On January 17th 2011 Josh and I found out that our 18 week old baby no longer had a heartbeat. All three of our kids were with us when we went to what we thought was going to be a normal old OB appointment. That night we delivered our son around 11pm. The entire story can be found under my infant loss label on the side. I am not going to go into it now.
What I really have been thinking about is - what's the aftermath?
Here I am 10 months later and much has changed.
- I am 28 weeks pregnant. I was blessed enough to get pregnant right away again. Thank God, because infertility would have been the final blow that pushed me into a complete tail spin. Every kick and every heartbeat on the Doppler is one little brick of healing. The moment this baby got a healthy check from his ultrasounds and when they said he was a boy, all this deep-buried-hidden-behind-numbness raw-pure-fear and sadness just started to go away. Slowly. I didn't notice at first, till one day it was gone. I wasn't faking anymore. I really was better. I feel that this baby being a boy (third in a row for the record), made such a huge difference. Now I get the son I was supposed to have. Of course I would have rejoiced in a girl, but my heart ached for a boy. My heart still aches for Zack, but its already kind of a dull ache. I just can't dwell for Zack, when Quinn is punching me in the bladder and doing the worm in my belly.
- I still thank God that Zack was taken from me with out me having to make any choices. He was gone before we knew it. We hadn't found out his gender yet, we hadn't named him yet. We didn't have to agonize over what to do for him if he had lived long enough to be born alive and weak and suffering.
- I left my beloved job as an NICU nurse in the best unit in the city to work as a float nurse in adult ER and in a much smaller NICU. The job is not nearly as spiritually satisfying as the old gig. It couldn't be anymore different, but I took it so that I could be a bit numb and a bit new and bit distracted and a bit out of that same building were I delivered Zack. Overall that was the right thing to do. I don't love the new job like I loved the old one. And I don't have to. I show up and I try hard and I leave. That works OK right now. But not forever.
- I still have the ramifications of the social anxiety that I didn't have before the baby died. It just didn't exist before. I feel like I knew how to act with out thinking about it or having to be told. But just last month I went to my cousins wedding and I had so much anxiety that I almost didn't walk in. If Lily hadn't been with me I would have chickened out. I'm not totally sure were this comes from. I do great with strangers - the patients in the ER are fun and easy to talk to and to help. I talk too much, and get in trouble for taking too long because I always have to make best friends with all my patients. (Not in real trouble, the veterans are just teasing the rookie a bit.) But you make me go talk to my extended family and I just can't take the bullshit. I've always been a bit of a black sheep in the family, but its like now I just don't even want to see them. Lucky for me I hardly do every have to. With my friends I am still a bit distant from most. It's nothing personal, and I can't even identify why. I just only want to be with Josh and the kids. I still talk to my oldest friend Hannah almost daily. But whenever I try to make or renew any other relationships beyond them (Josh/kids/Hannah) I just can't. I feel too awkward. I have made a promise to myself that after Quinn is born I am really going to put more effort into getting this figured out. Its not healthy to make yourself an island.
-The biggest thing I want to stress is that I wake up happy now. My numbness faded away and I am glad to be rid of it. It didn't suit me one bit. My depression did go away by itself. I wasn't sure it would, but it did. I am totally excited for this baby. The baby we lost doesn't cloud the rainbow of Quinn. I am a huge believer in fate (you might say "God's will"), and I do not feel any anger about the baby that wasn't supposed to be mine. Right now I am very focused on this new man that is coming my way. I can't wait to get him home and see what happens next.