Sinking in

30 Nov

I feel like I’m in limbo.

I feel like I need to decide how to feel about this pregnancy.

I feel like it all became real on Wednesday.

I feel like my husband is now a Daddy, for real. And I am now a mommy, for real.

Okay, those were the thoughts that were all fighting to be heard immediately in this post. Allow me to dissect a bit.

First off, thank you all so much for your supportive comments. I never thought I would deal with bad news at the NT scan. The only news I was prepared for was “dead baby.” Okay, maybe not prepared for, but it was the only potentially “bad” thing I thought was in the realm of possibility. I did entertain the possibility that they would say our baby had Down’s.

You know what I thought when I heard that? Don’t care. I want my baby. This may be the only baby we ever get.

I didn’t think they would tell me that my tiny baby’s belly has a hole in it and his or her intestines are spilling out. I can’t tell you the horrible, terrifying images that came to my mind, but I will say this: When you find out your baby has a birth defect, a baby you never thought you’d have, your first thought is “Why?” Why us, why now, why after all we’ve been through. Out of the frying pan, into the fire.

The first thing I said through my sobs when we got back to the car was, “We can’t catch a break!”

“We already caught our break.” DH, ever the voice of reason and optimism.

While this is true, I’ve really struggled with feelings of guilt since Wednesday. I feel guilty for being sad, when I should still be so thankful to have a baby at all. Boom – there’s the hard truth.

Everyone says, it will okay! Stay positive! I appreciate that, and I want to get there soon, but for now, I need to be sad. And not because I went through infertility and now I’ve been dealt this hand. I think in a lot of ways, I’m lucky to have gone through infertility, given this hand. But I need to be sad because, I’m a mom. And I have a baby coming who’s going to face some serious struggles as a newborn.

Those days when you just imagine wrapping your sweet babe up in soft swaddling blankets and holding them and holding them and kissing them and kissing them and crying bittersweet tears for the bigness of the blessing. I have imagined that day and built it up in my head since very long before infertility.

I might not get that, at least not right away. I won’t get a lot of things. Even before the baby is born, my pregnancy will be drastically changed by this. It won’t be spent stressing over finding the perfect crib or paint color for the nursery. It will be spent stressing over finding the perfect team of doctors to fix my baby when he or she is born. It will be spent preparing for many days, weeks, possibly months, with a child in the NICU.

I’m okay with that. I know I have what it takes to get through this. Mo called me on Wednesday night and told me I’d be surprised how these types of things can bring out the best in you. I know this. Still I can’t help but envy every other pregnant person right now. Everyone who is getting that normal pregnancy right now. Everyone who hears my story and thinks, “thank god that’s not me.” It’s not an unfamiliar place, but I wanted that too. That “fun selfish pregnancy,” as Mo said.

But I’m really struggling with, how do I feel about this pregnancy? How do I go about telling people now? “We’re pregnant BUT our baby has a birth defect?” Or just, “We’re pregnant!” Do I decide to let myself be just as excited as I was before? Can I? When I’m terrified about the health of my baby and what the future holds? In short, is it safe to let myself get excited, given this new information?

I can’t answer those questions just yet. I need that Level II ultrasound. I need to find out what my next steps are and get moving. That’s why I feel like I’m in limbo right now. I can’t do anything for my baby (other than send so much love, which I have been) until that next step comes, and right now I’m just waiting for my old OB’s office to make that appointment for me.

Many hopes and expectations about my pregnancy and birth experience faded on Wednesday. Because of infertility, I’m used to that. I’m used to having to give up the way I wanted things to be. It DOES make it a little bit easier. But what I’m wondering now is, how many of those hopes and expectations can I still keep?

Since Wednesday, we’ve fully embraced the name “Turtle.” Turtle became real on Wednesday. DH has started kissing my belly all the time. Sometimes I find myself happy and think, how can you be smiling, your baby has a birth defect. And it does truly scare me to think about all those intestines floating around in my uterus.

But Turtle is ours. And I love him/her no matter what. So much. Already.


24 Responses to “Sinking in”

  1. Belle November 30, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

    Oh Shelley, I have no words of advice, just lots and lots of love and to let you know it is ok to be confused, sad, scared or even jealous. Turtle has been and will continue to be in my thoughts.

  2. cassiedash November 30, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    I have no words of wisdom either, other than to say that I am certain everything you are feeling is completely normal, given your situation. I hope you can allow yourself to feel everything you need to, a mixture of sadness, envy, joy, fear, everything. And I hope you can find some peace in knowing that so many are here for you, and holding Turtle in their hearts and prayers every single day.

  3. Kate November 30, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    Somehow I missed your last post. Im stunned by this news. What a difficult blow to be dealt, after everything else! I’m so sorry you are having to deal with this and all of the many emotions that come with it. It’s truly not fair.
    My thought and prayers are with you, DH, Turtle, and the doctors and nurses who will care for you as time goes on.

  4. Hattie November 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

    “The first thing I said through my sobs when we got back to the car was, “We can’t catch a break!”

    “We already caught our break.” DH, ever the voice of reason and optimism.”

    If I try to imagine your perspective on life right now, this pretty much sums it up. Those words, “We already caught our break.” honestly made me clutch my heart. What a wise partner to walk this road with. But of course, it’s not that easy. This is just one more grieving process to add to your list. One more thing that isn’t happening like it’s “supposed” to.

    One of the hardest things for me to grasp when I was in the depths of sadness of infertility was that I was truly grieving. And it was real grief. This is no different.

    It is clear from your words how much love and protection you already feel for Turtle. And time will allow you to figure out everything else.

  5. Kristin November 30, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

    Infertility strips so much from the process – the spontaneity, the unadulterated joy, the inhibition. I can understand why you must be sad and grieve for the next steps that also won’t be “normal”. I get it. We’ve all grieved in the same manner. I’m so sorry that Turtle will need special care when born.

  6. Cristy November 30, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

    You and I have already talked, but I’ll say it here again. You need to grieve the lose of the ideal. All the images you had, from telling people your news, to preparing to even having the ideal birth. Yes, they are luxuries, but they are still something you had looked forward to and it is natural to be sad about losing them.

    So grieve. Do not apologize for it. And leave all the positive thinking to your support system. Everyone who has been supported by you, especially those who are easily pregnant and/or have their children. It’s time they step up and carry some of this burden. Your job is to focus on the next step(s). Finding the information you need to get the best possible care.

    Again I wish I could take this away. But I also know Turtle is a fighter. You and DH are fighters. And at the end of the day, all the material and luxuries aren’t what makes for a family. It the ability to pull together the way you guys are.

    Hang in there, mama. Know I’m hoping and am here no matter what.

  7. Theresa November 30, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    Unfortunately I have no good advice either. But everything you are feeling is ok. And anyone who tells you it isn’t is wrong. Hugs.

  8. ewagner123 November 30, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

    You have every right to feel any and all emotion you need to right now to deal with this. BIG HUGS. I think you said it best that you feel like you’re in limbo right now… not sure how to continue. I hope the next ultrasound will bring more answers.

  9. kate November 30, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    I am so so sorry to hear your news. And, unfortunately, I know exactly how you feel. At 23 weeks one of my twins was diagnosed with a heart defect. I think that you are your husband seem to be in a really good place and because of that will get through this. Remember there are a lot of people out there praying for you and sending you lots of positivity. We are part of a wonderful community of people.

    hugs to you.

  10. Esperanza November 30, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    Shoot. My comment was eaten by my phone. I’ll have to paraphrase. I just wanted to say that everything you’re feeling is absolutely bald and you should NOT feel guilty about. Your pregnancy experience was irrevocably changed. You will need to grieve the pregnancy experience you hoped to have, you will need to grieve the time you won’t have with your baby after birth. You have A LOT to grieve. And grieving those things don’t mean you take what you have for granted. Not at all. You are entitled to all your emotions and I hope no one every insinuates otherwise.

    Abiding with you.

  11. Leslie November 30, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

    What Cristy said.

    You have every right to feel the things you are feeling right now. Just like we grieve the loss of ease in getting pregnant, you are allowed to grieve the “loss” of the fun and easy pregnancy. It doesn’t make you forget your infertility struggles, and anyone who would think so is a doody-head. (That’s my mature assessment.)

    You guys fought so hard to get here. I am confident your family keep keep fighting for Turtle. Thinking of you.

  12. Bear December 1, 2012 at 12:53 am #

    I think it is natural for you to be worried and concerned about your baby. And it’s natural for you to grieve the loss of the “newborn experience” you’ve dreamed about for so long. However, you said yourself, that you love Turtle no matter what, and it will be that love that helps him/her get through the difficult days, weeks, months that you all have ahead.

  13. chon December 1, 2012 at 2:40 am #

    When Molly was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at 9w and fitted with a brace I was like are you effin’ serious I have done my time and then some. I’d look at all the squishy babes with lovely free legs and cry. But our babies were made tough you know – turtle will kick this. And they will never remember. We will but they will have happy healthy lives and be blessed with us as parents. It totally sucks and I say pooey to anyone that says be positive. You be positive when you’re ready xxx

  14. Courtney December 1, 2012 at 3:29 am #

    This is not an easy road, is it? I wish things were easier for you right now. I don’t know how you’re handling it, quite honestly. I totally understand all of your feelings – it’s very much a limbo.

    I hope you get in for your scan soon. It has to be soon!

  15. slese1014 December 1, 2012 at 4:22 am #

    Of course you feel sad, and you’re grieving….this is perfectly natural. This changes everything, but Turtle is real. Turtle is growing and is alive in your belly. It will be hard not to focus on the defect, and it’s ok to do that…allow yourself to feel what you need to. But know this, I am confident you will get throguh this with love and support…sending love and hugs and all that stuff…email to come soon I promise!

  16. theyellowblanket December 1, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    Oh, Shelley, I’m so sorry you’re going through yet another difficult hurdle. I have known many people who, for one reason or another, had to mourn the loss of the dream of the “perfect” baby and the “perfect” postpartum period. It is not easy—it is real grief. Also, I used to babysit a little boy who was born with his intestines on the outside. Yes, he spent some time in the NICU. Yes, it was difficult for his folks to wrap their heads around. But he is a totally normal, happy, healthy teenager now, and your Turtle will be too! I will keep you and your family in my thoughts.

  17. Jenny December 1, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    There really isn’t anything I can add that hasn’t already been said (beautifully, I might add) by the other ladies. I’m sure any one of us would feel the same as you in this situation. Please don’t feel guilty for any of the emotions you’re going through right now. We’re all here for you and Turtle. *hugs*

  18. jjiraffe December 1, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    Your husband sounds like a wonderful partner. Echoing everyone’s comments here that it’s OK to grieve the loss of that “happy selfish pregnancy” as Mo so aptly called it. Abiding with you.

  19. Alissa December 2, 2012 at 2:22 am #

    I can imagine how hard this must be for you. I think everything you are feeling is what most of us would feel. The sadness that your little one has an extra hurtle to jump and that you may not get the pregnancy or delivery you hoped for or envisioned. I am so sorry you have this stressor, but I will send all good thoughts to you and hope that things work out as well as they can. Hang in there and we’ll be here for you.

  20. Alicia December 2, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

    I get where you’re coming from, 100%. Be sad as long as you need – it will help you move forward in happiness and strength in not so far away. Take care – we’re here for you.

  21. Tami December 3, 2012 at 8:18 am #

    Cristy took the words out of my mouth. Right now you grieve. It’s what you have to do. Grieve for the pregnancy you thought you were going to have. The silver lining to this is that you are afforded this time to grieve before turtle gets here. It gives you time to wrap your head around it and prepare the best possible care. My heart is with you right now.

  22. nonsequiturchica December 3, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    As infertiles we miss out on the normal way of getting pregnant (aka sex) so it seems doubly unfair when other obstacles are thrown our way. I can only imagine what is going through your head and can only say that I would probably have the same thoughts. The silver lining is that you do have time to prepare yourself for an unconventional birth/NICU stay/surgeries/etc. Thinking of you guys….

  23. Kathy December 4, 2012 at 2:48 am #

    I am hear via a blogging friend and am sorry to hear what you are going through. I know how hard it is to get a prenatal diagnosis/prognosis that is so not what you were expecting or hoping for at that stage of your pregnancy. I am glad to see that Jjraffe found some links for you of others with similar experiences. I hope that you can connect with them and find some hope and comfort in their stories. I will pray for you, your baby and your family and am sending positive thoughts your way. Hang in there. Do what works for you during this time and take things one day, one hour, one step at a time. (((HUGS)))

    P.S. I can’t remember if I read it in this post or another one (I read a few of your recent ones tonight), but you mentioned about how to share (or not) about what is going on with your pregnancy. That was definitely one of the most bizarre things about carrying my 2nd child/daughter Molly (who sadly died soon after she was born due to a rare and severe combination of congenital heart defects). Most of our loved ones didn’t know what to do or say when they saw us/me. Sometimes I just wanted them to treat me like a “normal” pregnant person. One time I told my MIL how much I wished the next time someone saw me they would comment on “how cute I looked” in my maternity clothes. So the next time I saw her she did just that. It was really sweet, but I also knew why she was saying it…

    Also, I took a prenatal yoga class during my pregnancy with Molly and for the first month or two didn’t tell anyone in the class that there was anything different about my baby/pregnancy. I *got* go there and pretend like I was having a *normal* pregnancy and it was actually really nice for awhile. So sometimes I kinda picked and chose what I shared depending on who I was interacting with and how I was feeling. Not unlike dealing with/talking about infertility… Hang in there. You can and will get through this.

  24. Kristin December 4, 2012 at 4:09 am #

    Abiding with you and praying for you and Turtle.

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