Pregnancy Trigger: Baby update after four losses.
I’ve thought about what this post would look like – The post after I finally had a baby. How flowery and perfect it would be… Rainbows and butterflies… A perfect world would commence. I’ve been waiting so long for this moment; it’s here.
Only it didn’t really happen that way. When I first saw her, it wasn’t love at first sight. Was it shock? Was it denial? What was that feeling?
Honestly, I still don’t know. And I still don’t know how to respond to the questions, “How does it feel?” and “How does it feel to finally be a mom?” and “How is it now that she’s finally here.” It’s odd. I spend the last 10 months trying to convince myself that I was pregnant with a viable pregnancy. Now I’m trying to convince myself that I’m not pregnant and now I’m really a mom. Does that mean I wasn’t one before her? Because, oddly enough, I don’t feel any differently.
Already I’m being asked if I want another child. “It was worth it, right, everything you went through? Would you do it again.” “Was it all worth it?” They’re looking for the resounding response of, “YES! Everything I went through was worth it… Each surgery, every shot, every pill, every suppository…” The physical components of the pregnancy were easy. Every time I didn’t feel her kick, every nightmare of thinking I lost her, every time I couldn’t find her heartbeat on the doppler… right up until the moment of the cesarean section, when the nurse couldn’t find her heartbeat. We were 30 minutes away from her birth, and she couldn’t find the heartbeat. And I thought, “This is it. This is how it ends. I haven’t felt her move since we left the house… She died. I knew it was going to end.” The mental aspect of having a baby after multiple losses is by far the most difficult thing I have ever done. I never relaxed. I never enjoyed the pregnancy. I never felt enjoyment from her kicking me… Instead it was a relief knowing she hadn’t died, yet. So if you’re into that sort of thing, yes, it was worth it. The end result was worth it. But it is a long, lonely road. And VERY few people “get it.”
“Just you wait,” was a term I heard often when I was pregnant.
“Just you wait until… You hear her cry”
(I’ve imagined five of my babies “first” cries… I know what it will sound like. And I was right. I knew exactly what it would sound like and how I would feel.)
Just you wait until… You have to worry about this little baby every night and every day…
(I’ve worried about five babies every and night and every day… I’ve kept myself up crying, worrying that my child was going to die. Worried that my body would decide to terminate them. I’ve lost countless nights of sleep already after I already lost baby #1… then #2… then #3… and #4. I had to be medicated because I couldn’t take the loss and the stress and because I couldn’t sleep for nights on end. I’ve worried. It will be nice to worry less once the baby is out of my body. Trust me.)
Just you wait… You don’t know love until you see your baby for the first time. You will melt.
(Unfortunately, I don’t think this is true. I loved before this baby… I loved hard. And having a physical baby doesn’t make the love stronger. She’s not any more loved than the babies I’ve lost.)
Just you wait… This baby is going to really alter your body…
(This comment was made after I mentioned my lower back was hurting around week 20. Keep in mind, I was working 10-11 hour days on my feet with minimal breaks. I responded with, “This baby has already altered my body. I’ve had four losses, D&C’s, two surgeries, hundreds of blood thinning injections, hundreds of blood draws, suppositories and pills. Consider it already altered.)
By every account, she’s perfect. Right now she’s laying in her swing looking at me while she listens to crickets chirping and frogs croaking. And she’s perfect. She was 10 lbs and 12 ozs when she was born. Ten fingers, ten toes. She is a spitting image of me. Her nose, her chin, her lips… They’re all mine. She even has my double sneeze. And I look at her and think there would have been other babies who would have looked like her, like me. I see this perfect baby and mourn for the ones who didn’t make it.
If you’ve had losses and you’re still struggling to get pregnant, I know it might sound like I’m being ungrateful and not appreciating what I have. Please don’t mistake this post for that. This is crazy surreal. I never saw myself here. I had resounded myself to the fact that my husband and I would be alone. We would have the money and ability to travel at will. Do whatever we wanted. I had given up hope and saw a childless future. And now, everything is completely different. I never saw our life past this pregnancy. I was literally taking it day by day. I saw her birthday as an “end” date and not a “start” date. I never saw the future past my due date. And now that the due date has come and gone and she’s here… It’s hard for me to wrap my head around.
As the days go by, I’m figuring out our new normal. I’m not my husband’s only “lady” and there is someone else to think about before I think about myself. She’s wonderfully perfect and such a great baby; I’m truly lucky. At night when we’re alone, I sing to her. I look at her and she looks at me with these big eyes and we stare at each other in awe. She still doesn’t seem real. I’m waiting for the moment when I look at her and know that this was all worth it. That every tear and feeling of hope and loss was “worth it”… whatever that means.
Liliana was born on September 18th at 2:29 PM via C-Section. I present her to you with trepidation and amazement. I think she’s beautiful and perfect and I can’t wait to “believe” that she’s mine. Right now I keep waiting for her real parents to show up and take her.