Friday, March 11, 2011


So the last post was titled "Muted" and this one is "Wordless" - I'm going to have to hit up the online thesaurus pretty soon. I'm still finding a lot of reluctance toward sitting down and writing.

I'm having more moments of emotion, which I suppose is good, it does feel good to access the emotion and be able to cry.  Yesterday, it was the sensory memory, of feeling Otis's face and skin and hair with my hands and my face - snuggling into him, smelling him, kissing him - I am glad that I haven't forgotten how soft he was, I am grateful that I can still find that sensory memory of touching him.  I know, broken record here - but, gah, I wish he was here with me.  I wish I was watching him grow up.  I wish I could know what his hair would feel like today, what his eyes would look like, what his smile would look like, how his toes could wiggle....

Today out walking the dogs we ran into a neighbor who I suppose we haven't seen in 6 months.  He asked how the baby was.  "You handled that really well," E told me when we were walking away.  I guess I have gotten to the point where I have previously screwed up how I wanted to talk about him enough that now I know how I want to speak of Otis and his death.  And I feel like I do his memory justice, I don't mince words, but I also don't break into tears, I don't overshare and I don't protect the person I am speaking with.  It feels okay.

I am nervous that if indeed this current pregnancy is a healthy one and I progress to the point of being an obvious pregnant woman that I am going to have to deal with a whole new slew of stupid comments.  I have already envisioned a clueless neighbor, seeing me pregnant, walking the dogs, making some comment to the effect of, "Wait, deja vu! Didn't you just do this?" Or something to that effect.  And me, grasping for a response.  E told me today I should just say, "Well, yeah, when your baby dies the first time around and you're my age there really isn't time to sit around and not try..."

I am also reeling from a conversation I had the other night.  One of E's dear friends has a 3 month old baby boy.  Born healthy, natural childbirth, all the things I envisioned for myself in my pregnancy with Otis...She was talking with E and he shared that I was pregnant again.  At some point in the conversation she shared all the things she did to "insure" her pregnancy was healthy - the vitamins she took, what she ate/didn't eat, how she exercised, with what frequency, yadda yadda.  E later tried to share this with me.  He also told me that she had told him that when her midwives looked over her placenta they commented that it was one of the healthiest, most robust placentas they had ever seen.  This is when it felt like I had just been shot.  Because one of the reasons they think Otis died is that he was beginning to outgrow my placenta.  And somehow it felt to me like E's friend was making an implication of the "if only you had done what I had done, you would have a healthy baby like I do!" variety.

For better or for worse, there is absolutely NO ROOM for anyone trying to tell me what I "should" do in this pregnancy - as if, somehow, because their baby didn't die they are suddenly experts on how to prevent neonatal death.  I don't care if they have my best interest at heart.  I don't care if they feel that they know best and have to share their knowledge.  There is no room for it.  Call me stubborn, maybe I am.  But unless you are a doctor and you have looked over my records of my labor, Otis's delivery, and his subsequent autopsy and pathology report, you have NO BUSINESS telling me how to "do" this pregnancy.

And therein lies a problem.  Because I remember when I was pregnant last time, I got so much unsolicited advice...from strangers...everywhere...and it was hard enough THEN to bite my tongue and just allow them to spout the BS that I didn't agree with.  But this time around?  What do I do?  Pull out a picture of Otis?  "This is my son.  He died 36 hours after he was born, at 41 weeks.  I have consulted with many specialists. I am now seeing the best of the best high risk doctors who I trust completely, and unless you want to consult with him first, kindly shut the hell up."

Bah.  Of course even as I write this I worry that I am cursing myself by thinking too far ahead into the future and thinking that I might actually get to a point in the pregnancy where I am showing again...I spoke with my therapist a bunch last week about how having hope does not automatically doom one to a negative outcome.  I get it intellectually, in my brain, but my heart doesn't really believe it.  I am so scared to plan for this pregnancy, to think that I might actually get to future benchmarks.  I worry that by thinking positive or optimistically that I am tempting the gods to knock me down.

Case in point, we had to schedule a doctors appointment for CVS, testing to be done between 10 and 13 weeks....and I could barely bring myself to let the genetics counselor we met with schedule the appointment because I felt like by scheduling something "that far in advance" it most certainly means that I won't get to make it that far.  But ultimately I did.  March 29.  Of course I still have to make it through next week's appointments - two prenatal appts on the 17th - and then make it another 12 days past then...But we did schedule the appointment.

We were in Tar.get earlier this week and E told me they had some cute maternity dresses.  I guess I was a bit on autopilot, but I walked over to look at them.  All of a sudden, it all came flooding back to me, all the giddy shopping trips through maternity departments, outgrowing old clothes and buying new ones, all with such hope and optimism and a sense of sureness that indeed that Otis was coming home with us....I had to run out of the department, I grabbed E, practically fell over, crying there in the middle of Tar.get.  How dare I even imagine that I'll even GET to a point of needing maternity clothes this time around?  How dare I step foot in that department?   The gods are now on high-alert, dare I get hopeful, they are ready to strike me down.

Oh please, baby, please stick around.  Grow healthy, and strong, and come join our family in a little over 7 months, please?


Maddie said...

I all this so clearly especially not wanting to plan anything in advance. My ob's office normally makes a whole lot of appointments at once but I could only bring myself to make the next one for ages. And couldn't bring myself to book into the hospital.

And ugh to your friends telling you about everything they did 'right'.


My New Normal said...

Yes, please baby, please stick around. Grow healthy and strong and come join Sarah's family in a little over 7 months, please.

There, now two of us have said it. So maybe, just maybe, it will come true.

Love and hugs.

Monique said...

I think if you haven`t been touched by tragedy it is easy to think that you have done something to avoid it. It is easy to think you actually have control. We know differently, of course.

Loving this baby will not cause it's demise but I totally understand the fear of being optimistic.

Hang in there as best you can.

æ said...

double the 'ugh' up above.

it sure does seem important to think of a way to tell people to mind their own business. i loved the way you described finding the quiet little space where you can share otis with others in a way that feels respectful and not violating. kind of thinking that you will find that in this case too, should the time come (i do hope it does). i really wish you didn't have to experience that trial and error though, it's so painful.


Hope's Mama said...

I can't believe someone would say that to you. I took vitamins, ate incredibly well, avoided the foods you're supposed and did my yoga. I drank lots of water, got rest and finished work early enough to put my feet up and got some rest. I went to almost 41 weeks as well, but when my waters broke against my knowledge and an infection crept in and took my baby's life, there was nothing I could do. And it could happen to anyone. Even your friend who also played by all the rules. Ugh indeed.
I too struggled with appointments too far in advance. I had ultrasounds every four weeks and as my hospital is so busy, I had to make them all at about 12 weeks - right up until I was 36 weeks. It felt insane. Writing them on the calendar was worse, as I was sure I'd lose him too then get smacked in the face every time I turned the page on the calendar to see all those unfulfilled appointments staring back at me.
I know it is hard to have hope for yourself right now, so instead I will have it for you. I believe this baby will be fine and that he or she will come home with you. I believe it will be so healing for your weary heart.

still life angie said...

I love what Monique said. That is so true. It is easy to think you are in control of your placenta when your baby lives. We all did the best we could, and sometimes placentas have infarctions, as Lucy's did, or a marginal cord insertion, and the doctors will tell you it also has nothing to do with the baby's death, and you will yell, "BUT but but, I did yoga, ate organic, avoided bad vibes and thought she would live." Or maybe I did. It is getting me all fired up that kind of self-righteous bullshit. Sorry. Abiding (and perhaps yelling on your behalf). Stick around, Little Sprout, you are loved the world over.

brianna said...

Yep, yep, yep. I thought I was in control to until I realized that I wasn't at all. Until you have your vulnerability presented to you squarely and in the most horrible way imaginable you just go on deluding yourself that you've got some control.
Stupid comments are bound to come. No one will judge you harshly for putting people in their places.
Thinking about you and the little one.

Anonymous said...

Xo mamma.....

Missy said...

People are dumb, plain and simple. Who says that about a placenta? And then shares it with people? She sounds like the kind of person who would carry it around with her and whip it out for display when the topic arose which would be always because she is so damn proud. "This is the most magnificent placenta in the world..." Sorry for my bizarro comment, I would just love to bitch slap that lady.... I wish I could make it better for you mama. I wish I could take away your worry. Sending you hope and love and remembering Otis with you today~

Catherine W said...

Oh dear. I really dislike all this talk of "insuring" a healthy pregnancy. As Angie and Monique have already said, it so, so easy to take the credit for a healthy pregnancy. To think it was all downs to things that you did or didn't do. Whereas, in reality, many aspects of pregnancy and childbirth are simply beyond our control. Sometimes I think it all comes down to sheer dumb luck.

Missy - you did make me laugh, I'm sure she probably would be whipping it out for display if she could!

Hoping you get to the point of needing maternity clothes, many weeks beyond and that this precious little one arrives alive and well in seven months time xo

Brooke said...

How did I miss this post? I have no idea. Anyway, I just have to say that if the midwife is commenting on how lovely and robust the placenta is, it really just means the baby wasn't very cute and the midwife was trying to think of something nice to say.

Jenn said...

Ah, Missy, you are too funny!

OH MY GOSH I cannot handle people's stupid comments and their advice and their confidence in themselves - as if they are really able to control the outcomes of their pregnancies. Or mine! GAH that drives me absolutely fricking crazy. That is one good reason we haven't breathed a word of this pregnancy to any of our family - I am not in a place where I could politely respond to that stuff right now.

Sarah, I am right there with you - afraid to hope, afraid to think past the next few days, afraid of so many things. I know this isn't the best way to live, but it hurts too much otherwise. Hoping that soon we're both able to open up a bit more, and a bit more, and a bit more until, well, we get our heart's desires.

Thinking of you often. xx

roark said...

Hmm, sounds like it's time for me to fire up the printing press and print up some "Please shut the fuck up." calling cards. You can hand them out like candy. Whip one out and shove it in the mouth of the next placenta-bragging dipshit.

Now, very important: what font do you want?

LauraJane said...

I was ready to come here and tell you my thoughts on these stupid people, but I see the commenters above have already taken care of that :).

I like roark's idea of the "please shut the fuck up" cards, could come in mighty handy!

Hang in there momma- only 7 more months.