Hey everyone, sorry this blog has been so quiet. I have always had a hard time with blogging transitions: the ending of one type of regular posting (Sophia’s letters) and the beginning of another. It seems surreal that my last post on this blog was a letter to my dead daughter, and this post is all about our new baby. God has been so, so good to us in the hard times and in the good and I’m happy to share about both.
For those of you who were a little shocked by the title of this post (and aren’t connected to me on Facebook) YES, we are pregnant again! We announced it about two weeks ago, but I haven’t said much about it since, so I’ll use this post to share all the details we know so far about this precious 15 1/2 week old.
When did we find out I was pregnant? On June 26th.
How did we find out? Well, the obvious answer is through a positive pregnancy test, but I’ll share more of that story: A few days before I took the test I had been feeling some nausea off and on, and had been feeling a bit more fatigued than normal. Although I had that little voice in the back of my head saying “maybe you’re pregnant!” I pretty much ignored it since I had felt all these things before and not been pregnant. Ever since Sophia passed away we knew we wanted another baby, and sometimes I wanted it so much that physical symptoms of pregnancy were manifested. I had probably taken about 10 pregnancy tests prior to our positive one, off and on throughout the past year. The day I got the positive result, I told myself just to go out and buy a pregnancy test so I could take it, get the negative, and shut that voice up in my head once and for all. I didn’t want to tell Dave I was taking this test since I really thought it would be negative, and didn’t want to involve him in another heartache. So, I told a little white lie, that I was going to get lunch (which I did get) but also went to the drugstore and purchased a pregnancy test (that part I didn’t tell him.) I waited until he went to work, and Champ was taking a nap, and decided to take the test. You’re supposed to wait 3 minutes from the time you pee on the stick, so I stood outside the bathroom that entire time. At the end of the three minutes I slowly peeked my head around the door and tiptoed in, almost as if the test were an explosive device or something. When I saw the two pink lines (which means positive) I was SHOCKED. Shock and fear were the first emotions that went through me, not happiness. I remember just pacing around the house saying “oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh” over and over again. Then, I drank a big glass of water and took another test just to make sure the first one wasn’t faulty. Sure enough, another set of pink lines. I remember crying out to God begging him not to take this baby from us. I was so scared because now the potential for loss was there again, the potential for all the pain we had just waded through with Sophia. The pain of infertility and wanting a child are very strong and sharp, but in my opinion, the pain of losing a child is even greater and deeper. Now that we had those two pink lines, the stakes had gone up dramatically and we were put back in the shooting range again with the potential to get hit. I got the results from the second pregnancy test at 1:29, and Dave’s first class started at 1:30, so I knew there was no way I could call him and bombard him with this huge news right before starting work. So, I had to sit with all this for four hours before he came home that afternoon.
How did I tell Dave? The day before I had started leaving little “I love you because…” notes for him, so I figured I would use those as a decoy for sharing the big news with him. I put the two (washed) pregnancy tests in a box (the only box I had on hand was a box that held tubes of oil paints) and on top of the box put a note that said “I love you because of the wonderful, loving father that you were to Sophia…” and inside the box, on top of the tests, had another note that said “and for the wonderful father you will be to this precious new one.” When he got home I told him that I had another note to give him, and he went into our room to read it. At first he just read the top note and smiled a little, then he opened the box. Now, because it was a box for paints, and the ends of the pregnancy tests were blue and pink, at first he thought I was just giving him some paints. But he lifted up the note, saw the other end of the tests, and his head shot up. He said in the most serious voice “No. Are you serious?” I started laughing and said, “Well, it’s not Champ’s pee.” Then he actually took the time to read the note and said “Noooo, are you kidding?” (this time with a huge smile on his face) and I just said “I don’t think so.” It was a wonderful moment!
How did the first doctor’s visits go? About a week after getting the positive test I was able to see the doctor to confirm the pregnancy. It had taken so long to actually get in to see the doctor that Dave had left for work, and I was alone. I was terrified of getting bad news on my own, but thankfully my parents (who had been out of the city) were just coming back in on the train and my mom was able to make it to the appointment and go in with me. That first visit the doctor confirmed one embryo in my uterus. It was official, I was really pregnant! At that visit she thought I was only 4-5 weeks along, so she told me to come back the next week to see if the baby was still growing. We went back this next week (this time Dave was able to be there) and sure enough the little “blob” had grown. We were officially six weeks pregnant! We had another appointment two weeks later to listen for a heartbeat, and if that sounded ok I’d officially become a “pregnant patient.” Up until they hear the heartbeat they don’t really consider you officially pregnant. At eight weeks Dave and I went back, and I was extremely nervous. Ok, I was extremely nervous for each visit, but for this one especially. I knew that I had continued to experience pregnancy symptoms, but I still so scared to hear the bad news that there was no heartbeat. When we finally got into the ultrasound room and the doctor pulled up the image of our baby, one of the first things she said was “the heartbeat looks stronger.” Those words were beautiful music to my ears! Then, we got to hear the heartbeat and it was the sweetest little washing-machine-like noise I had ever heard!
Our latest visit (which was about two weeks ago) was the one I was fearing the most. While we had been visiting America we had told all of our friends and family about the baby. People had given us congratulations and hugs and tears of happiness had been shed. It all felt “real”—like we really might be able to have a healthy child—but the last ultrasound was one that could make all that happiness come crashing down. I was about 13 1/2 weeks, which was right around the same time we learned of all of Sophia’s problems. Although hearing this second baby’s heartbeat was a great sign, we had also heard Sophia’s heartbeat, and had not known of any problems at that time. I knew that the baby would be big enough at 13 1/2 weeks to see any of the physical problems that Sophia had, and I was a wreck. To make matters worse, the appointment had been scheduled for the afternoon which meant that Dave wouldn’t be able to come with me. Thankfully, though, my awesome mom was available. It didn’t help that we had to wait a really long time to see the doctor. My anxiety was building, and even though I was praying for peace, I was preparing myself for the worst. When the ultrasound wand touched my belly for the first time, the first thing I noticed was how big the baby had gotten! In the previous ultrasounds it had just looked like a little blob, and now it looked like a baby! I could clearly see the head and body and arms and legs. The first image was a perfect little profile shot, one we had never been able to see with Sophia. The doctor immediately began pointing out the different parts of the body, and when she came to the face she said “and this is the nose.” My mom and I looked at each other and said “the NOSE!” That was one of the features that had first raised red flags with Sophia—she had not had a nasal bone. Just seeing that nose lifted all the anxiety away from me! Throughout the rest of the ultrasound he/she was squirming away, waving it’s arms, putting it’s hand near it’s mouth, and generally just being the cutest thing ever. I heard the words “healthy and normal” which were words we had NEVER heard with Sophia. I finally got to experience what millions of other mothers get to experience—a normal ultrasound filled with normal (which means good!) news.
I love that in this picture our little one is waving “hi!”
Do you have a nickname for this baby? Yes, we are calling this little one “peanut.”
Will you find out the gender of this baby? Yes, next Tuesday! We can’t wait. I’d love to have another little girl, and Dave would love to have a little boy. However, we will both be more than happy just to have a healthy child, no matter the gender.
When is the baby due? Our little peanut is scheduled to arrive at the end of February 2015. Although, if this one is anything like his/her bigger sister, I wouldn’t be shocked if it decided to stay in there until March.
How have you been feeling? In some ways this pregnancy has been very similar to Sophia’s (mostly sickness in the afternoon, nausea if I let myself get hungry, fatigue). Most of my symptoms stopped right around 10 weeks, and with Sophia they stopped around 8 weeks. As with Sophia I have had a super sensitive gag reflex, which makes brushing my teeth a challenge, but overall I feel pretty good. Now that I’m in my second trimester I have more energy and my biggest symptoms is headaches that come when I’m hungry. Basically, as long as my belly is full, this baby seems happy!
How are you dealing with pregnancy after loss? As I mentioned above, fear and anxiety were some of the first emotions I experienced with this baby. It hasn’t been until this last ultrasound that I could truly relax a little and start to get excited about this baby. I find that I’m constantly having to choose hope and happiness instead of fear and detachment. We know that pregnancies do not guarantee a living, healthy child. We know that at any point in this pregnancy or delivery we could lose this baby. But, we also realize that this is the reality with any pregnancy. So, just as I did with Sophia, I try to chose love and I try to bond with this baby in any way that I can.
Because we have experienced the greatest loss, the loss of a child, and because we have seen that God carried us through that, we feel that even if God chooses to take this baby away from us we will still be ok. It is not something I hope to ever have to go through again, but we know that we will survive it—because we have before.
I want to thank all of you who have prayed for us during our pregnancy with Sophia, during her life, after her death, and even now. Please pray that this baby will remain healthy. Please pray that we will live in fear and anxiety for the next 5 1/2 months, but will be able to truly enjoy this gift that God has blessed us with.
Lastly, I want to write to those women who are reading this, and are still waiting on their tiny miracle. Perhaps you’ve birthed and lost a child, and are still waiting for your rainbow baby (what the grief community calls a baby born after the loss of a child.) Perhaps you’ve had the joy of a positive pregnancy tests a few or many times, but have never been able to hold your precious little one. Or perhaps that pregnancy test has never been positive for you, and you still wait for that day. I want you to know that I pray for all you ladies, and I understand where you are because I have been in the shoes of all of you. I want you to know that I struggle with posting the joy of this pregnancy because I know for many of you it just adds salt to your wounds. I love you all and pray that God will fill your hearts with the peace that only comes from Him and that He will prepare you for the future that He has already planned for you, whether that involves children or not. Let us remember that He is Good, and He is Love, no matter our circumstances. To Him be all the glory and all the first love in our hearts!