I didn’t know exactly what to expect after our daughter was born. I mean, I knew the typical things like the lack of sleep I would be getting and having to change diapers again. But now that she was safely here and the fears and anxiety of the pregnancy would be gone, I didn’t know how much those feelings would be there after the birth as well.
I am an anxious person in general and it’s hard to not jump to the worst possible conclusion in a situation. (I’ve been working on that.) The second day in the hospital was tough because she had previously done great with latching and feeding and then, on that second day, she suddenly wasn’t wanting to do it anymore. I got so frustrated because I never had issues like that with my son and no matter what I was doing, she just didn’t want to do it anymore. It was even more frustrating because she had been doing great at it the day before and the day of leading up until this point. I kept thinking I was doing something wrong. Fortunately, with the help of the lactation consultants, and when my milk fully came in, she started doing great at it again. I couldn’t help but also be reminded of when my milk came in after losing our first daughter.
When we came home, I was so worried she would stop breathing or something would happen to her that I could not control.
She is now seven weeks and I have been able to relax a little bit, but still worry a lot. She started giving us 5-6 hours stretches of sleep and those were hard at first because I woke up worrying something was wrong. Now I just really appreciate that first long stretch!
I worry about taking her around people or people kissing her. I worry about all the germs she could be exposed to and didn’t take her out of the house really for the first month. To be fair, I did have some of these same fears with my son as well and I had no losses prior to his birth. It’s just our instinct to protect our babies and I don’t think you can be too cautious. People are quick to judge your decisions, but it’s your baby, not theirs, and we have to do what we feel is right.
My family had a reunion shortly after Emma was born. I did not attend because she was so young and it was a chore just to get out of the house with a newborn and because it was quite a ways away. But the main reason I did not want to go is because I knew there would be unvaccinated kids there, and I did not want to risk exposing my newborn to that. I know some people are judgy because of that, but I would never forgive myself if something had happened because I brought her. It’s also the reason I have to miss my brother’s wedding. It is a destination wedding and I don’t want to risk taking her on a plane full of people to another country when she hasn’t had all of her vaccinations.
These are things I thought about with my son, but the fears are way more amplified after having a loss.
In my head, it feels like if I potentially expose her to something, she will for sure get it. I mean, there was only a 1% chance of having a daughter with mosaic trisomy 15 and CDH, and yet it happened to me. So any risk now feels like it is huge and not worth it.
The other difference now is that I get to work at home full time and have her home with me right now. Obviously I can’t do this for long because she will get more and more distracting. But it’s nice to have the extra time with her. I had to put my son in daycare at seven weeks because I needed to go back to work to get paid and it was so hard. I think it is hard with any baby, but always hardest with the first one. Now that I have someone I trust to watch her, it won’t be as hard when I have to send her.
We are adjusting to many things now.
Having a baby after having a loss and adjusting to having two living children. A lot of things remind me of our angel daughter. I see Emma smile or look at me or her brother and I still ache for being able to do those things with her. I both appreciate having a healthy daughter to have these moments with and desperately wish I could have these with our angel daughter as well.
I saw another rainbow on my way home yesterday and every time I do, I feel like our angel daughter is sending us a sign that she is okay and that she is looking out for us and for her siblings. I feel like she knows how much I miss her and the rainbow makes me smile every time. I just continue to be thankful for all three of the children that I have brought into this world, even if one doesn’t get to be with us physically. I know her presence is still here and will make sure her siblings know who she is.