Does Painful Loss Really Get Any Easier Over Time?

October marks Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month and every October for the past few years, I’ve dedicated the entire month to posting about my experiences with loss and helping other people in similar situations.

As I’m preparing for the upcoming month, which is also my birthday month, I’m constantly reminded of fall. You see, I used to love fall and I still do in some ways. I mean, hello, my birthday? That’s always a plus. Pumpkin spice ever-ree-thang? Another bonus. And come on, Halloween and I get to steal Bear’s candy without him noticing (too much)? Hells yeah!

I’m also reminded with each fall, what will inevitably await me in December – Ethan’s birthday.

Five years ago, around this time, I was pregnant with him. I say I was close to the second trimester but not quite there yet. It was a rather uneventful pregnancy. Got the morning sickness, was struggling with my body changing, and broke out into a horrible case of PUPPPS.

At the time I was a pretty big girl so my OB was concerned about any weight gain I would have. Fortunately for both of us, we found out I tend to lose weight during my pregnancies (I lost 25 with Ethan and yes, I ate a ton).

Everything was fine.

And then, everything wasn’t fine.

I’ll go into detail later about what led to his premature birth and death and why I’m such an advocate for the cerclage (in any form). Now, I just need a moment to reflect.

I talk to Ethan a lot. Maybe not as much as I used to but I definitely talk to him at least once a week. I feel his spirit in my home and sometimes I see different forms of him in quick flashes. The other night, I swore I saw a toddler standing up, wearing a white onesie. At first I thought it was Bear but he was on the bed, asleep. It occurred to me it was Ethan.

I’m five years out from my loss and honestly, I’m struggling to wonder if it’s truly gotten better. I’ll admit the first year really, truly fucking sucked. There’s no eloquent way of putting it. As we celebrate Bear’s achievements and be in awe at his growth, a part of us will always feel like we should’ve done this already. We should have two kids in preschool. I should be juggling with two kids, getting them fed, bathed, and limit their iPad time.

I should be. But I’m not.

And I know some of you who follow this blog are probably thinking, ‘Well, it’s a good thing you’re about to TTC again so you get to have that opportunity!’ Well, no. TTC isn’t a guarantee there’s going to be a baby; just a lot of sex (not that’s a bad thing, mind you). Furthermore, it’s not the same. It’ll never be the same.

There are times where I’m fine and everything’s okay. And then there are times the grief hits me like a Mack truck and I can’t breathe for five minutes. I feel that’s why we spoil Bear because we didn’t have the opportunity to spoil Ethan.

And maybe that’s why we tolerate Bear’s tantrums a bit more because Ethan didn’t have a chance to throw a fit. And maybe that’s why Bear gets away with sometimes having a Popsicle or pizza for breakfast because that’s all he’s in the mood for and I don’t feel like fighting him.

Maybe…maybe…it is.

I leave this post with a song that really helped me a lot in my grief. I hope one day I’ll meet Mimi and tell her in person how much she’d helped me.

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Second Time Around

Registering the second time around isn’t that exciting.

Let’s get something clear – I’m not pregnant, at least not yet. This is the first official cycle of trying and I’m currently on CD 6. I won’t ovulate for another week or so. I do feel surprisingly confident this time around. I don’t know if it’s the meditation or false hope. I would like to believe I truly think I’ll be pregnant again soon and that’s helping with the nerves.

For those new to this blog, let’s hit you with some terminology I’m going to use within the next several months:

PgAL: Pregnant After a Loss.

PgALL: Pregnant after a Late Loss

Rainbow baby: Baby after a loss

Rainbow pregnancy: pregnancy after a loss

IC: Incompetent (or insufficient) cervix

Cerclage: a stitch that keeps the cervix in tact so a woman can carry to term. This is typically common with IC.

So now we got that out of the way…let’s talk registering for the second rainbow kid.

With Bo, it was easy and not for a reason I like to admit. I still had Ethan’s registry on Amazon and I simply used a lot of that to fill up Bo’s. Yeah, kinda sucks. I don’t necessarily like how convenient it was.

Now, it’s a bit different. The expectation for the first baby is so exciting because it’s really new and fresh. Who doesn’t love picking out baby clothes? Who doesn’t love going to showers and seeing all of the cool little gifts? With the next baby, it’s like…hmm…I already have this. And that. And those. And I probably have too many of those.

Not as fun.

I’m also debating if I should even register. Tradition says a mother should only have one baby shower because she’d have everything else for the other children, which is true. But what if your first baby is a different gender from your next one? Does the same rule apply? What if there’s a bit of a time-lapse between babies (3+ years), does the rule still apply?

Decisions, decisions…

If I get pregnant soon, this baby will be a spring 2016 one. That means I will have to get summer-type onesies like this one.

summeronesie
Available at Amazon, click on the picture!

These were the same onesies I originally picked out for Ethan. Yeah, feeling emotional puffs.

So yeah, that’s where I’m at, emotionally-wise about a registry. In other news, I decided I’ll have another cerclage. I know you’re probably thinking, ‘Um, wasn’t that plan anyway since the last one was so successful?‘ Well, I’m stubborn. I vividly remember all of the doctor’s appointments (three of them monthly) and the cerclage recovery (which wasn’t that bad, other than I had to stay inside the house for a week). A part of me wondered if I really wanted to go through all of that again? I have a toddler now and it’s never a dull moment with him. Each appointment I go to, Bear will come with me. Keeping a toddler entertained in a waiting room? Hah. That’s going to be fun.

And then I received some clarity.

I’m part of a IC group on Facebook. While I don’t post as much as I used to, I do remain to lend my support and give advice to other moms in the group. Two moms recently lost their sons; one of them being her third loss.

I remember the devastation of losing Ethan and can still recall it like if it just happened yesterday. There is absolutely nothing worse than to bury your child. Nothing. Nothing can compare and nothing won’t compare. Why in the hell would I even want to risk putting myself through that again?

So, I’m getting another cerclage. I’m also getting another c-section. Meh…I’ll share my feelings on that in another post. I’m not advocating for a VBAC (nor do I want) but major surgery is a little iffy on me. Maybe my feelings will change again soon.

So it’s been a long while.

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A really long time.

Like I think this blog was in blogging purgatory, not quite hell but far from heaven.

Anyhoo, I’m going to dust off this blog and restart it again. Instead of playing catch up, I’ll just start afresh. I’m going to talk about life with a rambunctious toddler, that SAHM thing I’m still getting used to (though I consider myself a WAHM), and my apprehension of going through another cerclage and c-section (not pregnant but will try again soon!)

I hope you all have been wonderful and great! xoxoxo

My Saving Grace

There is something innately unnatural about burying a child. Like it really goes against God’s plan and all laws of nature.

This Friday marks the second angelversary of Ethan going to heaven. I can vividly recall that entire day – going into labor at 2:30 in the morning, and fighting the labor the entire day until 5:30 that night when Ethan appeared on his own. It was then I learned I had incompetent (now diagnosed as insufficient) cervix and would require a cerclage and bed rest for all subsequent pregnancies.

Supposedly IC affects only 1% of all pregnancies though I beg to differ. I know many, many women who have suffered the same fate as me; in some cases, worse with many women having several losses. No parent should ever have to bury their child. It’s a surreal feeling – knowing I should have an 18-month old toddler and I don’t.

IMG_0333
I was about 16 weeks pregnant with Ethan in this picture.

I remember the days after Ethan’s passing were a fog. My mind convinced me that it was a nightmare and that I was never pregnant and for a while, I believed it. (I learned later this is a coping mechanism.) I lost a couple of friendships, one being 30+ years, and some other friends and family members I have no desire to talk to. A friend who I thought had my back through thick and thin, admitted he kept his distance from me because he couldn’t handle my grief. As a result, I terminated the friendship. (Funny how said person is trying to get back into my good graces now that Bo is here.) My brother (yeah, that brother) used a bullshit excuse of ‘not knowing what to say’ for an entire year and decided it was better to avoid than to acknowledge (now can y’all see why I want absolutely nothing to do with him ever?)

I felt (and still feel) abandoned by both sets of parents – mine and M’s – as they refuse to talk about Ethan or count him in the number of grandchildren they have. A lot of the time, it feels like I’m the only one who cared that I had a son before Bo. Both grandparents are proudly showing off pictures of Bo in their home but not a single one of Ethan. I decided who ever comes over to my home is going to see a picture of Ethan. He’ll be in a frame and along with other pictures of friends and family. It’s my home and if seeing a picture of an angel baby bothers them, they can get the fuck out and not come back.

Tragedy brings out the very best and worst in people. You will quickly learn who cares and who doesn’t. Some people can’t handle grief for reasons only they know while others embrace it. I guess I was so used to unexpected deaths from friends and family, I was able to deal with Ethan’s death head on. It wasn’t easy, though. I can vividly recall the day after Ethan’s funeral, I attempted suicide. I had a note written out and I cut up both arms with a very sharp knife, waiting for M to come home so he could discover my body in the living room. It was then I decided to seek treatment from a therapist.

Caring for Bo has been a challenge. For a while I thought I was suffering from postpartum depression and maybe I do have a mild form of it. I talked to other angel mom friends of mine about my feelings – why I’m feeling sadness when this beautiful moment just occurred. They all expressed the same thing – they were dealing with their rainbows milestones and big moments when they should’ve celebrated their angel’s milestones.

It makes sense. You would always wonder about the ‘what ifs’ and ‘could’ve beens’ instead of what actually happened. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve wondered if Ethan would’ve been a fussy baby like Bo or what type of child he would’ve grown up to be. Would he be into art? Would he like sports? What about European football? Would he be a cool kid or a geek? What type of girl would he be into?

It’s sad. What hurts about infant loss is that you’re robbed of the opportunity to know what could’ve been and nothing will ever make it better. It gets easier over time. You smile more before you cry. I can look back at my pregnancy with Ethan and smile fondly. But I’ll always wonder what could’ve been. No matter how many children I’ll have, I’ll always long for the one that never came home.

Remembering Ethan

 

Scream

This kid is stubborn.

So it’s been almost two weeks since my cerclage was removed and well, I’m still very much pregnant. It wasn’t too bad except for when I suddenly fell sick. I didn’t think it was a big deal but apparently my OB did. I saw him today and he checked me. The good news: Yoda is still locked and loaded. The bad news: He’s not low enough to warrant an induction.

angry-cat-fuck-this

Yeah…

See, I asked him if Yoda could be induced on his due date (18th). Well, my OB had other news for me:

I don’t want you going past the 14th.

 

Granted, my reaction was pretty appropriate:

2359913-are_you_serious_bro_22

 

Yoda’s head is already measuring 41 weeks. His body is measuring over 39 weeks. Combined with me being sick suddenly and my blood pressure being unusually high, my OB was very concerned about me going 40 weeks. In short, the longer Yoda is inside, the sicker I become. 

Twisted.

Whether I’ll be induced or have a c-section, it doesn’t matter at this point. I just want my son alive and healthy. That is all.