I wish I could say that things get easier, that as the pregnancy progresses and Rose is squirming away that the terror decreases. But it really doesn’t. We’re 35 weeks and 3 days now. While sometimes it feels real, that maybe we will come home with a baby in a few weeks, most of the time I just have this sense of dread. Every cramp, every twinge, I wonder, is this the beginning of the end? I’m so scared things will be the way they were with Ada. That Rose will just quietly slip away, despite all the tests and ultrasounds and extra doctor visits. That instead of a happy labor with a light and baby’s first cry at the end of the pain, that all we’ll have is a dark and silent room.
A pregnancy app on my phone popped up a question today: “Have you had your baby? Is it a boy or a girl? Move on to the next stage and track your baby.” (or something like that) and it just floored me, and I cried like I haven’t cried in months. I mean, what if you aren’t taking your baby home from the hospital? Why isn’t there an option for that? I had a baby girl, but moving on to the next stage, from pregnancy app to baby app, wasn’t an option for me. I still get emails sometimes about Ada, where some database didn’t quite purge her from the system, that cheerfully explain that she could be starting solid foods, or that she should be starting to crawl soon (I actually kind of like these now, but boy were they hard at first). I wish there was an other button, something like “Other outcome” and then in smaller print “if you’ve experienced a loss, please click here” so women could find other information relevant to their situation.
It’s so frustrating that everyone assumes that once you are pregnant you will take home a baby. It makes me feel even more isolated. Where do you go with these feelings? I certainly can’t take them to any loss groups, I just got effectively kicked out of one for trying to share how hard this is, for trying (badly) to ask for help, advice, a shoulder. So, that’s not an option. If people knew that pregnancy doesn’t always end up with a happy outcome, maybe it’d be easier to talk about.
Maybe if the silence about stillbirth was broken, people wouldn’t be so fast to ask “is this your first?” whenever they see a pregnant woman. I hate hate hate that question. I know they mean well, and it’s just a normal thing to ask and usually the person asking has something dumb to say like “enjoy your sleep while you can!” or they tell you how much they love their kids even if it’s hard in the beginning. No, this is not my first. I have a daughter, her name is Ada, and she was beautiful. Her ashes are in my dresser and I say good morning and goodnight to her picture every day, only one of two pictures that I will ever have of her because no one thought to tell me to take any pictures, and yes I am still very angry about that. But how can you say that to someone in passing? So I end up either saying “yes” or worse “sort of” in hopes that they will ask what I mean so I can talk about Ada at least for a few seconds. And that’s me, keeping the silence even as I quietly rail against it.
It’s overwhelming, trying to simultaneously experience the highest joy and the deepest sorrow that life can bring. In addition to planning a nursery, I need to be picking out a rose tree so we can plant it with Ada’s ashes underneath. I wanted so badly to make our little backyard a nice garden to be a home to Ada’s roses, but it’s a bit unrealistic when by the time winter was finally over I was already 7 months pregnant and then we had contractors stomping around the yard to make sure our house doesn’t fall down. I’ll settle for planting some butterfly attracting flowers in pots on my deck as soon as we have the deck power washed and resealed next week so I can sit out there with the dogs. All of these things seem so normal… normal people get their deck power washed. But it’s not normal. And it’s not getting better. At least not yet.