Well, it’s over. Or done at least. Can you ever really says something like this is “over?” We went to Colorado last week, and had the procedure done. In a later post (or maybe a couple, since it took several days and it’s a lot to cover) I’ll explain the procedure in more detail. I think I would have benefited from knowing more up front, so I want to put that out there for anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation. But I’ll do that later. First, one quick note. Her name, Katlyn is pronounced “cat-lin,” not “kate-lin.” And that’s rather beside the point, because we actually call her is River.
Anyway, it’s confusing, trying to explain what we’re feeling now. It’s such a mix. On the one hand, it really is a huge relief to have it done with. For one thing, feeling her move, having people comment and ask when I was due, and all those other things that came with still being pregnant, were really hard to handle knowing that there wasn’t going to be a happy ending to this story. Especially when she got the hiccups. That was my favorite before, but the reason babies get hiccups in utero is to prepare them to breathe, so feeling her hiccuping and knowing she would never breathe was rough. And I was really dreading the procedure itself (procedures? there were several steps). So with getting past all that, the first reaction really is just relief. Not to mention that I’m much more physically comfortable. The third trimester is no joke. My ribs are still ache-y where her butt was jammed up in them for weeks.
But, like I said in the post explaining this decision, during those two weeks between deciding and acting, it never really sunk in completely. The reality of moving on without her, looking down and seeing a (relatively) flat stomach, not feeling movement, all of those things, they’re definitely hitting home now. And of course, all the postpartum hormones aren’t helping. Sometimes it seems like every little thing reminds me. Like yesterday I was driving and listening to music, and I teared up because I realized I didn’t have to worry that the music was too loud and not good for her. But it does seem like those blows already aren’t coming so hard, as I get more used to being home and moving on. It’ll still be hard, particularly through September, when she was due, and probably forever really, but it isn’t constantly overwhelming.
When I was in 8th grade, my mom won a free trip for us to Disney World. (This seems like a really weird non sequitur, but I promise it’s relevant.) I really hated the school I was in at the time, and just generally wasn’t super happy (hello, it was 8th grade, of course I wasn’t), so the trip (we went over Spring Break) was just that much more awesome by contrast. But that disparity between how much I loved the trip and so didn’t love my day to day life made coming back home much harder. I kept thinking, “a week ago I was in Disney World” (or at a specific park), “two weeks ago I was in Disney World.” That went on for weeks. Eventually I stopped (when school got out, if not sooner), but I’ve noticed I still do that sometimes after something really good happens. And I keep doing it now. Part of me keeps thinking, “two weeks ago I was pregnant,” ” a month ago I was pregnant and expecting her to be here by now,” “four months ago I was pregnant with a healthy baby” (as far as I knew at the time). I really wish there was some way to go back to before 20 weeks, when we found out about her hydrocephalus, and just have a re-do. Though if I’m wishing for that, why not wish we could go back to last May, when we were in Europe, and still happily pregnant with my first? Oh well. Those thoughts are coming less frequently as well.
Though it does seem like the year is starting to get really full of “bad days.” Jan 11, April 28, Sep 6, June 12, July 27, May 4, and on and on. (Those are my original due dates, the day I miscarried the first, River’s birthday, and the day we found out I was pregnant the first time, respectively.) None of those anniversaries (that have passed) were that bad, but for all of them I was pregnant again, and it was looking good. I’m not sure how hard they’ll be without that positive future to focus on.
Not that there isn’t still a positive future to look forward to. As I said in the last post, we will still have kids, one way or another. But it’s all very much up in the air. We still don’t know anything about what caused the hydrocephalus, and we may never know, even with the testing they’re doing. The most common cause is “unknown.” And of course, we never knew what caused the miscarriages. Do we really want to try again, with that hanging over our heads? I’m (we’re) scared, honestly. Scared that it could happen again, and we’ll just keep losing babies. Scared of facing that anxiety for a looong nine months. And, in my case, scared of giving birth. I’ll go into (a little) more detail when I explain the procedure later, but suffice it to say that it was traumatic enough that I’ll either be having an elective c-section with any future pregnancies, or going to some counseling to get over that fear.
Adoption is, of course, an option, but it just really isn’t what I want. I want our baby, and I really did love being pregnant. I don’t want my only experiences with pregnancy to be losses. I want the full, positive experience, with a happy ending (though like I said, not so sure about the birth part these days). I want to feel a baby moving and it be a 100% happy feeling, because s/he is healthy and their hiccups really are preparation for breathing. And, of course, adoption is expensive. If we find that there’s an underlying genetic issue causing everything, we might have the option to go the in vitro route, and that’s really expensive too. But if not, just trying again, au natural, is definitely the cheapest option. And I read (right after the procedure, when I was feeling pretty pro-adoption) that adopted kids are less smart and successful in a lot of areas, statistically. It has to do with the type of people who are most likely to choose to give a kid up for adoption (their words, not mine!) and possibly the fact that a mom who is giving up her child might be less likely to take proper prenatal care (or going back to the type of person, they might be less able to afford it). It seems like a dumb thing to care about, but that does bother me.
Anyway, this is getting kind of rambly and incoherent. The point of all that, mostly, was to say that the future is feeling very scarily open and empty. No matter what course we pursue, we’re looking at a minimum of six months to get started again on that road to having kids. I hadn’t been working, since I was pregnant and the plan is for me to be a stay at home mom, but since it’ll almost definitely be over a year before we’ll be bringing any babies home, there’s no reason not to have a job for the next little while. The question, of course, is what to do. Nannying is out. I am just so, SO not up for that. I may look for something simple in the retail area (I really liked working for Yankee Candle a few years ago). And I’m considering pursuing something in the baking field. I was already tentatively planning to get some actual training in that, and make some sort of actual career of it, once we had kids and they were in school. It’s one of the few things I love that I’ve always come back to. So maybe I’ll do that a bit sooner.
And we’re looking at other things to do, to fill up that future a bit. We might plan another good vacation, for after Christopher’s project gets past roll out next spring. He even said that we might put the money I earn towards that, once I start working. That would make a very meaningless retail or whatever job a bit more worth getting up for every morning, if I was working towards a goal. And we’re going to start fostering animals at some point soon too. It seems nice to bring a little new life into the house, even if it’s not permanent (we really don’t need any more pets right now). And maybe Link will stop getting so fat, if he has some puppies around to play with and help him get more exercise. 🙂 And we’re planning some little things, like a “puppy party.” We’ll invite our friends who have dogs and I’m gonna make “pupcakes” (cupcakes for the dogs) and maybe some doggie cake pops and that sort of thing. It’s silly, but it’s nice to have something positive to look forward to.
Beyond that… it’s just a matter of waiting for time to do its job, helping us to heal emotionally and (in my case) physically. Like I said, it’s already feeling a little easier, and while I’m sure there will always be bad days, I expect that to continue. We’ll be sad, but we’ll move on, and we won’t forget, but neither will it seem like such a huge, all-encompassing thing standing in our way forever. I assume so anyway. Guess we’ll see.