Week 16. The emotions keep coming and they hit harder the further along we go. We may not be able to feel the baby physically, but emotionally, ow!
Our latest OB appointment involved an ultrasound first, so we were able to see the baby and really at the best time, where the baby looks clear. The tech was amazing, taking time to show us the arms, the legs, the heartbeat, etc. I can tell you that LL Cool T must be living up to the inspiration for the namesake because there was a lot of dancing and wiggling around.
It was so exciting to stand with Mark, to start to daydream about what this baby would be like, what he or she would look like.
The OB appointment starts off with the doctor turning to G and saying, you’ve already done this, and then turning to Mark and I, and saying, oh you guys will have to sign up for a birthing class. Fear immediately envelops me. First, it is too soon to be talking about this. Second, we cannot do this in the traditional manner.
In the freeze of the fear, I manage to stammer out something to basically say we cannot do the normal classes. All I can think of is I don’t want to be in a room of carefree parents who will all talk about how amazing it is to be expecting your first child. These are the situations that make me break out in a sweat, trying to figure out how to do the introduction, deciding between acknowledging my daughter and making everyone in the room uncomfortable or omitting the story of our first child and then feeling guilty and terrible for not acknowledging Colette as a member of our family.
The OB leaves the room, presumably to talk to someone about the crazy lady who will not just accept that things are going well for this pregnancy. I’m pretty sure that this OB just wants to deliver good news and I keep challenging it and it makes him uncomfortable. But, this is my new status in life as a loss mom with a big mouth and an even bigger opinion—I call it like it is, challenge the status quo of oh once you’re past the first trimester, everything is fine, and well, have varying responses to that.
The nurse comes in to tell me that I should write down my phone number and their educator will call me to chat about one-on-one classes.
The next day, the educator calls me to talk about what exactly I was looking for. My ranting, verbal diarrhea overwhelms her and she stops me to try to review why we’re talking. I take a deep breath and explain that yes Mark and I have a child but she was born by emergency c-section just shy of 25 weeks and so we do not know anything really about the birthing process and will need a class, but that we do not want to be in those awkward situations of first-time parents. She and I speak for awhile and she comes up with a tentative plan for a class with just Mark and me, and when we will check in to schedule it. I hang up, feeling so grateful that in this maze of expecting after loss, there are the occasional glimmers of hope, that someone understands, someone wants to work with you.
Because, at the end of the day, this process is not easy.
We want to live in “when,” but default to “if,” and struggle between two worlds of excitement and anxiety. We know what can happen, the very worst thing, the thing that no one expects, the thing that is usually whispered about in the shadows. No one wants to talk about a world in which babies die, and when we do, most people either get the hell out as soon as possible or put up with only a little bit and then want you to move on, to stop talking about the unspeakable. I cannot tell you how many different winces and faces of pain I have seen in the 20 or so months since we lost Colette. It rarely stops me, I continue to speak out to keep Colette’s name, story, and memory alive. Those people who really do care about me, about us have adjusted. Some of those faces that grimaced in the initial few months slowly started to relax and now not only hear the stories, but also share their own stories and thoughts.
We wait with bated breath, filled with equal parts excitement and terror, hoping and waiting for the day that we and those close to us will get to share stories and thoughts on two children, one not here on earth and one in our home, but also being so afraid that dream will not have the happy ending we long for.