Sunday, April 26, 2009

Missing Noah

All my posts are really about missing Noah I guess. Joninah is moving around more. The last couple of mornings I've felt her kicking even before her breakfast-banana boost. It reinforces my relationship with her to feel evidence of her life inside of me. It also reinforces what I lost with Noah.

Who would he have become? How can it be that I will never know? How can it be that he was alive inside of me and I can know nothing more about him than that? How can it be that most babies live, but Noah didn't? I think Joninah will live - that I will get to watch her become who she is. I think in a way her life may make Noah's loss more searing for me. She is so completely not her brother - this miraculously unexpected girl-baby. I won't be able to fool myself for a second that she is who I lost when Noah died. He is gone - permanently, irrevocably gone. Joninah is so wanted and cherished, but so is Noah.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

trying again

Noah was born still on August 30 and I had a positive pregnancy test in the first week of December. I got pregnant during my second full cycle. Part of trying again so quickly for me is that I am 40 and I was terrified about not being able to conceive again, as well as being frightened that if I did conceive that the baby might have chromosomal problems due to my "advanced maternal age". I kept imagining months going by and my last good eggs being flushed down the toilet. For me, I had to get pregnant as quickly as possible.

So now I am 24 weeks pregnant with an apparently healthy baby girl. Her nt/quad screen was excellent despite my age and her level two ultrasound looked great so we are fairly confident that she does not have any genetic problems.

That said, this pregnancy, except for burying our son, has been the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I cry daily for Noah. I cry almost daily for the safety of our daughter. I ask daily - "God do you know I can't bury another baby?" I ask Barry daily if he thinks God knows (he is a little tighter with God than I am). I beg almost every waking hour "please keep my baby safe."

It hasn't helped that there have been complications with this pregnancy that I did not experience with Grace, Chet, or Noah's. I had spotting and low/dropping progesterone from weeks 7-9 so I was placed on prometrium until week 14. Then about a month after that bullet was dodged, our daughter developed a seriously irregular heart beat. I literally spent the two days before we could see the maternal fetal specialist planning our baby's funeral. We were ultimately assured by two specialists that the arrhythmia is benign, but I struggle to take comfort in assurances. Even something as inconsequential as an anterior placenta feels like a curse to me because it makes it difficult for me to feel her move.

One of the only things I really know for sure is that, whatever the outcome, I can not put myself or my family through another pregnancy. At the same time I can not even begin to express how truly grateful I am to be here - to have life, potential, hope growing inside of me again. Like my experience of mothering our Noah, as crushingly painful as it is, I would not trade this time with our daughter for the world.

And then there is my Sybil-self. She says things prefaced with "when Joninah comes...." She buys clothes for her, designs her birth announcement, and plans her welcoming shower. She lets herself imagine the sweet moment of her birth and the tender release of nursing her for the first time. She dreams of spending Noah's first birthday picnicking at his grave site with this girl-baby nestled in her arms. Sybil-self is almost as innocent as First-pregnancy self was. After all, how could it possibly happen again....

When it comes to trying again - jump right in or wait awhile - in my opinion it doesn't matter. Babylost mothers never ever forget what it was like to have their child die inside of them. We have a rare and brutal knowledge. It is in our bones. That we have it in us to hope is a testament to our strength.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

hey jealousy

This is my response to a post about jealousy in my spals (subsequent pregnancy after loss) group.

My version of the jealousy issue revolves around high order multiples (Jon and Kate, Natalie Suleiman) or any pregnancy in which a family brings home healthy babies despite extreme odds against them. So why do they get to have all their babies and my one big healthy full-term little boy is in the cold ground because of something so ridiculously uncomplicated as a knot? Selfish yes, but it is the first thing that comes to mind when I hear these stories. I truly don't want anyone else to hurt, but I don't want to hurt either. Then I think - I hope they know how blessed they are. And then I think - most baby do live. Despite everything that can go wrong - most live.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Defining a purpose

So I'm not sure what I want to do with this blog. I started it as an extension of this idea I had that has, perhaps, evolved into a compulsion.

Things were pretty crazy for our family when I was pregnant with Noah. I did everything I was suppose to for him while I was pregnant, but I'm not sure he was the center of my universe. Survival was. Not his - ours. I think I sort of figured the "pregnancy" would take care of itself. Then he died. Almost the minute we got things straightened out and I was ready for him, he died.

And so as I went through papers getting us settled into our new home, I collected little forgotten scraps to remind me of out time with him. Appointment cards, test result letters, a picture of me pregnant with him before I even knew it (the only picture of me during his pregnancy). I gathered and keep gathering these little bits as I come across them, and tuck them in a drawer. They help me feel like a mother to him.

So I didn't want to be caught rummaging through stuff one step away from the recycling bin if something happened to this baby. The pregnancy tests were carefully dated and tucked safely away. This unlike Noah's, which were tossed in a bag mingled with completed tests from six other pregnancies - too "precious"to be thrown away, but indistinguishable from each other now. Every appointment card was tucked in that same special drawer, along with dated ultrasound pictures and notes from family. Everything about this baby has been meticulously saved in the same drawer where I have collected my mementos of Noah.

As I joined online support groups I started collecting hard copies of my posts. I'm not a journal-er, although I do like to write. I thought the posts would be a good way remember what I was thinking about while pregnant with our girl without journal-ing. That quickly evolved into wanting Joninah to know what I was thinking about. Someday. I'm thinking of the whole collection as a gift to her after she delivers her first baby. Before might be a little too much.

Support groups are about supporting others as much as they are about being supported. That means biting your tongue (crossing your fingers, making a fist, sitting on your hands....) when you might otherwise want to say what is really on your mind. Still, having a theoretical audience to consider keeps me honest.

The other thing is, I think about things beyond what is going on inside my uterus - or those who once occupied it. Some days it feels like not many other things. But mostly there is quite a bit going on in this head. I haven't found a great place to let it all out. I guess I decided to create one.

I admit I am not a huge blog reader. I will shocked if anyone reads mine. To a large extent I am only imagining a blog will do for me what I want it to do. We shall see I suppose - we shall see.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

a dream

Our daughter Joninah is due in August, about two weeks before the first anniversary of her brother Noah's birth/death. In my dreams August 30th is a sun-shiny warm day and we spend it introducing our baby girl to her big brother. A picnic, a cake, flowers, balloons, gifts..... Older siblings blessed early with death knowledge, comfortable with this as Noah's place, grateful for the open tumbling space he shares with them. A warm wiggler, breast-milk stupor-ed, snuggled contentedly next to me - outside of me - and still with me - in her sling.......

I let myself have this dream.