Wednesday, June 9, 2010

You'll shoot your eye out!

Shortly after Aidan died and I started obsessively reading babylost blog, I came across a post on Glow in the Woods entitled "It's all fun and games until the baby dies" and my heart screamed (oh wait...maybe that was actually me yelling out loud) YES! YES! That's exactly it! It IS all fun and games and baby showers and cute clothes and people rubbing your tummy and picking out room colours and planning life around a newborn and, and, and...until the baby dies and it all stops.

Well, at least it is for most people. But not me. Years before I even considered getting pregnant I knew I wouldn't be 'your average pregnant lady'. I didn't really want a baby shower. Even with a perfect pregnancy I wouldn't want to buy any baby stuff until AT LEAST 24 weeks (and I mean ANYTHING...no hats, no outfits, not even one of those cute frames to put your ultrasound photo in).

Reason #1: my rare heart defect which puts any pregnancy I have into the 'high risk' category. I knew I wouldn't be stopping by my local midwife's office...I'd be headed downtown straight to the high risk OB clinic and monitored by specialist (cuz you know, I'm special...in a short bus kinda way).

Reason #2: I'm an NICU nurse. I know what can go wrong. What does go wrong. For those of you whose child/ren spent time in the NICU, I am that nurse. I am the one saying to you "well...today your baby is stable..." with the unnecessary aside "for now". There was no way I was going to start getting 'excited' about being pregnant until there was something to get excited about. (Which I learned is easier to do in theory than practice).

Reason #3: Because of reasons 1 & 2, I figured really launching myself into that world of 'expecting' a take home baby would be like laughing in the face of fate. I was high risk, I was completely aware of what can go wrong during a pregnancy...therefore I better really watch it. No getting ahead of myself. No getting too excited. Can't count your chickens before they've hatched and all that (or your babies before they are born, at an appropriate gestational age, breathing and moving, apparently).

But, at the same time...even while being very cautious on the outside...I was planning it all out in my head on the inside. Racing ahead to being big and fat and pregnant, with a healthy baby as a result. Planning what the room will look like, planning the things I'm going to do with my baby, planning what I was going to do during my maternity leave, planning upcoming holidays with the baby...you know all the fun stuff.

And when Aidan was born and died, it was like I was suddenly Ralphie from "A Christmas Story". Shocked that his mom was right. "Holy crap...I did shoot my eye out!" My conscience said it could happen. Don't get too excited, don't plan too far in advance, bad things can still happen..."You'll shoot your eye out!" Outwardly I conformed to my conscience's wishes. I was "good", I didn't voice too many expectations, didn't get too worked up...but inside I was Ralphie...racing along with my Red Rider BB Gun, trying to ignore the huge frickin' warning signs (blood! even more blood! shitty ultrasounds! bad news!). "You'll shoot your eye out!"

And now I'm sad and alone and sometimes reality still punches me in the gut.

"Holy shit...my baby DIED".

And unlike Ralphie's glasses, this one can't be fixed.

6 comments:

  1. It continues to amaze me that although it's been over a month since I said goodbye to my little Bean, grief can still rip through my heart and bring me to my knees. I think I've learned to tuck it away, at least for a few precious moments of my day. But then when I least expect it, it sneaks out of its hidey-hole and ambushes me, and I'm back to that first day when my entire world was broken.

    Rumor has it it gets a little easier in time.

    I'll believe it when I see it...

    Sending many hugs your way.

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  2. Having had so many friends lose children and know what can go wrong I was the same way - trying not to get too attached or excited - but it really doesn't help, does it?
    My high risk OB told me that apart from Teachers (like me!) who have great difficulty making decisions, NICU nurses are his greatest challenge as you have seen it all go wrong and can never be reassured.
    but even then, as you say, it doesn't help.

    Emily I am so so sorry that Aidan is not still with you.

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  3. Yep, us NICU nurses are a tricky bunch. I talked about this all the time with co-workers who would say things like "I don't know how I'm going to work here when I'm pregnant!"
    I remember feeling somewhat reassured because out of a TON of nurses I work with, almost all go on to have healthy babies...so really why would I be the exception? HA!

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  4. once, when i was pregnant and before anything went wrong, i realised that none of my friends had had a miscarriage, and i wondered if it would be me.

    and then i shuddered and put that thought out of my head. and we had a healthy 12 week scan, and all was well, so.....

    but not 'so....'.

    six months on, i find it hard to believe i was pregnant at all. those 17 weeks feel like a dream.

    please don't blame yourself for getting excited. even knowing what you know it was natural. and it means Aidan knew he was loved.

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  5. I'm not surprised that NICU nurses don't really 'do' reassurance. Before I spent four months hanging out in an NICU, I honestly had no idea that such places even existed. That babies could spend weeks and months in hospital. That some babies never came home at all. I can't imagine the implications of having all that knowledge before had, maybe I would have been too frightened to try and get pregnant?

    I can understand that 'why would I be the exception?' thought. I'm so sorry that you were. As B says, all the planning and anticipation was just love for your son. Although I sometimes feel terribly sheepish that I allowed myself to get so excited, particularly over a high risk pregnancy, but I wouldn't take a single minute of that anticipation back. Because I hope my girls knew, somehow, that I was dreaming and planning for them. x

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  6. i was convinced i was going to have a miscarriage. i just figured that would be par for the course for us, considering the whole thing about feeling like we were starting to get old, we waited too long to start our family, it took us so long to get pregnant, we had to go through fertility treatment, etc. i know how common miscarriages are, and i basically expected one. not that i would have been ok w/ it, but i just thought that's our luck, that's how things work in our world.

    nope. perfect first trimester. perfect 25 weeks, for that matter. after we got out of the first trimester we smiled at each other and said, "hey! we made it! we can tell everyone now, and everything will be ffffiiiiiiiiiine!"

    *cough* so. how silly of me to think that we'd get off with just a little miscarriage. NO. had to be fooled into thinking everything was ok. had to find out it was the boy we were hoping for (yes, of course, we would have been THRILLED with a girl, as well), had to feel him moving, had to see my best friend send out baby shower invitations.

    THEN it was time for the other shoe to drop. getting complacent, julie? well here ya go - you didn't really think you'd get what you wanted this time, did ya?

    and now i fear that no matter how many times i manage to get pregnant and bring home a healthy baby (please?), i will never be able to just be happy and pregnant. i will be constantly looking up and around for that falling shoe.

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