Monday, March 31, 2014

Just In Case

I have a confession to make.  At the beginning of this pregnancy, I made a conscious decision to treat it like any other pregnancy.  I decided to do everything I normally would while being pregnant - the things I did for Kenley.  I went public at 12 weeks.  I trace my belly.  I make pregnancy Facebook posts.  I do all the things a "normal" pregnant woman would do during this time.   My confession is this:  the reason I do them is not necessarily for the purpose of normalcy.   I do them in case Bean dies.

I know, that's a horrible reason to do anything, but it's true.  If Bean dies, I want to know I did everything I should have to remember her.   The belly tracing painting I have from Kenley's pregnancy is so special to me.  It lets me see how I grew as she grew.  So, I started a tracing canvas with Bean.  In case she dies, I will have this reminder of her as well.   I am not the best at taking pictures of myself, but I made sure to schedule a maternity photo shoot.  In case she dies, I want to have photos to remind myself of the life she had inside me.  

The biggest part of my confession deals with the public aspect of my pregnancy.  I know many mothers pregnant after loss prefer to keep their pregnancy private.  They don't want to deal with questions from other people.  They want to protect their heart.  I'm protecting my heart too - just in the opposite way.  In addition to these blog posts, I post Facebook statuses about Bean.  I post ultrasound pictures and doctor updates.  I've been playing a name game with my Facebook friends for the past month to see if they can guess what we have named her. (That reveal is coming soon, by the way)  Why?   In case she dies.   If she dies, I want everyone to love her as much as I do.   I want everyone to miss her as much as I will.  I want them to be as heartbroken as I would be.  I want her to be remembered, even if it's only as my own swollen belly. 

However, there is only one thing I cannot bring myself to do this time that I did with Kenley.   That is having a baby shower.  I just can't do it.  I can't bear to open presents she may never get.  Clothes she may never wear.  Toys she may never play with.  I can't sit in a room full of my friends and pretend that I am not scared out of my mind.   I cannot hold up an outfit with a smile on my face and make it seem like I am not wondering whether or not I'll have to seal it in a bin in a few weeks.  I know for certain I would never, ever be able to enjoy myself at a baby shower for Bean.  So, for the sake of my own sanity, I am not having one.  Plus, what would I do with all of that extra stuff - you know, in case she dies?

For the past 33 weeks, I have been hopeful for Bean's life while bracing for her death.  It's just what you do when you have lost a child.  You want to be happy and joyous.  You want to celebrate the life you are about to have.   Yet, you know that life is not guaranteed, and so you ready yourself for disappointment.  You prepare your heart to be broken, hoping with all you have that it won't have to be, but knowing just how real that possibility is. 

Everything I have done throughout this pregnancy, even as lighthearted as I have tried to make it seem, has a darker purpose.  I try to memorize how she feels as she moves inside me in case those movements stop before they should.  I soak in every ultrasound image, every screen shot, in case those are the last ones I get to see of her alive.   I post some of those images because I want other people to see her alive too.   "Look!  She is a person!  She is my daughter!  Isn't she wonderful?"   I am so proud of her, so in love with her, and I want everyone to know it.  I take every second of my pregnancy and create a memory of Bean, for myself and for others.  In case she dies.


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