Friday, May 29, 2015

You know what gets me?

This gets me.

Not this room in particular; it's just a photo I found using GIS.  It's birthing rooms that get me.  Pictures of birthing rooms.

I labored for a while with Psalm, in a normal birthing room similar to where I had Esther, and Doug (Marie's wasn't half as nice).  The room was filled with the comforting sound of her heartbeat, a good 140+ BPM that never hesitated.  My little warrior.

But that was the only normal part.  I looked at that little warmer and I knew she wouldn't lie in it.  And when the word that I would indeed have a c-section came down, I knew I'd never again be in one of these rooms.

Now and again hospital photos crop up on Facebook.  Lots of pictures of babies in warmers.  And it's like a punch in the gut.  There are no longer good associations with those.  They have them in ORs, of course, but it is different when your child is removed from you versus when you push them out.

My first two births were c-sections.  And it was important to me to know that I could do things the "right" way, the normal way.  And I did, because my body really does know its shit.

But with Psalm my body failed me.  Failed to make her right.  Failed to birth her right.  And will not be allowed to birth the others right.  Her surgical birth was necessary, but it was still a failure in my lizard brain because frankly her birth could be nothing else since she would not live long after.  Trauma on top of trauma, and I will no longer be able to reclaim things.

So I see these pictures and they make me profoundly sad, but it is difficult to explain to most people.  The room and the warmer represent the trappings of normal birth.  Doug's birth was finally everything I wanted--100% unmedicated mostly hands-off.  And I thought I was going to get to build on that.  And it all went to shit.  I never expected, even when I was in that room looking at my surroundings knowing it was the last time I would be in such a place even if it was not my last birth, that in the future I would find my grief triggered by the most innocuous photos, but there you go.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Chasing rainbows.

I've kind of gone back and forth with myself whether to talk about this publicly or not, but since I've bared my soul the rest of the way, I'll throw this in as well.

Babies born after a loss are called rainbow babies.  Marie is a rainbow baby, following my miscarriage in 2007.

Two of the women I met when pregnant with Psalm, both themselves LWBC moms, are pregnant now with their rainbow babies.

Me, I wasn't entirely sure what to do about it, when to jump on the rollercoaster again, because it was guaranteed to be a scary time.  And for a good long while anyway, it was a moot point--since Doug is still nursing, I didn't get my period back until last month.

And so, fertility returned, I looked deep into the issue and said "Well, my January baby is awesome, and I'm going to be terrified no matter what, so let's go for it."

Go for it we did.

And you know what? We nailed it.  I bought a big pack of ovulation strips and pregnancy tests on Amazon, and blew the dust off my Fertility Friend account, and on the 29th of April, I got a very faint positive test that I wasn't even sure was positive.  So I held off and retested on the 3rd of this month, and got a better one.  I tested twice that day, in fact, and they were both positive.  Not, like, big dark lines or anything, but readily visible.

And here is where I fucked up, y'all.  I was happy.  Really really happy.  So I told Erik.  And then I told Linda.  And then I told the rest of the kids and the next day--buoyed by another positive--we told my mother.  And because I could not resist, we went and bought a couple of onesies for the rainbow baby, who would be born in January and who already had a name.

You can guess where I'm going with this, right?

I had a good few hours where I was nothing but happy, then the fear crept in.

I had a good ten days where I was...not really confident, because I had some early indications this would not go well, but where I could fool myself.  I was nauseous before I got the second positive test, and it was the peculiar sort of nausea I only get when I'm pregnant.  And my temps were good.  But the positive tests went negative, and though I know HCG can take a while to rise, and the tests I had weren't really good...

And then Tuesday I lost it.  The hope that had started to peek through.  The brand-new pregnancy, so new it wouldn't even have shown up on an ultrasound.

Well, shit.

Rainbows are common after storms, but sometimes...sometimes they come in a break between storms.

This is, of course, a different kind of hurt.  I have said before that I loved Psalm from the moment I knew she was on the way.  And the same was true for this pregnancy.  But this love was just a brief flicker of time, a smaller grief that might some day roll into the larger one of my girl's absence.  Sometimes when you go to stand, you fall back again.

And that sucks.