Friday was an eventful day for us. I was up and about more than I have been in weeks. Our day started off with an appointment with my peri and an ultrasound. Before she started the ultrasound, she asked how I was feeling, and I said physically, I’m fine, but mentally I’m completely freaked out. She usually gives me some tough love when this comes up, but this time, she immediately offered weekly ultrasounds for the next few weeks. She said I don’t actually need to have them that often, but if it will give me some peace of mind, we’ll do it. I was going to ask for that anyway, so we obviously took her up on the offer. She told me that I can come in whenever I want, even if it’s just to listen to his heartbeat or have someone hold my hand.

Once she started the ultrasound, right off the bat, she said, “look at that long, closed, beautiful cervix.” I swear, the woman may be a mind reader. Dave and I had discussed how we need whoever is doing the ultrasound to say things are good or bad immediately because we both start panicking during silence, and that’s exactly what she did. We then took a look at the little dude, who was calmly sucking away on his thumb. As we were watching, he took out his thumb, stuck his tongue out, and swallowed. I gasped, “he looks just like Jillian.” My peri looked at my heartbroken husband and said, “that’s hard to see, isn’t it?” She gets it. Even though there’s nothing more wonderful than seeing our little guy, it’s also heart wrenching, and she understands. I don’t think we could find a better doctor.

Later that day, we stopped in a maternity store so I could find some warm clothes that actually fit (my normal clothes days are over and my maternity clothes from Jilly are too big). I HATE going in there because it still hurts to see pregnant strangers (I’m not sure I’ll ever get over this), plus the people working there ask too many questions. I would just buy clothes online, but I don’t want to give my info out because one of the most difficult tasks after Jillian died was getting my name off all the pregnancy/baby mailing lists.

Anyway, I found a few things, and we went to pay. When the woman was asking for my name, phone number, address, etc., I declined to give her any info, and thankfully she didn’t push it. Even though she handled it the way I hoped she would, it still made me sad, just because I wish I had that innocence of not caring about getting 30 baby-related things in the mail. Then she asked if we’d like to make a donation to the March of Dimes to help save premature babies. I couldn’t even speak. I shook my head, and then I had to leave before the tears started. Dave stayed to pay, and the poor woman was horrified and apologetic. Dave assured her that she didn’t do anything wrong and said something about how we’re very familiar with the March of Dimes. I feel terrible about it, because I knew something like that would happen, but I didn’t prepare myself enough.

Friday ended with a birthday party for a friend. After we got there, I realized how uncomfortable I was surrounded by people who don’t know us while I’m visibly pregnant. The question “is this your first” becomes automatic in these situations. I always answer honestly, and it tends to be a mood killer, but I feel like I don’t really have a choice. It’s either be honest and depressing or pretend the most important person in my life never existed.

A woman started talking to us and asked if I was going to bowl. I said no, and she said, “come on, I bowled the night before I gave birth. I was 40 weeks!” Dave said, “no, she’s not bowling.” She went to bowl, and then came back and asked if this is our first. Dave and I both said no, and then she asked how old our first is. I said that she passed away when she was four days old, and she said she was so sorry. She turned around to look at whoever was currently bowling, and we figured that was the end of that conversation, which is pretty typical. However, she turned back around and started asking us when it happened, if she was a preemie, etc. She explained that she’s an OB, and that she knows that what we have gone through is the most difficult thing in the world. She asked who my doctor is, where I’m delivering, whether or not I’m on bed rest (as if I’d be at a bowling alley), etc. She approved of my doctor, which is always nice, and then told me that I could go bowling once I make it to 40 weeks. It couldn’t have been more perfect. It made my night, just because every experience like that makes it so much easier to face the next one. I have to remind myself that for every person who says something stupid or rude, there are even more people who say all the right things, even if they’re total strangers.

20 Weeks

This has been a good week, pregnancy wise. I was terrified over the weekend about issues arising, to the point where I barely got out of bed on Sunday. Fortunately, my ultrasound on Monday showed my cervix is still over 3.5cm and holding up. I seem to be in this cycle of feeling confident immediately after an ultrasound, then having that confidence wane as time passes until the next one. I have another appointment at the end of next week, and I’m going to talk to my doctor about doing more frequent ultrasounds for the next several weeks. I’ll even take more frequent ones for just four or five weeks. I feel like I’ve entered the scariest phase for me, and two weeks between ultrasounds feels like an eternity that I’m not mentally able to handle.

I guess I’m technically at the halfway point, even though I won’t go past 39 weeks. Aside from that, I have a hard time wrapping my head around this being possibly being the halfway point. At this point with Jillian, I was unknowingly exactly one month and one day from having her. Hopefully with this one, I have at least 17 weeks left, instead of something drastically shorter. I can’t imagine making it to things like my glucose tolerance test or, heck, even the third trimester. I’m still not really able to imagine those things. I think I need to make it past 24 weeks before I can start thinking about it.

I couldn’t sleep last night for some unknown reason, which turned out to have some benefits. I went from only feeling sporadic, light kicks from the baby to feeling full-on, almost constant activity. Now that I’m thinking about it, it was probably my excitement that kept me awake. His kicks were strong enough that I could feel them from the outside with my hand, and I could even see them through the sheets. When Dave woke up about 5 hours later, I had him put his hand on my belly. He was skeptical and definitely more interested in going back to sleep, but then the little guy gave him a good whack. It’s one of those things that I didn’t think could possibly be as exciting the second time around, but it definitely is.

10 Months

Dear Jillian,

Happy ten months, love. I haven’t stopped missing you for one second.

Time is moving along. I’ve been having a lot of anxiety about being pregnant again, but I’ve also been feeling some about the fact that your birthday is only two months away. How is that possible? We’re definitely celebrating your birthday, but I know it will be hard. It’s the one year anniversary of both the best and worst day of my life. As time goes on, the best part overshadows the worst, but I don’t know if I’ll ever forget how scared Daddy and I were and how guilty I felt about you being born so early. I know it wasn’t my fault, but I still feel like I failed you. I know it was my body and I couldn’t control it, but my body should have let me protect you.

I’m dreading Halloween this year. It’s never been my favorite day, but this year won’t be easy, seeing how it was supposed to be your first Halloween. I was thinking this morning about what your costume would have been, but after thinking about it for a few seconds, it was obvious. Of course my little monkey would have been dressed as a monkey. I’m sure you would have been the cutest monkey ever.

Your little brother is growing well and so far, my body is holding up. It’s still scary, but we’re trying to be optimistic. I just wish you were here with us.

We love you and miss you so much, Jilly. I hope you’re keeping an eye on Matthew and letting him know how much his mommy and daddy love him.