Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Mixed Beginning

I guess appropriately, the year began today with both a painful remnant of last year’s sorrow and a welcome reminder of the joy that this year will bring.

I went to the ER this morning concerned about significant pelvic pressure I’ve been experiencing over the last several weeks. (We’re still in NC—otherwise, I would have gone to labor and delivery at our regular hospital.) I told the OB about it at my last appointment three weeks ago—she checked me, said my cervix was closed, and seemed otherwise unconcerned (although she could not measure cervical length there in the office), but the pressure increased dramatically over the last week when we were doing all that walking in Paris. We have our 20-week ultrasound on Monday, so I felt almost silly going to the ER today, but I just kept thinking back to that fateful early morning decision not to take Hudson to the ER, to wait until the pediatrician opened a few hours later. If, like last time, my failure to act turned disastrous, if it turned out that this pelvic pressure was actually a symptom of my cervix dilating too early and I went into preterm labor before Monday morning, I knew I would never, ever get over it. Given that, the visit seemed worth the inconvenience it would cause. So we went. Cervix is still closed, baby is moving and has a normal heartrate, but they can’t do a cervical length scan in the ER, so I still have to wait until Monday for that additional reassurance that it is not getting shorter. But on the way there, and the entire time I was sitting there in the exam room, listening to the sounds of a busy hospital outside the door, thinking back to the last time we were in an ER, I could not stop thinking about how if Hudson hadn’t died, I wouldn’t be here now. I would be shrugging off this pressure as common to a second pregnancy and otherwise be way too busy chasing my girl around to worry too much about it. I would not be sitting around expecting the worst case scenario to happen at every turn. I would not be doubting my instincts every second, terrified of another catastrophe. How very unfair it seems to me that I can’t just sail through this pregnancy without any troubling symptoms. My world is just so very changed. And I hate it so very much.

And then, out of nowhere, I felt the Penguin’s first kicks and flutters after we got home from the ER. It’s almost as if he or she could sense my anxiety and wanted to make me feel better. Big sister Hudson was always so good about this in the later stages of my pregnancy with her—whenever I’d start to worry that maybe she hadn’t been moving enough, she would start kicking and rolling all over the place, almost as if she knew how I was feeling. I remember patting my belly and thanking her for that often.

Sorrow and joy. As has become obvious, that is the story of my new life.


  1. Mandy, so happy that you felt the Penguin's first flutters today. I am praying, but confident you'll get reassurance that all is well and healthy with your new baby at your ultrasound on Monday. But it was smart to go to the ER. Just keep doing whatever you need to do in that regard -- who could ever blame you?

    For what it's worth, I experienced significantly worse pelvic pressure and round ligament pain from around 20-28 weeks with my second pregnancy than with my first. I don't remember what my doctor said about it, but it seems common among my friends with second pregnancies, too. Then, for some weird reason as the pregnancy goes on, it kind of goes away (until the very end...). I hope that's what's going on with you, too.

    And Happy New Year. 2011 will bring more joy to you and Ed.

  2. What a good little person Penguin already is! Thank you, Little One, for reassuring your mama in such a lovely manner!


  3. Penguin! How smart! Movin' and shakin' at just the right time.

    Nobody looking in from the outside could ever blame you for being worried or hyper-vigilant. Just like nobody could blame you for your actions with Hudson. You are not to blame.

    Sending huge, huge hugs.

  4. Mandy -- You are being incredibly and perfectly appropriate -- I know that 'pressure' and how it feels -- you did the right thing. And, Happy New Year to your little Penguin -- way to go, letting Mama know you are here!
    You might ask your OB about wearing a 'pre-natal cradle' (google it) -- looks bizarre, but I wore it when I carried twins from the very beginning of the pregnancy and it was excellent.
    (((hugs))) to you Mandy -- my words are so inadequate -- so I am sending hugs, prayers, and the suggestion to try the 'pre-natal cradle.' Mariann

  5. Precious Mandy.. I am so sorry that you know such pain and worry during this time. I hope that tomorrow will bring you peace, hope and joy... and that Hudson will be smiling through the light at both of you.

  6. You did the right thing. I didn't even know about cervical insuffiency before I lost Ella to it. When I was pregnant with Nora, I went to L&D about 10x in 10 weeks. Sending good energy your way that your little penguin stays tucked in tight.

  7. Yes to everything you wrote. Been there while pregnant with Ryan and it continues since he's been born. Still learning to trust my instincts again. But every time everything has been fine and the one time it wasn't (it's ok now...but had an ER visit for something not so minor), it reminds me that I'm not a complete idiot and probably wasn't with Veronica.

    and yes, sorrow and joy. Guess that's life in a nutshell...even those not in our "club."

    xoxo, Olivia

  8. Glad that you are feeling Penguin moving, I hope he or she will be just as obliging as Hudson was. I'm so sorry that you had this scare and had to go to the hospital. I hope the cervical scan shows that there is nothing to worry about. x

  9. So glad that you got those flutters at a time when it was so needed. I hope that the appointment tomorrow is filled with reassurance and some special time with your Penguin. You have been in my thoughts a great deal in the past few weeks and I hope that 2011 brings you some new joy and light as your Penguin grows and as you continue to navigate this world without your sweet Hudson physically at your side. Take care.

  10. Hi Mandy, like everyone else who commented, I think you did completely the right thing, given all that you guys have been through. I am very hopeful that all will go smoothly with this pregnancy, and I hope that tomorrow's appointment brings at least a small amount of comfort.

    In keeping with the theme of a new year, I have been thinking about New Year's Resolutions. I rarely consciously make any, but this year, I want to make some positive changes. I want you to know that Hudson's story has inspired me to be kinder towards others and to myself throughout this next year. Hudson clearly loved unconditionally and without abandon, and the world certainly needs much more of that. Therefore, I will consciously put more love out into the world by doing small acts of kindness, even (or perhaps, especially) at those times when I want to the least. Hudson's life has already had an incredible impact on the world, and I am just so sorry that she is not here ringing in the new year with you and Ed.

  11. Thinking about you and your family today, and hoping you get assurances that all is healthy with the Penguin.