Hummingbird baby

We’ve already chosen a name for March baby, but I think you can grasp that we’d like to keep that a little closer to home than the whole internet :-). However, we now know March baby is a little girl, so I’d like to call her something on here that leans more towards a name. As such, on here, I’ll call her Birdy. Short for hummingbird, because they’ve kind of been my spirit animal since we lost Charlie. My touch stone, in a way. They’ve been my symbol for hope for something beautiful coming after our loss.

I keep in mind that quote, the one I referenced in my “About Me” section. The one that starts like this: “Legends say that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy and celebration…”

I have hummingbird wall stickers in our now-nursery. I put them there before we know Birdy existed. Before I had faith in hope again. I have a hummingbird pendant I wear to most doctor’s appointments. And so, here baby girl will be Birdy.

She is stubborn. We knew she would be. Hubs and I both are, so there’s no getting around that one! But she showed it at the ultrasound! Or maybe she just showed being shy. She would not cooperate much with the technician. Though we (and the tech) saw all the “big” things — namely that she was a healthy growth, organs seemed on target, there were bones growing, and that she was a she — we never got a clear look at her face, and the tech didn’t get as many exact bone measurements as she wanted. So, we’ve got another ultrasound in a little over a week, which I’m glad for because we’ll be able to check in on her again.

There are time I think I might feel her moving, but it’s pretty faint and I’m never totally sure. However, we also learned from the ultrasound that the placenta is in front of her, which is why I might not feel movement as soon or as clearly as others who are as far along as I am. The placenta could also be playing a part in why it seems more difficult for the doppler to pick up her heartbeat right away (which was a relief to have an explanation for).

We bought a glider (on sale!) for her nursery, and we ordered a crib as well. Decided one that could be converted into a full-sized bed eventually would be worth the cost and would pay for itself over the next twenty years. And we’ve ordered some prints for her walls. I’ve always been a nester, always wanted the space where I lived to feel right, to feel like a home. So feeling that way about my daughter’s room (!!!) really isn’t something different. And I’m fully aware that she won’t care what’s on the walls or what her bed looks like. Not for awhile, anyway. But it’s important to me. I want it to be a safe, calm, completely lovely space for her.

We really haven’t bought any clothing, but have been reading that so many people get you clothes for the baby shower regardless of what you need…so maybe we should hold off until after that? We’re dipping our toe into figuring out childcare, too. Holy guacamole. Hubs calls it a second mortgage. I’d love it if we could find an in-home family daycare, but so far it seems kind of difficult to get a read on those in our area. I know we’ve got time, but I’m hoping these next months will go pretty fast, and we want to be prepared.

My best friend from North Carolina is planning on coming up over her spring break to meet Birdy, and one of my cousins is so excited about planning the baby shower. My mom is making her a Christmas stocking, buying fabric and sketching patterns, even though she won’t need it just yet. And my dad — my play-it-super-close-to-the-vest dad — asked if he could pick out her Christmas dresses when she’s little, like he did for me and for my sister. My brother is planning on flying up in the spring, too.

And hubs talks to Birdy in my belly. He says, “I hope you hear when I make your mom laugh, because I try to do that a lot.” And he sends me pictures for treehouse ideas. And I’m so grateful he’s her dad.

She’s so loved, so rooted for, already.

Little girl in the world

March baby is a girl! About a week before we found out, Hubs told me he thought that would be the case. I really didn’t have a strong feeling either way, but you know in the only dream I had about our baby beforehand she was a girl. I’ve had another since we found out, a weird dream, but nice in that she had her Daddy’s eyes.

I’m happy and relieved to have a pronoun to use. I’m happy we’re taking steps to move forward with our nursery. I’m happy with getting to tell our nearest and dearest that we’re having a little girl (though I would have been equally as happy with a little boy — my only goal was and is a healthy baby). I’m happy figuring out what to name her.

But, in a way, as happy and relieved as I am, especially knowing that right now she’s all right, I am still completely terrified. Maybe even more so than I was before, even though I know that doesn’t make much sense. We made it this far, 21+ weeks, but there is still so far to go. And I spiral pretty easily of late, because there is so much I still cannot protect her from, and that puts my fear and terror on overload.

Last weekend I had a complete panic attack because I started thinking about how easy it would be for a deer to run across the road at night, and we might hit it, and my seat belt would tighten up and it could crush her. And the same this could happen if we braked suddenly for that hypothetical deer but the car behind us didn’t and so they hit us. Or someone wasn’t paying attention when they merged and the same thing could happen that way. See how quickly the spiral happens?

Beyond that, what if I can’t drink enough water even though Lord knows I am trying and my amniotic fluid dries up and she suffocates? What if my body fails me again and thinks she’s supposed to come out way too early and I go into pre-term labor — there’s no way she could survive outside my body yet. What if the umbilical cord gets wrapped around her neck? What if she gets stuck in the birth canal?

I’m aware that in these moments I am fully on the crazy train, but given that any one of these things could actually happen (in some way), is it being crazy or just that I’m hyper aware of how easily things could go wrong after Charlie?

If I’m honest, I’ve thought about how returning to counseling would possibly be beneficial; but at the same time the pragmatic side of me knows my school schedule doesn’t mesh with my previous counselor’s office schedule, and the whiny side of me doesn’t relish the thought of having to find another one.

I still haven’t been writing much lately, on here or even privately. So I think for now I’ll try to get back into the habit of doing that, to see if it helps.

And I’ll keep writing letters to the baby, and talking to her, and trying to ground myself in what’s going right.

Kids say the darndest

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled into a conversation with a group of my middle school kids. Out of the blue, one of them says: “My mom said I was an accident. Ha!”

I was quietly startled, but asked if he understood what that meant (all the while trying to figure out how to soften the statement). He said no, but that it sounded funny so he just laughed. I asked him if he wanted to understand and he said “yeah”.

I did my best, tried to be school-appropriate but also honest, and just told him that it meant his parents weren’t actively trying to have a baby when they got him. I further said that many babies are often unplanned, but that I was sure his parents were glad he was here.

The first student nodded and then asked another if they were an accident. This student rolled right with it and said, quite clearly, “No. I was a miracle baby.” She further explained, “If my brothers and sisters had lived, I wouldn’t be here.”

I about choked. Because that’s kind of exactly where I am. I still grieve Charlie. But it Charlie had lived, March baby wouldn’t be growing right now. And I caught on the word they had chosen to describe her: miracle. And I was grateful for this set of parents that I’ve never met.

Then a third student chimed in, “Oh, yeah. That happened to my parents, too. Before my sister. He’d be, um, like probably ten by now. If he lived.” So nonchalant. Just stating something that was.

Y’all, it was so surreal. An accident. A miracle. A non-categorical that was familiar with both. It was kind of amazing.

It made me kind of hopeful for this next generation that’s coming. That miscarriages, miracles, accidents; none of it will have to be in the shadows. If at twelve and thirteen, this isn’t a “big deal” for them to talk about, maybe one day it won’t be a big deal for anyone.

Forgive my slightly macabre Harry Potter reference

Last week, my co-worker, the one who had a mirror pregnancy to my first one, had her baby. She was a month early, but all are doing very well. And it’s odd, because I’m happy for her, for their family, but it’s this distant, sort of removed kind of happy. Part of me was grateful her baby came early; grateful she didn’t deliver on Charlie’s due date in November — which was a definite possibility since our pregnancy timelines had been nearly the same. For most of the day when I found out I was fine. Until hubs came home and I said it out loud. Then the floodgates opened. Not for long, but they did.

Because sometimes I still wonder: why me? Why Charlie? Why our family?

If you’ve read or watched Harry Potter, do you remember the part where they talked about the prophecy saying the Chosen One would be a boy born at the end of July? Which Harry was — but so was Neville. Somewhere along the way I heard something like — the Chosen One could just have easily been Neville. His parents were in the Order, too. Fighting against Voldemort. He was born at the end of July, same year as Harry. The only reason Harry ended up being the Chosen One was because Voldemort thought it was him and thus made it so.

Now, I know this is far-fetched. I know it’s a work of fiction and so many holes could be poked in the Chosen One theory. I know it isn’t real life.

But I still make parallels. Because of our similar pregnancy timelines, within two days of each other, I can’t help but wonder why my baby was chosen to leave. Why not hers?

And before anyone gets up in arms, let me be clear: In NO WAY do I wish her baby had died. Not ever, even in the black mass of my grief immediately after we lost Charlie.

But because there is no answer for us, because there never will be, there will always be a part of me that looks for the why. Even if it isn’t there. And even if I’m so grateful for the life I’m growing now.

Pinch, poke, you owe me a Coke

I know jinxes aren’t really a thing. I know you can’t really “jinx yourself”. But I still worry about it with this pregnancy. Even though I know it isn’t real. Logic fails sometimes.

This weekend, Hubs and I did a couple of rather big jinx-ourselves things: We bought a crib. And we bought a glider. And a couple other things. For the nursery.

We were so excited to take the step to do these things! But there is still that little niggling thought in my head of, “Ooooh, you gone and done it now!”.

Which I know is crazy. *Sigh*. Hurry up, March!

Let your heart beat here

[So I haven’t blogged in awhile, and to be quite honest it’s mostly because this new position at work has been completely sapping me. It’s been awhile since I’ve felt this unsteady at work, and I keep telling myself that I just have to get through this “first” year in a new position and after that things will calm down. But a school year is a looooooong time — at least it feels that way. Between school and growing March baby, my nights and weekends have been reserved (mostly) for full-on resting! But. I’ve still been saying a lot in my head, and since I get a three day weekend I’ve been wanting to get back on here.]

We had a check-up last Tuesday (Finally — four weeks is a long time to wait!) when I was two days prior to eighteen weeks. I’m not sure if it’s the same for any of you, but I’m always of two minds when we have a doctor’s appointment: I’m so grateful to have one, because it gives me definitive evidence that March baby is continuing to live, but I’m also completely anxious, because that definitive evidence could also tell us that March baby has died. On Tuesday, when it got to the point where they used the fetal doppler to check for a heartbeat, I like to think I was initially calm.

But then it seemed like it was taking so much longer than last time to find the beat, and my calm went away in increasing increments. The doctor kept telling me it was so normal, but at the same time she kept moving the thing to different places because we weren’t hearing a heartbeat yet and all I kept screaming in my head was, “THAT’S WHAT THEY TOLD US LAST TIME!” Right about the time I knew I was going to completely lose it, that I was convinced she would take up the doppler and tell me what I already knew, that “it happened again, it happened again, it happened again” was on a constant loop in my head — the sound changed. And I felt like I barely gasped out, “Is that it?!”

And it was. And it was okay. And the heartbeat was strong and normal. And I was amazingly relieved but I also full on started crying because holy shit I had been in such a state of panic that we had lost another child. The doctor was kind, and was again trying to assure us that it was normal for it to take awhile to find a heartbeat at this stage, and attempting to respectfully figure out why our emotions had shot sky high, and all I could get out as I attempted to get myself under control was, “We thought it happened again.” And then hubs took over and explained the backstory.

The doctor was kind, and almost immediately went into this mode of how the practice could help make the process better for me (which still surprises me, no matter how many of the staff make up for my awful first visit there). She offered then and there to schedule more frequent heartbeat checks if we wanted. I had been trying to just have faith over this last month waiting for the check up, and we go in for the gender ultrasound in a little under two weeks, and I feel like I can last until then.

But if I could go back and start this pregnancy over again, I would schedule more frequent heartbeat checks from the start. I wanted to fight for March baby but also be brave and have faith. People — you can do those things and still get more regular piece of mind. That’s my advice to anyone out there like me. Honestly, if we manage to get March baby here safe and sound, and we are lucky enough to get pregnant again later on, I will for sure be scheduling those right away.

According to my pregnancy app, March baby can hear some things now, so I talk to him/her at night. I tell the baby how we were given quite a fright at the appointment, and how we are so relieved they are still here with us. And I press my hand against my stomach and will the baby to move enough so that I can finally feel it. Just something else to reassure that things are still on-going, still hopeful, still growing.