I cut my own bangs, and I ran out of shampoo this morning, so I had to use Mark’s Head & Shoulders for Men, which hopefully cured the dandruff with which I don’t struggle, but it’s distracting, because my boss came to see me, and I couldn’t focus on budgets, the subject of our discussion, because instead I was wondering, “Does she notice how much I smell like a man?”
But this isn’t my “bigger news,” exactly. (I mean, hello obvious post title!)
My bigger news is that I’m pregnant with our third child (Matthew and Joel’s baby brother!), who will hopefully arrive safely into this world before the end of this year. Like RIGHT before the end of this year, so if everything goes according to plan (please, please, please universe!), I’ll get to pretend I’m one of the expert tax planner mamas of yesteryear, instructing her doctors to slice her open and take her baby out at 37/38 weeks, just days before the calendar changes, for the sole reason of securing my rightful deduction, even though the awful reality of it is that I’m just trying to mitigate further risk of this baby dying.
I haven’t told many people my news, but, from those I’ve told, I’m getting some repeating questions, so in this post, I’m going to skip all of the pomp and circumstance that is the metaphorical discussions of rainbows and unicorns and get straight to these FAQs.
But beforehand, I want to make it clear how much of a total klutz I am (and have been and continue to be) with sharing. (Sharing isn’t any easier this time around. If anything, it’s just the opposite. I mean, I texted one friend, “Do you need a piano?” (We’re potentially giving one away.) And ten minutes later, before she’d even responded, I texted her again, “So I have to tell you something that’s really difficult for me to share… I’m pregnant.”)
So ANYWAY, if you’re reading this, ruminating over why I didn’t tell you in person, call you, text you, message you, or email you privately, I (probably) love you to pieces and agonized over how/when to tell you (yes, YOU!), and nothing ever felt right/appropriate, so I’m just spazzing out, posting here before I overthink it and combine my sharing of my news with another inquiry re: your desire to own one of our used musical instruments. (It weighs ten thousand pounds – want it?!)
But onto the self-indulgent FAQs… (Or maybe they aren’t self-indulgent seeing how I’ve been asked all of them?) But if you’re not interested, then, by all means, skip them!
Was this planned? Was this a surprise?
#nope (See what I did there?)
Are you happy/excited?
Yes. Happy, excited, beyond thankful…
How did your therapist react?
He seemed shocked. Overwhelmed.
How far along are you?
Far enough to be anxiously awaiting my anatomy scan on Monday. (Fingers crossed all goes well.)
How are you feeling?
Physically, I’m fine. (I have very few, if any, pregnancy symptoms, which has been true every single time for me.) Emotionally, I’m kind of on a rollercoaster. (But hello, when am I not?!) But of course pregnancy complicates things, especially when its effects on me include increased nightmares and flashbacks.
Wow, this is really quick… This is a lot, especially considering all you deal with…
Yes, I suppose it is (both quick and a lot). But we’re excited at the prospect of Joel growing up alongside an earthly brother close in age. And we have a support system who’ll help us through the most trying times, and for them we’re immeasurably grateful. And also, if having a squeaky clean, issue-free life were a prerequisite for having children, there wouldn’t be any more children ever, for anyone, sooooo…
How do you feel about having another boy?
We’re thrilled. Before we found out gender at ten weeks, one of our nurses (who knows about Matthew) kept saying, “This better be a girl! You already have one boy! One boy and one girl would be perfect!” I mean, OUCH (ON SO MANY LEVELS)!
Is pregnancy after loss any less stressful the second time around?
The jury’s still out here. But thus far, it’s been marginally easier. Joel’s a distraction. I don’t feel like I have control over anything that happens pre-28 weeks, so I’m trying to not give it much thought until then, which I feel is a disservice to my bonding with this baby. (But stupid mom guilt is a whole other topic that I won’t delve into here.)
We also plan to treat this pregnancy almost exactly the same as last time, and our doctors have been completely agreeable to this, so there haven’t been any stressful arguments like, “What in the actual heck do you mean you won’t allow us to look at the cord on ultrasound?” I’m fairly certain that post-28 weeks all hell will break loose again though… My only source of comfort will be my knowledge that 50 percent of my previous children have survived versus zero percent, which is far better, but is also still incredibly terrifying.
Do you feel any more kinship with other expectant mothers this time around?
Ha. Haha. Hahaha.
Who have you told?
Immediate family. A couple of friends. A coworker. (She came into my office before I was showing to tell me that she had a dream that I was pregnant, and I couldn’t keep my poker face. Also, on a similar note, Mark’s sister knew when I was ~six weeks along, because she was visiting, and she has this one in one thousand ability to smell pregnancy – I kid you not – and, though I was previously skeptical, she’s provided evidence sufficient for me to deem it real.)
Do you plan to hide your pregnancy again?
Sure. My disclosure of this news will be purely on a need-to-know basis, and those who actually need to know are very few in number. Although apparently some will find out considering I’m surrounded by individuals with superpowers. (See above.)
How’s it going to work to have this baby (presumably) right before tax season?
Only God knows.
Do you plan to keep working after this baby (hopefully) arrives safely?
I’m going to do my best to hold onto this job for dear life, trying as it might be. If I quit this job, I’m convinced I’ll never work anywhere, ever again. Because although my employer wasn’t always completely empathetic and understanding during my early days of grief, they have more than made up for it by allowing my current working arrangement, which involves “just getting my work done.” As much as things like jobs are replaceable, I highly doubt these people and this flexibility are.
What have been your biggest challenges during this pregnancy after loss?
The oh-so-predictable nightmares and flashbacks and omnipresent anxiety over scans and fear over whether or not this baby will live, but some other ones include…
- Fears over triggering/hurting others with my news – I’ve been in the baby loss community long enough to know that pregnancy news (sometimes even coming from other baby loss moms) isn’t purely happy for everyone, which is SO, SO understandable. While we share so many experiences, we’re each on separate, and sometimes incredibly different, “journeys” as well, which comes with so much complexity that it often hurts my heart.
- Fears over judgment I might receive re: my readiness for another baby – I mean, I am so overly candid about my (many) struggles, so it isn’t too ridiculous to suspect a few people might be giving me the side-eye here. I mostly give zero fucks, but I’m also human, sooooo…
- Fears over Matthew being even more forgotten – People already forget him, so I’m guessing this will continue, but possibly on an even greater level. This is so hard, because Matthew’s death is no less devastating now than it was two years ago. If anything, sometimes it’s worse when I ponder all he, and we, and any living siblings of his, are missing out on.
- Fears over my favorite maternal fetal medicine doctor moving away, and my favorite sonographer retiring, which is certainly NOT IDEAL, but we’re working through it.
Do you have any names picked out?
We’ve chosen a name! But we’re currently undecided about whether to share at this time. On my blog I called Joel “Jay” until he was born. Jay was fitting because Joel starts with a j, and blue jays have been our Matthew sign. This baby’s name starts with an f. But I don’t think I can call him Eff. (I mean, I already use “eff” when I need a softer replacement for my favorite cuss word.) So I was trying to brainstorm bird species that begin with f, and a finch came to mind, but I don’t know whether or not I want to call him Finch… Or Falcon? Stay tuned.