Elegy for Amy

31w6d April 25, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 9:23 pm

I was talking to a friend on Tuesday night, and she asked how far along I was. Without thinking, I replied, “oh, just about 32 weeks.” And the conversation continued, casually. Normally. And it was only when I was off the phone that I realized, holy crap. 32 weeks.

32 weeks is huge. A baby born between 32 and 36 weeks is not a micro preemie. Not extreme preterm. Not even early preterm, just, preterm. 28 was huge too – 28 was when his odds of survival really wentup – but a baby born after 32 weeks will not have nearly as many potential long-term issues to deal with as a baby born before. 32 weeks is a huge sigh of relief and time to start freaking out about actually bringing home a baby. 32 weeks is just 5 weeks from full-term. And back in October, even back in February when they put me on bed rest, 32 weeks seemed impossibly far away. Like a dream we might not dare to have.

But more than that, I’m not actually 32 weeks yet. I won’t be until tomorrow. But on Tuesday night, I rounded up. And there was a time when I wouldn’t have assumed on a Tuesday that I’d still be pregnant on Friday, but this week, I did. And I am. And I will be.

Last week was my last cervical measurement – I’m far enough along that they don’t need to measure it anymore. As of tomorrow, I get to start transitioning from “bed rest” to “taking it easy” until 34 weeks, when I’m off all restrictions. I’m no longer a high-risk cervical patient. My next ultrasound isn’t for another two weeks, and no one is worried. Finally.

Our ultrasound tech had some extra time and we played around a bit with the 3D/4D. I couldn’t believe how much detail they were able to see. I’ve seen other 3D pictures and wasn’t expecting much, but then suddenly on the screen there was our son’s adorable face.

31weeks2

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Silly Milestones April 8, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 7:15 pm

It’s funny how much your feelings about something can change. That’s one of the reasons I’ve wanted to chronicle this pregnancy here in addition to posting about Amy – it’s all related, and I want to remember all of it. How I felt before, and during, and during, and after. I remember, but I can also see it right here, how my outlook changed, day to day, week to week.

Embarking on this next journey, I wanted to wait to do anything too big, I wasn’t going to buy furniture or baby things or think too far ahead. Thinking too far ahead was the enemy, then. And then, I think some time around the 2nd trimester, when the present was scarier than thinking ahead, I started changing my mind. I bought clothes. I started an Amazon registry. After dinner one night, I declared it was time to buy a crib.

It wasn’t that I stopped being scared; in fact it was just the opposite – I was terrified, practically 24 hours a day, being back in that time when we lost Amy. It suddenly seemed like looking ahead – assuming we WOULD bring home a baby – was the only solution to the anxiety. ¬†And I realized with a sudden clarity, that in terms of losing this baby, too, it doesn’t matter if we have a crib, a single outfit, a fully-decorated nursery, or nothing at all. I was protecting myself from absolutely nothing, because nothing would lessen the pain of losing a baby, not denying myself my entire pregnancy or going whole-hog with it – if he dies, it will be the worst thing to ever happen to us, again. The stupid crib would be the least of our concerns.

But still, there are a few hang-ups I have from my pregnancy with Amy. Before we came home from the hospital, my husband put away some of the more obvious pregnancy things he saw around the house; books about childcare and the like. But it was the little things that mocked me. The weird “pregnancy-safe” sunscreen I’d bought days earlier. And the brand-new, unopened bottle of prenatal vitamins sitting on the counter, because I’d only had two days worth left the day we checked into the hospital and I’d just ordered more, because how could I have known? As a result, I would only buy my vitamins for this pregnancy one month at a time. I started taking DHA because I read it might be linked to a reduction in preterm birth, and every 30 days we’d have to go to the store to get another bottle.

And so here is my silly, ridiculous milestone, a milestone that would only ever matter to me. At the beginning of my second trimester, when I was having all these revelations, we went to get my new bottle of DHA, and I grabbed enough bottles off the shelf to take me all the way to 34 weeks, when taking vitamins to prevent preterm birth seemed like it would be kind of silly. I bought them all. And today, at 29 weeks and 3 days, I got to open that very last bottle.

 

One Year April 3, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 11:50 am

A year. It’s been a whole year. That seems impossible, but if I’m honest, it seems like it’s been even longer.

There was a post on Glow in the Woods the other day that summed up this process so beautifully.

And sometimes I start to wonder whether my own gut feeling, that this grief is not something I will ever forget or get over, but something I slowly get better at living with, whether this way of looking at things is not right, whether we should, at some point, just be fine already. I am, though. I am fine. And yet, I am also grieving. And listening to everyone in the group, everyone who is a bit ahead of us, and everyone who is waaaay ahead, in the end that felt like a permission slip– yes, grief is like that, and it is ok to sit with it, now and whenever. Grief is like this because love is like this, and in the end it is still very simple– we love them, and they are dead.

I am fine, and yet, I am also grieving. I think in some ways that will simply always be true. When an adult dies, you have memories. Stories. What he liked, what she hated, that perfect afternoon you spent together – things to reflect back on, reminisce about. When a child dies, especially when a baby dies, there are no stories. Our daughter existed only inside of me, and then she was gone. I don’t know what her favorite food would have been, her first word, if she would have preferred girls or boys. Would she have been smart, or funny, or loved to dance. Would she have…that’s all there is. A lifetime of what-ifs and might-haves and family photos that will always be missing someone, every single time.

Those are the things that still get me. It can be anywhere, any time – I’ll see a little girl and think of Amy. She’ll never have a birthday party. Never play on the beach. Never have a first kiss, go to prom, find her first grown-up apartment. And no matter how many more children we end up having, no matter where we go, or what we do, she’ll never be in the picture. The pictures we have of her are the only ones we’ll ever get.

And it’s been hard, being pregnant again, to think much about Amy. Inevitably we do, but once I got into the second trimester, if I thought too much about what happened I was paralyzed with fear that it would all just happen again. Night after night, I’d dream about dead babies. I had to kind of put her on a shelf, as terrible as it sounds, knowing always I’d come back later. Now that we’re finally out of the worst woods, I can take her box down again, look at her pictures, remember without fearing for her brother’s life, too.

And I don’t even know what to call this day. Today would have been your birthday, if you had lived. But then, if today wasn’t your birthday, you might very well have lived. The very wrongness of the date was always the problem. I will hold forever in my mind the terror I finally felt when I filled out that check-in form – Today’s date: 3/30/12. Due date:7/26/12. Right next to each other, so obviously wrong, wrong, wrong. I’m so, so sorry. I wish I could go back in time and change it, but April 3rd is unfortunately your birthday, forever. It feels like there should be more to do than write a blog post and remember, but. But, but, but.

One year. We both still love and miss you terribly.