Too Soon to Have Known You, but You Are Always Here With Us
The Big Brother
The first person I told of my second pregnancy, aside from my husband; was my two year old son over the phone. His adoptive mother held it out for him, he still not understanding the words, but he must have been feeling the enthusiasm that his two families had for whatever was going on.
At least, initially.
After a few moments, he went back to banging his toys around with a two year old's attention span. Having any sort of reaction from him was a blessing.
Although he isn't being raised in our household, my son is still one of the most important people to me in my family and I wanted him to share every experience that we had going on in our house as it effected him.
Delighted with the news of another baby after we had waited nearly a year and a half after having him, my husband and I started first by telling the our parents and siblings although it was extremely early after the test.
We left it as, we had a positive and were waiting for the Dr to confirm, which came soon after, but too soon to have a first ultrasound. I was scheduled to go back when it would be about nine or ten weeks.
Needing a reason to be off work for the afternoon as the company I currently work for didn't allow for the use of personal days that weren't scheduled as vacation time; unlike the previous job where I had come from where I could just submit a personal day as needed the day before without being scheduled as a vacation day; I figured I would also check with HR on their requirements for FMLA if they were any different. For good measure, I had also let my direct supervisor know in the case of any workplace injury or sickness that I was expecting so it was on file.
We counted down the moments to be able to share the first ultrasound information with those that already had known and include more that we wanted in the know.
First I let both sides of the family know. Then I felt I had to clue in my employer. Getting overzealous about the other people that could probably know, the net was cast too far and soon I was hearing about my pregnancy at the office Christmas party from people I hardly knew at another location, after I needed some air and my coworker had thoughtfully blurted out the secret not knowing what else to say. Soon we told other friends and felt confident in sharing our good fortune.
Night And Day
Pregnancy with my son was completely different than what I was currently feeling. The zero symptoms I had seen with him was nothing like the constant on the verge of nausea I had had felt with our second that we had affectionately named Child Beast until we knew of a gender.
Even before the first positive test and the later doctor confirmation, I knew something was different with this one.
Because I had no symptoms with my son, we actually hadn't had a confirmed pregnancy until the end of the second trimester, which seemed crazy even if I hadn't lived with Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome, which kept me for sometimes as long as five or six months at a time not getting a period.
Because I had no cravings, no morning sickness, and nothing to go on assuming that I was just getting cysts building up again; even my doctor was surprised to find out that my son was silently tagging along all this time.
This baby was different. I swear that they were doing everything they could to announce their coming and as I counted down for the ultrasound I was sick constantly.
Still I was extremely happy and busy researching items for our baby registry and interviewing other parents on their views on breastfeeding.
As the day of the ultrasound grew near, I was happily anticipating finally finding out a true due date and hearing the steady gallop of the heartbeat as I had heard with my son every ultrasound. It wasn't until we set down in the office that we had realized how very wrong everything had become.
Everything seemed to be amiss that day as if there was some sort of cosmic sign to not get out of bed.
I went to work for the first few hours before the appointment, planning on a half day where my husband would meet in the parking lot and we would jump into one car and race to the doctor's office a few towns over.
Traffic was a mess and upon greeting in the office, the receptionist had informed us that the power had gone out earlier so all the appointments were backed up at least an half an hour.
I was starving, only eating a small snack in the car that my husband had provided to get me through the appointment knowing that I was going to eat everything in site once we got home.
I joked that Child Beast really liked chicken as it was all I was craving so I promised my stomach I would stop at McDonald's on the way home and grab a ten piece nugget.
I tried to hold my bladder as long as I could since the doctor wanted urine and the ultrasound would work better on a full bladder, but with my constant peeing I could only wait about an hour.
We finally got into the ultrasound and although nervous I had figured, I had done this so many times before I shouldn't be worried.
They first tried the wand over the stomach but the technician said she could see "something" but it wasn't a great view as my bladder wasn't that full and went for the trans-vaginal to get a better view.
I watched her click away on buttons and her face seemed stoic. I wasn't hearing any sounds but that didn't mean the speaker was on.
It was when she kept clicking and didn't turn the screen I knew.
I wasn't sure what if my husband realized at the same time.
She finally turned towards me and said she wasn't picking up a heartbeat and that she was sorry and we could wait for the doctor.
In shock we moved to the next room having a quiet talk about how these things happened, we had known other people with miscarriages. It had happened in both families. We would just try again.
I don't remember most of the blah blah blah the doctor had said.
I was already thinking of having to share the grief with everyone when we hadn't processed it ourselves.
I was thinking of the grey crib we had just priced on Sunday and the spot in the room we had picked far enough from the window so Child Beast wouldn't catch the draft.
I don't know when it began to sink in. I was quick in telling all the people that I needed to, including work, sending very little detail in the text messages. I asked that they respect our privacy. After putting on a strong face for the world, we were faced with how to live with our own guilt and grief. There wasn't a word to put on what I was feeling. We had gone from a wondrous event to parent's of a deceased child.
They Say It's Not The Same
Funny how quickly people jump to their defenses.
Not even days after already some we knew saying things they didn't know were insensitive like "At least it is easier it happened now than actually being born," or comparing that in some way it isn't the same as losing a child at say ten years old when they have been part of the world already.
I guess it goes back to people's views on when life really begins.
I say from the moment the test was confirmed by the doctor, that was life. The fact that Child Beast had made it to almost ten weeks before they passed, estimated by size to be close to eight weeks- that was life already.
People didn't know how to deal with me from the announcement of the second pregnancy unsure why we wanted another one when one child was already in an Open Adoption arrangement. Our adoption already baffled some as they didn't understand why I still had contact with him on a weekly basis.
People thought it was selfish to have another child that we were going to bring up in our household and introduce to the idea that their brother lived elsewhere but we saw and talked to brother as much as everyone involved wanted.
People think its selfish that we plan to move forward with trying to conceive again after this has happened.
I don't worry about what people think as my husband and I are still trying to process our own thoughts.
The timing I admit could have been better.
Nature had played a terrible card placing the loss of a child in the same month as our wedding anniversary, Christmas, my husband's birthday, and all the other holiday plans we had.
It has been awkward since the loss of our child near Thanksgiving.
Sometimes I feel like there isn't a reason to celebrate this year aside from giving my son the best Christmas and birthday party we could plan up, as it was always easier for his adoptive parents to double up these events due to everyone's travel plans.
It sounds corny, but as we do these things, we want to also remember Child Beast as their part in these events. I don't know how the holidays will go next year, but we plan for having a memorial candle over a Christmas stocking, an ornament on the tree. A reminder that they are also part of this family no matter how many kids we go to have or don't get blessed with after.
I have always gone back and forth since the beginning second guessing the adoption, not because I ever thought it was the wrong placement or that I wasn't giving my son the best opportunities that I couldn't afford to provide at the time. I worried selfishly that maybe we was all we would ever get. Or that he would feel jealous one day at the arrival of a sibling.
I worry about how to explain to him if he even understands that he now has a sibling that has passed away. One day we will have to explain. Are there words to make a child understand that sometimes babies aren't formed correctly or strong enough to make it past the first twelve weeks in many pregnancies?
I blame myself that maybe there was something that I could have done differently but I know that isn't true. Sometimes whatever runs this universe just for whatever reason takes children away.
I would like to think that perhaps it was to spare them suffering of a condition that may have been fatal or have saved them the torture of being on a transplant list waiting for a replacement for a malformed or malfunctioning organ.
I want say that whatever force decided that they needed to be taken now rather than live a lifetime with whatever had been dealt to them was a good thing but I don't know. Maybe it happens for no reason.
Talking to others is still hard, even my husband and I try to use positive what ifs but not having a reason for what went wrong with this child will always haunt us when we look at the beautiful son that had been given to us the time before as a surprise gift.
I know everything is going to be OK.
I have been blessed to have two kids if nothing else. Not getting to know the one will always be something that bothers me and overtime I have to find a way to close up the wound a little more and still put all the best energy I can out there in their memory.