Before I continue I need to voice that it’s very difficult to write this post. I know of a friend who reads my blog sometimes and some of what I’m about to share may be hard for her to hear. I want her to know that I’m sorry in advance if anything that I say makes her sad or hurt in any way. It’s not my intent. I just need to get these feelings down in some form. I hope you know I love you.
25 weeks along.
6 months of pregnancy with my second child.
13 months of missing my first. I’m still having a difficult time with the past and our future.
Most days I feel like a mental disaster. The past few weeks have been especially hard. Chris and I invited our friends over last weekend—the ones that we haven’t seen in over a year who have a daughter that was born right before Rylan. If you keep up with my blog you know about this already so I’ll spare the details again. Work was busy for me leading up to the weekend. I was anxious—for obvious reasons—and on top of it I started freaking out that something was wrong with B2K (Baby Kudela #2). My OB doctor told me previously that it would be perfectly normal if I didn’t feel the baby regularly until around week 24. The week before, the baby was moving about, having a party in my belly off and on (which was exciting)—enough to keep my mind at ease throughout the day and night. By Thursday I felt like the movement had decreased and I was mentally freaking out every second of the day by Friday. My inner dialogue was flooded with thoughts and questions about what was worth being worried about (how much was just me being crazy or overreacting), what warranted an early leave from work, a scare for my husband, and a trip to the doctor’s office for a heartbeat check. After all, here I am between week 24 and 25. What do I do? Pop in at the doctor’s office every day for a gut check? I tried silly tactics like drinking sugary soda and pressing on my belly a bit to initiate some kind of movement. I stepped out for some air and tried breathing relaxed breaths to calm my nerves. In the end, I decided not to go to the doctor. Friday night I felt more movement and serious relief. Reassured that B2K was alive.
Saturday was scary. And good. And really, really tough. Just like all of my days, everything is two-sided. We are hard pressed to find good in our lives without pain standing right beside it. We decided to meet at my parents house to have lunch and some pool time. It was the first time we would see A & G and their little girl. Not only would it be the first time that I would see their young daughter, but also the first time that I would intentionally place myself in the presence of a child around infant/toddler age. Obviously, I’ve had expected run-ins with kids in public, but it’s still not easy… and at my job I feel like there have been weekly visits from my co-worker’s children, many of which are young. Those moments have been especially hard for me. And when they unexpectedly occur I struggle to control my emotions and often end up somewhere nearby in tears. Needless to say, spending a few hours around a toddler that would be almost the exact age of my son and that has such ties to our previous plans was especially difficult. It was so nice to finally see our friends again. It was so nice to give them a big hug and see them face-to-face. It felt like way too much time had passed. But, those happy feelings were uncontrollably pulled down by the weight of our great loss. The entire day I consciously stayed busy and shook off the feelings every time my mind wandered. And, it was almost funny—when they left I felt like it was better than I had anticipated—we made it through another obstacle. I was so happy to see them, and I didn’t cry in front of them—it went smoothly and I was still standing. I have to say I felt shocked and impressed.
What I realized later that night once we settled at home, and in the days that followed, was that it was harder than I thought. The entire day I had pushed the feelings down and now they were rising back to the surface, and quickly. I felt such heartache, like losing him all over again. That unanswered question, and all that goes along with it, plagued me. Why? Why were we chosen to lose so much? To be so different from those around us? Forever changed inside.
I watched them tend to their little girl all day and wished that we were doing the same for Rylan. I wondered who he would be. How we would be as his parents. How our past year would be different. Whose features would he have? What color eyes would stare back at us? Would his hair be cornsilk blonde like Chris’ was as a child? What would his smile look like? Would he be shy or outgoing? Would he love the water like I do? Be fearless? What would it be like to hold his hand again? To watch him interact with his daddy? How would we work together to care for him? What kind of habits or routines would we have? How would it feel to hug him and kiss his soft, little cheeks or the top of his head? To hold him as he drifted off for a nap? I wished I could hear him laugh, or even cry. Being around Erin and watching A & G care for her made me long for my son even more. It awoke that “mom” part of me that I continuously work so hard to turn off every day.
Our visit has made me realize that our relationship with them will forever be challenged. And, it’s so unfair. G and I have been friends since 5th grade. That’s about 25 years, I think. We didn’t do anything to cause this. Wasn’t losing Rylan enough? I don’t want to lose our good friends but I also don’t know how to pretend like everything is normal. It’s not. There will never be a time that I won’t look at their family and compare what they have to what we’re missing. There will never be a moment when I won’t compare their sweet girl to my absent angel. Not at age 1, 10, 16, 18, or 32… there will always be heartache. I’m not sure where to go from here.
So, with a heavy heart I started the work week. Still nervous about B2K, worries escalated by lingering thoughts of Rylan’s death. Needless to say, I made it to our Tuesday afternoon ultrasound. Happy to hear that the baby was doing okay. Growth and heart rates normal. Our last blood test came back normal, too, which was so good to hear. They said that last time Rylan’s levels were off a bit. Nothing that would have caused concern at the time since all other things seemed normal, but looking back it may indicate that placenta problems were a possibility. Chris and I both need reassurance as much as we can get it with this pregnancy. We took the opportunity to discuss our concerns with the specialist. He said that babies have wake/sleep cycles of a half hour at a time and that I’m not always going to feel the baby’s movements, especially right now. He clarified that I will need to begin kick counting at 28 weeks and gave me some additional information about it. I’m so nervous about that. I don’t want to miss anything this time. It’s hard enough living with the fact that Rylan died and I had no idea. I don’t think you can be any closer to another human being than carrying them, growing them, in your belly. I still feel like, as his mother, I should’ve known. I’m terrified of that happening again. I don’t think that I could live with myself if it happened twice.
I have 100 days left, probably a little less. It sounds like a lot, but there are more days behind us than ahead, which is a small relief. We try to live for today and not get too ahead of ourselves. It’s difficult to attach to the baby without setting some kind of expectations that things will work out. It’s like walking a tightrope. Someone is holding the end of the wire, but I can’t see their face, and they are in control of our fate. I’m just doing my best to keep my balance for our family. I hope that they will show us mercy. That we will be blessed with a living, breathing baby that we can raise for a lifetime. I want to be an active mom so badly. I want sleepless nights. Dirty diapers. Tantrums. I want the whole package. And, I’ll appreciate every second, as much as I humanly can. Just as there are no words to truly express the sadness I carry over the loss of our first baby, I cannot fully articulate how deeply I yearn to be a mother. I just hope that I get the chance to show everyone someday.
On that note, I need to get weekending. Hugs to all!