Friday, 5 April 2013

Milestones and setbacks

Here is the post I wrote yesterday BEFORE seeing my OB:

Halfway. I have officially passed the point where we lost Benjamin. This should encourage more confidence but I still panic at the slightest pain and worry when I think I haven’t feel the little bean move in a while. Lucky for me she is a pretty active little bean and there are plenty of kicks to comfort me.

I attended a Pregnancy After Loss meeting two weeks ago. It opened the floodgates to my grief and a room full of people got to witness the debacle that is me crying. I’m one of the ugliest criers in the world – it’s all gulping and sobbing and streaming, red blotchiness. It must be hard to feel sympathy for a blubbering, snot volcano!

Overall though, it was good to get it out amongst people who understood, were there specifically to hear it and had useful feedback. My major revelation was that I felt like I had less legitimate reason to be grieving than the others, that my grief was less valid because my baby did not go full-term. Technically my loss is called a “miscarriage” on the medical records at least. That is because babies that die before they are 20 weeks are not considered still-born – even though I had to give birth to him, the same way all babies are born.

I will never forget when I asked about claiming the body from the hospital the nurse simply saying I was not “obliged” to give the baby a funeral. She seemed not to understand that I wasn’t even thinking about a funeral, I wanted to take my baby home and it didn’t occur to me that they would not release the body. After some ridiculous bureaucracy was dealt with we were granted permission to receive the body after an autopsy (which we agreed to and still anxiously await the result of).

I never held a funeral or any type of service and I never really considered it, but I have his ashes and I may choose to scatter them privately. Or I might just keep them. That is my right, the very least I am entitled to.

The other thing I learnt was that if I want to get a positive reaction about my pregnancy from friends it’s up to me to convey it as a positive message. It seems so obvious now, but I realise I was “breaking the news” in such doom-filled way that people didn’t know how to react and so followed my lead with a sombre response. This made me feel miserable. So now if I tell someone new, I say it with excitement and omit the disclaimers of “hopefully” and “all going well”.

In short I am actively trying to embrace this pregnancy and “Operation Normalise” is on. I have taken my first bump photo. After we survived the milestone 19 week scan, or to be literal, my baby survived it, I celebrated by buying something for the baby. The fact we know it’s a girl helps. It gives me added incentive to shop as I always used to look longingly at all the lovely girls’ clothes in shops and it seems as though there is always twice as much available for girls as there is for boys.

I have even resigned myself to the fact that my clothes are not fitting anymore and dug out the maternity clothes bag. It is such a relief to wear comfy bras and jeans again! I have now resolved to tell anyone I see or speak to, and am ruminating over a Facebook announcement. The bump is getting too obvious to ignore now anyway.
So that was before seeing my OB. Unexpectedly he had the results from Benjamin’s autopsy – we had been told it could take up to a year so I was not expecting to know anything before this baby was born. The only indication they can find of a cause for death was that the umbilical cord was too long and hyper-coiled, so may have compromised the blood flow. 

I am feeling pretty conflicted about knowing this. In some ways it's good to know it wasn't a genetic problem or something likely to occur again. But also to know such random things can happen makes me feel so nervous that not just that could happen again but any one of a million other things could go wrong. I have gone from being like the majority of the population, thinking “it won’t happen to me” to being a big scaredy hypochondriac-style neurotic, who thinks that every complication is not only possible but likely to happen to me. This extends to my little man too, my mama-bear protective instinct is in hyper-drive and I foresee every possible accident or mishap befalling him. Husby thinks I’m insane I’m sure.

The next PAL meeting isn’t for another month and I don’t know how I’ll feel then. Will I need it, will it make things better or worse? I’ll just see. For now it’s back to embracing the positive and cherishing the kicks my little girl gives me on the inside.

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