Thursday, April 17, 2008

The box

It was getting well and truly ridiculous, so Monday night the box finally came down. The box and a small wicker basket, actually, but I've been calling that stash "the box" for a while now. My maternity clothes. Ok, I had to send JD to break into it a couple of months ago for my big bras, but I haven't touched it in well over a year. Still can't bring myself to hand up the clothes, to make the switch, to acknowledge the new closet order. Maybe this weekend.

So I have been wearing maternity since Tuesday. Physically it feels so much better-- no pinching, no squashing. But it also feels like announcing, and that is by no means comfortable. So I have been walking around wrapped in a giant scarf-shawl thing, and mostly hiding in my office at work. Seems like a reasonable compromise.

Natalie recently talked about how hard it is to tell people, to catch a glimpse of their anticipated joy on your behalf right before you have to tell them of the tragedy that befall you and yours. It wasn't until later that I realized that a not insignificant part of the reason I am uneasy with being obviously pregnant is that it's going to force me to tell the story, to break the news so to speak, to people who don't yet know. Not looking forward to stupid things people might say is one thing, and that is still very much on my mind, but it seems I have another concern. I am apparently also not looking forward to being the designated buzzkill.

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I don't know whether this is the maternity clothing, the anatomical ultrasound we have tomorrow, or approaching 20 weeks, but I have been obsessing more than a little with various going to shit scenarios this week. A somewhat significant chunk of the obsessing has been about whether if things were to go to shit now I could hold off delivering until Monday, when we would officially be over 20 weeks. Apparently I am way too attached to let anyone call my son a miscarriage. Veterans of subsequent pregnancies, tell me please, is this normal or am I bringing the crazy extra hard this week?

27 comments:

Wabi said...

Oh, I'm so sorry. In my sub preg I was a tangled ball of nerves and despair before each and every test or milestone that came along. And I don't blame you for thinking about that 20-week mark. People so easily dismiss early losses. For a stillbirth at least you can get a death certificate. That's crappy validation that the baby was here once, but at least it's something.

I'll be thinking of you tomorrow and hoping your scan goes well.

zarqa said...

My loss at 34 weeks is still called a miscarriage by some who don't know any better. So what people call it ultimately doesn't matter. You know the difference because when you're attached, you're attached.

My subsequent pregnancy, I tried like crazy to not be attached. But 20 weeks or no, with each nightly doppler check we did, every ultrasound and eventually every NST, there was no stopping the attachment.

The best of luck on your scan!

Amelie said...

Oh Julia, I'm sorry this is so hard. I hope everything looks great at the scan tomorrow, and that you can find some peace (which I have to admit sounds terribly hard to me).

CLC said...

I can't offer advice because I haven't had the subsequent pg. yet, but I imagine that your feelings are completely ordinary.

I will be thinking of you and praying that everything will be ok on the scan.

Sarah said...

I delivered my daughter at 19.5 weeks - and I felt totally invalidated because she was called a miscarriage and not a stillbirth. I totally get the significance of the 20 week mark. I'll be 20 weeks on Tuesday - I'm right with you. I do think that mark is a big big deal.

Whatever it is you're feeling, it's valid. It totally sucks, but you can't ignore it. The thing I hate the most is not being blissfully ignorant and enjoying every moment - I feel robbed.

Tash said...

No assvice. I think Janis said if she ever got pregnant again, she'd like to retreat to the cave (tm, Meg/Tash) for 9 months and not have to deal with anyone except her own head. Because that's bad enough. Tempering people's expectations and being the party pooper is not a fun business. You have so much grace, Julia, that I'm sure you'll weather through. A quiet toast to halfways, and of course, big shawls.

loribeth said...

No subsequent pregnancy here, but from what I've heard from friends, your reactions are totally normal. Those of us who have had prior losses know that 20 week mark makes a significant difference in the way we're treated by the medical community, so I understand your "obsessing." Good luck in "coming out!"

Magpie said...

Sigh. No advice, just sympathy.

I hope the scan goes well.

k@lakly said...

I can only imagine how scary it feels to have to face explaining "the story" to everyone and why you are holding your breath. I get the 20 week thing, I had it when I was pg with Caleb, even tho I hadn't had a stillborn before, I had had two miscarriages and I remember thinking when I hit the 20 week mark, "No matter what at least it won't be a miscarriage", I don't know why that gave me relief cuz it sure sucked worse when "no matter what" dropped into my life forever....
Good luck today at the scan, please let us know everything is alright as soon as you can.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog for some time but have never left a comment before.
I am sorry to say that I understand your situation. I lost my daughter at 19 weeks. (Feb 07) The difference for me between stillborn and a "late term loss" made me frustrated at times to say the least. I am currently pregnant and have reach the 35 week mark, and although I have passed some pretty big milestones, I find my anxiety is ever increasing. I think when you experience what we have, pregnacy after a loss, is never the same. BUT, with a little faith and alot of talking with my daughter, I find comfort in knowing she is helping me out. I think, even with our experiences, there will be people who will never know what to say or I find depending on the day, how I interpret their comments. Glad to see you took the leap with the maternity clothes.
I will be thinking of you at your scan today.
Sandra

STE said...

In my hospital, the ER only sends you right up to the OB unit if you've reached the 20 week mark. At 19w3 days when my water broke, I got an extra exam by a clueless ER doctor (after waiting too long) before they sent me, yes, up to OB.

There is something validating about having our loss correctly labeled. As painful and horrific and miscarriage is, stillbirth is different. Language is powerful.

Hoping all goes well at your scan tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

I hope this isn't insensitive. I had some scary complications with my son (who is now 3) at 34 weeks, and now I'm almost 32 weeks with my second pregnancy.

Even though I haven't suffered a loss, I'm starting to be a little obsessive about my pregnancy, watching for the signs of that previous problem. So I can't imagine what you're going through, but I do think it must be normal.

Lori said...

Yep. I get it. The 20 week mark was important to me too, although as Zarqa said, for so many people it won't matter anyway. I know that my twins are still thought of as a miscarriage to many (again, as others have said, *I* am not minimizing the pain of miscarriage, it is just the reality of public perception). I think that is why I am always trying to find the right words to convey the impact. I will often say I was 6 months pregnant, rather than speak in weeks because I think that sounds longer. Or, I will say "they were just under 24 weeks" rather than saying 23+ weeks, because it communicates that they were on the edge of viability. I also like to make it clear they were born alive and that we watched them die. Not because I think that if they were stillborn it would have been any less tragic (not in the slightest), but purely for the dramatic impact on the listener. I know, total selfishness on my part. But we have to do what we can to help people understand our realities.

Even so, my own OB told me while I was lying in the hospital bed in preterm labor with my squirming, kicking, otherwise healthy boy/girl twins, that I was really having what amounted to a "really late miscarriage." Those words crushed me at the time, and they are still the one thing I can't forgive him for. I was six months pregnant- HUGE with twins. We knew their gender and they had names. I was in labor and was going to have to deliver them like any other baby. We knew they would likely be born alive but wouldn't live long. There was even a chance they would be able to open their eyes and cry at birth (although they didn't). THAT is a miscarriage?!? As someone else said, language is powerful. Even in that moment I wasn't dismissing the pain of miscarriage, I just knew that word didn't fit what I was experiencing.

So, yes... in my subsequent pregnancy I was anxious to hit that first milestone- 20 weeks. I wanted her to count. I wanted her to count in the eyes of the world, and not just mine. Even if it was only for a piece of paper that said so.

I am praying for you and this new little guy.

Sara said...

This is normal. I had that very same thought. And then after we got there, I was like, oh shit, now I'm at the have to bury him stage. Not that earlier losses aren't traumatic or that we can't bury and mourn our babies earlier, but the Jewish thing that the soul arrives at quickening really really affected me.

My heart hurts at what Lori just wrote above. Why are people so cruel? Don't answer that - we've now spent more than a painful year perusing it.

Much much love to you.

Aurelia said...

Words matter a lot, I get it, the whole thing drives me insane...very very dismissive the way the medical profession tries to stick us in a box and label us, like one thing matters more than another.

When really, we are the patients and our feelings should matter the most because they lead directly to the state of our mental health.

Karen said...

well, it all sounds normal, of my two losses only one saw me clear of the first trimester -making it easier for other people to understand my feelings, though neither was easy for me, it wss the harder, the baby whose heart beat I had seen, whose kicks I had felt - but mostly what I found for me in the 3 pregnancies after that loss (two of which turned into strapping boys) was that I just couldn't unknow things, the things I didn't know in my first pregnancy that went off without a hitch, that world became inaccessible to me and everything was significant. I ended up having to get new maternity clothes, b/c it took a long time to get pregnant after that first loss and the box in the closet bothered me. I moved it to the basement and it bothered me there too, so I gave it all away. It took two more years to get pregnant again & I was happy I hadn't spent them staring at the maternity box. I don't know why everything was significant, but I think it is because I had nothing else that felt that way, no pictures of the baby, no blanket that was hers, no baby, no milestones to keep track of except the awfully sad ones. So I did, but it got better, somehow.

LAS said...

I just wanted to say that I'm thinking of you!

Catherine said...

You probably know my story, so just let me say that you're doing great. Yes, it's a little crazy...yes,you're allowed to be a little crazy. Just keep taking it one moment at a time. {{{hugs}}}

delphi said...

The crazier you get, the more normal you are IMHO. Hang in there, hey?

k@lakly said...

Dude,
I forgot to write, WOW, you went that far without needing maternity clothes??? I didn't even get to the end of the first trimester last time...you must be really tall or long waisted, what gives!!

wannabe mom said...

worrying is now the new normal, no matter how much we try to calm ourselves. i'm glad you broke into the box and that you're more comfortable. that was a huge step. thinking of you on the upcoming u/s.

oh, and when people find out about our twins, some have chirped in with "oh, i had a miscarriage too" and i firmly correct them.

Cindy said...

Putting on maternity clothes for the pregnancy after my loss was one of the hardest and most traumatic things I have ever done. It's weird how putting on a few stretchy clothes can be so emotionally charged.

As for the entire pregnancy, I was scared at every milestone, relieved briefly after each one was reached and scared again. Sucks, but goes with the territory I suppose.

Thoughts are with you!

Julia said...

Kalakly, dude. Neither. I am short and not so much with the long waist either. I still have most of my pregnancy weight from A, and it seems like that is what got me through. I lost a few pounds at the beginning and have only caught back up and started gaining more this week. This I am happy about because I was seriously worried about putting any more weight on my knees.
The pants have been tight and a bit pinchy the last few weeks, and my sister has been telling me I have been looking pregnant for a while. I liked to think I was just looking fat. But by the end of last week I really had to admit my disguises were not really productive, and they pinched. So I gave in and got the box.

The Town Criers said...

I hope the appointment went well today. I had to pause at the end of reading the post--is it Thursday? Friday?

Just thinking about you tonight.

Cathy said...

Not crazy at all. In fact last week I shceduled a business trip around my next D&C should I get pregnant this cycle. But when you're O for 3, you gotta do it to save your sanity...

Antigone said...

No, it isn't any fun being the party pooper, and it kind of feels like that's our lot after we've had loss. We're actively TTC'ing. When we do conceive and I'm forced to share my pregnancy I imagine I'd wince with any expression of joy or anticipation from others. Well meaning as they are, I'd definitely feel the need to say 'Maybe'. And that'll last all the way up to and through delivery.

Brandy said...

I haven't had a chance to read the other comments but I just wanted to say that I know where you're coming from about the 20-week mark. I have had one successful pregnancy and one early miscarriage and I have to admit that I looked at this last Wednesday (my 20-week mark with this pregnancy) as that line that I needed to pass. I am so attached to this pregnancy, this baby, that I couldn't image someone just considering it a miscarriage. I guess I just wanted you to know that there are others out there with the same thoughts.