Our Lexington baby shower had to be postponed from mid-April to May 18 due to some scheduling complications. I did not realize the significance of the May 18 date, and now it is giving me fits of anxiety. According to ultrasound dating and a weird sense of foreshadowing, I lost my first baby on that Saturday one year ago. Today was the day I went in for my first ultrasound scan, where we measured an embryo that was growing behind schedule and had a heart rate that was not exactly where it should be. I left that appointment in tears, knowing deep down that this was not going to end well.
I spent all this weekend fretting over the Chicken and whether or not history would repeat. Why does my belly hurt? Is it from coughing for weeks or is it a sign of something worse? Is my placenta ok? Is the cord still firmly attached? Why has baby not moved much in the past few hours? I am ashamed to admit that I’ve used the doppler every day for the past three days. Last night the heart rate was lower than usual and Chicken did not kick the doppler like he/she usually does. This morning the heart rate was back up but there was still no doppler kicking. My heart sank as I wiped more jelly off my belly and drove into the office. As I’m typing this I’ve had several bursts of movement from the Chicken, each one makes me breathe a little easier knowing that Chicken is still there… for the moment.
Had I realized the significance of the coming weekend, I don’t think I would have chosen it for the shower. That said, I am looking forward to the distraction. I am also taking strange comfort in knowing I will not be alone.
During my miscarriage I suffered largely in silence, shutting out everyone around me. I talked to my mom briefly and one friend in Birmingham, and that was it. I spent weeks wrapped up in my grief, blogging like a lunatic and hiding from all humans. I kept my office door shut and to this day, no one at work has acknowledged my loss.
At 33 weeks pregnant, I realize that if something were to go south with this pregnancy, there would be no real way to hide from it. Knowing that I’ll have a house full of the people who mean the most to me this weekend gives me a morbid sense of peace. My dear friends from college are driving 8 plus hours to celebrate with us. Our sweet little cat loving friends in Indiana are driving 6+ hours with their 5 month old. The Professor’s mom is flying in from Arizona. Friends from Georgia are joining and our amazing friends in Lexington are going way beyond the call of duty to put it all together.
It makes me feel a little better to know that we’ll be wrapped in so much love this weekend. Despite this, I am still terrified. Terrified that there is never a guarantee your baby will come home until you walk in the door together. Terrified of the flashback moments I’ve been experiencing since the weekend. Terrified that we’ll be faced with unprecedented sadness yet again.
And then there is an undercurrent of joy. This time last year a pregnancy was struggling to hang on. As far as we can tell, this year is the complete opposite, with a healthy baby beating the shit out of my organs and ribs daily. This is most definitely a reason to celebrate and hang on to hope. Still, the conflicting emotions are complicated, as I struggle to celebrate the new, while still acknowledging the trials of the past.