I have done my best to maintain Gracie's blog as a place to express my grief and other feelings about her loss. Over the last 5 months, for a number of reasons, I have tried to do this without much mention here of Jellybean. This post was originally intended for Jellybean's blog, but after reaching the end, I felt that it wasn't upbeat enough to be posted there...afterall, it's not her fault that she is arriving in the wake of Gracie's storm. I have decided to post it here since most of it deals with how Gracie's death is affecting things now...and because I already have a grief-filled post on Jellybean's blog. If you are a fellow BLM who is not up for reading about pregnancy and rainbow babies yet, you might not want to proceed any further into this post...just a word of caution...
I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your interest and concern regarding my pregnancy with Jellybean. Thank you so much for asking all the time how I am feeling. Please don't take me wrong, I do appreciate that people have a genuine hope that things are going well, but most of the time I cannot really give you open and honest answers. Most of you have gotten the same answer that every other person has gotten...'I am exhausted, but otherwise I feel fine'...because I am exhausted, but otherwise feeling just fine, physically. Thank you for asking about the ultrasound that was done three weeks ago. Again, you have probably gotten the same answer that everyone else has gotten, because there is really only one answer to give...'Everything looked good. They didn't see anything of concern at this point.' Lastly, thank you for pointing out how good it is that nothing of concern was seen on the ultrasound.
What you should know is that I have reached a point that I am tired of talking (all the time) about being pregnant. Don't get me wrong...I am trying to embrace every moment that I can with Jellybean. I know that I only have one chance to enjoy being pregnant with her, and that I will regret it forever if I don't enjoy it as much as I can. I love that I have been able to feel her moving for about 7 weeks, and I look forward to getting in bed at night so I can really put everything I have into absorbing her movements and developing personality. I am looking forward to her arrival (although I know that it is going to be bittersweet) and most days I am enjoying purchasing a few more pieces of clothing to put in the dresser in anticipation of her arrival. Unfortunately, I also spend every day waiting for the other shoe to fall.
Still, I have grown tired of talking about being pregnant. Being pregnant after losing a baby that could and should have lived is exhausting, and I hate that there is no way for any of you to understand how emotionally and psychologically taxing this is for me/us. It is taxing and draining because of the obvious implications. But there is something else that weighs on me. I have a new circle of friends, most of them online, that are all baby loss moms. We are all in different stages of our grief and healing; some have had their rainbow babies, some are pregnant with their rainbows, some have conceived and subsequently lost their rainbows, some are still trying to conceive their rainbows, some are not ready to think about rainbows yet...and some, for whatever reason, will never have a rainbow baby. Knowing that some of my new friends are having a difficult time with their own circumstances creates its own feeling of guilt knowing that I am carrying a (so far) healthy baby. So please keep this in mind if I tell you that I really don't want to talk about things. Please also consider that I hate that you ask your questions of concern and interest with the expectation of receiving certain answers. I hate that I pretty much have to give you the answers that I have outlined above and leave out the really important parts because you freak out if I include those important parts. Yes, it is true that for the most part, I am feeling fine physically, aside from being exhausted. But I am emotionally spent, which I really think is contributing to the physical exhaustion. I am so tired of waiting for that other shoe to fall. This is not how I choose to feel at this point...it is something that is out of my control, so please don't try to talk me out of feeling this way or make me feel better with some line of crap about how everything is going to be fine with Jellybean. If the doctors cannot make that guarantee, you certainly cannot make it either.
Thank you for being so happy to learn that all looked well in the ultrasound; but seriously, please don't act like I have taken your birthday away when I say 'But everything looked good at this point with Gracie, too.' Again, it is the black and white truth...at this point with Gracie, we had no indication of the road that we were starting down. Because of Jellybean's high risk of Down Syndrome, I am relieved that there were no heart defects identified on the ultrasound, but otherwise an anomaly-free ultrasound doesn't bring much relief at all. It does not bring relief because Gracie started out with a slightly lower risk of Down Syndrome and also had several anomaly-free ultrasounds...and in the end, she died. Again, please don't try to talk me out of this stance...it won't work. I will not feel any better about how things look until I give birth to a living, breathing baby that I can bring home from the hospital.
Please understand that I am still grieving the loss of my first born child. I cannot stress enough that my grief is still pretty fresh and sometimes unpredictable. For those who have voiced their opinion that we got pregnant pretty quickly after Gracie's death...yes, we did. In all reality, we both needed more time to grieve and heal before conceiving Jellybean....however we would like to have 3 living children, and we are starting to run out of time for this to be a feasible option. So back into the saddle we go. If we were 3 or 4 or 5 years younger, I am pretty sure that the saddle would still be hanging on the wall.
Please stop asking if we are planning again for natural childbirth. Much to your dismay, yes we are. Please stop asking if this is a good idea, because I will remind you every time that Gracie died before my labor was induced. The manner of birth did not kill her. Please, please, please stop telling me that there is no prize for not getting an epidural. You told me this repeatedly and repeatedly bashed our desire to have an unmedicated birthing process when I was pregnant with Gracie. Much to my own dismay, I was unable to hold it all together when I was laboring with Gracie and I got a last minute epidural. I HATED IT. Yes, much of my physical pain was relieved, but I have never experienced such lack of control over my body in my life (we won't talk about the very fresh emotional anguish and its effect on my ability to deal with the pain...). So, unless an epidural and other medical procedure is needed to ensure Jellybean's safety as we approach late September, we will proceed with the plan to not have an epidural.
If you are pro-epidural and not interested in how I plan to go through childbirth without it, please don't ask. I will be more than happy to tell you about the Brad.ley class that we took one year ago, and I will be more than happy to tell you about the Hypno.babies home study course that we are going to use this time around. Seriously...if you don't want to know, don't ask...I am not going to entertain a debate and I will not entertain conversation just for you to bash our plans. While I do have an opinion about certain medical interventions regularly used during childbirth, I do not and will not judge any individual based on their decisions, nor will I sit and openly bash those decisions. It is rare that I say much about the interventions you used or plan to use, other than to maybe suggest that you do some reading and educate yourself about some of the hidden truths out there. Regardless of how Jellybean is born, I am going to need as much support and positive energy as possible as we approach Jellybean's birthday. So, unless you have your ducks in a row and have something supportive or constructive to say, fuck off and mind your own business.
Please stop asking the ridiculous questions about my diet. It's really none of your business, but if you must know, when I am pregnant I try to consume about 100 grams of protein and at least 80 ounces of fluid daily and one egg at least 4 days a week. Otherwise I don't have a 'pregnancy' diet. Although I do feel that it's beneficial during pregnancy that my diet to 80-90% organic/natural, I do not eat organic/natural because I am pregnant. I eat this way because I feel that it is the healthiest choice for me all the time. It has been a slow lifestyle change based on educated decisions. Please do not take offense if I turn down something that you offer me...I turn down food for many reasons...sometimes simply because I am not hungry. (And yes, I do have my weaknesses...I do not need you to point out that Dot.s and jelly beans are not natural or organic. And no, my allergy to caffeine/chocolate has not changed - again, this has nothing to do with my pregnancy, so why are you asking?) I have no idea why so many of you have such a burning desire to make a connection between my diet and pregnancy, but unless you have something constructive to say, you really need to mind your own business here, too.
Please stop telling me that I should seek the services of a different obstetrician's office. Yes, there are things that probably could have gone a little differently during my pregnancy with Gracie, but we will never know for sure if those things were the difference between life and death. At this point, we believe that they probably not have been enough to save Gracie. We are happy with the care that we are receiving, and we prefer this practice and hospital over the other options available to us within a 1 hour radius of home. ~ Please stop telling me that my belly is too small or too big for this stage of pregnancy. My belly size is just fine; it's actually better to not blow up like a house when you are pregnant. ~ Please stop acting like I am broken; you didn't do it when I was pregnant with Gracie, so don't do it now. Nothing that I did killed Gracie, so restricting my activity now is not an act of prevention. Doing less for myself is actually psychologically detrimental at this point. ~ Please stop telling me that Gracie is watching over Jellybean...you have no idea how much this might backfire on you if something goes wrong with Jellybean. Jellybean is not Gracie's responsibility...Jellybean is the responsibility of the doctors, midwives, her mother and her father...but she is not her big sister's responsibility. And please...do not tell me that Gracie is not a big sister. Just don't...just don't.
If, for some reason I happen forget that no one gets any of this...and that no one really wants to get it...and I do accidentally tell you about how I am feeling about things, please don't tell me that you understand. Please. You do NOT understand unless you have lost a child. End of story. Please do not tell me that you can imagine how I am feeling unless you can really imagine losing your own child and how it would affect your life. End of story.
If I seem to be a little down or seem to be having an off day, I probably am. It happens, sometimes without reason. Please don't make a big deal of it. It will pass. You can worry if it doesn't pass after several days. If I don't say much please don't take offense or be put off. If you haven't figured it out from everything written here, I am still angry and overwhelmed by the death of my daughter. I am still nothing short of overwhelmingly frustrated by trying to communicate with people since Gracie's death, because most of the time, no matter how much or how little I say, it's not what people are looking for. If you want more answers, please look at this post on Jellybean's blog.
As always, thank you for your consideration in this matter...I sort of look forward to maybe doing business with you at some point in the future when it's not so difficult and emotionally draining to do so.
Closing note: Although this is addressed to the world, it is likely to be read only by BLMs and other random people that might wander into Gracie's blog. Most of our real life friends and family are not privy to Gracie's blog, so unfortunately, the people that should be reading it probably never will. Perhaps at some point I will have the cojones to put it on our public friends and family blog that was started in anticipation of Jellybean, but until then, you ladies are my sounding board....