Wednesday, June 24, 2015

22 Weeks

A trigger warning: this post is about my second pregnancy after the death of our daughter, and also discusses our living children.

I am 22 weeks pregnant with our fourth child, a boy. Hopefully, if all continues to go well, he will join his living brothers here on earth. Three boys. Despite my longings for a daughter to raise, the idea of three brothers tumbling about us makes me very happy. Like my last pregnancy, my first after we lost our daughter Chiara at 22 weeks gestation, I felt like I knew this one would be a boy before we even got started making him. We found out back in March that my hunch was right.

And so we've lived the strange life of pregnancy after the loss of a baby. Like the first time, it is surreal. So many memories blend together. The milestones converge. You cannot help but compare pregnancies. The good news this time around is that it is not as white-knuckle, it is not as fraught with all the postpartum hormones and grief of our first pregnancy after our daughter died, when I was just a fountain of tears more often than not. This is a relief, because it was exhausting to endure that sorrow and anxiety. There is still sorrow, and still anxiety, but it is far less acute. I am grateful for this fact.

But here I am at 22 weeks. This is when Chiara died and was born, almost three years ago. This baby is much larger than she was. The measurement numbers alone make it clear just how small she was, how much she was struggling. This is hard. To know she was inside me and I did not know how sick she was is difficult to live with. But there is no way to know these things. It frustrates me that we know far less than we need to about gestation and about what makes babies die before birth. But going through pregnancy again has brought me closer to accepting that current truth. I say current because it will not always be the case. I really believe that there will be medical advances that help us understand better how babies develop, and help us recognize when they are in distress, and then hopefully learn how we can intervene to save them.

Until then, we wait. I've reached the quickening, and can feel this baby move. It is such a relief. We're not quite at the kick count stage, but will be in about 2 weeks. I've got regular OB visits and they have been very open and kind about offering to increase my appointments if it would alleviate anxiety. As of now, I have not taken them up on it. I am diving into summer. I am trying to live my life, to prepare for the chaos that is to come, and trying to trust my body, this baby, and the universe. This baby has his own story. He will hopefully come to us healthy and screaming, and eventually he'll learn about his dear sister. But he has his own story. This is my mantra as I put one foot in front of the other each day.