Thursday, 30 September 2010

32 weeks

I am glad that Lucy's anniversaries have been and gone. The anticipation of the day lead to many tears. The anniversary of the day she passed was heartbreaking and I was terrified that this baby was going to die as well. Being pregnant on that day was just too familiar, the weather was even the same, every second of that day I held my breath waiting for tragedy again.

Thankfully it didn't come. On Lucy's birthday we spent the day shopping, we met with friends for tea and then when it went dark we let a wish lantern off and toasted our firstborn with pink wine. We held each other and cried hard. There is a little girl who should be here, and she isn't. She should be teething and walking and my windowsill should be full of changing pictures of her beautiful self, when instead there is just a solitary picture of her tiny, still body being cradled by two ashen faced grieving parents.

I am now on maternity leave. I crept away, silently. Last time we had cakes, food and celebrations - a big presentation and baby gifts. I was made a fuss of and everyone had well meaning advice about labour and birth. We laughed and talked and I was so, so excited. This time I didn't announce when I was leaving. I just left. Only a handful of people knew it was my last day. I felt ungrateful but I just couldn't face the big celebrations. I felt like a fraud after losing Lucy, I couldn't put myself through it all again. I don't want to count my chickens. How can I celebrate, how can I be excited when I don't know the ending of this story yet? I want, hope, try so hard to believe it will be the happy ending that we have waited nearly 3 years for. But that is such a long time, and so much loss and heartache. I feel embittered by it all, cynical, pessimistic.
So now I play this waiting game. Waiting, waiting for the end to come. And I know that one way or another I will be birthing this baby into the world, be she alive or dead. I feel terribly guilty for even considering the latter, but as nothing is certain I can't rule it out. I want so, so much to be a mummy to a living child this time. I cannot bear the thought of letting everybody down again, so many people are depending on me to make their dreams come true.

The Turn. (Ben Johnson)

It is not growing like a Tree
In bulk, doth make Man better be;
Or standing long an Oak, three hundred year
To fall a log, at last, dry, bold, and sear:
A Lily of a Day,
Is fairer far, in May,
Although it fall, and die that Night;
It was the Plant, and Shower of Light.
In small proportions, we just Beauties see:
And in short measures, Life may perfect be.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

One Year Ago

One year ago today I was already up, awake, and worrying about my baby's movements.

In three hours time I would feel her last movements. Her struggles before she passed.

In four hours time I would ring the Labour ward in hysterics, knowing something was going terribly wrong with my perfect pregnancy.

In five and a half hours time we would walk into the scan room, for 'that' scan. You know the one. The one where your dreams are crushed and your heart torn from your chest by those three words - "I'm so sorry".

In eight and a half hours time - at four thirty in the afternoon -  I was given my first pessary to start labour.

At ten thirty in the evening my waters were broken and I was 5 cm dilated.

But we wouldn't meet my little princess, my angel, my joy, my love, my sleeping beauty until tomorrows date.

So I will leave it there for now, except to say that I love you Lucy. You are always in my thoughts, you are always spoken about, and always will be. We miss you and we ask you to help keep your little sister safe, your poor, broken mummy and daddy could not bear to lose her as well as you.

Sleep peacefully my angel xxxxxxx

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Happily ever after?

That's what I keep wondering. Will I get it? Of course, it won't actually be totally, 100% fairy tale style happily ever after, because my first little girl will always be just a ghost. The rest of my life will be governed by what ifs and how old would she be nows.

Over the last few days I have started to bond more with this little person in my belly. The middle months of this pregnancy were clouded by conflict, my poor, emotionally charged brain struggled with the comprehension that this pregnancy was not Lucy, this baby was not my second chance at Lucy. Even my friends and family had trouble, and sometimes referred to my new bump as Lucy, which was normally followed by a sharp intake of breath and rushed apologies. But I don't mind them saying it, I liked that her name was spoken out loud. It seems so rare these days I get to hear it.
Anyway, back to bonding. Yes I have found it hard to split the pregnancies in my head, and I found it almost frustating when baby behaved differenly to Lucy, it confused me, why was this pregnancy so unfamiliar to me when I'd been here before? Why is baby awake now? Lucy never used to be awake now. Why does baby not like to kick much? Lucy used to kick all the time. Why does baby do this, when Lucy used to do that?  But suddenly I seem to have accepted that this is a new entity, a new little soul kicking and flailing and wriggling around inside. Lucy's Sister, but not just Lucy's Sister, my new daughter whom I love fiercely already and have imagined her life with us, despite trying to keep my distance as a 'self preservation' thing. And suddenly my whole being is focused on getting her here safely, getting her here alive. It doesn't leave much time for grieving anymore, and I don't feel I have the time to spend on thinking, grieving, mourning and pining for Lucy right now.  This is hard in itself, as I feel terribly guilty. What kind of a mother am I if I can only give my attention to one daughter at a time? A year barely passed and already I am trying to push my dead daughter to the back of the picture, a shadow on the peripherals of my world.
The anniversary approaches. This time last year I was at a midwife appointment. All seemed very well with both of us, I commented that baby was a little quieter and had the standard 'not enough room' response. The midwife cheerily told me that no matter what happened I would have my baby in my arms in 6 weeks time or less. Well, I guess she wasn't wrong. It's just she neglected to warn me that a week later my baby would be lying silent and lifeless in my arms, rather than the pink and wriggling cherub I had imagined.
Would this this first anniversary be so much easier if I had my longed for take home baby in my arms? I don't know. Probably not. I have to be content that she is in my belly, and growing big and strong ready for her early appearance. Praying, hoping, wishing, bargaining, pleading with the gods, karma, anyone who will listen that in 5 weeks time I will have that squawking, live baby in my arms.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Her feet

Her feet, again. Those 'little' baby feet that are abnormally big and almost comical on a baby. There on the scan screen. Her beautiful feet. She has her Sisters feet.

I am so tired of worrying. I am exhausted from it. I feel that I have this terrible burden, this burden I have to carry. I am talking about the responsibility I have. This little life in my belly is relying on me to keep her alive and safe. The same way Lucy did. But I let Lucy down, and I am terrified my body will do the same again.
If I had written this post a few days ago i would have been full of confidence, happiness and joy. I believed the strength of my own words, that everything will be OK this time. Seeing my little girl, Lucy's little Sister, on the scan screen yawning and moving (and being a bit stubborn). I laughed, I smiled and I felt almost normal.

But today, I have crumpled. The fear, the fear that I have been waiting for, has returned. It never truly went away, but I didn't expect it back like this until much nearer to 'crunch' time.

7 weeks to go.

What if my placenta fails earlier this time. What if I lose this little one too?

We are so, so close.

So close I can almost imagine her baby soft skin against my own, almost picture the joyful calls from the hospital when we tell everyone that we did it, we got our little girl here safely. I can't tell you how much I want that reality for us this time.
But then again we are so far away. I couln't bear it if anything went wrong this time, not when we have come so far and are so close. Not when we could just get her out early. Is 35 weeks going to be early enough? I keep saying to John that I want her out now. I know that I am being stupid with that statement in many ways, I know she is (supposedly) in the best place. But I feel like I'm living with a ticking time bomb. The thing that was supposed to nourish my daughter, ultimately, killed her. It stopped working. And my consultant doesn't have the answers for me if it will happen again, and if it may happen earlier. He thinks it won't. He says the chance of a reoccurence could be as low as 10%. But he doesn't really know.
I get no rest. I fret all the time. I spend the day on autopilot, silently counting her movements. If she doesn't move for an hour I jiggle my bump. I prod and I poke. I drink freezing water until my head aches with brain freeze. Anything to keep those little movements ticking over. I need to know she is alive. Sometimes I am busy, and I forget to pay attention. When I realise I have not been paying attention, I panic. I lie on the floor, whereever I am, and pray that I feel her little kicks. Pray that she hasn't gone still in those few minutes, few hours that I wasn't 'listening' to her. I know how quickly that change can happen, life to death. And I know how powerless I am to stop it happening.
I can't remember the last time I had a full, restful nights sleep. My nights go like this:
Get in to bed. Lie there with my hands on my bump until I have had at least 5 or 6 strong movements.
Roll over and go to sleep.
Wake about 2 hours later needing a pee.
Get back into bed. Wait for her to move.
Roll onto my left side, waiting for a movement.
Lie awake waiting.
Then I will either get my doppler and listen to her swooshswooshswoosh, or she will give my a sleepy little movement.
And only then will I go back to sleep, only to wake an hour or so later and basically repeat all of the stages above again.

But I have to do it, I can't not do it. I have to do whatever it takes to get me through these next weeks.
It is exhausting. I am exhausted.

This is so hard. I can't bear to think of the alternative ending. It has to be the happy one this time. It just has to.