We knew life without Obie would always be a balance between the life we had imagined for ourselves and the life we have. We'd never be purely happy again, because there is an Oberon-shaped hole that can never be filled. We may laugh and smile and feel joy, but there will always be tears in the corner of our eyes or a twinge of pain in the back of our minds.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Web sites we follow and communities we are in are extra active right now. Elizabeth's parents went to the Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep Remembrance Walk in Littleton, CO, Elizabeth and her mom have been participating in the online sharing event Capture Your Grief, and lots of people lit candles for Obie on October 15 as part of the wave of light on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. This extra attention and awareness is good, but it is also emotionally draining.
Obie's Grandpa & Grandma at the NILMDTS Remembrance Walk
Candles for Obie as part of the October 15 wave of light
Some of Elizabeth's Capture Your Grief posts. You can follow her on Instagram @il0veanne
We also got the horrible news that friends and a fellow loss family lost their baby in the second trimester. We are so sad and have cried many tears for them, but we know too well that our emotions don't even begin to reach the depth of pain this family is going through right now. One loss is more than any family should have to deal with, and subsequent losses are a different level of cruel.
Yes, it's awareness month, but right now we feel like there might be such a thing as too aware. We are too aware of pregnancy and infant loss. It can be too much. It would be so easy to disengage and just focus on our family, blocking out other tragedies, but that's not good. Insulating ourselves from hearing about other losses doesn't make this pregnancy more safe, and it doesn't help grieving families. We know better than most that support can be difficult to find, and we can't stop offering it when the people in our lives are hurting.
We warned you. Tough stuff.
Lil' beastie continues to have lots of appointments. He's getting bigger now, and Elizabeth can feel him moving around every day. Chris feels him from the outside a lot too. He seems to like being active after meals, at bedtime, and in the middle of the night. This has been very reassuring for us as we are reminded he's in there, he's real.
We're trying to be good about reading or singing to him every night before bed, and we are getting more consistent. We still miss a night here and there due to exhaustion (emotional or physical), but we'll keep trying to get better.
Elizabeth still gets weekly progesterone shots, weekly calls with the high-risk for preterm delivery nurse, regular OBGYN visits once every four weeks, and perinatalogist visits also every four weeks. At the perinatalogist appointments we get an ultrasound and a short meeting with our doctor. They check lil' beastie's growth and his organs. So far, everything looks as expected. At our last check a couple weeks ago, lil' beastie was in the 57% percentile for growth.
October 16, 2015
Physically, this has not been an eventful pregnancy (which we are thankful for). There have been a couple days where Elizabeth doesn't feel lil' beastie move as much, but we've gone to the hospital to get checked out twice now and everything still looks good. The most recent trip was in mid-October, where we were reassured that lil' beastie's heart is beating, he's wiggling around in there, and Elizabeth isn't leaking any fluid.
We both got our flu vaccines, and Elizabeth is scheduled to have Tdap a little later, to make sure lil' beastie is as protected as possible.
Because of the risk of preterm delivery, we've had to cut back our activity level substantially. Elizabeth isn't supposed to be on her feet or active for more than ~30-45 minutes at a time, so no more big hikes. She's also not supposed to wander too far from the hospital. We're not going to be flying anymore this year, and if we go anywhere in the next couple months it will be within a reasonable drive of a hospital with a good NICU.
Hiking in Big Sur in September, no more of this for a while!
Where do we go from here? We try to take it one day at a time. On days when we feel up to it, we try to plan or take care of the things we should. On days we don't feel up to it, we just snuggle, or cry, or watch mindless TV to distract ourselves. We don't have our Type A personalities every day anymore, and for now that's OK. Maybe forever. And if it is forever, that's OK too.