Sigh. Time. It has a way of creeping by. January 24th marked four years since Logan died, as well as reminding me that Rudy should've been celebrating his first birthday...and that the Muffin is growing up since she turned five and on that day we discovered her first loose tooth. Yesterday I pulled that tooth, which was obscenely loose, out of her mouth. Time. It creeps by and we take a moment to look up and poof...so many moments and memories have passed by.
Logan. I can't picture him at four. I couldn't ever picture him as a baby either, but rather a two year old. He will forever be two for me. It makes me sad, not being able to even create who I think he would be. But lately I haven't been able to feel much of anything other than ambivalence and fear.
Blame it on hormones.
After nine cycles, and on our last try, we became pregnant for the fourth time. I'll be 12 weeks tomorrow. I'm safe now, right? [She scoffs] I'll be honest, I have always struggled with ambivalence and maybe a touch of depression, during the first 5 months of pregnancy. But lumping on the tragic circumstances of my past just amplifies it all the more. Frankly, I'm terrified. And no amount of ultrasounds and heartbeats and shallow reinforcement from "outsiders" can ease that for me. I'm twelve weeks, second trimester, past the miscarriage prime...its been confirmed that its alive and in the uterus (bonus!) but then, so was Logan. In fact Logan was perfect, until he just wasn't, all of a sudden...at 24 weeks. And I tell you it irks me to no end the ignorance that is spewed at me!! "God has come through for you!" (Well, maybe, guess we'll see). "Surely it won't happen again!" (Why? Because two flukes are enough?). "Have faith" (Because my lack of it killed my other two?). "Think happy thoughts!" (Because they are like a magic wand, and poof!?) And it goes on. Sadly it comes from those closest to me, the ones who HAVE to believe it'll all end happily. I dunno. In the end I feel like they think my concerns and fears are silly and unwarranted. And really that just leaves me feeling alienated. No one gets it. And that should make me happy, right? Because the only ones who get it have been there, and I certainly wouldn't wish this on anyone. But really I just feel very alone, and freaking out with out anyone to seriously talk to about it.
I'm pregnant, so I should be happy, right? I mean, that's what I thought was going to happen. I thought I would be thrilled! That's what everyone expects of me, right? Its what I wanted. Everything will be better, you'll be happier, get a happy ending (because "You deserve it!). But I'm just scared, and reluctant. I'm so much older now, so much time has gone by. My daughter will be almost 5 years its senior, and I will be raising (hopefully) two only children. The odds of this baby being born alive and healthy are pretty low. No, I don't have any moments of happiness about this pregnancy. That bliss has long passed me by. I fear the worse, and the just as bad! I fear a dead baby, a severely handicapped baby, a severely handicapped baby who will die a baby. I fear what that will do to my daughter who is old enough to comprehend the horrors. I fear what that will do to my husband who maintained all along that he did not think this was the right thing to do. I fear what it'll do to my marriage. Oh, and that's lumped in with all the other fears of motherhood. What if the baby has colic? What if I'm too old to do it again? What if my daughter can't adjust? SIDS. Whooping cough. Chocking. Falling meteors (or is it meteorite?). And all of this fear is suffocating. Did I mention I've been sick twice, once with a fever for 4 days?! Did I mention that I'm high risk for about four hundred other things. Oh, and lets take into account my "advanced maternal age" now that I'm 35. Every day I look in the mirror and ask myself what I was thinking. In fact, the day I found out I immediately told my husband and then freaked out crying "what the hell did I just do?" Because this was all me, and only me.
These past 12 weeks have been such a roller coaster. Most of the time I've been waiting for the other shoe to fall. Waiting to see if it stuck, waiting to see if it was ectopic, waiting to see if it was viable and now waiting to begin testing for Down Syndrome (since that's what Logan had). We do that on Thursday. And I love the ignorant people who like to try to reassure me that having a child with Down Syndrome can be a very rewarding experience. Seriously? First of all, who would want that for their child? And secondly, the average person has no clue about what having DS entails. How horribly painful it can be for a child. If that child is ever even born, since 75% of them die before birth, most die before their 1st birthday. A child who makes it past 5 is rare, and lucky. Don't preach at me about having a child with Down Syndrome. I know full well what it entails, down to every gory detail that I could find in print. That rare door greeter or McDonald's employee you see out and about on occasion, they're the exception to the rule. They're the mild cases. No. I fear DS as much as I fear another dead child (if not more). Because for me, they are one in the same.
This is it for me. My last hurrah. At almost 36 (April) if this child dies, and if I wait the recommended year to grieve, and if I managed to talk my husband into it again (he'd more likely try to snuff me out), and if I managed to conceive quickly...I'd still be 38 before that baby would be born. And after having my first DS baby at 31...well, I think the doctors would call me crazy for doing it again. I know what my odds are of having another baby with DS. They're not great. I wouldn't risk it at 38. So this means, living or not, this is my last child. Which brings me full circle back to the issue of time. It crept by while I was living and then weeping, and one day I woke up and realized I'd missed my opportunity. But I still feel like I'm 19. It was just the other day, I swear.
In the end, I realize, that if this baby makes it healthy and living, I'll think that all of this fear and worry was worth every penny of it. I've had a living child, I know what is coming my way and how I felt when she was born. I know that I'd do it all over again. But I also know how wrong it can go, how unexpectedly and how quickly and how late in a pregnancy. I know that there are thousands of things that can go wrong between now and August. I know how fragile life is, and how it is not a guarantee no matter how much you pray and beg and hope and think happy thoughts. Sometimes it just happens, and there's never a good reason for it. So right now, I'm so deep in a fog that I can't see past the fear and anxiety. I can't picture this baby any more than I could Logan or Rudy.
Have you experienced a subsequent pregnancy? What was that like for you?