Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mom-to-be Anxieties - Again

One early morning a few months ago (yep another one of those sleepless mornings) I found myself in the nursery in the rocking chair. With some baby clothes in hand I just sat there and cried. It didn't feel right to be feeling the anxiety of a soon-to-be new mom. Feeling like there was so much to do before this baby is born. Feeling frustrated that I still don't know if I have the things I need for a baby. Enough clothes? The right sizes? The right seasons? How many diapers do I need to stock up on? Are there other items I need but I just haven't thought of? Here I was trying to figure this all out like it's my first time. I hated sitting there feeling like I had so many unknowns about what my life was going to be like as a new mom. Feeling unsure about labor and delivery. Feeling the wonder of how I'll be as a parent. I hated feeling all of this because it didn't seem fair.

I had already felt these first-time mom feelings. I had already been down that road. I had already sorted through these anxieties once before. I had already been all prepared to bring a baby home. But there I was with the same unknowns still ahead of me. There I was needing to prepare to bring my baby home. It didn't feel fair that I was going through all of this again. I've already had my first baby. I didn't like that these were the worries weighing on my mind all over again. I've been through this before ...and for what?

So I cried about it. I cried and pitied myself.


I needed that cry and (I'm sure lots of women could agree) sometimes you just feel better after a good cry. And thankfully since that early morning I've had a change in outlook in preparing for this little guy to join our family. Perhaps it's just been an outlook change on how I see myself and life. With Luke I wanted everything to be just perfect and for everything to be perfectly ready and in place for his arrival. I've realized now that there will always be more to do and more to get done and that's okay. I've realized that I'm just going to do my best and the rest will just have to work itself out. It's not worth getting stressed out about. Do I see things this way now because I can see that nothing seems to go as planned in our life? Or am I seeing things this way now because it was too wearing to beat myself up over things that I didn't do or didn't go perfectly? Either way I'm grateful I'm coming around to a more relaxed outlook -hopefully not to be confused with complacency or idleness. Either way even though there are baby clothes to organize and a nursery to finish getting ready, it's okay. This little guy can be born because all that doesn't really matter. We just want to meet him and hold him in our arms and love him. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sorting through thoughts on birth

The other morning Trevor asked me how I was feeling about giving birth.

Sometimes it's like he can read my mind. In the early mornings when I'd wake up (pregnancy induced bathroom brakes and trying to stay comfortable in bed) I'd been thinking a lot about birth struggling to settle on how I really felt about it. It was weighing on my mind so much that sometimes it was keeping me from sleeping. Luckily Trevor helped me sort through some of what was on my mind.


In anticipation of Luke's birth, I finally got to a point that I wasn't fearful of the experience and actually excited for it. A lot of my shift in mentality came when I read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth which had been recommended by my friend Brittney as a must-read while I was pregnant. I finally read it in some of the final weeks of my pregnancy (and wrote more in-depth about that here).

As I begin again to prepare for birth my mind, cannot help to turn to my past experience. It's all I personally know of birth so far. Yet, much of the literature and natural birth classes guide you to not think about or dwell on past birthing experiences, because this birth is a new birth and it will be different.

While I agree that each birth is different, and we are hoping that this one is quite different in a significant way, I wasn't settled trying not to think about Luke's birth.

As I was able to talk to Trevor about it he pointed out that I probably didn't want to push aside thoughts of Luke's birth because forgetting his birth or trying to push it out of my memory, in a way, would be like pushing away my memory of him. Luke's birth, though so emotional trying and painfully hard to bare, is what connects me to him. Those 9 months of pregnancy lead up to the culminating point of his birth. I did that . . . suffered that . . . accomplished that so that he could have a physical body that one day will be his again. How could I forget that? I could I forget that day and those few short hours after his birth that I actually held him in my arms?

Trevor also raised the point that the natural birthing literature gives that guidance to woman who have experienced painful births and are now trying to have a painless or relaxed birth, so they need to not dwell on the pain they had previously experienced. Well lucky for me I didn't think Luke's birth was physically painful (intense, yes, but painful, no). Lucky for me I am confident in my body's ability to handle birth. I am so grateful to not have that element of fear to deal with.

So as I prepare my mind and my body for this birth I do not need to try to forget about Luke's birth. Luke's birth shaped me and is a part of me and I don't need to let that go just because I am about to experience another, but different birth. We cannot sever our past experiences from the path that is our life. Each past experience is a part of our individual journey. The road ahead may be unknown or unclear, but I am ready to travel it and create new experience--all of which will be affected by the things of the past.

Yet that was Luke's birth and this will be this boy's birth. They are separate but very much connected. And as I sort through all of this I realize that that is okay, to let my past be a part of my future. These events are a part of me, my children, and my family. It's all a part of the experience Heavenly Father has given me that is molding me into who He would have me become and who I need to be.


But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. (Isaiah 64:8).

Friday, October 19, 2012

Waiting for Labor to Begin

Waking up in the middle of the night or early morning isn't uncommon for me these days. Actually I don't think it's really been that uncommon over the past two years - with going through almost 18 months of pregnancy now chances are I've more often than not been in either the early stages of pregnancy when your blood level is dramatically increasing and your up  in the middle of the night to use the bathroom or in the later part of pregnancy when it's either more of a challenge to get comfortable or you're also up using the bathroom because the baby has left no room for your bladder.

Well here I am again. Awake. At about 4 AM. 

Like usual, there seems to be a myriad of things on my mind. I don't know what it is about waking up in the still, dark morning that makes it seem to surface. Perhaps because during the normal waking hours of the day things, and people, and "to-do"s push aside the thoughts, but in the quiet morning there is nothing to reign these thoughts in and they just run free like a wild horse. 


I am currently 36 weeks pregnant. Within a week I will be considered "full term." This means I'm almost in what I'd call my due month, because (in spite of what many people might think) 40 weeks is an average of when babies are born, but it somehow has become the anticipated day. If your baby comes past that day he or she is "late" and if your baby comes before that day he or she is "early."  

I participate in a weekly volunteer service for my church and part of the qualification is that you cannot have children at home. All of the other women are empty-nesters and, needless to say, a different generation than me and many of them are even a different generation than my mother (some might call them old, but when they have the energy and spirit that they do "old" does not describe them). I love talking with these women and when you have belly the size of mine it's inevitable that conversation will turn to the topic of birth. I love to hear these women share their thoughts on birth. Several of them have shared that their babies came a month past their "due date." One of the women even commented that there's no way that would happen these days -especially in a time where we have to have everything planned and scheduled. 

I'm sure there are other more official medical resources for this, but even the March of Dimes website addresses induction and says that it may be recommended after 42 weeks or if there are other medical complications. However, that doesn't seem to be the standard that is actually kept in our society. 

After lots of research about birth and how it works, I came to truly believe in the natural process of birth. Mom's bodies vary (particularly different menstrual lengths), babies growth can vary, and when they are ready to be born should likewise also vary. With Luke I was very comfortable waiting for labor to begin on its own because you're most likely to achieve a successful vaginal birth if you do. I had accepted this variation and was inclined to wait until my body and baby were ready. 

And that's when we were thrown the curve ball no one was expecting. I was healthy and my baby was healthy. And then he was gone. 

What happened? Or minds and our hearts were in disbelief to discover our baby was suddenly no longer living. 

At that point I was induced. Luke was born and we discovered the knot in his umbilical chord. 


Still believing in the natural process of birth, I have found a practice of midwives who support natural birth to provide my prenatal care. So many of their guidelines you must follow to be a part of their practice align with what's important to me -particularly the importance of healthy eating during pregnancy. If you are healthy (which you should be because they only take low-risk moms) they have a strict no-induction policy before 42 weeks. 

So what do we do this time? The facts are still the same. Birth has the least amount of complications when you wait to go in to labor on your own. Birth is still a natural process that the female body is capable of. Nothing has changed . . . 

Except for my whole life and world, because my baby died. 

The head midwife worded it well when she said that you fell like the natural process of birth failed you. And in a sense it did. We did not come home with a baby. Of course, I believe the hand of God is in all things and that He did not fail us and that if Luke were to live on earth right now God would have made it so. 

Nevertheless our experience can lead us (particularly Trevor) to question the natural process of birth. Fortunately, because of our history, the midwives are willing to work with us concerning induction.


There have been some days in the past few weeks when the worry and wonder if my baby is still okay inside of me weighs on my mind. If I haven't felt him move am stricken with panic. Sometimes this is resolved by a sudden kick from within as reassurance and other times this is resolved by using the Fetal Doppler my friends sent me (I still need to write about that!). 

Yet these moments of fear have not yet pushed me to feeling like I need to be induced. Although I'm not sure what we'll do as we get further and further along. Play it day-by-day, I suppose. Things are still looking good. I'm healthy. This baby is healthy. And we're still working on preparing for his arrival. 

It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out! 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Baby Shower

Last week I was thrown a baby shower. I am so grateful to my sister-in-law, Maryanne, who initiated it, my friend Jenny for hosting it and all the friends and wonderful woman from church who also contributed and were in attendance. I was so astounded and overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of each of these women.

Before the shower took place, I confessed in an email to one of the women in charge of things, "It's a little strange feeling like I shouldn't really be having a shower since this isn't exactly my first go around at this . . . yet it kind of is."

How grateful I was for her response, "Usually, this ward does a baby shower for each baby. Each child is a special gift and should be celebrated!"

I was so grateful she reminded me of that and I love that that is the culture and tradition for this ward, because it's true. This baby is special and a very special gift! I am so grateful to be pregnant and to be having a healthy pregnancy. I am grateful Heavenly Father has allowed  us to be the parents of another one of His children. I am grateful for this boy and am so grateful to have friends and family members to join me in celebrating him! We are truly so very blessed!


Did I mention how spoiled I was with so many great gifts!?
So much beautiful AND delicious food!
Loved the mini fruit and yogurt parfait bar! 


How grateful I am to have had this special celebration for our newest family member. We are getting so excited to get to met him and hold him in our arms! 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Being pregnant after loss: Reconciling not feeling connected

This is a continuation of thoughts of my "not feeling connected" post, so if you haven't already, feel free to read that one first. 


In the other post I started to address how I've yearned to feel connected to this baby, yet things that I thought would make me feel "connected" often came with other difficulties.

As I get closer to the end of pregnancy some of these feelings are not weighing on my mind as much as they were a few weeks ago, perhaps because they are overcome with other thoughts now or perhaps because I have been able to resolve them; nevertheless, I still wanted to write about them.

I felt ... I don't know the words for it ... puzzled, frustrated, even a bit guilty for not feeling like I love this baby who is currently in my womb. I know I love him (pretty much every decision I make in my life right now is centered around him), but I wasn't sure if I was feeling it, which was really bothering me. For me I have broken my sort of reconciliation of these feelings down in to two parts:

Loving each child
When I took the time to write about a child it was usually Luke. Though it's been over a year since Luke's death, my life is still intertwined with tender moments of grief, missing him, and longing for him. It sometimes consumes me and my emotions. Feelings are still so strong and poignant. Heartache is still so real. For that I am grateful, because I hope I never come to a point that I don't long for my son. He is truly a part of our family and always will be. Yet this was making me feel like there was a void . . . like I should feel so passionately about our son who's currently in my womb. Shouldn't my love for him be as strong as my love for Luke?

While I was in Utah last month I was out to lunch with my best friend Annie (grew up together since we were 2- and 3-years-old) and her older sister, Liz, and their kids. I expressed some of these feelings to them as we ate lunch at Cafe Rio. How grateful I am for Liz's insight and reassurance as she shared her own experience of when she had her second son. She explained how she loved her first so much she could hardly fathom having that same amount of love for another. Yet once he was born the overwhelming love felt for her first she again began to feel for her second. For me, it was reassuring to know she felt that way. And perhaps other moms do to. I realized that for now it's okay that I don't feel the same overwhelming love for this baby that I have felt for Luke and that my love for him will grow --especially once I get to hold him in my arms. Which brings me to my next point . . .

Being a physical or kinetic person
Part of how I feel connected with people is being with them in person. This is probably true for most people, but for me it's especially true because (whether or not you agree with or have even heard of the "5 Love Languages" book/theory) I fall under the category of "Physical Touch." I feel loved receiving hugs from friends. A back-rub is one of the best gifts I could receive. Physcialy connecting with people is how I both feel and show love. Getting hugs from my nieces and nephew when I go over to their house is the greatest and I usually depart by being sure to give them hug as I tell them I love them. When I hold my nephew, Dallin, in my arms I feel so much love for him. He's not my own child, but when I have him in my arms I can honestly feel my love for him increase.

Recognizing and acknowledging attribute as it pertained to this situation, I feel like I was able to reconcile not feeling overwhelming amounts of love for this baby. I reconciled having more feelings of connection to Luke than I do for this baby is in part because I held Luke. I met Luke. I gave birth to Luke. I got to see his face and hold him in my arms. And for me, that's part of how I feel connected to him. But I have not done that with this child yet. I have not held him. I have not seen him. I have not been able to kiss his little face. So even though he is inside of me and I should feel connected to him, because no one else in the world is closer to him than I am, feeling kicks simply isn't the same thing as holding a baby in your arms!

(On a totally side note: it's getting hard for me to keep referring to him as "this baby" as I write because Trevor and I have settled on a name, but haven't revealed it to our family yet!)

I have finally come to a point that I don't feel guilt for not feeling as much love for this little guy. If anything it is just making me all the more eager for his arrival so that I can hold him in my arms. What a journey of learning and emotions this is!


Oh motherhood!, how much I am learning --about myself, about life, and about love --that I never could have foreseen! 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Being pregnant after loss: Not feeling connected

I know that part of my decision to announce my pregnancy so early this go-around (pretty much the day I found out) was to be able to keep an honest record of what it's like --being pregnant after just buryinging your first baby.

I've been pretty decent about trying to take a weekly picture (I've skipped a few weeks here and there) of my growth and writing about things that are going on. I opted to keep that as more of a personal journal and not one that I simply publish for anyone to read. Maybe because it seemed like it didn't have enough content or might not be interesting to any readers, "gained a little weight this week...trying to be consistent in drinking enough water...been super emotional, but am grateful for a patient and loving husband..." or whatever else I happen to write about. Or maybe I don't write about it openly because in a sense it's been hard and maybe I haven't wanted to be honest about that.

When I first found out I was pregnant I was super excited and thrilled beyond belief. I knew my (and many other's) prayers had been heard and Heavenly Father had blessed me with what I had been pleading for for 6 months --to have another chance at being a mother, here, in this life.

I don't want to ever seem ungrateful that that prayer was heard, so please don't misunderstand me as I try to synthesize my thoughts about this pregnancy. I know there are so many women trying to get pregnant who would give anything to have the plump round belly that I now carry with me. I know how hard that can be. I've been in that category of women, trying not to be jealous of and covet every pregnant mom I'd see. So, I guess I just ask for understanding from that group of people -yes, it's hard to not be pregnant when you want so badly to be, but yes, it's also hard to be pregnant after you've lost a child.

From the get-go, I've yearned to feel connected to this baby. Perhaps out of fear or at least the knowledge I have now that my time with him could be limited. I've wanted to be able to have felt close to him, to have loved him. Well, that's the difficult part for me. I know some moms feel connected to their baby's spirits practically from the instant they conceive. I don't. So I anxiously waited until the time that I could at least feel this baby move. Or until the time that I could know his gender.

But it seems like both of those things came with more unforseen difficulties. Yes it was a miracle to feel this baby move for the first time and was an answer to my heartfelt prayers and pleadings to feel close to this baby. And for that I should remind myself to be grateful. Yet now that I feel movements . . . when I haven't felt movement in a while, how do you suppose I feel? Fearful. Anxious. Concerned. All of the above.

As for the gender . . . it was definitely a surprise to be having a boy. Of course it's always a "surprise" to find out the gender of your baby. I really thought I was going to be having a girl though. With Luke I thought I was going to be having a boy and I did, so I thought perhaps I had that "mother's intuition." We also had family members even have dreams with our baby girl. And so many of moms I know who have lost a baby have had the opposite gender next. I thought it would be easier to have a girl next so surely Heavenly Father would bless me with that. Well, as you know no mother's intuition, no fulfillment of dreams, and no little girl.

Of, course I never want our son to think he wasn't wanted just because I thought it would be easier to have a girl. That is in NO WAY the case. It just made things a little more difficult (like this shopping outing I wrote about back in July).

So truth been told. It's been kind of difficult for me and perhaps I've avoid writing about it because I didn't want to complain or possibly even admit how I was really feeling. It was hard to not feel connected to my baby and perhaps in a way I didn't want to admit that that's how I felt.


If anyone is still reading, I opted to continue on to the next part of my thoughts in another post, the good news is since starting this post a while back, I've been able to reconcile some of my thoughts and feelings. So I'll post about that shortly.  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Taking time to ponder and write

I realize that taking the time to write was a gift that I gave myself --especially while we still lived in Payson. If Trevor was a work or school and I spent a few hours in the morning thinking, reading, praying, crying, writing, or whatever I felt so inclined to do, I simply gave myself permission to do that.

Since we moved I wonder if I've felt like there has "been too much to do" so I haven't allowed myself to write the things that are in my mind and heart. "I'll do it later" runs through my head  . . . and then I never do. Or I'll start writing and never finish .

About a month ago I started writing about things on my mind and even made a whole list things that I wanted to write about. I just haven't made it happen. (And upon just checking I realize I have about 30 drafts in my posts right now!)

I haven't not been writing because I haven't been sorting through emotions of loss and pregnancy after loss -I just haven't given myself permission to do it. Or maybe it's just been to overwhelming to try to sort through it along with everything else.

Since we moved in May emotions have definitely been all over the place for me! Perhaps in part because of pregnancy hormones yet perhaps because of other things too! I was starting to wonder if I was simply crazy and an emotional basket case when I confided in a woman in my ward. Thankfully, she reminded me about all the different stresses (some positive and some negative) in my life that I've gone through in the last year, she reassured me that it's normal to have some breakdowns.

Here are a few of the big things:

  • The anticipation of a new baby
  • Luke's death
  • Getting (and being) pregnant
  • Moving across the country
  • Grieving the loss of friends/family/places that were a way of life
  • Adjusting to a new area
  • Trying to make friends
  • The anticipation of a new baby
  • Adjusting to Trevor (unexpectedly) traveling for work and being gone Mon-Thur (I'm okay posting that on the world wide web now that he's done with it!)
  • Unpacking and settling into a new home without the help of Trevor (so glad to have him back around now!)

So even though I feel like generally I'm okay with "dealing" with these things and even enjoy many of them the fact of the matter is that they are pretty big stresses. So while I try to be positive and happy I think all the change has taken a bit of toll on me!

Hopefully I can recommit to giving myself the time to ponder, write, and sort through thoughts and feelings because there are so many of them!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

14 Months

I awoke in the early morning today. Possibly because we were sleeping on an air mattress and possibly because I could hear the cries of another little boy who had awaken at our campsite.

My heart ached for you. I laid there in the dark, cool morning and just thought of you. I thought about how I got to hold you in my arms for a brief time. I missed you. I longed to have you in my arms again.