V day with Lucy meant I breathed a sigh of relief and grabbed the baby catalogues to start buying things with a vengeance. My baby was a sure thing. No question.
Now I know differently, and V day seems hollow and a lie as I know that a baby born now would be very, very poorly indeed. In my naivety with Lucy I put my total faith that the miracles of modern science would be able to save my baby if she was born too soon. But nothing is guaranteed, and miracles are scarce in this harsh world. Even healthy, born at term babies can die.
But still, 24 weeks is an achievment and I am grateful that we are here. Only 11 more weeks until baby is delivered.
With Lucy I hit this mark around the day my Sister got married and I was Bridesmaid. I was so, so happy that day. It is only recently that I have been able to look at pictures taken then and feel OK about it, rather than feeling sorrow. I had everything I wanted that day, life was perfect. I truly radiated happiness and contentment.
|Comparing bumps with the other guests. 20.06.09|
Baby Girl is getting stronger every day, her kicks are more forceful now and I have started to feel her turn and stretch out more. I love it, I love that private communication between us. But with it also comes the worry - I feel I have to be 100% tuned in to it all of the time, I am fearful I will miss a key change, a vital clue that all is not well. This means that quite often I will be working, talking, on a phone call or in a shop and suddenly my brain will ask "When did you last feel her move?". I freeze and hold my breath as I wait to feel something. The panic will rise in my throat and I will prod and push my bump, I zone out and everything starts to go blurry, I am taken back to that fateful morning last September and I feel physically sick. Eventually I will get a little movement or a kick and I will be brought back into the real world, but not before the tears are stinging my eyes and my heart racing.
Always thinking of the worse case scenario.
Because of this I am not sleeping well, when I wake up I am always waiting for that reassuring sign of life in my belly, if I do not feel something within five minutes I am wide awake and panicking. Poor baby rarely gets any rest as I am always pushing and prodding and trying to make her move so I know she is not dead.
Occasionally I venture onto baby forums. These are full of expectant women all gushing about which pram they will buy, to BF or not, baby names, sex lives during pregnancy. All of the usual trivial crap that fills peoples minds when they haven't lost a baby. I read through what people write on there and I am split between feeling envious of their unrelenting optimism or feeling an amalgamation of disgust, dislike, intolerance at their mindless ramblings and petty worries. On the odd occasion I feel the urge to join in, to get get carried away with their bouncy, happy, baby scented gushings. As if it will somehow 'normalise' me. I want to be like them, and my dislike only stems from jealousy that I'm not. So I write something, trivial, fluffy, a piece of advice or an anecdote from my pregnancy with Lucy.
And generally one of a few things happens. What predominantly happens is my comment is ignored. The women all talk and gush around me, their idle chat carries on as if I have never spoken. No one acknowledges me.
I don't know what I expect really - I guess to be engaged in their happy world in some way. But their chit chat carries on and I am left standing there, silent.
Sometimes what happens is my comment will end the conversation. Stopped dead in its tracks. I can almost see the tumbleweed blowing across the plains after I've said my little piece. Step away from the dead baby woman.
Very occasionally a few pitying women will reply to tell me how sorry they are for my loss, how they can't imagine what it must have been like. And whilst that is nice and very kind I don't want to be reminded of that, I want to be part of the 'in crowd'. I want that naivety back and the gushing joy, the unshakeable belief that I will be having a baby in a few months time. I want to be able to chat about my pregnancy experiences like any other second time mum, comparing cravings and sleepless nights and niggles.
So I don't post very much on those sites anymore as I come away feeling sad. I feel robbed of my pregnancy with Lucy, in more ways than one. Why have I lost the entitlement to talk about my experience? Do they see me as a failure? I feel they don't want advice from me, because my baby died.
I feel like I am in the playground, trying to get in with the 'popular' girls, whilst they bitch about me behind my back.
"Don't talk to her she couldn't even get PREGNANCY right! (and have you seen her shoes?)"
So I am finding out even more that the loss of a child cuts deeper than ever imaginable. I am not even allowed to discuss my memories with the other mummies. I am the outsider.
I have my wonderful baby loss friends to fill that void. To laugh with, cry with, and talk and talk as much as I want about Lucy, and my pregnancies. The ups, the downs, the cravings, the weight gain. We have our own select club.
And as I talk with them I feel their character and strength and it shines like gold. It makes all of those empty, vacant, gushing mothers on the forums and chat rooms seem like Pyrite in comparison. Every memory shared is more precious, every tear, every laugh is filled with more sorrow and more happiness than could be imagined. And this isn't lost on me.
So, some more pics as I document this little Rainbows journey with me.
24 week bump (looks a lot smaller in the mornings, after my day is spent eating cake it seems to stick out a LOT further):
And our nursery, which hasn't changed since we prepared it for Lucy (apart from the addition of another rug):