I don't think anyone really reads anymore, and I know I kind of ostracized myself by keeping so quiet about my rainbow pregnancy. Nevertheless, I still come here to write for my own sake, and I don't like starting a story and not finishing it. And before I finish our rainbow pregnancy / birth story, I want to say that one of my fellow loss friends did exactly what I did - HID her pregnancy (as much as she could) until the baby's birth. It was really validating for me to be able to talk to someone who felt the same way I felt. And when people had a strong shocked reaction to her posts on Facebook, she simply said, "It just didn't feel right to get everyone's hopes up." Yes. Yes, exactly that.
There is so much sadness and yet so much truth in that statement. I shed a tear when I read it, because I knew that feeling to my very core. That feeling of wanting to protect everyone else, shield them in case we happen to bring more death and pain into the world through our desire to build a family.
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The beginning of "Our Secret" was much more fun. I think that's partially why I put off typing the end. We had a positive outcome ultimately, but oy, what we went through to get there. He is every bit worth it. But oy.
I posted in Part Four that I had a scare around 26 weeks or so. And, well, that wasn't to be my last scare. For some reason around holidays I would feel my anxiety really ramp up. I guess it's the pessimist in me, the Lindsay who feels targeted by the world, the side of me that feels beat up by life. Things would be going great, but then it would be Thanksgiving, for example. We always host Thanksgiving at our home for both my family and my in-laws, so it's a pretty big deal. I'd be checking on the turkey, mashing some potatoes, fixing my makeup, cleaning the sinks, and then suddenly start to PANIC. I'VE BEEN TOO BUSY TODAY SO SOMETHING HORRIBLE PROBABLY HAPPENED TO THE BABY WHILE I WAS DISTRACTED!
That thought went through my head every so often.
But then the baby would move several times, and I'd say, "Thanks, buddy." And all would be well for a little while longer, at least.
I think a little part of me figured it would be JUST.MY.LUCK to not only have lightening strike twice (well, it would be three times, technically), but that it would happen ON.A.HOLIDAY. Because the only thing worse than having the worst possible thing happen to you is having it happen on a day that's inherently supposed to be full of joy and celebration. And, well, my warped mind was having a pity party and figured that if my luck was going to take a turn for the worse once again, it would probably happen on Thanksgiving just to give me some more sick irony to add to all of the previous ironies with the loss of my firstborn son.
I definitely knew I had PTSD when on Thanksgiving night, I could not feel the baby move, and I really started to freak out. I started sweating and shaking and breathing fast. It was horrible. I lay awake for a half an hour, maybe forty five minutes, alternating positions, drinking ice water, doing everything I could to rouse him. It was the second time I really feared he was gone.
Finally he woke up and then wouldn't fall back asleep - he had such a dance party in my tummy.
I felt anxiety around the twins' second birthday, which is a given. I had an OBGYN appointment the day after their birthday, and when the doctor said baby was great, I said to him, "Now I know for sure that history isn't repeating itself at least." How irrational is that??? I had this fear that my baby might die on the exact date my son had died. Getting past that date was monumental.
Christmas. Oh, Christmas. This was possibly the worst Christmas ever (second to the one I spent in raw grief over the loss of Elias). Our two year old daughter had a fever over 100 degrees. It was terrifying. She was miserable. I actually thought, here we go again. How horrible is that? I thought, Here I am, weeks away from giving birth, and the universe is trying to snatch one of us away again so that we won't all be together. AGAIN.
It was a really rough three or four days, but then she was better, and we were ready to celebrate the new year and all it would bring. (Other than the anxiety of another holiday - and yes, you guessed it, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day royally freaked me out, in theory at least. But baby was cooperating with kick counts, thankfully).
We were set to have a c-section at 37 weeks (pending good amnio results). At 36 weeks and 2 days, I woke in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and I could not feel the baby move. Once again, I went downstairs to lie on the couch and try different positions, drinks, foods, etc. After an hour and a half, I really thought he was gone. I can't quite put into words how that felt. I was panicked in a sense while also staying calmer than I ever thought I would be facing that kind of situation. It was the longest he had EVER gone without having movement I could perceive. I had to wake up my husband and our two year old daughter, because there was no way I could drive myself to the hospital. It was 4 a.m. I tried to feel him move the whole way there in the car but felt nothing.
When they got us in a room and put the monitor on, everything seemed to be going in slow motion. His heart tones filled the room, and I immediately started sobbing, and shaking, and praying that he would stay healthy. I heard the nurse say, "Mommy's crying happy tears, honey" a couple of times to my daughter, and I felt a pang of guilt that I hadn't considered how my reaction might upset her. But there was no room for that consideration, because honestly, I really thought I'd just lost another child.
The doctors assured me there was no reason to deliver at that point. I had another appointment in just two days. At that appointment, my OBGYN told me I could be seen daily to allay my fears, as I was so scared of 36 weeks and 6 days, which was when I lost Elias.
I made it exactly 36 weeks and 6 days at which point my blood pressure spiked and I had a black floater in my vision. I was sent to the hospital for monitoring, and my OBGYN met me there. When he saw my blood pressure had stabilized, he wanted to send me home. I could tell. He held my hand and started to murmur reassurances. I felt like I was going to crack. It was all too much. Thinking about going home and having to worry that something might happen in order to stay pregnant just for one more day did not seem to make much sense to me.
Right then, a nurse came in and yelled that they found protein in my urine, and that was the point at which my doctor looked at me and said, "It looks like we're gonna be having a baby today!"
I am eternally grateful that my OBGYN, Dr. G, did not take any risks and simply chose to deliver. I am also extremely glad that the on-call OBGYN, Dr. V, was there to assist with the c-section. She apparently had a talk with Dr. G and told him that if I had been her patient, she would have planned all along to take the baby at 37 simply due to my history, and with complications starting to brew there was simply no point in taking the risk of sending me home at 36 weeks 6 days. Dr. V was also the first person to show us our baby back when we thought we might be miscarrying very early on, and she was also the on call doctor when I had had a prior blood pressure scare (and had been incredibly understanding to our situation - not sure if I ever shared that here). How poetic is it that the doctor to show us our baby on an ultrasound for the first time was also there to deliver him (not being my OBGYN and being in a practice of several doctors!)? I thought it was pretty awesome.
Right before the c-section, Dr. G looked at me, put his hands on my shoulders, and said, "Maybe, for you, this is the easy part."
The only part of the csection that was terrifying for me was after they gave me the epidural they were dopplering for his heart beat before cutting into me...And they couldn't find it at first, or even after five seconds or so, which is basically a lifetime when you're THAT close to delivery. Then a nurse yelled, "There it is! Nice and strong, not distressed!" and they cut into me right then.
When Dr. G pulled William out of me and announced, "It's a boy!!!" it was so bittersweet, but more sweet than bitter. Those moments truly belonged to my precious William, my second son.
My husband said it was that very moment that the light went back into my eyes that had gone missing ever since the fear had taken over.
My OBGYN had a tear in his eye when he delivered our son, and while nurses were still working on me, he walked over to me and kissed me on the cheek.