In the weeks after Sophia died I scoured the net for information on stillbirth, all the causes, the stats, etc etc. I devoured the stories of people who had gone through such a loss and somehow survived it, and better yet, those who went on to have other children. I remember one night reading the story of Julie who lost a son to placental abruption and a year later lost another son the same way. The night I read that story I cracked. The Band was out and our quite nice wine selection beckoned. It was me, The Guv, a bottle (or two) of wine, a bunch of photos and one of Sophia's teddys flopped on the couch listening to my depro music playlist and wailing. The thought, the reality that this can happen again was too much for me. It is unbearable.
Pregnancy after loss is no simple matter. I think the cause of the loss could make a difference, to some extent, as would the timing of the loss. So, for example, if you miscarried at 10 weeks you'd probably be most anxious til then, and after the 10 week mark you may be able to relax a little. But so many of us lose our babies at term. Then there is no relaxing.
Today I am 29 weeks pregnant.7 weeks to go until The Kernel makes her way into the fresh air. This has been the most emotionally exhausting time of my life. Living in fear is one hell of a thing.
Last night I had my now all-too-familiar recurring nightmare. The one where I dream that I go to the bathroom and there's blood. I've lost count of how many times that dream has recurred. But every time it is so, so real. So vivid. In the dream I knew full well that I had 7 weeks to go. I knew when last I had felt baby kick. And then somewhere along the line I woke myself up and the relief flooded in. Relief mixed with nausea.
I'm having plenty nightmares lately. Not all baby-related. But that one, because it is so so real and because I have already lived it out in real life and, obviously, because it is the reenactment of my worst fear, is the worst.
I wouldn't trade this pregnancy for anything in the world. I am grateful beyond words for the opportunity to be a mom to another little girl. I thank God for every kick. I am all too aware that there are thousands or perhaps millions of women who'd give anything at all to be pregnant right now. That all being said, this is the toughest thing I've ever done.
The other day I was stuck in a meeting and baby wasn't moving. The meeting dragged on and on and nothing. Eventually I was downright dizzy with fear. You start playing out scenarios in your head:
What would I literally do? Do you wait a little longer? Do you phone the gynae? Do you head straight to the nearest hospital?
By the time she finally kicked again I was overs. Sat in my office and bawled. Relief, exhaustion, fear.
In 7 weeks time I wonder what'll happen. Will I just fall asleep after she's born out of sheer exhausted relief of being able to breathe again for the first time in 8 months? Or will this fear continue. Will I stare at her all day long. Checking to see that she's breathing.
I long for the day that I'm no longer defined by loss, failure, tragedy - even if only in my own mind. For the day that it feels like The Kernel has always been around and we can hardly imagine a time that she wasn't there.
Shoh... as I wrote the above paragraph I started writing "Sophia" before changing it to The Kernel.
That is the other part of all this, of course. The grieving which has to some extent been put on hold. ("Must be in a good head space"). That will also flood back with a vengeance at some point.
I miss her.
Please pray for this little one. She is small for her age... nothing to worry about, and within a healthy growth curve, but obviously I am worried anyway.