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Archive for October, 2010

Admission of Fear

I hesitate to admit my fears, as I don’t want to risk sounding ungrateful, because I’m not. I am absolutely thrilled and know exactly how blessed I am to be carrying a healthy baby boy. I can certainly appreciate how miraculous this gift of life is. And I am so ready for Liam to join our family – every day I find my excitement growing as we draw closer to the day we bring him home.

But…

It would be very unreal of me to pretend I have no fears. Because I do. And I need to convince myself it’s okay, even natural, to feel this way.

Throughout this pregnancy, my fears have largely revolved around whether I would get to keep him. I still have those fears – I know all too well there is no safety zone in pregnancy, infancy, or childhood. In the back of my mind the worry of losing him will always exist, and I’m sure it will remain a continuous struggle to remind myself that his life belongs to God, not me, and that try as I might, I cannot control the path God has intended for his life. I will always need to remind myself that worry accomplishes nothing. And as is the case now, there will undoubtedly always be days when worry is the dominant voice in my head. All mothers have these worries, but those of us who experience loss are even more acquainted with them. And that is something I expected.

What I didn’t expect was to have the normal fears I would have considered had I not lived through a loss. These fears are nothing like the worry of loss, and are not nearly as strong as the joy and excitement I feel as I inch closer to my due date. But they exist and, as I mentioned above, it would be dishonest to pretend otherwise.

So, here is my list: my admission of fear.

I am afraid of not getting everything done in time for Liam’s arrival. We are still doing work on our house and, while we’ve made progress, it seems we have so far to go.

I’m afraid of being completely unprepared to care for a new baby. We never got to practice with Madelyn. We only had the chance to hold, kiss, and love her. And I look forward to doing all of those things with Liam. But I also know there is much more to newborn care than affection. I know my maternal instinct should point me in the right direction, but I still worry about doing something wrong.

I fear parenthood, and wonder if I will be a good mother. I know I will make mistakes, and that is to be expected. But I tend to be a perfectionist. I don’t WANT to make mistakes. I want to do everything flawlessly.

I never got the chance to worry about these things with Madelyn, as our only concern when pregnant with her was for her life. We knew the rest would fall into place, had she lived. And everything will fall into place for Liam’s arrival as well. I know we will be fine – people have been having babies as long as the world has existed, and we humans are still here. I have to believe that if so many before me have done it, I can too. I WANT to do this – more than anything. But that doesn’t mean it’s not scary sometimes!

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Baby shower #2 (10/16)

I had my second shower, thrown by Nathan’s family, a week ago today. I have been meaning to post an update all week, but simply haven’t had a spare moment!

We, once again, left the shower feeling very blessed. We got Liam’s convertible high chair, an Angelcare monitor, and lots of clothes, blankets, and bibs for him! We even got enough money to order the Colgate (which is a top of the line brand) crib mattress we’ve been wanting, and we used the rest of the cash we received, along with a gift card from our previous shower, to buy his crib bedding!

In the past week, we’ve also received several packages in the mail for Liam, both from blogger friends and family. We are just so thankful for everything we have gotten – I can’t say that enough!

Here are a couple pictures from the baby shower.

The cake

Nathan and me

I also want to share the latest photos from our house.

In addition to creating the new room, our laundry room is getting a much-needed makeover. I didn’t do a true before picture, but here it is in its current state. We are replacing the ceiling, painting the walls, and we took out the carpet and are installing tile instead.

And finally, here is Liam’s room! I can’t wait until this disorganized mess becomes a nursery!

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Quick Update – I passed!

I passed my glucose screening – I’m so happy about that! I failed the screening last time and I was miserable until I found out I didn’t have gestational diabetes after all. I’m so glad I don’t need to go through any additional testing or special dieting this time!

I’ll hopefully have time to update more later today with pictures from baby shower #2 on Saturday.

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I was going to title this post “Today we remember”. However, after consideration, I decided that was not appropriate.

Yes, we remember today. But today is no different than any other day for those of us who have lost a baby. For we remember with every single beat of our hearts. Today, we merely ask the world to remember with us.

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, and tonight, many will light candles at 7:00 p.m. (in every time zone). I will be lighting a candle in honor of Madelyn and all of the families who have lost their babies I have met in the past 13.5 months. I hope that many others will do the same.



On another note, today I am 28 weeks! At least, it is the last possible day that I am 28 weeks. As I’ve stated before, I think my actual due date is 1/5 based on the online FET calculators I have used (which would have made me 28 weeks on Wed.). However, my OB’s office always uses the LMP based due date, and that makes me 28 weeks today. Of course, it doesn’t really matter – Liam will come when he comes – two days isn’t that much of a difference in the end.

28 weeks is a big milestone week for most. If Liam were to be born now, he would have a 90% chance of surviving outside the womb. Given that he is a big baby, his odds go up even more. Of course, we don’t want or plan for him to arrive for 12 more weeks. And I know that 28 weeks doesn’t guarantee a thing. But, each of these milestones help me to breathe a tiny bit more easily.

Liam is moving like crazy these days, and I love it! His favorite times of day are first thing in the morning and late in the evenings. Or, it could be that I am less distracted at these times, and so I notice him more. As anxious as I am to have him in my arms, I’m going to miss that feeling when he’s here. Nathan and I have both been enjoying his movements very much.

I’m still feeling comfortable, even if I am measuring several weeks ahead! I haven’t had any swelling, and the aches and pressure I’ve had have been minimal. I’m grateful for that.

The next big milestone for me is 34 weeks 2 days, at which point I’ll be more pregnant than I’ve ever been. If I hadn’t been induced, I probably would’ve stayed pregnant with Madelyn for several more weeks as pre-term labor seemed to be the farthest thing on my body’s mind (hence the very long, painful induction). So it won’t be a celebratory milestone of my body making it farther than it has in the past. Instead, it will be a bittersweet milestone for me: one of remembering “this time last pregnancy” as well as being so thankful for a healthy pregnancy this time.

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Today I had my monthly OB checkup. It went well.

He measured my fundal height for the first time today, which is an external measurement of the uterus. My fundal height is measuring at 31 weeks already! I guess this is to be expected as Liam is measuring big. The crazy thing is, Madelyn always measured 3 weeks behind. So right now I’m probably as big as I was when I delivered her at just over 34 weeks. In fact, I’m probably bigger, because with her, I had so little amniotic fluid, and that would’ve made me smaller.

My blood pressure was a little higher than normal for me at 126/80, but they said it was still within normal range. I’ve started having hot flashes, and I was so hot I was nearly sweating when they called me back, so I think that may explain today’s reading.

I’m up 7 pounds since my last visit 4 weeks ago, which is within normal range (they expect 1-2 pounds a week at this point). I’m gaining more than I would have liked this pregnancy, but I almost feel it’s beyond my control, since no matter how much I cut back I still seem to gain!

My OB sent me home with a glucose drink so I can do my glucose screening. I plan to go to the lab and do it tomorrow. Once I drink it, I’ll get my blood drawn an hour later. I am hoping I pass, as I don’t want to do the 3-hour test. I’m so afraid I’m going to fail though – big babies can be a symptom of gestational diabetes, and Liam definitely fits that category. But, if I do have it, it’s best to know so I can manage it.

My next appointment is in 3 weeks, as I had a scheduling conflict 4 weeks from now. After my next appointment, I’ll be on the bi-weekly schedule.

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One of my favorite parts of pregnancy is watching my belly grow. The way I’m built doesn’t give much room for my uterus to grow up, so I tend to show very quickly, and I love that. I love the smiles and knowing looks, the questions about when the baby is due, and I don’t even mind the occasional belly rubs.

But then there is the question that always causes me to stumble for an answer: “Is this your first?”

No matter how I answer this question, it feels wrong. I learned very quickly that while saying “yes” is the easiest thing to do, it only leaves me feeling guilty, both for betraying Madelyn and for being dishonest. I never say “yes” anymore.

But while saying “no” doesn’t leave me with guilt, it makes me no less uncomfortable. How do I explain to someone I just met, especially on a professional level, that my first baby died? It feels wrong to share something so personal in a professional setting when introductions are meant to be brief and simple.

Sometimes I’ll say “no” and leave it at that, without further elaboration. Then the other person will generally say something like “well, then you’re a pro at this”, to which I’ll usually smile in response and quickly change the subject. Other times they ask the gender of my first child and I’ll tell them we had a girl and, once again, quickly change the subject.

I just don’t know how to handle these questions. I get them on a nearly daily basis now that I’m so obviously pregnant. I always feel myself getting warm and clammy immediately when these questions are asked of me. I don’t why this is so difficult, but it is. It’s not even difficult for me to talk about her anymore, but for some reason, discussing my experience with infant loss with strangers is extremely flustering for me.

If only I didn’t have to think about how to answer this question at all. If only I had my 13-month-old at home. If only…

But dwelling on the “if onlys” does no good, as they won’t change anything. I am the mother of two children, one of which is dead. No matter how I answer the dreaded question above, it doesn’t change what is. But how do I share what is? One would think I’d be an expert by now.

But I’m not.

I probably never will be.

So I suppose the thing to do is accept that this question will always put me on edge, whether it be the question of “is this your first” or, after he arrives, “is he your only?”

But maybe one day I’ll at least figure out what to say…

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Baby Shower #1

Yesterday I had my first baby shower, hosted by my mom with help from my sister-in-law. We had fun with friends and got some really great gifts! We got our Pack ‘N Play (from my grandma who couldn’t attend) with an extra sheet for it, a Diaper Genie II with refills, our diaper stacker, 2 big boxes of diapers, a handmade blanket accompanied by a stuffed monkey, bottles with extra nipples, a learning cup, a bumbo seat, some bibs, sleepers, caps, and several really cute outifts I can’t wait to see Liam wear!

Here are some pictures from yesterday.

Our amazing cake made by an amazing friend! If you are looking for someone to make a cake for you and want her contact info, let me know!



My sister-in-law, her sister (and my friend), and me, all pregnant!

Me with a very good friend who attended my shower in spite of having no sleep after a night of hard nursing work!

The guys

Me & Nathan

I feel as though I look like a cow in these pictures. Believe it or not, before I got pregnant with Madelyn I was a size 2 (and sometimes even a 0)! I guess this is what 2 pregnancies, one of which involved extensive bed rest, and hypothyroidism that was undiagnosed/untreated for 6 of the 7 months between Madelyn and Liam has done to me. I am determined to pull out those old clothes again…*sigh*.

Madelyn has received some gifts lately too!

This blanket was made and sent to me by a friend whose baby shared a due date with me.

This came from Sarita, along with a super cute sleeper for Liam!

And I was so surprised and thankful for this gorgeous ornament from Katy in memory of our daughter!

Finally, here are the latest pictures from our house. A lot of progress has been made, though a lot of it can’t be seen in pictures. From this point forward, I should have more pictures to post as visible changes are made.

Our new window

This was the opening from our garage to our kitchen. We’ll be re-drywalling this entire wall and putting up cabinets.

And this is our new opening to the room

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