Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Pregnancy After Loss: Preparations and Reservations

4-3, Kate's big chubby cheeks just like her Daddy.
I'm at 32 weeks and 3 days now.  I will now be having weekly appointments with Nonstress test and biophysical profiles.  I do feel better about the idea of having a weekly ultrasound just to check on things.  My anxiety hasn't been as bad in the last few weeks.  But I am still having weird dreams, and some bittersweet moments.

Pregnancy sleep is really weird. I've always had strange and vivid dreams. PAL sleep (pregnancy after loss) is even weirder. I can't get a break even at night. In my dreams Kate and Abigail get all mixed up.  I dream about Abigail and our loss, or I dream about Kate dying and having to pick out another tombstone.  The most common recurring dream, is one where Kate is born, and something isn't right and they wisk her off, before I can even see her.  I always wake up before I find out what is wrong or if she's going to be ok.

4-3, Does she have my Daddy's chin, or is it just the angle?
Last week at the MFM office everything checked out on the fetal echo-cardiogram.  Kate was measuring about 4 lbs, 1 oz.  I've had a few spells of nearly blacking out, one where I actually did.  They decided that it's because my blood pressure is always so low.  I've noticed my heart rate is getting pretty high when it happens too.  They advised take it easy, drink more water, and eat more salt.  In fact the doctor told me that I could have as much bacon as I wanted.  She was breach at the time, and when I asked when to be concerned, she told me not to be.  Apparently 95% of babies turn by week 36, that she had room and time to turn several more times.  She showed me where her head was, which explains why that part of my stomach has been so sore and feels over stretched out.

Sure enough this past week, she turned down, back up, and down again.  At the ultrasound in the OB office yesterday, she was head down.  Yesterday for the first time in months, we got to see some of the 3D shots.  The kids were really amazed by them.  I had fun showing them to Gary yesterday.  She looks alot like Ruth did to me.  She has big cheeks and Gary's nose.  We have debated if she has my dad's chin, a feature he'd rather not pass on.  Gary was insistent she was another blond, while I remain convinced that this one will have red-hair.
I can't see my feet, but apparently the camera can just barely pick them up.
Then it was a rush, clean up the house from the weekend, knock out school, and off to Britt's baseball game.  Afterward, Gary had to go back to work to run rain reels, so I came home cooked tacos, and we worked on the kids Egyptian costumes as part of history for the day.  Gary eventually made it home to eat supper while I finished all the laundry and folded it all and put it away.  But finally at the end of the night last night, when the kids were in bed, and I flopped down on the bed by Gary who was watching March Madness, I got to thinking.  It is so amazing that the technology exists and allows us this glimpse inside to see what she looks like.  It's fun to compare her to Gary and myself, to see which of the kids she resembles.  I have always loved speculating what the kids would be like when they arrived.

With Britt I can remember a very clear dream about a month before he was born, of a toddler with blond, blond hair and blue eyes like Gary, he had manic sounding laugh.  With Ruth I can remember a dream of black hair, fat chubby feet, and a big smile as she was learning to walk.  With Rebecca I dreamed the week before she was born about a blond headed little girl.  After losing Abigail I have had two dreams of a red head with long, smooth, stick straight hair, always from the back.  I can never see her face.  With this baby I have once dreamed off a girl with red, curly hair and blue eyes like Gary's.  Not tight Shirley Temple curls like I was always jealous of, but just some gentle curls.  The first three have proven to be so much more than I could have dreamed or imagined.

3-27, Kate's profile.
But even as I wonder about this baby, I can't help but wish I knew more about Abigail.  I will never know what she would have looked like.  Who she would have become.  What she would have been like.  Would she have been adventurous or cautious?  Would she be a tom boy or girly girl?  Just the other night Gary had left over cole slaw and baked beans that he brought home from work.  Two kids like cole slaw and hate beans, one likes the beans and hates cole slaw.  Would she have have even the odds?  Would she like them both?  Would she have tried to subsist on chicken nuggets, crackers, and milk?

We are thinking more and more these days about labor and bringing Kate home.  I've cleared out a spot for the crib.  We have plans to order replacement hardware next week, and set up the baby bed.  I've washed the 0-6 month clothes and put them away in the dresser.  Last week we went up to the hospital and did the tour, and talked with a labor and delivery nurse.  I finally sat down and wrote up a birth plan, one we plan to talk with the doctor about next week.  I've written up the last of our lesson plans, made plans to get the kids evaluated, and then rap up the school year.  We've talked about tentative plans for Mother and Daddy to come down. We are optimistically making plans, even while also making worse case plans.  I'll spare you those contingencies, but I still find it hard to be certain that we are bringing Kate home, instead of carrying her to Hopewell too.

Everything ends up on my stomach these days.  At 9 am, I
already have laundry detergent on my shirt.
Every plan we make for Kate though, reminds me of everything we couldn't do for Abigail, and everything we will never know about her.  Pregnancy after loss is an emotional roller coaster ride, that makes our previous pregnancies seem like a leisurely stroll.  I have told Gary I just hope that I can chill out some after she arrives, and not turn into one of those over the top paranoid moms.

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