Can You Slap A Pregnant Woman?

A co-worker of mine is pregnant. They got married at the end of August and the baby is due at the beginning of June. I don’t have a problem with that.

What I do have a problem with, is this: the whole summer when she was planning her wedding, she kept venting to me and saying she wasn’t sure why she was going through with it. That she wasn’t even sure she wanted to marry him. She was angry and frustrated and questioning their relationship. And now she has been saying that she is regretting getting pregnant so quickly. That she wishes that she would have planned better, that she should have thought things through.

I hate the fact that she is pregnant already, but I hate even more that she is regretting having the baby. And I doubt that she actually regrets the baby, because she’s talked about being a mom for a while. I just feel like she’s rushed into this, which she admits, and is just setting up the baby for a rough life.  After losing Jamie, it just hurts so much to watch this unfold every day at work. To see someone regret the child growing inside them. Because it’s something we would not regret. She gets pregnant super easily and is now bringing a baby into an unsteady relationship, and Rob and I want a baby more than we can say and we have very little chance of having a baby. It just sucks. It makes me want to walk up to her and slap her for being so ungrateful. For not cherishing that little life inside of her. I would give almost anything to have Jamie back again, or to have another child, and she is complaining.

It makes me feel twisted and dark inside. Like I’m filling up with bitterness. And I know I should pray for her, for her situation to improve, and I am trying. I really am trying. Because I do want her to be happy, and I want so badly for that baby to have a good life, but I am so angry. I am so hurt. And oh Lord, I am so bitter.

Baby?

It’s hard not to think about having kids. It’s something Rob and I both want, but at the same time feel we can’t have. At least, not right now.

We tried to conceive several years ago after we lost Jamie, and found out that I don’t ovulate, at least not with any regularity. That, combined with several other factors, led us to the decision that we should hold off on having children for a few years. When we talked about it again, we both kind of mutually agreed that we would adopt.

But now the subject has come up again, and I’ve been thinking about rainbow babies. Carrying a baby inside of me. I know it seems irrational, because we have all these good, logical reasons why adopting makes more sense, but maybe this doesn’t have to be logical.

A co-worker of mine is pregnant, and when I saw her ultrasound pictures today I was just filled with this deep sense of longing. Not anger, not jealously, but deep, heart-filled longing.

And as I was leaving work tonight, I was so sad, because having a baby is something I want so badly. And I just kept replaying the other day when Rob said “Now I just have to not get my hopes up” in reference to us being pregnant. Not that we’re trying, but we’re also not not-trying.

And I guess there is always a chance, but I just don’t really see how we could conceive. Actually, I guess I’m concerned that we wouldn’t conceive a healthy baby. If I rarely ovulate, what are the chances that we will randomly have a healthy pregnancy? And if we do decide to try, I need to switch medicines because some of the ones I am on are not safe for TTC. I am so scared to conceive while on dangerous meds. I can’t even describe how scared. In all reality, I could be pregnant now (highly unlikely, but possible), and I have even been wondering about it the last few days.  Things like, ‘huh, my breasts are sore’ and ‘man, I am really hungry’ even (sorry if this is TMI) ‘woah, weird discharge’.

Part of me wants to test and find out, and the other part of me just wants to ignore everything. I don’t want to get my hopes up. I don’t want to find out I am. Because if I am, I have been on meds I shouldn’t be, and I could be hurting the baby. But if I am, I need to know sooner rather than later to stop the meds. But then I think I am just being paranoid and tricking myself because I want it so much.

I just don’t know what to do. Should we try again? Can we even afford a child? Are we ready for a baby? I feel like we are ready for a baby, but does being ready for a baby mean that you are ready for a 7 year old, because I do not feel ready for that. Can we handle it if we lose another child?

Writing Submission for MEND

I belong to a support group called MEND, which helps families who have experienced the loss of a child. They put out a newsletter, and they take submissions from readers. The next newsletter is about Holidays, and that is something that really resonates with me, so I want to submit a piece.

It’s is a modified version of something I wrote last Christmas, and it means a lot to me. I hope it touches someone’s heart and helps them heal. Even if it doesn’t get published, I hope it helps someone here.

 

Today is Christmas, but it’s not how it is supposed to be.

You’re supposed to be here.

We were supposed to make cookies together, get to watch you unwrap presents, and take you to see Santa. We should have gotten to help you decorate the tree, hang up the stockings, and unwrap your presents. We were supposed to get to hear you laugh at all the Christmas fun and see your eyes light up at all the wonders you would be understanding for the first time. We were supposed to feel our hearts fill with love and joy when you ate the frosting and candy toppings while decorating cookies, when we helped you hold your candle at the Christmas Eve Service, and when we all snuggled up to read The Night Before Christmas together.

But that’s not how it is.

Because you’re not here.

Instead we try and hold it together when we see the kids at the mall, excited to see Santa. Kids that would be about the same age as you. Instead, we feel an ache in our heart because the traditions we wanted to share with you make us miss you even more. They just remind us that you’re not here.  Some days are easier, and some are so much worse, and so to cope with the holidays, we cling to each other. We tell each other that’s it’s okay to struggle, that Christmas never will be the same, but some years will be easier–maybe even almost ‘normal’–and this just happens to be a rough year. We know you are having a wonderful Christmas in Heaven, and it soothes our hearts to know you are there, but oh, we wish you were here. So we spend time together, just the two of us, because even though it’s been years, the loss of you still hurts as much as it did the day we lost you.

Because we never stop missing you.

What Do We Want?

Rob and I have been talking a lot since my realization and our talk at Steak n Shake.

Since we lost Jamie and stopped trying to conceive, we have wavered back and forth on whether or not we want to have kids. Do we adopt? Do we not have kids at all? At one point we were convinced we were going to adopt, and at another point were absolutely convinced we weren’t going to have kids at all. We just could never seem to make up our minds, or even truly know what we want.

And then we started talking about before we lost Jamie.

It wasn’t an accident that we got pregnant. We had been wanting to conceive for a year, and had taken steps (changing medicines, etc) for when we did. We had wanted a child for so long, and were so excited when we found out about Jamie.

But after we lost Jamie everything changed. Rob and I realized that we were both trying so hard to get pregnant right away because we wanted to make up for losing Jamie. We wanted to make it up to the other one because we felt like we let them down. Then, we ended up putting so much pressure on ourselves to get pregnant that we started creating all kinds of problems for ourselves. That’s when Rob’s intimacy problems really flared up. That’s when I had my major PTSD freak out. And we just kind of ran away from the idea of kids.

And now that we are both working through the truth of what happened as well as working through our issues, we are wondering if we do want kids. Were we running away from the idea of being parents because of all the trauma, or because we really don’t feel it is right for us? Everyone has told us that we will make wonderful parents, but we don’t feel that is a good reason to have kids. It needs to come from us. And we still don’t know. Rob wants to finish working through the issues he has just started addressing in therapy, and I want more time to absorb and process the new knowledge that I was a good mom, that I am a good mom to our angel baby.

I think I might want to be a mom again, but I’m not sure yet. I don’t know how to be sure.

Crying in Steak n Shake

We went out to breakfast yesterday morning and I told Rob all about what I realized at Lori’s.

And when I finished talking, I looked at him through my tears and he said the most perfect thing he could have. “I never thought that for a second” And he said it with this look of shock in his eyes, this almost startled blankness that you get when you are so caught off-guard, that I knew it was true.

And the tears just rolled down my face.

“For the longest time I felt that it was my fault. That I didn’t take good enough care of you and Jamie”

I never expected him to say that, so I’m sure I had the same dumb-founded look on my face when I said “I never thought that for a second”

And we held hands and cried in Steak n Shake, because that’s what we do.

 

I Was A Good Mom

For three years I have felt that I caused Jamie’s death.

Just take that in for a minute.

For three solid years, I felt that I had failed as a mom. It was my body, and it didn’t protect my child. I took medicine I shouldn’t have taken while I was pregnant. I didn’t take the partial bed-rest seriously enough. I was struggling with the idea of never being seen as myself any more, but just a baby-carrier. The reasons went on and on, and each one told me that it was my fault that Jamie died.

That I was responsible.

And I never mentioned it to Rob. I mean, in the hospital right after they told us, I remember saying through my tears that it was my fault, and he held my face in his hands and as the tears rolled down his face he told me it wasn’t, but deep in my heart I always believed it was: It was my fault.

But yesterday I started talking to Lori about it.

She tried to tell me all the platitudes. ‘No one is perfect’. ‘You didn’t know when you were pregnant when you took those medicines’. Blah, blah, blah. The things that people say that don’t really help. She told me that at least I can learn from what happened. (again, not helpful) And she said something that jumped out to me. “In the future you would know that if you are having unprotected sex you would make sure you aren’t taking certain medicine”.

And I just kind of stopped.

Because we weren’t being irresponsible. We were trying to have a child. I did change my medicines. I did check with the doctor about one of the medicines I took and she said it was okay until I got a positive pregnancy test. And at our first appointment after we found out we were expecting, we told her that I had accidentally taken the medicines they recommend not to take and she said it would be fine.

We asked.

When I told Lori that, she gave me this funny little look. Almost as if she was surprised she had to say it. “You were being a good mom”.

And since I talked to Lori yesterday, I kept remembering little things. That even though I didn’t like being on bed rest, I did it. I checked about the medicines. I changed what I ate and drank to be safe for the baby. I was reading the pregnancy books. We were cleaning out space for the baby supplies we were already getting. (For crying out loud, I gave away some books!) I called and got the insurance sorted out so our baby would have insurance the minute he/she would be born, and so that we could both have good coverage for the entire pregnancy, especially in case there were complications. And I called the doctor the second I started bleeding and insisted on being seen and being given an ultrasound. And when we heard that heartbeat I never felt happier or more relieved in my life.

I was a good mom. I did everything I could. I wanted to do more, I just didn’t have the chance. And for the first time since we lost Jamie, I truly feel like a mom who has lost a child, and not like a mom who has caused the death of her child.

For Jamie

Three years ago you went to Heaven, and though we know you’ve known nothing but joy there we miss you so much. Mommy and Daddy wish you could have stayed with us, but since you couldn’t, here is what we wish instead:

That Grandpa George sings you the song that was Mommy’s lullaby as a little girl.

That Mommy’s first dog is your first dog, and that he kisses your face just like he used to kiss hers.

That Daddy’s Aunt tells you stories about when Daddy was a little boy, and about your Grandma and Grandpa who wanted to meet you so much.

That Mommy’s friend Rhonda tells you how much you mean to Mommy and Daddy and how we can’t wait to meet you. And that she gives you big hugs, because she gave the best hugs.

That Ann and Everett hold your hands when you walk between them.

That Daddy’s Grandparents hold you in their arms like they never got to hold Daddy.

That Grandpa Bob tells you silly jokes and stories and makes funny faces until you laugh.

That Daddy’s kitty sits in your lap and lets you pet him. Even though he only really liked your Daddy, we’re sure he’ll love you.

That every year you are loved more and more as more of our friends and family and pets come to Heaven and surround you with love.

That Mommy and Daddy will get to hold you and kiss your little cheeks one day, when we are all together in Heaven.

We love you Jamie.

Today, I Don’t Have To Be Okay

Today, I have to remind myself that I don’t have to be okay. That I’m allowed to grieve. To cry. To stay in my pajamas and watch Disney movies.

Because today is hard. Today is the day we lost Jamie.

And I don’t have to be okay.

I can still hurt from the loss if that is how I feel. I can weep again from the pain and know that there is nothing wrong with that.

I can remember the dreams we had, the hopes, and cry over the loss of not only Jamie, but of those hopes and dreams.

Today, I can miss my child and not care if it shows on my face. Not apologize to anyone if it makes them uncomfortable.

Today, I don’t have to justify my pain to anyone because it is my pain, my loss.

That’s Not What You Say

I published my piece How It’s Supposed To Be on Facebook yesterday, both as a note on my page, and to a group I belong to called M.E.N.D. (Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death) (their FB page is here) . Most people were extremely supportive, and just said things along the line of “I’m thinking of you” which is wonderful. But my mother wrote this:

I miss Jamie, too. I hope you, someday, have a child to enjoy. You are BOTH wonderful people whom we LOVE SO MUCH!

Now I don’t know if I’m reading too much into this, but her response kind of rubbed me the wrong way. You don’t tell someone who is mourning their child that you hope someday they have another child. That’s like saying “You’ll find someone new” to a person going through a divorce. You don’t want someone new, you don’t want a new child, you want the one you lost.

Yes, Rob and I do want to adopt a child some day, but that in no way diminishes the pain we are feeling now. And it will in no way take away the pain we will feel for the rest of our lives. The pain of losing Jamie. No child can replace another, and it offends me that she even suggested that. That someday, by having a baby in our arms, our hearts will be healed. Because that’s not how it works. Jamie will still be gone, and we will still miss our baby. We will be overjoyed at this new little life, but that love makes a new piece of your heart grow, it does not refill the piece that is taken when your child dies.

How It’s Supposed To Be

Today is Christmas, but it’s not how it is supposed to be.

You’re supposed to be here.

We were supposed to make cookies together, get to watch you unwrap presents, and take you to see Santa. We should have gotten to help you decorate the tree, hang up the stockings, and unwrap your presents. We were supposed to get to hear you laugh at all the Christmas fun and see your eyes light up at all the wonders you would be understanding for the first time. We were supposed to feel our hearts fill with love and joy when you ate the frosting and candy toppings while decorating cookies, when we helped you hold your candle at the Christmas Eve Service, and when we all snuggled up to read The Night Before Christmas together.

But that’s not how it is.

Because you’re not here.

Instead we try and hold it together when we see the kids at the mall, excited to see Santa. Kids that would be about the same age as you. Instead, we feel an ache in our heart because the traditions we wanted to share with you make us miss you even more. They just remind us that you’re not here.  Some days are easier, and some are so much worse, and so to cope with the holidays, we cling to each other. We tell each other that’s it’s okay to struggle, that Christmas never will be the same, but some years will be easier–maybe even almost ‘normal’–and this just happens to be a rough year. We know you are having a wonderful Christmas in Heaven, and it soothes our hearts to know you are there, but oh, Jamie, we wish you were here. So we spend time together, just the two of us, because even though it’s been two and a half years, the loss of you still hurts as much as it did the day we lost you.

Because we never stop missing you.