110 days down. 170 still to go. Not that I’m counting.
I will be sixteen weeks pregnant on Tuesday. I’ve only been pregnant once before, but this pregnancy feels utterly interminable. Every time I play my little time trick (where I think about how long I have to go and then think back that far in time and see how long ago that feels), I am crushed. Right now, I have five and a half months to go. Five and half months ago, I was taking my rowing class—and that seems like FOREVER ago. Time couldn’t go by any slower, I don’t think.
What makes this so much worse is that the second pregnancy is supposed to fly by. Many people have told me this and I’ve read it online, too. It’s just supposed to whip by and “that baby will be here before you know it.” But there’s a reason for this. Usually, the second pregnancy flies by because the mama is way too busy running around after her older child to even think about all the pregnancy milestones coming up or to worry about all the things she worried about the first time around. She’s so busy thinking about how in the world she’s going to manage an infant on top of a very busy toddler that the due date arrives in no time and she just has to figure it out.
But not me. I don’t have my very busy toddler anymore to chase around and make me laugh and keep me from taking all of this too seriously. I have all the time in the world to sit and think about how Hudson should be here with me and about all the things that might still go wrong with this baby.
On top of that, Hudson was taken from me in a most bizarre way—a rare, one-in-a-million infectious disease that stealthily overwhelmed the immune system of my fully vaccinated child. As I’ve written before, once you’ve been struck by lightning, it’s hard not to wander around looking at the clouds all the time. And sadly, since I’ve joined the babyloss community, I’ve learned more than I ever wanted to know about how wrong a pregnancy can go, even after we’ve seen a 12-week ultrasound of a really healthy-looking kiddo, even after a 20-week ultrasound, all the way up until delivery and the days afterward. And, of course, I already know from experience how bad it can get even long after that. These weeks between OB appointments are really difficult right now—I know the baby was fine as of three weeks ago, but because it’s too early to feel any fetal movements, I have no way of knowing that it’s still OK. All I can do is wait for the next appointment in another week and sit on my hands to keep myself from calling the OB every day in a panic. Every twinge in my abdomen makes me think I might be having contractions, even though I know what contractions feel like now and will be able to recognize them if they actually happen. Every time I feel pressure in my pelvic floor, it’s another doomsday sign of pre-term labor, even though it’s common in a second pregnancy to feel this earlier than the first go-round. Every time I feel my heart pounding in my chest, I fear my blood pressure is going up and that I’m going to end up with life-threatening preeclampsia. I worry all the time about pulmonary embolisms--the other night, while I was lying awake in bed in the middle of the night, I felt a twinge behind my left knee and immediately thought, “Would I be able to feel a blood clot?” It’s insane—I feel insane. These are first-time mom fears—I shouldn’t be suffering through them again (and I haven’t even been reading “What to Expect” ). I find myself tempted just to go ahead and ask the OB if I can come in every two weeks already (even though they don’t normally do this until around 28 weeks) just to keep myself from going totally nuts.
And then on top of all THAT, I worry the most about why I’m so very anxious for this baby to arrive. Obviously, I was anxious to meet Hudson when I was pregnant with her, and I’m sure if Hudson were alive, I’d certainly be looking forward to meeting the Penguin as well. But I worry about the pressure that this anticipation inadvertently places on the Penguin’s arrival. I know better than anyone that while this new baby will bring much-needed joy into our lives, it can never erase the pain of Hudson’s absence, even if we wanted it to. I just worry about unintentionally developing false hope that the baby’s arrival will be a panacea for all that plagues us now, when I know that is not true.
I’ve written many times about the dizzying array of layers of this loss. This is just another one—never again will I have the luxury of being a happy-go-lucky, cheerfully glowing pregnant mama. And that is pretty sad.