I have been thinking, for a long time, how to tell you this.
I’ve huddled this news within myself, stuffed it back into my mouth every time I begin to open my mouth; and withdrew my fingers each time I reached out to find the words on the keyboard.
This used to be easy, joyful news to share. But not anymore. Anytime I broach this topic, it is plastered all over with maybe, if, perhaps, MAYBE.
Yes, I am with child.
I found out in May. There had always been the question of when to tell? After a loss, babylost mamas know that it does not really matter when you tell– the thing is, when lightning might strike, and if you duck in time. You can wait till 12 weeks- that supposedly safe period after which no one should have a miscarriage- but that is no longer how I see a pregnancy. A baby can die anytime. He can die during labor. He can die while being born. He can die minutes after birth. Or weeks after. Or months after. The telling is perhaps not as difficult as the un-telling. The My baby died part, that is the hardest part. Or the trying to make it through life after your baby died. I can’t decide. It just is all freaking hard.
So why did I wait “so long”? Scared. Expecting bad news any second, at every turn. Afraid that once I tell it will all crumble to dust. I just want to go live in a cave until this baby is born, alive and safe. Most of my family will not know until after this baby is born. At one point I strongly felt I wanted to wait until after Ferdinand’s anniversary. — Not that it really makes any difference to what had happened. Just a feeling. Again, not that picking a certain time to tell will assure miracles. I guess I just feel I need some time to pass before I tell. And I know for some of you, this is not easy news to take…
And I have a lot to process. I don’t know how to explain, how to present, how to string into words– how it feels like to be mourning and rejoicing at the same time. It is very conflicting, this happiness that is canceled out by sorrow; this joy that is quickly taken over by hurt. I am grateful that I managed to get pregnant again, and then I feel afraid (scared to shit are the right words here) that it may happen, yet again.
There is one thing I want to share. One night during the week of supposed-implantation, I woke up suddenly because I felt a very warm feeling spreading across my chest area. It started on the left side and moved steadily across my entire chest area. Immediately I felt it was because a soul is entering me, making headways into the womb. I cannot explain why, but it was just an instinct. I looked around the room and thought I saw a spot of blurry white near the door. I closed my eyes and fell back to sleep again, certain that a baby soul had entered me. This is a weird thing to share. I know you are looking at me funny. But I just gotta tell it.
Below are notes I wrote from when I found out… … (only if you wanna read)
you have been asking, pretty often- “When will we have a baby?” and saying, pretty often too, “When we have another baby… …”
Unbeknownst to you, a baby is on the way. It is just four weeks in the making. Four weeks. The new life is barely a milimeter, but it is how life starts. Small. Delicate. With potential. of all sorts.
I am scared. Yet I also feel fearless, and determined. I am deeply in love already, giddy all over and grateful and hysterical. I wanted to grip you this morning and tell you, “We have a baby! We have a baby! We have a baby!” But, playing the “better be safe” game, I am going to keep mum about it for a while. How long? I don’t know. There is the logistics of when i will go see the OB and then do I dump you someplace; or do I let you come with me and hear all the baby talk? If I miscarry, do I tell you? Or do I bury the whole thing? and forge on again?
How will I walk this journey? This 36 weeks that stretch out ahead? I squint and try to see to the end of the meandering path; try to see a live, kicking baby at the end of it. Frankly, i cannot see anything. With all those turns and twists and switchbacks, I cannot see to the end. My eyeballs cannot leap out of their sockets and peep around the corner. But, as they say, every great journey starts with the first step. So, I walk.
How will I walk this journey? I do not know, my dear girls. I only know I have you two precious gems with me. I know I have people who gladly walk along. But, how will I walk? The innocence is lost. Yet, I have to admit that when I found out, I was still giddy and full of grins, like an idiot. The very next second I was scared. But I grew strong the very next next second. I did not grow weak. If demons reach out and try to grab me, I am going to fight them, teeth and claw. I told some people, I refuse to let Fear come and take over. I will fight them. Fear will creep up from behind, in stealth, but I will spin around and BOO them. Yes, I want this baby very much.
I realize that how I walk this journey this time will have some impact on how you deal. So, I will falter. i will fumble and I will weep. But I will always keep my spine strong and walk as gracefully as possible. I still hope it can be fun, like it was the last time. But I guess it will be different. I cannot make any promises, except that i am going to try my damn darnest utmost best.
Little one dearest,
you are still here with me. Every day as the day dissipates and no worrying signs make their appearance, I am so grateful. I wish i can find that crank-handle of the time machine and crank it up.
I know a few other mamas carrying little ones in them. All mamas who had previous losses. I think of them all the time, thinking of the lives within them. I think of the second their babies would come to them, bursting into the world, shaking the air violently with their lusty cries. It makes tears come into my eyes, to imagine these mama friends holding their little ones in their arms. It makes for a tingly feelings in my arms, and i wonder if I will get to hold you.
Tomorrow, we are five weeks out. Stay with me.
Because there are no symptoms yet and I usually get sick around 7 weeks, and because I had a loss I am insecure about this one. I think what I have in there is a shovel.
Tomorrow I will be 6 weeks. It made me smiled to think of it. which makes me feel silly.
I tell myself, “You are such an idiot.”
You know that each day forward brings you one day further away from the beginning, but it does not mean one day nearer to your “goal”; your wish, your dream and your yearning for a living baby.What it means is that another day has gone by, and I should ask myself, did I spend it well? It is hard to live with the idea that it is not so fruitful to keep craning one’s neck forward to the future; fast-forwarding to a future point does not mean success. It is what we do with the mean time that matters the most.
So hard. So hard not to dwell. So hard not to crane forward.
I went to an astrological reading last night. It was kinda like a party for frazzled moms who are bleary-eyed and no longer can see beyond that mountain of stinky laundry that is blocking the entrance/exit to the house. There was a time when I would read my astrological forecast religiously every night, so I would be ready for what the following day would bring.
Well, they never came true. Tsk.
But last night, I wanted to go out and play. So I went.
ok, honestly, I wanted to know something.
I asked her, after hearing some dead-on stuff she told the other women, “Will we move?” And she shook her head.
“Not this year, hon. I see that energy moving more in 2009 to 2010.”
Dang. I mean, DANG!
Then she asked about that Leo in my life, my husband. When is his birthday? And then she said, “I see a baby boy in his chart. Oh my! He will have a mini-me! Do you and your husband want more children?”
“OOooooooooo….kkkkkaaaaaaayyyy! You. are. gonna. have. a. baby. boy.”
I dared not look but I knew everyone in the room was smiling. I felt A reached over and squeezed my shoulder. I tried not to cry or to scream. I tried not to believe. I wanted to believe. I wanted to bring incense and offer her flowers and fruits and gold and jewelry, to make sure that this is true, that it is not going to change. I almost wanted to make her promise, a living baby boy. But I can’t. I just nodded, and I smiled.
But I really wanted to cry.
The thing is, how come she did not know that I already have a little soul in me?
7 weeks. Time seemed to have flown by.
Working on a translation assignment helped. Planning for Val’s birthday party helped.
Not thinking about the pregnancy gave me some sanity.
I am not paranoid. Really, not. Even though I feel I should be… … it’s almost like if I am not paranoid, i am not being responsible, i do not want this baby enough.
But I do.
I start to get a bit queasy. A bit tired. But still manageable.
I think of how it has been a long time since I wrote Ferdinand a “letter”, but we’ve been talking everyday.
Somehow, I think the girls have an inkling that I am pregnant. They look at my belly suspiciously. They say out of the blue, “Maybe there is a baby in there!” I just keep silent. We will only tell them after we see a heartbeat. Of course, there is no guarantee. When we choose to tell is really a random choice, no matter how we rationalize it.
First prenatal on Wednesday. Excited and nervous.
Also feeling weird keeping this news private for so long.
But I really just feel like going to live in a cave… until this baby is born alive and healthy. I loathe the idea of being seen pregnant in the public ever again; don’t want questions or anything. I hate it, esp because I tend to get very big. And most people seem only to have idiotic things to say about a big belly.
Also feel odd because in the bereaved circle, I mean, those whom I read, news of pregnancy have been breaking. Almost feels wrong to keep my news to myself, but I just feel like doing it this way.
Nine weeks. We’ve made it to nine weeks. It feels so incredible.
This week the placenta grows, starts supplying nutrients to the baby.
I thought of my failed placenta. Calcified and monstrous-looking. I did not want to see it. I felt repulsed, and disgusted. Angry that it betrayed and let the baby die.
I hope this placenta will be better. Please, please, please… …
We’ve let the girls into the news, because it was hard to keep it much longer from them. With each passing day, they pressed harder for an answer to that inkling that had been possessing them.
Both of them were so thrilled, especially Val.
Of course, they said things like, “I hope this baby will not die.”
They ask me often, “Is baby still ok, mommy?”
What can I say? — “I think so.”; “I hope so.”
I wish I can just say, “YES! Baby is ok! Baby is doing phenomenal! YES!! Baby is going to be born ALIVE!!!”
want to believe, want to believe, want to believe. Scared to death, but still want to believe.
The girls keep asking, “Is baby still ok?”; “Is baby still alive you think?”
The girls keep saying, “I hope baby doesn’t die.”; “One baby dying is already sad enough, right, Mom??”
Out of the blue this evening Sophia said, “I am feeling sad, Mom.”
“Because Ferdinand died.”
I hugged her, told her I am extremely sad too.
And then I decided to introduce the concept of reincarnation. I told them maybe Ferdinand is coming back again. I told them what I believe and that they can make their own decisions about what to believe.
Val had tears in her eyes. “I hope it is Ferdinand again. How will we know?”
“You will know it right in your heart, darling.”
Tired, in every sense of the word.
Sophia keeps asking, “Is baby ok?” I have to keep replying, “I think so… I hope so…”
And the house is coming to shreds and really I don’t give much of a shit.
Stay with me, little one.
12 weeks tomorrow, will we see a heartbeat?
I would really like to see a heartbeat.
Although, it just lets me know that I am this far along, it does not guarantee anything for me. Not a safe passage to the end of the pregnancy; not a safe delivery, not a live baby… no more guarantees.
Pregnancy after a loss sucks big time.
But I hold Hope, in defiance.
Heartbeat 150. Active, alive. He said, “I’m here. Hi again.”
Emotional. I know it is him again.
Now I can collapse. I need rest. The road ahead is still so long. One step at a time. Gingerly. Hopefully.
I looked at the ultrasound pictures. They are grainy, and blurred.
Suddenly I thought, “These are just images… perhaps not real.”
I feel as if the baby will just fade away, like old photos…
Two days ago, that image on the screen made it all real to us, and then now, it feels like a dream.
It feels like walking in a mine field.
Who knows when shit happens.
The doppler arrived yesterday and we were able to find a heartbeat after some fumbling around. Music, beautiful music. R asked if I felt better, having the doppler?
“Yes, for a few seconds.”
He sighed. Rolled his eyes.
He seems more optimistic than I am; more relaxed than when we first found out.
Life and death, a mere breath apart. How can I just relax and let go?
Yet, what else can I do but just let go? It is just one breath. And it is not for me to decide.
Stay with me, please.
yesterday S came to gym class with her 3-week-old baby. She was sleeping in the car-seat. Tiny, sweet, tender, fresh, so cute, content, sleeping.
I smiled; such a tiny little miracle.
I also ached. I could have held a baby like this a year ago… he could have been… (gives self mental slap. STOP! No more could-have-been’s and should-have-been’s…. stay in the present! Slap.)
I thought of this little life I am nurturing in me right now. I hope I get to hold him, so sweet, tiny and fresh, in six months time.
I hope, I hope.
Then, S’s friend, all chipper, broke my train of thought by asking, “So, how many children you have?”
“Two, I have two girls.” And S quickly pointed out to her friend the two girls running around in the play area.
“But actually, I have three. The baby boy died last summer.” (in silence)
I felt a bit guilty. But, I cannot bear to just talk about him like that, in a hurry, to a stranger; all I have time to tell will be in three words, “But he died.” He was more than that, is more than that. So, rather than making it so short, quick, brief and shocking, not to mention awkward, I said I have two.
The third I enfold in my heart.
Two fellow bereaved mamas gave birth to their babies over the weekend. Saw photos of sweet, sweet beautiful babies and those just brought tears to my eyes. I just feel so incredibly happy for them.
Gave me hope, and yet, drove home what a great loss all of us deadbabymamas had experienced.
Hope is a slippery thing to hold.
ups and downs; ups and downs. Fear. Hope. Acceptance. Paranoia. Fear. Surrender. Hope.
A crazy swirling cauldron of emotions.
I feel like knocking myself unconscious, to awake at the end of 40 weeks, just in time to push out a screaming, living baby.
Teary and emotional today. Bad omen??
I felt grateful at the end of my yoga and meditation. Blessed. I think for the first time I dare to say I feel blessed with this pregnancy. Despite the fact that there is “this time”, because Ferdinand died. Despite the fact that we have no idea where this is going to head; no idea if lightning will strike, yet again. But today I felt a bit daring and uttered my gratitude for this pregnancy. So grateful.
woke up in a panic this morning- has he died?
found a heartrate with the doppler but it was not convincing.
why do we need 40 weeks to gestate? It is too freaking long. My heart cannot take this, my will weakens at times. My belief sometimes fades.
Last prenatal visit the midwife was getting ready to go over to the hospital to help two women deliver. As we said goodbye she shouted after me, “One day it is going to be you, having your baby.” I turned around and said, “Yes… … I hope so.”
I hope so. Maybe. Perhaps. If. The pregnancy after. Brutal. Like. Shit.
Three births from babylost mamas the last two days. I cannot tell what an awesome feeling it is to hear such news. Such an incredible feeling. You just feel so happy you wanna die.
Of course, I hope my time will come too. Hope, hope, hope.
At last I start to feel some small movements. It is a bit reassuring.
Is it ridiculous to tell your family you had a baby only after it has been born?
Probably. But that’s what we are going to be doing to some of our family.
Sophia likes to kiss my belly now. I am getting huge, people are asking questions. I try to smile, but every time, it makes my skin crawl. Every time I see Sophia’s little hand on my belly, caressing it ever so gently, greeting the baby, my heart aches. She could have been a big sister now. What if this baby dies too? Will she lose faith in me, in life?
Yesterday while I walked away from the pool after handing Val over to her swim teacher, she asked me, “Are you pregnant?” This young teacher, who has forged a strong rel’ship with the two gals. They just love her, and I can see she adores them too. I could not run away and so I nodded.
“Do you know if it’s boy or girl?” (why do they always ask that??)
“Let me know when you find out!”
I sort of gave a half-nod.
I don’t want to tell her. I like her. I respect her. I love this baby inside of me, but I also don’t want to share too much of this baby with anyone else. Is that weird? I just don’t know how to explain this.