Wednesday, November 25, 2009

On baking

I am pretty overwhelmed with self-consciousness, anxiety and fear right now. It was not surprising that this week the thread of my thoughts have been about alien abduction, probing and long needles. Yesterday, I had an amniocentesis based on the results of my sequential screening. This baby's risks are higher than normal for Down's Syndrome. I cannot say I was thrilled; in fact, internally shrieking in horror was the more apt emotion. It felt like an impossible decision. I admit this weekend, while amazing to be surrounded by women who get it, was also an exercise in self-control. Controlling my freak-outs. Controlling my fear. Not much being able to, or wanting to, talk about this pregnancy made for a good distraction, but I have been fairly paralyzed with anxiety.

I struggled a great deal with my decision to get pregnant. It was not something I ever ever imagined would be easy. I prepared physically for a few months before we abandoned protection, even before I was sure that I would abandon protection. So much of why I resisted having another baby after Lucy's death is the shame of her dying in me. I failed her. I failed my husband. I failed my daughter. How could I put them through this again, or put my body through this again? If I lose another baby, I thought, I'm not sure I can handle that. I'm not sure I could ever parent effectively. I, in fact, knew pregnancy was going to be a painful, anxiety-ridden and difficult period. It was part of the reason I didn't want to be pregnant again. I couldn't bear willingly walking into the abyss.

"Were you even trying to get pregnant?" I felt the judgment cut deep within me. I didn't know where or who it came from, honestly, just that it was suddenly there. The air left my lungs and I probably said something inappropriate, or worse, dismissive. I recognize how fortunate I am. I do not deal with infertility. I do not deal with childless parenting. We set a month to try again. We did it. It worked. I have never felt so ashamed of having something come easily. Mainly, because most of my life, nothing has come that easily. All our work was done making the decision about whether or not to have a child. I have worked my ass off for every little thing in my life, you know, except getting knocked up. That was actually quite fun. It was a perfect day with the breeze coming in the window, and I knew we conceived this child. I whispered it to Sam. My finger bandaged from almost getting cut off in a blender the previous night. "Blood had been shed," I breathed into his neck. "We must have conceived a boy."

As we sat together as a family to decide if we wanted another child, we first weighed our worst case scenarios. What if this baby dies too? How will we handle it? Simply, we just will. The loss of Lucia was a crises of such epic proportions to our family, and yet here we are. We wanted another child, not on a necklace, but in our arms. I cry every day now. I think of that question every day as well, "What if this baby dies too?" I have faced obstacle after obstacle this pregnancy. Bleeding. Diagnosis of disease. Exhaustion. Depression. Now, wonky test results that may mean this child will face a life of struggle. And I think, we didn't weigh that option. "What if you are diagnosed with a condition that may affect the development of your child? What if you bleed for three weeks straight unsure whether or not you are miscarrying? What if you don't feel the baby move until after the twentieth week? What if your child is born with a disability?" I need to be strong for my girl, for my husband, for this life created, for myself. I jog through my days to survive, and run marathons to thrive and make a happy home for the girl. And yet, I also recognize that people resent my pregnancy. That this all appears so easy from the outside. I am a brat for feeling anxious, sad, overwhelmed...I should just suck it up and deal.

I have felt so fucking impotent on this blog. I do not much talk of my pregnancy. I have been prone to magical thinking in the same breath that I reject fatalism and superstitions. I have amassed a pile of unpublished posts about how horribly I am doing. I sometimes think that is an indication that my blog has reached the end of its usefulness. They just sit there. I never publish them because I know how very fortunate I am, because I read post after post about people who hate pregnant women. And yet, I am still compelled to write in small vignettes of emotional waste and daily indulgences. They are my unheard tree felled in the forest.

I found myself driving home on Sunday in a mad rush of exhaustion. I was so tired. I just wanted to be in my own space to cry and deal with this whole reality of possibly parenting a child with special needs. I wanted to hold my husband, and talk about it. What are we going to do now? Luckily, in the same way that I felt uncomfortable talking about this testing this weekend, I also had moments stolen away from the large group where I could sit with someone who comforted me, who explained what I was about to face. That was invaluable. I couldn't have been more appreciative of having some facts. I felt like I went into the exam room armed with reality.

And so I am now waiting each day to see if I will miscarry, and then I will be waiting for another two weeks to hear the results of all the testing.

"Can I bake tomorrow?" I asked the genetic counselor when going through the extensive list of everything I can and cannot do after the amnio.
"Please do," she said.


  1. Oh, Angie. I will pray that this test is fine. I just took the test (not the amnio) and I'm waiting for the results.
    I know it's impossible to worry, but I hope you find some peace. The wait always seems worse than the answers to me. It's like I can deal with reality, I'm good at that, but not the wait.
    I hope your not waiting long. I pray that your baby is perfectly healthy.
    I'm sure on other blogs, the ones your reading about hating pregnant women, are probably directed at some smug, 'everything's gonna be la la', pregnant women.
    Angie, you don't fit in that catagory.
    I'll be thinking of you as always. I'm sorry you have to go through Thanksgiving with questions about the baby's health.
    I'm here, you can bitch to me via e-mail if you would like. I don't mind at all..xoxo

  2. You always write so beautifully, you capture so many little thoughts that I pick up on and understand.
    The world of babyloss and subsequent pregnancies seems full of confusion,worry, turmoil.
    We are in our first month of trying, (my age means we don't have time to mull it over any more)and I'm worried about sooo many things, some of which you've touched on here.
    I'm hoping all is well with your little one, enjoy yur baking.

  3. Delurking to say simply, I am here, I understand, and my heart aches for you. I know the pain of a complicated pregnancy with a baby who might be disabled and who eventually dies in utero. But I also know what it's like to get a scary test result and then give birth to a normal, healthy baby a few months later. (I keep writing more of my story and then deleting it, but come to my blog and/or email me if you want to talk.)

    I'm not quite 5 months out from the loss of my baby, but your pregnancy doesn't bother me. Perhaps it's because I have a living child, or because you are babylost, too. I'm not sure. But I'm happy for you, and I love reading your blog and have found so much here that resonates with me. Plus, you're one heck of a great storyteller and I love a great story.

    I'm thinking of you and sending all the healthy baby vibes I can to your wee one.

  4. I hope you can look back on this time next Thanksgiving with a healthy baby in your arms. I understand your worries, I think we all do. Don't deny yourself of your feelings or of expressing them. Those that don't want to hear and don't want to walk the hard path don't deserve you in their lives. I think it is just so unfair that for those of us the odds turned on they seem to keep turning and turning on us.

  5. Angie,
    you're definitely one of the loveliest pregnant ladies ever, the way you write about it is on no way offending or annoying at all. I am not pregnant and I check on your blog every day. You make me think, you touch my heart - no matter whether you write about Lucy or being pregnant.

    In my opinion, your blog couldn't be further away from "the end of it's usefulness". Whatever you feel like writing, I'll be here.

  6. My beautiful friend - I'm sending you so much love and support...and good health for you and baby...


  7. angie, i'm sending you so much love and peace in these coming days and weeks as you wait, and manage your anxiety. baking sounds perfect.

    and your blog is your truth. and i for one, cherish all your words- published and unpublished.


  8. Oh, Angie. I'm sorry that you have to deal with this on top of all the other pregnancy-after-a-loss stuff, which can be hard and scary enough. Hoping for reassuring results.

  9. It is an impossible decision. I hope that the test results come back fine.

    You didn't fail Lucy or your husband or Bea. It was completely beyond your control. But I know I could say that a thousand times and you still wouldn't believe me. I still like such a failure too but tears spring to my eyes when I read those words coming from someone else.

    You certainly aren't a brat and you don't have to suck it up. I, for one, certainly don't hate pregnant women! I would love to be pregnant myself again, you know that I would, but it doesn't make me hate anyone else who is. I can imagine it isn't easy. A pregnancy in the full knowledge that children aren't always born healthy, don't alway survive. Not easy. It certainly isn't easy to face such questions head on. I certainly wondered if the girls would survive such an early birth without any long term problems.

    And, WHATEVER you feel like writing, I feel like reading. xo

  10. Oh Angie, I am so, so sorry. I don't discount the fear, or anxiety or self-consciousness you are feeling right now. Please don't add shame to the burden you are already carrying. You didn't harm Lucia. You know this. She knows this.

    I can't think of anything insightful to add her. Just want to let you know I am here. I am reading. Whatever you want to write.

  11. Angie, I've been thinking of you constantly since you told me you're test results and about the possible amnio. If only there was something I could do to help take some of the burden of fear, anxiety and shame, I would do it. I feel so impotent to help in any way, but please know my thoughts and love are with you. And I don't need to be pregnant to be happy and hopeful for you. You're very brave to do this again no matter how easily you got pregnant. Hang in there.

  12. Oh Angie, I read this and I ache. I ache to say something deep and profound and helpful and I know there isn't anything. Except to send love to you and your beautiful baby.

    You are not a brat - you are amazing and beautiful and brilliant.

  13. Wishing you peace on this journey sweet friend. Bake away...

  14. I hate the guilt associated with subsequent pregnancies and births. We so don't want to hurt other people who aren't there yet, or can't get there, and yet this is still a huge part of our lives and a huge part of our grief... and it needs to be expressed.

    I have posts I haven't published too. :(

  15. Oh Angie, there is so much here that I can understand and relate to. I just came back out of the woodwork because I too am not dealing with pregnancy well either. Don't expect to many rays of sunshine shining from this comment.

    I want to tell you that everything will be fine with the test, but as babylost mamas we know better. All I can say is that we are here to support and love you.

    This pregnancy is part of YOUR babylost journey. You should not feel bad about it because it is part of YOUR journey. I know the guilt that you speak of however, getting pregnant has always been easy for me too. It is bringing home the living baby that is proving the challenge.

    I hope that you will continue to write, I treasure your writings and always read (though I may not comment cause I can't form a coherent sentence lately). Write from your heart, uncensored.

    I hope that you can find some peace over this weekend and the next coming weeks. (((Hugs)))

  16. Angie,

    I've said it before and I'll say it again- the fact that you got pregnant so quickly is one of the few things in this whole stinking year that brings me a sense that the universe is doing something right. I rejoice in your pregnancy, and I am so, so sorry that you're in a scary waiting time. Waiting with you, with love and hope.

  17. There's plenty to admire here and nothing to gripe about. What you're doing takes a lot of grit (grit that I sure don't have). I'm sending lots of positive energy your way and hoping you get good news about your little stranger.

  18. Oh Angie, this news just socked the sleepiness right out of me. Two weeks sounds like an eon to me suddenly. These old inadequate words of unfair and wrong come bubbling up, still inadequate. The only two things I do know are that you will continue to be a glorious mother no matter what, no matter how hard or awful the conditions, you will, and that you remain sensitive and caring of others in a most humbling way. I will dedicate practices to this life you carry and to the family who loves it already.

  19. Angie, I hear you.

    When I fell pregnant this time all I could think of was all the lovely mamas who were not where I was. I felt like I could not write on my blog about this baby. I started my pregnancy blog in the beginning for that very reason.

    In all honesty I think some people do hate us. BUT there are people like Dani and Lani and Barb who keep loving on us because they are just so damn beautiful. If and when they do join us Angie those girls are going to be so supported because they chose to support us as hard as that must be for them.

    Dani wrote something to me once that will forever stick in my mind. I remember writing to her to tell her I was pregnant before I announced it on my blog. I apologized if my news up set her. She wrote back that she was so happy for me and the only sadness she felt was that she was not there yet. What a gem that girl is.

    You have every right to publish your posts. But I get why you can't :)

    I hope you baked something yummy friend. Hoping you waiting period flies by.

  20. My dear friend. I can't believe how much I have missed in such a short time. I'm sorry I haven't been able to be there for you as you stumble through this incredibly difficult time. Next time you see me pop up online, please drop me a chat. Always here for you and I'm so sorry for where you're at right now.
    Holding your hand from afar and sending much, much love.

  21. I am so sorry you have to deal with this anxiety and uncertainty right now. I can't imagine how scared you must feel. We take a leap of faith when we try for that next pregnancy. It's scary enough when things are "normal", let alone what you are experiencing. I am here anytime you want to vent or cry or laugh at something stupid. Bake, bake, bake.

    And please don't censor yourself on your blog. I know that there are people who cannot read about the pregnancy after because they are in a different place in their grief process or having difficulty getting pregnant. Everyone has a choice about what blogs they read and if reading here is upsetting, they can turn away for a few months. I try not to think of it as anyone hating you because you are pregnant, but just being sad/bitter/angry for where they are in their own process. It's not about you ever. It's about them. And I do not write that in a judgemental way. But it's just how it is, and lots of time that attitude passes and people come back.

    And I would love to make you believe me when I say it's not your fault that Lucia died. But I find it easy to say to other people, yet never believe it when it comes to myself.

    Thinking and pray for you and your little one.

  22. Your blog is for youto write how you are processing and dealing with your life after loss. Your journey now includes this pg and all if the stress that comes with it and especially this latest set of challenges. As CLC said, if it is hard for some of the other moms to read, they can turn away for a while. I know a few of my regular readers had to step back when I came out as pg. I understood that, and by your writing I know you will too.
    I think you owe it to yourself to continue to write, write it all, because that is what you came here for in the first place. No one will hate you for being where you are. As we have often said,this is not the grief olympics, and you don't have to pretend to be something you're not for the sake of others.
    I hated pg women too, even when I was pg with Cason after. I hated them in the stores, in the docs offices, on the streets, everywhere. And I was one of them. It's a weird and confusing time being pg after. And stressful. SO stressful, everything is magnified times 100. I waited for iffy test results and extra u/s too. It makes you crazier than you already are.
    This is all just a long way of saying, IMHO, that you should not censor yourself and you should not feel bad about where you are. You can't apologize for your life. You can be sympathetic and supportive and as understanding as possible for the other moms who haven't gotten there yet or who won't. That is the best you can do, and YOU are already doing that for them, and you do it very well. So go a bit easier on yourself and let others support you for a spell. You deserve it.
    Bake away and know we are all thinking of you and hoping like hell the results all come back normal.

  23. Angie,
    thinking of you and hoping that you get some positive results real soon. I wish you peace and continued strength.

  24. I hope the baking was grounding emotionally. That the test results return soon with happy news. That you have peace of heart.

  25. Man oh man. Thinking hard for you. God, I'm just so sorry that, on top of an already anxiety-laden post-KuKd pregnancy, there's this too. I would be...yeah. Anxious. I'd feel impotent on my blog, as you do too. Blogs are limited in that regard; for everything they can do, there are things they can't. You'll find what's most comfortable for you. Personally, I think your grit and honesty about everything is really lovely, and I hope you keep it up. Controlling the anxiety and fear...that's always the thing. I wish I had some magic words of wisdom for you, but I'm there with you in the trenches. Just know you are supported here no matter what happens, what you say/think/feel - because what you say/think/feel are universal things in all of us. Peace, Angie, and big hugs. Hang in there.

  26. i feel like everyone always says what a great post you made.. so im not trying to repeat everyone. but, what a great post you made. i blogged recently too that i felt like ive lost my touch in writing. i said i felt like i used to cry tears onto my screen, and now im just spitting at it. im so angry, im just out of my mind.

    for what it's worth, i have this horribly resentful attitude that i dont think anyone really deserves their baby unless they've lost one :-/ what a terrible thing to feel, let alone admit outloud! i find myself SO happy for jane (noah and charlote's mom) as i look at her new baby pictures on facebook... but i seethe with anger when i look at photos of my other friends' new babies. jealousy is such a bitch. so anyway.. i AM happy for you, even if im reeling at other pregnant/newborn moms, who havent been through loss. i never said i was rational... just honest. dont be afraid to be honest too. dont forget either, we need you.. we mommies who've been through the loss but not yet the subsequent pregnancy.. i hold on so tightly to the people who are being brave and doing it again.. i need the inspiration.

    also, for what it's worth, my niece has down syndrome. she is totally adorable, happy, and the light of my brother's eye. of course, she will have a lifetime of struggle, like you said, and im so sorry. but know, if the diagnosis comes about, there is lots of support and love out there for that, too.

  27. Hoping the results come back showing everything is fine.

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  29. Angie, sorry these comments are so late, just now catching up on my after holiday reading.

    I think it is a shame that you have all those unpublished posts. This is your space. No one else's. We, your readers, we are grateful for what you write, but at the end of the day this is your outlet and you shouldn't feel censored.

    I don't hate you for being pregnant. I mother a dead child. I struggle with infertility. Neither of those lessens in my mind how tough being pregnant after loss has to be. My sister just had a baby, she was a wreck after witnessing everything with our daughter. I imagine it must be much harder for you having lost your own child, than for her having lost her niece, but she was scared every step of the way. I imagine (if) when I get to where you are, that will be terrifying until the child arrives safely.

    Your words early on in this post really hit me hard. You said:

    "So much of why I resisted having another baby after Lucy's death is the shame of her dying in me. I failed her. I failed my husband."

    I don't think people outside this community can really get just how hard that feeling hits a woman. I sit up so often thinking how could I have failed to create a healthy child? I look at what this has done to me, to our life, to my husband, and I take all that guilt onto myself. I think it is what we as mommas do. We bear our own blame when there are no other answers.

    Sorry this response has gotten so long. Just know I am thinking of you, and sending you much love and support as you wait for the results of the test.

    Thinking of you momma!
    Peace xx


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