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ROY G B. .

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I have wanted to write something for several weeks.  Twelve weeks to be exact.

But I don’t know how to say all the things I want to say. Maybe because I’m not sure how to feel all the things I’m feeling.

When we lost our third baby, I had the thought that I was building a rainbow, because, you see, a baby after pregnancy loss is called a rainbow baby.  I’m not entirely sure I like that. I get it.  I understand the reference.  But it’s a lot of pressure in a weird way. And, sadly, I don’t really know how to verbalize that any better.

I also struggle with the idea that I’m a mother.  Even though when people ask if we have any children I always respond with “we have four in Heaven” I’m not sure that it completely qualifies me as a mother.  I like the idea of it.  I did cradle four lives within me for an ever brief time.  And I love all four of them. But. . .I didn’t do anything of my own volition. What happened within me was without my direction, my power, my consent. Does that truly mean I mothered? Equally confounding to me is the fact that when I get to Heaven I will recognize all four of those lives individually because I do know them as their mother. It’s a truly exhausting circle I find myself in.

But, if you’ve looked at the title, and you’ve read that paragraph about rainbow babies, you’re starting to have some questions.  I have five letters up there.

Yes. We are expecting again.  We are 16 weeks in our fifth pregnancy.  So far, everything is going well. The baby is in the right place. The baby has a strong and appropriate heart beat. At the six week ultrasound baby measured larger than expected.  We left that ultrasound somewhat in a daze as, out of the six we’ve had, it’s the first one where we haven’t been given some kind of cautionary statement.  At my last appointment, the baby (we call it Grasshopper) had to be chased down to get a good heart reading and the doctor declared my baby pouch was just beginning (maybe we should have called it Roo).  I have experienced the wonderful exhaustion of creating a human and the short-lived, yet apparent, strange cravings.  For the first couple of weeks, I wanted grapefruit.  I don’t even like grapefruit.

So, Grasshopper is doing well. And most days, I am too.  I embrace all the weirdness of pregnancy. . .I try to embrace being “Pregnant Season” rather than just Season.

I have said that surviving pregnancy loss is the hardest thing I’ve done.  But now I may have to amend it.  Being pregnant after pregnancy loss may be the hardest thing I’m doing.

I knew that PTSD can be an impact of pregnancy loss.  I’ve even discussed with professionals how that may manifest itself.  It seems that it may be showing up in me with education.  My OB wants me to view and participate in some online education about pregnancy.  I’m trying.  But we’re finding that instead of focusing on the things that are good, my brain is getting super focused on all the information about what can go wrong.  The lesson suggests certain things you should call your doctor about immediately, and suddenly, I’m worried that I may have that symptom. My anxiety peaks immensely when I do these programs.  The only one that hasn’t caused a peak is the one on breastfeeding.  We’ve also noticed that about 2 or 3 days out from an appointment, my anxiety starts to peak.  I fear that “the other shoe is going to drop” at this appointment.  Add in the factor that during our current pandemic, Steven isn’t allowed in my appointment with me, and I’m through the roof.  Because what if something has gone wrong, and I find out all by myself in that room?

We laugh a little.  Usually it’s Steven who jumps to the worst case scenario. Our roles have reversed during the last 12 weeks.  It’s him who is reassuring me and helping me see some logic. I feel Grasshopper moving, not all the time, but occasionally (though I started to question that after one of the education lessons because it said women don’t feel their babies until 20 weeks). There will be some lower abdomen pain because the uterus is growing. . .it’s not because I’m having contractions.  I don’t have any bleeding or other unusual discharge.  Everything is fine.

He must be exhausted.

I know I am.

This is hard.  I don’t want to shortchange Grasshopper or myself or Steven in this experience. I want to enjoy this pregnancy, even the not so glorious parts of it. And most of all, when Grasshopper gets here, I want to be able to tell him/her {we’re not finding out} that while it was hard at times, I was glad to do it. I don’t want my child to think I suffered, any more so than any other pregnant lady, to bring him/her into the world.  I don’t want Grasshopper to ever feel that any of my struggles were his/her fault. Grasshopper didn’t ask for this.

Truthfully, I didn’t either.

Remember

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Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
Saturday Steven and I participated in a remembrance walk. It was a beautiful event honoring at least 166 lost babies, four of those being ours.

I handled my emotions relatively well until the balloon release. As the balloons disappeared into the sky all I could think was how my babies disappeared quietly as well.

But they aren’t gone. They are part of our story. They offer light in that story, and rainbows, as the prisms we were gifted represent.

Rainbows

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I’ve been thinking about rainbows a lot lately.  I want to do some research on rainbow “lore”. So far, I’ve only checked my concordances to see where rainbow shows up in the Bible.  Depending on your translation, that actual word may not be in your Bible.  And, if it is, it’s only in Genesis the one time.

So, it’s amazing to me how rainbows have come to mean so much in today’s culture.  I taught Genesis 6-9 in my high school world literature class. {Yes, I was allowed to do that. . .the Bible is literature, it isn’t forbidden, and it is in the textbook.} One of the questions the textbook proposed using was “why is the rainbow an appropriate symbol for God to use for His covenant?”

I loved asking that question.  It lead to a discussion of when rainbows appear and what feelings do we associate with them.  Most often my students arrived at an answer along the lines of rainbows mean the storm is over and we survived it; it’s hopeful.  They’re clever, kids. Give them a chance.

But recently, I had a unique experience.  While driving in a storm, a rainbow appeared ahead of me.  I was surrounded by torrential rain.  It was dark where I was. But ahead, I could see there was a lightening of the sky, and there across it, through the rain, I saw a rainbow.

rainbow-in-the-rain

Image from foap.com

The storm isn’t over.

But the rainbow is still there.

God’s promise is still ahead of me.