I’m going through old notes to get prepped for writing my new chapter. I came across the notes from one book, that I remember very well that I was reading as I lay in bed in June of last year, unable to sleep because of my contracting uterus during the miscarriage. So I’d have a few minutes where I could read, and then even longer minutes of agonizing pain during which I might or might not drag myself to the bathroom to see what the hell was going on. Not a very good memory and I’m having a little trouble with the notes I later took from the book. While I laid in bed, I had a little piece of paper I was tearing up, making page markers out of. I don’t remember when I transcribed the passages from which I wanted notes. Clearly not that day. Fortunately, I don’t think it’s that important of a book.

So now I feel fairly miserable. I rarely think to myself that I ought to have a 9 month old infant now, because that memory has been so subsumed by the loss of Natan. I feel so much more strongly that I ought to have him. Like I’ve said before, I just kind of accept that loss as a painful, but inevitable event.  But when I see references to “your childbearing year” I can’t help but feel an angry, “You’ve got to be freaking kidding me.” I saw some crazy public service announcement on TLC the other day that suggested only a selfish woman would have trouble giving up coffee and alcohol for that “very short time” she’s pregnant, and my pregnancy book tells me I might very well miss being pregnant. And, people we know are suggesting we’ll be unable to accomplish much on our work once this baby arrives. Again, I say, you’ve got to be freaking kidding me.

Now I’m not actually lamenting my lack of wine with dinner. I’m lucky to be pregnant. I’m grateful to be pregnant. But this hasn’t been a “very short time.” By the time this baby arrives, if I’m lucky enough to carry him to term, I’ll have been pregnant enough months to practically birth an elephant (an exaggeration only by a few months). My doctor gets it. You all get it. Dr. K is very conscious of how damn hard it is to have gone through three first trimesters, two second trimesters, a miscarriage, and the death of our son in a very short time. Losing Natan didn’t make my uterus or my stomach muscles return to their never pregnant state. Part of the reason I’m going to contract a lot in this pregnancy is that my body “remembers” labor last time. Oh that’s nice, could someone remind it that that was the WRONG decision last time? Well, that’s what we are doing with the progesterone, and it’s working and I’m in love with whoever thought of trying it out first. And when I do get up to walk, I’m limping, because my left hip hurts from all the time I’ve spent leaning on it.  I will happily deal with that issue when the baby arrives.

I’m aware of the risk of postpartum depression. I’m considering talking to Dr. K or a psychiatrist about a preemptive round of an.ti-anx.iety meds for that period. And I’m definitely prepared to go to counseling at any instant.

But, and here is where I know I may hear of lot of protestation. To the folks who think we aren’t prepared for the difficulties of managing work with a baby, all I can say is heaven forbid they ever have to try to get back to work without the baby. Now those are some tearful and sleepless nights.

We’ve talked and thought a lot about strategies for helping each other stay productive with an infant around. We both have no obligations other than writing and caring for him and each other.  All of this of course assumes that the baby is born healthy, without a need for significant NICU time or other physical demands. But given that ideal situation, I think we’re going to be fine. Not because we’re naive, but because if anyone in this world has thought about what it means to have a living baby in the house, it would be us.

9 responses to “Triggers

  1. It really sucks being the unlikely exception. And I have to agree with you– “you’ve got to be kidding me” is often the most polite thing that comes to mind.
    And yes, I am still not up to really working productively. Hence– no job.

  2. You’ve obviously been able to be quite productive under the extreme stress of losing your first child, so I think you’re right to be fairly confident that you’ll do well after the new baby’s born.

  3. Oh do I get this! I actually had a nurse at the high risk clinic give me some literature about parenting classes, telling me that it is very stressful to have a baby. I just wanted to scream at her: “Why don’t you try the stress of coming home without a baby, and maybe, just for fun, why don’t you try coming home without your twins, when you’ve already had a stillbirth.” Of course, I never even looked at the pamphlets–that’s one place you won’t fine me, under any circumstances!

    I would so love to have the stress that normal parents get to have, because that crushing, devastating stress that accompanies losing your babies, cannot really be compared to anything in this life.

    You are so right, you will be fine when your baby arrives. And though I am not prone to violence, I feel a little like throttling those people who are saying these things to you.

    And as for the postpartum depression ting, I am worried about that too. I will do whatever the doctors think I should do, but I’ll be watching myself like a hawk too. It’s good because I already have a psychiatrist and I’m sure she’ll be looking for the signs. I think that counseling is a good thing for anyone going through what we are. I just figure that it can’t hurt. And I somehow think that if I didn’t get postpartum depression the last 2 times, when I returned home without the baby/babies, then maybe I’m not prone to it? I have no scientific proof of this and am probably talking out of my butt…but maybe there’s something to it? I have no idea, maybe every pregnancy is totally different, I don’t know?

    I’m sorry you’re feeling miserable today. And how long is an elephant pregnant for? I think I might be joining you in that excessive gestation period!

  4. Good gravy B! You must talk to the same asshats I do! “Your life will change once you get this baby”. Hey crap for brains, my life as already changed! “You know, you’ll have this baby for a lifetime” Well.. A. not necessarily (see last pregnancy), and B. really? I can’t give it away if I don’t like it? “It’s going to be expensive” My therapy bill ( I see a perinatal loss specialist) is more expensive than adding Critter to our insurance. And the one you describe, “You know, working and having a baby is not easy”… yeah, and working after staying up all hours crying for the baby that died is a cake walk”. Why can’t people just say, “I’m so happy for you, you are going to be great parents”. Why do people feel like they have to prepare us for this? Ugghhh! Double Ugghh!

  5. Meg, Yeah, I’m not so psyched to do parenting classes either. I didn’t have PPD either after Natan’s birth, but I have had post-traumatic stress disorder in my life and I found it didn’t actually arrive until after the trauma was safely and far behind me. So since I feel like I’m living in a kind of constant traumatized state right now I wonder what’ll happen when I finally get to bring a baby home. If the feeling of “safety” will kick in and finally give me the chance to really, truly freak out. An elephant is pregnant for 22 months. I’m afraid, and sorry, that you probably will be reaching that point too. But a 5.7cm cervix, man, that’s beautiful….

    Monica, people are clueless. I think part of why I get insulted by that comment is because I just want some acknowledgment that I was pregnant before, and also because some of these people seem to have forgotten they said the same damn thing to me 10 or 12 months ago!!

  6. At my last dr’s appt, the u/s tech mentioned that it said I had “severe post-partum depression” in my file. Of course, she went on to describe her ppd with her last child, trying to connect with me. I don’t know who added that to my file, but it kind of pi**ed me off. I think they assumed that because I’m on anti-d’s. I’ve been on those off and on since I was 23 – it runs in my family, since my mom was bipolar and basically nutso. Yeah, I was depressed after losing Elijah, but wouldn’t anyone? Sorry for the vent. Do take care of yourself. I’m counting the days off, like you. 28 wks can’t get here soon enough.

  7. I can see why that would piss you off Mary! There’s nothing to be ashamed of with PPD but I would resent a diagnosis in my file if I didn’t even know about it.

  8. One of the things I hate about academia is the fact that you had to work DURING your miscarriage. At any humane job, you would have been given time off.

  9. Wow. I stumbled onto this site looking for info on “depression after a miscarriage with bipolar”. I feel like everyone needs to have a reason for my moods despite it only being 8 days after I lost the baby, 8 days and I should be fine every day all the time? fat chance. I can not believe the insensitivity that runs out of people’s mouths. I’m not a violent person either since I know as an adult it gets you nowhere but I think if any of those people said those things to me I’d have either punched them or used much sarcasm as a response. My boss made a point to tell me on Monday he paid me for my 3 days off and charged them as sick days instead of vacation days. VACATION?!?! anyone want to have that vacation? I’m salary I would have been paid for them anyway & if it had been 7 months later I’m sure I could have taken all the time I needed without a word. I hate people I really do. I wish you all much luck and send many many sane good non insulting thoughts to you.

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