**Warning! This is a trigger warning for those families in the loss community. This post might contain subject matter that is upsetting or trigger unwanted feelings.** For those of you that think this is an odd way to start off a blog post, you might be right. But I have learned that within the loss community there are topics that are “triggers” for the others. Topics that are difficult for someone to read or unknowingly stumble across. So with this blog post, I wanted to be sensitive to those who might be in a great deal of pain at this moment.
Now onto the big news, WE ARE HAVING A BABY! A baby boy to be specific. We will be 14 weeks along on Wednesday so I’ve had a lot of time to think of how and when we wanted to announce our news. Turns out it was much more complicated than coordinating a fancy video or cute staged photo.
The loss of Cora did not diminish our desire for children. If anything, it increased our desire for children. Paul & I were allowed a glimpse into the love we could have for our daughter. A glimpse into what it was like to dream of raising a child to be kind, loving, hardworking, and accepting. To dream of teaching her volleyball (okay, that was my dream) or in Paul’s case to convert her as quickly to a Red Wings fan as possible. To have the chance to build our legacy through our children.
Pure Shock. This was my reaction to finding out I was pregnant. Pure shock and terror. Yes, I am aware how babies are made so spare me the birds and the bees talk :). Paul & I were told to wait two-three months before trying again. We decided to take the summer to recover and travel a bit to refresh our souls. That would of put us trying again in the fall so I was completely unaware.
In July, Paul & I decided to take a vacation to the Texas Hill Country & San Antonio for our anniversary. Ironically, this trip was supposed to be our “babymoon” before Cora’s arrival. However, I was two days late when we arrived in San Antonio so I thought I better take a test before diving head first into delicious Margaritas all weekend. I had already spent the past two days imbibing in Hill County wine so my guilt was setting in. Sure enough, a positive test. I ran out of the bathroom and told Paul immediately. I think we both sat there in shock for several minutes and then the tears started. I was even worried what our MFM specialist would think because we just sat in his office telling him we would wait until the fall and I was unknowingly pregnant!
Side-note: Since we found out we were pregnant in San Antonio, we having lovingly nicknamed this baby “Crockett”. No, that will not be his real name but it’s what we’re calling him until we figure out his real name. So I will be referring to him as Crockett from time to time.
This pregnancy has been very different than my pregnancy with Cora. In some ways wonderfully different and in others heartbreakingly different. We have been seen by the doctor 7 times in 13 weeks because of our history. Meaning, we have seen this baby from the very beginning. We saw his heartbeat at 7 weeks 1 day. We heard his heartbeat at 11 weeks 2 days. His magical, beautiful heartbeat at 11 weeks! I did not get to hear Cora’s heartbeat until around 17 weeks. She was always difficult to track with the fetal monitor which makes me very sad sometimes. It’s hard not to wonder if we’d been seen as often as we have with Crockett, would she be alive? Deep down, I don’t believe that is true but it’s hard to not let your mind wonder. I had very strong fears of the fetal doppler monitor because that instrument had betrayed me last time. But now, it’s like Crockett knows I need to hear his heartbeat and we get it right away. I cannot feel him kick yet so his heartbeat is all I have.
With Cora, I had a very easy pregnancy. I felt great majority of the pregnancy and in general had a lot of energy. This pregnancy is kicking my butt all over the place. The nausea and food aversion have been very intense. I’m exhausted all the time. Looking back, this could be a sign that this placenta is healthier than the placenta with Cora. Which again, makes me sad. It was my first pregnancy and I didn’t know any better. I know I am not to blame for the loss of Cora but I can’t help but compare.
At around 12 weeks, I started to bleed at work. Not a little bleeding, a lot. Enough to go through my jeans. I panicked, just knowing I was having a miscarriage. I called the nurse and she told me to come to the office right away. It was around 4:45 so the office was closing up but a wonderful sono tech said that she would stay for me. I cried calling Paul. It felt so surreal to be calling him again…at the end of the day…trying to get him to pickup knowing he was coaching. It was all happening again. Once I got a hold of him I told him what was happening and he rushed (again) to meet me at the doctor. We were both so scared and just knew it was over. But there was a heartbeat. The most beautiful sound in the world, the tech let us listen to his heartbeat to calm us down. We both cried and sighed with relief.
However, there was blood in my uterus. For some context, I have a heart shaped uterus. This is not normal but not completely unheard of. So Crockett is hanging out in the left “horn” of the heart while the blood was in the right “horn”. There was a small bleed but nothing could be done about it. During the sonogram, the nurse asked if we wanted to learn the sex. We said yes but to be honest..we really didn’t care at that point. Probably the least exciting gender reveal! With nothing to be done, we were sent home.
We did not sleep well, we were terrified the entire night. We let our families know after we left the doctor so we could spare them the terrible worry of waiting for an answer. Luckily, the next day we had an appointment with our Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist. We spent the majority of that appointment looking at Crockett. They examined him very closely for several markers. He passed the two main tests for 12 weeks, the Nuchal Translucency Scan and the nasal bone measurement. The Nuchal Translucency Scan measures the clear (translucent) space in the tissue at the back of your baby’s neck to check for chromosomal abnormalities. The nasal bone measurement is also a marker of chromosomal abnormalities. The doctor found this little guy’s nose immediately. Paul & I chuckled because Paul is crediting his Giannecchini genes for Crockett’s strong nose :). The doctor said the bleeding had stopped in my uterus and a blood clot had formed. The clot was not interfering with Crockett, the placenta, or the cord. So, I was told to rest and make sure that I am taking care of myself.
We have little control over this pregnancy right now. Crockett is so little that medicine cannot really intervene for him. Right now, my job is to take care of myself and this little life I have been lucky enough to carry. We are living on a motto that a fellow loss mom passed onto me. Faith over Fear. Thank you, dear Katie! We have to have faith that this baby will live. We have to have faith that our deepest desire to have a living child will be fulfilled. Fear has no place in this pregnancy.
So here we are, 13 weeks 5 days pregnant with our Rainbow. Rainbow was a term that I was initially uncomfortable with. I’m not sure why but I think when I first heard the term…I could not fathom another child at that moment. My heart was too broken, too sad for the loss of my first born. I felt too guilty at the thought of “moving on” from Cora. Nothing can replace Cora. She is my firstborn. Crockett will be my second. Nothing will ever change that.
But recently I was reading Genesis 9:13 which says”I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” This made me smile. I never noticed this verse before but bells started ringing in my brain. Maybe this rainbow has been given to us to restore our hearts and souls. I do not want to put that kind of pressure on this pregnancy but I have hope. I have hope that this little boy will be in our arms in March. I have hope that we will be able to parent a living child.
My 5 year old niece asked me “If Cora hadn’t gone to Heaven, would this baby be in your tummy?”. I told her “I do not know but we know this baby is a gift from Cora”. Cora is always on my mind with this pregnancy. Her presence is felt with each heartbeat of his, with each encouraging check-up, and with each rainbow we’ve seen in the sky. Crockett is not a replacement for Cora. We are not over our loss. What we’re doing is making room in our hearts for this new little life. We are looking into the clouds for a rainbow to lift our spirits. We are hoping to get to March to hold our rainbow in our arms.
I will be posting updates on the blog about this pregnancy while still writing different posts about Cora. I hope to encourage families who have lost a child, families that are navigating pregnancy after loss, and anyone who is trying to find hope while grieving. I am still grieving the loss of Cora while trying to find the excitement in this pregnancy. So stay tuned folks, it’s going to be an emotional roller coaster these next 6 months. Buckle up!
Cheers to the Bright Side ❤