Monday, January 7, 2013

Yes, I Still Remember What It Felt Like to Not Have My Rainbow

It's very hard to be angry when you know you have finally been blessed with your rainbow baby.  But every once in a while there is a little niggling angry thought that pervades my brain, especially when it comes to my friends who have not yet been blessed with that rainbow.

When I was trying to conceive, losing, trying again, losing, trying again, and finally being pregnant for the long haul, things like pictures of babies, pregnant women, and happy families made me run away crying, or have that deep feeling in my stomach that things would never be okay again.  

It was even more painful when it came from my rainbow loss mommies.  

You would think that I would have been okay with seeing their rainbow's smiling face, but no, no I wasn't.  I still didn't have my rainbow.  I didn't even have hope.  Yet some of them really didn't remember what it felt like to be on the other side of the fence, the side where the grass was so dark brown and rotten that you didn't even know what green grass was anymore.  I wondered if I did have my rainbow someday if I would be able to remember fully.  Would I remember to not thrust my child in someone's face, not knowing if they had a loss?  Would I remember to not post pictures on loss boards?  Would I remember to put *TRIGGER* in front of every post that mentioned that I had my rainbow?

I am happy to report that I do remember.  

And I remember those who helped me climb this mountain.  And I will make sure that every day I remember to turn around, extend my hand, and pull each and every one of these ladies up until they too have their rainbow.

And I will do it by keeping my rainbow in front of me, out of sight, until they are ready.

Friday, June 22, 2012

After Two Years, My Rainbow Baby is Finally Here

**Trigger Post**
On June 2nd, my husband and I welcomed our rainbow baby into the world.  She's a beautiful little girl (we had no idea which we were having), and weighed 7 lb, 1.8 oz and measured 21.8 inches.  She came via Cesarean due to complications after a nice 16 hours of pain med free labor where the cord was wrapped around her neck and certain labor positions were causing decelerations in her heartbeat.  I was put on oxygen.  I was terrified.  I couldn't risk it.  When my doctor mentioned plan B, I said "DO IT."

So here I sit, almost three weeks later, with my little girl in my arms.  Her heart shaped face and delicate features seem a contrast to my own.  I spend hours looking at her and wondering where she came from, trying to associate this little girl with the one that I dopplered every day in my belly, the one I poked with abandon at my NSTs.  I'm confused at where my pregnancy went, and where she came from.  They don't seem to be the same little person.  

Every hour I check her to make sure she's breathing, and I still can't put her down out of my sight in her crib, despite having a monitor.  Every day I wonder when the universe is going to steal her away from me.  It's a whole new set of fears.  And those songs that I sang to her while she was in the womb?  Well I certainly didn't expect that I would be singing them someday to my daughter.

The hardest moment came when I was released from the hospital on June 5, 2012.  This was two years exactly from being released from a different hospital with my arms empty and leaving my stillborn son behind.  This time I was holding a little miracle as I was wheeled to my car.  My daughter's first outing was to the cemetery as we held a balloon release for my son.  It was a day of such absolute joy and such absolute sadness.

Having my rainbow makes me realize what I'm missing not having my son here.  It makes me realize what I will never see him do.  I remember the days after his birth as I thought about him my milk would let down and it was salt in a wound.  Now as I sit here breastfeeding my daughter, I think about what it would have been like to have a toddler running around at the same time.

I can't bring him back, and I can't bring back the two I lost so early, but I can devote all of my love to my daughter.  And I can try to remember that she is a very special girl as she has three angels who will watch over her as she grows.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Annoying Question #2: Are You Excited?

**Trigger post below**

So I am 38 weeks and 1 day pregnant with my rainbow today and the new question I am asked repeatedly is "Are you excited?"  This is a question that most normal pregnant women can answer quickly and without reservation.  For me and other baby loss mommies?  It's not that simple.

Excited is when you know something is going to happen and you're sure.  Excited is when it's only a matter of time until this great thing. Excited is when you can't stop talking about something even when you promise yourself you will keep it to yourself.  Excited is when it pours forth from your face and the grin spreads all the way to your toes.

So am I excited?  I'm not sure I know how to be.  My rainbow is still not here, and as I sit here typing this and my rainbow dragon kicks merrily, I'm still skeptical that I will get to bring him/her home.  I keep waiting for that "Go to Jail.  Go Direction to Jail" card.

I realized I'm more under that guise of anticipation than excitement.  For those of you who play video games, there's an easy way to describe my feelings.  It's as if I have spent a long time playing a difficult game, one where I keep thinking I'm going to make it, but the game keeps crashing, or my character keeps getting killed.  So here I am, at the final level, where I can almost taste victory, where I know that just maybe I will see those end credits roll.  But I can't give in to that excitement because I will lose and have to start all over again.  

I wish I could be excited.  But I wish I could be a lot of things.  I wish I could have enjoyed this pregnancy rather than be terrified at every turn.  Pregnancy should be a wonderful experience, full of happiness and joy and wonder.  For those of us who have gotten pregnant after our loss, it's an experience of fear, worry, and the feeling that if we become excited we will get yanked back to our senses by our ponytails.  

Some days I really feel like chopping that ponytail off.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Surviving Mother's Day as a Baby Loss Mommy

I cannot believe that we are approaching Mother's Day again. I remember last year when for Mother's Day I was pregnant with my rainbow, and I remember miscarrying a week or two after. I remember going to work and hearing everyone tell all of the mother's with living children Happy Mother's Day, while completely ignoring me. I remember crying at my desk and thinking "I am a Mom too."

I remember loving spending time with my mom, but I really remember hating Mother's Day. Luckily, my husband saved it somewhat by gifting me with a beautiful memory bracelet with the birthstones of my three angel children.

This time I am farther along with my rainbow, in fact I will be full term, but the pain is still the same. While I am happy and terrified with a smidgeon of hope for my rainbow, I know I will spend time at the cemetery again, wondering why for some women pregnancy is so easy. Some women just "snap their fingers" and magically get pregnant and have their babies, one after the other, and some of us struggle and deal with pain that these women will never know.

I know all baby loss mommies dread this day like no other. It's important for us to remember to acknowledge our friends and loved ones who have lost babies too. We need to remember for each other and reach out and tell each other Happy Mother's Day, because we all are mothers, some of us are just forgotten ones.

I hope that all of us can celebrate this year or next with our rainbows, and as we hug our rainbows tight, we can still honor our angels who came before. And I really hope that a couple weeks after I will be gifted with a fourth birthstone charm to add to my bracelet, this time one to represent a rainbow.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Annoying Question #1: Is This Your First? (Part Two)

Now that I am fully and visibly showing to just about everyone, this question is asked almost daily. I covered this question and whether or not to respond "yes" or "no", but I find that lately I feel the added complication of stillbirth versus miscarriage.

No, this isn't my first. I had a stillborn son almost two years ago. But I also suffered two miscarriages. I find when I tell people "No, I had a stillborn son", I am riddled with waves of guilt regarding the two "youngest" children, the ones that only grew to 6 1/2 weeks. The ones that had a heartbeat that stopped three days later.

But the ones I wanted just as much as my stillborn son, and just as much as the one I carry now.

If I say no, I have three angels, then I feel like I minimize the loss of my stillborn son, because automatically people lump him into the "just a miscarriage" category. And while my two miscarriages were painful and hurt me to the core, they are different than when I delivered and held my son and was wheeled out of Labor and Delivery, with empty arms.

Unfortunately I don't have a solution yet. Until then, I will continue to say my first was stillborn. Perhaps I should add, "And I lost two early on afterwards." Will that make it better? Somehow I doubt it.

Until then, I guess I will do what I have been doing, just stick one foot in front of the other, and pray that I will get to bring this rainbow baby dragon home. And I will continue to open my mouth and tell people that yes, I have lost a child. I have lost three children. Perhaps it will help those silently hurting feel less alone.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Poodle Syndrome: Your Baby is Not a Fashion Accessory!

I am noticing an alarming number of women lately who have decided that their baby (born or unborn) is their new fashion accessory, much like a poodle with a jeweled collar that is for ornamentation and attention. One of these women was heard saying, "Is it okay, since I'm having a summer baby, to lay out on the beach all day with it?"

I haven't had the fortune to be blessed with a living child yet, however, I know a few things:
Babies poop.
Babies spit up.
Babies pee.
Babies emit other bodily fluids that I'm sure I will get used to.
Babies do not sleep when you want them to.
Babies need attention.
Babies get sun burned.

Does this woman think that this baby is going to be dressed up in a cute little sundress with sunglasses hanging out in a baby suitcase (otherwise known as an infant car carrier) and it's going to sleep peacefully while she lies out on the sand for her 6-8 hours on the beach and not have any of these typical baby things happen?

Then there are the women who are at Babies R Us, complaining vigorously to their husbands that my GOD, they cannot get this stroller because it does not match the car seat or the bouncer or the swing or the high chair.

Then there is the woman I saw the other day, heavily pregnant, placing a pair of sparkly hooker shoes on the conveyer belt with her perfectly groomed hair, brows and nails and her Coach bag. With the other items she had on the belt, it was apparent that when this child came, it would be dressed like her and it would quickly learn materialism. I'm pretty sure this is a woman who also was more concerned with finding out the sex of the child than finding out if her child was healthy.

Is it wrong to think of my (hopefully) soon-to-be-here rainbow as a child that I want healthy and happy, and I don't care if it doesn't have a onesie that has a perfectly ornamental gerber daisy bigger than its head to match (if it's a girl). Am I so wrong to think that maybe the first several months of this baby being here is going to be hard work, where I am sleep deprived and in need of a long, hot bath that I will never take?

I really hope that these women get an awakening. I really hope that these women learn to get their priorities straight, that having a baby is the most rewarding gift of all and something that shouldn't be taken for granted. I really hope that these women's babies spit up in their Coach bags.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Navigating Uncharted Territory After a Pregnancy Loss

**Trigger - Pregnancy Mention**

So here I sit at 27w4d pregnant, in uncharted territory. Before I reached this point I felt like I had a map, but it was all wrong. On my map, it listed pain and suffering, and finding out that my baby wasn't growing. It listed things like the heartbeat stops at this point and you find out that the growth is slowing at this point and your weight goes down at the doctor's office at this point.

Except for my map was apparently wrong.

Now my map lies discarded in the corner and I feel like I'm adrift at sea with no compass, no map, and just a ton of people repetitively telling me that of course everything's going to be okay! And I still look at these people like they are telling me that the world is round. Of course it's not, it's flat. I'm just not sure when I'm going to drop off into the abyss on the other side. And that parrot on my shoulder keeps laughing at me the entire time.

I thought that the weight would be gone from my shoulders at this point, and the truth is, I do feel a little lighter, but not much. Just yesterday I ran for the doppler when there was a quiet day.

There are still reminders everywhere. This morning I attempted to go to a Mom2Mom sale, stupidly by my lonesome. It was in the building where I checked out my son's first daycare. I'm not entirely sure what I was thinking, and I did buy a couple of things, but then I came careening out of the building and drove myself straight to the cemetery where I dissolved into tears.

It's not lighter, it's just different. I seem to be better able to see the sun, but it's still not quite shining on me.

In the midst of this, I have "well-meaning" people tell me "Just relax!" as if that will make it all better. I have had to shove my hands in my pockets several times to tell my martial arts self that punching them will only get myself arrested. Sometimes I try to bargain with myself. "But just one punch?" "No." "Fine, but can I just...?" "No."

Well, at least I still have my tongue. I'll just blame it on hormones.