Its been a long time since I updated here. There were plenty of times that I thought about it.
Plenty of times I needed it. Plenty of times I had enough to fill the page.
In the end, I obviously never did. Putting pen to paper (or, keyboard to screen) means that you have to take a long look at whats going on ... and, it means that you have to have time, which is something that has been at a premium with a cross country move, a toddler, a teenager ...
... and a pregnancy.
I am currently almost 25 weeks PGAL, which stands for Pregnant After A Loss. I was one of the very lucky few who had to wait almost no time at all for my "rainbow baby" to come around.
There are times when I feel so blessed for it.
There are times when I feel guilty for it.
There are times when I feel terrified about it.
I was in a whirlwind of emotion after the miscarriage. I didnt have time to process what had happened before we suddenly were moving completely across the country. In a way, thats a blessing, because there was very little time to really work myself up with sadness or anger.
Not that those things didnt come. I vacillated between being completely horrified that God had let something like that happen to us, and being secure in the knowledge that the worst was over. There were moments when I was able to think - we can try again. This isnt over. And until then, we already have so much.
I immersed myself into a culture on the internet, one that most people probably havent seen. It is the loss community. There are so many ladies .... so many ... who have gone through pregnancy and infant loss. I was shocked by how many people that I knew that had been through it. I poured my heart out in message boards and read stories of women who had been through SO MUCH worse. I saw women go on, day after day, with multiple losses, with late term losses, with empty arms that still waited. Once I realized how EASY my loss was, I knew I had to keep calm and carry on (for lack of a better term). If these women could go through what they had, and still keep surviving, my pain wasnt a drop in the bucket in the sea of grief.
Allen and I wanted to try again, as soon as we could. We didnt prevent anything from happening, but both of us assumed that it would take a cycle or two to get back into the swing of things. I had a wonderful friend send me a box of supplies to help us TTC (try to conceive) again when we were ready. That box sat in wait, and I was so anxious to break it out, to try again. I felt like trying again gave me a sense of purpose - sure, the bottom had fallen out, but knowing that we had a game plan made it seem manageable.
So we waited. And we waited. And waited for a cycle that never came .... I ignored it mostly, figuring that everyone said things were out of whack after a loss. We enjoyed Thanksgiving together, with only one major breakdown on my end. I trained for and ran my first 5k, and planned a night with my girlfriends. We prepared for renting out our home and for moving. Life went on ...
Then came a series of very confusing tests, and blood tests. I was told to come back, and come back again. There was a week of limbo - but I knew. I knew that something was happening again.
And sure enough, just over a month from the end of my miscarriage, I was pregnant again. Apparently this is more common than anyone knows. They dont have a reason for it, but some theories state that the body is more "primed" for pregnancy right after a loss, and hormone levels may be higher, causing the body to retain another pregnancy. Who knows exactly what happened for us - all I know is that suddenly I was grieving a loss, prepping for a move, and pregnant with another baby.
I was cautious to tell people, as one could imagine. Still, Ive always leaned on my friends during the hard times, and this was no different. I was able to tell the ladies from my birth month board, and a few friends who were extra supportive during my loss. I told everyone with a footnote: "I had a positive test, but I dont know what will happen".
It was especially hard to tell the people that I had become close to by bonding over loss. It was hard to say that I had been given the thing that we wanted so much, especially when those people had been trying for longer, or had gone through multiple losses. The guilt can sometimes be overwhelming, because I wish I could give this gift to those who are waiting who so deserve it. I cannot wait to rejoice and praise God with those people when their time comes. I wait anxiously and pray because I know that its coming, and what a wonderful happy day that will be.
Every second of early PGAL is agony. During the first week I knew I was pregnant, I started to have awful cramping that reminded me of my miscarriage. I laid on the floor and sobbed, knowing the end was near again. I couldnt believe that in such a short time I could possibly lose so much. Of course, the baby was just burrowing in nice and tight, but no matter how many times the outcome is good, you cannot stop the all consuming, overwhelming fear that you feel every single day. The fear that its just a matter of time before you are right back in that hospital hearing the news. Its just a matter of time before this baby is taken too.
Sometimes the fear is hard for people to understand. Here you are, pregnant, just like so many people want. WHY cant you just be happy?! I dont know the answer to that. I know that I try, every day, to say "today I am pregnant and I love my baby". I try to relish every kick, every roll, every night of heartburn and leg cramps. I try to know that its okay to prepare for baby. Its okay to think about the future. IF the worst were to happen again, I know that no amount of worry causes it, and no amount of worry prevents it. Shit just happens sometimes and then you have to work through it. As hard as that is, its the thing that helped me deal with one thing at a time in early pregnancy. And, even know, at 25 weeks, I still use that motto.
Our baby is a girl. She is due in August. She will have two wonderful big brothers, and a daddy who adores her. Some days, often, I think about the baby we lost. I feel like I dont have a right to feel sad, because it was early and it was quick. I know mommas who have lost so much more. What I went through just doesnt compare. But, every once and again, I think "we should have found out the sex" or "we should be 8 months pregnant". On Mothers Day I thought of the baby, and how I would have been HUGE by now. Im convinced it was a boy, though I guess that doesnt really matter. I know that baby only knew a tiny bit of life before s/he was taken to heaven, to a beautiful place. And so maybe thats something to remember, if it ever gets hard.
Its also hard to say, I wish we could have kept that baby. Because if we had, then we wouldnt have this one. Can you really choose one over the other? Can you say, I wish things had been different? Because if not for this, then we wouldnt have that ..... I guess thats a rabbit hole no one really needs to fall down. No sense in driving yourself crazy over something that doesnt make sense anyways.
We will name her Gabrielle, which is a feminine of Gabriel. Gabriel was a messenger from God, and in a way maybe our little girl is too. She sends the message that with every storm comes peace, and no matter how much rain falls, sometimes you get a rainbow too.