19 weeks

I don’t even know how I’m supposed to start writing anything, but I need to write something. I need to say something about my friend before I can say anything about myself, but I still don’t know what to say. I’m angry with the world and I want to do something to help her, but I don’t know what to do. When I told her that I don’t even know what to say, she pointed out that I know there’s nothing to say, but I’m still lost. I want to fix things for her and protect her and defend her, but I either can’t or don’t know how.

I’ve had several people ask me if what happened to her and her son scare me, but I’m not any more scared than I was two weeks ago. I’ve already been as scared as can be. Anyway, this isn’t about me. My only feelings about it are sadness for her and her husband and anger at life for being so cruelly unfair.

When I told her that I would do anything I could to help her, she told me the only thing she wants me to do is try to relax and let our little guy know he’s loved. That’s the kind of person she is. She’s amazing. I told Dave that this would be so much easier to handle if she sucked. Hell, it would probably be easier if she was just okay. Well, maybe not, because this kind of thing shouldn’t happen to anyone – after Jillian died, I meant it when I said I wouldn’t wish such a tragedy on my worst enemy – but watching something like this happen to someone who is so selfless, caring, wonderful, loving, and every other positive adjective that exists is the meaning of unfair.

I feel guilty changing gears and talking about my own pregnancy. I’ll just try to sum it up. I was feeling a lot of pressure on my cervix on Friday, so we went to the doctor. I knew I was probably fine, but I also I knew I’d never be able to live with myself if anything happened, so I called and they had me come in. My cervix was closed, long, and firm, so that’s good. I was walking home from seeing my grief counselor when the pressure started, so I was told that even though my activities haven’t been restricted, no more almost-two mile walks home. It’s a huge adjustment for me because I normally walk everywhere, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a big deal. I’m not complaining. I’m just not used to it.

I don’t even know what to say

I posted last week about my friend Susan and her little boy. She was admitted to the hospital and placed on bed rest.

She reached 23 weeks yesterday and went into labor. She spent the morning upside down, hoping for a miracle. I was hoping for a miracle with her. I spent the day with my phone in my hand, hoping that it wouldn’t make a sound, because I was taking no news as good news.

I don’t remember what time it was when I found out Matthew had arrived. Susan said they were working on him, and Dave and I held vigil on our couch. We cried and we hoped, but we knew the odds weren’t good. We didn’t want to be pessimistic, but we didn’t want to be naive. I kept looking at my phone to make sure that I hadn’t imagined everything.

A few hours later, she let me know that he had passed. She sent me his picture, and he was beautiful. Heartbreakingly beautiful. Perfect.

If I could take Susan’s pain for her, I would. I am unable to comprehend what she is going through right now. I want to do something, but I have no idea what to do. I feel like all I can do is keep telling her that I love her and hold Matthew in my heart. I know she’ll get through this because she’s the strongest person I’ve ever known, but that doesn’t make it any easier. It’s just so unfair.

I don’t even know what I’m trying to say. I’m just rambling because I don’t know what else to do.

Rest in peace, Matthew. I loved you from the moment I knew you existed and I will never forget you. I will do whatever I can to comfort your mommy and daddy.

Please think of my friend

I’ve mentioned my friend Susan here multiple times. She’s about 22 weeks pregnant right now, and she was admitted to the hospital last night and will be on bed rest for hopefully a very long time.

I’m worried sick about her, her husband, and her little boy, and I’m sending all my positive thoughts to her. If you have a second to think about them or pray for them, it would mean so much to me if you could.

Despite being the queen of pessimism, I refuse to be anything but optimistic about this. I love her and her little boy so much and I have to hope and believe that everything will be fine, he won’t make his debut until January, and he and my little guy will be little buddies. That’s the only option.

Hang in there, Susan. If I could hop on a plane to come sit next to you (and talk to you through the computer even though we’re in the same room), I would.

Stay put, little M.

17w5d

We had our anatomy scan this morning. Not necessarily the most important thing first, but my biggest concern: my cervix. It looks great. No funneling, and it’s still nice and long. The doctor mentioned a couple of times that my peri did a beautiful job with the cerclage, which was good to hear.

The baby was moving all over the place, which he’s done at every ultrasound. We didn’t tell the tech that we already knew the gender, just because we wanted to make sure everyone was seeing the same thing. She passed our test, although he made it pretty (very) easy for her.

Everything looks great. His head is measuring a little big, which means his limbs measured a little small. This increases our risk of Downs by four, but I’m not worried about it. I just got off the phone with a nurse from my doctor’s office, and found out that our risk of Downs was less than 1 in 10,000, so I’m still not worried. She even asked if anyone in our house has a big head. I think it’s mine.

What struck me the most, and I have thought this at every ultrasound, is how much he doesn’t look like Jillian. I’m sure that they’ll resemble each other somehow, but on the screen, they look very different. I think that’s good for me. I don’t get caught off guard and think I’m looking at her when I’m looking at him. It’s hard to explain.

After the ultrasound was over, someone knocked on the door. It was my old OB. This was my first time seeing her since last October, when I was about this pregnant with Jillian. She left the practice to go to this ultrasound place. I’ve wondered several times over the past nine months if she knew what happened, but I figured she didn’t because I’m sure I would have heard from her.

She told us that she saw my name on the card outside my room, and when she saw what happened with Jillian, she couldn’t believe it. She said nobody had told her, and she was clearly shaken up. Dave and I both thought she was going to burst into tears. I wanted to hug her and tell her it’s okay, even though it’s not really okay, but I felt guilty that this news had just been dropped on her. I felt like I needed to comfort her because I’ve had nine months to deal with this, and she’d had all of 30 seconds. Obviously it’s different because it’s not her child, but I imagine that hearing that a pregnancy that was mostly under her care had complications resulting in the death of a baby isn’t easy to take.

I worry about her thinking that I blame her, and I don’t. I tried that, just because I wanted something or someone to blame. I asked her twice if I needed to worry about my cervix because of my mother’s problems, and she told me that it wasn’t hereditary. I wanted to blame her so much, but in my heart, I know that she was giving me accurate information – there isn’t really any evidence that it’s hereditary. Plus, at this exact point with Jillian, my cervix was fine. It was at that point that I stopped worrying that anything would go wrong, so as much as I tried, I can’t place any blame on her. I feel like I need to tell her that, but I didn’t this morning because I didn’t think of it until after we left. Who knows, maybe she’s not thinking about that at all. I’m glad she came in to see us.

So, everything is good. I’m getting more worried as I get further along, but this morning’s ultrasound helped me relax a little. Hopefully things will keep going well and I have 20+ weeks of pregnancy left.

It’s a…

boy!

We’re as excited as can be. Even though I’ve been thinking this whole time that this baby was a boy, it was still a surprise. I was nervous ahead of the ultrasound that I’d be disappointed about having a boy, but if I felt any disappointment, it lasted for less than a second. I think that it goes without saying that we care about a healthy baby more than anything, but there was a part of me hoping for a girl. We were preparing ourselves for a girl with Jillian, and it’s the future we had been imagining and the future we lost nine months ago from today. I have had some moments of sadness since finding out on Tuesday, but I realized at one point that my sadness actually doesn’t have a thing to do with this baby. My sadness is only because I miss Jillian. It’s not that I don’t love this baby as fiercely as I love Jillian, and it doesn’t mean that I don’t want a boy.

There is a part of me that fears that Jillian was our only girl, and it does make me sad to think we may never have another daughter. Another daughter wouldn’t make losing Jillian any easier because I will miss her until the day I die no matter what, but in a way, I feel like I know what I’m missing and that makes me want to have another girl someday so much. There’s also the very superficial part of me that thinks baby girl clothes are a million times cuter. I have pink and purple yarns in my stash that I had bought to knit things for Jillian that I’m afraid I’ll never use because I can’t bear the thought of giving it away. They seem like such silly reasons, but I know that they all stem from my aching for Jilly.

I don’t want it to sound like we’re not absolutely thrilled to be having a boy. We truly are. I think sometimes it seems like we’re not that excited, regardless of gender, but it’s scary to get excited at this point. Fortunately, our love for this little guy isn’t measured by our enthusiasm. He’s already one of the most loved little boys in the world, and I can’t wait to meet him. In February.

9 months

Dear Jillian,

Happy 9 months, baby girl. I didn’t think it would ever be possible to miss you even more, but as time goes on, I do. Being pregnant has intensified it. Everything I feel is a reminder of being pregnant with you, which of course makes me think about you being gone.

Whenever I cry, it’s for two reasons. The strongest grief is because I’m missing you, but I also cry because I’m worried that being pregnant will make everyone forget. I’m afraid that people think that just because I’m pregnant again, we’re okay. I’m afraid they’ll think we got over you. I’m afraid that the new baby will be celebrated as our first. Daddy keeps reminding me that we’re the only ones who matter, and we know that you were our first child, first love, and we will never forget, but I’m still afraid. I’m so protective of you, and I’m a little scared of how I’ll react if someone leaves you out. I’m a little afraid I’ll wind up in jail for assault.

I’m hoping we’ll find out soon whether your sibling is a brother or sister, and to be honest, I’m scared. We will obviously be happy either way, but I’m worried about the feelings I’ll have. We will be ecstatic to have another girl, but then I think about the big sister she won’t have here with her, and I ache at the thought of you missing out on her. I think of her wedding day, and it stings to know that you can’t stand beside her. If this baby is a boy, we’ll still be ecstatic and I’ll still grieve the relationship you’ll each be missing. I love my brothers so much and am so thankful for them, and I don’t want you missing out on that.

We’ll be okay, though. We’ll get through it together, and I can promise you that your little brother or sister is going to know all about you. He or she will see your pictures, hear all about you, use your blanket, and know the footprints and handprints hanging on our bedroom wall are yours. He or she will know that you were the bravest little girl who fought so hard, and because of you, he or she will never be taken for granted. His or her life will be better because of you, just like Daddy’s and mine.

We love you and miss you so much, Monkey. I love you more than anything.

Love,
Mommy

15w2d

I don’t know how it’s been so long since I last posted anything. Time has been flying because I’ve had so much to do, but that’s a good thing.

At some point this week, I popped. Every single person I’ve seen since Wednesday has commented. I couldn’t remember when exactly I started showing with Jillian, and I looked in a book we have of all her pictures, including my belly pictures, and the first one with anything noticeable was at 15w2d. I look more pregnant now than I did at that point with her. I’ve been feeling flutters for a while, and they were getting more consistent, but now they seem to be getting less consistent but stronger every day.

My next ultrasound is on Tuesday to check my cervical length. I’m hoping that we might be able to find out this baby’s gender then, but I’m not holding my breath. If we can’t, we’ll find out on September 20, so it’s no big deal, but I’d still like to know as soon as possible anyway. I’m not very patient. I’m pretty sure this one is a boy. Of course, I was 100% certain that Jillian was a boy. We’ll see.

Please excuse my crappy phone picture. I’m too lazy to walk across the room to grab a real camera.