Cora was born at 36 weeks 6 days. But she was born still, “sleeping”. The exact date of her passing…I cannot be sure. That unknown has haunted me for the past 10 months. How could I, her mom, not know when she died? HOW? I still have trouble wrapping my brain around it. It hurts. It makes me feel like a failure. It makes me feel like I should have known better. When I started reading other mom’s brave and open stories about their loss it made me realize that I was not alone. They had been blindsided too. They didn’t know until they were waiting in the exam room for the heartbeat to ring loud and clear on the doppler. I was not alone, I was not a failure. It was not my fault.
There is a certain milestone that loss mom’s mark in their subsequent pregnancies. It cannot be helped because our loss helps define how our subsequent pregnancies are monitored. Making it to that “milestone” of getting past the point of your previous loss(es). I have seen several articles about this milestone or other bloggers mention it. I always felt defeated when I saw this on “how to get through your subsequent pregnancy” articles or “tips for your rainbow pregnancy”. It cannot be avoided and its usually weighing down like an elephant sitting on your chest.
When we found out we were pregnant again, I read another article about this “milestone”. Sighed, rolled my eyes, and put the notion away. Honestly, I’m not really going to get past that “point”. I lost Cora within 3 weeks of her due date. I’m going to deliver her brother somewhere between 37 and 38 weeks. So yes, making past that date is a “victory” of some sort but it feels so wrong to say it that way. It makes me uncomfortable to celebrate it because I had to lose a child to get there.
There is also a notion that making it past the loss point means smooth sailing or the parents suddenly becomes carefree again. Nope, not going to happen. This pregnancy has flown by up until the last two weeks. Suddenly, it’s starting to feel very slow. His arrival date very far away.
These feelings really started to set in a week ago when I was looking through Cora’s sonograms we still have up on our fridge. I noticed her last sonogram was at 28 weeks 6 days. I could of sworn her last sonogram was much later in the pregnancy but it wasn’t. This triggered a little bit of anxiety. A little bit of nervousness. After that sonogram, something went wrong. Something could have been wrong the entire time but she just didn’t present enough red flags to catch it. But for sure, something after that last sonogram happened. I didn’t realize I’d gotten somewhere new in this pregnancy that I hadn’t done with Cora. Seeing our boy after the 28 week mark.
This notion stirred feelings of gratefulness. Sadness. Guilt. Anxiousness. And then back to grateful again. It’s a very weird cycle of emotions and I’m sure other emotions are in there as well. I wake in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and when I crawl back in bed I wait for a kick or nudge from baby. I usually say a short prayer at this time: I thank God for this new little life, I thank Him for Paul, and I thank Him for Cora. Over and over again I say this prayer. I typically get a kick before falling back asleep :). It keeps me calm and it keeps me from staying up all night letting my mind wonder.
I’ve constantly had to choose gratefulness over sadness in these moments. Grateful to feel a kick. Sad that his sister didn’t kick as much and I didn’t know the difference. Grateful this little boy is a chunky monkey. Sad that his sister was a little small. Grateful for the incredible care I’ve received with this baby. Sad that I wonder if we monitored her closer we would have had some warning. Grateful that he is a little boy because that allows for a separation. Sad that I may never have another daughter.
In 10 months I have lost a daughter and I am 5 weeks away from delivering my son. I have come to terms that while I will get past my “point of loss” that I will not actually be past it. The loss of Cora will be with me for the rest of my life. Its choosing those moments of gratefulness where I see how Cora’s life has profoundly impacted mine. I’m going to love her brother twice as much because I don’t get to love her here on Earth. I’m going to squeeze him twice as much and kiss all over his face twice as much. I am going to be terrified to lose him because I know what it is to lose a child. When he smiles at us I am going to imagine Cora smiling through him as well.
I am going to wonder what color would her eyes have been. I’m going to wonder what she would of looked like taking her first steps when he takes his. I am going to wonder what it would of been like to see Paul walk her down the isle. All of these little moments are going to be intertwined with what is happening and what could have been.
I am never going to move past her. I am going to more forward with her.
Cheers to the Bright Side ❤