I wake up throughout the entire night in a panic, not remembering if I’ve felt my baby move recently or not.
Falling asleep, waking up in a panic again because I can’t remember if I felt him or if I dreamt it that time.
Waking up again and wondering – anxiety is making my heart beat so loud that I don’t even know if I’m feeling him because I can’t tell over the sound and feel of my heart beating so heavily.
Trying to stay calm so I can feel movement and also, so I don’t terrify my husband (again).
Staying awake, for however long it takes to feel him.
Then finally, he rolls, and my belly starts stretching, and I’m thanking him and begging him to keep moving, stay alive, and please come here safely and outlive your Daddy and myself.
Then, staying up even longer because my adrenaline is racing from the whole experience.
It’s then, at those lonely hours of the night that I start thinking (again and always) about the child I lost.
I miss her. I’d love to be awake with her right now and nursing her or softly singing her back to sleep with the song that reminds me of her for a different reason. “Here comes the sun, little darling..”
That is not my reality, though.
So I lay here, staring off at the empty spot where her bassinet belongs. At the place where, in a couple of months, god willing, that bassinet will sit again.
Then, feeling guilty. The guilt. Will it ever go away?
The guilt of losing Hailey and of outliving Hailey.
The guilt of having another child.
The guilt of changing over the nursery to blues and packing away Hailey’s pinks.
Of not putting her wall name decal up and putting it in a memory box instead.
Trying to change the room to my son’s room, so he feels loved and knows he’s meant to be here too. Incorporating his sister into his room, so he’ll ask questions and get to know her through us.
People notice how tired you are and they try to tell you to take different sleeping aids, trying different pillows, etc. and you try to explain, “But I need to be awake. I need to make sure he’s still alive.”
They can’t understand because they haven’t experienced this.
Which you are grateful for.
Yes, as so many people remind and ask me about – I am enjoying him, and I do love being pregnant.
I talk to him every day. I sing to him every day. I tell him I love him every day.
I laugh when he starts moving because I am listening to music. I smile when he feels my hand on my belly and nudges me back.
All of that, though, unfortunately, does not take away from the panic at night, which is when his sister died inside of me.
It doesn’t take away the fact that I live hour by hour during the day praying he’s just sleeping when he’s not moving and trying to get to know his EVER changing pattern right now.
It doesn’t change the fact that the only experience I’ve personally had with pregnancy is death. Anything that happened with Hailey’s pregnancy and happens now – I fear it is a sign or a warning that death can happen again.
I am not afraid of the pain of giving birth again; I am afraid that birth will end in death.
I still get triggered watching movies with birth scenes even though that will be me in a short few months.
I am relieved and jealous at the same time every time a new baby arrives.
Why couldn’t Hailey live?
When a new Dad excitedly exclaims, “My wife took great care of our baby, and he’s safely here!”
Did I not take good care of Hailey?
Is that how they feel?
Even in joyous moments, there is always a pain.
In proud moments there is always guilt.
This child is Hailey’s brother. He is a piece of her and pieces of my husband and me. We’re family. Living or not, love and connection are always there.
Being pregnant while grieving is complex. There are so many different emotions.
More than any one person should ever have to feel.
One night I sat on the couch with my husband and said: “If I don’t feel him move in ten minutes, we’re going to the hospital.” After an ice cream sandwich, he finally started moving.
I looked at him and said, “I feel like I’m losing my mind.”
A glimpse into pregnancy after loss.