Originally a CaringBridge post. Link to original post is the date.
To know I’m only 4 weeks away from the time I gave birth to Kanin freaks me out. At 33 weeks with him I’d already experienced preterm labor a few times. I’d been in and out of the hospital multiple times, was having regular contractions and even showing signs of preeclampsia; all things that lead me to be induced at 37w1d. By now I was over being pregnant. As much as I knew him being in longer was the best, I was tired of being tired and uncomfortable. I knew giving birth would be a whole new level of tired, but at least I’d have my reward in my arms. That made all the crappy stuff I’d endured worth it…
At this point, in this pregnancy, I’ve had a relatively easy time…. At least compared to Kanin. No preterm labor, no signs of preeclampsia, and lucky enough, no polyhydramnios. No, physically this pregnancy has been a mostly nice to my body. I even passed my 3-hour glucose test. Except this time around I’m not over being pregnant. Of course I have my days where it’d be nice to breathe properly, to sleep on my stomach (something that I don’t normally do) or even sleep in general. All that and more would be glorious. To have my body be my own is always a nice thing. However the trade off is not. I’d stay pregnant for forever if I could. I’d keep Aerilyn safe and have her kicks and jabs whenever. I’d take the lack of oxygen to know she keeps living. I’d not sleep a wink if I knew it meant she could fight with the bed while in me. I’m not ready to give up this pregnancy and the time we have with her…
October 15 is pregnancy and infant loss day. To see so many of my friends post about their loss/es whether it was miscarriage, still birth or infant/child loss was heartbreaking for me. 1 in 4 women lose a child. Not a fetus, not an idea of a child… a child. There’s an old saying that women become mothers when they see a positive sign. That’s true for many, many people. So when someone, even a man because they were a parent too, says they’ve lost a child, don’t question it. At any stage it is a loss.
I’ve had multiple miscarriages. Technically Kanin is a rainbow baby, as is Aerilyn. Only difference is Aerilyn isn’t mine to keep. No matter what you believe, it’s a simple truth. She’s not meant to live for whatever reason. Maybe it’s to teach us a lesson in cherishing what we do have. Maybe she’s there to help us grow as individuals. Maybe she’ll be the baby that holds the key to prevent or even cure Anencephaly. No one knows. Having been on both sides, or about to be… I’d say carrying to term is an awful experience. Not awful in the way that we regret it, or wouldn’t make the choice again. Awful as in we’ve bonded with Aerilyn, we’ve chosen to suffer the fate of that bond. Spontaneous miscarriages are miserable and hurt and no one should have to face that either. But at least the choice was taken out of your hands. You didn’t have to make the decision if and for how long your child would live. I’d rather suffer a miscarriage than make that choice again. The majority of miscarriages happen because something went wrong with conception and your body recognizes that the baby won’t survive, or that there’d be severe complications. I’d rather my body make that choice, than my heart and head. Don’t get me wrong; miscarriages are awful and horrible as well. Do not think I’m discrediting them at all. I’ve been there; I’m just in a worse spot now. Many people don’t experience miscarriage or infant loss, let alone both…
Now that I’ve side tracked myself, I’ll try to get back on point, if I can remember what that was 🙂 Loss in any form can happen at to anyone. Don’t discredit or ignore October 15th or any other day someone wishes to speak about his or her child. You never know whom it’ll strike next. You’re not exempt from the possibility. Remember 1 in 4 people experience loss. You’re the 3; you’re the lucky ones… Until you’re not.
Some people don’t know what the term “rainbow baby” means. The purest definition of a “rainbow baby” is a baby born following a miscarriage or stillbirth, but can encompass any kind of child loss. No matter what storm happens, there’s always a rainbow at the end of it. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel to show you the way.
On the subject of allowing someone to speak about their child, don’t make any negative comments if they decide to share pictures of said child. Some do it to help them heal, so they feel like their child isn’t or wasn’t forgotten about just because he/she passed away. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to post pictures! People share pictures to bring awareness to miscarriage, stillbirth, types of accidents or other “abnormalities”. I know many people who’ve shared pictures of their anencephalic child. I’ve seen comments ranging from support and how much seeing their child has brought awareness, to nasty comments from bigoted assholes. Comments about how ugly the child was and how those parents are just trying to get media attention. I can guarantee you that no parent would put themselves in the spotlight while dealing with a loss. The only one that do, are the ones trying to bring awareness and inform others about what’s out there.
I’m not sure if we’ll ever publically show pictures of Aerilyn. Pictures of her hands and toes, those are perfectly acceptable to me to show. Full pictures of her, I’m not sure. Part of me feels like she’d be judged and made fun of. Sort of like she’d be on display for others to criticize how she was created. I also don’t want her to be defined by Anencephaly. That is not who she is! She is a spunky little girl who got dealt a horrible hand way too early in life. Anencephaly is what she has, not who she is. We’ll see how it goes in the end. Nothing is set in stone.
This past week has gone by quickly; at least in terms of pregnancy. For my daily life, it was rather slow. Saturday we went to Applecrest, which is an apple orchard in NH. We went with our friends and thankfully Kelsey has already posted the majority of the pictures. I’m just slacking on my end. I promise I will soon! We went on a hayride, ate really good ice cream and saw really big pumpkins. Someone (cough cough) ate something called a Purple Cow. That was strange. We all chose a bunch of pumpkins, and went apple picking. It was a long and fun day. All the kids had fun. Josh somehow managed to pick an apple (during the hayride) right off the tree and it was perfect. I mean that literately. It was a perfect apple, so we dubbed it Aerilyn’s Apple.
Sunday was my birthday. It wasn’t the best of days for many . I was having to fast for my 3-hour glucose test on Monday, which again, I passed. Yay me. Another reason was because it dawned on me that that would be my one and only birthday with Aerilyn. I’ll forever get older and she’ll remain the same.
Monday, after my glucose test, we carved pumpkins. Kanin also painted two of them. Kanin’s pumpkin is a minion. Josh’s is a Frankenstein. Mine is an owl snatching up a pumpkin and Aerilyn’s is an A with two flowers on it.
The rest of the week was pretty much met with random stuff. went back to daycare, Josh back at work and me doing my stuff. Although Josh’s transfer got approved. YAY! This means for the next 7 months he’s off the boat while we deal with everything that’s impending. Hopefully this makes things exceptionally easier on us.
We got our Hawaii maternity pictures! http://debbieleanne.pixieset.com/miller/ I love them so much! Now just to get our canvases, book and USB. I can’t wait to see it all once it’s finished.
I’m not sure what next week holds for us, but hopefully it goes more smoothly than this past week.