancy-related issues. I can honestly say I am truly happy for them to be spared any difficulties. However, there are instances when such situations sting.

I encounter this conflicted joy/pain emotion on a fairly regular basis within my own family. You see, while in the midst of me unsuccessfully trying to conceive, both my sister-in-law (by the way, not at all a nice person) and my own sister became instantly pregnant at nearly the exact same time. I love their babies dearly, yet at times the joy of both families serve as a constant reminder of what- or I should say who- isn't here.. my Baby S.

It was somewhat disheartening at the time to learn of both pregnancy news (especially since my sister-in-law constantly mentioned that it was only their second attempt- plus they weren't even married). It was soon thereafter that I began infertility treatments, as planned, and I became pregnant with Baby S. He would have been 5 months younger than both of his cousins. From the moment the two became pregnant and in the year in and half since then all I have heard about on both sides of our families is about these two babies... the constant news/updates, photos, incessant gushing. I know all of their behavior is normal and would not expect them not to be joyous over their children. However, every milestone for them- first holidays, birthdays, etc.- would have been a first for my son too. So although these events do make me smile, they also bring with them some sadness for me. And again there is the added sadness that no one else in the room is missing my baby in those moments.

I realize this all sounds completely selfish. The only reason I even feel comfortable finally writing about this is because I have read about similar emotions on several other babyloss and infertility blogs. Otherwise, I would be too ashamed to admit that I ever feel this way. It does not feel good, and it's something I am continuously trying to change- and I do think I am gradually getting better about it.

Let the 3rd trimester begin

Friends, thank you very much for the cyber hugs on Baby S's birthday on Friday. It meant a lot, especially considering that you all are the only ones (besides dh) that I truly share my grief with. You all are the best! I had a good cry in the morning, then pulled myself together. I wondered if anyone in our families would remember the date. I thought perhaps my sister would and might acknowledge it, but she didn't. It was a reminder that dh and I are alone in our grief, and have been for some time- but I am coming to accept that. I am so grateful to have this space to go to where people understand and where we can support one another.

Today marks week 28 for me! I can't even believe I've made it to the 3rd trimester. I look at my baby ticker, which I put up after 21 weeks passed, and it is now in the double digits. The wee one is currently 2.5 lbs and at this stage has a chance at viability if (God forbid) he were to arrive early. He is kicking around a lot, which I love. I wasn't joking when I said I'm getting huge... I gained 10 lbs in the past month alone. Hopefully that was a growth spurt for me and the weight gain will level off. I have been overdoing it a bit with the sweets (hello, donuts! who even knew I liked you?) but am trying not to obsess- just grateful that the baby is developing on track.

At my appointment last week we had a very brief glimpse that the baby's face in 3-D. He was covering up most of it with his arms and legs, but it was sweet to see- and now I am SO CURIOUS as to what he looks like. I am tempted to go to one of those 3-D/4-D ultrasound places and pay out-of-pocket to get some pics. One thing that is tough about missing Baby S is not knowing what he would look like. So seeing this one is becoming increasingly important to me.

I've been taking some steps in preparing for this baby to arrive into this world. This morning I purchased the crib online (a gift from my parents) and we are signed up for our childbirth preparation classes this month. I feel Baby S with us in spirit as we continue in our journey- you are always on my mind and in my heart.

Hope you are all doing well and are having a relaxing weekend!

Friday, April 9, 2010

April 9th: Baby S's birthday

My heart is a bit heavy this morning over what should have been today: my first son turning one.

I imagine a sweet and rambunctious brown-haired/brown-eyed toddler running around, but he's not here. Despite the fact that I am incredibly grateful to be carrying his younger brother, I don't think I will ever shake the feeling that I have a child who is missing from this life.

I will take a little time today to work through my sadness, and then plan to honor him in my heart with nothing but happy thoughts.

I miss you sweet boy and will love you and remember you always!