We finally decided to conver the playroom into a nursery and move the playroom completely downstairs (while keeping some of the toys upstairs in our more-than-ample living room). Maya, who will inherit the nursery as her bedroom once Michael moves in with Bobby, chose the nursery colors. We have a chair rail, so she chose a very deep blue called "night watch" for the lower wall
As we were going through the basement and starting to unpack some items, Peter gave voice to things that we both have been thinking. It's so strange to actually be preparing for a baby. Whenever we began before, it was the start of the end. We recieved the crib for Nicholas and Sophia... a few days later, I delivered Nicholas at home. We had the nursery underway... and I went into labor with Alexander. The nursery was done before we were even pregnant with Bobby and Maya, but shortly after my birthday, I bravely ordered their stroller... and dilated to the stitch; I was in the hospital a week after the stroller arrived. Getting ready has been synonymous with things starting to go to hell. "It's strange to get ready," Peter said, his eyes betraying the hurt. I had to acknoweldge that he was right. It is, indeed, strange. Strange to unpack things, strange to buy things, strange to get things ready by painting. Even with the adoptions, it seemed like getting ready meant the tide would turn.
And yet. This journey is just so different. I know it sounds nuts to people when they ask how I'm doing with the 'stress' and I just say that I've given this pregnancy over to God or that I have no worries. It's not that I dont wonder about the what ifs... I'm a typical, post-loss pregnant woman. Of course I realize all of the things that could happen and that, regardless of how good today is, tomorrow might mean Michael is no longer with us. And it isn't that I dont care. I know that it would hurt. I know that it would mean a world of pain not just for Peter and I, but for Bobby and Maya, and all of our family and friends, too.
But worrying about the what ifs arent helpfuld and dont change things. There is something about believing that I've done all I can possibly do and am doing all that I can do to have a normal, healthy pregnancy that gives me a lot of peace. Yes, there is a part of me that feels even getting pregnant was a miracle, but getting pregnant with all of my kids has been miraculous, just in different ways. Their losses werent negated by that. I guess there is a part of me that feels our lives are just what they are, for long or for short, and I've come to accept that, while it isnt what I wanted, my older children's lives were meant to be short in this world. Still hurts, but their lives were- and remain- perfect. I wish Bobby and Maya had made it full term, but for whatever reason, there gestational journey was meant to only a second trimester path. They are here with me, and I feel so grateful and lucky for that. With Michael, my life just has a different point of view than it did with my older kids; I am grateful for every single second that he is within me and, regardless of when his life ends- whether it is tomorrow, 50 years from now, before or after I am dead- I would always wish it longer for him. Placing that fear in the hands of the Divine and just walking away from it, and finding peace in that, is a nice feeling. I wish I'd been able to do it before; I know that, part of the reason why is the journey I've had with N, S, A, B, and M, but still... How different could their pregnancies have been if I'd not been so afraid?
So, as we prepare, those feelings- those what if thoughts- still make themselves known at times, but we still get ready. We still paint walls and plan furniture layouts. Come next week, when the painting is done, we'll put the crib together and start getting Bobby and Maya acclimated to the new room in the house. Already, they want to help get things ready and they want to love on their brother. Bobby is less verbal about it, but several times a day, he'll say "hug" and when I go to hug him, he'll hug my belly instead and say "Michael... Hug." He's kissed my tummy a few times and said "love" as well. Both of them love to snuggle, and their baby brother will move when he feels them or hears them reading him a story (which they both like to do). Maya will also tell me about how she wants to help make Michael's bed (what she calls both the crib and creche), how she wants to help me wash and hang up his clothes, etc, and how she will take care of the baby when he's born. There's a lot of love. Our preparing, I think, gives them a focus for that love, too. There's no fear that would make me want to give that up.
Does the TAC make a difference? I'm sure it does. From a physical standpoint, I know now just how broken my body was before. There was, literally, a piece missing. We didnt know that, and we inadvertantly put our children at risk by thinking other things, like bedrest or the TVC, would work when things looked faulty. But having the TAC surgery and knowing just how badly my cervix was damaged has given me a peace. I know now that I have the best possible medical fix. It doesnt mean preterm labor will stay away (but I'm hopeful the P17 will keep that as a non-issue). It doesnt mean there arent risks for preeclampsia or anything else, but my primary issue is now a non-issue. That definitely takes a weight off my mind.
Does the fact that I got pregnant without intervention make a difference? From a psychological standpoint, I know it does. Infertility makes you feel like 'less than'. Less of a woman (or man), less of a normal human being. You have those awful thoughts, like "crackheads and hookers can get knocked up without even thinking about it, but I can't make love to my husband/wife and create a baby". You become judgemental and bitter, even as you strive not to. Loss adds to that. Even when I got pregnant with medication, I felt like I was less than the other mothers-to-be. I wondered if they were able to suprise their husbands with their news or, if like me, the positive came via a conference call and constant monitoring. I wondered if there was shock with a +HPT or if they were monitoring ovulation times and temps and when to go to the RE for bloodwork and days post ovulation. This round, even though I suspected I was pregnant, I was shocked as hell to see two lines on a pregnancy test and even more shocked by my beta numbers. As this pregnancy has progressed, in so many ways, it is like a 'first' pregnancy because it is the first tyical pregnancy I've ever had. That definitely changes my perspective. It doesnt make me less knowing of pregnancy loss or stillbirth, but it keeps my head in a different space.
Being active is also, for sure, making a difference. Being able to do things, like rearrange the downstairs for the playroom (which required Peter and I moving the pool table- dont worry! it had sliders on it!) and being able to cart (light- dont worry!) furniture down and up stairs, being able to paint and do household stuff, being able to run and do yoga and handle my kiddos... All these things are positive for both my physical health and my mental well being. I tire much easier than usual and sometimes crash on the couch by 7:30, but I can still do things. I know Peter is more than willing to step up and take over if I ask; I know that I have a huge network of supportive people who are willing to play with the kids when I need a break or help me if I need to do something and just, for whatever reason, am not up for it. Knowing that makes me feel like I have a good back-up plan, but being able to do for myself, especially with the memory of not being able to do anything for the majority of my pregnancy with Bobby and Maya, is huge for me. Just getting out for a run- even if it is slow and only a mile or two- is a moment of joy. It's nice.
So, here I am.... 16 weeks- less than 4 calendar months- from Michael's scheduled delivery date. A mere 6 weeks (give a day!) from the third trimester. Feeling really good, and just really, really lucky. I cant wait to finish the nursery and post pictures! :)