Saturday, January 5, 2019

A Change from Our Previously Scheduled Programming

This post needs a trigger warning: if you are sensitive to reading about pregnancy (including pregnancy after loss), you'll want to skip it.

And the trigger warning kind of made the announcement for me, but here it is:

If all goes well (important caveat), we are expecting another baby in May.

You may be shocked reading this, which is understandable as we didn't exactly think this was on our agenda. Full confession is that last spring I did start to think that I would be open to having another baby. I told a couple of friends that if I could be guaranteed healthy baby at the end of it, I could maybe do another pregnancy. But, Real Talk, the anxiety and uncertainty of another pregnancy (plus a pregnancy at 37-going-on-38) felt like too much to handle. So David and I decided that we were finished having babies and we were putting that stage completely behind us. And honestly, I'd already given ALL of my baby stuff away to my brother and sister-in-law.

And then I noticed that I couldn't get through a cup of coffee in the morning because it tasted disgusting and eventually I peed on a stick. And this time I ponied up for the digital kit because I was NOT going to be squinting in my bathroom at a hazy pink line. Just give me the digital word(s) already. And then there was just one word: Pregnant.

Now? I'm still pretty scared. I'm almost 20 weeks along and I think if I were a reader maybe I will feel annoyed or kept out of the loop, but I'm not trying to be tricky here. I haven't mentioned it because I truly kept waiting for things to go sideways. I am still quite worried about the 20-week scan next week, even though our genetic testing came back clear and we don't have any specific reason to worry (except, you know, for all those 1% risks that something will go wrong and our baby will die).

I kept thinking I'd announce it after the first trimester, but then we were right at Eliza's birthday, and I just needed to get through that anniversary and then it was the holidays. But I don't want to feel like I'm keeping it a secret. It feels both like an embarrassment of riches and also like the bottom will drop out from under me at any moment.

I think my mental health is pretty good this time around. I'm mostly operating in a mode of cautious optimism. But also I was shocked when I saw Instagram pictures of a pregnant friend of mine taking her seven-year-old daughter to an ultrasound visit. I couldn't believe she'd done that. You see, it would NEVER occur to me to do this with Zuzu and Coco because I fear that every ultrasound will show a dead baby. And when I say that, I don't mean "Oh, every pregnant woman worries." I mean, "I could never bring my daughters to a doctor appointment with me because I am absolutely convinced before each appointment that my baby will not have a heartbeat." So probably that's not exactly normal.

I do have the same wonderful OBGYN and I'm hopeful (see that cautious optimism?) that this pregnancy will be just like Zuzu and Coco and end in a gorgeous little human. But it does feel like we have a long way to go.

For example, here are a few things I've done that made me certain I was going to lose this pregnancy:
- talked about baby names
- talked to HR at work about maternity leave
- told the girls they're going to have a baby sister
- borrowed maternity clothes from my sister-in-law

As my friend Sarah kindly reminded me, planning for and talking about a baby is not a cause of pregnancy loss.

But when your baby dies before she is born, causation and correlation get really murky.

I have braced myself to see blood every single time I have peed since I peed on a stick and saw two pink lines back in October. That is a lot of trips to the bathroom. I actually had a moment when I saw a tiny spot of red blood after I wiped and I immediately went into cold panic before realizing that I had a paper cut on my finger and it was bleeding on the toilet paper.

The girls are excited, and I'm trying to let that buoy me rather than terrify me (it's far too easy to imagine their grief and disappointment should we lose this baby). Based on all the evidence we have, this baby should be fine! Based on personal experience, I'm looking at a 33% chance of disaster. Feels more like 50/50. Also, statistics are meaningless when it's your life, your pregnancy, your baby.

I spent the first trimester trying to convince myself that the status quo was awesome and if I miscarried, we'd be fine. But really you guys I'm all in. I'm ridiculously, breathlessly excited about one more squishy baby duck. I look at baby pictures of Coco and Zuzu and I can't believe I could be lucky enough to get one more of those gorgeous babes. AND I'm also really scared that there's just not enough luck in the universe to get me there.

So that's where we sit as 2019 unfolds.

I have a lot more thoughts on this pregnancy (of course), but I just wanted to fill you all in (I think there are still a few people reading this!) and maybe I'll post an announcement on IG and FB soon. It's just hard to get the tone of those right... cautiously optimistic and super freaking excited and also totally effing terrified. How exactly do you communicate that in a bump photo and a caption? I'll let you know if I figure it out. In the meantime, thanks for reading and following along with us. Every comment (except the few dickish ones and all those anonymous spam bots, obviously) has meant so much me. Some of you have been reading since we had Baby Duck, The Deuce, and Rerun. And now, here we go again on our final round with The Closer.

(For crime drama fans, that's a reference to the final pitcher they bring in in a baseball game to finish the last innings, not the Kyra Sedgwick show, although that was a really good show.)

Thanks in advance for your thoughts, prayers, good wishes, good vibes, good juju, voodoo magic, and any other bits of stardust you can send my way. XOXOXO

42 comments:

  1. Big hugs to you and all the best energy in the universe! All the way from your cousin in NJ

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  2. Congratulations! Wonderful news. It is very hard to not expect the worst, but I am wishing you all the best.

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  3. Oh Brooke, congratulations!! You know, someone made a comment on one of your social media posts that had me wondering... ;) I think any of us who have lost a baby will completely understand your fears (I have never been able to understand women who take their young children to ultrasounds, but that's because I was one of the unlucky ones myself). All manner of good thoughts & vibes coming your way from north of the border. <3

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    1. Love the Canadian vibes! 🤗 Thanks so much.

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  4. As you know, I’m extremely hopeful and excited for you! And in a weird way I think these bonus babies actually help me feel content with our family as it is. I don’t want to make it all about me, in light of your wonderful news! but just as far as triggers go for me at this point, as I head into a year of turning 40 and feeling like final decisions about no more babies will be made (mostly by default), I am only a little jealous and much much more thrilled that our tribe will have another strong, beautiful, animated (ha) child, who we can pour love into. I hope this week, and the upcoming weeks, go as smoothly as possible. Lots of love to you and all of your baby ducks! -Julie (not sure why I’m signed out of Mama Bear)

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  5. Wow. I was... not expecting (ha!) this. Honestly, as an IVFer (and even as a successful IVFer, something for which I will be forever grateful), every pregnancy announcement is painful. (For ex: Your brother and his wife had babies in 2017 AND 2018? Amazing. And painful to read about.) HOWEVER, even through my jealousy, I can acknowledge that people must continue to have babies, and you and David are awesome parents (and I assume your brother and his wife are as well), and you are the type of parents I can feel good about having lots of babies, so congratulations!

    One thing I have wondered about is, when do you find your fear dissipates (if, indeed, you find it does)? I know all parents worry about their children being healthy, but I worried about my son's health all through my pregnancy, and he was born healthy, but I still worry the doctor will find some problem that's been overlooked before, or is new. My fear feels ‘more’ than regular fear (but yet is not a debilitating fear). Will this fear ever go away?

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    1. I know you are not alone among IVF mamas in still feeling... sticky... about pregnancy announcements—especially “whoopsie!” ones. Honestly they still make me cringe a little, which is kind of hypocritical.

      I’m not sure when the fear goes away! Parenting now I think I’m similar to you—I still fear all the big horrors but the fear is not debilitating. I can acknowledge it and move forward. But I do think it’s more “real” than the fears every parent has because I’m so intimately acquainted with what the loss of a child actually feels like. I don’t think it ever goes away—that kind of fear is the price of love.

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    2. Thanks for your thoughtful reply! And apologies for making my comment all about me - sending you all the good luck stardust!

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  6. WOW!! For what it's worth I don't feel dissed, I'm just super excited you're sharing with us now! I am also all in and cautiously freaking thrilled!! Sending you ALL the love and healthy sparkly baby dust. Love the nickname!! Thought of David and baseball immediately!! Every possible positive vibe is beaming straight at you..💖💖💖 Also, congratulations on your precious tiny human!!

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  7. A beautifully wriiten post ... wishing you the best and trusting that the ending will be a joyful one !

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  8. I may have to go fix my makeup now after having a happy cry for you Brooke. Praying for a healthy, alive, squishy little duck. I know Eliza is watching over her little brother or sister.
    Oh, and are you going to find out boy or girl?!

    Kel

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    1. We are going to find out this time... and I’ll be sharing soon. 😊

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  9. Congratulations! Sending you many, many positive vibes all the way across the Atlantic.
    Best, Cordula

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  10. This is very happy news! Luckiest baby ever, I can't wait to see your squishy baby duck :)

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  11. I want to echo what other commenters have expressed; yes you are awesome parents and this reader is so excited for you and your family. Can’t wait to read about this journey.

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  12. Congratulations! Sending love and prayers.

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  13. March Is For Daffodils (Jen)January 5, 2019 at 10:45 PM

    Oh, Brooke! Congratulations!! This is wonderful news and I am so (cautiously) hopeful for you and your family. Sending lots and lots of love and hope.

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  14. I randomly stumbled on your blog about two years ago after a Google search for the “In this house” yard sign. I loved your writing style and your beliefs and your family stories, so I’ve been reading ever since, and I’ve gone back and read many of your older posts, too. I’m not a parent, but I worked in childcare for many years, and I love reading your laugh-out-loud stories and conversations with Zuzu and Coco. I wish you all the best with your current pregnancy — I’ll send all the good vibes and stardust I can from MN. 🥰

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  15. Brooke, I've been reading your blog since before you lost Eliza, I check it every day and feel like a bit of a stalker. Your words have meant so much to me throughout the years. I've held my breath through your pregnancies with Zuzu & Coco. I've cried with you and laughed with you through it all and I'm so excited about your last baby duck. Congratulation, I will keep you in my prayers and wish you a safe and speedy pregnancy.

    XXX

    Dominique

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  16. We don't know each other, but I find your writing about loss, parenting, politics, and everything else beautiful and insightful -- so I'm a regular reader. And I'm delighted for you! And sending lots of thoughts, prayers, and stardust for The Closer!

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  17. So excited for your family and that we are having babies "together" again, and I love "the closer". For what it's worth, I have scanned myself at least once a week almost every week this pregnancy and still almost always glance over her making sure everything still looks ok. On the bright side, I think almost all ultrasound people do scan themselves regularly so it's almost like I am just a normal person...although when one of our high risk doctors found a "tiny" hole in her heart during our echo , and I was seeing it the same time he did...the thoughts that went through my head were not pretty.

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  18. I just squealed! So happy for you guys!!!

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  19. What exciting news!!! Congratulations to you and your family! Sending good vibes and keeping y'all in my prayers.

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  20. I gasped out loud when I read this post! Congratulations! I'm glad that you're able to be more hopeful and excited this time around. How are you feeling physically?

    Sending prayers from San Francisco!

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  21. That's really, really lovely news! I wish you and your family all the best.

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  22. Positive thoughts and energies to you and your new love! Karen

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  23. I stumbled across your blog a few years ago and read every post, which makes me feel like a bit of a stalker. I don't even have children, just love your insightful writing and feel like I would one day like to be a similar kind of parent (loving and politically interested with a side of black humour). What I actually meant to say was: Congratulations! This is such lovely news and my fingers are crossed for a healthy new baby in May!

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  24. Congratulations! I've been reading since before Zuzu and I am just so happy for you and your family.

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  25. Brooke, what heartwarming news! I think most people reading here can definitely relate to the mingling or terror and excitement... May the excitement prevail and may it end with a rosy, healthy, squirmy, strong baby in your arms in May! Looking forward to reading all your thoughts — not only about the pregnancy, but also about parenting three earthside children! I’ve always admired both your heart and your structured, analytical thinking — from the way you tackle grief (I followed you here from Glow eight years ago) to the way you parent, to the way you choose your books or react to politics... Hoping I might pick up some extra good insights once May comes around! Best wishes to you all — stardust, unicorns, rainbows and all fingers and toes crossed! And of course sending you love, mama — and peace and light.
    -katherine

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  26. AWESOME!!!!!!!!!
    So so so so many good thoughts and hopes and everything for you all. Been reading a couple of years and just love your writing and all you share. I’m so happy for you and so hopeful, too!!

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  27. Congratulations! (You don't know me; I stumbled on your blog years ago and love reading about your family as your daughters grow up into funny little humans. Thanks for sharing that part of your life, in the world!)

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  28. I started reading very shortly after you lost Eliza.
    I’m so excited for your family! Congratulations!
    I also couldn’t help but notice you said “told the girls they’re going to have a baby sister.” 💕

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  29. I am definitely jealous but mostly just overwhelmed with excitement for you!! I wish you unbridled joy!

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  30. What beautiful news--congratulations! Wishing you health, happiness, and peace.

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  31. I'm still reading (I've been a reader since before your pregnancy with Zuzu), and I'm so excited for you! And cautious, of course. And way to slip in that it's a "baby sister." How exciting. Congrats!

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  32. Congratulations! Keeping you, your family, and especially The Closer in my thoughts.

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  33. Here from the weekly roundup to say congratulations! Thank you for sharing the anxieties too. I'm in a similar situation (early in my sixth pregnancy with some ominous signs, but only one living child). As much as it sucks for everyone that the anxiety about whether any given pregnancy will result in a real live baby exists, it's nice to know I'm not alone in my worry fest. Hoping for the very best for you!

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  34. A gentle congratulations Brooke! Your writing has helped me through my loss, my two subsequent pregnancies, and this journey of parenting after loss. Will be thinking of you 💜

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