Induction Dilemma

The last week of pregnancy has to be about the longest week of a woman’s life. In my experience you waddle around like a walking time bomb, anxiously waiting to go off.

People ask you how you are doing with a hope in their eye that you’ll say you’re feeling like today is the day. I swear half of them would be thrilled to hunch over and catch the baby for you right then.

You feel pressure (emotional and physical). You feel anxious. And you feel helpless.

I am certain that I am a walking-time-bomb dud. Despite my best efforts to fling myself into full-on labor, it has evaded me.

And so here I am once again with the near-insanity induction dilemma.

I’ve been against women wanting to get out of being pregnant early all my life – until I delivered my third son stillborn at 37 weeks.

I used to think that unless there was a medical emergency, women should grin and bear it. They should hang in there pregnant until nature set them free. I have heard stories of women scheduling inductions around college semester schedules or upcoming vacations. I still think those women are ridiculous.

But you better believe that last week at my weekly check-up and non-stress test, I asked my doctor the golden question, “Would you be willing to start me early?”

Thank heavens he is a compassionate man who tries to understand my stress. He doesn’t shrug me aside and tell me not to worry. He gives me his after-hours cell phone number and tells me to call anytime I need to.

Luckily, he said he’d help me out one week before I’m due. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I may get my mental health back.

Because being pregnant this far along after I buried a full-grown, beautiful baby boy is crippling. There are days (like yesterday) when I nearly end up in a crying fit massaging my stomach trying to get my baby to move. Sometimes she’s just peaceful. Sometimes that is enough to nearly put me over the edge.

It’s times like that when I drink a lot of sugary Kool Aid to get her going. If you see me waddling with a crazy look in my eye you’ll know why.

I can’t tell you how much I dream of having my water break. I dream of some serious at-home contractions that lead me to a car ride to the hospital.

But then again I also dream of holding my beautiful, brand new baby while she is alive. That dream often turns into nightmares these days when I can’t remember the last time she’s kicked.

And so here I am, breaking my moral code and planning to get induced a few days before my 40-week due date. I have some time left to go into labor naturally, but at the rate I’m going, I don’t think it will happen considering my body started dilating weeks ago but still hasn’t kicked into full-on-labor gear.

Call me weak, call me impatient, call me a stressed-out lunatic. I will answer to all three.

If she’s ready, let her come before I have to check in at the mental ward.

Gender Reveal, We’re Having A …..

Two days. That’s how long it took my boys to tell half our neighborhood the gender of our unborn baby. They probably would have spread the word sooner, but we didn’t go anywhere or run into anyone until that second day.

Boy or girl. Not that big of a deal, but I was kind of trying to keep it a surprise until he or she was here. I had my reasons (you can read about those here.)

I guess I shouldn’t have let my oldest two children know.

But I couldn’t really get mad at them. It was too big of a secret for a 7 and 5-year-old to keep. They are proud big brothers who want to share their sibling with the world.

That’s much better than resenting the fact that we are adding another member to our family.

I have realized through this experience that whether our baby is a boy or a girl wasn’t just my secret to keep. It’s not just my baby.

And though I still have my reservations in telling everyone – to me it doesn’t matter one bit if it’s a boy or girl – I figure I might as well make a public announcement before everyone hears through the grapevine.

I’ve uploaded a video from my ultra sound where the boys discovered what we are having. Their reaction was priceless. For those few of you who still may want to know, watch below.

How can we know for certain you ask? Well thanks to some abnormal blood results early on in my pregnancy, followed by a highly scientific CFDNA test where each of our baby’s chromosomes were counted, we are 100 percent certain. And thankfully, everything from the DNA test came back normal.

So bring on the pink. Or the purple. Or the pink and purple. (I honestly don’t know if you can mix those two. We stopped at Old Navy to buy a baby outfit after the ultrasound and I was stressed out trying to decide if a pink striped shirt matched some purple ruffle-bottomed pants.)

Our family has no idea what it is getting into.

But just to reaffirm my thoughts on why I didn’t want to deal with people’s reactions to our baby’s gender, my oldest son asked me the following question Sunday afternoon: “Mom, if it’s a girl, then why can’t we tell people? They aren’t going to say, ‘Oh man.’ because it’s a GIRL!”

Exactly. What would people have said it if was a boy? I don’t even want to know…

Oh Baby, Oh Baby!

 

Baby 5Here we go again. I’m 12 – almost 13 – weeks pregnant and once again I am terrified. Not because I don’t want to have a baby. But because I DO.

I want to hold it and kiss it and cradle it. Not just once but millions of times over dozens of years.

This is the second time I have carried a baby since we lost our third son. He was born sleeping at 37 weeks gestation. We had set up the crib. We had filled his dresser. We had bought diapers and wipes and binkies.

When we called family and friends to tell them the news, they thought he was alive and well. It was devastating.

It’s been four years, but I’ll never get over losing him. (You can read more about him here.)

And that’s why I’m scared out of my mind to be risking it all again. Because I have learned that sometimes tragic things do happen to ME.

I’ve made it three months. Only six to go – half a year.

I can do this.

But I’m going to have to take it one day at a time. One hour, maybe even sometimes one minute at a time.

Like I said, this is the second time I have carried a baby since we lost Luca. The first time ended perfectly. In July 2012 we were blessed with our beautiful little rainbow baby. He has defrosted much of my frozen heart and reminded me that there is still hope in the world. (You can read about that here.)

Hopefully that hope will carry me through the next several months. Hopefully it will keep me going when I am worried sick.

Because I know I will have times when I will go out of my mind with fear. For I will be the first to know if something goes wrong. Like that fateful day four years ago when I noticed our baby stopped moving.

I don’t want to go through that again.

So I’m going to be selfish the next six months. I am going to take deep breaths and eat a lot of ice cream. I’m going to soak in the bathtub and listen to my favorite Pandora station.

I’m going to take time to relax and enjoy every moment.

I am going to focus on me. I’ve got to.

I have three favors to ask all of you this time around.

First, PLEASE don’t congratulate me. I don’t want you to jinx anything.  And it may sound harsh, but I don’t want to hear it. Not until my baby is born alive and well. Then you can scream congratulations from the mountaintops – we can shout happy news together.

What can you say instead of congrats? If you really want to know, ask me how I’m doing. That’s my second request.

Help me stay sane during the next 27 weeks. Call me, text me, email me, whatever. I know I’m going to turn into a hermit. I’ll need lots of encouragement and motivation. I’m sure there will be many days I’ll just want to stay in bed or lounge on the couch, but that’s not good for me.

I can do this. I can!

Finally, don’t ask me what I am having. I will proudly declare: “A human!”

As the mother of four beautiful boys, chances are that I am carrying a fifth.

I’ve decided I’m not going to tell anyone what it is. ANYONE. If you happen to see me decorating or buying new baby clothes you might be able to guess, but I’m not going to come right out and say it.

I don’t want to hear what I’ve already heard over and over and over: “No girls?”, “I hope you get a girl this time,” etc.

I don’t care what it is. Don’t get me wrong. I’d love to wrap up a little one in pink, but if I have learned anything through losing Luca, I have learned not to take anything for granted. Especially when it comes to my children.

Whatever it is, boy or girl, I will love it because it will be mine.

Let’s just hope we both make it until October 12.

Gone But Not Forgotten

I called my son by the wrong name the other night. Which really isn’t a big deal for most parents. I honestly do it all the time with my oldest two boys. But I called my newborn son “Luca,” the name of my baby who passed away two years ago.

It really made me stop and think.

Having a rainbow baby has brought me so much joy, so much peace. Yet in a very small, strange way, it has also made me miss my angel son even more.

Taking care of our new baby has reminded me of some of the things I have missed not being able to raise my third son.

I never bathed him, never fed him, never patted his back to burp him or changed his stinky diaper. And I hate that I never locked eyes with him or saw him smile.

I’ve been reminded lately that I will never be able to replace my little Luca. Nor do I want to.

Deep down I will always wish I had him here, no matter how happy I have become. No matter how much healing I have experienced. No matter how many babies I have after him.

Living With My Rainbow

Sometimes after a dark, cold storm, when the rain is done chilling you to the bone, when the wind is done taking your breath away, when the clouds disperse and the sky reappears, a burst of light shines from the heavens and colors bow over the earth.

And although you still feel dampness in the air, the rainbow’s color fills you with light and hope.

Last week I caught the first glimpse of my rainbow. After 9 very long months, my rainbow baby boy was born July 3. And he is beautiful.

The past couple of years have been filled with storms for my family and me. The rains started pouring April 22, 2010 when I delivered my third son stillborn.

At times during the past 2 years I have felt like a hurricane has swarmed around my house, like I was drowning in my trials. And no matter what I did I couldn’t shake the storm.

But now I feel like I am basking in the sunlight. For some reason, things have taken a turn for the better for me.

Some of you who have read my blog in the past know that it was difficult for me to get pregnant this time around. And still after a year of trying I was not only thrilled, but terrified that a new life was inside me.

This pregnancy was probably my easiest one physically. Aside from the usual heartburn and joint pain, I was actually quite comfortable.

But mentally I thought I was going to go crazy – especially the last month. I don’t know how many times a day I would do the 10-movements-in-2-hours kick count. I knew that if something went wrong, I would be the first to know and that stressed me right out.

At my 37-week appointment my doctor said he would be willing to induce my labor early, as long as my body was ready. I keep praying it would be ready. At 38 weeks I was dilated to a 1 and 50 percent effaced. That was enough to schedule the induction.

I hardly slept the night before I was so excited and anxious. My boys were excited too. They woke up at 5:30 in the morning.

Our dark-haired, chubby-cheeked little guy came just after 2 in the afternoon and I have never been so happy to hear a tiny baby cry. He was a week early, but was still a good 7 pounds 6 ounces.

And as much as I love our new little addition, his brothers may have me beat. I have never seen two little boys swarm around a baby like my oldest two boys swarm around our newborn. They are enamored by him and want to be right next to him all of the time.

The past week and a half has felt like a dream. I still can’t believe our baby is real, and that we got to bring him home.

I am sure there will be times when my storm will return, for I’ll never forget, nor ever be able to replace the beautiful baby I buried 2 years ago. And I will always feel saddened that my husband and I will never have all of our children together.

But for now I am going to bask in the colors of my rainbow and soak in his glow.

I think Courtney said it perfectly on babycenter.org:

“Rainbow Babies” is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn’t mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope.

Baby?

I am less than a month from my due date and feeling a little overwhelmed.

At times anxiety threatens to take over my every though and action. Other times the thought of actually bringing home a little baby boy stresses me to the max.

I have only written a few times during the past 37 weeks about what it has been like to carry a life after the last one I carried died. It is terrifying, exciting, hope inspiring, and stressful to say the least.

There are times when I feel absolutely fine. Almost like I am not even pregnant. I think my mind has naturally slightly detached itself from the baby my body is carrying. It has kept a safe distance – in order to protect itself in case of another tragedy.

A lot of times when I think about bringing a baby to my house I don’t even know what to do.  I can’t wrap my mind around that. It has been a long time since I have nursed or diapered a little one. I have major feelings of inadequacy.

I don’t even know if I am ready to care for this baby.

There’s a small closet in my bathroom that is stocked chuck full of diapers, wipes, toiletries and other baby essentials. I am pretty sure I have everything you could possibly need or want for this baby. But that doesn’t mean I have it all out.

I bought a new dresser and filled it with clothes, but everything else is at bay. Until I bring my little bundle of joy home, I will not get out the car seat or stroller and you better believe I will not set up the bassinet or crib.

Those were the hardest things to take down after Luca died.

My mother-in-law bought me the cutest new diaper bag. I have halfway filled it. I know I should get it ready, in case there is a moment of panic, but I just can’t – yet.

There have been times during the past 8 months when I am sure my baby is going to die. The fact that I am the first one who will know if he stops moving has almost been too much to bear.

He is particularly still in the morning. But no matter how many times I tell myself that is normal for him, I still end up lying in fear on my side in my bed waiting, worrying.

There are times throughout the day when I try to remember the last time he moved. Sometimes I’ll stop everything I am doing and sit still on my couch for a long while until I feel him kick or wiggle.

If only he could move and squirm all of the time. Although it may be unsettling, at least I would know he is alive.

I am anywhere between 36-38 weeks pregnant – depending how you count. That means I have anywhere between 2-4 weeks to wait. Yet another reason why this control freak is stressing. Add my weekly shots that I was taking to stop my body from going into premature labor, and I have no idea when the little one will arrive.

Thank heavens the natural nesting instinct has kicked in, keeping me busy cleaning every nook and cranny in my home. It might be driving my husband crazy, but it helps with my anxiety and allows me to feel in control of something.

But I am running out of nooks and crannies. Hopefully I deliver soon. The anticipation is killing me.

Sometimes I want to scream out loud, “Am I really going to have a baby?” It still hasn’t sunk in.

At this point I know I am going to HAVE to deliver, but will I get to HAVE my baby?

The Pregnant Pause

I know of six different women who live within a half a mile from my home who are pregnant – and that’s not counting me. Not only is there something in my neighborhood’s water, it feels like dozens of my Facebook friends are expecting.

So needless to say I have heard a lot of excited “I’m-going-to-have-a-baby!” type announcements in the past several months.

The problem is, when someone tells me the news there’s an awkward pregnant pause.

Not because there’s a silent break that may lead to the “birth” of a grand announcement, like the pregnant-pause definition suggests, but because when someone tells me they are pregnant, I literally pause.

I have absolutely nothing to say. No words of encouragement or support. No, “I am so happy for you,” and “That is so exciting” phrases seem sincere.

And somehow phrases like, “Good luck,” “I hope your baby is OK,” and “Seriously?” don’t seem situational appropriate.

I feel horrible and yet I don’t know how to change. I’m afraid I have become the sharp pin that bursts every excited mother-to-be’s bubble.

But how can I be thrilled about something that brought me such horrible pain and sorrow? I cross my fingers and pray each day that no one I know will have pregnancy complications. But it still scares me to death.

I guess I am still working through my grief and the anxiety it has forced into my life.

I’m hoping that a safe delivery of my unborn son this summer will reclaim my enthusiasm in childbearing.

Until then, I am sure I’ll give birth to a lot more pauses.

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