Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Finding Confidence; Staying Positive

As I wait for baby Scott #4 to make his appearance next month I find myself anxious and more worried than usual lately. It is hard to juggle all the mental and emotional things that come along with expecting after loss. After I lost Max, it truly made me feel that nothing is impossible. Unfortunately, very bad things can happen sometimes. I am thankful for the friends I can reach out to, the supportive husband I have, and the prayers and support I have received from friends and family for this entire pregnancy.

A few weeks ago I was struggling in the morning. I found myself crying over missing Max and worried that what if I can’t bring this baby home too. Andrew got me to shake my anxiety by taking me to the store to buy a going home outfit for our baby boy. Also walking around a baby store and laughing as an “experienced couple” about all the crap that baby stores make first time parents feel like they NEED to have to survive! Doing things like that certainly helps. Intentionally preparing and planning for baby Scott #4 after getting waves of anxiety and grief help me find comfort and confidence. We recently painted a nursery, got the crib set up, I even pulled out the newborn clothing from Jack and Parker. We even toured and chose our hospital for delivery (that was a whole other day of emotion!).

Our entire “birth prep work” feels so magical and scary this time. I just assumed it was something that would eventually come along with Max and then did not. So hiring our doula, starting Hypnobabies homestudy, creating my birth plan, figuring out a hospital for delivery have all been things that I assumed would have happened last year and this year am very thankful that I get to do. I find myself feeling like I’ve won the lottery when I started bi-weekly appointments or when I got the ability to say my baby is due to arrive NEXT MONTH! The scary part is just being worried about it all crashing down.

If you asked me what my biggest fear is I would say not being able to bring this baby home. However, my second biggest fear would be telling my boys, especially Jack that it didn’t work out. I try not to think about it but I just know how excited he is for a new baby brother. I think the disappointment and confusion on his face would certainly crush me. Again, I try to stay positive and intentional in front of them that baby brother is doing well and there is no reason to think he would not come home, but loss makes you very aware of the sad potentials sometimes.

So please, if you will, keep our family in your thoughts in this next month. That we and especially me, can find peace and times to celebrate and relax that all is well. That I enjoy watching Jack start school and embrace the one on one time with Parker. Also, that we enjoy lots of time together as a family before welcoming our newest member.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Day Before

Many moms know the anticipation and excitement that comes the days leading up to big ultrasounds during their pregnancies. With Max, on the day of our anatomy scan we decided to send our boys up north to parents cabin so we could go to our Friday afternoon ultrasound on May 23rd, 2014 and then to a nice dinner to celebrate finding out the gender of Baby Scott #3.

Well things didn't end up going to plan at all.

You can read in more detail about the first ultrasound with Max-HERE.

We left our doctor’s office in bewilderment, confusion, and concern. What was supposed to be a nice night to relax and connect as a couple turned out to be a disaster. I was so sick with worry I didn’t want to eat. We went to a movie to take our mind off of things. I kept pulling out Max’s ultrasound pictures and cry with worry. On Saturday we decided to head up to the cabin to join our boys and ease our minds. After all, we had no indication that Max’s condition was lethal—yet.

Since that horrible day and the weeks that followed things got worse. After Max’s diagnosis, I couldn’t eat, sleep, do laundry, or even feel capable to take care of my children. I felt that I was so unprepared to deal with the devastation (let’s be honest, who is ever prepared for grief and loss?!) that I wouldn’t let it happen again.

Next time I would be prepared.

When we got pregnant with Baby Scott #4, the anticipation, worry and some excitement on the day’s leading up to ultrasounds has put me into hyperactive cleaning, cooking, doing laundry mode.

A kind of nesting of sorts, but not the kind that you do before you expect to bring a baby home. It’s the kind that I like call the “I don’t know if I’m going to get devastating news again today so I need to be prepared to go home and not have to do a thing” kind of prep.

Tomorrow is another scan, more detailed than the last but hopefully one of the last ones if baby is growing well and looking good.

Yesterday, on my day off, I vacuumed my entire house, cooked extras of dinner, washed all the laundry in my house, swept the floor, mopped the floor, cleaned the bathrooms, and prepped myself for that just in case situation and headed to Zumba to dance my (larger) a$$ off and forget about everything for an hour (<----definitely the highlight of my day!)

It’s a ritual now.

It’s therapeutic to clean, fold, dance and get my mind off of the next few days, feel prepared for bad news and heck, who doesn’t LOVE a spotless house and a great cardio session!!?!?

I don’t do it in anticipation that tomorrow 6/7/15 will be a bad day, I am doing my best to stay positive that it will be a good day but the worry that consumes me will not allow me to just not do it. Kind of like I’m damned if I do—because I spend my entire day cleaning and focusing on quite not important things but I’m damned if I don’t—because if tomorrow brings not so great news I don’t want to have to worry about anything. So silly, I know.

So tomorrow is a big day, met with great anticipation, excitement, and anxiety. As I sit here writing these words my foot is tapping, legs are wiggling, hands are sweating, Baby S is kicking and my logical self sits here saying, “You know everyone is going to KNOW you’re crazy now.”

Yes, I am crazy, slightly neurotic I would argue. I will cry from the moment I walk in those office doors until long after I am gone regardless of great news (tears of relief and elation) or bad news (tears of disappointment and despair). Last time the specialist gave me a big box of Kleenex and said I could take it home if I wanted. 

So again, I ask for your thoughts and prayers. And again that no matter what news we are given that God keeps us close to Him. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Coexistence of Happiness and Grief

It’s been a while since I wrote on my blog. I always have good intentions about writing more but life, fear, and sometimes a feeling of “I just don’t want to go there today” get in the way.

I looked back recently on Facebook to realize that on 4/9/2014 we excitedly announced our pregnancy with Max with no idea of the circumstances in which we would meet him less than 2 months later.

 When we announced our pregnancy with Max, we were around 14 weeks. I was supposed to be “in the clear”.

Max was moving; we had a heartbeat, what was left? Had I worried or assumed something was terribly wrong I think everyone would've agreed I was overreacting. There was just no reason to assume we weren't going to take Max home.

Fast forward to 4/8/2015 and things are quite different and yet eerily the same.

We are pregnant again. 

We are elated, and terrified.

We have a big ultrasound tomorrow (4/9/2015) with a specialist who has been following us closely. So far everything has been well this pregnancy. We have had great ultrasounds so far. Baby’s has had a strong heartbeat and again we have no reason to assume that we won’t take this baby home.

Yet, it is very hard to live with the coexistence of happiness and grief. I have cried both tears of joy and grief, a lot. Easter was no exception. After our boys awoke to see the Easter bunny had visited I cried hard as I muttered to Andrew that there should be 3 baskets there, while still whispering to my sweet baby with me now, “I love you, and can’t wait to meet you”.

It is hard, very hard to grieve a baby who isn’t here and be joyous for another opportunity for our family to grow again. I am confident in saying that I am not replacing Max, there is just no way that I could ever replace my sweet little boy who I only got to be with for such a short time.  I am sure however, he played a significant part in sending another sweet baby to join our family and help soothe his mama’s aching heart.

This journey has been long so far. Some days just waaay too long, but I am working on finding that happy medium of grieving my lost son, and celebrating the opportunity to meet our newest.

So, I have somewhat forced myself to break down the things that I worry will “jinx” me. I told my family and Andrew’s family very early this time. I told my boys almost immediately as well. I have bought some more maternity clothes and last week even got a car seat from a friend. I want this baby to feel loved and celebrated, just like all my other babies are and were.

I feel free when I do things like that, and so far, so good.

 It’s not easy though to dive back into the idea of actually bringing this baby home. I quickly cleaned the carseat up that I got from my friend when I got home and put it down in storage. I can feel myself let go and enjoy a bit and then a little later feel a nagging tug to “not get too excited again!”

One of the biggest worries I have had is about announcing our new pregnancy publicly. It’s just not as easy as it was before and there is a lot of hope and fear that play out in my mind daily.

But since life has just not at all turned out to what I originally planned, I’m trying to go with the flow now.

So without further adieu:

Baby Scott #4 is due to join our family this fall 2015.

(Phew! That is a an intense sentence to write)

May I ask that if could please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers? 

Especially this sweet little baby that we are so hoping to take home this fall.  

Please pray that our ultrasounds go well and above all that no matter what happens that God keeps us close to him. 

As for today, we are celebrating that we are on our journey to meet Baby Scott #4!