Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Orange Goo. Ew.

Dear One Hour Glucose Test:

You suck.  You set me up for failure and laugh as I shake and get dizzy after I drink the Ew Goo.  Please pass these feelings on to your big sister the Three Hour Glucose Test, too.  How it makes sense to ask a pregnant woman to fast for 8 - 10 hours is beyond me.  Further more, you know me, Stupid Test.  If the directions say to fast for 8 - 10 hours, you know I'm going to go 12 - 14 hours just because I feel like that's the only way to kick you in the... um... bottle cap!  So I'm STARVING and irrational and completely freaked out because this exact seat is the same place I sat the day before I knew Andrew had died.  This is the last place I talked to another expecting mother about how excited I was about my 4th baby.  My perfect, loved, and so very much wanted new baby.  

I hate you.



Monday, February 27, 2012

Sweet 16?

In the whole scheme of things, the stresses in our life aren't anything I can't handle.  On a normal day I can tackle job frustrations.  I can find the humor in kid chaos (usually) and move beyond it.  I can watch morning news and utter, "Fear mongers" with ease.  I can generally roll with the punches and not micromanage life.  (I wish my 20-something year old self had developed this skill... this combination of "this is truly important" and "not a hill I wanna die on".)

But not this week.

Let's back up and revisit September.  I lost Andrew.  I laid in the hospital bed, alone because my husband had run home to change his clothes or brush his teeth or something that seemed selfish to me at the time.  I stared at the strange light hanging over my bed and I wondered how I was going to survive this.  How do parents survive the death of their child?  I knew I had other children to come home to; children who were grieving and confused in their own right.

I don't know if I was talking to God or Mary or myself at that particular moment.  (I was pissed as hell with God, but that's another story.)  It occurred to me that I deserved to mourn and I deserved to be sad and I deserved to wallow in my sadness.  If I went home and pretended life was fine, what was I teaching my kids?  "Eh, sorry kids.  Your brother died.  Pass the ketchup?"  That's not what I wanted them to take away from this.  What did I want them to learn?  Bad things happen to good people?  Tragic events may mold your life, but they don't define you?  Our family can survive anything?  Being sad and owning your sadness is healthy and normal?  Sadness happens but life continues?  Yep.  That's what I wanted them to learn... mostly because those are the things I needed to learn myself.

So I gave myself an expiration date.  For one full month, I gave myself permission to feel whatever I wanted to feel at whatever volume I wanted to feel it.  Within reason, of course.  I spent 30 days crying with my kids, laughing with my kids, and spending far too much time in bed.  And then, early in October, to promised Andrew he would always live in my heart and in my tears, but I had to function.  Which isn't to say I don't still cry because I do.  I just wait until his sisters and brother aren't around.  We talk about him  and include him in our prayers.  He will always be part of us.

Fast forward to February 27.  Today starts the beginning of week 16 with the new baby.  Today also marks the beginning of the last week Andrew was still mine.  And I'm scared.  Saturday is the day I knew I'd lost Andrew.  I hadn't figured out those dates until this morning because I didn't want to plan my life around it.  So this Saturday I will get up, take my daughters to the college down the street for a STEM day.  Then I will attend the second showing of this year's high school musical... because really, one high school production of The Wizard of Oz can never really be enough.  And I will function as though everything will be okay.  Because it will.  It has to be, right?  The chances of losing two babies this far along in a pregnancy are slim to none, right?

It's going to be a long week and, knowing me, that 20-something micromanager is going to rear her ugly head.  I'm going to be sensitive and quick to jump to rotten conclusions.  I'm going to be cranky and moody.  Hopefully knowing that going in, I will have a better time coping with everything and just give myself time to breathe.  Step one in that process is to face my job this morning.  If I can get through this week without giving my noticed, I'll consider it a success.  But that, too, is another story.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A scene from my day

9:08 AM.  Sunday.  Quiet, peaceful, John Hughes movie on TV.  Last 3 WhoNu (pseudo-healthy) cookies in hand, glass of milk waiting for serious dunking.

Bliss. Full.

From basement:  Wha-thump.  Wha-thump.  WHA-THUMP.

Me:  If I ignore it, it will stop.

From basement:  Wha-thump-thump.  Wha-thump-thump-THUMP!

Me:  Clearly these children don't worship at the alter of 80s popculture icons.

Husband wanders in from bedroom, pondering thumping noise.

Me:  Sigh.  G!  You're 8 years old!  KEEP YOUR BALLS OFF THE WALL!

Husband:  Snicker... snicker snicker snicker.

Me:  Did that just happen?

It's always a good idea to start your sunny Sunday morning with Molly Ringwald and accidental rude language aimed at your perfectly innocent 8 year old and his dueling tennis balls.

Monday, February 20, 2012


So there s/he is.  At 9 weeks 3 days, we caught our first glimpse of Thumper.  I thought I would be over the moon and thrilled and relieved and at least for a few days feel more confident about the viability of this pregnancy.  Only I didn't.  I felt terrified.

Now I'm 15 weeks and we've shared our news with our world.  The announcement was met with excitement and hugs.  I'm grateful for that - for having friends and family who wouldn't say out loud "Are you insane?  You just lost Andrew.  What are you thinking?"  Maybe they could see those thoughts on my face.  And I'm grateful for their support and enthusiasm and reassurances.  I'm still scared.

Last week I took my 12 year old to my check up with me.  I had heard the heartbeat quickly and easily just a few days before without any problems.  I thought having her come with me would help her feel involved.  But the nurse couldn't find the heartbeat.  She handled it beautifully.  She told K. it had to be the silly machine and we'd get the doctor to try a new one.  Then he couldn't find it for a few minutes.  I spent 10 minutes smiling at K and asking her about school and anything else I could think of so she'd think it was all normal and not something to worry about.  Inside I was hysterical.  Had she not been there, I probably would have been a complete mess.  After a few minutes Dr. L smiled and I realized he'd found it: a strong, loud swishing that couldn't be mistaken for anything other than a happy baby heartbeat.  K was so proud to be able to tell her friends that night at Girl Scouts and I was able to relax for a few hours.  But by the next day, I was back to worrying constantly.

Maybe it's because we're zeroing in on the time when we lost Andrew.  Maybe it's because I don't think we have a clue what we're doing.  Who are we to think four children in this crazy world is a good idea?  Whatever it is, I'm scared.  All the time.