Celebrating One Year of Blogging and a Healthy New Pregnancy
Today is a special day for two reasons. Last year on May 31st I made my first blog post on Medium. Until that point, I shared some of my grief process on Facebook and I journaled privately on a daily basis. However, blogging publicly changed everything for me. I opened up to a wider audience, to people who didn’t know me personally and knew nothing of me before Poppy died. In addition to the family and friends who were already helping me grieve, I now had access to a vast pool of empathy and insight beyond my immediate circle. You, the readers of my blog, have helped me heal more than you know. I am eternally thankful for you.
Today, May 31, 2017, I had the joy of seeing images of my second daughter during a 20-week ultrasound. Wiggles, as we are affectionately calling her, was resting in a breeched position, common for this early stage of development. Her knees were spread wide like a frog and her feet were crossed at the ankles. Her arms were up around her face and once I called out to her “peek-a-boo!”.
Eli held and squeezed my hand throughout the hour long appointment. We watched somewhat nervously as the tech captured numerous pictures of her heart. I couldn’t help but think of Poppy’s heart as I watched Wiggles’s flutter so beautifully. I remembered that Poppy’s heart once beat dutifully inside my womb. I remembered the horror of finding out it had stopped.
Emotionally, I’m much more stable these days. Having “survived” my first trimester, I am connecting with this new life inside me. I am allowing myself to believe she is going to make it. Yet, in many ways I’m still guarded.
People assure me that “nothing will go wrong this time” and “not to worry, everything will be fine.” But those are just platitudes. I don’t blame anyone for saying these things. Having heard too many times after Poppy died “that everything happens for a reason” or “God had a plan,” I understand people are uncomfortable with death and they simply need to believe something so horrible would never happen again. Still, it happens.
Did you know that Jackie Kennedy suffered 3 losses of her own? One miscarriage. One late-term stillbirth. One infant death — a boy named Patrick. I learned of her losses while watching Jackie on a flight to Charleston. Can you imagine her suffering? Since Poppy was stillborn I’ve read several books that unbeknownst to me would touch on the challenges of pregnancy, stillbirth and infant death: Where’d You Go Bernadette?, The Giver, The Japanese Lover, and The Signature of All Things. Every struggle, every loss, yanks at my heart and I am reminded just how big this “club” really is.
I won’t linger on that unfortunate reality though because I really am in the mood to celebrate my accomplishments: maintaining this blog for one year and nurturing this sweet baby now growing inside me.
Last week while on vacation in South Carolina, relaxed by the warm sun, good food, and abundant hospitality, Eli and I dreamed of life together when this baby arrives. I am proud that we are allowing ourselves to dream again. For the longest time after Poppy died it was enough just to make it through the day, much less envision a time when we’d hold a living child in our arms.
I imagine most mothers and fathers in our position battle with these feelings. Do we let ourselves hope? Do we plan and prepare for her arrival? Or do we disconnect and shut down, attempting to protect ourselves from any further sense of loss?
I can’t speak for Eli directly, but I’m allowing myself to hope. I am allowing myself to enjoy this pregnancy, my changing body, and each precious poke I feel inside from my banana-sized babe.
I think of Poppy every day. I feel her presence in the sun, in rainbows, in the flowers, and in stillness. I ask Poppy to protect her little sister and I believe she will. I am more excited to meet Wiggles than I am afraid of losing her. I am so pleased that my spirit is moving in this direction. My heart is celebrating! I invite you to celebrate with me.
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