I took last week off of writing this blog.
On Thursday night, the night before my blog was due, the buildup of lots of little emotions and struggles finally took over and swarmed out in a tsunami of guilt, grief, anger, anxiety, panic, exhaustion, frustration, and terror.
I sobbed because I was so tired, physically, emotionally.
I was tired of being a loss mom, I was tired of being anxious about a pregnancy and then how to parent a living child, I was tired of feeling like I lived in a world of what if and that I had to live in a world where my worries that my child might die were not the panicked worries of a new mom, but the worries of a seasoned survivor of losing a child.
I sobbed because I felt so much guilt.
I felt guilty that I had essentially spent most of LL Cool T’s pregnancy, waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop, waiting for the news that we had lost another baby. I felt guilty that I had not done the same excited preparations that I had done with Colette because I now live in a world where a baby coming home is not a given, but a privilege. I felt guilty that my pregnancy with Colette had been so difficult and traumatic that I could not handle being pregnant myself and that with the path of surrogacy, it meant that only one of us may not be able to be in the delivery room. I kept feeling guilty that it may mean Mark would not witness his second child’s birth, that he would not have any experience of a somewhat normal delivery.
I sobbed because as we move closer to LL’s due date, I miss Colette more and more.
I miss that I am not getting to see my two-year-old daughter being excited about being a big sister, especially since that role of big sister has meant so much to me personally. I miss that being Colette’s mom and being LL’s mom will mean two extremely different things. I sobbed because I am so afraid that people will begin to forget about Colette. I know that I could not personally forget about her, but would being an active mom to LL make me less of a mom to Colette? And so the tears flowed.
I cried because of the loss of carrying this child.
I got to feel Colette for a few weeks before she was born, but that time was way too short, and I will not get to feel LL move inside of me. Even more so, I may not be able to feel any other baby move inside me. That is a loss and one that is hard to fully process.
Tears flowed because I am angry.
I am angry that I am having to deal with the anxiety and worries of the Covid-19 crisis while anxiously awaiting the arrival of our second child, our first child to hopefully come home. I am angry that I have been pregnant twice before, the first time I believe twins, and that if those had worked out, I would not be having to worry about bringing home a baby in the midst of all of this. This does not mean that I do not love LL or that I am not thrilled about our new arrival home, but I do wish that at some point we could catch a break. I am so tired that I constantly hear about how resilient I am or how strong we have been or the like, and angry that so many people feel compelled to say that because understandably, what else do you say to us?
I sobbed over the anxiety and panic that plagues me, especially at night when the world shuts down and the house that I loved so much for its peace becomes too quiet, too still.
I worry like so many moms about whether I am prepared for this, if I know what I am doing, if we have the things we will need for LL. I also have the same worries and concerns as any mom—are my kids okay, am I doing enough as a mom, etc. but I also have the questions like, what if this child dies, how do I know that I am not cursed to have a lifetime of tragedy when it comes to my kids. It is a very scary and terrifying world to live in as a loss mom because the truth of the matter is that while I know it happens to other people, it seems like having a healthy pregnancy, healthy baby, and then healthy child is always just out of reach for me.
I sobbed because I am so frustrated.
I am frustrated that it has been feeling like we are banging our heads against the wall over and over and over again. I am frustrated that in order to preserve my health and thereby make me the healthiest mom I can be, I am stuck at home, without a break or an outlet to get out of my comfort zone and shake this funk off. I am frustrated by the hospital regulations that limit our access to the delivery room. And I am frustrated that once again, I have to fight to get some movement on this. Yes, I am a lifelong activist and advocate, but I like to fight for others—I am tired of fighting for myself.
And tired is what it all comes back to at the end of the day. It is exhausting to grieve, it is exhausting to worry all the time, to be waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop, it is exhausting to be in quarantine, it is exhausting to be parenting a child that is not living, and it is exhausting to be pregnant and/or to parent a child after loss.
So, I gave myself most of the weekend off.
I slept well for the first time in months and possibly years. I relaxed and took it easy. I remembered that one of the positive parts of being a loss mom is being a part of a community that always has your back, and that asking for an ear and then utilizing that person or people is invaluable. I feel way better equipped for LL’s arrival due in no small part to the amazing tiny, socially distant baby shower we had with my family who bought us way too much, but which I appreciated beyond words, and then the painting of LL’s room that is now complete.
Then, perhaps, best of all, we got to go to an ultrasound of LL.
G’s OB’s office is now letting spouses into the ultrasounds only, not appointments. G wanted us both to be there so she called and asked and as long as we were the very first appointment, we got to go in and be there together, live and in-person to see the ultrasound. In those few moments where we could see that LL was growing well and doing well, none of the rest seemed to matter because I am way too in love with our little one.