Hi there...my last baby died. Just wanted to make sure you know that.
That is basically what my mom wants me to say, to everyone, this pregnancy.
OK, she wants me to say it nicer I suppose, she doesn't like "dead baby" because it makes her uncomfortable. Yeah, makes me uncomfortable, too, but I lived it so I can use it & freak everyone out by it as much as I want. Yes, you should be freaked out & uncomfortable by it. It's awful.
Anyway, before we became pregnant (wow, just wow still) Adam & I said all along we did not want a baby to replace Joel. This baby never will do that.
But you know what I would like? I'd like to not have to live in dead baby mom shadow the rest of my life.
I've been telling people I'm pregnant & honestly, some people in "real life" have acted as though they are, well, disturbed at the thought. They didn't say anything, but the silence said plenty. I mean, don't get me wrong, I don't think these people are unhappy, not by any means. But freaked the fuck out? Totally. And really, I get why. Trust me, I really get it.
As much as I've had times where I felt as though I'd like to wear a t shirt in public that announced "Hi, my baby died" because I feel like I WANT people to know, I do not know how I'm going to live the next 8 months of living in dead baby mom shadow, my own shadow.
It's bad enough I have to worry about the baby dying, again, trust me, it's been in our minds. But I don't want to feel as though people are looking at me like a ticking time bomb. That, just in case, I better get that funeral home guy on my speed dial.
My mom & I had a, uh, interesting talk tonight. I know she is worried & wants the best, but her methods kinda suck. In a 10 minute convo she had me feeling like it was a mistake to tell her so soon & that even though she knows Joel had a medical problem, at the end of the day, she thinks if I'd went to a real life doctor the whole time it would have been caught. Because, you know, doctors have x-ray vision & could have seen inside my belly unlike my midwife. My midwife worked with the info she was given, just as a doctor would have. If I have to explain a midwife one...more...fucking...time...I just might explode. I'm not considered high risk. Yes, even after that happened, because my son had a medical problem. I did not. Nothing about me made my son die. So I'm still just an average pregnant woman. Sure, they will make certain all the parts of this baby work well & continue to work well, but that isn't because of anything about me. The baby will get more monitoring to make sure everything with him stays healthy, but it's nothing about something my body would or could do with him. Otherwise, I get no special treatment.
My mother finds it insane that, again, at a DOCTORS office, I'm going to see midwives. She cannot for the life of her wrap her mind about this fact, that midwives do prenatal care. The woman hasn't been to an OB/GYN in about 5 years, refuses to go even though she's had cancer in the past, yet she wants to tell me this & that about doctor offices in our own home town doing this & that. When I try to explain that friends from our hometown have had babies & only seen & were delivered by midwives, she tells me I'm wrong, there is only like 1 midwife. Again, she's not been there in 5 years, but I don't try to debate it with her.
My mother didn't get why I wasn't going back to Pleasant Valley Hospital because we used him that time & since he wasn't very convenient, she figured that must have meant he was the best doctor in the world. We used him because that's where our midwife knew everyone & knew how we'd be treated. I'm happy we went there when it's all said & done. But this time? Well, I don't want to. That simple. I don't want to drive 45 minutes for every appointment. Adam would never get to go to any with me. At first I thought she was talking about the doctor in Charleston, a specialist who told me I was fine to make babies back in August since we'd kicked around the idea of seeing someone there. I told her on the phone at that point, like I said above, that I didn't want to go to Charleston because I wouldn't see that guy since he doesn't see OB patients anyway, he only does genetic stuff, & there is no reason to drive an hour each way for something I could get in Huntington, &, again, I mentioned how I didn't want Adam to miss things, especially ultrasounds since he'd never be able to go to any.
She then said something that really has me fired up...
"What? Can't you just bring him a picture or something?"
And she said it like that was the most rational solution ever. And me? I was just pissed. Looking back I'm surprised I didn't just flip out. Thank you, zoloft.
Know what haunts me? That at 37 weeks, at the ultrasound where they said Joel had 2 kidneys, they didn't let Adam come back. We had Jules, we thought they'd allow him back since their other office did, but they didn't. Adam missed the whole scan. I got a tape which didn't even record it right. That's it. He missed the last change to see our son alive, to see him grabbing his feet & turning over. It didn't matter then because we were having a baby in a few weeks. We all know how that worked out though.
The thought of just going & bringing him back a picture? Makes me fucking sick. He missed out on that last ultrasound. He was there when we found out Joel was dead. There when he was born. Cried with me every step of the fucking way. Got his testicles re-operated on so we could have a chance of another baby.
...and you just suggested I bring him on a fucking picture? Really? Seriously?
I'm really not angry at my parents for the night we found out we lost Joel...they didn't answer my phone calls for whatever reason when I called. I finally left a message about 4 hours after my first telling them that the baby had died & where I was going the next day to get induced. My mom still beats herself up for it. But at that moment, I really did want to blurt out something good & hurtful like "Well, Adam was actually there for me when the baby died, you were busy at an auction or something, so I think he deserves to be there." But I was nice, I took the higher road. I saved it for this blog.
But back to our great convo. At that point my mother is annoyed that I'm not going somewhere, anywhere, far away. Mind you, I'm using a totally different office & it doesn't involve me dealing with anyone I dealt with my last pregnancy. I told her this, it didn't help. Then I made the mistake of telling her the truth, that their office also had midwives since every single office does anymore. She got upset about that, said I shouldn't have to see any...blah blah blah. She seems to forget that doctors were the ones who assisted us in losing Joel, not a midwife. And in the back of my head I can't help but to wonder if she really believes my choice of a midwife last time around was something that cost Joel his life. I think it's pretty clear she does, she just knows better than to say it. She was never into the midwife idea, this just added fuel to the fire.
And, of course, if I see anyone different & at each appointment, I should remind anyone who deals with me that I'm a dead baby mom. Like go into long details about it. You know, upset myself at every visit & remind myself that this baby could die, too. Mind you, the office I'm going to is small, 3 doctors & 2 midwives I believe. One of the midwives I used my last pregnancy, she had a daughter use a midwife from this place. So I feel really good about it.
Before I never thought babies died...I now know better. Babies die & I'm not immune to it, none of us are.
Like I've said, moving on doesn't mean forgetting. I'll never forget, but I sure as hell want to move on. I don't want looked at like "uh oh, wonder if this baby in her is still alive?!" I don't want to just live in this shitty existence the next 35 weeks of constantly telling people I'm the dead baby mom. I don't want to deny my son, I'd never do that, but I don't want to deny this next child a chance of being seen as more than "the baby they had after the dead one."
And I'll be thinking about the fact that I'm a dead baby mom every day. Oh, will I. I don't need reminded. I don't need told what I can or can't do. I did nothing my last pregnancy I shouldn't have been doing. I was better in that pregnancy than I had been in my first. God help me when my mother finds out I am using a drill to screw something. She got annoyed last time, imagine now since she thinks I'm a dead baby machine basically? She won't stop reminding me, I'm sure. Oh god, heaven help me if I raise my arms above my head. My mother swore that wraps cords around the baby's neck. If she says that stupidity, sorry in advance, but I'll just be blunt & tell her "my dead baby didn't have a cord around his neck, he had a sole kidney that was failing, that had nothing to do with raising my arms." And then she'll get mad because I've been mean to her when she's just showing care, that I think she's stupid, & I'm cruel for talking to her that way.
Well, guess what? Lecturing me how how to act while pregnant so I don't kill my baby is kinda like telling me that's what happened when my last baby died. You may not mean it like that, but that's how I feel.
This pregnancy is going to suck. And for reasons I never even expected. I'll be paranoid, I don't need anyone to add to it. That is just aggravation & drama I don't want to & shouldn't have to put up with.
This is the 422nd way your life changes once you're a dead baby mom. Pregnant again? It's not exciting, you're a ticking time bomb in the eyes of others. And even if they don't say it, you can feel it.
I have a prenatal visit Wednesday. Well, it's a nurse visit. Paperwork, blood test. Poor nurse, has no idea what she's going to be dealing with Wednesday. I may just sit & cry hysterically. Another reason I need Adam with me when possible...I may not be able to make much sense sometimes.
I want to be happy. I don't want to have to be paranoid about telling people. I don't want to have people look at me happy, but their eyes say something else. I don't want people to forget Joel, but I don't want to dwell on his loss at the same time. I'll always miss him, but I don't want that experience to ruin this experience. I'm scared to death. In a few weeks, I'll be getting my very own heart monitor for peace of mind. I want to feel like I'm allowed to be happy, to be excited. Scared, yes, but I don't want to focus on that. I don't want this to be ruined. I'm not one who believes in miracles, but dammit, I"m having to rethink that policy now.
Five months ago I felt very unlucky, the world came to an end in ways. Any tiny bit of innocence we held onto vanished. It's a death like no other. Your mom dies, it will only happen once. You don't have to worry about your future moms dying. Same for other people in your life. Doesn't make it any less tragic, not by any means, but once that happens that's it. You don't have to worry about it happening over & over again, reliving that pain over & over again. It's been said, but there is an order to life...I shouldn't have ever had to plan a funeral for my child. None of us should. But I did. Many of us have & many will in the future.
I do not want my sadness forgotten, but I don't want the next 8 months darkened by its shadow. I don't want this child's life looked at as part of a death. It sounds impossible to separate, but it's actually possible. I've done it. I now have to hope others can as well. I would love to have Joel back. But I want this baby in a totally different way, not as a way to make it hurt less. That will never happen, but right now I feel too lucky to be as sad as I've been many days since May 26th. I will now allow this child's life to be shadowed by the loss of Joel. He'll always be there with us, not as a shadow, but as our 2nd son. This creature in my womb, who we've dubbed Picadilly Fetus after the place we went this weekend, is it's own person. We'll always know that. We'll just have to make sure others do as well. And it starts now, by not allowing his death to cast darkness on the next 8 months. I won't be doing it, nor will I allow others to do it.
Picadilly...nice name, huh? We had The Wookie for Jules, Princess Tugboat for Joel since we were convinced he was a girl for the first 20 weeks, & now Picadilly the Fetus. We're creative like that.
I guess I'll go back to ticking now. That's what us time bombs do, you know, tick.