Today I am Pregnant
This post is post-dated. It was written one week prior to the published time.
Today is the day before we plan on announcing our pregnancy to the rest of the world. Slowly we have been sharing with friends and family but tomorrow we have an ultra sound. Our last appointment, where we found out we were pregnant, was five weeks ago. This has seemed like a really long month. Today I picked up an extra shift but wasn’t called in so I have literally just been laying on my couch for several hours crying off and on. Today is also Sylvia’s 8 month birthday.
I cry most often because of how much I miss her and the ache that never leaves my heart or my head. I cry because Carlos doesn’t have his daughter here. I cry sometimes because of guilt I have for what my body did and also failed to do. I cry also because my memories of my daughter in my arms are contained in one afternoon rather than the rest of my life. I cry because of emptiness and approaching dates. And most recently, I cry because I am so paralyzed by fear with this pregnancy that I feel like I am suffocating.
I keep replaying this scenario in my head of our appointment tomorrow where Carlos and I go into the ultrasound and we are told, ‘I’m sorry, it seems the baby stopped growing and there is no heartbeat.’ I just can’t shake it. Every feeling, bump, rumble or pain I feel in my abdomen I am certain is the beginning of a miscarriage. I go to the bathroom expecting to see blood everywhere, every time. I convince myself I am having a ‘bad feeling‘ and ‘this is it’. I constantly have nightmares that I wake up in a pool of blood, or I am bleeding and just can’t seem to get to the hospital, keep loosing my way, or in the typical dream sense, my legs refuse to run and everything is slow motion even though I am panicked. I had a dream in which I knew Sylvia was dead and I knew this was a second pregnancy and I went into labor and delivered at 20 weeks but I wasn’t scared about it. I delivered a little girl who looked exactly like Sylvia with a little bit lighter, but still golden brown hair. She was tiny and didn’t move or open her eyes but I don’t know if she was alive or dead. I wasn’t necessarily sad in the dream but I wasn’t elated either, I wasn’t scared and for some reason the 20 week thing was very apparent, but not in a undesirable, incompatible-with-life sense. Sylvia was there in some way, but I knew she was dead, but I can’t remember if she was a baby or a little girl. Sylvia was to my left and I was holding the baby just as I held Sylvia for the first time with her head in my left elbow. And that was it, end of dream. One of only a handful of dreams I have of Sylvia.
I currently live more in fear than I do happiness which I am reminded constantly how unhealthy that is. I don’t know how to change it, I don’t know how to do anything other than the survival mode that I am currently in and when I think long term down the road of this pregnancy that will hopefully continue, I have a hard time figuring out how emotionally and mentally I can handle this. Months ago, before we were pregnant I imagined that a subsequent pregnancy would split my brain into two emotional platforms, one of extreme anxiety and one of extreme joy and I would hop back and forth balancing them out, mourning the loss of Sylvia but anticipating her sibling with a hopeful heart. It has seemed that it has instead split my brain into a million pieces that have steep ladders between some levels, flat bridges between others, slides between some, and even sometimes a brick wall, not allowing one emotion to even be connected with another. It is so much more confusing than I even could have imagined, which makes me feel silly for even thinking that I could possibly anticipating emotionally what a subsequent pregnancy would be like.
Several hopeful and wonderful friends try to empathize by suggesting that maybe once I feel the baby move I will feel better. Or maybe all the appointments that soon will fill my weeks because of my high risk status will put me at ease? Maybe the constant monitoring will reassure my anxiety ridden head? Maybe once this happens…you’ll feel this way…? I wish I had the confidence to agree or at least the optimism to smile and nod. I wish I had the nativity I had with Sylvia’s pregnancy back. But I don’t. I have always been the kind of person that would rather stretch out the time of unknown, rather than knowing a truth that could hurt. School, friendships, work situations, I’ve always been like that. With this pregnancy, every appointment, every scan and every test that I will have to do seems like another opportunity to find out that the baby has died. I feel badly for people when I share this honesty with them, as I know they so want to somehow funnel their own hopefulness for this pregnancy into my head and my heart. They usually appear so shocked by my grim but truthful response that they selves can hardly form words into a sentence as a reaction. Its the same reason I refuse to purchase an at home doppler. For one, I would either never take it out of the box because of fear or I would never put it down and it would become a compulsion. Another reason, is if I am at home and am unable to find a heartbeat, then my safe place is no longer safe. My couch is no longer my couch, it is the place that I found out I was carrying another dead baby. If I am a doctors office and I find out the baby has died, as I did with Sylvia, I am surrounded by medical professionals that will tell me what to do and what will happen. Bad things can happen at a doctors office, bad things cannot happen at home.
Its happening! Did you feel that? Definitely going to be lots of blood when you go to the bathroom. Still no pregnancy symptoms remember? Don’t you think that perhaps your body just hasn’t recognized that the baby has died already? Today will probably be the day that this baby dies. Yep, definitely. I mean, do you REALLY believe this baby will live? You didn’t even know you were pregnant for 4 weeks? Don’t you think thats a little weird? You heard of curses and jinxes? That must be what you’re doing. You’re so scared that the baby will probably miscarry, you’ve been too stressed. Won’t that be sad when the baby dies and you look back and remember that you were more scared than excited? You haven’t even celebrated this baby…what kind of mom are you? There won’t be a heartbeat tomorrow, no way. That will be so depressing when this posts and you’ve already had to share that the baby died.
As I talk myself off the impending miscarriage and infant death ledge that my head just pushes me towards I repeat over and over again, today I am pregnant.