I Used It So Much I Broke It – Friday September 30th

As previously and frequently mentioned, I am pretty obsessive about my worries. Sometimes I even surprise myself at the tenacity of my fretting. My dentist just commented on the grinding marks on my teeth, and I usually can’t sleep more than 3 hours at a time without waking up and worrying.

Recently though- like in the past two weeks- I’ve worried just a little bit less. As I reach the 30 week mark, I feel less crazed about every pang. Now I worry about the regular stuff (holy crap what am I doing, I don’t even know how to change a diaper, we never went to South America, etc) that pre-moms worry about. Suddenly I’m able to recall the soothing pieces of advice and predictions that my psychic gave me several months ago. She said that I won’t be able to rush the big changes that are on my horizon. That no matter how hard I try to push forward, things will progress at their own pace. I can’t worry constantly about something if in the back of my little brain I actually trust that everything is going to be ok.

One of the girls in our support group told us this would happen. She said it’s like you just get so tired of worrying that you give up and let yourself have a good time.

Just a couple weeks ago I heard myself laughing, and it sounded really genuine. Really like myself. I still feel choked a lot by my sadness, but I think I broke my worrying bone. It’s more of a hairline fracture. I can still use it, but I have to move it gingerly now.

It’s also hard to worry because I’m so busy pawing at my own thick luxurious hair. I stare at it in the mirror a lot, and
pet it creepily. I don’t mean to, but my hands have a mind of their own. Sometimes when I’m driving I pretend that I’m looking in the review mirror but I’m really looking at my hair. So, maybe I’m just calmer because my hair looks awesome.

Status Update- Monday September 26th

I haven’t been publishing very much lately, although I write almost every day. I just am so personally bored by my own feelings I feel guilty subjecting my readings to them. So, for today I thought I’d just give a run down of the facts and see where that leads.

1. Number of weeks: 26. We’re getting very close to the safety zone and feeling more confident. My brain seems to have finally exhausted itself from fretting, so I’m able to be more enthusiastic about a baby really arriving and coming home with us. We started getting the baby’s room organized and are both reading baby books. Ramona has been napping more in preparation for her new duties as baby guard dog.

2. How I Feel Physically: Surprisingly shitty. My round ligament pain continues to be pretty oppressive. My giant belly causes me back pain and prevents me from shaving my legs. My atrophying muscles leave me with a haunting phantom pain…like someone who lost a limb, only I lost my manly biceps. Complaining about my physical symptoms makes me have occasional teary melt downs, because I wish I was a blissful pregnant lady. I don’t let it get me too far down though, because I don’t think my baby is going to hold it against me. On the upside, my skin and hair look lovely! If they weren’t attached to a gigantically fat head, I could totally be a model.

3. What’s The Baby’s Name?: We don’t know. There are a lot of names we really like, but I don’t think we’ve found her name yet.

4. How’s Living With Your Parents Going?: It’s actually going well. It’s been really easy so far and we’re enjoying having the support. As much as I sometimes get my hackles up over people being protective, in the end it does make me feel more secure and I think takes some pressure off of Tom when he’s away at school. Also, the suburbs are a dream sleeping environment for an insomniac- no screaming drunks, no ambulances, no honking cars. Pretending to be neat and tidy housekeepers might end up actually turning us into real neat and tidy housekeepers, but I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up.

Well that’s all I got so far. Baby Girl is kicking and kicking, which I think is a signal that she wants a peanut butter and Nutella sandwich.

One More – Tuesday September 20th

Every week a nurse comes to my office to give me a shot of Progesterone (I get the P17 shot), check my vitals and check the baby’s vitals. It’s a nice 15 minutes where I get to purge all my worries and chit chat about my various body functions with someone who is both interested and soothing. Yesterday we were sitting in an empty room at work listening to the baby’s heart beat, and I heard something.

Or more accurately, I didn’t hear something.

I looked at my nurse but she wouldn’t meet my eyes. I didn’t hear it again. The baby had skipped two heart beats. “Did you hear that?” I finally asked.

“Yes, I heard it. It’s very common and usually something that corrects itself upon delivery” she replied, almost TOO calm. “I don’t want you to worry too much, but I’m going to call your doctor and let him know.” She took away the sonogram and wiped the clear gel from my belly.

“Ok, I won’t worry. I’m really too busy about the baby staying in to cook long enough. I don’t have the mental capacity to worry about her little heart too.” I gave a hollow sounding bark of a laugh.

“Good. Okay. I’ll call your doc, he might have you come in to monitor the heartbeat or do an ultrasound of the heart, but really this is very very common.” She started packing up her things in earnest and I tried out my new mantra:
I’m not worrying. I’m not worrying.

I called my support system of women who would make sure I did the right thing: My mother, my sister in law, and my best friend. The followed my lead and acted calm, but I could sense the concern in their voices. All three gently insisted I go see the doctor, all three would hold me to it. They knew that I’d try and make light of the situation. It’s been easier keep my head buried in the sand than to consider the possibilities of disasters.

About 15 minutes after she left my doctor’s office called. I told them that while I wasn’t worried, but I had already told my mother that we heard two dropped heartbeats. The nurse laughed and said “well we better bring you in to give your mother some peace of mind!”

We scheduled a non-stress test for that afternoon (a non-invasive test to monitor the baby’s movement, heartbeat, etc). Then, I started worrying. After a few more minutes I started WORRYING. I worried about my job, my family, my husband, my child, my friends…I worried that more bad news would destroy them all over again. I worried about that little sweet girl growing inside of me, maybe in pain, maybe scared.

The test was a cinch. They just hooked a monitor up to my belly and listened to the baby for an hour. They didn’t observe anymore abnormalities and sent me home until my next appointment. In celebration, baby girl spent the afternoon and evening marching back and forth in my belly.

I laid awake in bed with my hands over my stomach feeling her roll and pitch like a little boat in the sea. I was so grateful for another day. One more day with her cooking safely inside of me. One more day closer to meeting this precious person.

24wks 5days – Wednesday September 14th

Today is the last day that my pregnancy will be a link to Tommy Jr. I am 24 weeks and 5 days- this is the day I went into labor with my darling Baby Boy. Tomorrow, Baby Girl and I will start a whole new adventure- one that’s just hers and mine. As the younger sister of two high achieving brothers, I know sometimes it’s fun to have something that’s just yours alone and not overshadowed by what your brothers did. Tommy Jr will always be a part of our family, and will be her big brother, but these next couple of months are going to be all new for everyone.

I brought my mom to my ultra-sound today. I was nervous to have her see me so nervous…I guess I’ve kidded myself into thinking that my family and friends think I’m calm and hopeful. The whole drive downtown I heard myself talking loudly and braying with laughter at the slightest joke. I did strange things like refused to double check the floor number or where the parking garage was- that bought me a few extra minutes. Eventually we found ourselves in the darkened room. Then there was that moment in every ultrasound where I think- is this the point where I have to confront disaster?

This appointment was disaster-free. It was even happiness-full.

It was nice having my mom there with me. She was excited and happy and had fun…it’s pretty impossible to be really scared when the person you’re with is having a ball. Tom and I are cautiously optimistic about our daughter reaching full term. My mother is matter-of-factly optimistic, and it sort of felt like a relief to let that rub off on me.

So here we are, somewhere completely different. I didn’t expect the arrival and passing of this day to be so visceral. October 28th I’ll be 30 weeks pregnant, and I think everything will change again. 30 weeks is safety, and with safety I hope some relief from the undercurrent of fret that hums just below my skin.

It’s almost bedtime now. I made it past today. I just have to go to bed and wake up every day until October 28th. Then I’ll figure out what to do next.

Welcome To The Zone- Tuesday September 6th

Welcome to the high-anxiety zone! Here you will find every twinge, every hunger pang, every fart to be cause for great alarm! It is a magical place where you demand that everyone freak out as much as you are, then criticize these same people for thinking you can’t take care of yourself! Your friends and family will undoubtedly find this very charming and sweet. This is so undoubted that you might as well not bother asking anyone how neurotic and annoying you’re being, you should just assume everyone loves it!

Take this time to try and force long detailed discussions about vaginal discharge and bowel movements on such eager participants as your dad, the Fed Ex guy, and any co-worker foolish enough to dial your extension. Remember to rage on these same people if they don’t give you the exact right response. Demand that your husband take you to Homer’s for cheese fries and homemade ice cream, then whine the whole way home that you’ll probably get gestational diabetes because he’s so damn indulgent. When he suggests eating healthy, accuse him of thinking you’re fat.

The high-anxiety zone will allow you to feel completely put upon when your friends want to make plans with you, and completely left out when they stop calling. Blame the former on them not understanding what you’re going through, and the latter on them not understanding what you’re going through. If your friends have babies, act very creepy around them: insist on holding them way too long, stare into their eyes and whisper “you’re MY baby, I love you the MOST”, change their diapers and clothes when their mother isn’t looking and imply that you did it because you and the baby have a special way of communicating.

When you feel a twinge in your belly, tell everyone around you to SHUT UP while you try and figure out what it is. Further assume that no one minds that you do this, especially when on conference calls for work or in line at the Gap. When the twinge turns out to be loud and malodorous gas, expect everyone to praise you for passing it.

Know that the high-anxiety zone is finite, and that by week 30 (October 28th) it will be safe to feel more relaxed. Know that most of your friends will forgive you, and that your family is healthfully ignoring most of your antics. Be relieved that your husband’s love is so unconditional.

Why We Do It- Monday September 5th

We write our blogs because we don’t know what else to do. The pain of loss feels like it’s cooking our insides and dissolving our souls. We recall the dramatic images we used in our teen aged diaries. Now we understood the phantom pain we felt during puberty. It was a warning, a conditioning- our pubescence was practice for our gory adulthood.

“I can’t even understand what you’re going through” you say, as a matter of comfort. So we keep writing, keep tearing ourselves open, hoping that you’ll understand if we say it just the right way.

We watch with unsurprised horror while you show us how much you don’t understand. We hear you talk about us to other friends, expressing sympathy and murmuring praise for our strength. But you want us all better and you want us to be the same people we were before. Our tears make you excited and uncomfortable.

Time passes slower than we expected. We remember other people dear to us suffering tragedy and feel guilty because we didn’t understand. None of understand pain until we understood it. Then we tried to write more.

Our firsts posts about happiness makes us feel guilty. We think our little ghosts cry in agony at our happiness. The first few incidents are followed by a depression almost darker than the few weeks right after our babies died. As much as we needed to move on, we didn’t want to. We couldn’t stop ourselves it seemed, even with drugs and alcohol and self indulgence…we were going to move on instead of dying. Although sometimes we just wanted to die.

In our blogs was a secret world. They were as dark and horrible as we wanted to be, but we were afraid of what our friends and coworkers and family would say. We hated to scare people, but you said yourself you couldn’t understand. So we hid it away on our blogs, and we knew the people who didn’t want to be near our pain would be satisfied with our fake smiles and hollow laughter.

Eventually some of us got pregnant again. We didn’t know what to say on our blogs, where so many of us struggled with infertility or were still mourning empty arms. We didn’t know how to feel ourselves about the new life inside of us- better not to be too hopeful, not to get too attached. This time our hearts were weaker and they might not heal another time.

We just keep writing, because we don’t know what else to do.

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